In my spirituality, good deeds, and even more, the desire to do good deeds, count more for your moral character than who or what you believe in. A life lived in service and defense of others with Satan as your guiding light is more preferable than a life of oppression, deceit, and backstabbing whilst proclaimining that “Jesus is the Way” and genuinely believing it.
You prove your desire in the attempt. If you succeed, well congratulations.
If you fail, well, that sucks.
For the sake of argument, let’s say a man is cooking at his friend’s home. He messes up, and the resulting grease fire burns down his friend’s home. Nothing is left.
Let’s say YOU are the friend who just lost your house to a tragic cooking attempt gone horribly wrong.
Which would you think better of?
The friend who says “Sucks about your house and all your possessions. Sorry about that. But I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and my Savior, so I am a GOOD MAN.” And then he walks off, and makes no attempt to actually help you out of your predicament.
Or would you prefer the one who says “Sucks about your house and all your possessions. Sorry about that. Look, let me make it up to you. I’ll put my own money on the line, my time, and my effort. I’ll do everything I can to help you get a new home. I have to feed my own wife and kids obviously, but I’ll do everything I can to make this right, because I believe in doing the right thing by you and your family who I have wronged.” (He may or may not be that eloquent)
A year later, you still don’t have a full-time house, and you’re living with your parents. Your friend’s really in the pits, and he’s so poor from helping you recover your own life and providing for his own family at the same time that he’s no longer in any position to help you further.
“Sorry man.” He says, “I know I said I’d do everything I could, but I just can’t keep on like this anymore. I have to look out for my own family now.”
And so he then breaks from his offer of aid.
Which friend would you prefer?
I’d prefer the latter one, the one who puts so much on the line to help me when he didn’t actually have to. He could have walked away, confident in his spiritual salvation that would come through at the end because he BELIEVED IN JESUS. But he didn’t. He could have been a Wiccan, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Asatru, Jew, or a Pastafarian. His faith or his god is not what makes him good. That may help, but it may not at the same time. Humans are funny that way.
His desire to do the right thing that led him to commit an act of tremendous self-sacrifice, even if he ultimately fell just before the finish line, is what makes him good in this instance.
Anyone can say they desire to do good. But until they actually work to do good, they are not really telling the truth.
The Proof, as they say, is in the Pudding, and it is far better to fail at doing the right thing than to succeed at doing the wrong.