Since "every good thing cometh from above" I can live with MacDonald's idea of "goodness" being part of "godliness". The real problem arises when the "good" person does nothing WITH the goodness, or even claims the "goodness" as coming from somewhere other than God.
MacDonald DOES deal with this question in the second book of the trilogy, "The Lady's Confession", in which there is an atheist doctor who prides himself in being a "good" person who serves others without regard to himself. Through conversations with curate Thomas Wingfold MacDonald makes his point perfectly clear that if God does not get the credit for the "goodness" then it is done for selfish reasons and, therefore, is illigitimate.
The point that I was trying to make was that too often, because of our own faulty training, we regarded goodness as ALWAYS being a work of the flesh. Let's give God some credit where credit is deserved, He sometimes does a progressive work in a person's heart, and that may also include a desire to follow goodness, even when the source is not fully realized.
And btw, discussing subjects such as this CAN be done IF it is done in the context of the media in question. Thanx for chiming in!