The enemy within


Righteousness gets a bad press.

I have a faith and I am not a fan.  Those who don’t want any god are not fans either.  And I have come to realise righteousness is not the exclusive property of faith and religion.  I now think it may be the enemy within.

Righteousness: “the quality of being morally right or justifiable”
synonyms: goodness, virtue, virtuousness, uprightness, decency, integrity, worthiness, rectitude, probity, morality, ethicalness, high-mindedness, justice, honesty, honour, honourableness, innocence, blamelessness, guiltlessness, irreproachability, sinlessness, saintliness, purity, nobility, noble-mindedness, piety, piousness
“the successful are always tempted to regard their success as a reward for righteousness”

There are a lot of good words, a lot of good attributes and a warning: to regard success as a reward for righteousness.

I am writing it like this from now on: right-eousness

Let me explain …

An anti-deist will accuse “religion” of being the enemy.  And then trash “any-god-at-all” by painting every worst excess of religious right-eousness.  And more than that – trash all who have a relationship with a beneficent supernatural being, “BSB”.   And those who had a relationship with a BSB (but now feel cheated because BSB did not deliver as BSB should if BSB was “real”) are wooed because they can “do the trashing with credibility” (and add further evidence to the “evidence” for no BSB).

It is called “creating a straw man”.  A creation and fabrication which is then trashed as the evidence (for the trashing).  It means, I have found out, that no matter how much we agree – the anti-deist will never join with me in fixing anything because my “faith based belief”, “fbb”, is the cause of all that is wrong with the human race – the human race that is causing the planet to slowly reject us as our own bodies reject (much more quickly) a dose of food poisoning.

That straw man is right-eousness.  And that dismissal is right-eousness in action.  Except right-eousness is a belief based belief,”bbb”, that also defies logic in the same way as an anti-deist accuses “fbb”.  Which is why right-eousness must feed off fear.

Politicians do it.  Church leaders do it.  Leaders do it (it was called “the burning rig strategy” in my day).  Good and bad leaders do it.  We all do it (when we want to get our own way).  I see it in the Brexit debate, the Trump divide, the church and ology fissures …  AND the breakdown of marriages, the abuse of children, the expectation of a cure for any ill, the right to life (until the life is born), the warming of this planet … AND with it the reality of straw men:  straw men are of fear

But my fear is not necessarily your fear.

And that is why “straw men” divide as well as unite.  And that means frustration, means anger, often leads to polarisation and always results in inertia.  I have been told I have done that in some of these posts.  I never intended that – I never knew that – I was simply writing with passion about something I believe is right(eousness)

A straw man is not easy to see when you know you are right(eousness).  And that is why I think no one person has “truth”.  We live in a world where the truth keeps changing.  Where “bbb” and “fbb” are so much a part of our “dna” that we don’t even recognise them as that anymore – they are “truth”.

(the science of psychology has explanations AND evidence for that assertion)

Which is why we need each other.  We all live bbb or fbb (and often both).  So you need me to see your straw man as much as I need you to see mine.  And that conversation needs a big dose of kindness.

Because without kindness I feel the pain of your “straw man” (which is my bbb/fbb) being burned.   And avoiding pain is also in my dna.  So without a dose of kindness we will never listen to each other – or get to fixing the things that need fixing …

Our home and each other … the home we bring children into … the home of all of us who have so much in common … so much in common we now choose to fixate on the differences …

Maybe we might actually get to uniting over all those ills so often reported we avoid fixing (because we fear it might affect my “right-eousness” way of life).

bbb/fbb are not the enemy within.

I think right-eousness is.

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(which might be an example of right-eousness)  🙂

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3 thoughts on “The enemy within

  1. Excellent post Paul! The power of words is tremendous, and if a word like “righteous” can be corrupted by making everyone who wishes to be righteous into a hypocrite, and to make the very notion of wanting to do right the object of derision, then you can crash the entire system. Yet, there is also an unintended consequence, for our entire civilization is based upon this concept, and you would not only crash the “church”, you would crash Western Civilization itself. Oh yes, words are powerful!

    Thanks for a great post!

    • Thank you Don.

      ” … to make the very notion of wanting to do right the object of derision, then you can crash the entire system.”

      One word has just gone POW!: “do” And I sense something stirring – thank you 🙂

  2. Pingback: Being right. Doing right. | Just me being curious

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