Being right. Doing right.

“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.”

Don Merritt added that comment under “The Enemy Within”  – as tildeb has been sharpening my thoughts about “being right” (because tildeb says he is right and I am the problem).

tildeb says that my faith based beliefs (not evidence and not fact so not reality) make me the problem.  He says his belief based beliefs (are evidence and fact so are reality) make him right.  So we cannot fix stuff unless I change my faith/belief based beliefs to his.

THAT is “being right”.

Thirty-four years ago this month I became a married man.  I agreed to live with the same person for the rest of my life.  We were in love and convinced we would make it work.  We made each other laugh.  We made each other angry.  We turned each other on.  Oh how we turned each other on!  We wanted to live together, create life and be “an item” forever and ever.

And then found in the thirty-four subsequent years how little we knew each other then AND how little that mattered.  Indeed had we needed to “be right” (as tildeb requires of me) we would never have got married.

THAT is the difference: being right is inertia … doing right is action.

And Don’s comment created that “KAPOW!!!” moment.  And then why phrases like … “an inequality in love” … “love is always the answer” … “love does not need” … “love breaks down fences” … “love can build a bridge” … all resonate inside me like a tuning fork on that “perfect note”.

Love is the action of being and breathing and being and doing and being and growing.  Love is a verb.  And the same applies to this word “right” as well.  Right is the action of being and breathing and being and doing and being and growing. Right is a verb.  Just like “love”.

In fact they might “do” the same thing!

Because I can see great good in the bible and love God Soft Hands Jesus.  I am in awe of carbon-dating and learn from evolution.  I am convinced of global warming and get angry at inequalities in love.  I see those in every walk of life, every culture and every country.  I sense why Donald Trump prefers twitter to the news media and their incessant focus on “fluff” (which outrages for a second or two) rather than “substance” (which requires time and understanding and demands change of me).

Yet if “being right” is more important than “doing right” …

I learn nothing from the evidence of evolution and psychology, nothing from the experience of marriage and relationship, and nothing of “reality” and how nature fixes itself (no God or no-god required).

So can’t we work all that out together while we fix stuff – because we don’t even need to get married to do right.



13 thoughts on “Being right. Doing right.

  1. Paul you are absolutely ‘right’. Okay, i couldn’t resist that for sure. What you say, of course, makes sense, If we had to know for sure ahead of time, there would be no need for faith. We have faith for at least the one reason that we DON’T know. We trust that we are right and so forth. If we waited for the entire TRUTH to be known in order to be right then we’d get nothing at all accomplished for we’d be waiting around attempting to prove our very existence and actions. Great post. Tom


    • Tom, thank you. The other thing from this conversation I am learning: I can only change me. And I don’t need to know anything more than that and doing right – which makes “the rest” (all that belief and evidence and right-eousness) just part of the journey.


  2. “as tildeb has been sharpening my thoughts about “being right” (because:

    tildeb says he is right and I am the problem).
    tildeb says that my faith based beliefs (not evidence and not fact so not reality) make me the problem.
    He says his belief based beliefs (are evidence and fact so are reality) make him right.
    So we cannot fix stuff unless I change my faith/belief based beliefs to his.

    THAT is “being right””.

    This is not being right.

    If we are to speak only in terms of being right and wrong here, then

    1, Wrong
    2. Right, as much as anyone who continues to demand that reality doesn’t have the right to adjudicate beliefs held about it, anyone who continues to grant equivalent respect to faith-based beliefs.
    3. Wrong
    4. Wrong.

    Your caricaturing my argument is both underhanded and dishonest. You’ve created a straw man here, equating following my argument to mean I must think being in love, acting in love, is representative of faith. It’s not.

    faith (OED)
    1.complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
    2.strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

    Notice that love has nothing to do with faith and that faith has nothing to do with science as our method to inquire into how reality operates and by what mechanisms. Faith has nothing to do with allowing reality to arbitrate our beliefs about it.

    So your ‘response’ here has nothing to do my argument about the reliable perniciousness of using and respecting faith-based belief over and above evidence-adduced beliefs.

    I don’t know if you’re just being this churlish because you find my argument has merit, or if you don’t want to face, or if you’re really this obtuse, or if you’re willing to lie outright.

    I any case, you are not addressing my argument. You are misrepresenting my argument by trying to misrepresent me. That’s hardly a loving action, now is it, Paul? Try doing that in your marriage and see how long it will be tolerated and what response you get when you insist it’s all about love. No, it’s not. It’s all about you. It’s selfish, childish, churlish, dishonest, and intended to malign. It is a tactic to avoid taking responsibility. And you try to present this deceitful rationalization as a ‘defender’ of love against some nasty.


  3. Great post, Paul. And I loved the quote from Don at the beginning of the post, too. So true.

    On the notion of being right and wrong, in the modern world we’ve equated “evidence” as scientific evidence, but there are so many things that are true, right or wrong, that cannot be evidenced by science…like faith, art, beauty, ethics, morality, or why we even think about these things.

    Or even how we determine the value of a human life. Your analogy about your marriage made me think of what Eric Chabot said about this in his post, “Does it Matter Whether God Exists”

    Quoting Robert Spizter in his post:
    “There is another more serious consequence of the underestimation of human personhood, namely, the undervaluation of real people. If we consider human beings to be mere matter without the self-possession necessary for freedom and love, without unique lovability, or without spiritual or transcendent significance, we might view human beings as mere “things”.

    If humans are viewed as mere things, then they can be treated as mere things, and this assumption has led historically to every form of human tragedy.”


    • Once again, Mel steps squarely in it.

      If you think human rights and the dignity of personhood come from religious impetus, you simply haven’t the first clue about history. Human rights come from getting religious ownership out of the way, from Cyrus the Great, to Jefferson who studied him, from the Scottish Enlightenment to the French free thinkers. This is the root of human dignity in law, in governance, in treatment by authority, and it is in spite of, and contrary to and in conflict with, the idea of ownership by some deity or some appointed representative.

      Yo, Mel, are the mouthpiece of religious apologetics that attempts to steal secular humanism in all its beneficial forms and claim it comes from your notion of religious slavery, your obsequious prostrating before your Master, before your Owner, before your Creator.

      Once again, Mel, you haven’t a clue about reality and once again, you couldn’t care less about what is true about it. You serve only your Boss who also, if real, seems determined to demonstrate nothing but indifference at best to you and your grovelling ilk.


      • tildeb, reading Mel’s comment he uses the word “God” once. And I have to mention the obvious: your beliefs about Mel are dictating your behaviour in this case. I am happy to acknowledge that my beliefs dictate my behaviour. Why aren’t you?

        Being right is a belief. Not a truth. And my own belief? Your need to be right as shown in all your comments is the biggest threat in “doing right” for the mankind you are so not doing right by. Your religion stops you every time. Because as you state at every opportunity: religion is belief, and your beliefs have become your religion.

        You are moving more and more to personal insult as its own evidence. And it never is or ever will be.


        • Oh, I see. You think Mel’s reference to the under-estimation of the value of life does not imply it is part of non belief, imply that this is what non belief means in practice: under valuing human life. And like a good little puppy, you go along with this monstrous lie. And it is the reverse of what is true.

          Of course, you’ll misrepresent respect for what is true to be another ‘belief’, to be seen as some pathological need to be right. That, too, misses the point about finding common ground only by first agreeing that respecting what is true matters more than our beliefs about it.

          Misrepresenting what is true by maligning those of us who respect it is the whole reason why Mel brought up the Spizter quote, Paul, to misrepresent the role evidence should play in arbitrating his apologetics. To do this means one has to have no respect for how human rights have come to be legally established and on what basis in fact. Mel simply assumes it must come from religion when in fact religion has been the major force acting against its establishment and continues to be the major force resisting it to this minute.


          • Premise: I dismiss anyone I label religious. Supporting Evidence: Whatever I say it is. Only Possible Conclusion: I am right. Certain Consequence: Nothing changes.

            tildeb, assumptions are not exclusive to those with whom you disagree.


            • What is so problematic of establishing respect for reality’s arbitration of our beliefs about it? After all, you use exactly this in every single area of your life and don’t think poorly of yourself for doing so. In fact, it is a fundamental aspect of how you navigate reality. Without this, you’ve got nothing.

              The same is true, I say, for religious beliefs. And then all of a sudden you alter your thinking completely and try to make this common and fundamental aspect an ‘assumption’, a ‘belief’ a ‘need to be right’. And then you start collecting as many little sayings as you can to try to make this aspect seem unreasonable or selfish or close-minded.

              No. It’s. Not.

              It is the same aspect you use, you rely on, to find your car, to set your alarm with trust, to take your temperature with confidence. Not for one second do you apply all this crap you’re trying to heap on me for being consistent even with religious beliefs about reality when it comes to yourself, when it comes to you. You aren’t making an unreasonable assumption that your cell phone should work, making a selfish claim that time should pass, exercising unreasonable arrogance and intolerance of others that you believe that the sun will rise. You don’t pretend you’re being close-minded to expect gravity to remain stable when you walk.

              Do you?

              But you do think it’s okay to change all of this in order to criticize me for expecting you to respect reality’s arbitration of faith-based rather than evidence-adduced beliefs held about it. Suddenly, respecting reality when it comes to religious claims about it is a problem that belongs to me but not you. And you have no problem twisting your thinking to make it so because, well, because it’s okay when it comes to religion, you see, so the problem must be with someone who remains consistent and reasonable.

              And it’s painfully obvious that you’re so far up the rectum of religious piety, of respecting any nonsense it proposes contrary to and in conflict with reality, that you can’t think straight. You have to think entirely differently to make room for this kind of faith-fueled apologetic idiocy. If you used this same thinking in other areas of your life, you’d be long dead because you cannot successfully navigate reality if you refuse to respect it’s indifferent arbitration of your beliefs about it. But you will do so for religion. And if you doubt me about the importance of respecting reality in all matters about reality, then go ahead and step out a 10th story window because you wouldn’t want to be so arrogant and closed-minded and intolerant of differences of opinions that you make any assumptions about gravity, now would you?

              Come on, Paul.


            • As usual, tildeb, you compose a long cocktail of fact and fiction and call it evidence. You have a blog. Why not use that platform to proselytize to those who enjoy your religion? But if you wish to come here, why not drop the “being right” need and explore what we have in common. The beliefs you claim as your moral high-ground belong to more than you.

              And if you wish to carry on with fact-fiction cocktails as your own religion – then own it. Embrace it. Enjoy it. And share the love. Make it fun. Not the soul-less cross of burden you carry. For I have no wish to carry any cross of religion – they are all equally a fact-fiction cocktail of burden.

              Come on, tildeb. 🙂


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