Friday, November 21, 2008

Righteousness? Who Has it and Why is it So Misunderstood?

Written By W.A.

Many of us fortunate enough to have a variety of persons of various religious and societal influences with which we can exchange beliefs and
ideas, know that the subject of religious righteousness is a sticking
point. Over and over the chasm of convictions is reached. And
repeatedly, both sides walk away feeling frustrated at the ignorance or
the judgmental nature of the other. Unbeknown to us, we are speaking
carefully orchestrated languages designed to eliminate altogether any
consensus or agreement on the subject. Political forces of the left have
begun to speak a mirror language concerning things of a moral nature.
Those on the right have only their Bibles, a predetermined set of rules
exclusively NOT to be valid by those on the left. And therefore, vastly
misunderstood by same. This brings me to righteousness.

The left sees righteousness as something they can never have, so they quit
trying. The Bible describes a righteousness that the left can not have
if they are to have what they want. Immorality, as the right sees it, is
those actions that cause one to sin or are outright sins themselves. The
left sees immorality as someone else's idea of what is right and wrong,
but exclusively “not theirs”. This is where the battle lines are drawn;
“your idea of right and wrong vs. my idea of right and wrong". The
desire for one's own freedom from a set morality is the driving force
behind this debate.

The right sees righteousness as something they can become, so they
continue to strive for it. Does this mean all religious people are
righteous? No. But they know it when they see it as a result of the
rules of the religious ideology with which they identify. For instance, as
much as the religion of Islam has been castigated, sometimes for good
reason depending upon which side of Jihad you are standing on, it has
some very righteous aspects of the other two Judeo-Christian religions.
God hates sin. Therefore, sin is bad. The definition of sin then varies
wildly and is not a matter of discussion here. But the principle of sin
is universal in these majority religious ideologies. However, those who
do not subscribe have made the sin of no consequence. The areas that lie
in between are the areas of hot fighting and philosophical debate. The
battle comes from the middle ground and a critical flaw in the mind of
the sinner. Believers and unbelievers quarrel over the right to be
right. Righteousness.

To the Christian specifically, the definition of sin is like wearing
skin. We all have it. We were born with it. And we can not eliminate it
from ourselves by ourselves. According to the Jewish Ten Commandments,
which all three monotheistic religions adhere, no one has lived a “sin
free life”. All come short of the commandments and the glory of God. If
the judgment is of those ten things, we are all doomed. This aside,
those of us who break the least of these commandments should not
attempt to change them to suit our needs. We still insist that they
stand as the Law of God handed down to Moses. They are right. We are
wrong. Sin is constant. Repentance must also be constant. Sin and guilt
can not be overcome by abandoning the laws (morals) that make them
wrong. The sin remains in the heart of man.

Unbelievers have the propensity to define their disbelief in terms of
belief. Unbelievers also experience this largely due to the fact that
they do believe and will not or do not want to admit it. The unbeliever
is caught between wanting and fear. Or wanting and doubt. They don't
believe desperately. This affords them the luxury of claiming that they
know no right and wrong other than what they themselves define. They
have no accepted rules of engagement, nor are they bound by any
customary notions of sin. But they, having defined their beliefs upon
the disbelief, have doubts. The constant gaze from those of us who carry
the Laws in our hearts is more than they can bear. Those who are aware
that they live outside the customarily accepted bounds of morality
strive for the elimination of that feeling. They want to be left outside
of the influence of the the knowledge of good and evil. But they doubt
their own religious convictions in the absence of sin.

All experience doubt. Believer and unbeliever alike. Believers deal with
it differently. Unbelievers do not know or understand why they want to
believe. Their doubt tries to find proof of the non existence of
righteousness. This is their Holy Grail, as it were. They are constantly
fighting the desire to believe. They are constantly fighting the pull
toward their place in the reality of the universe.

Then we find the disparity among the major religions. The Ten
Commandments are written in stone. They do not suggest anything. They
are definite. As stated before, we have all sinned. All have stolen a
pen or lied about the “extra” day off on Monday due to the 24 hour flu
or the death of a long lost Uncle. As harmless as many of these things
are, they are in violation of the Law and cannot be dismissed as lesser
than the other sins. This is where the Christians have taken sin to the
next level, so to speak; sin continues. All have sinned and all will
continue to sin to some degree. So where is righteousness?

Righteousness is possible only through Christ. No one alive has it, but
it is promised if the believer confesses Christ as Lord and continually
strives - in his heart and to the world - toward righteousness. Sin
remains until death. Salvation comes through grace and confession of
Christ. This does not mean confession as the Catholics use the term.
Confession to a Priest is not quite the original intent of Confession.
The ownership of Sin and repentance, true repentance is the manner and
purposeful meaning of the Christian “confession”. This is where the
righteousness of Christians resides. It's not in the sinless life of a
Christian, it is in the sinless life of the Savior, Jesus Christ of

The sin we see today of the left is lost in a sea of finger pointing.
The left continually tries to point out how “sinful” those “self
righteous” Bible thumpers are and how meaningless then their pretend
religion is. The “religion” of Christianity is exactly why the left
fails to understand us. They assume that since we are Christians, and
sin, that we are neither righteous nor Christians. The fact remains that
no one is good. All sin. So they equate this with hypocrisy. The truth
is that Christians do not call their sin good. They do not promote their
sins as alternative lifestyle or choice. Christians hate their own sins
as they hate the sins of others. Liberals find it unnerving when
Christians call their lifestyles wrong and sinful. But they are.
Liberals also feel that Christians are saying that unbelievers are bad
people. They are. We all are. But Christians do not call their sins
good. This is the major distinction between righteousness and
unrighteousness. Calling evil good and good evil is the paradox of our
time. The attempt to eliminate God or morality from our lives only
magnifies this distinction. We can no more eliminate sin by eliminating
the morality that defines sin as we can cure cancer by bleeding and
killing cancer patients. The cancer remains and bleeding is the cause of
death. But neither matters when saving the life of the patient is the
intended goal.

Sin remains even after the morals are gone. The truth of the existence
of God and God's laws are the crux of the issue for non believers. If
it was so easy to dismiss God, why is Atheism defined as the religion of
“no God” rather than the religion of nothing? When you define yourself
as Godless, you can hardly then express anything without the contrast of
God as the major factor.

Righteousness must be understood by all if we are ever going to move
beyond our current social and political deadlock in the world today.
Major religions all believe in the righteousness of their creed. But it
is the unbeliever that is still trying to define God and morality
without God that makes the issue difficult to see clearly. Once it is
established what is and what is not wrong, we can then turn our
attention to what is right. Then we must all strive to get there.
Believer or not, righteousness has it's rewards. Sin is always sin as it
leads to death and corruption. Regardless of an afterlife.

In the real terms of political conflict, righteousness is not a state of
being, it is a state of becoming. A path never fully followed by us mere
mortals. It is a path set out for us who watch where and more
specifically care to watch where we tread. The Christian does not point
a finger in judgment. The Christians points a finger in warning. “Watch
out! You are about to stumble on the oldest and well known root of all
evil along the path of righteousness, which we must all travel.” Walking
along side it is wrought with peril. Perils we have well defined in our
short but rich history of people and failures. Trip on that root, but
get back on the correct path. That is what a Christian yells at those
who sin. “Forget it! It's past, just get back on the horse and don't do
it again. But never give up, even if you sin again.” But do not call it
good. Do not make excuses for sin. Call it what it is. Sin which is
unrighteous and evil.

So when the issue of sin arises, first address what is sin and what is
doctrine. Then the truth can be seen by those circular reasonings that
cause so much meaningless argument. The righteousness of Christianity is
the celebration of the salvation of Christ when he said...”Follow me”.
It's the path of righteousness that is righteous, not those who are
walking or trying to walk it. It is to follow Christ , the righteous.
Especially if you sin. This is where Christians have been branded as
judgmental. This is a mistake.

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