In this age, doctrines, traditions, and truths are being turned on their heads.
This shaking up of power is a needed response to ways various groups of people have coercively monopolized the ideological and material domains within a context.
It allows different opinions to hold equal importance.
With this growing push, there is a corresponding increase in refusal to determine which, if any, opinion is right or wrong.
Last week during days 259-265, I had a few experiences that resurfaced the issue of the existence of right and wrong. Do right and wrong even exist anymore? Has it ever?
The short answer is “yes.”
The longer answer involves exploring how we have become carried away in our open-minded quest for acceptance and non-judgmental communication that we have created more confusion in the process.
Extremes and No Points In-Between
Because many of us have allowed ourselves to become captive to a binary way of thinking, we have allowed the pendulum to swing to the extreme of unwillingness to even use the words “right” and “wrong.”
I enjoy weighing and drawing from multiple perspectives, for humanity does not exist within clear-cut black and white.
Over the course of listening to range of beliefs and opinions, still, I believe right and wrong exists.
We got to have doggone lines in this world, Folks.
Says the individuals who strive to live with more than an ounce of decency.
For crying out loud, using an extreme example to make a point, people are using psychology and neurobiology to classify (even justify) pedophilia as a matter of sexual orientation.
What is next: bestiality as a matter of sexual orientation, too? What an insult to children, LGBTQ people, heterosexual people, and all creation. Someone betta call Tyrone, PETA, or somebody, and get out of here with this nonsense.
I am not accepting “multiple perspectives” on everything or errthang.
Boundaries are healthy and necessary in this world. I think in our rush to be on the cutting edge of what’s the next post to add to a post-post-post-post-modern society, we forget this fact.
Yes, it is a fact. I am right about this one.
Who Gets to Be Right?
The act alone of identifying an action or belief as “right” or “wrong” can incur social consequence.
This leads to the question: What makes an opinion right, anyway?
A common Christian argument for the Bible is to have a guide for right and wrong. This reasoning is similar to the use of faith as a criterion for right/heaven and wrong/hell placement once your time on this earth ends.
I think this trend of unquestioningly validating all opinions seeks to respond this long ignored moral and ethical spectrum.
After all, moral absolutes can be and have been detrimental.
For example, physical violence can be seen as wrong as a moral absolute. However, looking at physical violence on a moral continuum, are there times where it is justified?
If someone tried to assault me on the street, should I not try to defend myself? I have heard arguments where I am only supposed to pray.
Tell this to man on the street who threatened to “tear my a** up,” as I walked alone down the street. It might have incentivized him to make good on his perverse threat.
Keep in mind, this incident happened within minutes of another man saying that I was “too pretty to be out here by myself” in a creepy tone.
Whelp, sometimes, Jesus’ hands are tied with taking the wheel for someone else, so the power is left in our own hands. What do we do with this power?
In a world with billions of people, if there are no shared or set markers of right and wrong, then we will have massive terrorizing chaos where everyone feels justified because of their opinion.
If people can hide harmful and toxic beliefs and behaviors behind a cloak of “multiple perspectives,” we shall not ever have peace in this world.
While I have ease in resisting the dichotomy of good/bad and right/wrong, I think we have approached these constructs with the same approach we supposedly critique.
That is, it is wrong to say something is right or wrong.
To identify right and wrong could reflect self-righteousness and ego, but it can also reflect a need for clarity in world of conflicting views.
Ego lies not only in the determination to be right all of the time or most of the time, but also, it lies in our refusal to stand for or seek to ascertain what is right under the guise of open-mindedness, reasoning, and diplomacy.
Therefore, how do we move away from swinging from one end of rigid moral absolutism at all costs to the polar opposite end of the continuum of anything goes?
For starters, our philosophical acceptance of an ethical spectrum, knowing there are some issues that are easier to delineate than others, will help us to move away from an “either/or” approach to right and wrong. By doing so, we can recognize that in our humanity, we have right, wrong, along with points in between and even beyond.
Furthermore, I think we need to monitor the ways we judge people who we think are being judgmental and our emotional response to the words “right” and “wrong.” Hey, sometimes we get it right, but also, we get it wrong.
Either way does not make any of us as humans, fundamentally right or wrong. Some of us have such strong self-centered emotional attachments to these concepts that our need to be right eclipses doing what is right.
In closing, last week, I was reminded that the Bible alone will not solve these philosophical challenges. It can help. However, this life is up to us. I was reminded of how my husband is right about many things. It is not a matter of a different opinion. He gets it right.
And it’s okay.
I feel no loss of power in recognizing sound wisdom or accurate use of one’s knowledge about the world or our life.
That is, I do not need to feel or “be” right.
On the other hand, when I perceive that my perspective is right, then, I have no problem with saying so because I have not been living in some gender power-struggle where I needed to be right to feel in control. We experience this moral continuum in how, also, we live together with very different views on the world and love each other with them.
The heart of the matter is this: Our absolutes and relativity can coexist together, if we resist the urge to insist on either at all times for all situations.
When we want what is right, we surrender the need for our opinion to be right. When we want what is right, we are willing to stand for it, too.
What do you think is right in the world? How do you think we decide without recreating the same power struggles?