What makes a better world – people committed to so-called right belief or right action?
Is it one or the other? Is it both? For the theologian, that’s a far more complicated question. In many spheres of Christian theology the issue goes straight into a matter of life and death. As you can imagine, a conversation can get stalled if you start with theology.
Allow me to demonstrate.
If our aim is right actions then what type and what quantity of action is required to earn god’s acceptance? And if our aim is right beliefs, then how do we agree upon what constitutes “right” beliefs? Moreover, what is the minimum amount of right belief required to put me on the right side of the life and death equation?
So no, I’m not raising a theological question. I’m thinking about this as a pragmatic – not theological – matter.
For clarity, allow me to repeat the question. What makes a better world? You could even rephrase it to, “What makes better people?” It’s still a pretty loaded question, but I do think the ideal answer is based in simplicity.
Here’s my pitch. Start by doing good. Be kind. Be honest. Love your spouse. Take care of your kids. Do what’s in front of you. Seize every opportunity to do good. Against such things there is no law.
Don’t let the process of purifying your personal theology and motives keep you from doing good. The world is made better when we do good and make the well being of others a priority – on this point there should be no debate.
Do you want to be a light in the darkness or a voice in the wilderness? If you want to attract people to your beliefs, start by doing good.