Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the Snake,
And the Snake blamed God.
The dictionary defines Integrity as: "Moral Uprightness; Honest." Our Founding Father would say, "What you see, is what you get."
"It's not my fault." Adam and Eve may have been the first, but certainly not the last to use this denial, as any two-year-old caught with his hand in the cookie jar will attest.
Did Adam and Eve believe their own cover story? Does the two-year-old? Do I? Do you?
Their cover was about as effective as their fig leaves, or the chocolate smear on the toddler's face. But somehow they thought God, or Momma, couldn't see the truth.
Nor do we. And eventually our lie becomes the truth in our own mind, even though we would never accept the same from anyone else.
Perhaps Solomon put it as well as anyone in his Proverbs (16:25)
"There is a way that seems right unto a man,
but the end thereof are the ways of death."
But let us not stop there, let's take a look at what other great minds had to say.
Integrity, as such, was apparently not a term used by the Religious leaders of Antiquity. However, according to the thesaurus, such words as; Perfection, and Complete, and Finished may apply.
Unfortunately, these terms refer to conditions we should work to attain, rather than the process we should utilize to attain it. Buddhists call this 'Nirvana', which is a state of being, rather than an interaction we should have with our self and with others.
The dictionary gave us "Honest", and "Moral," but aren't those just parts of what constitute Integrity?
Perhaps Solomon was on the right track with "righteousness." I hope so, as so far there has been a lot of time, and even more words spent to learn what Integrity isn't, rather than what it is.
However, a person can understand a subject far better by knowing what it is not as well as what it is. Ask anyone who has tried to mount a horse, or milk a cow from the wrong side.
The dictionary defines Righteous as; "Moral uprightness", and "Virtuous." And since Virtuous is our cover-all heading, which is defined as "moral", it appears that we have made a full circle and are right back where we started.
A side note here: Investigation can be hard work, and quite frustrating at times. It is much easier to just accept what someone tells you, than to question it and dig deeper for the truth. That's why so many people do just that.
But such is not the purpose of this site. Here you will find a seed or two of information to serve as a springboard that may help you search for yourself. Nothing here is an end in itself. And nothing on this site is "The Truth." It's all just pieces of information, strung out and stomped together into packets. From here it's the readers responsibility to rip the words apart, add some here and there, discard this and that, and re-assemble the mess into a form that best fits his or her needs.
And then tomorrow, rip what they have assembled apart, and do it all again.
For more on this, see About Tumbleweed.
Back to Righteousness;
Once again our search runs into confusion. Righteousness has blended with Truth, Honesty and Sincerity. But these have been covered in their own sections.
As stipulated earlier; Integrity seems to incorporate all the Virtues.
Be not dismayed. There are references to Righteousness, mostly in connection with having its roots in Heaven. Not quite the compressed and isolated form in which I had hoped to find it, but here, along with some other interesting quotes, is what I found:
First, from Shinto:
"Sincerity is the single value that binds divinity and man in one." (And)
"The truly upright is that which flows out of your genuine innermost self as a result of the sincerity shown by the Kami; on all occasions, you must exert this sincerity to the utmost, even in the most minor of your activities."
Christian Science has this to say:
"We should examine ourselves and learn what is the affection and purpose of the heart, for in this way only can we learn what we honestly are."
The Christian Bible presents us with these:
"Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue you out of my mouth." (And)
"Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon a rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded upon the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the fain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."
And this one shared with Judaism:
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seats of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers."
From Taoism we have:
"What Tao plants cannot be plucked, what Tao clasps cannot slip." (And)
"The man of superior virtue is not conscious of his virtue. And in this way he really possess virtue.
"The man of inferior virtue never loses sight of his virtue....
"Therefore, only when Tao is lost does the doctrine of virtue arise. When humanity is lost, only then does the doctrine of righteousness arise. When righteousness is lost, only then arises rules of propriety. Now, propriety is a superficial expression of loyalty and faithfulness, and the beginning of disorder."
Confucius gives us this in his own words:
"Confucius remarked, "The life of the moral man is an exemplification of the universal moral order. The life of the vulgar person, on the other hand, is a contradiction of the moral order.
"The moral man's life is an exemplification of the universal order, because he is a moral person who unceasingly cultivates his true self or moral being. The vulgar person's life is a contradiction of the universal order, because he is a vulgar person who in his heart has no regard for, or fear of, the moral law."
And from Islam we have:
"Have you not seen how God has struck a similitude?
"A good word is as a good tree -- its roots are firm, and its branches are in heaven; it gives its produce every season by the leave of its Lord. So God strikes similitudes for men; haply they will remember. And the likeness of a corrupt word is as a corrupt tree -- uprooted from the earth, having no establishment. God confirms those who believe with the firm word, in the present life and in the world to come; and God leads astray the evildoers; and God does what He will."
Now let's turn the topic over to the Wise in their Own Eyes, and see what they come up with.