Sunday, May 09, 2004
I have promised in the past to post an article I am researching and writing about integrity. This isn't it. You see it got real complicated the more I thought about it.
(Interestingly enough John has posted two articles recently that complement some of what I have started on.
Rules and Honesty)
Here are the issues as I see them.
First a defnition of integrity is pretty easy; dictionarywise anyway.
Merriam-Webster Online has this definition:
Main Entry: in-teg-ri-ty
Etymology: Middle English integrite, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French integrite, from Latin integritat-, integritas, from integr-, integer entire
1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY
2 : an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS
synonym see HONESTY
The difficulties I have encountered come from the application of the theory to the practical reality.
Perhaps you can help me out.
Heres what I've come up with so far.
Absolute Integity - a characteristic of God, self defining absoluteness. - can man have this? I think no - at least not in our fallen state.
Moral Integrity - adherence to a presupposed set of moral beliefs and values. Can a man have this? Once again I think not in the fallen state. but what about as a regenerate man? Are we accorded the morality of Christ through the cleansing of His blood?
Sexual and marriage integrity. Marriage vows state clearly one wife for life. Christ rubbishes the pharasaical (Bill CLinton) view that not actually having sex outside of marriage is holding to this principal in His sermon on the Mt - Matthew 5:27-28.
So how many men can honestly say that they hold to this? Job 14:4 suggests no-one at all. I wonder whether woman are included in this (man meaning mankind?)
Business relationships. A gentlemen's handshake means total trust in the openess of the transaction. Maybe here there could be integrity. What has happened here is the actual application of the principle of integrity has been limited to a certain set of actions and possibilities. Thus by excluding the possibilities where integrity could not be held, a limited form of integrity is gained. Is this really integrity? I suppose in the limited fashion it is, but using the full meaning of the word that includes the complete and undivided nature of the whole, then no. Am I playing with semantics? Not sure.
What other applications of integrity are there? There are many uses in common language. Artists and musicians who have held to the principles of certain artistic mediums are identified as having held to the integrity of the medium. Once again this is a limited set of rules.
I suppose you can apply the same limited sets of rules idea to sports, road rules, games, closed systems etc. Thus you can have integrity within a casino with adherence to the rules. Well that's as far as I have got so far. I'm struggling with the application of the wide definition of integrity to mankind. Is there any form of the wide application of integrity that man can hold to?
Your thoughts are welcome.