Thank you for your response. You brought up a good point.
Some are in persuit of happiness.
Some are in persuit of Righteousness.
It's interesting (and honest) that you split these in two. It's as if, subconsciously perhaps, there is a distinction in which a person may have to choose either or. Happiness or righteousness.
I think this is a reflection of how many people feel, including myself for a long time.
What is righteousness? I mean, we all know what the dictionary says but who is it that defines moral standards for you?
When I was in pursuit of righteousness I wasn't always happy because I was following someone else's definition of what they thought was right. And I didn't understand, at the time, how that works out great for them, but not necessarily for other people.
If I'm straight it's very easy to say "gay is wrong".
If I'm a man it's easy to say "men should lead".
If I believe in Jah/Yah it's easy to say "everyone else are gentiles"
If I need somewhere to live it's easy to say "Jah has given us this land but we must fight for it".
But these things are relative. If you see it from the perspective of the biased people/writers then it becomes harder to see the problems; harder to see their sins, harder to see when they are evil.
Here's a test:
Have you ever thought of Samson as a thief and a mass murderer?
(you don't have to verbally answer if you're uncomfortable doing so)
If you read the story of Samson from the perspective of the gentiles then the man is a psychotic killer. At times the bible (because people wrote it) takes joy in the number of humans a person is able to kill. We learned to celebrate this because it means that person is MIGHTY. This word "might" folds into our definition of power. Jah is "ALMIGHTY" and the bible specifically talks about his might in battle. Why? Because that's what humans prize: power... wealth...
This is not the stuff of "morality". Humans literally worship power. That's literally what the Hebrew word for "God" means. EL=power. ELOHIM=powerful.
Power=the ability to change our situation
Is it not to be happy?
Even those who believe they will go to some type of heaven, isn't it the whole idea that you/they will be happy there? Why would anyone seek eternal life in misery?
What is the purpose of life if, at the end of the day, you're not going to be happy and can't do anything to create that happiness?
But again, someone else's definition of morality often allows them to be happy at the expense of others. I don't want to seek happiness at the expense of someone else or seek their happiness at the expense of my own. The law generally tries to create a shield between the lives of people so that one person's pursuit of happiness does not rob someone else of theirs. That is why slavery is wrong. That is why rape is wrong. I could keep going but you get the point.
True righteousness is love because love doesn't seek happiness at the expense of the ones they love. Love tries to protect them and maintain their happiness. What JC tried to teach his people, as a reformation, was that if they understood and practiced the principle of love, then it would accomplish the whole purpose of the law at the same time; instead of hating each other but figuring out legal loopholes.
So to actually understand righteousness we have to understand and practice love. But then the question is "who should we love?" JC answered this by answering the question "who is my neighbor?"
Actions naturally have consequences. The consequences of some of the evils that we do to each other is people making different and alternative choices when seeking loving relationships because they'd rather get love from someone of the same gender than risk the abuse of another. For a lot of people, that FEAR can push their minds in an "unnatural" direction.
I believe in balance.
I don't believe in forcing people to act in ways that work for me and not for them. Many people are broken; broken by other people. I can't blame someone for being broken. I can only blame someone for breaking other people. I wasn't born white. So to some white people I'm automatically wrong, automatically less than, automatically undeserving of liberty and love and happiness. But my experience is not theirs. And every way in which they live cannot work for me and my experience. And what they consider moral may be less than what I consider moral.
There is nothing in the moral code of the bible that fully condemns what they did to black people. The bible says you can have slaves, beat them, and enslave the family. But no one on earth can convince me that this is righteous. There is nothing in the bible that condemns a group of people from stealing your land and wife and daughters as long as they can claim God gave it to them as a group. Individually, they are commanded not to steal. Why? Because the law protected citizens from other citizens. But the law was never designed to protect everyone or create a utopian society that worked for everyone.
And thus seeking happiness is not the same as seeking (another man's version of) righteousness.