Chapter 8
Different Paths

To some degree, each of us is on a different path through life. Even identical twins are on different paths, even though their genetic makeup may be the same. The different “paths” of identical twins are apparent even at birth: one of them is born first, the other is born second. Though this distinction may just be a matter of timing, it is still a significant difference. Their lives will diverge from there further. They will never occupy exactly the same space at the same time, and will likely end up with significantly different personalities and significantly different paths through life.

Though there are countless ways each of our paths through life is uniquely different from anyone else, there are also broader ways of looking at “different paths” which apply more to groups of people rather than individuals. Different groups tend to share some common paths.

For example, some people choose to follow a particular religion with other like-minded people. Some people choose to follow a particular career path, along with other people pursuing similar careers in the same field of work. Some people choose a path of learning that involves going to a particular college or university; while some people choose other paths. Some people go down a path of marriage and parenthood, while some do not. These types of paths are shared by groups of people.

This brings us to another self-evident truth, which applies to individuals as well as groups of people:

Different people are on different paths.

Let’s consider this further from a moral perspective. We saw previously that some people are “righteous” and some people are “unrighteous” (to varying degrees). Some people intentionally do things that are morally wrong, while others appear to intentionally do things that are morally right. For example, some people genuinely try to live by the “golden rule”:

Others prefer to live by a twisted variation of that rule:

These different ways of treating others can be thought of as two different paths through life, and this brings us to another important conclusion:

Some people are on a path of doing right things;
some people are on a path of doing wrong things.

Note that this conclusion is not claiming that all people are clearly on one of these two paths. This is another “shades-of-gray” truth. Many people may be on a path in the middle somewhere, sometimes doing right, and sometimes doing wrong. This truth does, however, affirm what is obvious: some people are living much more righteously than some other people who are making little or no effort to do so. These people are on different paths.

For Further Reflection:

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