20/20 Vision – Sometimes It Takes Time

Life isn’t always as it seems. Sometimes we must take a step back, and only then will we see what happened “back then” to understand it now.

Todd Beal

Posted in By Title [T], Future, Hindsight, Present | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

I’m Lonely

Lonely_600x332

Where must I go to be accepted, and who must I become to want myself? Maybe others will want me too if, first, I want me more than they do.

Todd Beal

Posted in By Title [L], Lonliness, Love, Personal Uniqueness, Solitude | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Truth Behind Reality 2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in By Title [A] | Leave a comment

Morals – Absolute versus Relative

Truth Behind Reality readers: the following conversation took place in January 2011.

Within the ensuing conversation, I argue that Truth, and thereby Morality (the human design specification for all humans – past, present, and future), is necessarily both objective and subjective by nature.

My goal in this Truth Behind Reality post is to show that Truth is not only separately objective and subjective but also entirely both, their source and mutual reconciliation – Jesus is Truth. Truth is not merely objective or subjective but instead the living source and reconciliation of both back unto himself.

A Discussion on Prayson Daniel’s blog, “With All That I Am

Post Title: “Facing the Challenge of Relativism

Premise

  • Prayson Daniel takes the stance of moral absolutist
  • Brap Gronk takes the stance of moral relativist
  • Todd Beal takes the stance of moral absolutist
  • Lance Ponder takes the stance of moral absolutist

Introductory statement to Prayson Daniel by Brap Gronk:

“Thus, Homosexuality is wrong, and Homosexuality is not wrong can not be true at the same time and sense.”

I would agree that homosexuality cannot be objectively wrong and also objectively not wrong, but moral relativists don’t claim that so I’m not seeing how moral relativism fails the law of non-contradiction. You have to assume there is objective morality for homosexuality to be either right or wrong. Too bad we never finished our discussion on objective morality.

Introductory question to Brap Gronk by Todd Beal:

Would I be incorrect in saying, moral relativists claim that moral absolutists are wrong in saying absolute right and wrong exists?

Brap Gronk says:

“Would I be incorrect in saying, moral relativists claim that moral absolutists are wrong in saying absolute right and wrong exists?”

Yes, as I have been discussing with Prayson for quite awhile, I believe absolute right and wrong does not exist. (I don’t know for certain if that makes me a moral relativist, since I don’t generally care for labels, but it probably does.)

What does exist is opinions about right and wrong that are almost universally held among non-psychopaths, and similar intuitions about what is right or wrong, neither of which make something absolute or objective.

Todd Beal says:

Brap Gronk, that’s great, but you still didn’t answer my question.

Brap Gronk says:

If we limit “right and wrong” to “moral right and wrong” then I believe it is wrong (meaning incorrect, not morally wrong) to say absolute moral right and wrong exists. If we do not limit “right and wrong” to “moral right and wrong” then I believe it is right to say absolute right and wrong exists, because that includes “correct and incorrect.” Here are some examples of statements that are absolutely right or wrong (correct or incorrect):

– Two plus two equals four.

Object A has more mass than object B.

– The distance between objects A and B is less than the distance between objects C and D.

– There are two stars in the Milky Way Galaxy that currently are exactly 20,462.54 light-years apart.

Todd Beal says:

Brap, you clearly believe in absolute right and wrong, but only within a physically based measurable context. In other words, if you cannot perceive the absoluteness of moral right and wrong, then it is ultimately incorrect in your point of view. However, your inability to perceive the validity of something only testifies to your inability to perceive that something, and in no way invalidates the existence of that something.

“The ability to perceive is non-existent if something cannot be what it is separate from perceiving it.” – Todd Beal

Truth is not about believing what is most comfortable to believe. Truth is what it is whether we perceive it as such or not. We discover truth, not construct it. If we discover truth then truth does not belong to us. If it does not belong to us then it is not naturally in us. If it is not in us then we are ultimately incorrect in proclaiming this absolute, “Absolute moral right and wrong does not exist”. But if truth is in us, then it is truth that says, “Absolute moral right and wrong exists”, not us.

So, ultimately, the question is not about whether absolute moral right and wrong exists, but whether one absolutely accepts absolute truth.

Brap Gronk says:

Todd wrote: “However, your inability to perceive the validity of something only testifies to your inability to perceive that something, and in no way invalidates the existence of that something.”

Agreed. Nobody’s inability to perceive the validity of unicorns, gravity, the Loch Ness monster, evolution, Bigfoot, a flat earth, or the Big Bang Theory has any bearing on the existence of those things.

“Truth is not about believing what is most comfortable to believe. Truth is what it is whether we perceive it as such or not. We discover truth, not construct it. If we discover truth then truth does not belong to us. If it does not belong to us then it is not naturally in us.”

Agreed.

“If it is not in us then we are ultimately incorrect in proclaiming this absolute, “Absolute moral right and wrong does not exist”. But if truth is in us, then it is truth that says “absolute moral right and wrong exists”, not us.”

Until someone can counter my arguments against the existence of objective morality, I don’t think I’ll be agreeing with those sentences.

“So, ultimately, the question is not about whether absolute moral right and wrong exists, but whether one absolutely accepts absolute truth.”

Sure, I absolutely accept absolute truth. I agree that my beliefs have no bearing on any absolute truths outside of my brain. I accept that not everyone has the same beliefs regarding what is true and what is false, and sometimes, when someone tries to convince me that something is true when I believe it not to be true, I’ll try to show them why I believe they have an inaccurate belief.

Todd Beal says:

Brap,

Objective morality, no such thing exists. Morality is foremost intrinsic to the integrity of human design, and is secondarily intrinsic to the integrity of each individual’s unique personal design.

At some crucial point, objectivity necessarily becomes subjective. Otherwise, we fall into the age-old trap of human-based religious law. You do what “We” say, regardless of how God designed you. We can hold an “objective” truth out in front of us for a lifetime, but until we subjectively make it our own, according to our unique personal design, that truth is mere concept and consequently delivers no truth. Truth is what it is, but to make it personal, we necessarily make it our own, subjectively.

We westerners have been brainwashed into thinking that subjectivity and objectivity are mortal enemies, that objectivity allows us to see things the way they really are and that subjectivity introduces irreparable personal blindness to reality.

Objectivity allows us to see something out and away from our self, but subjectivity allows us to understand that something in a uniquely personal way. However, truth is what it is and does not depend on our agreement – whether objectively or subjectively – to exist. Truth exists; we simply find it and personally accept it as is, or not at all.

So how do we accept something we don’t initially fully understand? How do we know that what we are accepting is irrefutably true? Understanding morality, both universally and personally, is directly dependant on the same premise as understanding real and unselfish love. One cannot understand an all-consuming marital or parental love before first experiencing it. Yet one cannot experience that selfless love without first opening his or her heart to embody that love. But how do we know that we are opening our heart to something that is truly real, truly authentic, and not a gross facsimile?

Until we know for certain which foods nourish our body, we must rely on our complimentary senses of smell and taste. Once we swallow the food, our body inevitably informs us if we are eating the wrong foods according to our unique body type. However, we can override what our body tells us – and shows us – continually eating only those things that initially taste great to our preconditioned palate, but wish as we might, our body demands certain nutrients specific to its unique personal design. The same goes for truth. Truth always reveals itself as good and nourishing food, but if according to our preconditioned palate we accept only what initially smells good and tastes good, we become malnourished and begin to waste away.

Truth may initially taste bad, as in accidentally drinking a glass of water while expecting a glass of coke. The water isn’t bad; it just tastes bad according to our expectation of good. In the same way, truth isn’t bad; it just tastes bad according to our pre-conditioned expectation of truth. However, once our heart rejoices at finally ingesting real personal truth, we begin to love it, need it, and become willing to die for it, just as we would for our child or spouse.

As much as we each desire to understand truth first and accept it second, we cannot because truth doesn’t work that way. Intellectual thought only points toward or away from truth, but inevitably, only experiencing it provides personal understanding, both objectively and subjectively, according to your unique and personal design. So how do we experience it? We do so only by expecting something other than the incompleteness of what we already expect. Truth will do the rest.

Brap Gronk says:

“Objective morality, no such thing exists.”

So you wouldn’t consider William Lane Craig’s moral argument for the existence of God a very strong argument?

1) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

2) Objective moral values and duties do exist.

3) Therefore God exists.

Todd Beal says:

Brap,

When I say objective morality, I mean it as existing strictly external to self as an ideal or concept. This is not to say that conceptually understanding the intrinsic nature of morality is impossible, but rather that by nature, morality does not exist as an ideal or concept. Morality is the human equivalent of the operational design specifications for an automobile engine, robot, bolt torque setting, etc. Unless one adheres to these operational specifications, one will damage or break the object. Morality is simply the operational design specification for human beings.

We were designed with a set of operational specs specific to the human species as a whole, and we are also designed with a set of specs specific to each unique individual. God personally designed the human race, but he also personally designed each individual as unique within that human race. Therefore, the operational design specification (morality) of each individual is unique to that individual but at the same it must harmonize with the overall operational design specification (morality) of the human race.

So yes, we can think about and understand morality objectively, but until we also make it subjective by internalizing that morality and infusing it into our unique personal life, it will at best, always remain within the realm of conjecture and opinion where one person’s version is no better or worse than another’s.

If we don’t understand how something is designed to operate, we inevitably damage it and eventually break it, including our self.

From: Todd Beal

To: Lance Ponder

Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2011 2:30 AM

Subject: I solicit your thoughts

Hey Lance,

I am participating in an interesting conversation with Brap Gronk on Prayson

Daniel’s blog, “With All I Am”. I would be most grateful to hear your take by email.

Todd

From: Lance Ponder

Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 3:05 AM

To: Todd Beal

Subject: Re: I solicit your thoughts

First of all, I do believe in the Loch Ness Monster, but I’m not so sure about gravity.

In one of Brap’s comments he says: and sometimes, when someone tries to convince me that something is true when I believe it not to be true, I’ll try to show them why I believe they have an inaccurate belief.

The retort I would offer is: why? Why be driven to correct error – be it moral or philosophical or logical (etc)? The answer is natural law. There are moral (good/right and evil/wrong) absolutes and one part of our nature naturally is aware (one might say instinctively?) of this. This is why when we perceive error, particularly outside ourselves, we strive to correct the error. We know good from evil because they exist. Until our conscience is seared away (turned over to a reprobate mind), we will gravitate toward good. Unfortunately we also have a sin-nature which repels against this gravity when our thoughts come into conflict with our desires. This is the flesh/spirit war.

It seems to me the only real conflict is over the word “objective”. Is good/evil or right/wrong (moral context) universal? Of course I’m going to say because that’s how I roll. But to explain why ultimately depends belief in the existence of a morally perfect eternal God. Allowing for moral relativity assuages the guilty soul. All are guilty, so all of us seek excuses. The relativist will not give up his relativistic argument until confronted with Truth he or she is personally unable to deny. Does that mean objective morality does not exist until it is perceived? Of course not, as you’ve already argued quite nicely.

Shall I post these thought to stir the pot, or were you simply doing a little sanity check?

From: Todd Beal

To: Lance Ponder

Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2011 3:29 AM

Subject: I solicit your thoughts

Hold off on your comment until I see his response. This guy is different from the others. Something tells me he is truly searching, hence my lengthy and comprehensive reply to his comment. If he responds with a careless and flippant reply, then put the hammer down, but make Jesus proud in doing so.

Thanks Lance,

Todd

From: Todd Beal

To: Lance Ponder

Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2011 2:37 AM

Subject: I solicit your thoughts

Lance,

I posted my comment reply to Brap Gronk on Prayson Daniel’s blog, Feb. 4th. He has not responded. What are your thoughts regarding this last comment?

Todd

Lance Ponder says as blog comment:

First of all, I do believe in the Loch Ness Monster, but I’m not so sure about gravity.

In one of Brap’s comments he says: and sometimes, when someone tries to convince me that something is true when I believe it not to be true, I’ll try to show them why I believe they have an inaccurate belief.

The retort I would offer is: why? Why be driven to correct error – be it moral or philosophical or logical (etc)? The answer is natural law. There are moral (good/right and evil/wrong) absolutes and one part of our nature naturally is aware (one might say instinctively?) of this. This is why when we perceive error, particularly outside ourselves, we strive to correct the error. We know good from evil because they exist. Until our conscience is seared away (turned over to a reprobate mind), we will gravitate toward good. Unfortunately we also have a sin-nature which repels against this gravity when our thoughts come into conflict with our desires. This is the flesh/spirit war.

It seems to me the only real conflict is over the word “objective”. Is good/evil or right/wrong (moral context) universal? Of course I’m going to say yes because that’s how I roll. But to explain why ultimately depends on belief in the existence of a morally perfect eternal God. Allowing for moral relativity assuages the guilty soul. All are guilty, so all of us seek excuses. The relativist will not give up his relativistic argument until confronted with Truth he or she is personally unable to deny. Does that mean objective morality does not exist until it is perceived? Of course not, as Todd already argued quite nicely.

From: Todd Beal

To: Lance Ponder

Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 2:48 AM

Subject: Your comment on Prayson Daniel’s blog

Okay, that works.

From: Lance Ponder

Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2011 2:52 AM

To: Todd Beal

Subject: Re: Your comment on Prayson Daniel’s blog

Thanks. That’s the same answer I replied to your email a couple of days ago, aside from fixing a couple of typos. LOL.

From: Todd Beal

To: Lance Ponder

Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 2:57 AM

Subject: RE: Your comment on Prayson Daniel’s blog

I see that. I was wondering what you thought about that particular comment. It’s not a big deal, I just wanted to hear your thoughts.

From: Lance Ponder

Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2011 3:15 AM

To: Todd Beal

Subject: Re: Your comment on Prayson Daniel’s blog

Sorry, I guess I’m confused. You mean my thoughts on your last answer to him, or his last answer to you? His was pretty short and you went at some length to respond to him. If the latter then I see what you’re saying. I think objective absolutes remain such regardless of whether or how we internalize (subject) them. But that’s not the point you were making and that’s fine.

From: Todd Beal

To: Lance Ponder

Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 3:24 AM

Subject: RE: Your comment on Prayson Daniel’s blog

As I told my father, my last comment is the first I have (in my view) successfully explained morality with a practical answer. My question to you: If you were on the receiving end of my comment, would it help you to better understand that morality is not relative, but absolute and simultaneously uniquely personal?

From: Lance Ponder

Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2011 4:17 AM

To: Todd Beal

Subject: Re: Your comment on Prayson Daniel’s blog

Well, since you asked…

I really liked the first, second, and fourth paragraphs. The third paragraph, however, left me having to think a little too hard. I get where you’re coming from, but I’m not so sure about the details…

//So yes, we can think about and understand morality objectively, but until we also make it subjective by internalizing that morality and infusing it into our unique personal life, it will at best, always remain within the realm of conjecture and opinion where one person’s version is no better or worse than another’s. //

I don’t much care for the way you said we have to make the objective into the subjective. Like I said, I understand what you’re getting at, but the word choice leaves me cringing because I don’t really think that’s how you want to say it. Objective morality is not in the realm of conjecture and opinion. Not ever. If so it ceases to be objective. Once it is no longer objective it cannot again become objective. Consider the lesson of the leavening. A little does the trick, and once its in there it ain’t coming out. What is in that realm [of conjecture and opinion] is our corrupt, imperfect, and/or incomplete (subjective) understanding. The specs on a machine must define construction, and in this sense it is internalized, but the objective specification remains separate just as the builder of the house remains separate from the house.

It seems to me that perhaps what you’re really trying to get at is purpose and application. Of what use is morality until it is internalized? Perhaps that’s more along the lines of what you meant? Ah…. then…. Purpose goes to justice, and from there we enter another realm. Not so easy to compartmentalize, now is it? LOL.

Have a great morning and be blessed.

Lance

From: Todd Beal

To: Lance Ponder

Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 1:50 AM

Subject: RE: Your comment on Prayson Daniel’s blog

Lance,

Truth exists as neither exclusively objective nor subjective but entirely the source of both, with each serving to complete the other, separate in essence yet unified within truth. Truth is alive – he is a person – apart from which the object and subject are not merely separate but entirely nonexistent. Therefore, we understand truth both objectively and subjectively – one in terms of the other – or entirely not at all. If indeed truth is the source and reconciliation of all things, and if indeed truth is within and without all that it reconciles, then “truth” remains in the realm of conjecture and opinion if one does not both objectively and subjectively understand it as truth to the exclusion of what it is not.

If then morality – the operational design specification for the ongoing integrity of human construction – is understandable only as exclusive to objectivity, an external law only unto itself, then it is true only in and of itself and remains impersonal, as personally unknowable. If on the other hand morality is exclusively subjective, a law only unto oneself, then it exists as true only in and of the unique person, remaining impersonal and personally untrue for all others. If however, morality transcends both the objective and subjective – wherein both are unified within truth, the source of everything – then morality is understandable and adhered to only by subjectively internalizing one’s objective understanding of morality, and, simultaneously, objectively externalizing one’s subjective understanding of morality; understanding both in terms of truth, and, necessarily then, each in terms of each other.

So, to address your concern regarding the inability to re-objectify morality once it becomes personally subjective: truth is both in and through everything including itself, both objectively and subjectively, apart from which neither objectivity nor subjectivity exists. Therefore, truth is completely known – including his provision of morality – only when understood objectively, as concept, and subjectively, as incorporated personal essence, and both in terms of each other as reconciled back unto truth.

Lance, I know this is extremely abstract, but this is the bare-bones essence of how I reason through everything. I employ this method only when nothing else will suffice.

Your friend,

Todd

From: Lance Ponder

Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 2:11 AM

To: Todd Beal

Subject: Re: Your comment on Prayson Daniel’s blog

Wow. Okay. That makes sense. Now I get it. Thanks for your patience. You’ve given me a new way of seeing all this. Thanks so much. Sorry for being such a scoffer – LOL.

From: Todd Beal

To: Lance Ponder

Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 2:35 AM

Subject: RE: Your comment on Prayson Daniel’s blog

Thanks for giving an honest listen.

From: Lance Ponder

Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 2:40 AM

To: Todd Beal

Subject: Re: Your comment on Prayson Daniel’s blog

You’re welcome. I really enjoy the sensation of my cranium expanding. LOL. Its not easy fitting new ideas into this old skull. ~_*

Posted in By Title [A] | 4 Comments

How Will People Remember Me?

It is not what we do that holds value all by itself, but who we are and how that affects what we do. The spirit in which we do what we do, by this alone others remember us.

Todd Beal

I think sometimes that when talking to someone else, we get so focused on the “what’s in it for me” in the monologue/dialogue – the self-interest factor of the conversation – we forget we are talking to ‘someone else’ who is a person. Continue reading

Posted in By Title [H], Relating, Self-Achievement | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Two Kinds of ‘Tongues’: Angelic language (Spiritual) and Human Language (Earthly)

I have never spoken in tongues and so do not present here a predisposed agenda.

It might repulse you, the reader, to even think of receiving the gift of speaking in spiritual tongues, but whether you agree or disagree with Paul’s letters to the Churches – Paul’s Spirit-led outlining of the proper conduct for speaking in spiritual tongues (a Spiritual prayer language, not just God’s gift of speaking other human languages, as what happened at Pentecost) – your personal stance does not change the fact that Paul himself said HE spoke in Spiritual tongues more than any other person within the Church entity under his charge.

Do not confuse your disdain for ‘anything out of the ordinary’ (what you were taught by humans) with what scripture teaches. Scripture teaches, through Paul, the spiritual gift of two types of tongues – two types of linguistic-based Spiritual utterance and understanding: Holy Spirit-compelled linguistic communication with God (where, even as we pray, we do not naturally understand the words we are saying); and the Spiritual gift of speaking and understanding a non-native earthly human language (that is, spontaneously speaking, with no foreknowledge, some other non-learned human language so that others will, in their native tongue, understand God’s truth to them through you/me).

Continue reading

Posted in By Title [T] | Tagged , , , | 29 Comments

Please Pray for My Friend!

To All Truth Behind Reality Readers:

I ask you to please pray for my close personal friend. This is an urgent ongoing request for those of you who have faith in Jesus Christ. Thank you in advance!

Todd Beal

Posted in By Title [A] | 2 Comments