Itching Ears

The last person to know that his beliefs contradict truth is the one who stubbornly holds to his ego over the truth that would set him free.

Todd Beal

II Timothy 4:1-4 [NASB] “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”

What is the most effective method for disseminating truth in such a way that it both enlightens the open-minded and pierces the stubborn resistance of those who are closed, yet claim they are open?

In face to face interactions, I am usually pretty intuitive at meeting a person on his/her level of ability and understanding, but in a blog scenario there is really not much to go on, except through extended conversation with the same individuals over a very long period of time. Even after several months of blogging an intense 10,000 to 14,000 words per week average, I am just now beginning to understand my parameters for effective writing in this strange online world. Ironically though, this online world is the same as the world of our physical everyday, but with a twist.

It facilitates the ego even more than the physical people world around us. We say what we want to say and if we ever feel threatened we just click away to something else. But this is how we really are on in the inside: we want to do what we want to do, believe what we want to believe, and say what we want to say, without any repercussions and without taking any responsibility for our actions; but then arrogantly blame everyone else for their indiscretions, warranted or unwarranted, as if we stand blameless. That’s human nature in a nutshell. The ego remains the same whether online or off; we just mask it better offline because we are in closer proximity to each other. Either way, people are people regardless of the arena in which they interact. They use big buzzwords as cover for their ignorance, complimentary language to get someone off their back, and refuse to answer hard-hitting questions because either they don’t feel like it or they know that their argument doesn’t hold water.

The bottom line, the ego sucks! Most people I encounter and I do mean most, even those individuals whom I have really grown to trust in many areas, sometimes refuse to face truth. I have learned that when push comes to shove, most people are so vested in their position that they refuse to give it up under any circumstance, even when they sense that it contradicts the truth at hand.

To put it bluntly, I respect an open-minded atheist over an ego-minded Christian any day of the week, if he has carefully, albeit errantly, thought through his position to the best of his ability. All God asks of us is that we do our best with the tools and resources we have available, but when I encounter a Christian, of all people, who chooses his ego over truth – just because giving up his position on certain beliefs makes him “look bad” or in someway makes him appear incompetent – I feel nothing short of rage.

It is one thing to be willing but not yet able to understand the truth before me; it is quite another to have that ability but yet arrogantly turn the other way. I could not count the times I have spent hours of researching and writing in order to bear out the truth at hand – even in which case the resultant truth negates what I naturally want to believe – only for some self-proclaimed purveyor of truth to briefly skim over it, categorically discount it, and then reply to me as if there is no basis whatsoever for my conclusions. I have no problem with someone proving my argument or conclusions invalid (or even to raise concern about an assertion that undercuts or weakens my position). That is certainly welcome because it helps me solidify my understanding of truth, but when someone flat refuses to give it an honest read (knowing it would call their position or belief into question), and then – in the name of truth – essentially tells me that my position is rubbish, I lose all respect for their ability to discern any truth, let alone the truth of scripture, and rarely does that respect ever return.

I say all this to say; my presentation of truth for the most part falls on deaf ears, especially with those who are most Biblically educated and those who are most indoctrinated –
whether Christian, atheist, or otherwise.

The last person to know that his beliefs contradict truth is the one who stubbornly holds to his ego over the truth that would set him free. If I proclaim I love truth; if I proclaim that my beliefs are rooted in truth; and if then someone presents to me an argument that casts doubt on my beliefs, yet I refuse to give that argument an honest and thorough look, then I hate the very truth that will someday destroy me along with my putrid ego.

Is it truly false, or is your ego lying to you yet again, and again! Truth always, inevitably wins, and in the end it isn’t your religion, it isn’t your intellect, it isn’t your church, or pastor, or the elders in your church that will save you, not even your precious “in the name of truth” beliefs. If your idea of truth rejects the Bible in any way, you will not ever see God except to hear him say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

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About Todd Beal

I love truth and its facts. I love thought-provoking conversations that give both the other person and me a better understanding of a particular topic. I love to find answers to life-long questions; answers that let me see things for what they are instead of what they seem to be. I truly enjoy being in the midst of a group of people where all individuals are joining in, where everybody is enjoying the company of each other. I relax in the company of individuals who are competent yet humble. I like to catch myself doing or saying something ridiculous and then laugh my head off. I enjoy my church and being involved.
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17 Responses to Itching Ears

  1. A. C. Baker says:

    I agree, Todd. It’s not about what we think is true, but what IS true. Objective truth trumps all opinions and egos.

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  2. Jack says:

    Todd I really enjoy reading your perspectives!

    Even the most rabid Fundamentalist creates his or her own religion as they go along, and this must be true, no matter what they think, because all truth is subjective, partial, subject to interpretation.  “Objective truth” is impossible when all we can know of reality, in each changing moment, is our own changing translation of that reality.  We can only grasp as much truth as we are capable of ingesting this day or year, or phase of life, etc.  Reality, like a “split-screen” movie, contains more than one truth at once, truth on more than one level, simultaneously.  To insist that one’s personal interpretation of today’s truth ought to be glorified and lorded over all other experiencers of reality, regardless of their own “truths,” is to thunder with unmitigated arrogance and ego.

    To be no part of the world is to be free of religion and everyone’s dogma. What is – is. So if I choose to bear the onus of consciousness, to pay close attention to what gods the actions of people around me make clear they worship, regardless of their syrupy words, and to ensure that my own actions clearly align to my conscious choice to serve the Spirit of Truth.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Jack,

      First, I want to thank you for reading my post and leaving a thought-provoking viewpoint to chew on.

      The concept of truth is something to which I have given a lot of thought over the years. I will begin with the identity law that I discovered a few years ago: The ability to perceive is nonexistent if something cannot be what it is separate from perceiving it. That is to say, something is what it is whether its existence is known or unknown. Its existence does not depend on someone’s perception of it. Using you as an example, you existed before I knew of your existence, therefore your existence does not depend on whether I or anyone else perceives your existence or not. The same goes for God. Either he exists or he does not, whether we perceive him or not. His existence does not depend on our belief in his existence or our approval of his existence.

      We could also approach the concept of truth with the identity law because the law is universally true. However, let’s start from the opposite side – contradiction. A contradiction means quite simply, two or more things that if allowed to simultaneously exist, negate each other by their existence. For instance, “I arrived at the store today at 5:00 PM. I did not arrive at the store today at 5:00 PM.” Only one of these statements is correct: the other, incorrect. The very existence of contradiction necessitates the existence of absolute truth. Otherwise, by what benchmark do we assign the status, “contradiction”? This begs for the definition of truth: Truth is the source of all non-contradiction, the wellspring of life. Therefore, if something is not of truth, it stands in contradiction to truth, and apart from truth, nothing exists or can exist. If truth exists, it is wholly true and irrefutable. If it does not exist, its nonexistence is not true, therefore truth exists.

      So, if we are to say then that, based on the definition and proof of truth, the only thing that exists as absolute is truth, we are saying that truth existed before everything and is therefore the source of everything because all things come from a source, with all sources converging back unto one source, truth, the absolute. If then truth contains no contradiction and is therefore absolute, and if the Bible is indeed true, then the God of the Bible is who the Bible says he is, and is therefore the author of truth, the living truth, God, the absolute of absolutes.

      I say all this to say, there is absolute truth. There is objective truth. There is truth that is true regardless of the situation, regardless of era, regardless of interpretation. And if the Bible is true, then if one has accepted Jesus Christ into his or her heart, and if that person receives truth from God – as promised in the Bible to those who open their heart, will, mind, and spirit to him – that truth is not a “version” of truth, but is absolutely true and irrefutable. It is for this reason that a true Christian can know for sure that his or her beliefs are absolutely true, if he or she builds those beliefs by God-given faith as spoken of in the Bible.

      Concerning the portion of your comment about Christians “Lording” their version of truth over others’ version of truth, I can say only this. There are no versions of truth. Truth is absolute; hence it is not subject to versioning – see aforementioned definition and proof of truth. Therefore, if a “Christian” is truly “Lording” their “truth” over others, then they have rejected truth, because according to the Bible there is no arrogance and self-serving in truth – once again, see prior reasoning for validity of the Bible: truth is pure; truth is life; truth is absolute, within which there is no corruption.

      On the other hand, if person A’s truth is true by the definition of truth, and is therefore true according to what the Bible says is true, but person B’s “version” of truth is indeed not true because it contradicts truth, then person A is not “Lording”, but simply maintaining the integrity of truth; nothing more, nothing less. However, if person A does so with arrogance or selfish “pride of ownership” (to borrow a term from my friend Michael Knudsen), then he/she personally stands in contradiction to truth but the very truth they proclaim is still true. Even a fool can proclaim truth.

      The point I am making in this post, is that most of us do not want to hear truth. We only want to bask in our own ego and then justify it in the name of truth. Ego and truth do not mix. Truth is incompatible with ego in every way. Why do I say this? Ego is about me, I, my, my way or the highway, look at me as I succeed, I will do all I can do to make me shine so that you look dark, and on and on. On the surface this seems somewhat benign. However, at the very heart of ego lies murder. Ego cares about one thing, self – no one else. Ego says, “I live, you die”. Truth says, “I am the source of life, and by me alone, you live – along with everyone else I dwell within.”

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      • Jack says:

        Greetings Todd,

        I think we’re both on the same wavelength. Thank you for providing a forum where we can discuss such important spiritual concepts!

        To be unconscious to the existence of God’s natural laws means to be the slave of ego, anger and envy, to demand that events turn out according to personal desire, to deceive self and others, to suffer from guilt and shame, to take secret delight in hurting others, to live in fear. To be conscious of self in regard to natural law means to possess self understanding, to have only one person within yourself, to see through the folly of most worldly ambitions, to live from your real nature, to be free of all negative feelings, to be genuinely compassionate and do no harm to self or others.

        The truth inspires because it connects what is real in us with which is real in the universe. In my opinion, spiritual confidence grows with the simple realization that truth and natural law exists — which few people truly realize or believe.

        I try to think from a perspective of Truth about life, not from life about Truth. For me, the leap to enlightenment was made by dropping ego and vanity for true knowledge and by the willingness to become nothing in order to become everything.
        The Spirit of Truth which Jesus told his followers to pray for – teaches us how to get in touch with the calm within ourselves, and shows us how everything in this life has its purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from so that we might grow in spirit and mind and truth and appreciation.

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        • Todd Beal says:

          Jack,

          Without knowing more about your personal philosophy and belief set, which of course underlies your past two comments, I would have to say that for the very most part, I concur with your statement.

          But I must confess, I detected a hint of “God is us, we are God, God is everything, and to experience that God nature, we need only tap into it” in your comment. If this is your belief, then I will caution with the following two scripture passages:

          Romans 10:9-13 [NASB] [9] …if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; [10] for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. [11] For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” [12] For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; [13] for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

          Acts 4:10-12 [NASB] [10] …by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead… [11] “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. [12] “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

          Jack, I am not trying to put words in your mouth, and only mention these two scripture passages just in case you do not currently believe that Christ alone is your salvation, your sole provider and source of eternal life. This is the only way to experience personal oneness with God: he must live within your heart; and will only do so if you personally, willfully, openly accept him into your heart. God is a person, not a god-consciousness that so many believe today.

          If I have misunderstood your beliefs, I apologize and must ask you to tell me what you do believe in this regard. It is possible for two people to superficially use the same essential terminology, and present it with the same superficial logic and reasoning, but yet stand worlds apart in their underlying belief set. There can be no true agreement, there can be no mutual understanding, without both of us standing under the same light and referencing the same underlying meaning in our conversation. In other words, I have no problem with sincerely addressing the concepts discussed thus far, but only if we are both aware of each other’s intended meaning.

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  3. Todd,

    I don’t know what sparked this one, but it’s a passionate and much-needed plea for all of us to tone down our egos and re-examine what we “know”. Even when we do come into the possession of unchangeable truth, the new challenge is to avoid “pride of ownership” and start thinking we are better than anyone else for having it. Instead, we should be filled with a humble responsibility and desire to share what we have, and work hard to develop the skills to do so effectively, without turning people off to the message. This is the true evangelical impulse or scriptural zeal of the patient missionary that Christ had in mind when he told his disciples to “go and teach all nations.” This is exactly what you are doing with Truth Behind Reality, and though there may only be a few of us who truly appreciate the clear-headed, propaganda-free way you go about it, its impact is profound and effective. Don’t stop!

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Michael,

      First, I want to say; you effectively condensed my entire post into a single powerful paragraph and I want you to know that it moved me from beginning to end.

      Second, words cannot express the gratitude I feel as the result of your ending statement. As soon as I finished reading your comment, I said right out loud, that right there makes it all worth it. Thank you for your support, your wisdom, your love of truth, and for giving my material an honest read every time. That’s all I know to say.

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    • Lance Ponder says:

      Michael, I wanted to say something profound and intense from the heart, but after reading your comment I’m inclined to simply say dittos.

      Todd, I want to join Michael with his encouragement to you.

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  4. Wow! Well said and could not be better. Pride is the second enemy of truth, just behind ignorance. Thank you so much for your wonderful post.

    In Christ Jesus,
    Prayson

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  5. Lance Ponder says:

    Todd, I wanted to add just a comment about the effect of your post. I consider it a given that your words are true, accurate and precise. The effect is this: it felt as though you were speaking directly and privately to me. It is very convicting. I am one of those people who tends to be very fundamental. I can be highly arrogant. I am guilty of feeling like na-na-boo-boo I’ve got it and you don’t toward some of the lost around me. I have brushed the dust off my shoes, so to speak, leaving behind sites where dialog seemed fruitless. I confess I would be surprised if you told me I behaved like that toward you, but I have behaved like that in the past. What I think I know I hold to very tightly. I have the desire to share it, though sometimes I want to share it by taping it to the end of the baseball bat I would use to bludgeon someone with. **sigh** In addition to admitting all that, I also must confess I’m guilty of skimming and blurting out whatever knee-jerk reaction I can to make it known that I’m there, I’m reading, I’m participating, what-have-you – to look good without worrying about actually being good. This nature of mine has surfaced quite a bit lately and the Lord has been gracious to reveal this to me in ways great and small.

    Todd, thank you for your passion, and your compassion, for speaking the truth and doing so out of love. If you were deliberately speaking to me, I accept it. Even if you weren’t, you did and I still accept it. Thank you for obeying Truth. It is your obedience that proves your faith and for that you are reckoned righteous. God bless you.

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    • Lance,

      Your comment touched me, and I had similar feelings when first reading Todd’s original post. As you know, I belong to a church that takes truth very seriously and its claim of modern revelation automatically creates conflict with established and age-old traditions and creeds revered by millions of Christians. As a twenty-year-old missionary I went out all gung-ho to “prove” what I knew to be true and convert people by the hundreds. I thought they’d line up to hear the good news. What I found instead was, for the most part, an indifferent world full of people who had their traditions, their faith, their beliefs, and they had no intention of changing them, if for no other reason than it was what their parents believed. As an inexperienced youth with only a few months of intense scripture study behind me, this was frustrating. I was tempted to engage in “Bible-bashing” a few times, and all it took was one encounter with a seasoned minister confident in his interpretation to cast a pall of doubt on much of what I “knew”. Time and experience helped with this, and I was able to come home after two years stronger than ever in my faith. Even so, one of the most important things I learned is that contention over scripture rarely convinces anyone of anything. Clear testimony and the righteous example of the testator are much more effective in communicating truth through the Spirit.

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      • Lance Ponder says:

        Michael, I know what you mean about having all you thought you knew being turned inside out in one encounter. Been there, done that. Spiritual scars are a great source of wisdom. These days I’m much more careful about what I accept. Sometimes I’m too cynical, but I want to know if what I’m hearing is true before I agree. I am much more reluctant to shake my head in agreement without putting it to the test. It sounds like you are, too.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Lance,

      It has been a very long time since something has humbled me like this. Every time I reread your comment humility sweeps over me, along with a few tears. I can understand just a little of what it must have felt like for the prophets of old to literally fall on their face before God’s presence. Lance, we serve an awesome God; so wonderful. It is a true miracle that God really loves us in our fallen state, and for that I am thankful.

      I want you to know that this post was not meant for anyone in particular. I was trying to express years of pent up emotion in a constructive way so that others would hopefully see just how serious this issue of truth really is.

      Also, I want you to know that while I directed this post at others, it is simultaneously, and just as sincerely, directed right at me. I find myself doing the same things you mentioned, and unless I constantly think about it, write about it, pray about it, those things begin to take hold and suck the life right out of me. The only thing we can do, and must do, is keep our whole self open to truth and build ourselves up by his awesome power.

      Thanks for allowing God to speak to me through your comment. I really appreciate that.

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      • Lance Ponder says:

        Uhm. … not much I can add to that, except to say thank you for revealing this about yourself, and for obeying the Spirit. I am blessed by your obedience.

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