Tag Archives: truth

Glenn Beck: The Influencer

Posted by Mike

I don’t like to use the term evil, because it’s more of an emotional classification than reflecting objective reality, but I’ll use it in reference to Glenn Beck and the false and socially disruptive vitriol that he sends out over the airwaves. I always avoid listening to and watching him as well as the other radical news commentators, but decided that I would attempt to sift through some of his TV and radio clips and do a critique. Prior to that decision I watched several minutes of his show on different days this past week. In just those few minutes he was significantly distorting in his usual prim schoolmasterly manner the consequences of the current spontaneous opposition to President Mubarek of Egypt. On the first clip Beck was predicting that if Mubarek of Egypt were successfully ousted there would be a domino effect of radical Islamic revolutions all across North Africa, throughout the Asian subcontinent and on to Indonesia. On the next day he was focusing only on the Middle East, again predicting disastrous outcomes throughout the entire region should the current uprising in Egypt be successful. Towards the end of the week he showed several film clips of Mohamed ElBaradei speaking to the media in Cairo regarding the uprising. Beck focused on ElBaradei’s use of the term “social justice,” insinuating that the term masked a hidden Islamic imperialist intention and thus implying that this man who is a Nobel prize winner had concealed, nefarious motives for his courageous actions last week in Cairo.

Glenn Beck talks to his listeners as if they are completely ignorant and dependent upon him, the expert, coming across as a not very good eighth grade civics teacher instructing his students. His use of insinuation is especially disturbing. In the example above, he does not come right out and say that Mohamed ElBaradei is a radical Islamist, but he strongly implies it, and his audience is clearly expected to “get” his implications. Socialists and communists are very bad guys in Beck’s eyes, and he is currently mixing them in with the Muslim Brotherhood “radical Islamists,” who Beck says have as a goal the establishment of an Islamic “Caliphate” throughout the world. On one of his broadcasts last week he actually tried to tie the “communist” Weatherman Underground movement of the 1960’s to the current upheavals in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.

On January 31st, on his television broadcast, Beck said, “This is about world domination,” and predicted that in the future the Eastern hemisphere would consist of three powers: a Muslim Caliphate, China (which would have incorporated much of Southeast Asia, including Australia), and Russia (which would have taken over much of northeastern Europe). During his radio broadcast of February 3rd, Beck said “We’re talking about the end of the Western way of life, if we don’t pay attention.” He went on the elucidate three principal ideas that are guiding his current focus:  1. “Groups from the hard core socialist and communist left and extreme Islam will work together because they are both a common enemy of Israel and the Jew”; 2. Groups from the hard core socialist and communist left and extreme Islam will work together because they are the common enemy of Capitalism and the Western way of life”; 3. Groups from the hard core socialist and communist left and extreme Islam will work together because they are both ostracized from power and the mainstream in most of the world.” All of these assertions are complete nonsense, assertions that would not be supported by any expert in international affairs.

I assume the notions Glenn Beck puts out on the radio and television airwaves are influencing a great many people in the United States. He distorts facts. He makes insinuations that are clearly not supported by facts, which should be questioned by anyone who has even a modest command of history and who follows the news in the print media. He supports divisiveness within the nation, based upon false information. He creates fear in his listeners, fear of the other person who might be different in physical make-up, language and speech, in dress, in customs, in religion. He is a fearmonger, who encourages a fearful, xenophobic, isolationist and embattled world view in his listeners, an affront to the American flag.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.              –    Abraham Lincoln



Filed under skepticism, values

Takes One to Know One

How to Stop an Argument 101 – Part 1

Posted by David—

Everyone argues. It’s human nature, isn’t it? I’m right and you’re wrong and this is why: “Because of (a), (b) and (c)…” Or I might just yell, “nuh, uh!” There have been the times, that justification for my ‘point’ resorted to name calling. And with that the argument really starts to dissolve.  Then comes my personal favorite rebuttal: “Takes one to know one!” At least, there’s a bit of humility there.

I’m finding that all arguing, yes, all, is a completely useless enterprise. In fact, it’s more than that:  it is self-defeating. Everyone has had the sort of argument, when as you start arguing your side, you actually end up justifying your ‘opponent’ through your argument. Digging your hole deeper they say. That’s the way it always is, only sometimes it is more apparent with those who are less gifted in the art of speaking.

Just because I am arguing expresses a hesitance that, um, maybe I’m not fully justified. Truth is self-justifying and we know it in our deepest being.  That’s why we argue, because we want to hide the facts through reason. But the only necessary and valid witness in any argument is Truth itself (Himself). And don’t think that any one side is usually in the ‘right’. I suspect that even if one side of the argument seems valid and true, there’s falsehoods tucked deep within. Truth has no need for aruging, because Truth is self-evident. 

As I have said before I think the only reason language was ‘invented’ by man was to conceal truth through reason. Language was not necessary before man began his path along the big lie. Sure we communicated, but it was probably more akin to song before that.

The flip side to truth being self-justifying is that lies are self-convicting. This is why we never need to argue, nor should argue in our own defense or in the defense of others. Yes, we must witness to the truth, but there’s no need to go further than that. This or that is the way it is. And if we can say something in truth, then the truth will be self-justified. And if we lie or mislead, then no matter how much we argue, the falsehood will be revealed.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:32


Filed under language, philosophy, Uncategorized

When Song Breaks Forth

Posted by David
Jan Miense Molenaer (ca. 1610-1668), Young musicians and a dwarf

Jan Miense Molenaer (ca. 1610-1668), Young musicians and a dwarf

I have this notion—whether it is true or not I cannot know—that humans beings sang before we spoke. It may be that I like the idea, so I hope it to be true. It may be that my experience with spoken language makes me desire something more from language.  

Language has been a positive characteristic of my humanity when it was simply about relating to others. In those times when I used my words in context with others for good, it was like touch, like a warming fire or like a satisfying meal. But language has also been a means of pain in my life. I’ve used simple words to hurt others. Haphazardly, I’ve spread gossip’s life-eating fire. I have fought with words, scarring myself and others. Too often in my life this has been the purpose of language.

But on the other hand, song and singing is so elementary, so fundamental that it is more difficult to be corrupted. You can’t make a A minor chord sound like a C major. If A minor notes come out, you’re going to get a solemn feel. The intended feeling within a made-up tune is difficult to disguise. Singing speaks from the heart, especially singing without words. Our personal tunes tell our personal stories that reside in the deepest places.

Why do we have such a range of notes in our vocal chords? Did those evolve for speech or did they develop for our voice of song? I expect the latter. I also expect that human words and spoken languages emerged simultaneously with other forms of human disguise. Like our clothes, words can hide our naked reality, our humility, our strengths and weaknesses. For out of our song we cannot disguise our heart’s story, but with words, we can cloak our heart’s story with various meanings—some true and some false. There was a time in our history when spoken words began to hide the truth of our heart. This is probably why our languages are not sing-songy. Our words have only slight ups and down. For the most part they are monotonal. With monotonal speech we are less likely to give away something that we’re hiding.

The beginning of language was also probably the beginning of History. At that point we could tell stories. Our words could be packed with meanings both true and false.  Our stories could travel through time embedded in language itself. History, once initiated, took to life and we now see it written on our faces, in our stories, and in the landscape itself.  But with that new beginning something else died to make it happen: the free life of the human heart was crushed.  This what happen to us after what the Bible calls the Fall.

History now cloaks the truth. It hides our roots. It covers over what we are intended to be just like words are able to conceal the human heart. But there will be the day when History dies completely and what will break forth will be the most beautiful song you have ever heard.

Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 

Zephaniah 3:14

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The Marginalized

Posted by: David

Society will always marginalize this or that group, no matter what group is in power.

If Party A: the poor are marginalized.
If Party B: the disabled are marginalized.
If Party C: the weak are marginalized.
If Party D: the hard workers are marginalized.
If Party E: the justice-seekers are marginalized.
If Party F: the peacemakers are marginalized.

Blessed be the marginalized, for they shall be brought within.


Filed under Politics

Truth: Revisited

Posted  by Mike

When we sense that we are on to Truth, sometimes we get a feeling that is something like what we have when we see a beautiful sunrise.

What is this rather intangible thing that we call truth? In an earlier posting, I wrote about aspects of truth which I called established truth and emergent truth (I used the term “awakening”) in relation to science, ethics and morals, and religion.  Dave wrote about truth in relation to personal responsibility.  What does this word “truth” mean, and what do we mean when we use the word?  The dictionary (OAD) defines truth as, “The quality or state of being true: he had to accept the truth of her accusation,” which doesn’t help us very much.  So if we look up “true,” we find, “In accordance with fact or reality…rightly or strictly so called; genuine…real or actual…accurate or exact.”  Examples the OAD gives include, “A true story….” “Of course it’s true!” and “That’s not true!” All of these definitions seem to relate to a comparison between what is said or known and an other “something” that is being used to compare it with.  And when the word “true” is used, the implication is that there is a one-to-one correspondence between the two.

What is this other “something” that is used in comparisons related to what is true?  Of course it will differ in every case. In one example above: “He had to accept the truth of her accusation,” the comparison is between what was said and what had actually occurred in the past. With “In accordance with fact or reality,” we are comparing something again, with something  known or observed.  If we talk about “real or actual,” the comparison aspect gets a little fuzzy, but again we are talking about comparing against an ideal.

Sometimes we get the idea that truth is absolute or completely objective.  We have notions that as an ideal it is real, tangible, and doesn’t have it’s subjective aspects.  Plato’s “ideal forms” Platon.jpg never existed in reality.  His simple ideal forms were things like “circle,” “square,” and “triangle.” They were abstract, imagined, just as mathematics is abstract, though like in mathematics what is indicated can exist in reality.  For example, we can have representations of circle, square, and triangle, but we can never represent in reality the exact form.  In mathematics, if I say I have five balls, the concept is abstract, but I can have five separate objects.

What is my point?  It’s obvious, I’m sure.  Truth is an ideal, but to think that we can always, often, or perhaps even ever capture it is unrealistic.  As with Plato’s ideal forms, an abstract notion of truth can be useful as a goal that can be sought and perhaps approached, but like parallel lines extending to infinity, we will never converge with it.  I think that’s okay, though. In many cases we can circle around it and nudge it just a bit, so that we end up feeling comfortable with what we’ve got. Just remember, we don’t have absolutes or total assurances here.  But the feeling that we sometimes get when we are close can be satisfactory, like that beautiful sunrise or sunset.  Sunset in Coquitlam.jpg

“Chase after truth like hell and you’ll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat-tails.”    Clarence Darrow (1857-1938) 

“Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.”    Andre Gide (1869-1951)


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Established Truth and Awakening Truth

posted by Mike

I suspect that truth in all areas is a lot like scientific truth.  Truth in science has been and is a gradual acquiring of knowledge about the world (the universe and life).  I have recently been reading the essays of Stephen Jay Gould, the paleontologist and zoologist.  He wrote monthly essays for over 20 years for the publication, Nature.  His articles deal primarily with biological and paleontological topics, but he ranges over the spectrum of scientific issues, and in addition writes about ethics, morals, literature, and a host of other topics.  Gould was a Darwinist by persuasion and he often states that his primary love in his field is scientific research.  His essays are like little gems of information and new learning for the reader.  Gould himself reports that in writing each essay he himself learns much more about his topic, that each essay has its own awakenings for him in coming to understand the world and life on it a little bit better.  His creative approach to writing also  enlarges what we understand as “truth,” for ourselves, a little in each essay.

So I use the term “awakening truth” for scientific truth [one might also use the term “emergent truth”].  It is not static, but continually developing and enriching, when science is allowed a relatively free environment in which to work.  We have other “truths” in our experience.  Some would say we have ethical and moral truth, judicial truth (the U.S. Constitution, for example) and religious truth.  From what I see of these other truths, they, too, are flexible and change over time, reflecting new ways of thinking and seeing in these admittedly relatively stable systems.  There are some who believe that in some of these areas truth is firmly established.  I think we should be very wary of such thinking, as the realities of life are never static; conditions, cultures, and social needs do change over time and need to be reflected in cultural values and institutions.  Social and cultural change for the better has often been stymied in the past, not uncommonly for centuries, by those who were bent on maintaining established truth and who resisted those who were seeking awakening or emergent truth with the threats of exile and death by fire.

“…to those who know me only through these essays, ….Who can surpass me in the good fortune they supply; every month is a new adventure in learning and expression…I could not dent the richness in a hundred lifetimes, but I must simply have a look at a few more of those pretty pebbles.”   – Stephen Jay Gould, The Flamingo’s Smile

Stephen Gould died of cancer at the age of 61 in 2002  
[photo by Kathy Chapman]


Filed under philosophy

“What is Truth?”

Posted by: David

To answer this fundamental question, let’s return to the idea of our outer lives as projections of our inner lives.

In this day and age, there’s a deep reluctance to ascribe objectivity to the world around us. “Truth is as variable as the tides,” might be a saying of a post-modern coastal tribe. There would certainly be some truth to that saying since tides are very real indeed—what Mike is calling awakening truths. But the post-modern variable truth is only a reality of the human perception. Truth in its most universal form has nothing to do with variability; truth has to do with clarity. Our reluctance to believe in a universal truth is because we project our inner lives onto the universe. Our inner lives are very messy and befuddled, which is how man sees his world.

In Richard Dawkins’ book “The Selfish Gene,” he described all life as having a tendency toward selfishness which is what he believed the evolutionary process to be. But I think this is his biased projection of man’s selfishness onto the universe, rather than a reflection on objective reality. Naturally, man wouldn’t have seen it any other way. Our vision of reality is colored by our selfish ego.

To analyze reality, we must first have clarity within our interior thoughts and feelings, because it is inside of us where we make decisions. We make our choices and those choices spread outward into our outer lives. Clarity within is essential before we can make judgments on reality.

The Blame Game

When we understand the exterior world as a projection of our interior lives, we also protect ourselves from the blame game. No longer will we say: “Look what cards I’ve been dealt,” “See what life has brought me,” and “How could it be my fault, look at my circumstances.”

My dad said something that helped me when I was in my twenties that I’ll never forget. He said that the first step to healing is to first own 100% of one’s problems. He was so right. When I have trouble with someone, I should own 100% of the problem. When we see the world around us falling apart, we should own 100% of the problem. I’m not kidding here either. We should own 100% of the problems in our families, in our town, and in our world.

He would say that I’ve taken his pithy advice a bit too far, but I don’t think so. The outer world is a projection of our inner lives, not only us as an individual, but us as a collective unit. We are not disconnected from the world, and thus, the world’s problems are our problems. We are blood relatives to every last human out there, from Mr. Sentenced-to-Death-Row to Hitler. Even though my umbilical cord was severed after birth, I still have a fundamental connection to everyone who has lived, is living and will live. We are a part of the family of man no matter how much we try to isolate ourselves from others. Someone has to take ownership of the sadness and pain; it might as well be me and you. This is what Jesus did on the cross. In his innocence, he took the blame for the family of man.

By taking 100% ownership of our problems, we take responsibility not only of our own problems but also the problems of others. As the responsible party, we can ask for forgiveness which is where healing and redemption begins. In the prayer Jesus taught us, he didn’t tell us to pray, “Forgive me for my trespasses.” He taught us to pray, “Forgive us for our trespasses.” The family of man is one body. If I strangle someone with my left hand, my whole body is blame, not just the left hand. What is so marvelous about this is that in our Just universe we have the ability to intercede for the rest of the body. We can stand on the rule for others. We are 100% guilty, because we are of the same body. Yes, you are a blood-relative of Saddam Hussein.

Make Way for the Truth

What does all this have to do with truth? In order to see the truth within the reality of the universe, we must make way for the truth. The big lie must be revealed within us. The big lie is that I’m not responsible. It’s not my fault. I didn’t have anything to do with what happened in Gaza. I didn’t put Jesus on the cross.

However, as a part of the family of man, I did nail him to the cross. And what I allow to go on in my head today does affect reality. My mind and body are totally interconnected with the rest of the humanity. To begin seeing clearly I must clear out the lies within—the only place that I have control. Jesus said, “First clean the inside of the cup, so that its outside may also be clean.”

Truth, untruth, a-truth, relative-truth or whatever type of truth that you see in our outer lives is a projection of our interior understanding of truth. The way we see and interpret the world is directly related to what goes on in our inner lives. When we lie to ourselves, the lies multiply externally to us. Truth becomes obscured and reality begins to seem variable. But we have control over the big lie, the small lies and the white lie. We can control whether or not we lie.

Why do we lie to ourselves? We lie because our ego’s existence depends on a contrived-sense of individuality. The ego must project itself as the all-powerful ruler of oneself. It cannot allow itself to bleed into the rest of humanity. It would then cease to be a solitary unit. To prevent death, the ego must falsely preserve a notion of independence. The ego argues to the mind and body, “No, it couldn’t be your fault,” “Yes, you were right to take that course of action,” and the most deceptive self-preserving argument of all: “Don’t worry, the ends really do justify the means.”

However, by accepting responsibility for 100% of our problems, the power of these lies is broken, the truth begins to shine within us, and the truth of the universe becomes more transparent. When we take on 100% of the guilt, we also find out wondrously that we have been pardoned 100% through Christ’s payment. Our conscious is cleared and life begins.


Filed under philosophy

Questioning Questioning Authority

Posted by: David

To question authority we use our minds, knowledge, consciousness and common sense as a litmus test of justice in a particular social system and the authority in power. But is this really necessary since injustice is found in all societies? There seems to exist systemic injustice.

All human systems of society are unjust in different ways. The authority of that system simply reflects the relative justice of that system. When you question authority, you’re questioning the relative justice of the system as a whole since the system is closely integrated. The leadership is not separate from the rest of social system. They are one. If the body is just, the head will be just. If the body is unjust, the head will be unjust. I don’t think there’s a middle ground. Something is either just or unjust. There’s no sorta-just social system.

But “if your enemy is hungry, feed him. For if he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will pile burning coals on his head.” Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good. Every person must be subject to the governing authorities, for no authority exists except by God’s permission.

The reason these sentences were all blended together by Paul in the sequence he used is no coincidence. He recognized that by submitting in goodness to the governing authorities (potential enemies), you pile burning coals on their heads. The reason for this has to do with the nature of justice and how perfect that justice is (i.e., there’s no sorta-just system). If only a fragment of justice comes in contact with an unjust system, the unjust system will be burned and/or transformed so that it can handle being in contact with the just system. Because justice is either just or unjust, that which is unjust cannot exist in the presence of that which is just. The two are like oil and water. Justice is that perfect; it cannot be tainted with injustice.

Counterintuitively, the way to restore justice in an unjust system (in which I’m including all social systems) is not to rebel. It’s to inject it with true justice. The initial injection was Christ. Practically-speaking for us, restoring justice involves: humility, mercy, love, justice, hope, submission.

Yes, all current authoritative social systems are corrupt. In a sense, there’s no real need to question them, because they are all corrupt and unjust in different ways. However, if one rebels and takes over an unjust system, it always takes unjust means. Just one innocent life cut short, just one shout in anger, and just one contemptuous thought makes the rebel unjust. This same type of rebellious take-over was completed in 1776, 1865, 1945, and 2003—not to mention any other seemingly-good historical changing of the guard.

That may sound hopeless, but it’s really not. I may not have faith in socially-conceived systems of justice, but I certainly believe that the universe is run by a just God. Thus, there actually is a deep justice in this world, deeper than any socially-conceived justice system. And that system of justice is not only available in some heavenly realm in the future. That system of justice is available right now.


Filed under philosophy

Diffusing the K-Bomb (part 6)

Posted by: David

Practically-speaking, I’m not sure if the K-bomb can be diffused. Turret lathe operator machining parts for transport planes at the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation plant, Fort Worth, Texas, USA.But when it explodes, you don’t need to be destroyed by it. We’ve all already been hurt by it. It’s been sputtering like a pot of rice left on high for quite sometime. Let’s define the K-bomb a bit better before we look into how to deal with it.

In Part 3, we saw that knowledge is a force and make no mistake it is a powerful one at that, more powerful than anything human hands have made. Knowledge parades itself around as truth, but it is not. Knowledge is our human projection of what is truth. We tangle our own perceptions of truth, our own choices of what we think truth is into our knowledge. And because of this, our knowledge becomes tainted. It is no longer truth. And since knowledge is paraded around as truth when it is not, it becomes a lie.

Lies are always self-detonating. My lies have come back and exploded in my face. That’s the way lies work. Remember the fire triangle: heat, oxygen and fuel. Lies work the same: heat, untruth and truth. Just add a spark.

In Part 5, I said that thoughts can be packed tightly in rationalizations or even social systems. I should be a bit clearer on a topic as important as this, because thoughts are what K-bomb is composed of.

The warrior must justify his actions. Every human is a natural warrior. We are warriors in defense of our egos. We must keep our ‘self’ alive and strong. It’s all about me, right? Some of us fight with actual physical means: fists, guns, swords, and bombs. But most of us fight with words, ideas and thoughts. In our local circles, we may cut emotional supplies that feed our friends and family to combat a hit taken from others. Toward outside circles, we develop cliquish techniques, social standard, religions and massive governmental and economic structures that are meant to protect our local and collective egos. And we have been doing this since day one when our consciousness first sprouted.

Clear as Mississippi mud, right? The point is that we justify the thoughts that disturb our consciousness by in various ways. I really don’t want to get into examples of how this happens. When you have a thought that disturbs you, see how you justify it or what you do with it. But when we justify these thoughts, we shove it places: maybe into an ideology, a political platform, a concept of what is socially normal, or the simple philosophy that says, “Well, I can’t do anything about it, so let it be.” Every philosophy, human social system and human government is a structure meant to contain and support the K-Bomb.

How do you diffuse the K-bomb if we can’t use psychoanalytical techniques, drugs, friends, society, philosophy, or even religion for that matter? It may seem like your hands are tied. This is the ultimate dilemma of mankind. It’s the Catch-22 of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And the dominoes have been unstoppable since the first flick.

As a Christian, I believe that the K-bomb is why Jesus came to the earth. He was the ultimate intervention for this problem. He came to transform us with God’s love, truth and mercy. Jesus lays some diffusion techniques out as clear as a bell in the Sermon on the Mount.

But since you may not be a Christian, it is essential that I explain the concept behind it. Basically, our internal lives are essentially no different than our external lives. The only difference is that our will is inside us, not external to us. Out of the will come our choices and our choices are manefested in our reality. What begins inside us manifests itself outside of us. The force we talked about in Part 2 is initiated by the will and the dominoes begin with the flick of our will and fall outward. Because our will is burdened with weight of consciousness (the knowledge of “good and evil”) we become slaves to that consciousness. How exactly we become slaves is not something I completely understand. I can only see the results in my life to know that it’s happening. It may be that since we understand that evil exists and we inherently fear being destroyed by it, we develop means to protect the self or the ego. Ironically, in doing so, we bind ourselves to that process indefinitely. We become slaves to production of the K-bomb.

So, how do we get free from banging on the ironworks of the K-bomb? The species of man had to be set free from this. We were all bound. No one had the key. It had to be an outside intervention. Of course, as a Christian, I point to Jesus.

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

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