Two Faces of Persuasion
by YeriYah Wolf

 

Today we will look into two different approaches used to convince ourselves, or others, as to the validity of concepts or facts which are presented.

If that which we assume to be true has a direct result on our actions, we need to be sure of our convictions.

How can we insure ourselves of their soundness? Is there a kind of litmus test, a touch stone? Validity is itself suspect when we find its source to be questionable.

‘Trust Me’ is the magic mantra of the con-artist. Trust in ‘Dee Dah’ has been the trap phrase for clerics across the world. We often delude our own understanding with this same illogic.

Some may say to themselves, “I believe anyone who would take innocent life is not worshipping the true God.”

To me this is blind faith in ones own idea of morality.

But let’s consider two well known modes of human reasoning.

Of these two forms one is based on the open documentation of all data, trusting in the intelligence of the hearer to process, analyze and reach an appropriate conclusion.

Let’s call this ‘intelligent persuasion’.

This is the approach YHWH found appropriate when He established us on this planet.

Man has had way too much time to develop other means to effectively frustrate this grand design.

As a substitute, men have invented an alternative method where ruthless opportunists are able to exert control by limiting the free flow of information.

This is illustrated so well in the rejoinder, “don’t face me with the facts, my mind’s made up”.

They consequently allow for only one acceptable inference or conclusion.

Let’s call this mode ‘manipulation’.

Manipulation is rooted on the fabrication of limited and biased information which is designed to affect a desired result.

We use it on ourselves when we choose a path because it seems to offer gain in station or security or wealth.

Doctrines, dogmas, rituals and rhetoric are the stock and trade of this genre. Followers of this mind set populate pulpits and capitols from one end of the earth to the other.

Opinion handling called spin is psychological management based on cunning deception in order to achieve a desired result.

Full disclosure is its natural enemy. Isn’t this the, “hang em all… let god sort em out”, conundrum?

When we turn to scripture, with intelligent wisdom, which is true humility, we are apt to find the great beauty of truth.

But…

If we use scripture merely to support our own mind set, we will find only fertile ground for dreadfully ugly lies.

Our freewill is fully dependant on choice. If we have no alternatives we are not free.

In order to allow man freedom YHWH offered the first man, Adam, choice.  He was free to eat or not to eat of the forbidden tree. That’s choice.

Look with me at this Tree incident:

Bereshith Gen 2:9

“YHWH Elohiym made every tree to grow out of the ground that is pleasant to man’s sight and good for food.

In the midst of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

Then in Bereshith Gen 2:17 He commanded them:

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat: for in the day you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Havah assumes she knows better:

Bereshith Gen 3:6

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also attractive as a source of insight, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

My father used to say, “A little education is a dangerous thing.” What these folks got us into was just that soup. We know good and evil but somehow we seem totally unable to clearly differentiate.

We earthen ware mortals must be a race of moral midgets. Our ethical insight is evidently ‘My optic’.

Mishlei Prov 16:25

There are ways that seems right before man, but those paths end in destruction.

Yet there is an answer to insight correction, corrective lenses for the mind’s eye. Listen to King David’s words in

Tehilim Ps 32:7-11:

You are my hiding place. You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

He will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; He will counsel you and watch over you.

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle, far be it from you.

Abundant is anguish for the wicked, but kindnesses surround the man trusting in YHWH.

Rejoice you righteous ones, exult in YHWH and all of you who are upright in heart, raise a joyous cry!

Ahh, so sweet this ‘insight correction’ can be.

Any of you who have corrective lenses are all too aware of the miracle of instant clear vision.

Fuzzy pictures are often very attractive. With halos around every light and soft edges to all objects, yes the world is very different to the nearly blind.

Isn’t definition the key? When YHWH set down the constitution for us as a people, He clearly defined His expectations and left little if any ‘wiggle’ room.

Man’s governments, on the other hand, insure their power over their citizenry with laws written for wide or ‘fuzzy’ interpretations.

YHWH demands capital punishment for certain crimes. If His people failed to execute His orders or if they testified falsely, they themselves would become subject to the selfsame punishment.

Devariym Deut 19:18-19

The judgment must succeed in thorough investigation, then, if the witness proves to be a liar, having given false testimony against his brother, do to him as he intended to do to his brother.

You must purge the evil from among you.

I am sure you know of judges, juries or paid experts to whom this perfect justice should be made to apply.

Justice is no mystery when we rely on YHWH. We bring upon ourselves blessings or curses by our actions.

For example, the sun is neutral; it is neither good nor evil, we can use it to grow a luscious garden to feed our family or we can foolishly over expose our bodies to pain or even death as a result of its power.

As the children of Israel were going into the land of Canaan they were given a laundry list of reasons why the people of this region were to be off’d and told in no uncertain terms to avoid their ways. Here in Vayikra Lev 18:24-30

"'Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out from before you became defiled.

Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land is vomiting out its inhabitants.

But you must keep My decrees and My laws. The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things,

for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled.

And then if you defile the land, it will vomit YOU out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

"'Everyone who does any of these detestable things-- such persons must be cut off from their people.

Keep My requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am YHWH your Elohiym.

Over and over again we are directed with clarity what our walk must be and what it must not be. We have to choose for ourselves what path we walk.

We have a choice, we can manipulate His words to convince ourselves and others that Torah is flexible or changes over time,

Or…

We can use honest, humble intelligence, becoming His ‘B’Rukh Shema’…His blessed intelligent hearers who hear and heed Him.

Hopefully we now stand on His word. Can we begin to clear the clutter; turn off the static, resist the zealous fraudulence and find the peace, comfort and stability at the quiet center of reality?

There, where our God, our creator, our YHWH, the guarantor of our lives, our honor and freedom is.

We ask that He grant us the ability to see with clarity and full definition. We ask Him to cure our blindness and strengthen our resolve so we may walk in blessed righteousness, in truth, amen.

TOC