What’s in a title, if not to deceive?

Titles are important, as far as one seeks approval of other people. A title encourages others to listen, before accepting your product as authentic. Without any title, denoting your qualification, it may be impossible to get customers. The power in a title follows the principle of democracy.

But even the title of your gender may also cause people to like or dislike your product, without merit? For instance, someone may raise a question like: “What can a woman tell me?”, or vice versa. Some women actually prefer to use “Ms” as title.  So as not to reveal their marital status, as this may prejudice them, one way or the other, for whatever they would be trying to advance.

Reputation is of utmost importance, in real world. And titles are therefore understood as molded on the basis of good reputation acquired. This is necessary for people to be perceived as making wise judgments. A title may be obtained by way of a regulatory panel that checks on the requirements of what constitutes authenticity.

This rule, though universally accepted, is laden with serious problems. A person with a doctorate may say something, basically untrue. Everyone would applaud and take it as true, yet leading to negative effects. The misjudgment would have been caused by the title of the person saying it. Copycats also seek to take advantage of title usage in order to obtain acceptance.

A person without any title might bring up a workable idea and of possible benefit to the public. But, whatever the person says would be discarded, only on the basis of not holding a title. This world is shaped by those holding titles and this appears normal.

But something is not right, with that arrangement. In short, all problems that exist in this world can be attributed to consideration of title-holding. Any person with a workable program has to first strive to acquire some title, to be conventionally accepted. But those providing certificates of approval may themselves not be qualified in assessing the advantages of what would be proffered.

No matter how brilliant the idea might be, it gets thrown out. This may require tenacity by the initiator of the idea, before its universal acceptance. But, many would-be best ideas, whose initiators lack tenacity, get discarded along the way. Tenacity is a rare commodity. The best example at hand is that of Bill Gates, dismally failing tests by college authorities. But later producing what now sustains the Information Technological world, without academic approval.

Having identified what is wrong with this arrangement, we have to identify the alternative to it. My main authority is Jesus Christ. If what Jesus said is not workable, then His purpose of coming to Earth is invalid and this world has no other hope.

Jesus Christ was once confronted on reason of this particular principle:

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:38-40) ESV.

Using Prophet Jonah’s big fish incident, Jesus told those skeptical Pharisees that their only sign would be His resurrection. Yet, even with His resurrection, while convincing to some, others remained skeptical. Jesus revealed of such behavior as existing within an evil and adulterous generation. There may not be another way of proving that reality, except using Jesus’ statement, as standard.

But, what sign were those people looking for? Jesus had performed miracles, to prove His supernatural powers. They attributed those to Beelzebub, the prince of demons (verse 24). The story would have been different, had Jesus carried a title of approval to convince the religious authorities.

They themselves had carried titles. The greatest of those titles being ‘High Priest.’  When asking for a sign from Jesus they were not trying to be mischievous. They genuinely needed a sign to prove that Jesus was indeed the Messiah that prophecies referred to.

However, Jesus ascribes their behavior as confirming them to be of evil and adulterous generation. Jesus had been born in Bethlehem of Judea and raised up in an infamous city called Nazareth. His father, had not been a recognized religious guru. Why would Joseph’s son, Jesus, claim to be representing one of the most important canons in their religious doctrines?

Let us now fast-forward to our present generation. Are we different from those scribes and Pharisees? Titles are probably considered more valuable in our generation than in the first century. For instance, Gamaliel, though renowned as a scholar of repute, was not identified by a scholarly title, as known today. In other words, Gamaliel was not ‘Professor’ Gamaliel or ‘Dr’ Gamaliel.

Jesus, Himself, though being the Christ, did not carry a certificate to prove His Messiah-ship. His encounter with the devil, probably, is the only confirmation of the wickedness associated with certification. On two occasions, Satan asked Jesus to prove whether He was the Son of God. Firstly by turning a stone to bread and secondly by throwing Himself from a High tower Matthew 4:3, 6).

Jesus did not succumb to Satan’s scheme, whose intention was to appeal to Jesus’ ego, which, virtually, is the purpose of title holding. One feels good and dignified when displaying his title. This is for everyone to know the qualifications he/she holds, to be accorded with due respect and credibility. But, why would one need a title if confident and capable in one’s capacity?

Jesus did everything that proved His Messiah-ship, but without certification. Scriptures were there to prove that reality. The miracles, together with His precise knowledge of scriptures, proved who He was. Proving by sight alone can be very deceptive. I learnt this principle through one of Scientology training drills called Obnosis, as shown here.  Many things appear to be something that actually misrepresents.

For instance, you may interact with a racist white man, but carry that experience to label white people as racists? On reason of sight alone, you cannot conclude that all whites would be racists. This applies on anything being labeled according to one’s previous experience. The safest thing is not to conclude an opinion, based on appearance only, but by proving without reasonable doubt. This serves one from being a victim of poor judgment.

Titles are not necessarily realities of existence of truth. Jesus, actually, reflected this principle in Matthew 5:37. You cannot necessarily qualify what you say by giving an oath, where there would be no room for falsehood. Those who tell lies take advantage in oath-giving, to convince gullible people. The same applies when carrying titles to mislead people.

If my profession is that of a Medical Doctor, I do not need a title to convince anyone. But my abilities simply manifest, to those that I attend to, as they get healed. Those healed would then point others to me, for handling similar problems. My certificate for practicing medicine would not be necessary to those being helped, but the benefits accruing to them.

As the saying goes, “the truth is the truth, even if no-one believes it. A lie is a lie, even if everyone believes it.”  But Jesus said it is only the truth that sets people free (John 8:32). My prayer is that people check, instead of going by the majority instinct.  Truth is not about what other people say, necessarily. But it is based on personal evaluation before making conclusions.

What is said here is not necessarily advocating for casting away all titles. This world cannot function without consideration of titles. But the existence of titles reveals the deficiency of human integrity in societies. God’s Kingdom invalidates all title-holding.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.

The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99

Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com  for $6.99

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