Ok, so what’s my take on global warming? I don’t know. I’m a pastor, not a scientist. Go ask a scientist. I live in Louisiana. It’s always warm.
I have some opinions about global warming, but they are probably about as well informed as your opinions.
Here’s the thing about opinions: we all have them. Having an opinion doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best opinion, or that it’s even a particularly good or even valid opinion. And sadly the validity, or maybe better, the lack of validity, of my opinion rarely keeps me from sharing it.
I wonder if this dissemination of unqualified opinions isn’t a big part of what’s messing everything up?
These days everyone is an “expert” on virtually any subject.
Here’s what happens. Someone brings up a “hot-button” issue and you discuss it with some friends. Nobody really knows what he or she is talking about, but we’ve all read a piece of an article or someone shared an idea on the subject and we took it for true. the topic doesn’t really matter. It could be global warming, or it could be college football.
Until we had this discussion my opinion was somewhat vacuous. As the conversation progresses something strange happens to my opinion. The nebula begins to solidify into a planet. Thirty minutes ago I didn’t really know where I stood on the subject, but now that we are discussing it I’m either persuading or being persuaded to harden my position.
By the end of the discussion, my unqualified thoughts have turned into a “firm opinion.”
And because I might have an overinflated sense of my own intellect, it’s easy for me to think that my “firm opinion” is as good or better than your “firm opinion.” It doesn’t matter what credentials I brought to the discussion, or even how much I really know about the topic. It’s an opinion; it’s my opinion. Don’t mess with my opinion.
Once an opinion is formed it must be disseminated and protected.
I will now fight for my ill-informed half-baked opinion with the same gusto that William Barrett Travis and his band of Texicans defended the Alamo.
This, despite the fact that thirty minutes ago I didn’t even know if I believed my opinion.
What began as a vague idea has forged into a fundamental truth inside my head. It’s my truth. Since my opinion has become truth, if your opinion disagrees with mine then your opinion is clearly wrong. In fact, I’m not sure you even have the right to such a wrong-headed opinion.
The discussion degenerates into an argument. Sides form, lines are drawn, and friends are lost as collective ignorance swirls in the air like shrapnel from a howitzer.
Nobody stops to remember, it’s just an opinion. It might not even be a good one.
Look, have your opinions. Just be aware that you might not always know what you are talking about, and you don’t always have to share it.
Here are two verses to help us:
PROVERBS 18:2 A FOOL DOES NOT DELIGHT IN UNDERSTANDING, BUT ONLY IN REVEALING HIS OWN MIND.
PROVERBS 10:19 WHEN THERE ARE MANY WORDS, TRANSGRESSION IS UNAVOIDABLE, BUT HE WHO RESTRAINS HIS LIPS IS WISE.