One of the strong “selling” points of the internet is that it allows everyone who desires to contribute their opinions to do so.
Regardless of their station in life, people can express what they think on the web — and others can chime in with their own versions of opinion.
In a democratic society, this is probably a good thing.
Opinions, however, are not necessarily valid just because they are “out there.”
Some people have weak thinking processes, and when it comes to the Bible, there are others whose knowledge of the Scriptures runs extraordinarily shallow. Throw in the truth that some people don’t know what a fact is compared to an opinion — and you may get a mashup of doubtful worth.
During the past month or so, or example, we’ve heard uninformed people say they believe the president of the United States has committed acts that call for impeachment, when they don’t know what comprises an impeachable act. The discussion really becomes interesting when the uninformed are leading the unknowing in an effort to act in a way that is totally anti-constitutional.
So let’s take a look at the definitions of the words people are so ready to spout off about:
- A fact is a statement that is true and can be verified objectively. In other words, a fact is true and correct, no matter what.
- An opinion is a statement that holds an element of belief; it tells how someone feels. An opinion is not always true and cannot be proven.
Unfortunately, we’ve lost the distinction of which is true — a fact or opinion — and which can be proven with verity.
In the world of facts, scientific truth can often be the arbiter. For example, I might be of the opinion that I can drive a motorcycle through a concrete buttress at 150 miles per hour, and even be sincere in my belief. The concrete doesn’t necessarily verify my belief because of the facts involved with the composition of the material, as well as what happens in its interaction with my comparatively frail body.
In “facts vs. opinion,” the facts win regardless of opinion.
Just because the internet makes communication more democratic does not make the opinions expressed there either true or false. Right now, scholars are debating the future of truth and misinformation (non-facts) on the web. There are two schools of thought on this question, according to a study from the Pew Research Center: “Experts are evenly split on whether the coming decade will see a reduction in false and misleading narratives online. Those forecasting improvement place their hopes in technological fixes and in societal solutions. Others think the dark side of human nature is aided more than stifled by technology.”
The Bible talks about the evil in men’s hearts, the desire of one man to hurt the other, and especially the tendency of one person to hurt his or her fellow human with lies. These are more than just statements of opinion. These suggest a darkened heart and mind with a tendency to sin against another rather than build them up.
The Bible is quite clear.
See if you find opinion or fact in the following verses:
- “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
- “For the wages [payment] of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)
- “… it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27)
- “… He hath made Him [Jesus, who knew no sin] to be sin for us … that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- “For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11)
- “… without shedding of blood is no remission [pardon]” (Hebrews 9:22)
- “… God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)
- “God … commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).
- In Acts 16:30-31, the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’”
- “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12)
- “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13)
You may say the Bible is a book of religious fiction with reality to sin, judgment or accountability to God as Creator and Judge.
Surely, then, there could be no hell and no heaven, either.
Some people say the words of the Bible are just opinion. But what if they are wrong?
What if the facts call for us to repent of sin and call out to Christ to be our Savior?
Perhaps the God who is unchanging Truth and who cannot permit sin before Him, but who loved the world — you and me — so much that His Son Jesus Christ died and paid for the penalty of our sin, is truly a fact.
Perhaps a change in heart and mind is called for, regardless of who believes it is opinion or not.
Facts do matter.
Sam Rohrer is president of the American Pastors Network, a national network of pastors with constitutional and biblical teachings that discusses today’s pressing issues. He was a Pennsylvania lawmaker for 18 years and hosts the daily “Stand in the Gap Today” national radio program on more than 400 stations.
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