The choices of a lifetime
AS A MATTER OF FACT: OPINIONS AREN'T
Each of us carries an interior blueprint for how things ought to be. This is our worldview. Originally we inherit one from our families. It’s further shaped by faith groups, neighborhood and cultural realities, and teachers. In the long run, however, you and I have to take responsibility for our worldview. Rough-hewn or refined, that blueprint shapes where we’re headed and the values that define how we get there.
Included in every worldview is a lot of data: beliefs and experiences, history and hearsay. Some of what motivates our worldview is opinion. Everyone’s entitled to one, at least in a country where free speech is protected. An opinion is a view stronger than an impression and weaker than knowledge. Opinions may be formed after much evidence gathering, but they’re still not the same as knowledge. Too often, what we offer as an opinion is simply an emotion generated in us by an issue. “This is my emotion about what you just said,” might be an honest appraisal of many opinions.
When emotions pass as opinions, they represent a personal truth: that is, something true for me or about me. Subjective truth may happily coincide with actual fact, but it is more likely partial, biased, and often irrelevant. To avoid adding to the ocean of misinformation in the human arena, self-awareness of our opinions posing as facts are vital.
Such self-awareness is all part of the process of discernment. We take what we learn about ourselves in prayer and meditation and use it to sort through what we know to be truth, fact, and opinion. The more we come to understand our worldview, and the facts and opinions swirling around in it, the more we can add to a conversation with actual facts or humble candor: “Here’s my opinion, for what it’s worth….”
reprinted with permission from TrueQuest Communications
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