The Things We Love: Opinion vs. Truth

Our beliefs are something that we all hold dear, and our opinions stem from these beliefs. They are an extension of ourselves and our identity. That is why an attack on our opinion feels so personal and evokes such strong emotional responses. Because our opinions stem from our personal belief systems, they are subjective. People incorporate their life experiences into a framework when forming their personal beliefs. Because we all have vastly different life experiences, even if we use the same framework our opinions don’t always agree. Truth, conversely, is objective by its very nature. It is what it is. It is fact without the interference of circumstance or opinion. It is not changed by point of view or any other outside factor. It is unchanging.

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Psalm 145:18

Because Truth is unbending and unyielding, it can also be found quite offensive. In our ongoing efforts to not be judgmental or critical, we have allowed truth and belief to blend. This has lead us to the idea that truth is what we believe it is.

Because of the inflexibility of the truth, we are tempted us to blend in our personal views. But this only causes new problems. We have just turned something objective into subjective, from knowable to unknowable. In fact, it means that we can’t know anything without question. Things that were previously accepted as fact, like the Earth being round, have all been thrown into question. It is now up to us to decide what we believe is the truth. This rejection of objective truth has led to confusion about even the most basic truths.

The biggest problem with living in a world of subjective “truth” is that we continue to have intolerance of “truths” that are in conflict with our own. We all want people to respect our “truth” but we are unwilling to accept the “truths” of others who disagree. It puts you in a position where you must accept racism, bigotry, discrimination, misogyny, homophobia, violence, or insurrection because these people are only expressing their “truths”. This is a slippery slope where there is no right or wrong. There is only right or wrong for that person. If there is no absolute truth, how can we make a firm declaration that rape or murder are wrong? How can we have laws? How can we expect anyone to adhere to a moral standard? Following this path only leads us to collapse.

If we want to have the right to declare an action is right or wrong we must start by acknowledging that there are absolute truths. Standing by them may not always be popular, but a world without truth is a world in chaos. We all have a sense of morality, of what is right and what is wrong. In fact, that is what is required for someone to be able to stand trial. It’s no mistake that the 10 Commandments reflect our moral values as human beings. We may wish that what was right and what was wrong was different, that somehow we are an exception. But our belief that we are an exception does not make it true.

 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

1 John 1:8

The truth is I am a sinner, and I violate God’s commands on a regular basis. I don’t intend to, but it happens nonetheless. Making justifications for my actions only means I am in denial. As long as I remain in denial I will also remain proud and defiant. When I accept the truth, my pride is stripped away and I am humbled. The beautiful thing is this truth does not have to come with judgement. If I acknowledge my sin and humbly ask for forgiveness, Jesus has already redeemed us.

Then you will know the truth,

and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:32

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