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Saturday, June 27, 2015

God, Opinions and Reality

Our society has exalted the notion that each of us is entitled to our own opinion. When we Google the word opinion, it is defined as "a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge." In other words, an opinion doesn't have to be rational in nature - it can be based on a whim or a feeling. Thus, most of us believe that we have the right to be whimsical and irrational if we choose to be.

At first glance, this seems very reasonable and democratic to most of us. Many of us, however, have taken this notion and ran with it. We've extended this to mean that we are entitled to our own reality. Reality (as defined by Google) is "the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them." In other words, we can dispense with science, history, current events and the opinions of other folks if they do not comport or agree with our opinions.

If most of our opinions are conservative, we can watch Fox News and not have to deal with the "liberal mainstream media." Likewise, if most of our opinions are liberal, we can watch MSNBC and have those opinions reinforced and validated. If we are religious, we can watch one of the numerous channels devoted to religious programming. We can also send our children to private schools where they won't be exposed to evil concepts like evolution or the acceptance of homosexuality as normal. We can refuse to read things that contradict or disparage our beliefs, and we can exclude people from our fellowship who don't agree with us. In other words, we can create our own reality - a world that exists just for us, and that shelters us from the real world that exists outside of our cocoon.

Hmmm, Didn't Jesus say: "I'm not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one?" --John 17:15 Yes, we have the right to our own opinions, but do we really have the right to our own reality?

3 comments:

  1. Thanks, Lonnie, but I would have to answer yes to your question. I think having the right to our own reality fits well with having the right to our own opinions and our God-given free will. I agree that the negative examples you give are negative but I believe one could list positive ones as well. Asking if we have the right to our own subjective reality is another way of asking what is the nature of reality.

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  2. So reality is completely subjective? That doesn't bode well for Fundamentalists does it?

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