Faith, Fact and Opinion

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Everyone believes that their opinion is the correct one. If they didn’t, they’d change their opinion! We have problems when individuals think of their opinion as not an opinion, but a hard, solid, immovable fact. It seems to me that Christian people do this more than anyone else. They stop being people of faith and, instead, become people of a long list of facts.

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” Mark Twain

But their facts are actually their faith as they currently understand it. Their facts are what they believe intellectually about God (and many other things) but they are not prepared to truly examine their, so called, facts for fear it would show a weakness of faith.

“Trusting in my own mental understanding becomes a hindrance to complete trust in God.” Oswald Chambers

I believe that people of faith should be the least rigid when it comes to our opinions – our intellectual list of beliefs – no matter how strongly we feel, or how convinced we are of their truth. As we experience the overwhelming grace and mystery of God we realize that the basis of our faith is not having the facts right in our heads, but a surrender of our will to the Spirit of God.

We should be the most accepting of other people with their different opinions. The most ready to openly discuss and empathize. The least defensive and bound to our opinions. The least likely to attack others when they present different, even contrary, opinions. What we believe and how sure we are about our beliefs should never be the foundation for our identity. Our identity is found in Christ Crucified and ONLY there.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

If we’re ever going to get along, we must learn to see that much of what we think we know as fact, is actually opinion. And we must have the humility to carry ourselves with our opinions as opinions; ready to discuss the differences between opinions with generosity and willingness to be challenged and learn. People of faith must rest in the assurance that our faith in Christ is not dependent on human opinion, nor agreements on any list of earthbound facts. There will never be unity if the prerequisite is that everyone must agree with me.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3 (NIV)

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