Some interesting discussions about “opinions” going on. I’m rather pleased to see this because I think it’s a huge issue. Notice the word “discussion.” On the internet and in pop culture, often the exchange of opinions is anything but a “discussion.” It’s more like, let me whack you upside the head with my opinion. ‘Cuz you know, people respond best if you just whack them with something…..like a lawsuit. A threat. A heap of bad words and insults. Some mean tweets.
Chuckling here and this shouldn’t even have to be said, but myself we just don’t have any money so a lawsuit threat is dumb. Name calling just makes me go numb and my eyes glaze over. I also tend to just perceive threats as a challenge. Like really, you want to try push around an unpredictable woman who calls herself insanitybytes?
A guy on the internet once threatened my job, threatened to find out where I worked and tell my boss what I was really up to, Thinking All Wrong. Then he backed off and it was quite ridiculous because suddenly I was mad. Seriously! Like I was starting to get my hopes up here, singing “free at least, free at last,” and dreaming of not having a job anymore. I was ready to go stalk the guy down and boil his rabbit just for disappointing me.
I am a total sucker for grace, however. Seriously, a gentle answer, a thoughtfully presented idea, and I am toast. If you throw any humor in there, I’m a complete goner. Not only will I spend the next three weeks pondering your suggestion that the sky is green, I’ll help you do the research and gather the evidence. I’ll actually invest in helping to prove you right.
Alas, the truth matters. I’m not sure if it matters when we’re just arguing over what color a dress is. People can perceive things with some diversity, our eyes can be different. I call that little “t” truths, as in valid truisms from subjective reality. But the big Truth, the one with a capital T, that one matters. That one is worth haggling over.
The Truth is, not all opinions are equal and valid. Not all opinions are good, either. There’s this crazy idea in our culture that we must, “respect all opinions.” Uh, no, no I don’t think so. Some opinions are so bad they need to be shot down immediately. Some are just so pathetic, they should really just be laughed at. Others enter the murky gray realm of “maybe.” Maybe this is that edifying nugget we should take the time to chew on and discuss.
Those edifying nuggets are what you want to find. That’s where the real nutrition, the fruitfulness of human interaction lives.
Our culture has really made a muckery out of things. People seem to want to exist in that extreme that says, “all opinions are valid and if you don’t respect my opinion as totally valid, you are disrespecting me.” I’ve lost track of all the silly exchanges I’ve had with people accusing me of calling someone “wicked, evil, and despicable.” Did not! I said he was wrong. “Wrong” is not the same thing as wicked, vile, and doomed to eternal condemnation.
Good people can be wrong. Bad people can be right. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, right? Some bad ideas need to be expressed, for the sole purpose of speaking them out and seeing how silly they are.
Some good ideas should be held close and kept quietly to oneself.
This idea that being “wrong “makes someone “wicked,” needs to swirl the drain and have a good flush. It isn’t true. Conversely, this idea that someone is “right,” meaning a good person, also needs a thorough flush. The bible speaks of this truth in Corinthians, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing ..”
“To fathom all mysteries and all knowledge” is another way of saying “being right.” Bad people can be right, even serial killers can be right. It’s not the being “right” or “wrong” that creates the morality. Even the truth, beautiful as it is, spoken with the wrong heart at the wrong time, can become ugly.
I should like to see some fruitful discussions occurring more often within our culture, on the internet, within our faith. I should like Christians especially, to lead the way, because I think we can, because I think it is clearly laid out in our instruction manual.
Jesus told the disciples He would be crucified, die, be buried and on the third day rise. They walked with Jesus, they heard Him say this, and they trusted Him. And yet….. they buried him and just went home to grieve. They were wrong! Thank God they were wrong, because on the third day He rose just as He had said He would.
Being wrong is not always a bad thing. Sometimes being wrong is the best thing ever.