All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in fact, logic and argument than others.” – Douglas Adams –
I prefer to deal with facts. Black and white. Yes or no. Good or Evil. True or false. Male or Female. Cold hard facts. My name is Joe. I am a male. I use the men’s room all of the time. Vive la facts. Like the fictional detective Sergeant Joe Friday of the old Dragnet television series, “All we want are the facts, ma’am.”
There are, of course, those for whom the facts are a troublesome annoyance. In 1974, then Indiana Congressman Earl Landgrebe famously uttered these words during the Watergate hearings, “Don’t confuse me with facts: I’ve got a closed mind.” Spoken like a true politician (with a few rare exceptions, of course). You would think that living in the age of information and social media might just help to put an end to the rampant dispersing of misinformation and half-truths. Think again. It has actually exacerbated the problem.
At times, I can’t help but wonder if some people even know what a “fact” is anymore. Do you? I didn’t ask what you think a fact is. That would actually be your opinion. I am not really interested in your opinion right now. My question to you is, “what is a fact?” And by the way, the answer is not subjective. I doesn’t matter how you interpret a “fact”, disagree with a “fact” or deal with a “fact”. A FACT is a fact. End of discussion. Sorry relativists and coddled college students, one man’s fact cannot be another man’s fiction.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word “fact” is defined this way:
- something that truly exists or happens
- something that has actual existence
- a true piece of information
A fact can be checked and backed up with evidence. For instance, in 2012, Barak Husain Obama was elected president of the United States of America for a second time. It doesn’t matter if you liked this fact or not. It doesn’t matter if you disputed this fact. It doesn’t matter if you rejected this fact. It doesn’t even matter if you refused to accept this fact. It is FACT. It happened. And you could do nothing to change this mistake, err, I mean circumstance. It is a cold hard fact. In fact (tee-hee), we can do a “fact check” by looking at the numerous records which document and validate this particular event. That is why substantiated facts are usually considered to be reliable and therefore are often used in conjunction with research and study.
You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” – Harlan Ellison
And then there are opinions. Sometimes an opinion can have validity and therefore carry great weight. For example, when a judge or court of law renders an “opinion” as to the reasoning and the principles of law used in reaching a case decision. Doctors also refer to certain medical findings as an opinion. In this instance, the medical expert offers a formal statement of judgment or advice based upon substantiable knowledge and experience.
Nevertheless, most of the every day, run of the mill, random opinions that we all must deal with are usually based on a personal belief or point of view. These opinions are seldom grounded in evidence that can be checked. In my experience, many (if not most) of the avant-garde opinions that barrage us on any given day are often worthless. Why? Because, by definition, an opinion is simply a viewpoint or judgment formed about something that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty. In other words, “show me the facts”. I like what the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
Now here’s the problem: we live in an increasingly opinion energized social order. Just about everyone seems to have an opinion these days on just about everything in the world and of course, theirs is ALWAYS right. It has gotten so out of control that our society is now run less by the facts and more by the fiction of endless opinion polls regurgitated ad nausium by the driveling news media.
From Corporate Boardrooms to the spineless Halls of Government – it’s all about opinions. God forbid we just simply do what is right. Don’t confuse us with the facts; let’s just get everyone’s opinion before we make up our minds on how we should proceed. Truth? Right and wrong? That is just too… messy.
To be fair, writers will often mix fact and opinion, and at times it can be difficult to tell whether an article is based on truth that can be checked (facts) or someone’s point of view (opinion). So, read wisely and do your own homework. Just because somebody claims that something is factual – doesn’t mean it is true.
The proud wish God would agree with them. They are not interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s.” – Ezra Taft Benson
One more thing. I often talk about my faith in God and how the Bible is among the most accurate of all the ancient texts – religious or secular. Is that just my opinion or is it fact?
There are now in excess of 25,000 archaeological findings that validate various scriptural texts. There are well over 20,000 manuscripts and partial transcripts that corroborate its accuracy. There are also many extra-biblical writings that confirm the extraordinary life and times of the man we call Jesus. And remarkably, every prophecy recorded in the scriptures – except for those pertaining to future end time events – have been accurately fulfilled. I could continue laying out one fact after another, but that is not my purpose here.
Some say that the claims of scripture are just an opinion. But given the substantiable evidence available, I think not. The Bible contains within its 66 books things which truly exist and have occurred. It contains truth that can be checked and backed up with proof. The Bible is factual and reliable – not just opinionated. It contains the 10 commandments – not the 10 suggestions. To categorically reject the Bible’s teachings requires a measure of intellectual dishonesty, let alone spiritual blindness. And that is not my opinion. That is a cold hard fact, ladies and gentlemen.
And on that note, it is now – in fact – time for me to bid thee farewell.
This is a great article! (That, by the way, is just my opinion.)
14-17 “Yet you must go on steadily in all those things that you have learned and which you know are true. Remember from what sort of people your knowledge has come, and how from early childhood your mind has been familiar with the Holy Scriptures, which can open the mind to the salvation which comes through believing in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting error, for re-setting the direction of a man’s life and training him in good living. The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God and fit him fully for all branches of his work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 – J.B. Phillips New Testament)
Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabbid Coastal Junkie ®
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656