Clergy Confessional (27) Are all opinions created equal?

Categories: blog

So many opinions, so little time. The internet has opened the door to greater equality of thought – and this is often a good thing. The bad aspect of it is that now it doesn’t matter how much you know about a particular subject – if you thunk it, then it must be true! It reminds of a recurring character on “The Murphy Brown Show” – he would spout off some idea and then say, “And that’s all I know about that!” (or something along those lines). It doesn’t matter if you have a PhD in biology or have just looked at a book about the body – you can post your thoughts and believe that you are right.

Which is what I do for a living – I read scripture, study other people’s ideas, pray, think, and then form all of these thoughts and ideas into a sermon just about every Sunday. Am I always right? Of course! I am a legend in my own mind – but much of what I say and write is deeply considered and, I believe, true. But it is still my opinion and not all fact. The Apostle Paul had the same kind of thing going on – if you read 1 Corinthians 7, you will see how he struggled over questions posed by members of that church. Twice in that chapter he admits that he has no direction from Jesus, but gives his well considered opinion. Good for him – and it may have been true, but not necessarily fact.

We have gotten to a point where every idea and opinion is considered valid – and just like our teachers who said there are no stupid questions (there are), we have forced to say (to be polite) that there are no stupid opinions (from a universal point of view). That is also wrong. If you think blacks or Jews are inferior, you are wrong – and you are promoting evil. If you think that lesbian/gay/bi/transgender (there are others as well) people should not have the same rights as straight people, you are wrong – you may believe what you want from a religious point of view, but you can’t deem another person as inferior to anyone else. We have fought a number of wars over these very issues.

We fought a war to be free from tyranny – taxation without representation. We fought a war because some people wanted to keep people of African descent enslaved. We fought a war against fascism – we and the rest of the free world believed that Nazi’s and their kind are evil and need to be stamped out. And while we will never be able to completely rid ourselves of these vermin, we must continue to try.

I think chocolate is better than vanilla – that is an opinion. Believing that those who prefer vanilla are bad is not – it is wrong. I can believe that infant baptism is better than adult baptism, or the other way around – but to believe that those who don’t get baptized are going to hell is not an opinion – it is wrong. I believe that God created the heavens and the earth – an opinion. I also believe that evolution is real – a fact. You might agree with me, which, I believe, makes me a very smart person. You might disagree with me, which makes me wonder why. Either way, our opinions are like body parts – everyone has them, but not all should be shown in public. We can still respect, love, and maybe even like, one another. That, in my opinion, would be a good thing.  Peace.

Pastor Steve Ohnsman has served Calvary UCC in Reading, PA since July of 1999. He has a BA in Religion & Philosophy (Wilmington College of Ohio, an M. Div. with a focus on Preaching (Drew Theological Seminary, NJ), a D. Min. in Christian Ethics (United Theological Seminary, OH), and a Ph.D. in Leadership (Alvernia University).

Author: Pastor Steve Ohnsman