Someone wrote me to ask me to cite theologians and passages from the bible so it is not just opinion. I thought it was interesting that he presumed that not only bible verses, but theologians too (and Toto too), instantiate fact, whereas I proffer “just opinion.” I wonder if he had known that I have a theological book in press at a real publisher, would he consider my quotes from myself to instantiate fact or fiction? I suppose it would depend on whether he agrees with what is quoted.
That anyone would consider a theologian’s published interpretation “fact” stupifies me. I am used to people regarding bible passages thusly, even though they too were written by human beings even if revealed by God. “Ah,” some of you are saying, “there is his true colors!” Well, yes. I do believe that religious texts can be inspired with a spiritual or divine basis, though there is still the matter of the human filter which must write down the words–and then there are the all-too-human copiers over the centuries. To treat a biblical passage as “fact” is essentally a verdict of one’s own convenience–and is religion reduced to that?
In any other domain, to treat some human interpretations as “fact” and others as “mere opinion” would be thrown out as poppicock–sheer artifice. One would wonder if the person had all of his or her marbles. Yet in religion, such common sense does not necessarily prevail. It would seem that some people are susceptable to “cognitive misfirings” that under normal circumstances would be diagnosed rather than enabled. Far from blaming those individuals in that context, I suggest that the problem is in religion itself.
So here is my question: what is it about religion that prompts or permits such lapses as in treating “favorable” opinions (i.e., to which one agrees) as fact while antithetical stances are deemed “mere opinion” even though both are written or spoken by human beings? So too, I might add, is the person who deems one opinion as fact and another as mere opinion. The distinction is being really used as passive aggression, you know. It is perhaps ironic that such stealth aggression would take place under the rubric of religion, for I believe there is much good possible when humans partake in religious experience.
So I proffer an investigation separating the wheat from the chaff in religion. What in particular is behind the false “fact” rendering as well as the presumption that one is in a position to declare only some opinions as facts? Underneath the problematic declaration is the presumption, which must also be explained in reference to religion. At the very least, it is ironic, is it not? But this is merely my opinion, is it not?