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Notes on Opinions, Genuine Conversation, and Faith as a Means to the Truth

A. Assessing the “Truth” of an Opinion / Seeking the Sometimes Elusive Truth!

1. Opinions have a wide range of validity and one must first ascertain exactly what is being
discussed or debated, i.e., is it something we know as factual, or does it lend itself to
“speculation” concerning its truth.

2. If it is a matter of proven fact (be careful of what you decide as “proven fact”) then whatever
opinion is most closely in line with the facts (most informed) is the better opinion. (We will
not debate gravity! But remember, at one time we would not debate the shape of the earth, we
knew it was flat!)

3. If the issue in discussion lends itself to speculation, then the one who is most informed about
the area will normally have the better opinion.

N.B. Remember, that even though some areas of study are more open to speculation, e.g.,
the soft sciences, this does not mean that within that “science” the only truth is what one
personally believes. Speculation is not a “carte blanche” for any opinion being correct.

4. On the other hand, some issues are clearly a “matter of opinion,” e.g., which tastes better, vanilla
or chocolate ice cream. (De gustibus non disputatem est.). In such instances, do not waste your
time trying to judge the other’s opinion or convincing them you are correct.

5. Because of our concern for the individual we often confuse one’s right to have an opinion with
the idea that all opinions are right. Remember, everyone has the right to his/her opinion, but not
all opinions are right.

B. The "Four Rules for Genuine Conversation"

1. I will do all in my power to fully and accurately listen and understand what you are trying to tell
me. (How will you know I really heard and understood you?)

2. I will do all in my power to fully and accurately communicate what it is I am trying to relate to
you. (How will I know you really heard and understood me?)

3. Whether it supports my position or not, I am committed to bringing up any truth, even if it

supports your position over mine.
(Never forget the goal of a genuine conversation is TRUTH.)

4. When we enter this conversation neither of us knows where or how it will end.

The art of real conversation is difficult and takes commitment and hard work.
Remember: The ultimate goal of any genuine conversation is TRUTH!

C. Issues to Keep in Mind When Learning the Truth Through Faith

¾ It is difficult to truly believe, and what a risk it genuinely is to authentically believe.

¾ It is difficult to keep an open mind in most conversations.
¾ Knowledge comes from others we trust and this should make us stop and consider who we “hang
with,” and who we allow to fill our minds with “truths.”
¾ Seeing is not believing; seeing, is knowing.