Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about opinions. Everybody’s got them, some more, some less. Some strong, some mild. But to varying extents, we all take a stance on the issues surrounding us. Far too many people are quick to cement judgements lacking both complete information and proper perspective.
Pondering about the nature of opinions has led me to the following conclusion: before I used to see opinions as fixed possessions – either you have one or you don’t, but recently I realized that opinions are actually more like gradients of certainty. On any one particular issue I fall somewhere along a continuum. There are some things I am quite certain about: my faith in God, the invaluable worth of every human soul, the sanctity of the family, just to name a few. There are many, many more things where I might have an inclination one way or another, but I recognize that I am far too uninformed to claim a decisive opinion: health care problems in the United States, the Israel-Palestine conflict, the best way to reform education, and so many others. As evidenced by these examples, I am certain of my values, and less certain how these values can be applied to solve the messy and controversial circumstances of real life and real world problems.
If you ask me, the first way to develop an informed opinion is to recognize that you will not and cannot ever be fully informed. And then immerse yourself in that very quest.