but this one wasn’t a phone call. It was a decision about a letter. I wrote the letter to my dad, and wrestled with it for a week. The decision was about the temptation to post a copy of it here. This morning I concluded that it should not be shared, because I couldn’t find any way that it’s personal and family information would actually help anyone else.
Except for one thing that isn’t personal or family information. It’s about a problem in our world that affects everyone in some way or other. So, I’m going to write this as an opinion piece to the whole world.
There is a misunderstanding that is one of the most fundamental we face. The differences between an opinion, a fact, and faith.
At the most basic, most people think they know what each of these 3 things is. However, when it comes to applying that knowledge, the meanings get blurred.
We accept that one person may not like our favorite sports team, or prefer one city over another, or prefer tea over coffee. Everyone knows that those are matters of opinion, and we generally respect those opinions.
We also know that a fact is something that is able to be tested, and proved, over and over by anyone trained to examine it. A fact is that riding a motorcycle without a helmet at low speeds is more risky than using the helmet. It is also a fact that the helmet probably won’t save your life in an accident at highway speeds, because the helmet can’t protect your neck.
But our real problem on this planet is the number of people who mistake faith for facts. The only difference between faith and an opinion is the religious nature of faith. Faith is an expressed belief in something that can’t be proved – thus it is an opinion on religion. Missing that one thing is why so much strife exists in our world anytime religions clash.
Please, people, learn to treat your own faith, and the faith of anyone who disagrees with it, as an opinion. Religious zeal has already caused too many wars, ruined families, and hatred among us. It is arguably, historically speaking, the #1 cause of preventable death globally.
Love really is the answer.