Opinion, opinion, opinion

Monday, April 02, 2007

Hey, i love opinions - but sometimes, opinions start stacking up and start amounting to arrogance.
as matt once said, "sometimes people tell you so you know, and other times they tell you so you know that they know." unfortunately.

sometimes people feel bummed about themselves and their lack of intelligence so they start reading/listening a whole bunch of stuff, usually uncritiqued, and start spewing information. information doesn't equal knowledge. you've got knowledge when you've actually processed something. don't swallow everything you consume.

it's dangerous to take something in unchecked, whether it's opinion an unchecked source or even from a trusted individual. think it through. it's important to think where does a certain opinion take us? thoughts are steps that take us down roads that we might not expect; and even more significantly, form in us a character that look more, or less, like Christ.

further, it's also tempting to just consume some information just so i have something to say, look better in someone else's eyes, or even just make myself feel better 'cause i then don't feel as ignorant. i think that i look way more ignorant if i just spit out something that i had read once, didn't really think it through, 'cause the other person who actually knows something about the subject will find it quite transparent.

on another tangent, it got me thinking about humility and what does that actually look like.

________ and i had a great, although short, conversation about this - where he's taking in a lot of material about spiritual things, but he felt as disconnected from God as he has ever been. hey, been there. four full years of downing lots of writings from thomas aquinas, martin luther, soren kirkegaard, and contemporaries such as gordon fee, a.w. tozer, etc. and what? i watched people in college, first years nonetheless, suddenly see all the flaws in church, figure they can pinpoint what the pastor is doing wrong, and start to think that they have all the answers. i started towards this tendency, and my father warned me, and asked me "you've got one year of bible college behind you, what do you think you know...?" i was stunned - i suddenly wasn't so sure.

now, i know it seems like i am anti-knowledge, anti-learning. well, that would be unbiblical. it says in proverbs, "For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding..." (2:6). we are to pursue it with all of our hearts (1-3). uncle john says, "there is no useless information." definitely. the more we know, the more we can be aware - but what i argue is concerning to what end? why we do pursue to know what we know? to benefit simply ourselves? or...? Interestingly enough, paul says "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" (1 Corinthians 8:1). elsewhere he also says, "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing" (2 Cor. 13:2). so there is this balance we must strike - knowledge with love. just knowledge and we're arrogant ("puffed up"), and just love? ignorant.

knowledge, once it's produced from information, is great when served with love and humility. love removes the Self from the equation thus moves the slider away from arrogance.

a super-wonderful example of humilty served with knowledge is Dr. Kulathungam. one of the most brilliant men that exists on earth today, claims consistently that he knows nothing. Mr. Philosopher of Philosophy definitely knows something, but to him, the more he has learned the more he has realized that there is much more to learn. and that makes him refreshing to be around.

as my mom would say, "who cares if you have straight A's if nobody likes you?"
amen mom.


  1. Completely solid.
    I have one thing to add to the mix. I do think there might be a difference between "spewing information" and working something out. Sometimes conversations and explaning something you've been thinking about is part of filtering it for yourself. Its a fine line to walk, but I want people even to be able to spew information around me and feel like they won't be judged. Instead I can offer my opinion and where I stand and let them work it out for themselves. Perhaps consuming information mindlessly could also come from conversations where an opinion is dictated. I've realized more and more how relationship is a huge part of how God works.

  2. Hey Kathy, nice post.
    A dew things,

    "love removes the Self from the equation thus moves the slider away from arrogance." - this part caught my eye because that's what scientific research methods seek to do, to remove the Self - the individual from the equation so that one is left with unadulterated 'fact' - doesnt always work, maybe b/c love isn't always involved.

    Just a suggestion -
    I think it might be better to use the word "intellect" or "subject knowledge" instead of "intelligence" near the begining of this blog because "intelligence" is quite a loaded term. It is often taken to refer to a tangible thing that everyone has different amounts of and is stable and measureable. This is kind of wrong, it's also used to refer to a measurement of potential in a particular field and I don't think that that is what you're referring to. i think you're saying that people sometimes realise that they don't know much about something, so they read up on it, but fail to think about it and end up using the new information wrongly. Otherwise I read it as if you were saying that sometimes people feel bummed about being stupid (or something like that).

    Finally, I totally hear you, the worst part of voicing unexamined opinions is when others take your "knowledge" as true, act on it, and end up with sad consequences, I call this the backlash of being opinionated.

    peace out

  3. Right awn K-dawg!

    Ha! I think I'm one of those people that Chuck is talking about that works out their beliefs in public.

    The effort to articulate my partially formed ideas definitely helps me define what I 'know'.

    ...and we all continue to grow. joe.

    Great post.

  4. Nice post, Kathy.

    Knowledge = Properly processed information

    Wisdom then develops from the ability to use that knowledge wisely to build each other up.

    Just one minor Biblical correction, if I may...

    "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing" is 1 Corinthians 13:2, not 2 Corinthians.

    Just a typo, I suppose :-)

  5. oh people...
    thanks so much for your comments! i wrote this at 3:30am while i was waiting to be un-itchy (hive attack again). i do appreciate all the corrections, and additions. i've dreamt of a blog like this where people would discuss their thoughts. LOVE IT!

    matt - agreed on all your points. but just to be clear, the topic of my blog is that some people tend to accumulate information in order to lord it over other people, and i just want to avoid that.

    mercy - good suggestion. perhaps the word i could have used would have been 'informed' or something like that.

    dave - i think discussing your partially formed thoughts is great and fine. however, i think that we should be careful to discuss it with people we trust, as to not have our partially formed thoughts influenced in the wrong direction. probably not as much a concern now that we're older, but definitely while we were younger and didn't quite know where we stood on anything.

    Andrew - your attention to detail astounds me. :-)

    i hope we can all do this again...

  6. Amen. Thank you for hitting home.

  7. i love our mom.

    who cares if you got straight A's if nobody likes you.

    i might cry now.


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