Truth, Facts, and Opinion

Mental and moral clarity on truth versus opinion:

We can get into real trouble when we fail to make basic distinctions. Consider the issue of truth versus opinion, or fact versus feelings. You are entitled to your own opinions, tastes and preferences, but you are not entitled to your own truth or facts. Truth is truth, and facts are facts, regardless of how you feel about them or think about them.

The law of gravity may not be to your personal liking, but it remains in place nevertheless. You can speak all you like about “my truth” but there is only THE truth. So pretend all you like that the law of gravity is just someone’s personal opinion, but if you leap off a ten-story building you will discover immediately that your mere opinion does not matter at all.

Or consider the woman who now” identifies” as a man. She can start lopping of her hair – and other bits – but she still has every single cell in her body screaming ‘female.’ Reality has a nasty way of getting in the way of our illusions and preferences. In a similar fashion, a square will always be a square, no matter how hard we try to identify it as a circle.

All this is also true in the realm of worldviews, religions, and truth claims. Contrary to what many people state, religions are NOT all the same, and do not all lead to the same God. Anyone who actually has studied the various major world religions closely knows how very different they actually are.

Pretending they are all alike is a case of intellectual vandalism. It is also a case of seeking to short circuit the truth. Opposing truth claims are NOT identical nor can they be readily harmonised. Sure, we want people of differing faiths to try to live peacefully with their neighbours, but that is a different matter.

All this came to the fore quite recently. In a new post about the film Sound of Freedom I mentioned that there is a very real place for going through a doctrinal checklist, but we need not always be on the same page with someone when it comes to saving our child from sexual predators. So one gal wrote in with this comment:

I’m surprised that anyone would criticise this film on the basis of the theology of those involved in the production. We don’t judge, or even ask, about the beliefs of our doctor, our plumber or the supermarket checkout person.


I’m also surprised, Bill, that you advocate a “theological checklist” be applied to a potential marital or business associate. Having worked in several workplaces in my career, I’ve rarely known what beliefs my fellow workers hold, nor has it seemed of any relevance in the secular world of business.


I married a man from a different faith tradition and we’ve been very happy together for over 30 years. We don’t argue about theology because we both know it’s a matter of personal opinion. Who knows, we could both be wrong. We’ll never learn or consider a new viewpoint if we don’t discuss such matters with an open mind.

As I started to write a response to cover her various points, it grew longer and longer. Given that it might be of some help to others, I decided to turn it into a full-length article. So what follows is what I had said to her in reply:

Thanks ****. But I need to explain to you why some things DO matter when it comes to theology. Yes, a qualified pagan plumber is just fine if that is all you need. And if you are one of a dozen or a hundred workers in a business, it may not matter at all to know about some or all of their personal beliefs.

But I was referring to a quite close business association, as in when you and one other person are considering getting into an important and costly long-term business partnership. Then you WILL want to know much more about the other person, and if you are a Christian, knowing his religious beliefs can matter greatly as well.

Knowing about another person’s theological stance does matter in a number of areas – at least if you are a biblical Christian who believes Scripture and takes it seriously. I just wrote a piece featuring a list of the areas where you do need a doctrinal checklist, and another list of things that do not require such a list:

Your comment came in just after I posted that, but I see we agree on at least a few things on the lists! Let’s reconsider the matter of a marriage partner. For those who do have a high view of Scripture, we have perfectly clear injunctions such as this from the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:14: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

This is not mere advice, but a command of Scripture. And that verse would certainly apply to marriage, and likely to things like very close business associations as well. If one does not like that command, they should not argue with me about it, but with God, since he was the one who inspired Paul to write it.

As to the two of you getting along nicely, that is great. And in general, it is a good thing when those of differing beliefs can live harmoniously with one another. Nothing amiss there. But I am referring to something rather different here. Things like interfaith worship services – and interfaith marriages – can only really work when those involved do not take their particular faiths very seriously.

For those who think that all religion is merely a matter of “personal opinion” with nothing right or wrong, and nothing true or false, then sure, they can all live happily together in one big kum-by-yah situation. But if truth claims are at stake here – and they are – then what one believes matters enormously – and has eternal consequences.

For example, if Christianity is true, then Islam can NOT be true. Consider the core beliefs of the former: Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died on a cross for our sins and rose again. But Islam of course fully denies all that. Again, if Christianity is true, then Buddhism is not true – one need not even believe in God to be a Buddhist. So all religions are not the same, and if one is true, it will cancel out most others.

All biblical Christians believe that truth matters, and it matters for eternity. As Jesus unashamedly put it: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). I – and all true believers –accept that as being fully and utterly true.

Thus I cannot be a Hindu, a Muslim, or an adherent of other world religions. And I could not marry someone who fervently believed in their religion over against mine. As Scripture also says, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3)

If religious claims were merely a matter of personal taste, like the flavour of ice cream, then yes, we would not need theological checklists. But if truth claims are at stake here, including the eternal destiny of every single one of us, (and they are), then yes, truth matters enormously, and it is not just a matter of personal opinion or preference. Then in certain key areas (who you hire as your minister, or who you have teaching in your seminary, eg.) you DO want to know what another person believes.

Lastly, as to the idea of being open-minded and learning from others, again, it all depends. If you want to learn new things about how to crochet or bake a casserole or repair your car, then sure, being open-minded and willing to learn is crucial.

But that is not how it works with truth claims – whether theological, mathematical, or what have you. There are real limits in other words in wanting to keep discussing and learning when someone comes to you insisting that two plus two does not equal four.

Claiming that truth is up to each person is no better than claiming morality is relative. What if someone insists that we keep an open mind about the value of stealing and trafficking children to satisfy the sexual lusts of adults. Some things ARE wrong and we do NOT need to be open-minded about them. We do not need to learn the other person’s point of view on things like paedophilia.

So we need to reject those things which are clearly wrong, and we need to reject those things which are clearly false. Keeping an open mind on some things is a real virtue. But in other cases, some open minds need to be closed for repairs.

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14 Replies to “Truth, Facts, and Opinion”

  1. You have such a clear mind Bill and able to say things in such a way, I am going to pass this on to my family who seem to be influenced by the
    “acceptance at all costs “ society.
    God bless you and the work you do

  2. One point that I need help with, and likely others, is the simple experiential truth: I have had more devastating wrongs done to me by sincere Biblical Christians than any other group. True. These were men I knew, not deep long-term friends, but I had enough time together to build trust and sincere belief in their Christian integrity. Yet, my and my family’s lives were nearly ruined in several cases by their dishonesty and shameful behavior. I forgive them, of course. The question is: just because someone is a sincere Biblical Christian, should we trust them? Or should we be careful and guarded with our trust as we would be with a pagan? [NB: I am not making the simplistic canard so many pagans make, the ‘all Christians are hypocrites’. I walk away from those discussions]

  3. Thanks Randall. You may already know the sorts of answers one can give here. First, if you have been gravely wronged by very religious people, you are not alone – others have as well. Above all, this happened to Jesus. As you would know, people will let you down – even Christians at times. Jesus however never will. As to trusting others, we follow the many biblical calls to be wise, prudent, discerning and the like. We are told to test all things. So we seek to do all that, even with other believers – or those who call themselves believers. Not being careful, and being gullible, are not biblical virtues. Our total trust should be in God alone.

  4. Truth is paramount. Without truth you cannot have justice for a start but people have been profoundly deceived. It is bad enough that deceitful terms like “homophobic”, ‘transexual”, “gender diverse” etc. etc. have made it into common usage but when we see intrinsically deceptive terms like “sexual orientation” actually making their way into laws with people apparently unaware of the issue, then we have real problems. As I say – truth is intrinsic to justice as, clearly, should be laws but not these days.

    It should be obvious. Sex is literally to do with requiring two variants, or sexes, within a species to reproduce. That is what sex means. When the term is abused to not refer to this, such as refering to sexual dysfunctions as simply a “sexual orientation”, then the deception is complete. If sex is to do with requiring different sexes to reproduce, which it patently is, then homosexuality is clearly not a “sexual orientation” – it is a sexual disorientation. The use of the term “sexual orientation” in this way is, itself, intrinsically deceptive.

    Homophobia is not a phobia, you cannot “trans” your sex, homosexuality is not “gay”, helping people overcome their delusions is not “conversion therapy”, constant hormone usage to make someone appear like the other sex is not “gender affirming treatment”, you cannot have diverse genders etc., etc., etc. It seems never ending.

    These sorts of deceptions are used repeatedly throughout these types of terms yet people just go on apparently blissfully unaware that they are being manipulated and deceived into using them. Once the terminology is justified by usage it, supposedly, is reasonable to then have it incorporated into law. Is this not wickedness?

  5. I don’t understand Michael’s comment. It is a biological fact that a small proportion of individuals are exclusively sexually attracted to others of the same sex. It happens with many animal species so it can’t be some kind of ideological bent.

    I know of fellow Christians who are so inclined and they often have had wretched experiences in church settings. We may not approve of their lifestyle but surely as Christians we have an obligation to show tolerance and understanding of their situation. Human sexuality is not as clearcut as some would believe.

  6. I don’t understand Georgina’s comment. It is a biological fact that a small proportion of individual adults are sexually attracted to children. It happens with some animal species so it can’t be some kind of ideological bent.

    Sorry, but you have simply swallowed radical secular left ideology while rejecting any semblance of biblical understanding on the issue. The Bible makes it clear that we are ALL fallen, so we are all born with a proclivity to self and away from God. Some folks might be born with a proclivity to anger or overeating. Indulging in these things because it seems “natural” is not how any of us should proceed.

    So simply looking to nature to establish moral norms is as foolish as you can get. And a few quick points on running with an argument from the animal kingdom:

    -This is nowhere near as prevalent as people claim.
    -Even so, so what? We are not animals.
    -Animals sometimes also kill and/or eat their young – should we do so as well then?
    -Neither humans nor animals can continue to survive in homosexuality – nature designed us to continue by heterosexual reproduction.

    God made us to have sexual relations ONLY in monogamous heterosexual marriage. Biblical human sexuality is completely clear-cut. We are not to tolerate the sin of homosexuality – or adultery or paedophilia, etc. – but assist those struggling in these area to get help and healing – something Christ can most certainly do. I know plenty of ex-homosexuals whose lives have been radically transformed by the risen Christ. God is in the change business, and anyone claiming to be a Christian should agree with him on this, and not tell him he is wrong as they condone sin and rebellion against God.

  7. I feel for you Randall I too have sometimes found Christians to be the most duplicitous and vilest bunch in existence. I’ve also found them to be the most love care people out there. It just depends on who you get attached to. My best advice is come up with a question list with a bunch of questions fundamentals and secondary, have them in separate sections, and use those to gage whether a group is worth joining. The more the merrier questionwise. And if there are specific things that have caused pass issues ask questions about them too so you know beforehand. You don’t have to mention yourself just ask as a general question.

    Michael one big problem is, in regard to laws, they go to testify at hearings and lie about things either through exaggeration or outright making things up and people believe them. People think since THEY wouldn’t lie to get a law pass, that exclusively targets Christians, they assume these people wouldn’t either. Most people have some form of morals or ethics that say lying is wrong so they think everyone does. But those who are in sexual rebellion against God have no such moral or ethical quandaries. Like all rebels inspired by satan “the ends justify the means”.

    Homophobe, transphobe these are simply the new catch all insults that racist and sexist used to be. Phobia means fear yet no one fears them. Yet they have turned phobia into meaning hate. The hatred is theirs. The fear is theirs. They hate God because he has declared certain things good and certain things bad and they fall under bad. They fear Christians because they KNOW what an unshackled Christian preaching the word can do. They deny the existence of ex-gays, and ex-trans, publicly but they KNOW they exist and are afraid of what could happen to their ranks if Christians were allowed to preach without repercussions. The funny, not in a haha way but sad way, is those serving the ENEMY know more about the power of Christ than those who are serving Christ.

  8. Bill, when you say “… interfaith marriages – can only really work when those involved do not take their particular faiths very seriously” I presume you mean the ‘Christian’ doesn’t take his or her faith seriously. For a devout Atheist, Muslim, Shinto etc believer to wed someone of a different faith might be permissible and workable so long as they were happy to compromise. Or am I being too generous to the evangelical\fundamentalist Atheists etc around? The stories of Muslims (forcibly) taking non-Muslim brides is fairly well known for instance – ISIS, Pakistan etc. Then again, perhaps I’m applying the definition of ‘really work’ too low?

  9. Thanks Andrew. Yes, Christians especially that are into interfaith activities would not have a very high view of their own faith, whereas some other folks from other faiths are keen on using interfaith activities to proselytise Christians or seek to water down or neutralise Christianity and its uniqueness.

  10. Following Michael Weeks comments to broaden the application somewhat.

    In various fora and discussion locales, we and many others argue against the Federal Government Bill to outlaw Misinformation and Disinformation (full title “Communications Legislation Amendment (Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023”).

    With this Bill, the government seeks to legitimise its behaviour, both past and future, as the final arbiter of truth.

    Once again, we see governments usurping the role of the church in society. God’s Truth has been entrusted to the Church (universal) to preserve and promulgate.

    God has given us all common sense sufficient to discern truth from error, plus brains and voices to combat misinformation and disinformation (aka “lies”) by exposing them to the light of Scripture, so that they can be measured against the benchmark of THE truth.

  11. The biggest problem with the terms misinformation, disinformation, hate and hate speech is they are broad terms that are never defined. This allows a I’ll know it when I see it approach to enforcement. Which leaves enforcement at best to the changing political winds, today the left enforces tomorrow the right etc, or at worst to unelected unaccountable bureaucrats who have lifetime jobs and typically skew in one ideological direction. Neither is preferable with the former being only slightly preferable to the latter.

  12. The Bible and objective truth in the West have been replaced by personal opinion and subjectivity. Truth is not what one thinks but what one feels. A crime is no longer objective but what causes shock, offence, alarm and distress to LGBTQ+s. The novel crimes of Homophobia and its logical extension, transphobia are some of the greatest weapons of the 21st century being used to silence all criticism and paralyse nations into submission.

    It was two homosexual activists Karl-Maria Kertbeny and Karl Heinrich Ulrichs who, appealing to bogus science, the theory of evolution, coined the hoax polarities or binaries of “homosexual” and “heterosexual” as biological or genetic realities, around 1867/9, as a way of justifying their behaviour. Apparently over millions years the Homo Habilis, Homo erectus, Homo Sapiens (a heterosexual) developed into the superior species of homosexual – in the same way that the blue-eyed and blond German was supposed to represent the final stage in the evolution of man, the Aryan or Master Race, whose right it was to inherit Earth and expunge all lesser species.

    It is more accurate to call the gay man a homophile who apparently has a biological and genetic romantic and sexual attraction to those of the same sex. This is called homophilia. over which the homophile apparently has no more control than the beating of his heart and physical maturation, Homosexuality is its outward and physical expression, a behaviour over which he does have volitional control. But though the behaviour was beginning to be decriminalised in the US in the late 1950s and 1960s, it was still deemed a mental condition, a paraphilia, an irrational and inordinate addiction for someone of the same sex – that is until 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association removed it from its diagnostic manual of mental disorders. One of those who was instrumental in its removal this was the psychologist George Weinberg who replaced the philia with a phobia, homophobia, a word he coined around 1967. The fact remains, however, that not one person has ever been clinically diagnosed with this condition.

    In the same way that the homophile as a genetic and evolutionary human type is pure fantasy, so is the homophobe a mythical creature who is simply frightened of another class of mythical creatures. But worse still are sections of society the homophobephobes who are frightened of the homophobes. (similar to those petrified by the Himalayan abominable snowman) This is one of the most successful pieces of brainwashing and hysteria mongering of the 21st century.
    But if the homosexuals are able to claim that they cannot help what they do because homophilia is genetic, the “homophobes” can also claim that the same thing.

    However what is not imaginary or fantasy are the consequences of practising sodomy and LGBTQ+ sexual behaviour. Our fear of what they do to our bodies, minds, emotions, personal relationships is very rational. The sexually transmitted diseases, megalomania, paranoia, bi-polar disorders, depression, sociopathy, abuse, violence, hatred and suicide come as standard to this product and major export from Britain. Our hatred of the pride, haughtiness, narcissism, lying lips, heartless cruelty, bullying, vicious scheming, division, disrespect of parents and hatred of all things that are pure, righteous and mockery of God is not only rational but justified.

    David Skinner UK

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