If there is a God — and the fine print in human reasoning demonstrates there is — does he take a dim view of the Opinion page? Do our opinions at times resonate implausible, seem a bit stagnated, as if fished from a thought pool no more potable than standing water? Does our current template for opinion waver from longstanding lines of integrity? Stacked up against the superlative — God’s opinion — do our most well thought out views ring hollow, seem a bit juvenile? Better yet, does God even have an opinion?
Because I would like to know where we stand as a people. Have fair play and moral conduct become passé? Does any part of propriety remain salvageable, or has the warranty on decorum expired unrenewed?
Opinions can be very telling. They can strike us in the way a sincere handshake warms the heart, or they can be as unnerving as barking dogs. Too often our opinions are unbecoming reflections of who we are, our choice of words falling far short of troubling the waters in a healing way. Opinions can be lauding or steeped in resentment, a palpable anger underscoring less than flattering words.
Are we naturally disposed to such mischief? Are we basically wicked people?
Sadly, the evidence points to the affirmative. So much so that I wonder, when life fizzles out, will it be the redeeming grace of the recycle bin or the tragedy of the trash heap we have to look forward to? Does hope still carry the sweet promise of fulfillment and/or reconciliation, or have we frittered that away too? Does hope, in spite of adversity, remain relevant in our lives?
To be clear, I’m speaking of the God of the Bible; God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the same God compelled to send the Great Flood, his opinion of mankind, at the time, evidently at an all-time low. The In-God-We-Trust God; the one-nation-under-God God; the God whose houses of worship remain targets of defilement. The God whose people have been rounded up, denigrated and dispersed; the God booted from our schools — the God of ruthless debate and opinion. That God.
If by opinion we mean something thought out but open to dispute then, no, I don’t believe God offers opinion. The God I speak of is a preeminent lawmaker, setting down imperatives the way Egypt’s pyramid builders laid 10-ton limestone blocks; his “opinions,” if you’re disposed to calling them that, geometrically correct, patently rigid, weighty and, once in place, immoveable.
But this should come as no surprise. Even a child will tell you that God is all-powerful, present in all places at all times, and knows our every thought. While we fundamentally opine from the lowlands, God commands the high ground. He’s the “all-seeing eye” in and out of the court of jurisprudence.
When I waited for the school bus, God waited with me. When the bus arrived and the doors squeaked open, there was God — he was not only with me but, at the same time, on the bus with the other kids too. Absurd? Do you think time and space absurd? They exist in dimensions beyond our ability to rationalize, and yet we take them for granted. God is no different, occupying a dimension not privy to us. It’s that simple.
Few opinions, if any, should be taken literally. Opinion should be taken with a grain of salt, viewed with a modicum of skepticism. Some opinions amount to little more than literary caricatures, portraying others in degrees of exaggeration, the targets of our bias painted with ludicrous distortions, like an artist’s rendering done in the abstract. So, who is the greater “fool” in this flawed Shakespearean tragedy we call opinion, the wily angler, or the one who readily consumes what he has to offer, hook, line and sinker?
If I had to guess one place where God is missing, it would be in the context of fallacious opinion, plausible arguments doped with invalid inferences. “Methinks (we) doth protest too much.”
Donald E. Melville, author and regular contributor to Messenger Post, resides in Honeoye. He welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.