A couple of weeks ago I was having a discussion with a friend (you know who you are!) about various “macro” subjects: Bible, culture, politics (and how they all intertwine). As our discussion progressed (and regressed) we came to a point where my friend said “that’s just your opinion.” and then expected that our conversation to be over.
I’m sure you’ve been in a conversation like this before. You are trying to put forward one set of ideas, the person you are talking with is trying to refute them. Ultimately you come to a point of pressing where you’ve reached something of a bottom or base of argumentation. It is upon this foundation that much of your argument stands or falls. When talking about the Bible this foundational aspect in your argumentation often rests on a portion of scripture. When this point of the argument has been reached there can only be two roads.
The first road is one where the person begins to see how your argument fits together (based on this foundation). During the first half of the discussion they have been pushing you deeper and deeper down into your argumentation. Now that you’ve reached a perceived bottom the opposite starts happening. They see the foundation and, together, you start building up from there back out toward the opening part of the discussion but this time the person you are talking to is tracking along rather than hitting the breaks.
The second road is one where the person disagrees with you foundation and either offers an entirely different mode of thought or the conversation ends with them saying something like “that’s just your opinion” or “that’s your interpretation.”
This particular conversation ended (sort of) with my friend saying “that’s just your opinion.”
I, honestly, was a little frustrated when they said this because I was really hoping to show them (with more clarity) my line of thinking in several areas. Because of this frustration I decided to press back on this common objection (“that’s your opinion”).
When they responded “that’s just your opinion” I retorted back “Well that’s just your opinion.”
My friends responded to this with slight bewilderment. They responded “What do you mean?”
I said “When you tell me that my interpretation of “X” passage of scripture is ‘just my opinion’ you are just giving your opinion.”
What I went on to try and tell my friend is that the argument “that’s just your opinion” is self defeating. The reason it is self defeating is because it itself is an opinion that says “opinions aren’t valid.”
Ultimately all we can really give is opinions. Our opinions should be based on solid presuppositions but even those presuppositions are opinions. What all (that’s clean sweeping!) comes down to is consistency. If any part of are argumentation claims logic then logic then holds a claim on the entirety of our argument. Therefore, the more consistent the argument being put forth the stronger it is. Much of our post-modern world is very inconsistency in the way its views hold together. People aren’t taught to think how economic policy and gay mirage hold together and are connected. That’s why you can have “conservative” pundits claim that all they care about is the economy and want to leave the “moral” issues out of politics.
Who said economics isn’t moral?
Who said “politics” should be involved in anything?
Who said our economic policy of making up money our of thin air isn’t connected to people making up sexuality our of mid-air?
Everything (including economics and sexuality) is connected, namely because the mystery that God revealed in Christ is that all things are connect to Jesus (Eph. 1:9)
Food for thought.