Marilyn Chandler McEntryre On “Opinions”

In Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre writes the following passage concerning “opinions:”

I’ve been struck by how often slant [one’s perspective] is confused with bias – as though having a point of view, a set of assumptions, or a firmly held opinion is in itself unscrupulous or unfair. But opinions are the stock-in-trade of thoughtful people, to be earned and held strongly until further evidence requires their modification.

Perhaps suspicion of opinion, or the hesitancy to form one… comes from long exposure to opinions aired too soon on too little evidence, adopted without argument, for purposes of private gain.

Opinions are the selling points or sticking points more often than points of departure from which one takes stock before embarking on further investigation or reflection.

pp. 41-42

I like a lot of what McEntyre says here, particularly the applications this has to the Christian writing life. I’ll address just one here:

I think what McEntyre rightfully names “suspicion of opinion,” and “the hesitancy to form one,” has contributed to a pseudo-intellectual culture that praises the apolitical and non-opinionated.

That is, the fallacy that says: All of you out there can talk about those fine points of theology or those complicated political platforms, but I will stay silent because that’s always the wiser thing to do.

I certainly have bought into this myth.

On the other hand, I suppose that in the day-and-age where Christians writers have more opportunity to share their writing than ever before, it is wise to push back a little and consider the limits of one’s own expertise.

And, even if an opinion is a point of departure, is it the right choice for me as a writer to make that journey in the public eye?

If you write, then this is a balancing act you need to keep in mind. We all have personal opinions, some backed by degrees while others are still in infancy, and we need to consider which ones we want to define our writing.