On Sunday, May 24, I watched the 11 a.m. mass on Eternal World Television Network. I prefer the EWTN telecast to the St. John the Baptist live stream feed because the EWTN production is captioned.

Father Mark Mary said the mass. In his homily he asked an intriguing question: “Is there truth outside of ourselves?” He went on to say that for many people, the answer is no. Many people no longer rely on facts to form beliefs, but rather form beliefs and try to hammer the facts to fit what they believe. Whether that was what Father Mary intended, I don’t know. But it struck a chord with me.

Do you remember the term “information overload?” Back at the beginning of the personal computer age (yes, I’m that old) people began to find themselves unable to make a decision because they had so much information, and were constantly getting still more information. Well, we’ve evolved. Now it seems many people grab one piece of information, and hold onto it for dear life, often ignoring other pertinent information.

Many — maybe most — people feel they are entitled to their opinion. Sorry, that’s not logical. One can’t discredit opposition to one’s opinion by merely claiming one is entitled to his or her opinion.

We do have a right to form our own opinions or beliefs. But we also have a responsibility to do more than decide what’s true based on the number of likes or shares an idea gets. Just because you or I like something someone says doesn’t make it truth. And just because you or I choose to not believe in something doesn’t necessarily make it false

Think about it.

Facts are not the source of all the polarity that divides us today. Rather, it’s our unwillingness to consider facts as others might see them. The truth outside of ourselves gets shouted down by the truth inside of us — and that inside truth may be based on nothing more than that we are comfortable with it, compared to the uncomfortable truth of the outside world.

Some of you, reading this, will deny that you’ve ever ignored facts to cling to a belief. Don’t kid yourselves. It’s human nature for us to want to be right, to believe that we are right. My years in marketing taught me that an opinion once formed is hard to change, even in the face of overwhelming facts. And very few people will admit they just believe something for no good reason, other than they want to believe it.

The Quote: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Thom Boncher is a retired marketing communications manager, former Jordan City Council member and Jordan resident since 2003.

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