The Worthless Nature of Public Opinion
Dr. Randy White
“But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, ‘Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.’” (Acts 28:3–4,)
One of my favorite stories from the realm of public opinion is Paul’s experience with the viper on the Island of Malta. Being bitten by this snake, the local population, no doubt superstitious from local pagan religions, were convinced that Paul must have been a murderer (and he was!) whom the gods were not going to allow escape. It was just a little while longer, however, when the same crowd “changed their minds and began to say he was a god” (v. 6).
Public opinion is a fickle thing. In any election year, watch how a candidate almost instantly becomes a public favorite, and just as quickly becomes the scorn of the public. Opinions of the public change with every wind.
The problem on the Island of Malta was a set of assumptions that were false. It is important that you build a solid biblical worldview, because your worldview is your set of assumptions. Those who make solid assumptions will make solid judgments of people and events around them. A society of people who quickly change their judgments—from murderous criminal to god-like status—is indicative of a society with no foundations.
In His Grace,
Dr. Randy White
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