Public Opinion vs. TruthOne method that is used to change people's belief is the use of public opinion polls. It's a clever approach because we as humans — for the most part — like to blend in with the rest of society.
Daily we are confronted with "statistics" which are gathered from polls as to whether something is right or wrong. A colorful bar-graph in the corner of a newspaper may inform us that 55 percent of all Americans believe that one's "sexual preference" should not be a factor in determining whether they should be accepted into military; a TV network news program, before going to a commercial, may display a graphic showing that a majority of Americans believe the elderly and infirm ought to be able to commit suicide; a talk-show host may cite the results of a national poll that reveals that most Americans want the public schools to provide their children birth control advice and products. And the list goes on.
We are being fooled if we think this is anything other than an attempt to gradually change people's beliefs. The frightening part is that it's working. People are actually swayed by the results of polls. Confronted day after day that I am out of step with society, I am inclined to think that there must be something wrong with my thinking. Gradually, most people come around to thinking like most others in society.
The fact of the matter is that public opinion has absolutely nothing to do with determining truth. Though polls might be of interest to us, they should not influence our beliefs about right and wrong. A poll taken in Iraq would likely show that most of that nation favors the destruction of America. Does that make it right?
Of course, Christians are aware that our Lord expect us to be different from most of our neighbors. We are warned that we are not to be "conformed to this world" (Rom.12:2). So, it should not affect our convictions when we hear that we are not in the mainstream of our society. Our convictions are based on God's word, which does not change with the polls.
When told that most people believe one thing, let's not be ashamed to say that we believe something else — and that we believe it because our Creator has revealed the truth on the matter (Rom. 1:16). We need to remember that the vast majority of those polled are running headlong to destruction (Matt.7:13).
I once saw a sign which declared, "The Lord and I make a majority." That sounds good on the surface, but in reality, the Lord makes a majority whether I am with Him or not! It is my task to make sure that I am following Him — not "what seems right" which in reality is "the way of death" (Prov. 14:12).
One final point: What applies to polls of the general public, also applies to polls among brethren. Truth cannot be determined by finding out what most brethren believe and/or practice.