I don’t have to tell you that we are a society obsessed with opinion polls. At any given moment in time you can find out what 1000 people think of the president, congress, weathermen, lawyers, Coke vs. Pepsi and even the brand of toilet paper you use. Think tanks like Rasmussen and Gallop join CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox and any 123 outfit in telling us what everyone else thinks and therefore how we should think; that is, if we want to fit in, be accepted and have politically correct thinking.
There are even websites designed for us little people. Sites like SurveyMonkey provide online polling and survey tools to small businesses, churches and even individuals to conduct their own polls to find out what people within their circle of influence think about anything and everything.
And why shouldn’t we have a gazillion polls? What could be more democratic? Polls allow people to give their honest opinion anonymously, of course. Polls allow politicians, corporate ceos, and even religious leaders to change their course at any time, “because the poll shows…” And polls fit right dab into the middle of the American short attention span. The “How’s the President Doing Poll?” for today will quickly be forgotten by next month.
I was curious when all this polling got started. One source suggests the first poll was conducted by The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian in 1824 showing local voters favored Andrew Jackson over John Quincy Adams by 166 votes in that year’s presidential race. Why am I not surprised that we ingenious Americans started this whole thing and for, what else, a presidential election.
Already in the spring of 2011 poll after poll is being thrown at us showing how this potential presidential candidate will match up against President Obama and if the election were held today, would Mr. Obama win. Well, the election isn’t being held today or any day for the next 555 days and there is little doubt what Americans think today will have no resemblance to what they will think by November 2012. What a colossal waste of communication and time.
I am not against polls and surveys. They have their place and can be a valuable tool in strategic planning and goal setting. What concerns me is our societies obsession with this tool. Obsession is defined as “the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, desire, etc.”
Modern day opinion polls dominate our nation and are a classic example of democracy run amuck! Sadder still is the misdirection of this obsession. As long as we are more concerned with the opnions of our fellow man rather than the opinion poll of our Creator, we miss the only real thing that counts in this life; our relationship with our Creator and with our fellow man.
66 books were written in God’s letter to us explaining His opinion, but I believe it can be summed up in a question and answer session Jesus had with a young lawyer in Matthew 22:35-40 (KJV).
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”
In other words, “Jesus, what is God’s most important opinion?” Jesus answers…
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”
Then without waiting for the lawyer to ask, Jesus adds…
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
And just to make sure there is no confusion about whose opinion counts…
“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
In other words, “Man’s opinions better jive with the first two commandments.”
The margin of sampling error for this poll is ZERO percentage points with a 100% level of confidence.