The Internet is a never-ending source of arguments. The last squabble I witnessed was about how a particular group judged others. Someone else said they weren't judging, they were expressing their opinions. I thought, isn't a judgment an opinion at its core? Where is the line between the two?
Dictionary.com defines judging as "an act or instance of judging. The ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion. The demonstration or exercise of such ability or capacity."
The site defines an opinion as "a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty. A personal view, attitude, or appraisal. The formal expression of a professional judgment."
So since the word judgment appears consistently in the definition of opinion, but opinion only appears once in the definition of judgment, I feel like its safe to assume that at its core, an opinion is a judgment. Does this mean that issuing a judgment is better than having an opinion?
One of my coworkers remarked upon dropping me off at home after work that she didn't know how I could live alone. She said she'd be too lonely away from people. I told her I was not pretty, so I wasn't lucky enough to have suitors in my face all the time. She countered back that I was indeed pretty. I told her that that was only her opinion, and it didn't match what a great many other people have told me. So, does she have an opinion while I have a judgment on the situation, or vice versa? Or, can things change if all information is known by participating parties?
I'm not sure how much she knows about extroversion or introversion, but would her opinion change if she knew I was severely introverted? Would her opinion of my situation change if she knew the hardships I've endured in the past living with family, dorm mates, friends, and ex-coworkers? Or would she still hold to the opinion that living alone is lonely; no matter how unpleasant the living situation is? Is living in sadness really better than living alone?
There are unfortunately many situations where people choose to live unhappily than live alone. A big reason some do that is that they don't have the money and resources to escape. However, no matter why they stay, people talk about their reasons for staying. In the past its been easy to say that these people are passing judgment when they talk about it but in actuality their just expressing negative opinions. If they knew all the facts, then their conversations would be full of judgments instead of opinions.
Though socially its frowned upon to be judgmental, people value judgment over opinion any day. Our freedom after committing a societal wrong is decided by a judge. They are given all the circumstances before making a judgment. In science, hypotheses are opinions that are yet to be proven then upgraded to theories where they are then taken seriously as possible facts. And if you are Christian, the highest judge of one's moral actions on earth is God, who doesn't make a judgment based on opinion, but rather on seeing everything you do.
Now, though we prioritize judging than opinion, does this mean that judgments are right? Many people will say someone is a thief if they steal. Upon learning that they stole something to help a family member, the initial opinion is now a judgment that the theft took place to benefit someone else and shouldn't be seen so harshly. Yes, an item was stolen. Wrong was still committed. Just because it was justified doesn't make the offense void. Judging can be just as detrimental as bad opinions.
How can we escape a society that upholds judgments as facts and opinions as tolerable? Whose to say whose views are true or not.