“Now Let’s Not Be Judgmental!”

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/05/14 at 10:00 PM

How many times have we heard this or something like it. When someone says this, it is a signal to cease all conversation or discussion about a particular topic because something “offensive” might be said.

The ability to make judgments is a function of the human intellect. No other creature has this gift. There are two kinds of judgments. The first is external and objective which enables us to evaluate actions or ideas from the viewpoint of the five senses, or from a historical perspective or from past  experience.  We make these judgments routinely when we decide whether something is good or bad, wise or unwise, necessary or unnecessary, moral or immoral. Christ Himself gave guidance for these kinds of judgments when he said that we could judge something by its fruits, by its effects. He made such judgments often…when He cursed the fig tree, when He called Herod a fox, when he dispersed the money-changers.

The other type of judgment is subjective and internal. This occurs when someone declares that another person is a sinner, or that Bin Laden is in Hell, or that so and so is heading for Hell. Such judgments are not within our mental competence. We simply do not know how anyone stands in the sight of God. He is the “scrutator cordium”, the searcher of hearts and He alone knows how guilty we are or are not. Thus this kind of judgment is never allowable.  It is this kind of judgment that Christ warns us about when he tells us not to judge others. (Many erroneously use this verse to avoid all intellectual judgments.)

The modern problem with judgments does not lie in the physical or earthly realm; it lies in the spiritual realm. Thus no one objects to passing judgments on sports teams, restaurants, customer service, autos etc… But, when the topic is religion and morality, negative judgments are not wanted, even if thy are objectively true. One’s personal view of religion and morality (or lack of it) are considered to be sacrosanct and no one has the right to object on any grounds, not even logical grounds. Thus if someone equates Christianity with Islam, and many do simply because both religions worship one deity (not the same God, but a single God). Thus contradictions are quite acceptable in this attitude. The Christian who says God is a triune God  is no more right than the Moslem who claims a unitarian god.

This attitude or philosophy clouds our rational judgment. Reason rejects contradictions, but some, for the sake of “being nice” will accept all kinds of nonsense just to avoid “offending” someone. The result is a mishmash of conflicting ideas and a society wandering in a labyrinth of uncertainty and doubt.

The failure to be judgmental when it is called for means that the person who holds the objectively false idea can never be corrected. He is seen to be better off left in his error than that to be offended. (If he is offended, he might resist and come to hear valid objections to his position.)

Failure to express reservation about false ideas also means that a person is not given a better alternative and perhaps has  lost an opportunity to improve his religious or moral practice in accord with divine Revelation.

Objectively speaking, those who insist on living out their false philosophies are not living in accordance with God’s plan for the human race. We don’t have the option of rejecting God without consequences. Our free will allows us to so, but there will be consequences. Too many people today have  forgotten (if they ever knew) that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Modern man has remade God in is own image so that God is a “good ol’ boy” who severest reprimand is “Tsk, tsk”.  God is what He is whether we believe it or not, like it or not, act accordingly or not. If someone needs correcting, do it graciously and with Christian love.

In the words of St. Augustine…”Our hearts were made for thee,   O, Lord, and they will not rest until they rest in Thee.”

It requires effective and rational judgment to reach that place of rest.


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