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Judgment Series: Humanity's Role, and Why and How We Judge
Continuing on my intrigue into the nature of judgment, I next inquire about the human judgment. Specifically, how we judge, why we judge, when we shouldn't judge, and the irony of judging someone who judges. Considering myself a Christian, I will answer from that perspective, though you may find this explanation would resonate with Atheists. Sadly, upon noticing the prior statement, I can understand if more than a few subscribers without a God refrain from reading the rest of this.
First though, I must supply a background to my point of view. Being a well disliked person in my high school, I understand the concept of judgment, and forgiveness (check the post on that one a few weeks ago). Many, many people judge me fast, and I accept their judging, for much of what I do is without explanation; The bank robber, in this case, truly does not know how or why the money got in his car. I see every judgment as a way to improve upon myself.
Put that on the shelf for the moment, and consider: Why do we judge, as Christians? (Warning: digression in progress) As I stated before, in my previous post, Christians are seen as incredibly hypocritical, because we shun people who we judge, and stereotypically despise those who our faith tells us to love. I cite the Westboro Baptist Church, and Terry Brooks as such people (After much thought, so as to be as full and complete in my analysis of each of said party's actions and motives). Another thing, below, speaks volumes about how Christians are viewed:
The above link leads to an Islamic believer who has posted three videos testifying the nation's general view of Christianity. He created that YouTube page to prove that the Christian's tenet of “love your enemy” is a null and void statement in the Christian eye. The three videos he has posted are quite vilifying. But this man doesn't notice one thing: he states in his youtube page that, just because of these few Christians' hatred, the “loving” Christian religion is null and void. Just because that one pastor could not answer that question, must mean that nobody can. This type of fallacy is called the Straw Man Fallacy, where someone finds a weak mockery of their opposition, and attacks it to the point of making the stronger opposition seem weak and worthless. Sadly, both parties throw these Straw Man into the debates, and these few extremists' points of view are stretched across the whole.
But I digress.
I asked, why do we, as Christians, judge? Didn't Jesus say, “Thou shalt not judge”? Or, if not those precise words, some translation of those words? Well, put the Jesus part on the shelf, let's start from the beginning. Flip your bibles open to the Garden of Eden. The world was whole, complete, perfect. Everything was as it should be, and man had complete union with God. Two people could do whatever they wanted to, save for one single thing. The tree itself, I feel has no serious religious importance. The act of disobeying God, that one act, symbolized when mankind fell from perfection, is the focus of the story. The rest of the story consists of both Adam and Eve blaming the other for the eating of the apple, and I cannot say enough how infantile that part made me feel. The first two humans, blaming so fast and stupidly.
Ever since then, we have been disobeying God consistently, hundreds of times a day. In the Bible, it reads: “Every sin is equal in the eyes of the creator” (paraphrased, check out 1 John 3:4-5). Sin can be simply identified as anything you are involved in that excludes God. Depending on your interpretation of the bible, this can range anywhere, from a thought about a nice girl in your class to murder. As Adam and Eve show, humans judge each other to keep them on the straight and narrow. It's necessary.
“But wait JHBlancs... didn't you say Jesus himself told us not to judge?”
Yes, yes, thank you for reminding me. This is where some context came in. Jesus was throwing a quick jab at the Pharisees, the holy men. Pharisees and Sadducees were all about judging. They, considering themselves above anyone else, holy men with no mortal equal, handed out judgment like candy on Halloween. Jesus says further down the red letters, “If you tell someone they have a speck in their eye, while you have a log in yours, you kind of need to get rid of the log in your eye first. Otherwise, if you rail them for their speck, it makes you look really bad. Just wanted to let you know.” (paraphrased, and I'll do a post on Jesus' treatment of the Jewish authority of the day, later)
Jesus never meant to say, “As a Christian, you should do absolutely nothing when you see someone doing wrong, if it means judging someone. Just be passive. Good Christian, good Christian... want a cracker from Christ?,” he meant to say, “Do not judge like the Pharisees do. They're not that fair, you see. Instead, try to judge them as you would judge yourself. Think thoroughly before judging, and keep in mind that you possess the same flaws as they do, sometimes more so than the person you judge.”
On a related note, I hear Christ crackers are delicious. Never tasted one, though.
This ties back to the irony of a Christian who judges. This is a fun one. Try calling someone arrogant, and count how many times you think, “wait, aren't I being arrogant saying that?” To me, at least, saying this is the human equivalent of telling a computer, “this statement is false.” I just can't handle that statement. Why? Because calling someone else arrogant is telling that person that they judge quickly, with little regard to their own standing. Calling someone that puts you above them, at a level where you can judge the judger as if you are better. So, when I feel it necessary to relate this, I first get away from the person in question, so as to not offend the person, then my statement sounds like this:
“First, I took a while to think about this... and I’ve come to the conclusion, realizing that I am in no way fit to legitimately make this judgment, that [insert name here], though he may have a lot of qualities, [list out qualities], I feel he is somewhat arrogant. I'm not saying that he is, but it's how he rubs off on me, I guess I just don't like him.”
Of course, as soon as I say this, someone says, “wouldn't that make you seem arrogant, by saying that?” In response, I slap the person.
If I would have to weigh my two cents on it, I’d say we judge because it's necessary. God and Jesus are okay with it, so long as we take into consideration that God set standards for both parties in question, and no mortal party is greater than another. Take into consideration all about the other person, the reasons for their faults, the justification for their wrongdoings. Never call someone out from a position of higher authority, always seek an equal debate. And, paramount to anything else, make sure you keep in mind Jesus' teaching, and the word of God when you see a fault. For, if you leave God out of your mind, then your position is only backed up by your loose mortal standings, and you fall.