How many times have you heard someone say, “Judge not lest you be judged”? The statement has become the great American open-mindedness mantra when anyone has the courage to declare that someone else’s belief, actions or lifestyle is morally amiss.
If you dare claim that another person’s truth is not, in fact, truth but is, in fact, wrong, you are not only being intolerant but you are also being—Mantra forbid!—judgmental.
In his book, True for You, But Not for Me, Paul Copan describes the fallacy in this all too common thinking:
[quote] It has been said that the most frequently quoted Bible verse is no longer John 3:16 but Matthew 7:1: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” We cannot glibly quote this, though, without understanding what Jesus meant. When Jesus condemned judging, he wasn’t at all implying we should never make judgments about anyone. After all, a few verses later, Jesus himself calls certain people “pigs” and “dogs” (Matt 7:6) and “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (7:15). … What Jesus condemns is a critical and judgmental spirit, an unholy sense of superiority. Jesus commanded us to examine ourselves first for the problems we so easily see in others. Only then can we help remove the speck in another’s eye—which, incidentally, assumes that a problem exists and must be confronted. [end quote] [footnote #1]
Those that tell you not to judge, quoting Matthew 7:1 grossly out of context, are often some of the most mean-spirited, judgmental souls you could ever meet. It’s not, of course, that they don’t want anyone to judge anything because they want very much to judge and condemn your commitment to lovingly speak and practice your Christian worldview. You see how these tolerance rules work? We must tolerate them, but they don’t have to tolerate us. The logic is consistent, anyway.
Today’s postmodern culture of adults and students is so consumed by non-judgmentalism that there are some who say we should not even call wrong or evil the terrorists that attacked America on September 11, 2001.
Alison Hornstein, is a student at Yale University who observed the disconnect between tolerance and reality. Writing on “The Question That We Should Be Asking—Is Terrorism Wrong?” in the December 17, 2001 issue of Newsweek, Alison noted, “My generation may be culturally sensitive, but we hesitate to make moral judgments.” While that might be putting it mildly, she goes on to say:
[quote] Student reactions expressed in the daily newspaper and in class pointed to the differences between our life circumstances and those of the [9/11] perpetrators, suggesting that these differences had caused the previous day’s events. Noticeably absent was a general outcry of indignation at what had been the most successful terrorist attack of our lifetime. These reactions and similar ones on other campuses have made it apparent that my generation is uncomfortable assessing, or even asking whether a moral wrong has taken place. [end quote] [footnote #2]
If Americans don’t start to judge and punish evil instead of accepting all ideas and beliefs as equal, we will become a nation that welcomes same-sex marriage, polygamy, pedophilia, incest, euthanasia, and likely a host of moral aberrations so bizarre they’re still hidden in the darkest reaches of the Internet.
1. Paul Copan ,True for You, But not for Me, (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1998) p.32-33. cites D.A. Carson, The Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker, 1978), 97.
2. Alison Hornstein “The Question That We Should Be Asking” Newsweek, December 17, 2001, p. 14