Monthly Archives: February 2022

Passing Judgement on Judgementalism is not itself Judgementalism

Judgementalism and shame walk hand in hand. For it is through casting judgement at another person that he hopes to make that other person feel shame and then correct his wrong behavior. Fair enough, but when the majority of the content that a person casts is judgmental, it seems to me that person may be possessed by the spirit of judgementalism and its companion, shame. And something ought to be done about it. The first thing that ought to be done is to make the person aware of their current state.

When passing judgement on a person possessed by the spirit of judgementalism (i.e., pointing out that another person is being overly judgmental) one has to be weary of a specific and all too common counter argument. The counter argument is that judgement of judgementalism is also judgement (perhaps from a higher level) and is therefore invalid. But a simple examination of this counter argument will display its weakness.

First, passing judgment on judgementalism is not itself judgementalism because judgementalism is the act of being overly judgmental on a consistent basis over time. One act of judgement clearly does not fit this definition.

Second, even if passing judgement on judgementalism is itself judgement, that does not negate the negative nature of judgementalism. We can all agree that one who sits and broods in a constant state of negativity, periodically lashing out at the world (impotently) with critical, judgmental blog posts (for example) is not in a positive state of being. Now, if another fellow comes along and observes this first person and in a kindly and compassionate gesture of goodwill suggests that there is a better, more positive way of existing, surely we would not tell him that he is being judgmental just like the person he is trying to help and therefore his gesture of goodwill is invalid.

Finally, the tactic employed by the counter argument above betrays the twisted nature of shame and its allies. Shame hides in the bushes from God (Gen. 3:8) and never admits to fault if it can avoid it. One way of avoiding fault is accusing the accuser of the very crime itself. Considering the fact that the crime in this situation is a form of accusation one can see how twisted this can get. But let us not get caught in that trap of obfuscation and leave it be.

I would close by quoting the Lord Himself:

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Matt. 7:1-5

In this famous passage Jesus warns about getting into the business of constantly judging others. The warning is this. If you judge others, you open yourself up to being judged yourself and then looking like a hypocrite. I would also argue that a person who is constantly judgmental (i.e., possessed by the spirit of judgementalism) is also very likely to hyper judgmental of themselves. Which puts them in a constant state of shame and as we have talked about quite a bit on this blog, one unhealthy way of dealing with shame is to try to shame others. Perhaps this might be what the Lord is really getting at in the passage above.

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The Way, the Truth, and the Life

It seems a ridiculous position to suppose that God throws us into the world without knowledge of Truth, but at the same time expects us to choose the right religion and if we choose incorrectly are to be cast into Hell. This seems especially true as most people stay with the religion they are born into. Certainly a just God would not penalize a poor soul for having chosen wrongly or for having been born into the wrong religion.

Of course Jesus clearly states in John 14:5, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” But if I grew up in a different faith tradition, say Muslim or Hindu, that does not accept the Christian Bible as the only authoritative text as to the will of God, I cannot be faulted for discounting Jesus’ pronouncement, can I? Or perhaps there is some more universal conception of Jesus than the strict evangelical Christian one.

Personally I think it is more reasonable to assume that God desires us to seek Truth and does not fault us if we mistakenly choose the wrong path. Any desire to profess that one faith is the one and only way smacks of egoism. Not that egoism is a bad thing. It is necessary for survival but it does not prioritize truth (or even Truth) over survival.

My religious family lineage is Roman Catholicism. I am sure there are many evangelical types who would say Roman Catholicism is a false interpretation of Christianity and therefore a path to Hell. As I am sure there are many Roman Catholics (although probably less so these days) who would say the Baptists have it wrong. Now who am I to believe?

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