Jesus Said: “You Shouldn’t Judge”
by Tim Barnett
A few weeks ago I posted the following comment on the Clear Thinking Christianity Facebook Page:
“Everyone–Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew, New Ager, Atheist–needs to answer the same question: What makes humans valuable in the first place?”
Normally, I don’t take the time to rehash a Facebook post, but the response I got was extremely characteristic of our culture and deserves some careful thinking. Under the circumstances I thought it might be instructive to take a closer look at the retort and then walk through how I would respond.
The retort I got was:
The Buddhists already know. You’d know that if you research them before blindly judging them. You Christians are good at judging, so I wasn’t surprised. I think Jesus told you not to judge, or you’d be judged yourself.
It seems like a Christian can’t say almost anything without someone chiming in, “Jesus said you shouldn’t judge!” For this reason, I think it will be very beneficial to carefully think through how one should respond to this particular challenge.
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First, notice that I didn’t say that Buddhism doesn’t have an answer to the question. I simply pointed out that everyone, not just the Christian, needs to answer the question. The commenter seems to assume something about me; namely that I don’t believe Buddhism can explain human value. Moreover, they believe that I’ve come to this conclusion without doing any research and that I’m “blindly judging them.”
If you are an astute reader, you’ve probably already picked up on the hypocrisy riddled throughout this comment. Hasn’t this person done exactly what they accused me of doing? Aren’t they blindly judging me without knowing anything about me? How do they know I haven’t done my homework on Buddhism? The truth is, it was just assumed.
So my first more general point is that the ‘judgment sword’ cuts both ways. They cannot escape the charge. In fact, nobody can! Here is a little helpful question that I use whenever someone accuses me of judging. The first words off my lips are, “Why are you judging me?”
In this instance, the comment was dripping with judgment. The commenter seems to think it’s fine for him to judge me, but when Christians judge, it’s wrong! Why is it only okay for him, but not for me? It seems to me that there couldn’t be a clearer example of a hypocritical judgment. This brings me to my next, more specific, point…
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