judgmentalismDecember 9, 2008
It’s a cultural taboo to be judgmental. For years, I (and probably you) have had pounded into my head that I should accept people for who they are and try to get along with them the best I can without making snap judgments. This has carried over into how we should think about people’s lives, how they raise their kids, how they make their money, how they believe, what they believe, and how they interact with everyday anything. Of course, this is a concept full of contradictions.
It’s a Christian value, and in a lot of cases, a Pagan value, to put judgment aside. So many times, I’m confronted with someone’s idea of how the world works, and it just gives me the willies. Why can’t we make snap judgments? What really happens when we do? Is it not a reaction of instinct? I’m all for being nice, and I’m definitely all for getting all the information that can be gotten, but very often someone talks about an idea or a practice that just makes me scared.
I would not let me family commune with another family if said other family is known for abusing their children. I would not hang out with people that I know are a) hurting others on a regular basis, b) heavily involved in illegal activity, c) part of a brainwashing/suicide cult, d) gun-toting hot heads, e) racist, f) sexist. Most other people would think much the same. “I’m not gonna let my kids be around that sort of nonsense.” And yet, preaching a message of nonjudgmentalism, aka relativism, aka “all paths are valid,” is contradictory to the message.
If someone tells you they believe that you should be able to stone your wife to death if she cheats on you, would you really want to be around them that much, especially if you are a woman? Would you often have dinner with someone who thinks that fags should burn in hell, especially if you are gay? Would you let your children hang out with kids who dress like they belong in a gang? Probably not, if you’re white. We make the snap decisions anyway, and there is always a chance to change our minds later. But when our personal safety is in mind, we need to have room to be a little isolated until we have better evidence.
Now, of course, these are all personal decisions. I would never want my public school/church/community organization/government body making decisions in the same manner, since their safety is not of the imminent bodily type. All of this links into skepticism, where we make judgments based on reason, then find evidence to prove ourselves right or wrong. To blindly accept that someone carrying a gun in their back pocket is simply pro-gun is to not use the brain.
And I, the everyday person, reserve to keep my head above water by allowing that part of my brain with the robot from Lost in Space to keep setting off alarms. And I expect the same from my friends.