In today’s society everyone seems to be hyper-sensitive to judgmentalism.  The minute you tell someone you disagree with something they are doing, you are accused of being judgmental.  Of course, it always escapes their notice that they are judging you for being judgmental, so they are guilty of both judgmentalism and hypocrisy!  But the problem runs deeper than mere self-contradiction.

As the term is commonly used today, judgmentalism is thought to be limited to expressions of moral disapproval of X, or attempts to correct some person P for doing X.  In reality, judgment involves both moral disapproval and moral approval.  Judgment requires that we distinguish what is right/good from what is wrong/evil.  Judgments are involved when you say X is good, as well as when you say X is bad.  Indeed, the only way to say some X is good is if you know what bad is, and know X is not that.  The only way to avoid making judgments is to make no moral distinctions whatsoever.  No sane person can do this, nor is this a worthy goal.  Moral judgments are indispensable to a healthy society.

The dual nature of judgment is illustrated nicely by Greg Koukl in his mock response to those who raise the “judgmental objection” against individuals who oppose same sex marriage.  To those who issue the challenge, “Who are you to say same-sex marriage is wrong?,” Koukl responds:

“Who are you to say?”  That challenge works both ways.  First, if my disapproval isn’t legitimate, then why is my approval legitimate?  If I don’t have the right to judge something wrong…, I certainly don’t have the right to judge it right….  Second, why is it that I can’t make a moral judgment here, but apparently you can?

The appeal for a change in marriage laws is an attempt to change the moral consensus about homosexuality.  You invite me to make a moral judgment, then you challenge my right to make a judgment when I don’t give the answer you want.

If someone challenges your authority to judge X as wrong, challenge their authority to judge X as good by asking, “And who are you to say it’s acceptable?”  When someone objects to your disapproval of some act X, challenge their approval of it by asking, “How can you judge it to be good?”  If you are to be condemned for judging something as wrong, then others are to be condemned for judging it as right.

When it comes to any moral issue, anyone who takes a position on the matter is making a moral judgment, and our moral judgments need to be defended in the public square.  Using same sex marriage as an example, both those in favor of prohibition and those in favor of permission are making moral judgments, and thus both must support their moral judgments with arguments.  Nobody gets a free pass when it comes to their moral judgments.

My next post will deal with the Biblical teaching regarding judgment.

 

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