Sound judgment

From Cor ad Cor
Jump to navigation Jump to search

We are forbidden to judge people; we are commanded to judge rightly about the difference between good and evil. We may not call evil good or good evil!

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Is. 5:20).

John Lennon's song, "Imagine," has become the anthem for an enormous and culturally powerful group of people today. It is extremely popular for people to say that religion is the cause of all evil and that the world will be vastly better when it is exterminated.

You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one.

Judge not, lest ye be judged

"Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you" (Mt 7:1-2).

The error of indifferentism

Secular humanists and liberal Christians have made an absolute out of Jesus' prohibition against judging whether other people are going to Heaven or Hell. For them, all religions are the same — equally meaningful or equally meaningless, because all are nothing but human constructs or projections.

John Lennonism: In, "Imagine," Lennon portrays religion as the root of all evils. He predicts that if religion were abolished, we would have heaven on earth.

Some people find some forms of Hinduism attractive because they endorses all religions indiscriminately. Ramakrishna (a 19th-century Hindu) taught that whoever ascends the divine mountain reaches the same summit, so it does not matter whether one begins in an Eastern or Western religion. Of course, this is a radically Eastern view of religious reality; Ramakrishna was expressing the Hindu view based on belief in reincarnation and the law of karma.

Lennon treats religion — rather than sin! — as the root of all evil.

His thought-experiment is: "Imagine what the world would be like with no religion. There would be no war and no possessions. Everyone would live in peace. I hope you will join [my new religion]."

Is it true? Is it real?

Self-referentially inconsistent

John Lennon's declaration that all religions are false is itself a religious worldview. It is a view of all possible religions. It is a totalitarian worldview. It is dogmatic. It contains most of the features that it condemns.

Sociopaths are not truth tellers

Why believe those people when they claim that religion is the cause of their pathology? Why believe a madman? Why take the "religious" claims at face value? Jesus is not the cause of these things; it is the sins of His followers that is the cause of these things.

There are psychotic Christians. That doesn't mean they are psychotic because they are Christian.

There are psychotic Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Irishmen, aborigines, etc.

"I'm murdering because my religion tells me to." Kopp, 9/11 terrorists. Why listen to psychotics about the nature of religion? Why judge the religion by its sickest members?

Judge not ...

The interpretation of Jesus' saying, "Judge not lest ye be judged" is imposed dogmatically by our culture as a judgment against dogma.

I resent and oppose that.

The song contains arguments ...

... with unstated premises. Many of its verses are enthymemes.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

The argument is: if there were no doctrine about heaven and hell, then everyone would "live for today."
The author presupposes that "living for today" is known to be a good thing. He does not explain why this is so nor does he give his reasons for thinking that, in fact, there is no heaven or hell.
A further supposition is that "if people believe in heaven and hell, then they cannot 'live for today.'" Jesus, the great revealer of heaven and hell, shows that this proposition is nonsense. There is a right way for Christians to "be here now." Cf. Sermon on the Mount about the lillies of the field.

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

Lennon asserts that nationalism and religion are the sole cause of wars. If countries and religions were abolished, he sings, then there would be peace on earth.

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

The abolition of countries and religions will lead to unity in the world.

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

The only way to get rid of greed and hunger is to abolish private property.

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

This is an invitation to join Lennon's religion — to share his vision of reality, his creed, code, and cult.

Bumper stickers

Small, red, fuel-efficient car.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

Same car: the "coexist" sticker with the word spelled out by the use of religious symbols.

When there is no God, all religions and irreligions are equal. "Pin the tail on the donkey."

"If you can't trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?"

The Tyranny of Tolerance

What can the government do? Pass a law that says, "No religion may criticize another"? "All religions must teach that there are no dogmas?" Outlaw disagreement?

"By the authority vested in us, we decree that you must teach that your teachings have no authority."

Good religion is the antidote to bad religion

Frustrating: students say "religion causes so many troubles." It's the LACK of religion that causes troubles. SIN is to blame, not holiness.

Deep hatreds in all cultures in all parts of the world. Religion is the cure, not the cause. I hate it when people confuse cause and cure of sin!

Nathaniel, former Marine: "Isn't it the case that religion and politics are involved in all wars?"

That means we need better religion and politics — not that we can somehow magically alter human nature and produce a new world order without them!

The wisdom of tolerance

Parable of the weeds and wheat: "Let them grow together until the end."

He proposed another parable to them. "The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?' He answered, 'An enemy has done this.' His slaves said to him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' He replied, 'No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, "First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn"'" (Mt 13:24-30).

Judge rightly

"The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be" (Mt 6:22-23).

John 3:19-21

19 And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.

20For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.

21But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

"Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly" (Jn 7:24).

"You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone. And even if I should judge, my judgment is valid, because I am not alone, but it is I and the Father who sent me" (Jn 8:15-16).

"Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good" (Rom 12:9).

"Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 Jn 4:1).

Just judgment is one of the joys of Heaven

"Jesus said to them, 'Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel'" (Mt 19:28).

Natural theology and natural law

The Church believes in the power of the human mind to recognize the existence of God (natural theology) and to distinguish between what is good and evil (natural law).