Context 2) Passing Judgement

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    Oct 07, 2007 12:19 AM GMT
    Ok, so on to passing judgement.

    One of the things I consider a valuable principle which I have brought with me from Mormondom is a retranslated verse from the New Testiment (paraphrased): Judge not unrighteously, lest you be judged with the same unrighteous judgement with which you judged.

    We are so swift to judge others based upon our own sensibilities. This is a grave mistake, and wars are fought over it.

    Now I know you're going to laugh at me for using this as an example, but that's ok. I look for truth where I can find it.

    Gene Roddenberry in his second iteration of the Star Trek saga, Star Trek: The Next Generation, put forth the concept that in first contact situations, a civilization must be met on its own ground. That is, cultural, religious, and political norms of the species being met must be observed. How many times did we see Picard working through these kinds of diplomatic problems?

    In addition, we cannot interfere with the natural development of a national or cultural or ethnic group, and impose our own values on them and expect them to actually value those principles which we hold so dear. This includes liberty and freedom. We can impose this on some other culture, but it will not "stick" unless the general population wants it as desperately as did our forefathers here in the United States. This is why a war is being fought in the Middle East and is not coming to an end.

    Let's consider the cultural and religious norms of a society before we condemn. We, in our own society support and entertain many customs which are found reprehensible in the rest of the world.

    Those are my thoughts. I call upon others to share their views.

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    Oct 07, 2007 2:00 AM GMT
    I wish these two contexts had been placed in reverse order because the "judge not" come before "the understanding."

    "Judge not so that you are not judged by others" is not intended to mean don't go around forming opinions of others. It means don't go around taking the past history of others into account for how you treat them in the future. If you have made up your mind--passed judgment--about someone and found him at fault, then you cant treat someone as you would want to be treated. You have already decided that he is not worthy. So you get trapped in a vicious cycle. You wont treat him as you would want him to treat you cuz you judge him as at fault and not worthy. He isn't going to treat you as you would want to be treated because you are withholding such treatment because you have judged him. And if everybody does this (and they will) then society cannot move forward.

    So first, stop judging others and basing your future behavior on that.

    Second, treat others as you would have them treat you.

    Third, approach someone who has "harmed" you in the spirit of reconciliation, not of judgment or blame. Find out why the other person has acted the way he has. Try to understand things from his point of view. Explain your point of view, respectfully. And then reconcile without being forced to come to agreement.

    How often have we not seen someone take offense to what someone has posted (and sometimes by misreading). So rather asking for an explanation, just jump to the judgment and sling back a nasty retort. Then all hell breaks lose.

    I just have to shake my head at the senseless flaming that goes on after that. Such action never solves the initial misunderstanding without first causing a lot of heat and bluster for nothing.
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    Oct 07, 2007 9:07 AM GMT
    I am not familiar with the Islamic law thread that seems to have inspired this sub-thread. But I fundamentally disagree with any attempt to stifle the exchange of ideas in any forum. Disagreements and misundertandings are sure to arise in a free forum such as this...but given that this website attracts men from all over the world with many different ideas and backgrounds, any messages containing intolerance and disrespect can easily be filtered out through the natural course of dialog within our little online community. This is an online jock forum -- not the United Nations. No one is going to be taken to the Hague for ranting a little -- though they will likely be stripped of any credibility by the rest of the Real Jock community.

    IMHO, the damage that can be done by simply discouraging others from expressing themselves freely is far greater than the threat of having to read through (or skipping) a few sentences of crap.

    Again, I did not read the Islamic law thread, but as this is a controversial subject, I think that it is only realistic to assume that heated debate would occur within such a thread. Those who bothered to participate in the thread should have been prepared for a few sparks to fly.

    While rattling sabres, starting wars, and flying airplanes into skyscrapers will do nothing to bring us a better understanding of the world that we live in, neither will muzzling the exchanges of those who have something to say, even if it means questioning or even expressing criticism for a particular culture or religion.

    "When people say that the values of Islam are compassion, tolerance, and freedom, I look at reality, at real cultures and governments, and I see that it simply isn't so. People in the West swallow this sort of thing because they have learned not to examine the religions or cultures of minorities too critically, for fear of being called a racist. It fascinates them that I am not afraid to do so."

    --Ayaan Hirsi Ali
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    Oct 07, 2007 6:15 PM GMT
    No one has stated that we shouldn't disagree. That's not my meaning at all. What I DO believe, though, is that we should take into consideration the context of statements made by others.
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    Oct 07, 2007 6:29 PM GMT
    My point is that your argument implies that [some] people who contributed to the thread in question replied without "considering the context". Such an assumption is in itself a judgement and only serves to stifle the dialog. We're all grown ups, what is the purpose of policing the free exchange of ideas and opinions (other than to filter out those that you do not agree with?).
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    Oct 07, 2007 9:06 PM GMT
    Y'know, Starboard, maybe you're right. Maybe I'm only seeing what I want to see, and hearing what I want to hear. But then, if I am, doesn't that validate my point?

    Context in all aspects of life is highly important. Self-examination and review of one's conclusions may be the difference between friends and enemies, respect and disrespect, war and peace.

    Readers and potential posters:

    Now that I think about it, I'm starting to believe that this thread is the "no win scenario" (not that anyone was trying to win LOL).

    I guess that it's just best to just read it, think about what it means and how it applies to you, and move on. I think that it's so personal and relative that it is a dialogue that may only be taken up with oneself.

    All I know is that when I read the post in the other thread, it made me begin to think about the context of my own comments and opinions.
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    Oct 08, 2007 12:04 AM GMT
    The short version: it is always a logical fallacy to argue "XX is correct because [group of people] believe it to be so" whether the group is one person or a nation or a culture. If it were not, it would be possible to make the argument "The moral views of our time are correct because everyone believes them" -- manifest nonsense!

    The longer, and more analytical version:
    Recollect the phrase "When in Rome, do as the Romans do".

    What we mean by this is that when you visit or live in another country, you should be sympathetic and not pass judgement on manners, etiquette, customs, personal hygiene, and food. For one thing, you are a guest and for another, you will have a more interesting experience if you participate in the local culture. If you are adversely affected by something, you are quite entitled to complain about it (e.g. the trains in England!) but it is impolite to criticize too harshly the politics and economics of a country while you are a guest there. Conversely, it is polite to be as forgiving of foreigners as you can be on questions of etiquette, manners, customs and so forth when they come to your country. And of course, it is deeply enriching to travel and live in foreign cultures for their own sake and to enhance your awareness of your own culture (which is, no doubt, flawed in its own way).

    Such is diversity. None of this, however, requires us to withhold our views on moral matters (rather than matters of etiquette or manners) when we are not in a foreign country. Indeed, the reverse is true. If we see an injustice that we have a power to correct, or to lay some pressure on, then we are morally obliged to do so. (there are limits to this: it is clearly immoral and lacking a sense of irony to bomb a country that practices the death penalty for example!)

    Practically, one most often hears this sort of argument -- that we should not judge the actions of another culture -- from two sorts of people. The first are harmless people who have taken a kind of liberalism to an unjustifiable extend: they would argue that cultural relativism means that all views have weight. They are mistaken, but they are harmless. The second sort of people use the argument to avoid and occlude debate of immoral acts. I have heard this argument used in debates on Israel, Palestine, Kashmir, Zimbabwe, etc. before and their purpose is always to say "other people keep out of the debate: you have no place here."

    Of course we do. Our love for our fellow mankind, and our distaste for cruelty and injustice requires us to "judge" as you put it other cultures and moreover requires for us to do what we can to correct them.
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    Oct 08, 2007 4:52 AM GMT
    Interesting discussion. I grew up in a different culture then adopted America as my homeland. For the most part I agree with the views expressed by Starboard and TigerTim. People in less evolved countries need the free flow and exchange of ideas in order to understand worldwide trends, and it helps them catch up with the world. Artificially propping up their antiquated and unviable value systems only serve to make these nations less competitive and more corrupt, ultimately it's a huge disservice to their people.

    However, one important reservation I have is that the people of these countries need to have a thorough examination of the hidden values of their heritage, instead of being swept up by the superiority of western economic and military power. Poor people in these countries aspire so urgently to gain power and status in the world that they often are in a rush to destroy their own heritage so they can adopt a westernized system. From a lot of scholarly studies on political economy it's become more evident that wholesale adoption of the western free market system does not work in these countries, often causes economic instability and eventually political instability.

    People in the west need to understand that moral issues are not always absolute, they're tied to how a traditional society functions. If you remove something from a culture and not replace it with something else that fill the void the whole cultural structure can collapse and the people will suffer far more than the supposed moral iniquity can ever cause. It's like renovating a dilapidated building, don't destroy the critical functions of it because the renovators have to live in it. They may renovate it to a better state but still inferior in world standards. Do not overly criticize inferior aspects of this building because it will dampen their spirits to make progress. Even if it will take far longer to renovate this way than to tear it down, it has to be done this way.