It is always fascinating to hear Christians speak of what they “should” be or do as a Christian. They will remark how a behavior is “not Christian,” or say they must do what is “Christian.” What does that mean? Presumably it means to be “like Christ,” or to ask ourselves before making a decision, “What would Jesus do?”
One of the things Christians are not supposed to be is judgmental. We can look no further than Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” And from Luke 6:41, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Yet all around us, we find we are judged in this world by Christians and non-Christians alike. For a group of people like Christians, who are supposedly active in trying to follow the ways of non-judgment, it is an interesting contradiction that Christians are in general, among the most judgmental people I have ever met. They do indeed stand out, but not in the ways they would like to, as religious belief does absolutely nothing to make a person “better,” more “loving,” or less judgmental. If anything, religious belief tends to serve as a mirror which exposes us for the hypocrites we are, since following a “standard of behavior” for the sake of avoiding punishment or receiving a reward from an external source, is dishonest and hypocritical. Under such a system, all behavior is conditioned through hope and fear – the hope of receiving a reward, and/or the fear of receiving a punishment, in which actions are done because we are coerced into either doing or not doing something, not because we sincerely want to do it as a natural result of the condition of our hearts.
There is no other logical reason to believe Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior except for these two reasons – to avoid punishment, and/or receive a reward. If it were not for these two reasons, why would anyone have to believe in this? The very essence of Christian theology itself states this, often summed up from the famous scripture passage from John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The problem with this theology is simple. To believe in anything is fear and/or hope. Yet we have learned that action in response to fear and/or hope, linked with reward and punishment is hypocrisy and dishonesty by definition, contradicting the very spirit of the message of its supposed “founder.” This startling fact, combined with unrelenting belief in a “god” who would reward hypocrisy, should give pause to any critical thinking person.
While I do not know any followers of Islam, I have met some, and can see from the suicide bombings, the wars, 9/11, and other horrific reminders, of just how judgmental and violent fundamentalists of that religion can be. Basically, the more fundamentally religious a person is, no matter what religion they follow, the more judgmental and therefore violent they are. Why? Because by nature, fundamentalists are those who believe they are “right” with all others being “wrong.” This belief is judgment itself. And whether we fly airplaines into buildings, killing thousands of innocent people for our fundamentalist beliefs, or simply not tolerating those of another religion or world view, calling them “the enemy,” the violence is the same. The manifestation of how that violence is expressed may be different, but the violence itself behind it is no different. No matter how anyone tries to massage it, or make excuses and justifications for war, violence has nothing to do with Love. In all things – Love. Period. That is the only “answer” for anything. Another manifestation of this belief in being “right,” with all others being “wrong,” is reflected in the belief in the scriptural “inerrancy” of one’s partcular religion – a desctructive fallacy we have investigated several times in the past. People who do this are those whom I have described as “Stage Two” people within the realm of spiritual development.
“Stage Two” people are known as “formal/institutional,” and are those who are dependent upon the rules and regulations of an institution for their governance. This institution could be the military, a prison, formal traditional religion, or any other institution. All of these institutions have black-and-white rules and regulations which clearly define the world those who are in this stage need, which is why they are very easily offended and upset when the forms of religion or rules change, as they see it as a threat to the stability upon which they depend. That is why this stage is described in part as “formal,” since the forms of an institution are very important to people in this stage. As I said before, their interpretation of scripture and Biblical stories tend to be literal and concrete, believing most if not all Bible stories are literal fact and inerrant, and their view of God is almost exclusively that of an external being, with little understanding of the presence of God within. The essential element which characterizes this stage of spiritual development is an understanding of the “letter of the law,” and not yet the “heart of the law.” Since they believe their particular religion and its beliefs and formal observations are “right” with all others being “wrong,” they also believe there is only one correct path to “truth.” These people see the world in black and white to keep their vision of reality safe and manageable. This is why people in this stage tend to be argumentative and judgmental when confronted with anything which contradicts their world view. They will use reward and punishment, lies and deception, anything it takes to preserve their viewpoints so they can maintain the “safe reality” they have created for themselves. And while there may be the illusion of “safety and security” within this well-defined world, it is a world view which is not based on Truth, but on illusion, and does not embrace the fact of Life’s mystery, the fact we don’t have all the answers. This stage is therefore characterized by a great deal of fear because deep down, the Truth within everyone knows this is not the Truth.
For Stage Two Fundamentalists, things are either one way or another, and people are either “believers” or “non-believers,” “saved” or “not saved.” Those in Stage Two do not have an appetite for mystery, preferring the “tried and true” assurances of their black and white world. But it is a world which cannot transcend its own fear since clinging to beliefs is fear itself. They do not realize true freedom lies outside their beliefs. They are in a sense, trapped within a prison of their own making, a prison which, ironically enough, was created to help “liberate” them from the fear of the chaotic living of the lawlessness of Stage One. But it does not solve the problem of fear, just merely covers it over, as there is no escape from that fear except to courageously move outside this safety net of “security.”
This is why fundamentalists are judgmental, as fundamentalism and judgment are one in the same. They are inseparable. Now that we have identified why virtually all fundamentalists and almost all followers of religious belief are judgmental, the next natural question is, how can one not be judgmental? First, one must not be fundamental in their beliefs. In fact, as we have discovered several times in the past, Love and living in the awareness of the Oneness of All, has nothing whatsoever to do with belief. It has to do with the pure state of one’s heart, which cannot be pure when it is corrupted with beliefs, prejudices, egotistical fantasies of “eternal life,” and other self-preserving notions. We see again, just how incredibly insidious and destructive one’s clinging to the ego is. Clinging to the illusion of the ego is the beginning and the end of our entire problem, and as we have discovered in the past, is the most fatal flaw in Judeo-Christian and Islamic belief. To believe in the reality of the self, is the root of all evil, all selfishness, all delusion, all which leads to death and destruction. All suffering can be traced back to this simple fact. The only formal religion I know which states this blatantly is Buddhism, which is why I feel, of all the major religions, Buddhism approaches Reality more closely than any other religion. The fact Buddhism has the best track record for non-violence, while Christianity and Islam are notorious for their “holy wars” speaks for itself, since by their fruits, we shall know…
So we see, Christians are caught in a quandry because on the one hand, they are taught to be non-judgmental, while on the other, they are taught that only those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will go to Heaven, while all others will go to Hell. This forces Christians to judge others because to believe in their theology is judgment itself. Christian theology is judgment. This fact creates an irrecocilable contradiction. The only way Christians can reconcile it, is to admit the incorrectness of their theology. Either you have to say judgement is ok, correct, and Godly, if you believe in the judgement only those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will go to Heaven with all others going to Hell. Or, you have to say judgement, as Jesus himself says, is not Godly, never accurate, and the notion only those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior will go to Heaven, with all others going to Hell is not correct, and is a judgment in and of itself. Any rational human being can see the Truth. Judgement is of the ego, and has nothing at all to do with Love.
Therefore, this god of supposed “judgment,” who will one day come back to Earth on the clouds of Heaven to judge the living and the dead is perhaps the most grandiose, disgusting, self-contradictory, convoluted, delusional, and destructive notion ever conceived by the ego, the devil. It is not Godly, and has absolutely nothing to do with Love and Truth, just like the sexist notion of the Islamic fundamentalists who believe they will get 72 virgins in paradise if they die in a suicide bombing attack. Is any of this absurd nonsense consistent in any way, shape, or form, with a God of Love, Oneness, and Truth? And by their fruits… we shall know…