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Heres the Dictionary.com definition of 'judge': "To form an opinion or estimation of after careful consideration."

What I cant seem to figure out exactly is the meaning behind the popular saying, "Dont judge others." I know the rational saying is, "Judge, and be prepared to be judged," but what is the difference between judging and not judging others? How does one not judge another? This may be somewhat of a laymens question for most of you, but I just cant decipher the two right now.

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but what is the difference between judging and not judging others? How does one not judge another? This may be somewhat of a laymens question for most of you, but I just cant decipher the two right now.

It's okay, because the answer is so impossible that I don't at all blame you for not "getting it."

As scary as it sounds, they mean literally what they say. When you see a person or their actions, don't form an opinion or estimation of it or them. They are commanding you to switch off your mind. The muslim next door is beating his wife? Don't judge. Switch off your mind.

As you might imagine, this is not only insane, but highly dangerous. Judgment is a survival tool and you abandon it at your peril!

Of course, you knew that.

How can people get away with statements like "don't judge?"

Well, first of all, most people think "well, they can't possibly mean that." But they do. And so long as people dismiss it, then it won't be challenged.

And second, they compare their strategy of not judging with the strategy of judging by nonessentials, such as racism. They make it sound like all judgment is the equivalent of racism. Like you either must be a racist or you must never judge at all. Which of course ignores the possibility of judging things on a rational basis.

(which is, of course, the whole Disintegration vs. Misintegration thing)

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Well, first of all, most people think "well, they can't possibly mean that." But they do. And so long as people dismiss it, then it won't be challenged.

So, do you think people who accept the "Dont judge others" saying dont really know what it means? And why would they accept it in the first place?

This topic is giving me a headache. I cant seem to understand how its even possible to not judge others.

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So, do you think people who accept the "Dont judge others" saying dont really know what it means? And why would they accept it in the first place?

This topic is giving me a headache. I cant seem to understand how its even possible to not judge others.

This moral imperative is an inheritance from Christianity, so it might be helpful to understand this in the context of Jesus' rebellion against justice.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

This is Jesus' famous statement on the subject. Evidently he was working off of this premise-- everyone is a sinner (having inherited sin at birth from Adam). Although one man might seem more or less moral compared to other men from a human perspective, from a heavenly perspective, we're all similarly rotten and evil compared to God, in the same way that while one bacteria might be slightly larger or smaller than another bacteria, they are all tiny as far as humans are concerned. But God is willing to overlook the evil we commit as humans as long as we're willing to overlook it in each other. I guess because He's got nothing to loose-- I don't know. The point is: we're trying to give out moral blank checks to anyone who wants to do something rotten and evil (to us), otherwise we're going to Hell (basically).

Perhaps Jesus made his stance on justice more clear in Matthew 5:38-48

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Jesus really doesn't want you to distinguish between a good person and a bad person, or between someone who wants to hurt you, or someone who wants to trade with you. The motivations he gives are basically 1) you shouldn't evaluate the merits or vices of others because you don't want God to evaluate your vices, and 2) self immolation, causing yourself to suffer, and placing yourself in danger of "martyrdom" is a Christian virtue.

But what motivated Jesus to say these things?

That's been an ongoing investigation for me. I'm very curious and interested in this subject. As far as I've gathered, the edict "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" goes back to the Code of Hammurabi (King of Babylon, 1792-1750BC). This was one of the first written laws. But in the Roman times when Jesus was writing, law had gained a new significance. If Ancient Greece is most famous for "inventing philosophy," Rome was famous for inventing objective law. If Greece was known for wisdom, Rome was known for justice. Perhaps Jesus saw the embrace of Roman justice as one more example of his fellow Israelites becoming more worldly, secular, and Roman. Roman justice was rational, objective, immutable-- God's justice was otherworldly, retractable, ineffable.

Whatever Jesus' motivations for forming this principle, it seems clear to me why (in many or most cases) people advocate the "judge not" and "turn the other cheek" principles now (I mean, the ones who do know what it means). They don't want you to judge them, because they want to be able to do whatever they want (to you) and not have to suffer any negative consequences.

Edited by Bold Standard
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So, do you think people who accept the "Dont judge others" saying dont really know what it means?

Probably. If the majority of people who said that knew what it meant, that would mean there are a lot of very messed up people out there.

And why would they accept it in the first place?
Do you mean the ones that know what it means, or the ones that don't?

This topic is giving me a headache. I cant seem to understand how its even possible to not judge others.

Haha, then you have a healthy mind! :confused:

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So, do you think people who accept the "Dont judge others" saying dont really know what it means? And why would they accept it in the first place?
I hope that's it. The alternative is that they do understand, and are just trying to get away with something. Bold/David explains the religious context nicely, and you have to remember how so much of popular moral reasoning is rooted in religion, which uses memorized slogans as its primarily mind-killing tool. Now speaking of slogans, Inspector makes the point about judging by nonessentials which is absolutely correct. The correct form of the slogan, if it is to be of any use, would be "Don't judge by nonessentials" (though I propose a different slogan: "Think: don't live by slogans"). The judgment slogan is similar to the generalization slogan ("Don't generalize"). Perfectly correct if understood correctly -- "Don't misgeneralize". If you see one black man who's a shiftless bum, don't falsely generalize to the conclusion that being black causes laziness. But instead, we have a slogan, which, I was shocked to learn, is widely interpreted as including as part of its meaning "Don't form general scientific hypotheses".

A good test of how strong the anti-judgmentarians' convictions are is to engage them in a discussion of pure evil. Holocaust photos help to concretize the nature of evil -- I have yet to encounter one of these people who really felt that Hitler just had a "different perspective".

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Based on the definition you gave in the first post, I would say, judge everybody and everything. Although, I think a better word would be "assess". As has been said before, stay away from judgments based on insignificant things.

Example:

I work for a student-run architectural design company. We try and spread the clients out as evenly as possible. When we first opened for this summer, I received a job for a basement renovation. The client was quite unkempt (dirty hair, ragged clothing). The client was also waiting for money from some government social program to complete the renovation (probably on welfare). Based on my distrust of the government, I didn't think she would end up going through with the project because the money either wouldn't come, or the process would take too long. Based on these judgements, I formed an assessment of the situation, told my managers, and secured another project for myself. A few days later the client waiting for funding cancelled on me.

Based on "Don't judge others" I would have formed no opinion about the client, and would have been without work for several weeks.

Rational judgement can be one of your best tools!

Edited by RI1138
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A good test of how strong the anti-judgmentarians' convictions are is to engage them in a discussion of pure evil. Holocaust photos help to concretize the nature of evil -- I have yet to encounter one of these people who really felt that Hitler just had a "different perspective".

A friend of mine once said, "Popular thinking says that good and evil do not exist, but Hitler was bad for some reason."

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I should add, just for fairness' sake, that Jesus was charicteristically inconsistent on this point of judging. He also said, for example:

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

So you're supposed to "judge righteous judgment" and also "judge not, lest thou be judged." Good luck. :)

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Judgment is rationally evaluating something then acting accordingly. Judging does not just apply to moral issues.

It is possible to not judge others (properly). After all of the facts are seen, you ignore them or act based on a whim or something else. As an example, imagine grading a bad test then passing the student with an A because his parents donate to the school.

I have a question. Is it considered "judging" to evaluate metaphysical objects then act accordingly, or only the man-made?

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Is it considered "judging" to evaluate metaphysical objects then act accordingly, or only the man-made?
Judgment is general, and as far as I can see means the same thing as "evaluate". You need to use your judgment to decide whether you can make the mile walk home before the rain comes crashing down on you. However, only the man-made can be rationally submitted to moral judgment.
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This one always made me laugh:

Deficiency in judgment is just what is ordinarily called stupidity, and for such a failing there is no remedy.

Referring to "judgment" in general.. in the Kantian sense.

Edited by Bold Standard
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When you see a person or their actions, don't form an opinion or estimation of it or them. They are commanding you to switch off your mind. The muslim next door is beating his wife? Don't judge. Switch off your mind.

Of course, one wonders why, in your example, it must necessarily be a Muslim beating his wife. Wife-beating is fairly common, and it's practiced by many cultures, abhorrent as the fact may be. That leads rather neatly into my argument - that there is a distinct difference between judgment and pre-judgment, or prejudice. Judgment takes place after experience, and can be founded on rational or irrational thought. A rational judgment would be something like this: X has fudged his way out of several commitments in the past few weeks, and his reasons for doing so are not clear or reasonable. Therefore, I don't trust X. On the other hand, I don't like the way she looked at me - I hate that girl represents an irrational judgment. However, judging an individual because you believe them to be a member of a certain group, before you have any experience of that individual, is always irrational. He looks like a Muslim to me - I bet he beats his wife and stuffs mailboxes with anthrax when he's not burning American flags is a completely irrational judgment, with no basis in objective fact. It's an example of "tribe-think" that completely contradicts Rand's philosophy of individualism, which holds that a person can achieve great things through the exercise of his or her reason, regardless of background.

A lot of people say "don't judge" when they mean "don't pre-judge." It's a reasonable statement of ethics, sloppily expressed. Of course, some people do try not to judge anyone at all, for any reason - which is impossible, not to mention very silly.

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Of course, one wonders why, in your example, it must necessarily be a Muslim beating his wife. Wife-beating is fairly common, and it's practiced by many cultures, abhorrent as the fact may be.

So are you pre-judging Inspector in some respect regarding his example? Why does one have to wonder why he used a Muslim in his example? Do you have some pre-supposition that he is a racist or something? Is his Muslim example unrealistic on it's face?

That leads rather neatly into my argument

How so? Have you concluded that Inspector was "pre-judging" muslims? Present that case.

Edited by RationalCop
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Of course, one wonders why, in your example, it must necessarily be a Muslim beating his wife. Wife-beating is fairly common, and it's practiced by many cultures, abhorrent as the fact may be.
But in western culture it is condemned, so it it only in the context of Muslims (though not only Muslims) transplanted to western society that the non-judgmental cultural acceptance of wife-beating becomes an issue. You don't have to wonder why he picked that example: it's the most plausible case of people suspending judgment over immoral acts.
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But in western culture it is condemned, so it it only in the context of Muslims (though not only Muslims) transplanted to western society that the non-judgmental cultural acceptance of wife-beating becomes an issue. You don't have to wonder why he picked that example: it's the most plausible case of people suspending judgment over immoral acts.
Right.

I don't think (I could be wrong) that Inspector automatically assumes that every Muslim man he meets assaults his wife. But, Muslim culture in general has little comparative respect for women, and it is with Muslims that people often suspend their judgment to prevent negative moral evaluations when they are due.

His point could have been illustrated with any number of concretes. For instance, a white Christian male living in Green Bay, WI after the Packers lose a game (domestic abuse skyrockets in GB after they lose, so support the Pack or you support spousal abuse :thumbsup: ). But the example would not be as apt, because Western culture is less willing to suspend judgment when a Westerner is involved.

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So are you pre-judging Inspector in some respect regarding his example? Why does one have to wonder why he used a Muslim in his example? Do you have some pre-supposition that he is a racist or something?

No, I don't pre-suppose that he is a racist, but he did drop a stereotype into the discussion, which led me to suspect him of sloppy thinking. The idea that Muslims are more misogynist than, say, Promisekeepers, doesn't hold much weight. It rests primarily on the conflation of militant, fundamentalist Islam (which is undeniably, and horrifically, anti-woman) with other, more mainstream and "assimilationist" varieties of Islam. There are anti-woman passages in the Koran, just as there are in the Christian Bible, the Torah, and the primary and secondary texts of many other religions. But in our current political climate, many people are more likely to identify Muslims with anti-woman attitudes than they are to identify Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. with the same views. The horrific suppression of women by the Taliban became front-page news after 9/11, when the country was being maneuvered into a war against fundamentalist Muslims; the practices in question (capital punishment for adultery, mandatory burkas, denial of education, the list goes on) had been in place for many years, but had received minimal press coverage. As our country maneuvers its way into more conflicts with Muslim nations, many people are more than willing to speak to the plight of Those Poor Beaten Muslim Wives, not because they particularly care for the women in question, or for the issue of domestic violence in general, but because it is a way to claim an "altruistic, noble" position while simultaneously giving voice to popular anti-Muslim sentiments.

It's worth noting that I do think DavidOdden has a good point - cultural relativism does encourage us to suspend judgment of domestic violence in Muslim families (along with similar crimes, such as dowry murders in India, and female genital mutilation in some African cultures). If Inspector had bothered to expand and support his "Muslim beating his wife" scenario, incorporating David's ideas, I probably wouldn't have bothered to question his use of the example. Many people do use cultural relativism as an excuse to overlook atrocities, and that's horrible.

However, in Inspector's original statement, the use of casual stereotype ("wife-beating Muslim," which is on a level with "dumb red-stater," "criminal black," "heartless, greedy industrialist," etc.) seemed like evidence that he had not thoroughly examined his premises, and that he had simply regurgitated popular views into the discussion without examining them fully. I have no personal interest in Inspector, but it seems to me that a philosophical discussion can only benefit if the participants are willing to point out perceived flaws in each others' logic.

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I have no personal interest in Inspector, but it seems to me that a philosophical discussion can only benefit if the participants are willing to point out perceived flaws in each others' logic.

What's even better than acting on your flawed perception that he may be guilty of "sloppy thinking" is asking him to support his statement to find out if your perception is accurate. Instead, you pre-judged him because he made a statement (which we all seem to agree is entirely possible) which did not provide enough (off topic) justification to satisfy you. The fact that you thought his statement "leads rather neatly" into your point indicates you came to a conclusion about his statement with insufficient information to make such conclusion. Ironically, your statement serves your point much better.

What do you know of posting history? His knowledge on the topic on which he is speaking? etc. etc. There was not enough there to justify that level of suspicion as to his motive or his thinking. He offered an example, nothing more, nothing less.

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Of course, one wonders why, in your example, it must necessarily be a Muslim beating his wife. Wife-beating is fairly common, and it's practiced by many cultures, abhorrent as the fact may be.

I know that Muslim culture is (unfortunately) one of many that endorses wife-beating, but I was looking for an example of a wife-beating culture that one might find next door. I suppose there are some non-Islamic African cultures that endorse it, but such an example isn't common enough for the average reader to picture their next-door neighbors in the same way.

I think it's a fine example, as the actually have wife-beating as not only legalized, but obligatory under sharia for any number of "offences."

As for judgment vs. pre-judgment, I have to ask: did you read my original post?

But the example would not be as apt, because Western culture is less willing to suspend judgment when a Westerner is involved.

Yes, exactly. That was another reason why I used it.

But in western culture it is condemned, so it it only in the context of Muslims (though not only Muslims) transplanted to western society that the non-judgmental cultural acceptance of wife-beating becomes an issue. You don't have to wonder why he picked that example: it's the most plausible case of people suspending judgment over immoral acts.

Precisely.

No, I don't pre-suppose that he is a racist, but he did drop a stereotype into the discussion, which led me to suspect him of sloppy thinking...

However, in Inspector's original statement, the use of casual stereotype ("wife-beating Muslim," which is on a level with "dumb red-stater," "criminal black," "heartless, greedy industrialist," etc.) seemed like evidence that he had not thoroughly examined his premises, and that he had simply regurgitated popular views into the discussion without examining them fully. I have no personal interest in Inspector, but it seems to me that a philosophical discussion can only benefit if the participants are willing to point out perceived flaws in each others' logic.

You couldn't have been more wrong. I selected that particular example for precisely the reasons they gave; my thinking was anything but sloppy. Now who is pre-judging?

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  • 1 month later...

This is probably off topic, but I remember seeing something which I found humerous:

"We are taught to be mild and meek,

to take one blow and to turn the other cheek.

It is not written what a man shall do

if the rude caitiff smite the other, too!"

Comments on this, anyone?

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  • 3 months later...
How does a person who says he doesnt judge other people choose a certain politician in an election?
That might be a counter-argument you could use. But I wouldn't recommend arguing with someone who claims he does not judge other people. You will not change his mind, and both of you will grow quickly irritated.
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...I wouldn't recommend arguing with someone who claims he does not judge other people. You will not change his mind, and both of you will grow quickly irritated.
He might starting judging you as being irritating <_<

Seriously though, is there anything in this particular "don't judge others" argument that makes it not worth pursuing? Is it any different from (say) a "selfishness is not good" argument, or a "Capitalism has problems" argument? Mind you, I'm not saying one should be arguing with most people about politics, ethics and philosophy; however, if one chooses to do so, this argument seems as good as any.

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