Tolerating intolerance

Judge not, that ye be not judged…

“I suppose there are two views about everything,” said Mark.

“Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there’s never more than one.”

That Hideous Strength, CS Lewis.

A rather lovely comment from Mindy, here:

I disagree that love requires judgment. (And from everything I’ve experienced — both inner and outer — pointing out another’s sin, evangelizing, requires judgment.)

I can absolutely share my opinion with a beloved friend about what’s right for them, and doing so can be a very loving thing. But I do not believe that it is love to insist that they agree. For one thing, it’s entirely too possible that I am wrong about what’s right for them. For another, I am not their keeper. (My kid being somewhat an exception of course, heheh… altho a diminishing one as she gets older…)

To frame it in a Christian theological context: is not the idea of free will birthed from great love? Personally, I think the immensity of God is limited by binding that idea into a box of sorts that says “you humans must behave a certain way in order to be worthy of salvation. And, by the way, you are charged with telling each other about that certain way.”

I know there are scripture quotes that can be used to refute what I’m saying.

And I also know that I would much rather that those people who are righteously judging (judging me as a gay person, judging non-Christians, judging universalist Christians, etc.) would change their behavior… which means I am judging them. I get it. /sigh…

I am a firm believer that following the words of Jesus does me good, and that the evil consequences in the Bible are descriptive- just what happens- rather than prescriptive- God rubbing his hands and Punishing. What do I lose by judging?

I lose the fellowship, input and response from the homophobic Evangelical. Possibly I know what they would tell me, possibly they would not want to associate with me, possibly our approaching each other and “Not Judging” would be so artificial and hypocritical that the falseness of the situation would be unbearable- and the more I can hear another person, the better it is for me.

Is it enough, when Not Judging, to say, That is how the person is, and that is not a bad thing. Quite certain about his beliefs, but that does not harm me. Still doing his best under difficult circumstances, like human beings do. Or, should I surrender my belief- “he is quite certain about his beliefs”- in order to perceive better?

File:Byron Katie 2.jpg

In the Quaker meeting, I went to the bookshelves, where I do not normally look, and found Byron Katie’s Who would you be without your story? It contains her Judge your Neighbour worksheet:

1. Who angers, frustrates or confuses you, and why?
2. How do you want them to change? What do you want them to do?
3. What is it that they should or shouldn’t do, be, think or feel? What advice could you offer?
4. What do they need to do in order for you to be happy?
5. What do you think of them? Make a list.
6. What is it that you don’t want to experience with that person again?

Judge your neighbour, write it down, ask four questions, turn it around.

The four questions are,

1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?
Turn it around. Find three genuine examples of how each turnaround is true in your life.

T drove me home after the Quaker meeting, and asked me what I thought of “faith is believing in impossible things.” That could be bad, or it could be good. It could be fitting in with a social group defined by its demonstrably false beliefs- gay people are damned, or whatever- or it could be stretching my own false beliefs of which I have convinced myself, in order to see reality more clearly. Faith in something better allows me to question my limiting belief.

In associating with Evangelicals, not all of whom believe that gay people are damned, it might be harder for me to cope with their belief in the basic depravity of humanity, or their terrible need that others Must believe the same as they do. Oops. Judging again. Even if a person does believe these things, how could it possibly hurt me?

7 thoughts on “Tolerating intolerance

  1. Thank you, both. 🙂

    It’s thought-provoking, Clare, your post that sprang from mine. It raises something I often grapple with. I grappled with it on Facebook just last nite with a family member… she chose to delete her comment at one point so I let the dialogue cease. And thus I’m grateful for the chance to work it out just a bit here with you two (and others?).

    It is this: while judging another inevitably binds me to that person, and while full freedom is found (I believe) in being able to let go of those bonds, I am also aware that there is a line between letting go of judgment and being a silent contributor to injustice. Where is that line? When do I cross it? How can I work against injustice while remaining free of judgment?

    My family member, a catholic, who personally affirms me and my partner, was offended yesterday by a snarky comment my kid made upon hearing the news of Google’s gay-rights initiative (“Check-mate, Christians,” my kid said online, “what search engine are you gonna use now?”). (It still makes me giggle, I can’t help it!)

    The deleted comment to me was this:

    “… Everyone has a right to believe as they do. You have a right to be in a loving relationship. Why target with hate at all? Why not continue to be a model for all that is good (which your family definitely is). I personally would hate to spend my whole life fighting against something that I may or may not be able to change instead of living and loving and being accepting of everyone. I know there is not an activist bone in my body, and that is where you and I differ.”

    I want to explain to her that I wasn’t an activist either… until I saw and experienced first-hand the result of Christian theology that rejects same-gender love. I want to shake her and wail about those who are discriminated against, bullied, DYING because of that theology. I want to echo back the blood drawn by her words “something I may or may not be able to change” and I want that to open her eyes to what I am convinced is true: that the silence of so many people like her in all those Christian denominations is WHY THINGS AREN’T CHANGING ANY FASTER!

    Maybe I should counsel my daughter not to be snarky. But I don’t want her to lose her fierce sense of justice. I want those who are silent to be silent no longer. I judge those who judge me. I don’t know how not to and still stand.


  2. I am so fortunate to have been raised by parents that taught me judging is in a word “wrong”.Hence, I am a woman that sees beauty in other and embraces that beauty..I am no better or worse than others.
    This is a wonderful-thought provoking post..


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