Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Did Jesus really teach that it is wrong to judge others?

Great post by Matt at MandM on an often misunderstood verse.

Here’s the passage in question, Matthew 7:1-5:

1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3“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?

4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Most people only quote the first verse, but they don’t look at the rest of the verses that come after.

Here’s what Matt has to say about those other verses:

The phrase translated in the NIV as, “do not judge, or you too will be judged,” was originally written by Matthew in Koine (a Greek dialect). The Interlinear Bible gives the literal translation here as, “do not judge that you be judged.” In other words, do not judge others in a way that leads one to put oneself under judgement.

[...]One is not to judge in a way that brings judgment on oneself. The reason for this (“for”) is that the standard one uses to judge others is the standard that one’s own behaviour will be measured by. Jesus goes on to illustrate, with a sarcastic example, precisely what he is talking about; a person who nit-picks or censures the minor faults of others (taking the speck out of their brothers eye) who ignores the serious, grave, moral faults in their own life (the log in one’s own eye). His point is that such faults actually blind the person’s ability to be able to make competent moral judgments. This suggests that Jesus is focusing on a certain type of judging and not the making of judgments per se.

In fact, the conclusion that Jesus does not mean to condemn all judging of others is evident from the proceeding sentences in the above quote. Rather than engaging in the kind of judgment Jesus has condemned one should “first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” In other words one should try to rectify the serious moral flaws in one’s own life precisely so one can assist others with theirs. One needs to avoid hypocrisy in order to make constructive and effective moral judgments about others. This would make no sense if Jesus meant to condemn all judging by this passage.

This is something I actually try to do, and it’s easy. Before you open your mouth to judge someone, you have to look at your own life and make sure that you don’t do the thing you’re condeming.

I try not to say anything about individual people at all, but just talk about behaviors in general that are harmful. I don’t ask people if they do any of those behaviors. If they try to tell me about their bad behaviors, I tell them that their personal lives are not up for discussion, unless they explicitly ask me to comment on their specific case. So, instead of saying “you’re bad!”, I say “this behavior is bad and here’s why”. And I make sure I don’t DO that behavior before I declare it as immoral!

I hear this challenge about Christians being too judgmental all the time from non-Christians. If you do, too, then you should definitely click through to MandM and read the whole thing. There’s a logical element, a common sense element and a hermeneutical element to this problem, and all are discussed by Matt. He’s a sharp guy, you’re bound to learn something new that you can use.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ethics week 2013: Five universities. Five nights. Five moral issues


DOING THE RIGHT THING Week 2013 is a nation wide university initiative to focus on a discussion of the foundation of morality, how do we determine what is right and wrong, and what it means to live ethically. These are questions that every college student, indeed every person on the planet, must grapple with as the answers affect government, society, our families, and ourselves.


SEPT. 30, 2013 | 6:30 PM EDT


DR. MICHAEL MILLER, Acton Institute

PHYSICAL LOCATION: Student Center Theater


OCT. 1, 2013 | 8:00 PM EDT


KELLIE FIEDOREK, Alliance Defending Freedom | RYAN T. ANDERSON, Heritage Foundation

PHYSICAL LOCATION: Cook Campus Center Multipurpose Room


OCT. 2, 2013 | 8:00PM EDT

The History of American Eugenics: Lessons for the Second Genetic Century | OHIO UNIVERSITY


PHYSICAL LOCATION: Baker University Center, Ballroom A (8 PM EDT)

Noon Panel Discussion:

OCT. 2, 2013 | 12:00PM EDT

Can We Safely and Successfully Re-Engineer Humanity?

DR. CHRISTOPHER HOOK, Mayo Clinic; Scott Carson, Professor of Philosophy, Ohio University; & Scott Robe, Attorney, Athens, Ohio; TIM SHARP , News Director of WOUB, will facilitate



OCT. 3, 2013 | 8:00PM EDT


DR. FRANCIS BECKWITH, Baylor University



OCT. 4, 2013 | 7:00PM EDT


DR. SCOTT RAE, Biola University

PHYSICAL LOCATION: UCI Student Center, Pacific Ballroom C

Click here for more details on the events.

Filed under: Events, , , , , ,

Five common objections to the moral argument

Apologetics 315 posted a list of five objections to the moral argument from philosopher Paul Rezkalla.

Here are the 5 points:

  1. “But I’m a moral person and I don’t believe in God. Are you saying that atheists can’t be moral?”
  2. “But what if you needed to lie in order to save someone’s life? It seems that morality is not absolute as you say it is.”
  3. ‘Where’s your evidence for objective morality? I won’t believe in anything unless I have evidence for it.’
  4. ‘If morality is objective, then why do some cultures practice female genital mutilation, cannibalism, infanticide, and other atrocities which we, in the West, deem unacceptable?’
  5.  ‘But God carried out many atrocities in the Old Testament. He ordered the genocide of the Canaanites.’

That last one seems to be popular, so let’s double-check the details:

For starters, this isn’t really an objection to the moral argument. It does not attack either premise of the argument. It is irrelevant, but let’s entertain this objection for a second. By making a judgement on God’s actions and deeming them immoral, the objector is appealing to a standard of morality that holds true outside of him/herself and transcends barriers of culture, context, time period, and social norms. By doing this, he/she affirms the existence of objective morality! But if the skeptic wants to affirm objective morality after throwing God out the window, then there needs to be an alternate explanation for its basis. If not God, then what is it? The burden is now on the skeptic to provide a naturalistic explanation for the objective moral framework.

If you have heard any of these objections before when discussing the moral argument, click through and take a look.


Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Luka Rocco Magnotta’s murder victim was his gay lover

The UK Daily Mail reports that Luka Rocco Magnotta is now on the run in France. (WARNING: Graphic details of murder)


Yesterday, as 190 countries joined in an Interpol manhunt for  Magnotta, his victim was identified as Lin Jun, a Chinese student who was studying in Montreal.

Police said Mr Lin, 33, was in a relationship with Magnotta, 29.

[...]Police say Mr Lin had been in Montreal since July last year and was studying at Concordia University.

His family lost contact with him on May 24.

Days later a janitor found his limbless body in a suitcase near Magnotta’s apartment in the city. Other body parts were found in the  flat. The video of the killing is called ‘1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick’ and shows a man tied to a bed frame being hacked with a kitchen knife and the ice pick.

The victim’s throat is slashed and he is stabbed before being decapitated and dismembered.

The killer also appears to eat some of the flesh.

Here is my previous post on Luka Rocco Magnotta in which I explain how Canada’s war on the free exercise of religion and the free expression of moral judgments makes outcomes like this unsurprising, especially in secular leftist Quebec.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gay porn actor Luka Rocco Magnotta wanted by police for murder

Here’s the National Post. (WARNING: Graphic details of murder)


The hunt for Luka Rocco Magnotta has gone worldwide, with INTERPOL issuing an international warrant for the arrest of the Canadian man accused in a Montreal murder that saw a torso left in a suitcase and a hand and foot mailed to the Ottawa offices of the Liberal and Conservative parties.

The global bulletin follows a Canada-wide warrant issued by Montreal police hours after officers first entered the 29-year-old suspect’s apartment — the scene of one of the most gruesome killings in Montreal in recent memory.

The police had finished their work inside and Apartment 208 was pretty much stripped bare, but the stomach-turning stench and darkened red stain on the mattress left little doubt that something terrible had happened there.

“The smell of death is not funny,” Eric Schorer, the building’s superintendent, said as he opened the door Wednesday afternoon. “If you look at the bed, that’s where it happened.”

Not only was the unidentified victim dismembered, not only were two body parts apparently mailed to political parties in Ottawa, but it has emerged that the killer filmed his crime and posted it on the Internet. The snuff film titled 1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick, depicting the dismemberment of an Asian male body and various indignities to the remains, has provoked online debate about its veracity since it was posted last week. Police have confirmed the video depicts the actual crime.

[...]Mr. Magnotta, who has also been known as Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov, has left abundant traces on the Internet. A Toronto native, he had worked in gay porn and as a model, but more recently he attracted attention after being linked to a 2010 online video showing kittens being suffocated with the aid of a vacuum cleaner.

A blog attributed to him and titled “Necrophilia Serial Killer Luka Magnotta” included this March 2012 post:

“It’s not cool to the world being a necrophiliac. It’s bloody lonely. But I dont (sic) really care, I have never cared what people thought of me, most people are judgemental idiots. I’m unable to talk to anybody about it and there’s always the knowledge that 99% of people would be repulsed by me if they found out about my feelings. Some people would even want to harm me.”

[...]The online video shows a naked male, tied to a bed frame, being attacked with both an ice pick and a kitchen knife, according to the description on a website called Best Gore. The victim is stabbed, has his throat slashed and is later decapitated and dismembered. The video was posted on Best Gore on May 25, but it is unclear when, or where, it was filmed.

There seems to be a lot of people who excuse their actions by saying they were “born that way” and they need to be true to their feelings – there’s even a Lady Gaga song about it. Basically, the idea is that people have a right to be happy, and to act out their feelings, and they should not have to care about what anyone else (especially God) thinks about it. Anyone who tells them that what they are doing wrong is just called names, like “intolerant” or “bigot”. The public schools in Quebec have a mandatory curriculum that is designed to affirm all points of view on moral questions as equally valid, and to undermine the influence of religion so that moral judgments are not grounded in any sort of objective moral hierarchy. It is even forced on homeschoolers.

Are the crimes of this gay porn actor the result of the marginalization of morality by the secular left? Is the antagonism of being judged so strong in society that people like this feel empowered to act on their feelings? I think that the lesson of this story is that we need to rethink what it means to tell young people that “anything goes” and that moral judgments and moral disagreement are essentially bigotry that offends people. That’s the message of the Human Rights Commissions in Canada. The HRCs think that it’s a criminal offense to make people feel bad by making moral judgments about whatever they are doing. They’ve prosecuted people for expressing their opinions on moral issues many times – often over many years and with huge legal costs.

I think that Canada needs to return to their free speech roots and turn away from these speech-censoring HRCs and pro-relativism education standards in Quebec schools. Canada needs to reaffirm that it’s OK to say that someone is wrong on moral issues. Not everything that every person feels like doing is equally good. Sometimes, it’s better to just say to someone early on in their lives “I think that what you are doing is wrong” even if they feel badly, so that a line is drawn before it turns into murder. Just expressing an opinion on moral boundaries early on might stop someone like this from carrying out the crimes that he has now committed. There are worse things in the world than hurt feelings. Some things are wrong, and people should be able to say so.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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