One of the most tiresome mantra of our age is the refrain that we should not judge. Most people do not seem to realise what would it mean to truly and consistently suspend judgement.

When people use “judge”, they *only* mean it in the sense of “condemn”. But this is a rather odd use of “judge” because judgement determines not only guilt but innocence; it does not only condemn evils but also praises the good. To suspend judgement would mean not only suspension of condemnation but also suspension of praise, for to truly suspend judgement would entail withholding all forms of moral determinations, both good and evil, and the refusal to *both* condemn *and* praise, referring all things to the judgement of God.

That this is the sense in which the Scriptures speak is evident from St Paul censure against judgement in 1 Corinthians 4:3-5:

“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.”

One’s conscience could be clear but yet still be guilty; it is the Lord alone who determines innocence. To suspend condemnation would also entail the suspension of vindication. You cannot at the same time retain the ability to praise and determine the good and yet not retain the ability to condemn and determine the evil, to truly suspend judgement would entail agnosticism about both the good and the bad, the elevation from the moral sphere directly to the unknown Judgement of God, whom alone knows the motives of the hearts and from whom alone each will receive their praise.

Of course as one of those horrible moral nihilists and believer in moral luck, I have utterly no problems with the radical contextualisation and delimitations of moral significance as a contingent empirical phenomena, as mere finite acts which says nothing about our fundamental characters, which “true” and ultimate significance, whether it is truly good or bad, is fundamentally hidden from us, lost in the complexities of a contingent world, and as such, makes the determination of its good and evil difficult, is not virtually impossible. The most we can do is to engage the question before our conscience and finally commend judgement to God, but we cannot either acquit or condemn ourselves. To paralyze judgement, would be to paralyze both praise and accusation.

But I doubt really that many of those who sprout endlessly about “no judgement!” would be as willing to go so far…

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