I don’t suppose there has been a more dangerous idea to gain traction in society than the idea of nonjudgmentalism. Nothing is more unsettling than to hear of those who commit unthinkable acts of stupidity or crime and escape penalty by some laundry list of reasons that explain why they cannot be held accountable for their actions. In an attempt to champion compassion and understanding there seems to be a bending over backward to avoid rendering judgement on the most obvious foolishness. But nonjudgmentalism is a fallacy because it does not suspend judgement on others as it would suggest. It redirects judgement and places it on any standard that invokes the idea of personal responsibility. That is to say you cannot judge the players but the rule book is fair game. There must be an effort to understand the criminal through the scope of his/her upbringing and lack of opportunities while the law that is broken is questioned, scrutinized and “judged” for its viability or lack thereof. What is even more damaging still is the growth of this ideology in the church, as the most obviously unbiblical activity is winked at in the attempt to extend unending compassion to those laymen or clergy who willfully disregard the biblical standard. However no such compassion is extended to the Bible as it is probed for error, cross-examined for accuracy and “judged” as antiquated and insufficient for the changing times. Being nonjudgmental is not so nonjudgmental. As stated earlier the real casualty of this notion is personal responsibility. When responsibility for delinquent acts can be explained away or transferred to someone or something else, the value of doing the right thing is incrementally lost. Not only does good behavior lose its value to the wrongdoer but the law-abiding are challenged in their loyalty to civility as well. When good people perceive that doing good has no value they may abandon it for a lifestyle more self-centered. We know what happens when good people become indifferent toward doing good. Evil fills the void.
Throughout history men have used many things to make judgement calls. Many injustices have been committed by those using race, class, or gender to judge the actions of their fellow-man, so those who advocate for a nonjudgmental world may do so with glowing intentions. They may be resolved to atone for the sins of the past when judgement was used as an accessory to bigotry or racism. However two wrongs never make things right. One misuse of judgement today to rectify another in the past will leave us with no foundation for proper judgment in the future. According to Dr. Theodore Dalrymple in his book Life At The Bottom (which I highly recommend), the notion of nonjudgmentalism can be summed up in the words of an Argentinean tango which says, “todo es igual, nada es mejor.” It means “everything is equal, nothing is better.” The implications are that no matter the culture or behavior it cannot be judged as less viable than any other. But no matter how much equality we attempt to engineer there is an inherent inequality in men that will not allow it. So cultures and behaviors will always produce consequences that differ in there affect on society, and that difference will require judgement. To hold the nonjudgemental vision may be morally gratifying but its usefulness falls apart in real life. A woman who chooses not to use judgement on any suitor who passes by may find herself in successive dangerous and abusive relationships. We see it happen everyday. When it happens do we praise her for being an equal opportunity sufferer or do we encourage better judgment? Tattoos and piercings may be proudly displayed in someones culture but when attempting to enter the culture of the corporate world it may not be in their best interest to do so. Life offers no solutions only trade offs, and the ability to judge among the alternatives is essential, especially when it comes to human behavior. Dr. King’s dream is well documented that we would live in a world where we were not judged by the color of our skin but by the content of our character. If nonjudgmentalism has its way we will live in a world where we are not judged by anything. If so, God help us.