I think the #1 fear of people who are contemplating returning to Church, or even just sharing a sin they are struggling with is being judged.
It’s a harsh thing to be “judged”. But why is that? Why are we afraid of judgment?
Is it because we don’t want to be confronted with our short comings?
Is it because we are afraid of failure?
Is it because that would mean we are not perfect?
Is it because that would mean we have to change our actions?
Is it because it makes us uncomfortable?
Why is it that the Church community gets pegged with being “judgmental”
This is something I’ve been on both ends of…I’ve been afraid of being judged by people at church, but I have also been someone who probably “judges” others outside of my Church group.
I’ve really struggled with this concept of “being judged”.
So many people turn away from the Church because they don’t want to be judged.
Maybe they had a bad experience, maybe they didn’t. I don’t know. All I know is that people are afraid of it.
First of all, I believe in truth…yes, I believe there is a right and a wrong.
We are not called to judge, but we are called to speak truth.
It is unfortunate that sometimes speaking truth is considered being “judgmental”.
That is where, I think, the Church gets nailed.
This is an essay I wrote for a class I took a year ago “Psychology of Prejudice”.
The question I have is where one draws the line between a religious person being discriminatory (judgmental) and simply following a moral obligation. What I mean by this is that most religions have a set of rules or standards that they try to abide by. I will speak mostly on the behalf of Catholicism here. Because religion is a unique ingroup in that they have rules regarding morality, I think people get more defensive about religious stances. Of course other groups have rules, but they typically don’t revolve around the issue of salvation, eternal life, and final “judgment”. Because the rules in religious groups revolve around such delicate issues like salvation, is it possible that people get more defensive when they are not part of that religious ingroup?
Back to my original question of the difference between moral obligation and discrimination, the question is about where one places tolerance. As a religious person, I have always been taught the phrase, “love the sinner, hate the sin”. What this means is that you tolerate all people, but you don’t necessarily tolerate a behavior that you believe is wrong, or goes against the moral code. My argument is that people who are being reprimanded or “judged” for a certain behavior at times take it as a personal offense. Of course several Catholics also make fundamental attribution errors as well and wrongly treat people poorly based off of an act they did, but in some situations, I think there can be equal blame on the so called receiver of this “prejudice”.
One of the biggest complaints I here from young adults who were raised Catholic and then stopped practicing their religion, is that they are afraid of being judged. These same people still believe in Christianity and right and wrong, but perhaps feel guilty for falling short of the Christian expectation at times. This is very understandable. However, the ingroup of Christianity calls people to a certain standard of behavior. This is not to say that people don’t make mistakes, but people are expected to attempt to follow the standards. I think that half-hearted Christians who are typically ones claiming they are being judged by religious people are at just as much fault. They can’t claim to be a part of a group if they refuse to try to follow the rules of the group. In the same way, you can’t be a part of a basketball team if you fail to show up to practice or participate in the drills. It’s just like when my mom says “if you want to live in my house, you need to follow my rules”. Why does religion get tagged as such a bad guy when they essentially make the same distinction as the examples I just gave? (ie. you can’t receive communion if you are in a state of mortal sin).
I think it is because religion deals with the touchy issue of salvation and eternal life, and that is the main reason people get so offended when they don’t fit into that group. Now, I am in no way defending those religious people that are truly acting discriminatory and making fundamental attribution errors, but I am also calling out the half-hearted religious people that are typically the ones complaining about receiving prejudice from the religious. These people need to decide if they want to be a part of the ingroup of a religion or not. Then, if they do choose to be a part of the religion, to not take it personally when someone tells them they should stop having premarital sex, or getting drunk every weekend, or other typical behavioral standards that religion has, because that is not being discriminatory, but following a moral obligation to help each other meet the moral code, and ultimately achieve salvation.
When are we “judging” people and when are we simply calling people to a higher standard of living?
Is there a line between the two?
If I said, “hey, I’m worried about you, I wish you would stop x, y, or z, because I think it’s hurting your soul” would you think I was judging you???
Just some food for thought.