logo

Words of a Fether

Opinions on Faith and Life

Grading On A Curve

Proverbs 11:1 The LORD detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him.

Micah 6:11 Shall I acquit a person with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?

I just finished yet another (but hopefully final) round of Double Standards Derby, where the people with logs in their eyes flame those with splinters in theirs (ref. Luke 6:42). Of course the log-eyed claim they are the splinter-eyed, but surely there are “accurate weights” by which we can judge between them.

I would appeal to standards of logic and discourse, but so would my opponents. So the problem is in identifying the standards before any discussion begins. But I am under no delusion that even this can be agreed upon, as anyone can see from any controversial topic in religion, politics, or even so-called science. People all play the same double-standard game, regardless of topic or ideology. The same words can be uttered by both sides, but they can be labeled either “nice” or “mean” simply by knowing the author of the words. The only standard they recognize is whether their “side” is helped. There is simply no communicating with such people.

A case in point can be seen in some recent conversations in other blogs. But I’m going to quote/summarize some of the comments without naming names, so the reader can try and tell who is “nice” and who is “mean” on the basis of words instead of authors.

X-- I want you to know that out of respect for you and respect for the post I am NOT going to respeond. And you know that I’m not saying I won’t respond to the post. You know what it is I’m making the choice to not respond to, and that not responding to it is like trying to chew my arm off.

Y-- Wise and mature. Of course, we’ve all come to expect that of you... Don’t chew your arm off. Nibble a bit of the ring finger or something, but you’ll need your arm.

Z-- Please explain why Paul was not guilty of violating those things you emphasized when he, for example, wished the Judaizers would emasculate themselves, or when he said “If anyone does not love the Lord, let them be accursed”, or when Jesus called the Pharisees dogs, or when Peter called false teachers pigs.

Y-- I’ve not seen in you much of a desire to listen or learn, but I will tell you what I think... as to Jesus – he had a level of insight you do not have... You and I don’t... as to Paul, he had an apostolic authority and perhaps an insight we do not have... Do you claim the same level of insight into the human heart that Jesus and Paul had?... Lacking their spiritual insight, we would do well to exhibit a little humility... I have explained my view and you can do with it as you will.

Q-- I just get tired of all the Haters who show up from time to time spewing one insult after the other.

S-- Deal with what we really believe... At least those people are consistent... Pick one- be consistent.. Your analogy is horrible... Did you read my comment above yours? Apparently not... I didn’t get emotional and upset... I think you need to calm yourself a little bit.

R-- I hear this argument but it is bogus... We have those yelling there is not enough doctrine. You yell that there is too much. This is why I don’t listen much to either side. Can you tell I’m irritated? I get very irritated to those who try and pass themselves off in this way. It is probably one of the most ridiculous and frustrating comments anyone can make... I don’t say it to sound condescending although I know it sounds that way... The argument you give is so old and so contentious that I don’t usually even address it... Now back to the actual subject at hand... That would be refreshing... Deal with it... It is the one view that does not have contradictions in scripture when viewed properly... You don’t see it in scripture but see what you believe to be true... Just go home...

This is of course a tiny sample, but can you tell which statements are “nice” and which are “mean”? Are they all one or the other? But one thing I can guarantee is that if the names were known (I will supply them by email on request if you first identify each comment as “nice” or “mean”), people would change their labeling of the statements. Many who have been called out for rejoicing over someone leaving the comment stream (“grave dancing”) or trying to dictate the words chosen by others will swear on a stack of Bibles that they are being “nice” when they say such things, but if certain others say words that aren’t anywhere near as bad, they are “mean”.

The grading curve, the unbalanced scales, are the very “showing favoritism” that James denounced (James 2:1,9). Jesus said that we will be judged according to the measure we used to judge others (Mt. 7:2), so there will be many shocked faces at the Judgment. “When did we ever...?” they will ask with jaws on the floor. “We were the nice ones; we were only confronting the meanies, not being mean to them, because we aren’t mean.” But they only show that their standards had nothing to do with fairness or equality or objectivity, but with personal pride and willing blindness. Self-righteousness lives and prospers in the churches today.

We need to go back to the “gold standard”: the Bible, “sober” self-assessment, established principles of logic. The age of relativism has made it impossible to communicate, much less stand on principle. We will never have civilized, productive debates until people learn to think straight and recognize their own biases. We need to renounce “right for me, wrong for you” and play under our own rules.

Posted 2010-09-13 under hypocrisy, debate