Standard of Good and Evil (Judge not lest thou be judged)

by Oliver Mbamara

As expected, the piece, Even God Is Not A Judge, did receive tremendous response, most of which bothered on how to reconcile the concept of good and evil, and also on who decides when to judge, how to judge, or where to judge. I will attempt to address the issue from yet another perspective. I must however, plead with readers to note that in view of space, a complete analysis of the issue here is not possible, and no amount of space will be enough.

My point in the referred article could be summarized in the following statement. ‘Although societal law requires an authorized person to judge another for the purpose of coexistence, when it comes to spiritual matters, no one ought to make himself a judge over another.’

The words ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are mere nomenclatures for the impressions of cause and effect in the lower world (Earth). There is hardly a universal agreement as to a single standard of what is ‘good’ or ‘evil,’ hence I would prefer to look at it from the perspective that there is always a reaction to any action, an effect to every cause, that freedom comes with responsibility, and that each individual is liable for his act, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER IT IS ‘GOOD’ OR ‘EVIL.’ Such is the omniscience of God. It is an infallible and impartial test.

The concepts of what constitutes sin, virtue, evil, or good, is as variable as there are tribes, cultures, nations, races, genders, political parties, etc. That informs why some individuals would think it is right to fly a plane into a landmark building like the world trade center and kill over 3000 unarmed civilians, while others would think it is terrorism, barbaric, horrendous and heinous. Some would believe that by killing others (non-believers of their religious tenets) they would automatically earn a one-way ticket to heaven while others believe that such people would end up in hell. Some would think that an artwork showing a nude Jesus or an exposed Virgin Mary is a good work of art while others would think it is sacrilegious. Some would see Salman Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses,’ as an example of the freedom of expression, while others would think it is blasphemous, and some would even pass a death sentence on the writer for insulting Islam. I can go on and on, but you must have your own list.

This is why it is very tough to successfully carry out a crusade of good over evil on earth. The battle is continuous and the victory has to be won over and over again. However, less will be achieved if emphasis is only placed on the assessment of things from the external perspective rather than from within, or on the effect of things rather than the cause of things.

Everyone (or group) is entitled to a set of moral principles and spiritual belief. However, it becomes complicated when an individual or group begins to impose its belief on another. This problem arises because it is hardly possible to come up with what should be an acceptable standard on spiritual (or moral) issues. Every individual has the freedom to decide what is right for himself, but that freedom must be checked by responsibility, hence a person’s right must end where another’s right begins, for the purpose of coexistence. If a societal law is broken, the culprit should face the consequences, but no one has the right to decide the spiritual consequence of another’s action. In any event, what we think about another person’s spiritual belief or behavior, is immaterial since the spiritual laws will apply strictly to each one regardless of what is the belief of the next person. The emphasis should rather be on self-realization first, and that was why Socrates said, “Worship the gods if you will, but first, know thyself.”

In ancient Greece, though Socrates was sure he spoke the truth of life, and that he was not a blasphemer as the authorities that tried him have claimed, he refused to adhere to the admonitions of his disciples to challenge and fight the death sentence passed on him. Instead, he insisted that the law that has been set up by and for the society of man must take its course. He went ahead and willingly took the hemlock (poisonous drink), which later killed him as the sentence of the State required. However, Socrates did point out the fact that there was a higher law, to which he was innocent, and that the death the Greek authorities seek of him was only of the flesh and unable to touch the soul. Jesus the Christ said, “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and give unto God what is God.”

The point? It is important to differentiate between the laws of society (which is not perfect) and the laws of God, which is impartial, infallible and non-partisan. Man can only impart the justice of man. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was God.” The justice of God (or Spirit) is according to the omniscient infallible law, which was in the beginning. God is love and does not have a war. Assuming God has a war, is it not mistaken for man to think that he can think for God or fight God’s war for God? Besides, God is omnipotent. It will do man good to look within and improve his consciousness rather than dwell on the misconceptions of external impressions. Great men like Socrates and Jesus the Christ have said it in various ways, some of which I have quoted above. Let us consider a few more quotes. (1) “You have to remove the pebble in your own eyes before you can see well to remove the pebble in another’s eye.” (2) “Physician, heal thyself.” (3) “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” (4) “Judge not lest thou be judged.” Need I say more?


If planets are known by elements,
And nations vary in components,
If societies are distinct in rules,
And each individual differs in gene,

If every circumstance is peculiar,
And taste of the pudding is in the eating,
If he who wears the cap, knows the fitting,
And he who feels it knows it best indeed,

If character is personal to every person
And unique culture strives in a people,
If perspectives differ one from another
And opinions vary by individuals,

Whose ‘wrong’ shall indeed be a sin?
And whose ‘right’ shall then be a virtue,
Accepted and taken by all and sundry,
To be the standard of good and evil?

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