Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Judgment



Muzzammil Hassan was a man with a mission. He hoped to counter negative impressions of Muslims post 911. He founded a TV network to get the message out.

Then he was charged with murdering his wife and cutting her head off.

Hassan is a Muslim. I am a Christian. Yet, he and I have something important in common. Both of us are incapable of living a life that is completely consistent with the ideals we profess.

I am horrified by Hassan's alleged crime. But were I to assume that one horrible act makes a definitive statement about all Muslims, I would be a hypocrite. Some Christians have committed horrific crimes, but I do not accept those crimes as being evidence of the failure of Christianity as a belief system.

One act cannot define even a single human being, much less a whole people group. We are far too complex to be characterized by one action, even if it is a wonderfully good one or a terribly evil one. Unfortunately, I am slow to believe that for anyone other than myself. I am inclined to see Hassan as a monster. I wonder what good can he possibly have done that could outweigh the evil of his alleged crime? However, I am quick to believe that whatever good I have done can cover all the evil I have perpetrated, with plenty of cover to spare.

Judging an action can be straight forward. For example, it is wrong to murder. But judging a person would entail knowing all that they have done and weighing each of those things on a cosmic scale.

We can distinguish right from wrong. We can hold people accountable for their actions. However, we are too limited to make a final assessment of a person's life.

Hassan will stand trial for his wife's murder. We humans can pass judgment on whether he committed the crime. We can decide the penalty he must pay in this life. We cannot decide his eternal fate.

I leave that judgment to someone infinitely more qualified than me.
Photo Credit: Where Evil Lurks by Stacie Babenko http://www.flickr.com/photos/laciebabenco/2654548292/
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