Stomping on Jesus

By now the story of the Mormon student who refused to stomp on a piece of paper with Jesus written on  it must be familiar to every one who has been paying any attention at all to the news. Personally, I am not much bothered by this bit of idiocy. Jesus has suffered worse insults than this and being the Son of God, I am sure he can take it without needing any help from me. I am intrigued, however, by the professor who gave this assignment. I would guess that he is the sort of Progressive who believes himself to be a brave, freethinker who speaks truth to power. The truth may be that if one of his students had written Allah or Mohammed on a piece of paper and stomped on it, he would probably wet himself with fear; fear of being murdered by an irate Muslim, or worse, fear of losing his progressive credentials by permitting a politically incorrect action in his classroom. Perhaps, he also believes himself to be open minded and tolerant, so tolerant that a student who disagrees with him must be ejected from the classroom.

Of course I do not know the man and it is more than likely I am doing him an injustice by describing him in these terms. It doesn’t matter because I am not really writing about that particular incident. It occurred to me when I read about it, that often the person we know least well is ourselves. We look at ourselves from the inside, so to speak, and that is not often the best perspective to look at things. I imagine, that if we could see ourselves and our actions from the outside, as we see everyone else, it is quite likely that we would not recognize ourselves. We might even be appalled to discover that we are not nearly so brave, or generous, or thoughtful as we believe ourselves to be. That professor, if my ideas about him are accurate, might well detest similar actions in another, a devout or bigoted Christian mocking the beliefs of Muslims or Atheists perhaps. He might not give that other Professor the same benefit of the doubt he would give himself.

Perhaps that is the true meaning of Jesus’s words on passing judgment

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)

Perhaps we should give others the same benefit of the doubt that we are apt to give our own actions and motivations. It wouldn’t hurt to subject ourselves to the same sort of critical scrutiny we often give to others.

This has been a rather more introspective post than most I have written. I’ll have to not do that too often.