's writeup here reminded me of a point that was made by the teacher
of a Christian Ethics
class I took a long time ago. He was a pretty fundamentalist
guy - Southern Baptist
, born-again Christian
, all that good stuff - but he was pretty open-minded
, too. I was (and am, for that matter) an agnostic
(Bible Belt prep school
forced me to take the class, but I don't regret it), so you would think the two of us would've been at each other's throats the entire semester
- but he only ever attacked something I said when it was illogical
with my stated beliefs. He never, ever called me or my beliefs evil
, though he would make it readily known that he disagreed with me. When, during an informal after-class discussion, this topic
came up, he said:
"A Christian has no right to judge by the canon anyone who is outside the canon."
It's basically an extension of the "judge not lest thee be judged thyself" principle, but a little refined. It basically means one Christian can attack another for being un-Christian or for not following Christian principles, but he cannot attack a non-Christian for the same because that person is not bound by Christian principles. Its a simple idea, but its amazing how little it is known or followed.
Aside: I'm not sure where he got this idea, but its a safe bet C.S. Lewis talks about it somewhere (the guy loved Lewis). If anyone knows where, drop me a /msg.