“Oh, come on, Captain. You’re not the first man to get a thrill out of murdering someone! I see it all the time.”
I have to take it on the word of others that there is such a thrill when murdering. That, and the fascination that young men seem to have with movies and video games which, I suppose, let them vicariously kill.
But I’m afraid I do understand the “thrill” part of the equation.
I’ve never been sure whether my martial-arts-trained friend and college roommate John Caplinger was joking, telling the truth, or both when he said that the best translation for one of the ninja attack shrieks is “I will only kill you a little.”
If you’ll forgive me for conflating the two concepts, I’m acquainted with the thrill of only killing a little. It’s what people do when they correct, criticize, belittle and berate others. Like Lily of the movie’s savage twenty-second century, I see it all the time.
I see it in the internet bulletin boards. In the chat rooms. In the comments of the blogs, and the blogs themselves. In the Facebook groups, open and closed. In the concise 140-character-or-less tweets of Twitter. Words meant to kill.
Just a little.
Oh, yes, I understand the thrill. Beating someone up verbally feels awesome. It makes you feel powerful because they’ve lost and you’ve won. It makes you feel right because they’re wrong. It makes you feel good because they’re evil. It makes you feel better than someone else, because after all, you are.
“Becauses” that are all bull-puckey, of course.
At their root is your judgment, and your judgment is just as flawed as theirs and it is just as flawed as mine. It is human. It is not perfect.
And no one should understand that better than a follower of Christ.
Which is why it should perplex me that I see it so unforgivably often in the bulletin boards, chat rooms, groups, comments and tweets of fellow believers. “Should,” I say. It “would,” if I had not experienced it myself so damnably many times.
I keep repenting of it. I don’t know how many times I have tried to blog my deepest intention to stop judging others, only to get sucked back into the festering muck of it again by some thrill-seeker in the comments of the very same post.
This week it has been with a few folks on a Facebook group who — to my way of perceiving it — want to justify doing what Jesus forbids in Matthew 7:1 and Luke 6:37 by trying to make the case that it is absolutely required to judge others in order to correct others, which is the loving thing to do. What they are called to do. I can’t even begin to comprehend the screwed-up priorities of that kind of thinking. It has called forth more patience in me than I have within to try to respond in kindness rather than in kind, until I finally ran out of it and had to quit before keying in something that Facebook’s Timeline might never let me forget.
(If there is one thing I have learned about folks who really like to argue, it’s that they feel they have won if they get the last word. If there is no response, then their arguments must be irrefutable, and therefore irrefutably right.)
My LIFE Group and I have spent several months studying Greg Boyd’s Repenting of Religion. He makes a strong case for the original sin of Eden being judgment: judgment of two people that God was not trustworthy; judgment that they should take matters into their own, more capable hands and eat the fruit and know for sure instead of having any more truck with this faith stuff.
Boyd builds on this premise of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to propose that the greater part of religion has long been and currently is little more than judgmentalism disguised as righteousness (which is really self-righteousness), rather than religion mirroring the love of God by (in his words) “ascribing unsurpassable worth to others.”
So I’ll just close this one with a question. I’ve already described above the number one reason I believe Christians immerse themselves into the unholy culture of judgment, criticism, abuse and condemnation of others: Self.
What do you believe contributes to it?