In the business world the term "snap judgment" very aptly defines one of the striking characteristics of the human mind; namely, an alertness in censuring any one and every one who differs in thought or action from the individual's point of view. The term implies much more than mere jumping at conclusions, for it conveys the thought of self-sufficiency. An attitude of self-rightness in one person is pronounced wrong by the next person, and so it goes; each one passes irresponsible condemnation upon every one else, while justifying himself and congratulating himself that he is "not as other men are." The reason for all this is that the human mind judges by the appearance, not by the motive; in other words, such judgments are not based upon law or principle.

Nowhere is "snap judgment" so rife, nowhere so unfortunate, nowhere so pitiable as in the religious world. It reaches its zenith when the doctrine is promulgated that all who differ from the established way of thinking and acting are headed for perdition,—a doctrine which has done more to create sects and cliques than any other one thing; a doctrine whose function has been to point the finger of scorn at others, and to fill the lives of countless thousands with bitterness; a doctrine that in its fell consequences has scattered fold after fold and turned the sheep to roam in the desert without a shepherd; a doctrine that is the very opposite of the teachings of the Founder of Christianity. It is important at this juncture to bear in mind that in making these statements nothing but the wrong judgment is condemned. And this condemnation is not another case of snap judgment but the handwriting on the wall written in results by the doctrine itself. The characters are so bold and clear that he who runs may read. By its fruits it is recognized; by its fruits it is condemned. But in this condemnation the unfortunate person who passes snap judgment is not to be condemned also; he is to be pitied, for who does not pity the blind? His sin is in not practising the truth.

July 11, 1908

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