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1 The original term ‘judgment’ relates to an official decision of a court given at the end of a trial. In civil cases, a judgment determines the respective rights and claims of the parties involved. In criminal cases, judgment includes the pronouncement of guilt (or its absence) and, if the defendant is convicted, the sentence or decision of punishment.

2 The reason this word is included in this spiritual glossary is because some religions, notably Christianity and Islam, have dogma (religious laws) which assert that their God is a judge who will punish those who are found guilty of not following the religious laws and/or faith. Both (a total of 56% of humans today) assert that the other religion is incorrect, and that all other religions are not entitled to the grace/forgiveness for mistakes granted only to their followers. So their understanding of judgment/punishment is very judgmental of other humans and each other. (see meaning 3 below)

e.g. Whoever disregards the law shall bear a burden [of punishment] on the Day of Resurrection, remaining in it [forever]. Evil is their burden on the Day of Resurrection (Islamic Koran chapter 20, verse 100)

These religions claim punishment (or condemnation) for not following their religion is to be extreme and forever, after death. Though both arose from a Jewish background, it is this dogma that spawned a non-Jewish concept of hell (a place of torment and punishment after death), and consequently the word judgment has come to mean for those of these faiths  a divine punishment for sin (Sin being anything less than perfection).


3 Judgment is also an important issue in a moral or virtue sense. Self judgment and personal judgement of others seems to be universally considered detrimental, as it assumes one person, the judge, has a right to criticize and punish. This difficult role is assigned in society to a judge or magistrate, but it is reliant on the concept of right and wrong, and the impartiality of the judge. In practice both assumptions are flawed.

Jesus (who is a prophet in both Christianity and Islam) said “Don’t judge, and you will not be judged.

Separating the meaning of the word judgment into legal, religious and spiritual contexts is important in order to understand the usage.


“[To me] the thought of hell was plainly contradictory to the idea of a loving God. If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present, then why would such an awesome and wondrous force waste His time demanding to be worshiped, by pain of eternal torture? It sounded like the kind of behavior one might expect from a base and tyrannical human being, not an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator.
I always tried my best to be objective in my journey through faith. In the end, I found myself caught in a mental battle between having faith in organized religion, versus trusting in my own personal spirituality. The two are related, but there is a crucial difference. It is undeniable that the hope, connection, perspective, and moral compass that religion provides are powerful tools for spiritual growth. But religion requires faith above all; it is a testament of unconditional devotion to a specific doctrine and style of worship. It also requires study, effort, and maintenance. My spirituality comes from within. It requires no maintenance beyond that which flows naturally from living life. I have only to trust in a few fundamental truths, which have always resonated with me more than any doctrine written or preached by men.”
Tyler Henry – a young person’s view of judgment and hell



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