"I know I said it yesterday, but I loved the idea you presented about the difficulty of the judgment. I guess not the judgment itself, rather that it will be difficult for Christ to condemn any of us due to our imperfect state. We are asked to do the best we can; make decisions to the best of our ability. Our tools, however, are not very refined due to our mortal state. I feel like we are doctors trying to perform surgery with a butter knife and only a 45 watt bulb to give us light. Fortunately, through Christ, our knife can become sharper and we can get a new bulb, though let us not forget that in this life we will never be more than a butter knife (the Savior is like the newest, bestest laser) and we will never have a light as bright as the Son (the sun).
1. We are heavenly spirits housed in imperfect bodies. See page 3 of The Female Brain: "...the female brain is so deeply affected by hormones that their influence can be said to create a woman's reality. They can shape a woman's values and desires, and tell her, day to day, what's important." It is a constant battle between what I can reason to be right and important and that which my body is telling me is important.
2. We act according to what we believe is our reality. Cultural norms, education, work, friends, traumatic experiences, hormones (The Female Brain pg 12 "There's no question that their realities will be different.") and any other number of outside influences affect how we, as individuals, see the world and our very own reality. I guess what this ensures is that we will be judged as unique individuals--not compared to those around us because, though we may have similar demographics, we are individuals in our own realities. Good thing we will have a perfect judge. The following quote seems apropos.
3) As you mentioned yesterday, our brains are incapable of analyzing sufficiently. (Will you add to this thought?)
I, of course, realize that the arguments above (and discussed yesterday, which I am not able to fully capture) do not in any way take away our responsibility. We are expected to TRY to do the best we can with our given instruments. It does help me to be just a little less critical of myself (and others), however."
I add to Alicia's thoughts:
We are accountable for our choices, but it is not just to impute an exceptionally high standard of moral behavior to people because of their epistemologically fragile, ignorant, weak, uniformed, natural man, confused state of mortality. Ideas and truths about religion/God/the Plan of Salvation are far from clear or homogeneous (see my blog generally and my epistemology of revelation post). Determining what is morally right is devilishly difficult. Making decisions teleologically is unwieldy. [though utilitarianism seems by many appearances to be a superior method of ethical decision making and likely the system God primarily relies on, it is unwieldy since humans are forced (forced because inaction is itself a choice, and at the very least one chooses how to use her time, and each day has a fair chunk of time that must be allocated somehow) to make hundreds of decisions a day. However, they are ill-equipped to apply rigorous teleological processes to even the majority of those decisions because of 1) the constant stress and demands of physical bodies and daily life; 2) their limited intelligence/the predisposition of their minds to fallacies, emotion/irrationality, and cognitive bias; 3) their limited time available to spend on per unit decision making; and 4) their lack of access to the relevant factors that influence a particular decision (such as the likelihood of varying consequence cascades, stakeholder impact, starting conditions, etc.)]. Given the human condition as described, it isn't just to expect a whole lot out of an ordinary person during his or her lifetime. Thus, even though God has access to our intentions and all the facts of our lives, it will be nonetheless difficult even for Him to deal out great quantities of just condemnation to people.
I note one implication of this conclusion and two comments:
Implication- Perhaps all people (including those that are generally hard on themselves) can back up off the self-condemnation train in truthful acknowledgment of the confusing, difficult reality that is being human.
Comment 1- it only takes the smallest amount of condemnation to exclude you from the highest heaven: thus the absolute reliance on the Savior, despite the arguments above.
Comment 2- since Christ takes responsibility for human weakness (e.g. Ether 12:27), perhaps the pitiable human condition is an expression of His mercy because it results in reduced net condemnation of humanity.
Contra non valentem agere nulla currit praescriptio- no prescription runs against he that cannot act.