November 10, 2017 Reducing Bias When Judging

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[4:105] We have sent down to you the scripture, truthfully, in order to judge among the people in accordance with what GOD has shown you. You shall not side with the betrayers.

Example of David

[38:21] Have you received news of the feuding men who sneaked into his sanctuary? [38:22] When they entered his room, he was startled. They said, "Have no fear. We are feuding with one another, and we are seeking your fair judgment. Do not wrong us, and guide us in the right path. [38:23] "This brother of mine owns ninety-nine* sheep, while I own one sheep. He wants to mix my sheep with his, and continues to pressure me."  

[38:24] He said, "He is being unfair to you by asking to combine your sheep with his. Most people who combine their properties treat each other unfairly, except those who believe and work righteousness, and these are so few." Afterwards, David wondered if he made the right judgment. He thought that we were testing him. He then implored his Lord for forgiveness, bowed down, and repented.*  

[38:25] We forgave him in this matter. We have granted him a position of honor with us, and a beautiful abode.

[38:26] O David, we have made you a ruler on earth. Therefore, you shall judge among the people equitably, and do not follow your personal opinion, lest it diverts you from the way of GOD. Surely, those who stray off the way of GOD incur severe retribution for forgetting the Day of Reckoning.

*38:24 In this clear example, 99 on one side vs 1 on the other side, David's extreme care to render the correct judgment caused him to ask forgiveness. Are we this careful?

Suspicion Is Sinful

[49:12] O you who believe, you shall avoid any suspicion, for even a little bit of suspicion is sinful. You shall not spy on one another, nor shall you backbite one another; this is as abominable as eating the flesh of your dead brother. You certainly abhor this. You shall observe GOD. GOD is Redeemer, Most Merciful.

 

We all have an inherent bias when we judge

How to judge fairly without bias? 

Abraham – I cut you choose

Divide-and-choose is mentioned in the Bible, in the Book of Genesis (chapter 13). When Abraham and Lot come to the land of Canaan, Abraham suggests that they divide it among them. Then Abraham, coming from the south, divides the land to a "left" (western) part and a "right" (eastern) part, and lets Lot choose. Lot chooses the eastern part which contains Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham is left with the western part which contains Beer Sheva, Hebron, Beit El and Shechem.

Genesis 13

5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. 7 And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time. 8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” 10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.

You Shall Not Bear False Witness

[4:135] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses, even against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether the accused is rich or poor, GOD takes care of both. Therefore, do not be biased by your personal wishes. If you deviate or disregard (this commandment), then GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do

  

Witnessing A Will

[5:106] O you who believe, witnessing a will when one of you is dying shall be done by two equitable people among you. If you are traveling, then two others may do the witnessing. After observing the Contact Prayer (Salat), let the witnesses swear by GOD, to alleviate your doubts: "We will not use this to attain personal gains, even if the testator is related to us. Nor will we conceal GOD's testimony. Otherwise, we would be sinners."  

Dan Aeriely – An Extreme Take on The Ten Commandments Experiment

http://danariely.com/2012/07/01/an-extreme-take-on-the-ten-commandments-experiment-2/ 

[5:107] If the witnesses are found to be guilty of bias, then two others shall be asked to take their places. Choose two persons who were victimized by the first witnesses, and let them swear by GOD: "Our testimony is more truthful than theirs; we will not be biased. Otherwise, we will be transgressors."

 

What about when you have to judge other’s disputes. 

 

HOW TO DETERMINE GUILT AGAINST A LIAR

Trial by ordeal is judicial practice by which the guilt or innocence of the accused is determined by subjecting them to a painful, or at least an unpleasant, usually dangerous experience. The test was one of life or death and the proof of innocence was survival. In some cases, the accused was considered innocent if they escaped injury or if their injuries healed.

  • Trial by combat – two people in dispute would fight
  • Trial by Fire – person would have to walk over hot metals or holding a red hot iron – if after 3 days their wounds were healed they were innocent
  • Trial by Hot Water (like we saw)
  • Trial by Cold Water (would be bound and submerged in water)
  • Trial by Cross (hold hands in a cross or T-shape. First person to put hands down is the loser)
  • Trial by ingestion/poison (if survive they were innocent) 

Trial by Oil | National Geographic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgJXXo97D4c 

Let people self-incriminate without force on their own merit

Kind of Trial by Ordeal as Instituted in the Quran 

[24:4] Those who accuse married women of adultery, then fail to produce four witnesses, you shall whip them eighty lashes, and do not accept any testimony from them; they are wicked. [24:5] If they repent afterwards and reform, then GOD is Forgiver, Merciful.  

In the Torah, if someone gives a false testimony the punishment the accused would have gotten falls on the person bearing false witness 

Deuteronomy 19:

Laws of Landmark and Testimony 14“You shall not move your neighbor’s boundary mark, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the LORD your God gives you to possess. 15“A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. 16“If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing, 17then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days. 18“The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, 19then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. 20“The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. 21“Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. 

TRUSTLESS SOCIETY – How to build a society where people voluntarily self-identify 

In Case of War

[60:10] O you who believe, when believing women (abandon the enemy and) ask for asylum with you, you shall test them. GOD is fully aware of their belief. Once you establish that they are believers, you shall not return them to the disbelievers. They are not lawful to remain married to them, nor shall the disbelievers be allowed to marry them. Give back the dowries that the disbelievers have paid. You commit no error by marrying them, so long as you pay them their due dowries. Do not keep disbelieving wives (if they wish to join the enemy). You may ask them for the dowry you had paid, and they may ask for what they paid. This is GOD's rule; He rules among you. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.

 

Solomon’s Judgment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_az3eNb0fI 

 

Honesty is Our Responsibility 

One of the absolute top necessities for a society to prosper is the need for honesty. We make our decisions based on the information we have. If someone provides false information then we could make wrong decisions.

Crucial Advice

[17:36] You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them.

 

Investigate Rumors Before Believing Them

[49:6] O you who believe, if a wicked person brings any news to you, you shall first investigate, lest you commit injustice towards some people, out of ignorance, then become sorry and remorseful for what you have done.

 

Fearing the Lord is the start of wisdom

Proverbs 9: 

9vGive instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning. 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Wisdom: A Great Treasure

[2:269] He bestows wisdom upon whomever He chooses, and whoever attains wisdom, has attained a great bounty. Only those who possess intelligence will take heed.

Stephan Molyneux – eliminating religion the fabric of society starts falling apart

[8:73] Those who disbelieved are allies of one another. Unless you keep these commandments, there will be chaos on earth, and terrible corruption. 

You Shall Keep Your Word

[16:91] You shall fulfill your covenant with GOD when you make such a covenant. You shall not violate the oaths after swearing (by God) to carry them out, for you have made GOD a guarantor for you. GOD knows everything you do. [16:92] Do not be like the knitter who unravels her strong knitting into piles of flimsy yarn. This is your example if you abuse the oaths to take advantage of one another. Whether one group is larger than the other, GOD thus puts you to the test. He will surely show you on the Day of Resurrection everything you had disputed. [16:93] Had GOD willed, He could have made you one congregation. But He sends astray whoever chooses to go astray, and He guides whoever wishes to be guided.* You will surely be asked about everything you have done.

Violating Your Oath: A Serious Offense

[16:94] Do not abuse the oaths among you, lest you slide back after having a strong foothold, then you incur misery. Such is the consequence of repelling from the path of GOD (by setting a bad example); you incur a terrible retribution. [16:95] Do not sell your oaths before GOD short. What GOD possesses is far better for you, if you only knew. [16:96] What you possess runs out, but what GOD possesses lasts forever. We will surely reward those who steadfastly persevere; we will recompense them for their righteous works.

 

Example of Adultery

[24:6] As for those who accuse their own spouses, without any other witnesses, then the testimony may be accepted if he swears by GOD four times that he is telling the truth. [24:7] The fifth oath shall be to incur GOD's condemnation upon him, if he was lying. [24:8] She shall be considered innocent if she swears by GOD four times that he is a liar. [24:9] The fifth oath shall incur GOD's wrath upon her if he was telling the truth. [24:10] This is GOD's grace and mercy towards you. GOD is Redeemer, Most Wise.

Divine Law

[64:11] Nothing happens to you except in accordance with GOD's will. Anyone who believes in GOD, He will guide his heart. GOD is fully aware of all things. 

[5:54] O you who believe, if you revert from your religion, then GOD will substitute in your place people whom He loves and who love Him. They will be kind with the believers, stern with the disbelievers, and will strive in the cause of GOD without fear of any blame. Such is GOD's blessing; He bestows it upon whomever He wills. GOD is Bounteous, Omniscient.

You Shall Not Bear False Witness

[5:8] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses. Do not be provoked by your conflicts with some people into committing injustice. You shall be absolutely equitable, for it is more righteous. You shall observe GOD. GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do. [5:9] GOD promises those who believe and lead a righteous life forgiveness and a great recompense. [5:10] As for those who disbelieve and reject our revelations, they are the dwellers of Hell.

God Defends the Believers

[5:11] O you who believe, remember GOD's blessings upon you; when some people extended their hands to aggress against you, He protected you and withheld their hands. You shall observe GOD; in GOD the believers shall trust.

 

Good things do not happen to bad people

Psalm 91

9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

[3:174] They have deserved GOD's blessings and grace. No harm ever touches them, for they have attained GOD's approval. GOD possesses infinite grace.

 

  • Abraham was thrown into the fire

[37:91] He then turned on their idols, saying, "Would you like to eat? [37:92] "Why do you not speak?" [37:93] He then destroyed them. [37:94] They went to him in a great rage. [37:95] He said, "How can you worship what you carve? [37:96] "When GOD has created you, and everything you make!" [37:97] They said, "Let us build a great fire, and throw him into it." [37:98] They schemed against him, but we made them the losers.

  • Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den (Book of Daniel Chapter 6)
  • Daniels constituents were thrown into the fire

Daniel 3:

The Fiery Furnace …25He said, "Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!" 26Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!" Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire. 27The satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king's high officials gathered around and saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them.… 

[85:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful [85:1] The sky and its galaxies. [85:2] The promised day. [85:3] The witness and the witnessed. [85:4] Woe to the people of the canyon. [85:5] They ignited a blazing fire. [85:6] Then sat around it. [85:7] To watch the burning of the believers. [85:8] They hated them for no other reason than believing in GOD, the Almighty, the Praiseworthy. [85:9] To Him belongs the kingship of the heavens and the earth. And GOD witnesses all things. [85:10] Surely, those who persecute the believing men and women, then fail to repent, have incurred the retribution of Gehenna; they have incurred the retribution of burning. [85:11] Surely, those who believed and led a righteous life, have deserved gardens with flowing streams. This is the greatest triumph.

  • Pharaoh and the magicians?
  • Joseph was thrown into the well, accused by the governor’s wife (twice)
    • We can’t affect the outcome, but we can trust in God that justice will be served

 

LET GOD JUDGE - Justice comes from God 

[42:39] When gross injustice befalls them, they stand up for their rights. [42:40] Although the just requital for an injustice is an equivalent retribution, those who pardon and maintain righteousness are rewarded by GOD. He does not love the unjust. [42:41] Certainly, those who stand up for their rights, when injustice befalls them, are not committing any error. [42:42] The wrong ones are those who treat the people unjustly, and resort to aggression without provocation. These have incurred a painful retribution. [42:43] Resorting to patience and forgiveness reflects a true strength of character.

[16:126] And if you punish, you shall inflict an equivalent punishment. But if you resort to patience (instead of revenge), it would be better for the patient ones. [16:127] You shall resort to patience—and your patience is attainable only with GOD's help. Do not grieve over them, and do not be annoyed by their schemes. [16:128] GOD is with those who lead a righteous life, and those who are charitable.