Is that Jesus looking into a mirror? A recent study shows that Christian conservatives and liberals reflect themselves upon the image of Jesus, and it’s not an ordinary mirror.
Below is an excerpt from their Abstract:
The present study explores the dramatic projection of one’s own views onto those of Jesus among conservative and liberal American Christians. In a large-scale survey, the relevant views that each group attributed to a contemporary Jesus differed almost as much as their own views. Despite such dissonance-reducing projection, however, conservatives acknowledged the relevant discrepancy with regard to “fellowship” issues (e.g., taxation to reduce economic inequality and treatment of immigrants) and liberals acknowledged the relevant discrepancy with regard to “morality” issues (e.g., abortion and gay marriage). However, conservatives also claimed that a contemporary Jesus would be even more conservative than themselves on the former issues whereas liberals claimed that Jesus would be even more liberal than themselves on the latter issues. Further reducing potential dissonance, liberal and conservative Christians differed markedly in the types of issues they claimed to be more central to their faith. A concluding discussion considers the relationship between individual motivational processes and more social processes that may underlie the present findings, as well as implications for contemporary social and political conflict.
And from Science‘s Editor’s Choice:
Conservatives rated Jesus as being more in favor of higher taxes on the wealthy and more opposed to gay marriage than they themselves were, with an opposite pattern for liberals. By placing more weight on issues on which they projected Jesus as being more extreme than themselves, individuals on both sides of the spectrum were able to reduce dissonance, which might be better characterized as social rather than cognitive, owing to the collective nature of religion.
Those posturing with rock solid religious beliefs never seem to be bothered with inconsistencies between their own views and that of their religion. Based upon such a study, this could be because they pick and choose whatever fits best. Jesus, à la carte.