Jesus, Ã la Carte


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.

More like this

"taxation to reduce economic inequality "

Seriously? Is THAT why secular depressives think we pay taxes? Well, it isn't. it is to maintain crucial infrasctructure,to maintain a proper military to defend the homeland, and to keep government. Outside of this most everything else is optional.

If we could go back toa simple government with limited power instead of unlimited power. we would all be richer and better off.

I never once read in the Bible where Ceasar collected taxes to help "poor" people. I also never read where Jesus instructed Ceasar to confiscate wealth and redistribute it. He couldn't. Stealing would go against one of the Ten Commandments.

By Gene Cornwall (not verified) on 26 Feb 2012 #permalink

Gene wrote "I never once read in the Bible where Ceasar collected taxes to help "poor" people."

You do know that there were already organisations around which helped the poor in Jesus' day didn't you? In fact Caesar's main reason for collecting taxes was to help himself and only secondarily to pay for the army etc.

Gene continued "I also never read where Jesus instructed Ceasar to confiscate wealth and redistribute it. He couldn't. Stealing would go against one of the Ten Commandments."

Just a few points.
1) Taxation isn't stealing.
2) Jesus wrote to render unto Caesar what was Caesar's. Remember that? That was Jesus' response when asked about taxation.

This is the problem with people who try and interpret a text with no knowledge of its cultural and historical context.

Sorry my comment should have read:
An anonymous author wrote that Jesus said to render etc.

It is of course true that Jesus, if he existed, wrote nothing.

If you do not believe that Jesus even existed, then how could you possibly debate something a non-existant entitiy never said?

Taxation in itself is not stealing, but to overtax people and use it to give freely to those who would support your politcal campaign is in fact STEALING!

Wealth redistribution is NOT Biblical nor is it constitutional. Article I, section 8 makes no mention of "taxing the rich" and redistributing wealth to maintain political support in future elections.

According to the Bible one is supposed to WORK for his/her own pay, not get a free handout. Of course this would not apply to elderly or sick people (not talking about a head cold either)or disabled. All able bodied men, according to the Bible should work or starve.

Now please, if anyone wishes to debate this, at least have the decency to believe what you are debating. If you do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God who was present at creation 6500 years ago and who chose to die on the cross and was ressurected on the thrid day, then please refrain from said debate. Serious inquiries only.

Sorry, but the Bible nor the constitution mandate wealth redistribution, free handouts, contraceptives, giving taxpayer money to fund rogue entities like the UN, etc.

Jesus did talk about helping the elderly, sick, and poor, but he instructed His followers, the church, not the government to do it. Technically the church used to take care of people in their own comunities. Communties grew larger and more secular and kept doing so until government took over the role of church and si still trying to take over things that was never intended on government taking over - healthcare, ethanol, education, abortion, marriage, etc.

By Gene Cornwall (not verified) on 26 Feb 2012 #permalink

Anyone else on these blogs would be smart enough not to light the fuse... At any rate, Gene, when you decide to tell others what they must believe in order to discuss a subject with you, you're admitting that you can't really openly debate them. Let me put it in a slightly different way. If you are going to argue what is ethical or unethical and then state that all support must be based in scripture, you're not really arguing about ethics. The Bible states pi=3. This in itself doesn't make Christianity wrong, but it renders many of the claims of some Christians as ridiculous. Personally, I do math for fun. Some of the books have the wrong answer in the answer key. This doesn't make the main body of the book wrong. It simply means that an answer or two is off. The Bible is an account of a group of people trying to understand the world they lived in and how they perceived God. Suggesting that one must be a Christian in order to discuss it's ethical teachings is ridiculous.

By Mike Olson (not verified) on 26 Feb 2012 #permalink

Mike Olson +1

OP, quoting the article abstract:

The present study explores the dramatic projection of one's own views onto those of Jesus among conservative and liberal American Christians.

Wouldn't it have been simpler of the original authors to simply quote Shaw?

No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means. clearly evidenced by "Gene Cornwall" aka Rob Hood, the undertreated mentally ill poster who haunts SB, particularly Greg Laden's and Orac's. He has a few obvious tells - 'Secular depressives' is one, as are discussions of YEC, aluminium in vaccines, HAARP and (my personal favorite) "flouride" in drinking water.

Once outed, he tends to rant a bit (search SB for examples) in multiple sockpuppets, so if our gracious host has a policy against such behavior, he may want to keep an eye out.

The US Constitution also makes no mention of Atomic Energy, Computers, or photons. But still, laws regarding them can be constitutional.

A tax rate of 99% is Constitutional presuming it was properly voted for, and enacted. Stupid, short lived, wrong; yet Constitutional.

By MobiusKlein (not verified) on 27 Feb 2012 #permalink

NJ is easily recognizable. All ya gotta do is recognize his style, out him and prod him a little bit. And out comes a torrent of looney. The truly funny thing is that he doesn't realize that he's making a permanent record of his being unhinged.

Viewed objectively, it's a sad testament to the failure of his mother and father to teach him wrong from right.

He has a few obvious tells - aka Robin Hood is one, as are discussions of SB, Orac, (my personal favorite) puppeteered socks and underwear.

Once outed, he tends to rant a bit (search SB for examples) in dazed flouridated confusion, so if our gracious host has a policy against such behavior, he may want to keep an eye out.



@ Mike

Math for fun? The only fun I ever had in math was daydreaming about throwing a turd at the teacher for making us learn that crap that I still haven't used to this day. Well, algebra anyway. A useless husk of complete waste of time.

...and out comes the real Rob Hood personality, now thinking that he is oh, so clever using my 'nym to sign his rant.

...and out comes the real NJ personality, now thinking that he is oh, so clever by crapping his pants. A modern flouride overdosed canadian if I ever saw one.

Keep it up. I'll tell what Nj really stands for and then you'll really be mad. One hint: William Flowers. Figure it out.

Okay, I thought this would be a thread worth following, or that their might be merit in some discussion here. Instead it appears only as if one commenter has posted repeatedly under different pseudonyms. None of these things are particularly pertinent to the discussion at hand. ::::::::I do feel compelled to respond: I graduated college with never having had a class in Trigonometry or Advanced Algebra. Let alone Calculus. I joined the Navy, became a lab tech and for the first time since about the fourth grade felt as if I were learning new science. I loved it and wanted very badly to pursue a degree related to the things I'd learned for that job. In that pursuit I had to take more math. At that time I realized my greatest past flaw was two fold: 1) I lacked discipline. 2) I thought that enjoying math was only for savants/aspergers types or for those wildly gifted. I really came to love math because it is the purest of logic. Also the more you learn the more applicable it becomes. I'm not gifted, but I have a huge appreciation for it and recognize how understanding it has lead me to a greater appreciation of the world and science. One of the more difficult things I've had to deal with is that for many Christians math and science is virtually at the bottom of those things they value. I think for many that de-valuing either accomodates some really stupid beliefs held out of fear or allows legitimately valuable science to be dismissed out of wishful thinking. I'm a Christian. I see those who are literalists and fundamentalists as doing more to destroy the entire religion than any heretic they ever imagined.

By Mike Olson (not verified) on 27 Feb 2012 #permalink

My sympathies Mike; I agreed with the commenter in #6 that you had something serious to discuss. As you have seen, though, our unwell friend tends to cause threads to degenerate. An unfortunately common occurrence.


Literalists? Fundamentalists? Destroying the religion?

Literalists and fundamentalists ARE the foundation of the religion. It is the apostates that are destroying things. Apostate churches pretend to follow Biblical principles but ignore the fact that SATAN and SIN are the underlying reasons as to why REPENTENCE is necessary and that EVIL exists. Satan is a real literal being just like God and Jesus and angles that have not fallen. Apostate churches ae false churches that deny the very foundation of why the church exists.

The entire reason behind Jesus coming to earth and dying for us is becuase of what literally happened in Genesis. If sin had not entered the world shortly after the creation of the universe then we would not be having this discussion. Apostate or false churches do not even recognize sin as real and evil as real. They tend to accept secular principles more than Biblical principles. Mike is one of those apostates who probably throws God out the door and invites darwinism in and throws God law out the door and invites gayism in as a normal way of life. It is not natural or Biblical. It is anti-biblical and anti-Holy.

If a church cannot accept Genesis, then it is a false church becuase the entire concept of Jesus began in Genesis. If you want to understand christianity go back to Genesis and it expalins the rest of the Bible and modern times as well.

NJ usually interrupts and gets me off topic with his fetish about Robin Hood men in tights. he needs serious mental help.

By Composer of Kn… (not verified) on 27 Feb 2012 #permalink

Satan is a real literal being just like God and Jesus and angles that have not fallen.

Are fallen angles straight angles or lines?

"NJ" linking to "" aka Rob Hood @ 17:

Don't do what the secular depressives do, do what the secular depressives say.

Rob, the undertreated mentally ill guy who skulks around SB is now pre-emptively using my 'nym to post comments. Sadly for him, he can't avoid the little giveaways like 'secular depressives' or 'flouride' that identify him to one and all.

Clearly, I am living in his head rent-free. Too bad the furnishings are out of date and the place needs badly to be fumigated.