Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Musings on This Button on My Desk

My desk is a magnet for random junk. Some of it is mine, since I'll admit I'm not the most orderly of folks. Other things accumulate here because I'm next to a vacant spot, where people naturally tend to dump things, which then flow over into my space.

Well, earlier today Jeff left a pin on my desk. He left it intentionally for me, mostly because of our ongoing roommates' dynamic. I can only assume that he found this pin on the ground somewhere and thought of me.

It's a round, pink button, 1.25" in diameter, which says, "JESUS WAS A JEWISH LIBERAL," which seems true enough. The pin is in poor condition, having been flattened and bent.

Jesus was a Jewish liberal. What an interesting thing to make a button about. The socio-policital leanings of Christians has often confused me. On the other hand, having heard many sermons, I can say that preachers are generally not "preaching to the choir" in the figurative sense. While many church-goers claim to be trying to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, they almost always seem to me to be more like Jesus's disciples: suspicious, self-righteous, and forever in need of further instruction.

It's incredibly fitting, if you think about it. I've always been fascinated by people's inability to learn the lessons being taught. It was very similar to my frustrations at school, with people who couldn't grasp the day's lesson.

Sometimes I forget that learning does not come naturally to everybody.

I apologize for this ramble.


  1. There's science done about this: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/12/01/0908374106.abstract

    In general, people believe that their opinion is also God's opinion. This is true even if they change their minds later - God is still thought to be on their side. Now, granted, some interpretations of Jesus' teachings are probably more rigorous than others. And it's sort of funny to see Republicans twist him into being anti-taxes, anti-homosexuality, anti-welfare, etc. But it also means that, given evidence of our tendency to project our own views onto God, you should probably have some humility about what the "correct" interpretation is - there may not actually be one at all.

    Maybe Republicans are right that Jesus would object to Obamacare, though. I personally think he'd be for a single-payer system.

  2. Ooh, found another good one with full text:


    1. Absolutely fascinating. The results seem to suggest that, liberal or conservative, Christians basically think, "yeah, Jesus and I mostly agree, but He's a little more X and I'm a little more Y, and I'm content to disagree with him about this."

      In other words, people are more cognizant about their inconsistencies than I thought. Which is better than the alternative, I think.

    2. Well, sure, but they also rate the parts where they disagree with Jesus as less important to Christianity's overall message. Even with some level of consistency, they still project their own views onto Jesus within the wiggle room they have. My only point was, given your writing about Christians that need to learn the lessons better, that you should be careful not to do this yourself.

      The cognitive dissonance in the religious right can be drawn out in beautiful ways sometimes, though. I'm reminded of a This American Life episode where someone asks a Republican politician whether Jesus would vote for his state's new immigration policy, and the guy balked for a bit before admitting, "No, I don't think he would." And he sounded genuinely ashamed. I guess sometimes you can't make that square peg fit that round hole no matter how hard you try.

    3. Fair enough! In the end, I'm far more certain of what Jesus is not than I am of what He is, if that makes sense. I suspect that if I were more certain about what Jesus was really all about I would be in quite a different profession.