Is God inspired by our politics?

Interesting article in the Guardian about a study led by Lee Ross of Stanford University in California into the interaction between faith and politics.

 …the Jesus of liberal Christians is very different from the one envisaged by conservatives. The researchers asked respondents to imagine what Jesus would have thought about contemporary issues such as taxation, immigration, same-sex marriage and abortion. Perhaps not surprisingly, Christian Republicans imagined a Jesus who tended to be against wealth redistribution, illegal immigrants, abortion and same-sex marriage; whereas the Jesus of Democrat-voting Christians would have had far more liberal opinions. The Bible may claim that God created man in his own image, but the study suggests man creates God in his own image.

If you are like me, you are right now deciding that those whose political views you do not share are the ones who have invented more of their Jesus than you have.

Because basically Jesus is like a really good version of me. Me on a good day.

 Preachers, politicians and co-believers tend to emphasise and de-emphasise different aspects of the Christian canon; so conservative Americans study the Old Testament with its homophobic rhetoric and eye-for-an-eye morality, whereas liberals look to the New Testament Jesus who was sympathetic to the poor and the meek.

Evangelical politics is not, of course, limited to the US. Many social conservatives in the UK align themselves with the Christian right, and MPs such as Nadine Dorries take inspiration from US campaigns against abortion or gay rights. But perhaps the most striking aspect of the study is that it turns on its head the claims by many religious politicians, such as Republican nomination candidates Rick Santorum (“I’m for income inequality”), Rick Perry (“Homosexuality is a sin”), or the UK’s Nadine Dorries (“My faith tells me who I am”), that their politics is inspired by their God. This study suggests instead that their God is inspired by their politics.

I suppose this was the risk God took in giving us all free will.

The foolishness, the folly of God.

Who lies like a bound lamb on the altars we build.

7 thoughts on “Is God inspired by our politics?

    • I think you are right there! There are some clues though in how Jesus interacted with the different political/religious groups of his day- the Pharisees, the Essenes, the Revolutionaries etc. He seemed to not join any of them, whilst talking about a new reality called ‘The Kingdom of God’- something that we still struggle to define…

      Cheers

      C

  1. Love your piece Chris,It’s so true isn’t it?

    G-d’s got a problem hasn’t He? If He writes down rules in black and white then He administers over a legalistic type authoritarian regime with everything ultimately being right or wrong and no in-between. And in their turn everyone becomes hard-hearted Philistines judging people by their adherence to these strict rules whether love is behind them or not.

    Alternatively, if He just says no rules, just the feeling of love must prevail, love, compassion must make the decision, you must decide for yourself, there are no rules, I understand you are not omniscient and will make mistakes, I understand you are weak and will be tempted, but love prevails. If you want a place in My house, then you must learn humility because through this you will become MORE compassionate to others, MORE forgiving to others, LESS judgemental, THEN you will earn your place.

    There are two G-ds in the bible, Yeshua came to tell the hard-hearted what G-d was really like. For some theological/political reason the old G-d has been left there. I think perhaps leaving Him there might have served some purpose at the time, showing continuity and unity rather than christianity appearing as some kind of new-age (in those days) religion. Perhaps it’s time for the church to diminish the importance of this piece of the bible in some way.

    So we are left with a choice (free-will). But here’s a thing, how about this? G-d has given us so much free-will that even judgement is free-will, in other words rather than some legalistic omnipotent, condemning a sinner to torment because of some unfortunately misconstrued interpretation of Leviticus, He actually asks us to decide: “Do YOU think you did right? Do YOU think that other person benefited from your actions and words? I don’t want you as a slavish robot following legalistic rules that may not work under all circumstances for all people, I want you as who you really want to be: a kind, compassonate, humble, understanding, forgiving… person.

    G-d bless
    Carl

  2. Oh, and also this: Heaven is within you; we build our heaven as we go along. Our heaven reflects the way we treated others. So if we want a legalistic heaven, then that’s what we get. But if we want to get closer to G-d then we should follow Yeshua.

    Carl

  3. Well said Carl! Particularly liked this-
    ” if He just says no rules, just the feeling of love must prevail, love, compassion must make the decision, you must decide for yourself, there are no rules, I understand you are not omniscient and will make mistakes, I understand you are weak and will be tempted, but love prevails.”

    C

  4. Thanks Chris,
    BTW something may be happening in my life. I’m a bit excited and a bit scared. A bit feeling fantastic and a bit incredulous at what might be happening. A bit I want it and a bit, this can’t be happening to me.

    We’ll see which side wins.

    G-d bless
    Carl

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