Tuesday, December 6, 2011

WWJD and Why It's Unchristian:

Recently on a morning talk show I saw a man who was discussing the protests in New York City (or some such event). Towards the end of the discussion, he declared with remarkable conviction that; "Jesus would be doing the same were he with us today". Immediately I was reminded of what annoys me so much about the catch-phrase WWJD. Other than it being an acronym, which is bad enough, it reduces faith to a form of text speak, a veritable script dedicated to abbreviating any real thought. But even worse than that (if that is even possible), it borders on a kind of blasphemy.

To ask this question, which more often than not is presented in a rhetorical fashion, is little more than a egotistical attempt to put words into the mouth of God. "I know what Jesus would do in this situation, he would...." Oh, you know what Jesus would do, huh? Nobody in Jesus' life seemed to know what the heck he was doing, and now you're going to tell me that you've figured him out. Not only is this presumptuous and arrogant, but it quite obviously implies that this individual believes that their thoughts are synonymous with God's. This is utterly unbiblical; "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways" (Isaiah 55:8). As opposed to pretending that we know the mind of God, and then making him say what we want him to, perhaps we would be better served if we spent the majority our time talking about things we actually knew, as opposed to pretending that we were some divine oracle.

Incidentally, this phenomenon is nothing new, people have been co-opting the voice of popular figures (in this case a divine figure) for ages; "If the founding fathers were here, they would..." I do not like people putting words in my mouth, and I am sure Thomas Jefferson would not be amused if someone declared, "I know what he would do in this situation?"  Another classic example of this is the use of the royal "we", a form of speech that generally involves more "you" than "we". 

I am not claiming that people that wear those little yellow bracelets are closet Satanists. Indeed, many who wear such things are, though in a very modern way, expressing their faith through a memorable phrase. No doubt there is sincerity in this. What is lacking is a proper starting point. I do not know what Jesus would do, but I do know what he did, and what he said. To declare any more than that is simply to overstate the case in the most egregious way. What I aim to do is to do the will of God. And what does God aim to do? How about we leave that up to Him?                         

No comments:

Post a Comment