Jesus Is to Save Christians, Not Guide Them
One element of Christianity that I have discovered over the years is that, for many Christians (in America, at least), Jesus is most emphatically not a role model. He is a savior, a rescuer, a hero image. Christians are to worship him as they would a hero—and like a hero, they leave the saving and rescuing to him, and otherwise adopt a “don’t try this at home” attitude.
Have you ever heard Christians say, “When it comes to turning the other cheek, I’m more of an old-testament kind of Christian”? Have you noted so many Americans who have plenty for themselves coldly shouting to turn refugee children away at the border? Have you noted a preponderance of Christian values claimed by people who clearly prefer money over morality?
It crystallized for me when I read about reactions from Christians in a neighborhood where a sculpture of Jesus as a homeless man on a bench had been placed:
Jesus is not a vagrant, Jesus is not a helpless person who needs our help. We need someone who is capable of meeting our needs, not someone who is also needy.
To this woman, Jesus was not someone who you emulate. You do not have to actually follow his teachings, because, I assume, they’re just evidence of how great Jesus was. It’s not like Christians are supposed to do those things.
No, Jesus is more like Superman: he flies around and rescues people, not you. You admire him, and depend on him to help you. But you don’t try to go around flying or stopping crime yourself.
For such people, Christianity is not about becoming a better person. Instead, it’s mostly about the perks.
This understanding clears up a lot.