Back before the pandemic times, which sometimes feels like ages ago, I would occasionally see people wearing little bracelets with WWJD stamped into them. It would seem a curious question to ask: “What would Jesus do?” Strange to try to peer into the mind of a being that many Christian’s believe has “ways that are not our ways”, and does not seem to think like we do.
Let’s remember here that Jesus is, after all, the same God as the God of the Old Testament. That guy had no problem smiting entire towns, or even allowing Satan to make Job suffer just to show off how faithful he would remain. Do you really want to think about what that guy would do?
But let’s assume that we’re only talking about the Jesus of the New Testament. The gentle being who never lost an argument, and always had a quick retort for those who asked him trick questions. WWJD is essentially asking “what would God do?” in a particular situation, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that people love to project their own opinions onto others who may or may not agree with them. Projecting your worldview onto others is just something that many people like to do, but it doesn’t necessarily represent reality.
Take this study about assessing the will of God with respect to same-sex marriage. It’s still a divisive topic for some even though it’s been legal in most of the industrialized world for years. When people are asked to pray and assess what God (who is Jesus according to Trinitarian Christians) would think about same-sex marriage what we find is that people come to a conclusion based on what they already believe. Social conservatives agree that God dislikes same-sex marriage, while social liberals agree that God would allow sax-same marriage.
Isn’t it strange that God agrees with everyone? It’s a curious result because both cannot seemingly be true at the same time, unless God is like Mr. Rogers, who when asked a question by a child would typically ask them what they think, and would then agrees with whatever answer they gave. God being like Mr. Rogers might be possible, but that doesn’t do much for the WWJD question. It would seem that asking “what would Jesus do” is really just a fancy way of asking “what do I think of X”, with the added benefit that your opinion would seem to be backed up by God rather than just your opinion.
While I have no significant problems with the WWJD bracelets (I’m certainly not about to tell people that they shouldn’t wear them), I do hope that when they ask this that they realize they are just projecting their own opinion onto the situation and treat it accordingly. Believing that you have God on your side doesn’t mean that you do, or make you right, and does not mean that any actions you take are laudable.