Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

2 Bumps

Are Christians more like Christ or more like Pharisees?

lengthy article here 

basically, a study was conducted (based on biblical record given in the gospels and working alongside pastore John Burke to develop survery questions) comprised of 20 agree/disagree questions. 10 of which were christ-like, 10 of which were self-righteous.


Christ-like actions & attitudes: I listen to others to learn their story before telling them about my faith, i see God given value in every person regardless of their past or present condition

Self-righteous actions & attitudes: I like to point out to those who do not have the right theology or doctrine, I believe we should stand against those who are opposed to Christian values

The findings reveal that most self-identified Christians in the U.S. are characterized by having the attitudes and actions researchers identified as Pharisaical. Just over half of the nation’s Christians—using the broadest definition of those who call themselves Christians—qualify for this category (51%). They tend to have attitudes and actions that are characterized by self-righteousness.

On the other end of the spectrum, 14% of today’s self-identified Christians—just one out of every seven Christians—seem to represent the actions and attitudes Barna researchers found to be consistent with those of Jesus.

In the middle are those who have some mix of action and attitude. About one-fifth of Christians are Christ-like in attitude, but often represent Pharisaical actions (21%). Another 14% of respondents tend to be defined as Christ-like in action, but seem to be motivated by self-righteous or hypocritical attitudes.


Interesting. Are you at all surprised by the results? 



Asked by tnm786 at 5:10 PM on May. 22, 2013 in Religious Debate

Level 43 (159,608 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (26)
  • Nope, not at all. I know lots of people who literally "pride themselves" on being good Christians, even one to the point of taking on a martyr role & they are very Pharisees-like,

    Answer by 3libras at 5:14 PM on May. 22, 2013

  • I think there are many Christians who have more in common with the Pharisees of Jesus' day than with Jesus himself. I also think there are doctrines and so forth that actually cultivate this type of "Christian-ness." I was a little surprised at HOW large the difference was, though... Then again, I guess that would depend on how many they surveyed, etc, etc....

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 5:18 PM on May. 22, 2013

  • Then again, I guess that would depend on how many they surveyed, etc, etc....

    Data's at the link. Surveyed 1008, so above the number they need for statistical accuracy. There's a more indepth chart there that breaks it down by denomination, and it looks proportionally right for the population in general. Larger groups have larger scores in all 4 sections, etc.

    Here's my question - how many of the 51% read this and mentally put themselves in the 14%, while simultaneously judging those in the 51%?

    Answer by NotPanicking at 5:29 PM on May. 22, 2013

  • "Data's at the link. Surveyed 1008, so above the number they need for statistical accuracy. "

    I guess I just know how complex Christian labels really are, and I don't know if I feel that 1008 really gives for the diversity that Christianity entails - there's 30 times as many denominations, you know? So I'm not convinced of the accuracy, but that's just me. Not that I'm saying that the results are SO far off, just that I feel like it's not an equal representation of ALL Christians. I think there are more of us - those who aren't lumped in with the "mainstream" than this survey allows for. The McLarens and Spongs and Bells of the Christian world. The Borgs and Crossans and Clairbornes, etc....

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 5:43 PM on May. 22, 2013

  • "is it right for all of those groups to identify with the same label when they are so diametrically opposed?"

    I think so, yes, when they have the same foundation. It really is just different interpretations of the same source. And I'm not about to get involved in weeding groups or people out, because if we do what standards will we use? Whose standards, rather? According to fundamentalists, I'm not really a Christian, yet fundamentalism only goes back to the 1920's. According to Catholics they have it right, yet Catholicism certainly isn't the end all. I don't think Christian is meaningless - for me it's anyone who bases their faith on their understanding of who Jesus was and what he taught. But it is important, IMO, to note that those differences do exist - that there are Christianities based on every possible characterization of Christ - political revolutionary, social gospel, religious reformer, warrior, etc, etc

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 5:54 PM on May. 22, 2013

  • It really is just different interpretations of the same source

    I think that's overstating it a bit. Quibbling over thou shall not murder vs thou shall not kill is one thing. Women clergy are an abomination vs women clergy are a-ok is quite another. And that's just one example.

    The word atheist means what someone or something is not. That's what the "a" prefix means. These days, Christianity would be better off called a-non-christian, because instead of giving someone an indication of the philosophical beliefs of the person being described, all it tells you is, "this person is not Jewish, Muslim, pagan, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Shinto, atheist or agnostic". Beyond that, it is completely without context. Add the additional layer of American Christian vs South American Christian vs African Christian, and it becomes even more meaningless.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 6:09 PM on May. 22, 2013

  • Yet all Christians ARE united in the belief that Jesus is in some way important, that his message - whatever that was - has meaning and value in our lives, that our relationship with God is strengthened by our adherence to that message, etc, etc. We just disagree on what Jesus meant by what is written in the Bible. We have a side of Christianity that stresses the letter of the "law" and a side that stresses the heart and the spirit of it instead. The different interpretations or perceptions of who Jesus was and what he meant don't change that it does still all come back down to him. Christian merely means one who is like or who follows Christ - whatever way they believe in/about him.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 6:20 PM on May. 22, 2013

  • Ehh, I just don't see it the same way. I think knowing someone is a Christian gives you at least a basic level of knowledge as to what they believe, just not how far they take it. I think it still works as a distinctive title in itself, and add to that that people clarify the title by adding progressive or liberal or fundamentalist or whatever other distinctive traits to the name. It's a far deeper understanding of someone than merely knowing their favorite color.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 6:53 PM on May. 22, 2013

  • It's a far deeper understanding of someone than merely knowing their favorite color.

    And that's where we'll always disagree. I don't think a descriptor that puts MGB, VT, ad and our new friend in the same group as erin, lovinangels or (other current posters - don't want our trolls calling this a call out post) is very informative.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 6:58 PM on May. 22, 2013

  • im not really surprised at all. half of the Christian i really know, spent time with, went to church with, were jerks who would probably hate and complain about Jesus if he were here today. about 40% were really trying but just missed part of it either from ignorance, a bad minister telling them wrong, or being raised a certain way. and about 10% were people that honestly loved Christ, followed his teachings, and really tried their best to be good loving ppl for God. out of the thousands of Christians ive met over the years that 10% is very vivid in my mind b/c they are so rare and so very wonderful.

    Answer by okmanders at 9:21 PM on May. 23, 2013