The "you’re freakin’ kidding me" poll


Trying to do theology by internet poll sounds … unwise.

Is Jesus Christ the son of God?

Yes 56.9%

No 43.1%

Comments

  1. says

    It’s in South Central Kentucky’s #1 source for news!

    If the poll fails for the christians, do you think they’ll report the sad news that Jesus has been found to be just a dead guy?

  2. Alverant says

    I just saw the poll, it’s succumbing to a delusion. It needs to be pharyngula-ized good. But then it would probably just be halted when they don’t like the answer.

  3. neilb48239 says

    Is Jesus Christ the son of God? Isn’t that like asking if Thor is the son of Odin or if Hercules is the son of Zeus? I don’t get it.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There must be some real haters in the area. The paper admonished folks to keep their comments clean.

  5. frankb says

    Ah, vernon beat me to it. It seemed to me that the poll suddenly flipped from my first vote to my second. Yeah, there is two of me.

  6. Owlmirror says

    I await moar theololgical polls!

    (assuming “yes” wins the above poll)

    Is the Son the same substance as the Father, or a similar substance?

    Was the Son begotten or adopted?

    Etc….

    By all means, let’s re-run Christian doctrinal conflicts from scratch!

  7. Randomfactor says

    Isn’t there precedent, though? Seems to me the Catholic Church did some voting on finer points of theology in the past…papal infallibility comes to mind.

  8. leftwingfox says

    What’s supposed to be the right answer here?

    If you believe both God and Jesus are real, or both are fictional, the answer is yes.

    If you believe God is real but Jesus was just a rabbi or prophet, the answer is no.

    If you believe God isn’t real but a historical Jesus existed, the answer is no.

  9. says

    If God has a son, does that mean there’s a Mrs. God? Or do deities reproduce by parthenogenesis? Also, if Jesus was Son of God, then who was that Son of Man dude he was always on about?

  10. zenlike says

    Hmh, apparently, not many votes have yet been cast, so the results can change dramatically if lots of readers chip in.

    {“results”:{“C61F52A7-9E60-0001-80F910C013601C91”:{“text”:”Yes”,”color”:”#00FFFF”,“votes”:73},”C61F52A8-45B0-0001-F84F19A018A018D5″:{“text”:”No”,”color”:”#800000″,”votes”:174}}}

  11. Sastra says

    Given that it’s Kentucky, we should be glad it’s a poll and not a referendum.

  12. says

    It gets worse than that. You can accept that God is real, that Jesus existed and that he was entirely human, yet still come up with either answer, depending on what exactly you mean by “Son of God”. After all, it’s by no means certain that this phrase has to refer to a divine person of the Trinity. The use of “Son of God” as an honorific goes way back and doesn’t necessarily imply any divine status, in the way standard Christianity uses the term.

  13. Goblinman says

    What’s even the point of asking this question? Wouldn’t it be more straightforward to ask: “Are you a Christian?”

  14. Kevin Kehres says

    @20…or Muslim. Must have all come down from that place in Tennessee that didn’t want them to build a mosque there.

    Or Hindu. Or Jain. Or wiccans. Or B’hai. Or $cientologists. Or pagans.

    Who knew? It’s an INVASION, people!

  15. Alverant says

    @11
    You’re assuming the God in the poll is the same god who knocked up a 12 year old Jewish girl without her consent. The REAL god wouldn’t do such a heinous thing. /s

  16. Kevin Kehres says

    @12. Theologically speaking, god did have a wife. Her name was Asherah, and she does appear sporadically in the Old Testament.

    However, Jesus was “begotten, not made”, according to the creed I had to memorize as a kid. Which means he was always there in heaven with daddy, who was himself (yes, it’s getting weird). And then got sent to Earth because god/himself could not think of a single way to forgive mankind’s sins other than to make himself-Jesus into a fully-god-fully-human and then orchestrate the mother of all conspiracies in order to get himself gruesomely whacked by the Roman authorities (who didn’t care) at the behest of the Jewish authorities so that he could then become fully-god-not-really-so-human-after-all-again. Because nothing says “love” like “sadistic torture and execution”.

  17. zenlike says

    27 Kevin Kehres

    @25. Heh. Fucking geography. How does it work?

    It doesn’t. It just lies there.

    (Yeah, someone had to say it.)

  18. marcus says

    Or you could just think the question is silly and pharyngulate it just to make the Christians and baby Jesus cry.
    Jesus wept.

  19. says

    The poll is really rather foolish, but my jaw really dropped when I saw the price for rental properties in the area. I thought I got a good deal for my tiny bachelor apartment, but I could rent a entire 2 bedroom townhouse for less than my current rent, and have enough left over to buy a few cases of beer.

  20. marcus says

    zenlike @28

    27 Kevin Kehres

    @25. Heh. Fucking geography. How does it work?

    It doesn’t. It just lies there.

    (Yeah, someone had to say it.)

    And well it should!
    It’s like I tell my wife,”If you move around all over the place it not only makes me nervous, it breaks my rhythm.”

    /rimshot (I’ll be here all week.)

  21. doublereed says

    @30 marcus

    It’s okay. According to the poll, baby jesus isn’t even the son of god.

  22. davidchapman says

    24
    Alverant

    @11
    You’re assuming the God in the poll is the same god who knocked up a 12 year old Jewish girl without her consent. The REAL god wouldn’t do such a heinous thing.

    The ‘real god’ does lots of horrible things to children of course. But this bit about Mary being 12 years old when she got the surprising news, I hadn’t heard this before. How do you compute this?

    The Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15464b.htm
    assures us that:

    After bringing forth her Son, Mary “wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger” (Luke 2:7), a sign that she did not suffer from the pain and weakness of childbirth. [???] This inference agrees with the teaching of some of the principal Fathers and theologians: St. Ambrose, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Damascene, the author of Christus patiens, St. Thomas, etc. It was not becoming that the mother of God should be subject to the punishment pronounced in Genesis 3:16, against Eve and her sinful daughters.

    [ My emphasis. ]

    …which is a relief if she’s just a little thing. But seriously, how did you arrive at the twelve years old figure? Whatever about that, the point about it being without her consent is right on the money. Once again, Holy Scripture is demonstrated to be gratuitously venerated toilet paper.

  23. davidchapman says

    It’s now 91.5 to 8.5 against the proposition! :)

    It suggests that there are a lot of atheists on the internet, at any rate.

  24. carlie says

    The age of Mary is assumed based on Jewish custom at the time of the age at which girls were bethrothed but not yet married. Estimations range from 12 to 14

  25. moarscienceplz says

    92.1% NO!!!!!
    08.9% yes

    To paraphrase Douglas Adams (pbuh), “Well, that about wraps it up for Jesus.”

  26. Trebuchet says

    Pharyngulation of this poll, unfortunately, will just confirm the RW Christian belief that they are a persecuted minority.

  27. R Johnston says

    Trying to do theology by internet poll sounds no more or less wise than any other method of trying to do theology. And it’s a bit more honest than most methods about the intellectual rigor of theology.

  28. Jason Nishiyama says

    No 92.4% now. I wonder when they’ll find out something’s gone horribly wrong….

  29. Rich Woods says

    92%. Wow! I’ve never seen an online poll go so high. It must be Teh Truth!

    Is Jesus Christ the son of God?

    The treacherous Trinity. Will no-one think of the Holy Ghost!? Poor spooky bastard, left dribbling about in Scripture, only occasionally getting the chance to invade some fucker’s head. Two thousand year gap, then last seen telling some wanker to pick up that rattlesnake, you know, that seven-foot pissed-off venomous reptile only too happy to bite an ignorant, gullible tosser. It’d be sad if it weren’t true.

  30. mikeyb says

    Wow this poll is approaching what it would look like as a random sample of sane people.

  31. mikeyb says

    We all need to move to Kentucky for a month or so just before November. We could get rid of Mitch McConnell immediately, but maybe it won’t matter since he’s doing a pretty good job of that himself. All he has to do is show his face and open his mouth, particularly in commercials.

  32. says

    It suggests that there are a lot of atheists on the internet, at any rate.

    Or that there’s one, who wrote a bot to vote multiple times. I’ve just checked and all it takes is deleting your cookies.

  33. says

    One atheist and a bot, or…a miracle! And God finally acts to expose that identity thief who was working in Judea 2000 years ago!

  34. Alverant says

    #34 #36
    Actually Mary’s age comes from the Protoevangelion of James which says she was visibly pregnant when she was “not yet 13 winters”. So it’s possible she was 11 when it happened since “not yet 13” could mean 12 and it takes time to be visible pregnant.

    That leaves several embarrassing questions for followers of the Abrahamic religions. Like “If God’s morality is absolute and unchanging, was it moral to marry a girl off when she’s 12 or are we wrong for preventing it today?” and “If morality changes over time, can other Godly laws become obsolete?”

  35. john says

    “Son of God” in Hebrew refers to any man who is extremely righteous. David was a Son of God, as were Hezekiah and Josiah. Mark refers to Jesus as such, but of course that does not mean what gentiles thought it meant. “Son of Man” refers to an actual Heavenly figure, ironically.

    Yahweh was married until about the days of Hezekiah, when the symbols of Asherah were removed from the Temple and destroyed during what amounted to a spiritual coup as all worship was centralized on Jerusalem and its priests.

  36. davidchapman says

    48
    Alverant

    #34 #36
    Actually Mary’s age comes from the Protoevangelion of James

    Oh well, if you’re just relying on some ancient manuscript or other, they might say any old thing…….

  37. davidchapman says

    48
    Alverant That leaves several embarrassing questions for followers of the Abrahamic religions. Like “If God’s morality is absolute and unchanging, was it moral to marry a girl off when she’s 12 or are we wrong for preventing it today?” and “If morality changes over time, can other Godly laws become obsolete?”

    Jesus gives us the answer: Not one jot or tittle of the law shall be changed.

  38. Matt G says

    Reminds me of the bouts between Bugs Bunny and the Crusher. “Duh, just passing by….”

  39. says

    #26/Kevin Kehres:

    … Jesus was “begotten, not made”, according to the creed I had to memorize as a kid. Which means he was always there in heaven with daddy, who was himself (yes, it’s getting weird). And then got sent to Earth because god/himself could not think of a single way to forgive mankind’s sins other than to make himself-Jesus into a fully-god-fully-human and then orchestrate the mother of all conspiracies in order to get himself gruesomely whacked by the Roman authorities (who didn’t care) at the behest of the Jewish authorities so that he could then become fully-god-not-really-so-human-after-all-again…

    It just struck me (okay, struck me again, on reading that capsule) how much the whole comes out a bit like the reviewed overall plot of a lot of serial drama–think a daily soap, weekly drama or monthly comic book. Read the Wikipedia summary of one of them, as opposed to trying to watch the whole thing, start counting the odd twists, you get something a bit the same.

    But then, of course, I guess, this makes a lot of sense, as it’s subject to the same essential process. Naturally enough, over time, the whole thing gets odder and odder as a whole as it tries to reinvent itself, stay alive, stay interesting, and writers are shifted onto and off of the staff. The weekly pressure to keep it interesting faced by the writing staff on television roughly mirroring the decade by decade and century by century shifting underlying political reality that pushes the social institution that is the religion along. Writing by committee and writing over time, whether it’s your religion’s canon or your evening’s entertainment means you get similar overall munges. And here, ya even gots your cake-and-eat-it-too dramatic death scene later reversed (killing him was good for ratings; bringing him back, presumably, too) as it turns out that no, he’s not really dead/they injected him with his daughter’s amazing regenerative cells or this was his dad’s idea all along, whatever; same dance…

    (/… I think the Christian canon needs more evil twins, though. You can never have too many evil twins. Also maybe some amnesia.)

  40. rilian says

    @25
    south is up. north is down.

    (that is to say, north is no more up than south is. so you should not have corrected #22.)

  41. robro says

    John @#49

    “Son of God” in Hebrew refers to any man who is extremely righteous. David was a Son of God, as were Hezekiah and Josiah. Mark refers to Jesus as such, but of course that does not mean what gentiles thought it meant. “Son of Man” refers to an actual Heavenly figure, ironically.

    Is there a reference for this etymology and the Son of Man is some heavenly figure? I would be interested in knowing more.

    Yahweh was married until about the days of Hezekiah, when the symbols of Asherah were removed from the Temple and destroyed during what amounted to a spiritual coup as all worship was centralized on Jerusalem and its priests.

    As you are paraphrasing the Bible, I take it you accept the biblical narrative as more or less factual. From various things I’ve read, it seems there are reasons to question the historicity of the bible in general. Hezekiah’s reform is one of the particular parts that have been discussed as iffy and probably a back-projection of the mid-2nd temple era. In any case, Hezekiah’s reform didn’t stick so well, because a hundred years later Josiah was reforming the temple yet again. And lo and behold, we have yet another discovery of the “book of the law”! I swear, for such an important work, it sure was lost a lot.

    And btw…Yahweh is still married, they’ve just been estranged for a few thousand years now. Asherah didn’t like being turned into just a cult object.

  42. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Son of God” in Hebrew refers to any man who is extremely righteous. David was a Son of God,…

    Yay, right on. The Bible I read always called Jesus, “The Son of Man”; making him different than all humans who were merely, “Sons of God”. Trying to confabulate us, that he was also God himself AND son of Man, blah blah blah.[I once used this as being a clue that God was Man’s invention, not Man being God’s invention. But that didn’t work out too good…]
    But really, isn’t this “poll” a trick question? “Is Jesus Christ the son of God?” with just a Yes/No choice of answers?? i.e. the correct answers are: Yes, as presented in the Bible; Jesus IS the son of God; and No, a fictional character is not an actual “son” of another fictional character, just a metaphorical son of the writer of the story… Both Yes and No can be justified by atheists when allowed to give an essay answer rather than the binary choice. With the binary only option, my finger hovers over the keyboard, unable to choose one or the other… ;-(

  43. says

    t a bit like the reviewed overall plot of a lot of serial drama–think a daily soap, weekly drama or monthly comic book

    Except you get to do a Giordano Bruno on the more vocal critics.

  44. mikeyb says

    It’s Kentucky where no is yes and yes is no. All they gotta say is this is a computer glitch, and WALLA… the poll comes out right….otherwise this needs to be Stalinized – erased from history before tomorrows paper comes out.

  45. D Carter says

    (1) First they have to prove Jesus existed. (2) Then they have to prove God exists. (3) Then they have to prove their Y chromosomes are nearly identical (no cheating–mitochondrial won’t do at all unless God’s a real Mother). If we get 3 for 3 after following chain of custody, passing lab QC, etc, I might vote yes. But I’m assuming 0 for 3 until shown differently.

  46. says

    Marcus @58, it’s a bit surprising that some members of modern fandoms haven’t committed violence against others who don’t agree with their take on say who Harry Potter should have ended up with, given how obsessive some can get about such things. One of the best examples of fandom kookery is probably the fans of the TV series Supernatural who think the male leads are secretly gay and in love with each other, but are forced to pretend otherwise, to the extent of getting married to women they don’t actually love and having children.

  47. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    It’s essentially 5 to 95 now.

    Dang. You have to wonder what they’ll do with this….

  48. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Um. I think they must have all come up from that place in Tennessee.

    Nah; Tennesse’s average elevation is 900ft and Kentucky’s is 750. :P

  49. anuran says

    @ 48Alverant

    Actually Mary’s age comes from the Protoevangelion of James which says she was visibly pregnant when she was “not yet 13 winters”. So it’s possible she was 11 when it happened since “not yet 13″ could mean 12 and it takes time to be visible pregnant.

    That leaves several embarrassing questions for followers of the Abrahamic religions. Like “If God’s morality is absolute and unchanging, was it moral to marry a girl off when she’s 12 or are we wrong for preventing it today?” and “If morality changes over time, can other Godly laws become obsolete?”

    Not seeing a problem for Jews, Christians or Muslims. In Judaism a girl can get married at 12, a boy at 13. In Islam it is permissible with the onset of puberty. The Christian Bible doesn’t specify an age.

    So no. This isn’t any sort of difficulty for the “Abrahamic” religions. There’s plenty to criticize, but inconsistency on this isn’t one of the grounds. Besides, the Jews and Muslims don’t believe god did it.

  50. Nick Gotts says

    who was that Son of Man dude he was always on about? – jamesheartney

    I’ve seen it suggested somewhere (by Bart Ehrman?) that “the son of man” was just local idiom for “yours truly” or “muggins”.

  51. Olav says

    Anuran #68:

    Besides, the Jews and Muslims don’t believe god did it.

    Made Mary pregnant, you mean? Jews don’t, but Muslims (like Christians) do believe that is the story. Whether they all believe it is literally true is another question of course.

    And of course “born from a virgin” or “having a deity for a parent” is a common trope for mythological figures.

  52. Lofty says

    theophontes

    Can’t seem to log in to the poll from China. I presume it is the word “vote” that is causing the problem.

    No worries, I’ve put a few extra votes on “no” in your name…
    95.9% “no”.

  53. Callinectes says

    I don’t understand the function of this poll. There are many reasons for people to vote yes and many reasons for them to vote no, and the reasons for the same answer can themselves be diametrically opposed. Even the most stringently representative sample will not provide useful or interesting data.

  54. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Not seeing a problem for Jews, Christians or Muslims. In Judaism a girl can get married at 12, a boy at 13. In Islam it is permissible with the onset of puberty. The Christian Bible doesn’t specify an age.

    tangent alert! Shakespeare TOO! Read Romeo&Juliet, Juliet was in her early teens, and late teens were considered “old maids”. It used to be considered mandatory that when a women experiences her first menses, she is available for motherhood, to be married pronto. (for her father’s maximum profit).
    Isn’t this entirely why we had to make a law defining “statutory rape” as sex with a girl under age of 16,17,18,whatever? Because it was so “in our genes” to bed a woman as young as possible so they could be fruitful for as many years as possible? ohhh…. uhmmm… I’ll be in my bunk…..

  55. says

    Hah! The actual numbers are embedded in the page source — pretty damned sloppy, even for Kentucky. In any case, the current counts are:

    142 votes YES
    3366 votes NO

  56. David Marjanović says

    By all means, let’s re-run Christian doctrinal conflicts from scratch!

    I eagerly await, with fresh popcorn for everyone, the invasion of the Circumcellions. Laudate Deum !!

    One atheist and a bot, or…a miracle! And God finally acts to expose that identity thief who was working in Judea 2000 years ago!

    Makes sense.

    WALLA

    Voilà. Voi là, “see there”.

    JESUS IS TOAST!

    Thread won.

  57. Owlmirror says

    I’m pretty sure that “Son of Man”, used as a title, is meant to deliberately reference the book of Daniel, 7:13-14 :

    In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (NIV)

    The footnote in biblegateway says:

    Daniel 7:13 The Aramaic phrase bar enash means human being. The phrase son of man is retained here because of its use in the New Testament as a title of Jesus, probably based largely on this verse.

  58. timberwoof says

    And now Pharyngulating a poll is considered bullying and harassment. We’re such meanies!

  59. CJO says

    Re: The Son of Man

    Owlmirror is correct. It’s an elevated and very Biblical-sounding epithet meaning simply “man, person”. Daniel is a strange book in all sorts of ways, one of which is the late date of its composition, in the Hasmonean era c. 165 BCE, at least a century later than anything else in the canonical Hebrew scriptures. So the language is archaic and bombastic, especially in the visions in Chapter 7, as if the author is self-consciously writing capital-S Scriptural Prophecy in an era long past the time of the writings he’s imitating.

    Needless to say, the book took on a life of its own and became probably the most important vehicle for the expression of the Judean apocalyptic imagination in the following centuries. The “70 weeks” prophesy is instrumental in the Enochian literature, the sectarian texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the New Testament. So what I believe was originally intended as just an old-fashioned Biblical sounding turn of phrase to add a veneer of antique respectability to a latter-day political broadside couched in prophetic language became a messianic title.

  60. says

    timberwoof:
    Yeah, I rolled my eyes at that comment*. PZ is such a bully for posting a link to this vapid poll. The commenter doesn’t explain how any of the actions of the Horde are examples of bullying and harassment. Xe just blithely asserts it.

    *the comment in question:

    Sigh. Here we go again. Internet bully PZ Myers sends his horde of followers in to bully and harass people he disagrees with…. but its OK because they are Christians

  61. prfesser says

    timberwoof #84:

    “How dare you unbelievers sully our outrageously stupid beliefs and keep us from getting the results we want from our polls?!?!”