Feeling Queasy About the Incarnation: Terror Management Theory, Death, and the Body of Jesus

Volume
Volume 36
Issue
Winter 2008
Title
Feeling Queasy About the Incarnation: Terror Management Theory, Death, and the Body of Jesus
Abstract

Throughout Christian history, at different times and places, believers have expressed ambivalence regarding the Incarnation. There has always been something scandalous and shocking about God taking a fully human form. What is the source of this discomfort? Recent work in Terror Management Theory has shown that people feel ambivalent toward their bodies and bodily functions because the body functions as a mortality/death reminder. If this analysis is correct it might explain why many Christians, from the earliest days of the church, have resisted the notion of the Incarnation. Thus, it was the thesis of this study that existential concerns are intimately involved in Incarnational ambivalence. The study sought to test this formulation by assessing Incarnational ambivalence, death anxiety, and other facets of an existential faith orientation to determine if existential fears were implicated in Incarnational ambivalence. Overall, the results of the study supported the predictions. Respondents reporting greater death anxiety and displaying a more "closed" faith orientation, existentially speaking, were the most likely to reject strong body-scenarios involving Jesus, finding these scenarios uncomfortable, demeaning to Jesus, unrealistic, and unbiblical.

Author
Dr. R. Beck
Pages
303 - 313
Price
Add to Cart $5.00