The Bad Samaritan

The Bad Samaritan December 29, 2012

Earlier today I created an image to illustrate one popular inversion of the Bible, and now I am sharing another, which I found rather than created.

If the Samaritan who behaved as depicted in the story in Luke came to be known as the good Samaritan, then must we not say that one who speaks and behaves in the quite opposite manner depicted in the image above would be a bad Samaritan?

If so, then what ought we to say about those in our time who claim to be followers of Jesus, and yet sound more like the Samaritan in the image above than the one in the original story?


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  • The attribution in the lower right is to “The Christian Left.” Perhaps it would be more appropriately situated on the left-hand side of the page.

    In any case, you are being consistent in your political rhetoric in that when you speak for the Christian left, or as a progressive Christian, you sound more for the left than you do for Christ.

    I’m not suggesting that Christians on the left should become like Christians on the right, but rather that Christians on the left and the right would sound more like Christ. We who live in this world long to see and Christians who remind us of Christ, not Christians who remind us of current political sensibilities.

    • So, the story of the good Samaritan is about current political sensibilities to you?

      • It is not to me. My point to Jim was that this seems to be the case for him.

        • I’m not sure I follow your reasoning. Does the Samaritan in the graphic sound like the one in Luke? Does he sound like the views of some Christians today? Do you think that the difference doesn’t matter because it is about politics and Jesus’ teaching is irrelevant to politics and economics, in your opinion?

          I’m afraid that I do not understand your criticism. It sounds as though you object to it being pointed out that some Christians today diverge from the teaching of Jesus rather dramatically. But I find it hard to believe that that is what you meant, so could you perhaps clarify?

  • I don’t see any basis in the original story for the ascription you added. Thus your post seemed to be little more than a left-wing person gratuitously enlisting the New Testament to take a shot at right-wing views. If a right-wing person used the story to take a shot at left-wing views by adding the ascription “Be sure to remember who helped you here and vote for my party in the next election; furthermore, we plan to pass a law prohibiting what has been done to you,” I would have the same criticism. The point of Jesus’ story is that everyone deserves our kindness – a point well-taken wherever we happen to reside on the political spectrum.

    My fundamental criticism here is that you are co-opting the teaching of Jesus to advance your political agenda. You frequently criticize right-wing Christians for doing this sort of thing, but you seem blind to it when you do it yourself.

    • I still don’t get it. Are you saying that working as a society to prevent the sort of thing that happened to the Samaritan is contrary to the teaching of Jesus?

      • No.

        Are you saying that this parable of Jesus teaches gun control?

        • The obvious answer would be “no” since guns were not around then and are not mentioned in the story.

          But then again, if the man had been the victim of a shooting, the Samaritan would in all likelihood not have been able to help him.

          You can draw your own conclusion…

          • I haven’t been trying to make a point about gun control. I’ve been making a point about the undesirability of co-opting Scripture to advance either left-wing or right-wing political agendas. I’ll let it stand.

          • Marshall

            You don’t think the remark about a “concealed spear” counts as a “mention” of guns?

          • I understood Mike to be asking about the original parable of Jesus, and not the satirical version in the poster.

  • Straw Man

    I am not a conservative, but I note that you caricature them somewhat crudely here. Conservatives generally don’t go in for blaming the victims of mugging or robbery; instead they advocate for ridiculously harsh punishments of the (disproportionately poor and minority) perpetrators. And they don’t insist that *everyone* go armed; rather, they insist that everyone be *allowed* to go armed, in the belief that inoculating the law-abiding population with arms has a protective effect on the whole population. (They probably don’t articulate it as beautifully as I just did, of course.)

    In the case of the “good Samaritan” parable, a conservative might postulate an “even better Samaritan” who goes after the robbers, Rambo-like, and does all of society a “favor” by “cleaning the scum out of the gene pool.” Or not–I can probably come up with other versions that ring truer to the conservatives’ world-view than your cartoon above.

    • Something like this?

      Or was your suggestion not meant to be turned into another poster? 🙂

      • Straw Man

        Well, it wasn’t meant to be, but I must say that poster has some strong resonance. I also don’t know how many conservatives would embrace it after sober reflection, but I think most of them would react with an instant gleam in the eye that showed it striking home.

  • Marshall

    Everybody wants to skip over the first part: “I’ll help you this time …” …? Is it important what the Samaritan DOES or what he SAYS about it? With my kids, I didn’t mind so much if the bitched about their homework as long as they got it done. I want this guy in my neighborhood … in fact, I think he does live up the hill here.

  • newenglandsun

    I would just give the guy a spear to carry around next time any way and still help him even if he did get himself beat up. It isn’t evil to give the guy protection or advice on how to protect himself so he doesn’t keep getting himself beat up again. Nor is it wrong motivations. I don’t want to see people keep getting beat up but I do want to help when they do.