All arguments about God aside, I would like to take a minute and wonder about Sarte's view l on Jesus and other role models in general. Let's assume that Jesus was a good person (as most Christians do), and examine the claim that we should imitate Jesus in who we are so as to be better people. I think, for Sartre, this claim creates a variety of problems. First, when one uses someone or something as a model for one's behaviour, one can rid oneself of responsibility for one's actions by virtue of blaming the model. For example, to follow a model is to make certain, prescribed chioces in a given situation based on the actions of the model in that same situation. Then, the model holds primary responsibility for the action rather than the present actor, which is to hide from freedom altogether, which is inauthentic. Second, and more closely related to our recent readings on bad faith, to use Jesus as a role model (i.e. W.W.J.D?) is to attempt to fit into a mold; just as the waiter in the cafe attempts to be a waiter rather than himself, one who attempts to "do as Jesus does" attempts to define themself as an object, something that is completely defined for the situation and has no transcendent possibilities. Even so, just as the waiter will never be a waiter in the same way in which a table is a table, one who attempts to exemplify someone else, such as Jesus, as a role model will never be that role model in the same way an object is an object; we must not forget that a person's essence does not precede existence, as in the case of an object, but rather that a person exists in the mode of not being, as in the mode of having freedom over how one will define himself, in terms of not yet being what one is. Thus, one simply lies to oneself when one attempts to follow a role model, just as the waiter lies to himself by trying to be waiter in every way. One could say that we simply look to models for advice as to how to act, rather than try to be the model in the way the waiter tries to be a waiter, but I think even then we run into a problem in terms of responsibility- one who looks to a model assigns the reasoning for action to the model, and thus attempts to lack any responsibilty for the making of the chioce.
I would like to believe that Sarte would condemn role models just as he would blaming God or genetic predisposition for the result of man's free will, but I wonder how we come to recognize any sort of notion regarding responsibilty having a point of reference. If we view responsibility for our actions as a function of the consequences of our actions, how do we get a notion of what is a good consequence versus what is a bad consequence? It seems as if we must relate consequences for others back unto our own self, but we inevitably fall into making judgements on consequences which we undoubtedly have no way to relate to, such as a rich white kid thinking about consquences of his actions on the life of a poor black kid. What is good for the poor black kid might be such a culturally and demographically different event than what is good for the rich white kid. How, then, can the rich white kid make any judgement with regard to the consequences of his actions? Similarly, how can he make any judgement upon his own responsibility? I'd love some feedback here- as we read more Sarte I unfortunately find myself questioning things which I previously (thought I) understood.