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The First 'I Am My Own God' President?

Barack Obama has made a number of questionable statements, including a recent pronouncement in which he seems to count moral values by how well they fit his personal choices. If that portrayal is accurate, then rarely have we seen so self-centered and self-serving a candidate who won his party's nomination to become President of the United States. The office is an exceptionally demanding one, and it often requires a selfless individual to do the job right, so whether Mr. Obama is the delusional narcissist he appears to be is an important question.

To address that question, I went looking for the whole interview from which the damning statement was taken. It turns out that in 2004, a reporter with the Chicago Sun-Times spoke at length with Mister Obama about his beliefs. Cathleen Falsani posted the interview in whole on her blog, "The Dude Abides".

Obviously, I strongly commend the reader to visit that site for full details, and I thank Ms. Falsani for her service in providing that interview. The interview led to a book called "The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People", for those who wish a more in-depth study.

The first thing that jumped out at me was how Mr. Obama described his faith. He said "I am a Christian", but does not - ever - speak to any personal experience of redemption or salvation. Indeed, Mr. Obama says of Jesus:

"Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he's also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher.

And he's also a wonderful teacher. I think it's important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history."

Obama appreciates Jesus for what he can get out of the relationship, yet he never mentions how Jesus Christ made the 'bridge' possible. Mr. Obama carefully avoids ever using the word 'Christ' during the interview, and the rest of the discussion shows why he did that.

Mr. Obama explained that he took influences from more than Christianity in developing his faith, saying "I believe that there are many paths to the same place", which opposes what the Gospel accounts say. It runs directly against Christ's own teachings, and is therefore a warning sign for us to consider.

So what does Mr. Obama think Christianity is meant to do? Mr. Obama said that "religions were a common set of beliefs about how you treat other people and how you aspire to act, not just for yourself but also for the greater good." In other words, Mr. Obama sees religion only as a philosophical force, a humanist tool rather than the word of God.

Here's another problem statement from Mister Obama: "I think that religion at it's best comes with a big dose of doubt. I'm suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding."


-- continued --

This statement can only be made by someone who has ignored or rejected the foundation of Christianity, the faith on which so much depends. Christ Himself made pronouncements and prophecy on the strength of His own faith, the certainty granted by faith in God. The disciples also died rather than rebuke their faith, a certainty which proved their spirit in a way which Mr. Obama's meal-mouthed humanism cannot possibly understand. The sort of understanding which is granted to the Christian is indeed alien to the man who rejects God, but certainty through faith is one of the primary gifts from God, and is a signal that Mister Obama treats Christianity (and the Lord) as no more than a tool of convenience.

Further on, we see an illuminating statement from Obama which seems to reveal a Freudian slip:

"I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I'm constantly asking myself questions about what I'm doing."

Ahem. A conversation with 'God' in which Barack asks things from himself.

This is compounded by his money quote just a little later:

"GG: Do you believe in sin?
OBAMA: Yes.
GG: What is sin?
OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values."

Once again, the same signal, that Obama serves as his own god. He reinforces that, when asked about when he thinks he is most spiritually aligned:

"It's when I'm being true to myself."

Himself. Not God, himself. And that is a clear warning to everyone who trusts the real God.


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Comments (62)

So a Muslim could say the s... (Below threshold)
kathie:

So a Muslim could say the same thing.

"then rarely have we seen s... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"then rarely have we seen so self-centered and self-serving a candidate who won his party's nomination to become President of the United States."

Did you listen to last nights speech? At all?

..."Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton."

..."Thanks to all of you in every corner of this country who cast your votes for our campaign. I am honored and humbled by your support and your trust. Thanks to my staff and volunteers for all those long hours and late nights."

..."In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine"

I actually agreed with Obie... (Below threshold)

I actually agreed with Obie's point of view until he got to the part where HE was God.


And - jp - that was the best part of the speech. He's good at slinging BS. He's just totally lacking in 1.) Understanding much of anything, and 2.) Actually doing something.

JP,I think DJ was ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

JP,

I think DJ was looking more at the totality of the man than a few of Obama's carefully prepared remarks.

Obama is a lot differnt in interview or debate settings than he is when giving a speech.

But I suppose you'd believe anything any used car salesperson says to you too.

DJ,I would be inte... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

DJ,

I would be interested to hear more about what you think the foundation of Christianity is. What, in your opinion, should a Christian aspire to in their daily life?

What, in your opinion, s... (Below threshold)
Clay:

What, in your opinion, should a Christian aspire to in their daily life?

Said the spider to the fly.

Obama has no core of certai... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Obama has no core of certainty, but I am certain that he is an empty suit. ww

Ryan,I think a goo... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

Ryan,

I think a good start would be attending a church that expouses love and service to God instaed of racial tripe. Secondly, not to throw your grandmother under the bus out of self-service.

It sounds like Obama has be... (Below threshold)
Mike:

It sounds like Obama has been a good student of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's strong liberal, post-modern theological teachings. For example, Rev. Wright likes to quote John 10:16 ("I have other sheep, which are not of this fold...") in response to questions about Christianity being the exclusive path to God.

He seems to have an understanding of Christianity that is centered around a hermeneutic of philosophy and social dynamics, which of course runs counter to the traditional Protestant focus on Christianity as a redemptive mechanism; i.e. salvation for the individual through the blood of Jesus Christ. Such differences are very typical of the historical conflict between liberal and fundamentalist Christianity.

Can anyone say "one world G... (Below threshold)
JAE:

Can anyone say "one world Government"?

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
2job 1:7

ODA315:I think ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

ODA315:

I think a good start would be attending a church that expouses love and service to God instaed of racial tripe. Secondly, not to throw your grandmother under the bus out of self-service.

Ok, I understand the fact that you have issue with Obama--that's clear. But the question was not about critiquing Obama, it was about the foundation of Christianity, and how Christians are supposed to live their daily lives. I was asking DJ for his opinion/thoughts.

And while it may seem like baiting, it's not.

This would be an interestin... (Below threshold)
JFO:

This would be an interesting debate if we were a theocracy, but the last time I checked we are not. The time to get scared in this country is when we are told what "religion" is by right wingers and how "religious" our political candidates are or are not or how true another person's beliefs are or are not.

"I honor that service, and ... (Below threshold)
hermie:

"I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine"

Please, oh great Obamarama...Tell us your accomplishments which would qualify you for the office of President of the United States?


"Please, oh great Obamarama... (Below threshold)
Socratease:

"Please, oh great Obamarama...Tell us your accomplishments which would qualify you for the office of President of the United States?"

He's shown the ability to lead by being the first to recognize his own superiority.

What can you say about someone who has accomplished as little as Obama and yet wrote and published TWO books about himself?

Ryan, good afternoon.... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Ryan, good afternoon.

The chief problem I see in Mr. Obama's discussion with Ms. Falsani, is the all-too-common habit of someone turning God into a puppet. This is one of the signal characteristics of the humanist (as a belief); the habit of making oneself and one's beliefs as the center of the universe.

The essence of Christianity, despite the many voices claiming otherwise, is the Gospel of Christ. While I believe that many beliefs are valid to some extent, it is wrong to suggest that they are essentially the same thing. Christianity is unique, the one faith based on certain core tenets which combine for a radical directive.

To be Christian is not an intellectual exercise or a philosophical journey, but the commitment of one's life and soul to God in thanks and praise for His love and mercy. It accepts that Jesus Christ is King above all men, and His disciples must serve as He did.

You cannot be Christian and say focus on a black racial agenda, anymore than a member of the KKK could claim to follow Christ.

You cannot be Christian and ignore absolute truth because it gets in the way of your personal goals.

You cannot be Christian and say that you have accomplished your own salvation, or deny/ignore that Christ's suffering on the cross is the work which redeems souls.

As to daily living, I think you are suggesting that Christians fail to live up to the will of God, and this is so. Many Christians blow it every day, and everyone I know (myself included) sins every single day. It's not the perfection of works, however, which matters, but the alignment. You see, when Mr. Obama says he wants to be true to himself, he fails to understand that the human center is inconstant. At times we know different wants, one time hungry or tired, yet at another sated and rested. At times a person may be harried or angry, but at others he may be patient and calm. So it is that a person who is 'true to himself' may yet be as unsettled as a leaf in the wind. And even as we try to do the right thing and to resist evil, we know from our own lives that we will fail of our own effort. The only chance at success in such an endeavor is to trust nor ourselves, but Christ. It is not to pretend that we do not sin, or to try to explain it away when it happens or excuse it, but to love Christ and follow Him according to His will, to seek His will rather than our own and to hate evil. It is the difference between the man who is sorry he got caught, and the man who never meant to do harm. It is the man who trusts an absolute god of love, justice, and mercy, even in the absence of poof that he even exists.

Obama says he wants to be true to himself, because there will be rewards for doing so. In my case, I trust the Lord according to His will, and I want to do His will because the Lord is good. The difference is crucial, the difference between the mind of Judas Iscariot and the faith of Simon Peter.

JFO: "This would be an i... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

JFO: "This would be an interesting debate if we were a theocracy, but the last time I checked we are not"

Whether that is another attempt to misportray the debate JFO, or simply another example of your poor attention to the interview, your post is completely wrong. Mr. Obama claims to be a Christian, but his discussion demonstrates that in fact he is in direct conflict with even basic doctrines of Christianity.

If Mr. Obama did not claim to be Christian, if he did not claim his faith to be important to his identity and campaign, then this would not be an issue. However, since the Senator brought up the claim (and he repeated it over and over again), the facts of what he actually said are directly pertinent to the debate.

DJ, you never have to ask J... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

DJ, you never have to ask JFO if he paid attention to the post. He never does. He has one mode, attack. Not debate.

As far a Christianity, you view into a dark glass and as your walk with Christ ages the image in the glass becomes clearer. That is a wonderful verse. ww

DJYes indeed I pai... (Below threshold)
JFO:

DJ

Yes indeed I paid attention to the post. I paid attention to the interview and to your comments about it. And what is obvious is that you have set yourself up to judge the validity of another's faith. Your view of Christianity and what you believe Christianity is from your perspective. What is your expertise? Do you have a degree in theology?

As for you Willie if you claim to be a Christian I am only wondering what branch of faith you belong to advocates for the murder of innocent citizens of San Francisco?

JFO, you really do have pro... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

JFO, you really do have problems with focus on the topic. That, or you just do not want to address things honestly.

Not my standard, JFO, but t... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Not my standard, JFO, but the Boss:


"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me." - Jesus Christ

"It's when I'm being true to myself." - Barack Obama


Still don't see the difference?

"....but he does not ever s... (Below threshold)
JFO:

"....but he does not ever speak to any personal experience of redemption or salvation....." You said that DJ. Is he required to do that? Says who? You? Or the church you belong to?

No, I'm not having a problem focusing. I'm challenging you to support your own writing. You want more? I'm happy to point it out.

Why do you apparently avoid the issue of your religious test of politician? That's a legitimate point from me.

DJ, you are absolutely corr... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

DJ, you are absolutely correct in the basic beliefs of Christians. Even if you had a degree in theology, JFO would still put you down. Peter, Paul, Thomas, Simon and the other apostles who were the beginning of Christianity did not have a degree in theology so in JFO's eyes, their teaching and preaching is invalid.

No one gets to the father but by me. Jesus

There are many ways to the same place. Obama.

AT Obama's table, there will be no room for whitey, gun owners, religious people or immigrant enforcers. Just the facts. ww

JFO, you read the words yet... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

JFO, you read the words yet ignore their meaning.

You are as false as your idol.

"One of the teachers of the... (Below threshold)
pgg:

"One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

Mark 12:28-32

"

It's not a religious test, ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

It's not a religious test, JFO, it's an honesty test. And in my opinion Barack fails that test time and time again.

Now I am confused...is he t... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Now I am confused...is he the Anti-Christ or just a succubus?

You know, I'm only half way... (Below threshold)

You know, I'm only half way through the interview, but Obama seems to be trying to sell that he's some kind of religious smorgasbord. That comes across as politically correct patronizing.

He also seems to adopt religious tenets or beliefs that conveniently fit his world view. That goes against the teachings of Christianity, which states that we are to believe and follow the word of God. (Easier said than done of course.) I'm not sure he fully understands that.

Finally...

GG: What is sin?
OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values.

Ack, no. Sin is out of alignment with God's values, as it were. And either his pastor hasn't taught him or he wasn't paying attention, but if he wanted to answer the question, even in the most basic yet still complex terms, he could have cited Original Sin, Man's willfulness against God and gone from there. That would have been a better answer than this self-absorbed, it's-all-about-me tripe he sputtered.

I think he's very lost when it comes to his Christian faith. Not that there's anything wrong with that, most of us struggle with it. But I don't think he knows that he's lost in that department.

But I'll keep reading...

DJ, Very eloquent a... (Below threshold)
J Kevin:

DJ,
Very eloquent and cogent distillation of Christianity. True Christians believe that we are saved by Grace. We can't earn our way to heaven. Most cults and humanistic world views have the "Perfectibility of Man" theory as part of their theology.
The most prominent of these is Communism. Back in the '30's they spoke of the "New Soviet Man" as being the person perfected by Communist ideology. A lot of this is espoused in the Eugenics and Progressive movements in the last century. Most people don't remember or know that The Eugenics movement was closely allied with Progressives. The term Progressive has morphed in it's meaning over the years, but I digress.
It seems to me that Obama's philosophy shows the Communist/Socialist viewpoint of the "Perfectibility of man" in which he is a prime example of that perfection. Made perfect through his own efforts, rather than being the recipient of God's Grace through the sacrifice of Jesus for our redemption.

Jesus referred to people wh... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Jesus referred to people who thinks works will save them as "white washed tombs". ww

"The time to get scared ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"The time to get scared in this country is when we are told what "religion" is by right wingers..."

I'm not surprised that you see them as "right-wingers" first and not Christians. It doesn't surprise me that you can't see an argument about religion spoken by a religious person in a religious context as some "right-winger" rhetoric. It doesn't surprise me at all.

Peter F:"..Obama ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Peter F:
"..Obama seems to be trying to sell that he's some kind of religious smorgasbord. That comes across as politically correct patronizing."

Bingo. Like almost everything he says, it will be interpreted in whatever way the listener wants to hear it. Now, I know that almost all politicians do this to some degree, but Barry really takes it to the next level.

I agree with DJ. I think Ob... (Below threshold)

I agree with DJ. I think Obama ignores many of the basic tenets of Christianity. The Bible speaks of one way to heaven, through faith in Jesus as the atonement for ones sins. That is not what Obama seems to believe. He believes that are many paths to heaven. Sin is going against what God has declared to be right, not yourself.

"I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell.
I can't imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity.That's just not part of my religious makeup." This is another Obama quote that is directly refuted by Scripture.

It's like he wants to make up his own version of Christianity. That is fine for him to do, but it does not make him a Christian.

Amen, Les. (Pun intended.)<... (Below threshold)

Amen, Les. (Pun intended.)

And DJ was spot on it pointing out this doozy in the interview:


GG:
What are you doing when you feel the most centered, the most aligned spiritually?


OBAMA:
I think I already described it. It's when I'm being true to myself.

When discussing one's Christian faith, the correct (and even stock political) answer is when I'm following the word of God.

Geez, Barry, as a Christian you really do need to pay attention in church more often.

DJThe problem for ... (Below threshold)
JFO:

DJ

The problem for you is I do read your words and I do know the clear meaning of them. What you have is no grasp whatsoever that this country was founded by people escaping from views such as yours.

When a windbag such as yourself starts labeling others as "false as your idol" I become more and more grateful that I live in this country. Even "false" "religious" "windbags" such as you are tolerated here.

And once again seeing his a... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

And once again seeing his argument implode, JFO as usual resorts to the inane, the generic personal insult, and the abandonment of logic.

The reason I do not disenvowel your snide and offensive posts, JFO, is because they only do damage to your own contentions. You remind me oh so much of Wile E Coyote, blowing himself up in every episode, although in your case the effect is more pathetic than comedic.

Everyone here has noticed that you fail, every time, to support your claims. You have no evidence, no documentation, nothing but spittle and bile.

This article addressed the obvious problem of Obama's hypocrisy, trying to play on conventional Christianity while he holds with none of it. Despite your attempt to claim otherwise, Obama is so far from the mainstream that there is no serious argument to say that he would be willing to have his beliefs highlighted in detail. You demanded credentials? Throughout the past two thousand years, popes and priests and scholars and bishops have all maintained and confirmed the primacy of the Gospel, and the need for commitment to Christ as the unique and absolute Messiah for Mankind. This belief is so sure and profound, that even the Reformation did not cause Catholic and Protestant to disagree on that point; both Luther and the Popes, Calvin and all the Bishops, all agreed and agree that Christ alone is King of Kings. Only as the modern society promotes heresies like Gnosticism and Humanism, do groups choose to call themselves 'Christian' churches while ignoring Christ, and pretend to serve God while they ignore most of Scripture.

You tried to cast this as a question of religious freedom, lying through your teeth to do so. Mr. Obama is free to believe as he chooses, but when he claims Christianity but rejects Christ, it is relevant to his campaign to display his error, which I have done here. All you have done, sir, is show how pale his defense is on that front.

So, JFO, you read DJ's word... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

So, JFO, you read DJ's words and know the clear meaning of them by viewing everything he says through a political perspective. Yet you have the unmitigated gall to criticize DJ's words spoken about religion through a religious perspective and in the context of that religion?

This country was founded by people escaping persecution by their governments for their beliefs. It was founded by people who felt this exact discussion should be allowed. Not to be free of criticism by their peers.

And here I thought dissent and disagreement was patriotic. I suppose that has a very narrow definition. I have a sneaky suspicion that if DJ had been speaking about a Republican, you wouldn't have batted an eye.

"And here I thought diss... (Below threshold)
Stormin:

"And here I thought dissent and disagreement was patriotic."

In JFO's world it is as long as the dissent is against Bush, Cheney, Halliburton, and Republicans. Otherwise, you are evil and a windbag and right-wing nutjob, etc.

Hello! I found your website... (Below threshold)

Hello! I found your website. My name is Anders Branderud and I am from Sweden.
I would just like to write some words.

You write:
"Obama appreciates Jesus for what he can get out of the relationship, yet he never mentions how Jesus Christ made the 'bridge' possible. Mr. Obama carefully avoids ever using the word 'Christ' during the interview, and the rest of the discussion shows why he did that.
"

So who was the "historical J*esus"?

I am a follower of Ribi Yehoshua - Mashiakh - who practiced Torah including Halakhah with all his heart.
He was born in Betlehem 7 B.C.E . His faher name was Yoseiph and mother's name was Mir′ yâm. He had twelve followers. He tought in the Jewish batei-haknesset (synagogues). Thousands of Jews were interested in His Torah-teachings. Some Jews who didn't practice Judaism where threatened. They decided to crucify him. So they did - together with the Romans. His followers were called Netzarim (meaning offshoots [of a olive tree]) and they continued to pray with the other Jews in the synagogues.

Christianity does not teach the teachings of Ribi Yehoshua. Ribi Yehoshuas teachings were pro-Torah; Christianity is anti-Torah.

If you want to learn more click at our website www.netzarim.co.il -- than click at the lick "Christians"

Hasheim - the Creator of the universe - loves you. If you want to have a relation with Him you need to follow His Torah.

Anders Branderud
Follower of Ribi Yehoshua in Orthodox Judaism

Always interests me to see ... (Below threshold)

Always interests me to see the point of view that says "I can say whatever I want to about my Christian faith, and those who hold me accountable are bigots and hatemongers."

Here's the issue: as others have aptly pointed out, Christianity works by a set of rules. God even gave us a book to keep them in, so they wouldn't get lost in the shuffle. Like any other system of written rules, it's not all that hard to look at a person's conduct, look at the rules and say either yes, he's following them or no, he's not.

The Christians posting here who say Obama isn't following the rules (and as a Christian, I happen to agree with those who have posted here pointing out that Obama is not) haven't said "and ye shall all believe as we believe, and no one shalt be in office who doth not." The point everyone is trying to make (but which the liberal mind view cannot seem to understand) is that you can't have it both ways. You cannot say "I'm a Christian, and I am being a good Christian when my actions are in accord with what I think is right." That's not how it works. You might as well say "I'm a good basketball player because I can kick the ball right into the hoop." Sorry, rules don't permit kicking. You might be playing another game, but it ain't basketball. Obama may hold very real, very personal religious beliefs...the point people are making is that (a) based on what he's said they're not "by the book" Christian, and (b)people who are "by the book Christians" (like myself) have a right to know this before making a decision they may later regret.

Not that too many of us have had much difficulty figuring out that Obama isn't the right choice.

Welcome Anders, Jes... (Below threshold)
J Kevin:

Welcome Anders,
Jesus (yeshua) was (Is actually, as He lives)not anti-Torah. He was an observant Jew and the only one who was able to keep all the laws of the Covenant. He actually came to complete the covenant G*d made with the Hebrew nation and served as the ultimate sacrifice that atones for all of our sins.
The precursor of this event was Abraham who was willing to sacrifice Isaac, but was provided a substitutionary sacrificial lamb by G*d. You can't be against the Law if you are on earth to fulfill it.
The early Christians (folowers of "the Way") did indeed worship in the Synagogues and the Temple with the Jews. But the Sanhedrin eventually tossed them out.
St. Paul, in his epistles, explained that Christians were not bound by the Law, and that there was no longer Jew nor Greek nor man nor woman under the new covenant. Men didn't have to follow the Jewish Law and be circumcised but could become a Brother in Christ without an intermediate stage of following the law. It had been fulfilled.

That's your next President ... (Below threshold)

That's your next President you're talking about. You had best get your mind right.

;-]

Barack Obama ... seems t... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Barack Obama ... seems to count moral values by how well they fit his personal choices.

Followed by an entire post that criticizes Obama's moral values by how well they fit DJ's personal choices. Gotcha.

Not so much a "Gotcha" as y... (Below threshold)
J Kevin:

Not so much a "Gotcha" as you would suppose. Obama was being held up to the standard of the Word, as found in standard Bible texts. He falls short thereby, not by the opinion of another Christian.
We have a pretty easy to understand set of principles found in the new testament. DJ enumerated some of those and found Obama wanting. I recognized the principles and the standards as the same as I have inferred from my reading of Scripture, so DJ was not out there expressing some unique set of standards.
One of the most common apostasies around is the "You are a God" or "You are part of the Godhead". This is a different proposition from "You have the spirit indwelling in you". I see similarity in Obama's approach and Opra Winfrey, in some of her recent remarks on religion. They did attend the same church for some time, and learned their catechism from the same pastor.

ahhhh Brian what do you exp... (Below threshold)
JFO:

ahhhh Brian what do you expect? When you challenge DJ and his obvious pre-conceived bias and when you ask him where his expertise comes from to make the value judgments he makes about another person's practice of his Christianity you get the comment: "You are as false as your idol."

When you respond to that obvious personal attack the blowhard responds that I (JFO) "use the personal insult."

Remember thou dare not challenge the extreme right wing view of Christianity, the extreme right wings judgments about another man's "personal redemption" or "salvation" when of course the right winger knows absolutely not one thing about that other person's redemption or salvation. Except of course as it applies to DJ's personal political views of how all Christians should think about Jesus. Because god forbid if we don't think just like extreme right wingers then we must all be damned.

Also we have been regaled by Wildwillie's usual attempt at saying nothing, this time about Christianity. Now we all know that the good Christian Wildwillie has advocated the murder of the citizens of San Francisco (May 7 post) by the release of terrorists in that beautiful city. The good Christian WW's desires about the murders of the citizenry don't fit with any view of Christianity that I am familiar with. I don't even imagine it fits with DJ's.
depp=true
notiz=Take your ww may 7th obsession elsewhere. NOW.

DJ.Thanks for the ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

DJ.

Thanks for the response. Sorry for lagging on replying...I just saw what you wrote. Just so you know, I am by no means religious, though I have complete respect for people who are (including my fiance). I kind of come at these kinds of subjects from a certain anthropological perspective, since that's what I do. World Religions has always been one of my favorite subjects as well. Fascinating stuff. Anyway, sometimes I just like to see what people think.

The chief problem I see in Mr. Obama's discussion with Ms. Falsani, is the all-too-common habit of someone turning God into a puppet. This is one of the signal characteristics of the humanist (as a belief); the habit of making oneself and one's beliefs as the center of the universe.

I can see why that would bother you, considering. Humanist thought during the Enlightenment was decidedly anti-religious, if I remember right. It was all about denying the importance of the spiritual, and the church, and centering reality around the individual. Right? And I do see a kind of conglomeration happening with Obama's rhetoric. Humanism mixed with a kind of pan-religious thing.

The essence of Christianity, despite the many voices claiming otherwise, is the Gospel of Christ. While I believe that many beliefs are valid to some extent, it is wrong to suggest that they are essentially the same thing. Christianity is unique, the one faith based on certain core tenets which combine for a radical directive.

Ya, that's my understanding of Christianity, that the Gospels are the true core. Sometimes I wish people paid more attention to them though. The whole sermon on the mount thing was particularly wise.

There are most definitely many different paths, but I agree with you that they all have their own unique foundations. And Christianity, as I understand it historically, was most definitely a radical change. Jesus was not just some guy saying the same old things. And he certainly upset both the religious hierarchy AND the Romans, right?

You cannot be Christian and say focus on a black racial agenda, anymore than a member of the KKK could claim to follow Christ.

So where you do place Martin Luther King, who definitely had a social/political agenda that he attached to his faith? And what about Catholics who practice(d) Liberation Theology? Do you think they are off base???

As to daily living, I think you are suggesting that Christians fail to live up to the will of God, and this is so. Many Christians blow it every day, and everyone I know (myself included) sins every single day. It's not the perfection of works, however, which matters, but the alignment.

Well, I didnt really mean to insinuate that, but I do think that many, if not most, people fail to live up to their ideals, or the ideals of their faith. It's a constant race to catch back up. And according to you, it's the effort that matters, right? It's the acceptance of truth?

Anyway, I appreciate your explaining your perspective more fully. Thanks for taking the time. I appreciate it. It's interesting to hear more about what people think about these kinds of things.


DJ, what a great post!... (Below threshold)
Ken in Camarillo:

DJ, what a great post!

To JRO: DJ expressed Christian beliefs in a very standard way that did not push the envelope; I can't imagine a serious Christian quibbling with anything he said.

Your question about judging another person's faith is pertinent: we are told about not judging harshly lest we be judged the same way. My opinion is that DJ did not nitpick Obama's faith, he measured Obama's stated beliefs against the very fundamental standards of Christian belief that are universally accepted by Christians, and found Obama wanting. We are supposed to be discerning to the extent we will not be led astray, so it is appropriate to measure the behavior and beliefs of someone who says he is Christian and wants to influence our lives.

The principles DJ discussed do not require a degree in theology. As Christians we are supposed to study the Word, and those who do it to any degree are acquainted with the principles DJ discussed.

DJ, the post woke me up. I've been on cruise control not paying much attention to Obama (I'm conservative, so I don't see myself voting for any of today's Democrats). Your illumination of Obama's beliefs contrasted with normal Christian beliefs is an eye-opener.

ryan a:Considering... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:

ryan a:

Considering that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have attacked Liberation Theology for its subversion of the Gospel to support pre-determined political ends, I think it would be very fair to say that Catholics who practice Liberation Theology are off base.

And refresh my memory, did Martin Luther King Jr. advocate for civil rights due to the worth of blacks as blacks, or was it due to the worth of blacks as human beings. In other words, was his approach racial, or was it universal?

DJYou are a pathet... (Below threshold)
JFO:

DJ

You are a pathetic coward.

JFO, if you mean the dienvo... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

JFO, if you mean the dienvowelment of your 10:08 post, that wasn't me. I was doing accounting homework, walking my dogs, then brushing my teeth during that time. It may come as a shock to you, but there are other editors, less tolerant than I am, who find your attempts at debate lacking, and some of your choice of words unacceptable. There are rules of conduct here, and if you cannot behave, you will face consequences. Even then, we are not as harsh as other sites, where merely having a different opinion would get your IP banned, such as DU or their like. I don't imagine you have the stones to call them on their policies ...

So, once again you miss the mark. I am neither 'pathetic' nor 'coward', seeing as I have answered you fully and without the dismal sort of dishonesty with which you poison your arguments.

At some point, you may want to consider the key fact of this topic; that despite his efforts to cast himself as a mix of MLK Jr and JFK, it turns out that beneath the smooth words and glib delivery, the man has nothing in substance, certainly not the deep faith and trust in Jesus Christ which guided those great men. Pretense always fails the test, and Mr. Obama has been proven a charlatan in his religious claims throughout the year.

Very enlightening post, DJ;... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Very enlightening post, DJ; thanks.

ryan a, good question about Dr. King. I think the answer is universal worth of blacks as human beings, as Jschuler said a little later on. (I have a book on my shelf, titled From the Mountaintop, that examines the Christianity and Christian appeal of King, that I still need to read. Your question has reminded me of that book; thanks!)

DJMy apologies for... (Below threshold)
JFO:

DJ

My apologies for the last remark. I'm saying the next part respectfully.

Your last paragraph of the above comment is what I think is dead wrong and repeats what I see as dead wrong in your post. You set yourself up to judge the depth and substance of another man's faith on the basis of one interview. You can't deny that as it is your source to confirm your position. Who is anyone, actually, to judge another man's faith, its quality, fervor or earnestness? It seems to me you use your own standards to make that judgment and that's where I think you go wrong.

Are you entitled to view the whole person in making a value judgment about his or her fitness to hold office? Of course you are.

It's pretty evident to me that you don't like the man (which you are clearly entitled to feel), you don't like his politics, you don't want him to be president. That's all OK and fine. But from my perspective what I see is that you make judgments his faith and that's where I believe you are really really wrong, mostly because you know little or nothing about that. Do don't know how he prays, or if he prays or when he prays. You certainly know nothing about his redemption or salvation though you obviously concluded that you do. This is why I so profoundly disagree with your position.

JShuler,Conside... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

JShuler,

Considering that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have attacked Liberation Theology for its subversion of the Gospel to support pre-determined political ends, I think it would be very fair to say that Catholics who practice Liberation Theology are off base.

Ya, both John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have been critical of aspects or certain practitioners of Lib. Theology. But John Paul has been critical in some cases while also recognizing some of the issues that Lib. Theologists are concerned with--such as the vast wealth differential that exists in the hierarchy. But you're right.

And Lib. Theologists have, in place like South America and Central America, often been directly opposed to those in power in the Church. But that was because sometimes the church aligned itself with fairly repressive govt systems.

But ya, they have often been in direct opposition historically.

And refresh my memory, did Martin Luther King Jr. advocate for civil rights due to the worth of blacks as blacks, or was it due to the worth of blacks as human beings. In other words, was his approach racial, or was it universal?

Ya, I see his approach as something that was more universal...but I am not sure if he is always interpreted that way.

Big Mo:rya... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Big Mo:

ryan a, good question about Dr. King. I think the answer is universal worth of blacks as human beings, as Jschuler said a little later on. (I have a book on my shelf, titled From the Mountaintop, that examines the Christianity and Christian appeal of King, that I still need to read. Your question has reminded me of that book; thanks!)

Ya, I have a bio that I have been meaning to read that is about King as well. Earlier this year I had the chance to go to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis...it was good, but also pretty sad at times. Maybe heavy is a better word. Hard to believe some of those things that were happening.

This thread is interesting because DJ is saying that the Christian foundation is something that is kind of apolitical...but I have often interpreted some of the intentions of Jesus himself as highly political during that historical environment. So maybe I am interpreting what DJ meant a little incorrectly, or maybe I'm off. But it seems to me that it was both a spiritual and political movement--Christianity that is.

JFO, if you want to be take... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

JFO, if you want to be taken seriously here, then - in all honesty - you have to stop painting other posts with your assumptions. I enjoy a good debate, but I do not respect what seem to be deliberate attempts to twist what was said.

Let's start with what seems to be your main problem; criticism of Barack Obama's religious beliefs. First of all, they were first brought up in a political context by the Senator himself. Both of his books and many of his interviews refer to his beliefs and his religious perspectives, and as such it is completely valid to discuss them. Second, now that he is the - presumptive - nominee for the Democratic Party, it is obvious that Senator Obama has been trying to portray his religious beliefs and his church as mainstream, but in clear fact this is not true. As many here have noted, my criticism is not what I personally believe about what Christianity should be, but what fits the definition of mainstream Christianity. When you demanded to know my credentials to dispute Obama's claims, I reminded you of more than a thousand years of scholarly and doctrinal debate among the most respected theologians on the question. While I am not a Roman Catholic and have some serious disagreements on points of dogma, ritual, and history, I respect and agree with the reasoned discourse from many of its prominent thinkers, like Francis of Assisi, Loyola, and more recently John Paul II. Also, as I noted in an earlier comment, even Calvin and Luther agreed to the basic supremacy of Scriptural authority, and many of Obama's statements run directly against Scriptural doctrine. That's not my opinion, it is what has defined Christianity for more than a thousand years and like it or not, Senator Obama does not get to whittle Christianity to fit his personal idiom.

I do not 'judge another man's faith', if you take the care to go read what I actually wrote, to note both context and what was specifically stated. And you are very wrong to claim that I dislike Mr. Obama. In some respects, it could be that if I had the opportunity to get to know both that I might come to like Barack Obama more than I would John McCain. It is not at all likely, however, that I should have that privilege with either man, as I am not at all reluctant to criticize either for errors I see in their behavior or positions, and I have seen that neither takes criticism particularly well. What I wrote about Obama was in protest to claims that he made, which are simply not true, to wit his claim to being Christian as most people would understand the word, to following God's will as the phrase is commonly understood, or that his history with the Trinity United church may reasonably be considered the same as the church memberships of George W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, or anyone else who has held the office of President of the United States. What provokes my harshest criticism in this thread of Mr. Obama, is that he has tried to distance himself from beliefs and doctrines which he clearly supported and held for a long time. Leaving Trinity now was a political move, and a dishonest one, since it is apparent that Reverend Wright was very much in character when he made the remarks which got him into trouble, and the same for Reverend Pfleger. It is one thing for Mister Obama to hold beliefs and build his life according to them, but trying to claim an image that hides anything he does not want to have to face is not ethical behavior. Evasiveness is never a good sign in someone who wants to lead the nation.

I would also like to point out that I do not believe in the 'religious test' of which you accused me - again quite wrongly. I know a bit of History, and so I am well aware that neither President Jefferson nor President Lincoln would be considered Christian in the mainstream sense. Yet I consider both men to have been quite successful as President. The distinction between those gentlemen and Senator Obama, however, is that neither Jefferson nor Lincoln pretended to be mainstream Christians, nor did they make their faith a significant part of their political campaigns.

DJThanks for the r... (Below threshold)
JFO:

DJ

Thanks for the response. But again, I disagree. I didn't at all twist the point that I most vehemently disagree with. You observed (not as a guess or an assumption) that Obama does not ever speak to personal redemption or assumption. You said that in the context of a a quote from Obama that his is a Christian. What is one supposed to believe you meant by that? To me, it meant you denigrate his "Christianity" because you have found no evidence that he has spoken of personal redemption or salvation. If I'm wrong in that interpretation please tell me what you meant by it. That's the issue, that appears to me to be a judgment of another's faith by your own standards.

I'm a Christian. I've never "spoken" to anyone except a priest about my own redemption or salvation. Nor do I believe for one second that I need to be "born-again" in the evangelical sense of that term. I am as legitimate a Christian as anyone else who professes to be so. I have no idea about the depth of anyone else's faith nor is it my business to make that kind of judgment. It seems to me to up to God and no one else.

DJI forgot one oth... (Below threshold)
JFO:

DJ

I forgot one other issue. What in the world is a Christian in the "mainstream" sense. (This is not a snarky question.)

JFO, 'mainstream' Christian... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

JFO, 'mainstream' Christianity is one which accepts and teaches the basic tenets of Christ's teachings. Scripture is considered 'true' (though whether it is taken to be 'inerrant' or literal depends on the denomination).

Basically, a mainstream Christian church would teach lessons and morals which would not be considered un-Christian by anyone familiar with Scripture or history of the Church.

As to your disagreement, I spoke from the available evidence, while you have argued only from opinion. If you can prove me wrong, I would like to see that evidence, but if not you cannot reasonably claim that my evidence must be ignored or rejected simply because it goes in a direction you do not want to find.


DJWith all due res... (Below threshold)
JFOl:

DJ

With all due respect I think your evidence is pretty weak to come to the conclusion you did. And that is the crux of the problem. I'm not defending Obama - because I lke you, am really clueless about the extent of his faith. I am challenging your conclusion.

I just pray that I not be judged about my faith by the thin kind of evidence that satisfies you.

At this point I guess we can agree to disagree and again I apologize for that comment I made earlier.

Ryan a:I think tha... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:

Ryan a:

I think that it depends on what the definition of "political" is. If you follow Lasswell's definition of politics as "who get what, when, and how," then Jesus's teachings are most definitely political (just look at the beatitudes). The problem is that this definition, while commonly accepted, is incredibly broad, almost to the point of meaninglessness. It encompasses just about every human behavior, so you would have to go to extraordinary ends to avoid participating in politics.

However, if you confine politics to occurring only in relation to formal governance, then Jesus's message is apolitical. At no point does He call for man-made laws or the force of the state to enact God's will. Symbolically, state power is refused when Jesus faces temptation in the desert and when He declares the issue of taxation the domain of Caesar, not God, and thus not Jesus's concern. This, I believe, is the definition DJ is working within.

However, even if you believe that Jesus would accept state action on behalf of his message of salvation and brotherly love, in order for such action to be "Christian" its origin must be in the Gospel. Otherwise, you aren't actually working for anything that Jesus taught.

Ryan, the distinction for m... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Ryan, the distinction for me is that Jesus called for personal accountability, not regime change. That's one reason He told Pilate that His kingdom "is not of this world". This is important, because I think Dr. King got that message. He wanted political change, but not by compulsion or threats but through the force of personal moral decisions. This not only made Dr. King persuasive in his arguments, but it also made his arguments enduring, applicable to many modern conditions. When Dr. King said that he hoped for a world where his children would be judged by "the content of their character", he spoke on a level no one can really dispute.

JFO, we can agree to disagree, but my evidence is consistent and pervasive. Obama's interview tracks with his long support for Reverend Wright and Wright's divisive agenda. It would be useful to see a letter from Obama, say in 2002, calling out Wright for cursing America, but no such letter has been produced. It would be useful to find an interview from, say, 2005 where Obama corrects the impression he gave that he saw morality according to his own beliefs rather than what is written in Scripture, but again no such evidence has ever been produced. As a result, the only available evidence all points to the image I wrote about, and that is not my personal opinion but the distillation of his own words and actions.

I look forward to future discussions. I expect we may be in closer agreement when I next write about Senator McCain. I support his campaign, but that does not mean I agree unconditionally with the Senator.

Warning to anyone who seeks... (Below threshold)
Marty:

Warning to anyone who seeks truth...
Anybody should be weary of any sentence starting with:
"I find it hard to believe that my God..."

True faith leads to absolute truth. Truth that exists wether you like it or not. If we "make up" our own religion then there really is no solid foundation to stand on! Truth exists beyond us, not "in" us!

I think he's very lost w... (Below threshold)
OnePK:

I think he's very lost when it comes to his Christian faith. Not that there's anything wrong with that, most of us struggle with it. But I don't think he knows that he's lost in that department.

Peter,

I'd replace 'very lost' or 'lost' with 'searching', but thanks for a level of honesty that may not be possible from 'absolute truth'-knowing dogmatists like others posting.

It seems that too many problems in Christendom are stemming from this concept that we have 'found' the truth and are no longer searching to find God out. We really do think we've arrived. Our 'seeking' is not continual hence we trust in our limited understanding and come to absolute conclusions about things that are hardly cut and dried.

There are so many questions to be answered re Christianity and the diverse practices of its various flavours (each community claiming absolute truth) that it is amazing that seekers of truth do little to extend the practical grace of Christ to others. Rather they bash, whether from the pulpit, from the pew, in their parking lots, on the prayer lines or in blogs.

Admittedly I am a recovering dogmatist. However, the older I get the more I realise that there will always be more questions than answers in this life.

Still I am convinced enough to choose Jesus Christ and ask Him for forgiveness of my sin. Does that mean that others will not be rejoined to God otherwise? I puzzle over Romans 2:14-16 and other related scriptures, read the commentaries, hear debates and trust that only God Himself is absolute and truly just, not our diverse understanding of why scripture says what it says when it says it.

Is Obama a Christian? He claims Jesus - God determines if He stands or falls. (Not that it would ensure he's a good President anyway.)

We stand afar off and determine his and everyone else's motives based on language used. How many of our conversations could stand up to the criticism? Are our words always carefully chosen, revealing conviction we hold, precisely as we understand it? (Sorry Obama - you should have said Jesus 'Christ' - you're going to hell.)

Maybe it's only Obama in this group who has ever struggled with understanding the concept of our being God's workmanship, made in His image and comparing it with expressions of the humanistic concepts of natural laws and abilities...

Oh not really - I'm trying to grapple with it too, along with many others - and maybe, though I claim Jesus Christ as my Saviour (thank God I didn't neglect to say 'My Saviour', or should I have said 'my personal, indwelling Saviour'), someone will find it perfectly fine in their absolute knowledge to damn me to hell.

Thankfully there is only one God - I have decided to be true to all that is me (questions and all) and rest in Him and His grace.




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