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I Find His Lack Of Faith Disturbing

Over the last week or two, the question of President Obama's spiritual leanings has become quite the question. Just what does he believe, in his heart of hearts? Since everyone else is weighing in, I thought I'd toss in my two cents.

President Obama is a Muslim. According to Franklin Graham, under the laws followed by a large number of Muslims worldwide, Islam is like herpes -- once you get it, you can't ever get rid of it. A Muslim is a Muslim forever. Since both Obama's birth father and stepfather were Muslims from birth, and "Muslim" is a trait passed along by the father (like Judaism is passed along by the mother), he's a Muslim too. Toss in his attendance at Muslim schools in Indonesia, and his Muslim status is assured. That means his denials of his Muslim status makes him an apostate -- not an infidel.

President Obama is not a Muslim. In America, one's own spiritual status is strictly one's own decision. One cannot be compelled to be part of a faith against their will. President Obama has stated, clearly and repeatedly, that he is not a Muslim, therefore he is not.

President Obama is a Christian. Religious standing has absolutely no legal standing whatsoever, by the Constitution. One simply is whatever one declares one to be. President Obama has stated, on countless occasions, that he is a Christian and has spent his entire public life attending Christian churches. He was married in one, and his daughters were baptized in one.

President Obama is not a Christian. While the government has no place in determining the validity of a person's religious beliefs, other adherents of that faith can -- and do -- express their own judgments on their nominal coreligionists. People who take questions of faith seriously wonder how sincere President Obama's expressions of devotion are, noting that -- by his own admission -- he spent 20 years going to a church, being married there, having his daughters baptized there, treating the pastor like a father figure, and never paid enough attention to what the guy was saying from the pulpit was race-baiting, black separatist hate preacher. Ever since people pointed out what was happening under his nose for two decades, Obama hasn't bothered to find a new Christian community to join.

President Obama is not an atheist. The atheists I've encountered are quite forceful in their non-belief. They proclaim their knowledge of God's non-existence as a point of pride. As noted, President Obama has stated his belief in the Christian God on numerous occasions.

President Obama is an agnostic. This is where I fall on the spectrum. I don't know if there is a God or not, and I think that it's impossible to definitively "know" -- in a verifiable manner -- whether He does or not. And I think President Obama falls into the same category.

But not for the same reasons.

For myself, I think I simply lack the "faith gene." (It's similar to another of my genetic faults; I have a defective "envy gene" as well.) I can't bring myself to make the "leap of faith" necessary to assume God exists. It doesn't help me that the Christian doctrine demands that one accept God's existence without evidence; that we are told that God refuses to offer proof of His existence. That's the deal-breaker for me, and a large reason why I'm not a Christian.

With Obama, though, I'm going to speculate a bit. Obama is agnostic because he doesn't care. Until he moved to Chicago and started planning his public career, he didn't care much about religion. He joined Reverend Wright's church and bonded with Wright because he saw it as politically advantageous to cultivate that association. Later -- much later -- that association started to be a detriment, so he dumped it without a second thought. And since by that time he had achieved his life's goal with the presidency, he saw no need or advantage in finding a new church to join. He didn't think his family -- especially his children -- would benefit from belonging to a Christian community. So he's pretty much ignored the whole religion thing, occasionally popping into this church or that church for a photo op, having his flacks talk about how he's having his spiritual needs met with e-mailed devotionals and private prayer, and whatnot.

To me, and to a lot of Christians, that's not a sincere expression of faith. Those are token gestures, and rather feeble ones.

Had I my druthers, Obama would simply come clean and state his beliefs (or non-beliefs) public, clearly, and then drop the matter. This sham (or, at least, incredibly shallow) "faith" is just insulting to people who take such matters seriously.

Including me.


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Comments (116)

Obama's god is Obama. ... (Below threshold)

Obama's god is Obama.

"Had I my druthers, Obam... (Below threshold)
dane:

"Had I my druthers, Obama would simply come clean and state his beliefs (or non-beliefs) public, clearly, and then drop the matter. This sham (or, at least, incredibly shallow) "faith" is just insulting to people who take such matters seriously. Including me."

CANDIDATE OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE - JANUARY 15, 2008

OBAMA: Well, look, first of all, let's make clear what the facts are: I am a Christian. I have been sworn in with a Bible.

politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/08/19/his-own-words-obama-religion

Wow, that took about 30 seconds to find that. Feeling less insulted now? I hope so. I'm sure President Obama hope so too.

same link.

CANDIDATE OBAMA CAMPAGIN EVENT - MARCH 26, 2008

My question is: What role does Jesus Christ play in your life? And how do his teachings and those of the Bible affect your decision- making in politics?

OBAMA: That's interesting. That's interesting. Well, look, it's a wonderful question. It's a complicated question, but it's a wonderful question.

I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and that his grace and his mercy and his power, through him, that I can achieve everlasting life. So that's what I believe.

Now, what I also believe in is a gospel of not just words, but deeds. And I believe in doing right here on Earth and treating people with the dignity and respect that is inherent in them being children of God, all people.

and

CANDIDATE OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE - SEPTEMBER 26, 2007

Q: Senator Obama, what is your favorite Bible verse?

OBAMA: Well, I think it would have to be the Sermon on the Mount, because it expresses a basic principle that I think we've lost over the last six years.

John talked about what we've lost. Part of what we've lost is a sense of empathy towards each other. We have been governed in fear and division, and you know, we talk about the federal deficit, but we don't talk enough about the empathy deficit, a sense that I stand in somebody else's shoes, I see through their eyes. People who are struggling trying to figure out how to pay the gas bill, or try to send their kids to college. We are not thinking about them at the federal level.

That's the reason I'm running for president, because I want to restore that.

and

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S REMARKS AT A NEWS CONFERENCE, CAIRO, EGYPT - JUNE 4, 2009

"Well, you know, I think it's interesting -- obviously I'm a person of faith, and as a Christian, but also as somebody who believes very strongly in democracy and human rights and I'm a constitutional law professor, so I have some very strong ideas about how a pluralistic society lives together -- these are things that I do spend time thinking about.

What I tried to communicate in the speech and what I believe very strongly is that in an interdependent world like ours, where the world has shrunk and different peoples with different faiths and different ideas are constantly having to coexist, that we have to have a mature faith that says "I believe with all my heart and all my soul in what I believe, but I respect the fact that somebody else believes their beliefs just as strongly."

And so the only way that we are going to live together, or operate in a political system that can work for everybody is if we have certain rules about how we relate to each other.

I can't force my religion on you. I can't try to organize a majority to discriminate against you because you're a religious minority. I can't simply take what's in my religious beliefs and say you have to believe and abide by these same things. Now, that doesn't mean that I can't make arguments that are based on my belief and my faith -- right? If I'm a Christian, I believe in the Ten Commandments. And it says, Thou Shalt Not Kill."

and

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S ADDRESS TO THE NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST - FEBRUARY 5, 2009

"I was not raised in a particularly religious household. I had a father who was born a Muslim but became an atheist, grandparents who were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and a mother who was skeptical of organized religion, even as she was the kindest, most spiritual person I've ever known. She was the one who taught me as a child to love, and to understand, and to do unto others as I would want done.

I didn't become a Christian until many years later, when I moved to the South Side of Chicago after college. It happened not because of indoctrination or a sudden revelation, but because I spent month after month working with church folks who simply wanted to help neighbors who were down on their luck -- no matter what they looked like, or where they came from, or who they prayed to. It was on those streets, in those neighborhoods, that I first heard God's spirit beckon me. It was there that I felt called to a higher purpose -- His purpose."

There are many more, but I'm sure you're satisfied now, Mr. Tea, and will post an update on your article indicating that President Obama has indeed made his Christian faith clear to the nation, and you apologize for being such a political hack.

I'm sure you're proud of the President's efforts to do what you say he should do - make his Christian faith clear and unequivocal.

After all, you're obviously a person of great integrity, and a man of faith as well.

Right?

I think President Obama sho... (Below threshold)
James H:

I think President Obama should say, "I am not a Muslim. Not that there's anything wrong with that."

In all seriousness, Jay, why should we care about President Obama's religion? Our Constitution says "no religious test," which means precisely that. Whether he's atheist, agnostic, Christian, or Pastafarian, he's still eligible to be president, and he's perfectly within his right to keep his spiritual life under wraps.

What I find disgusting is right-wingers' continual quest to ensure that candidates for office are Christians. Remember how Joh McCain, he of a very quiet religious practice, was hounded until he gave his rather uncomfortable testimony? Notice how every presidential candidate, every congressional candidate, has to make a big show of his religiosity?

I find that disgusting. I find it disgusting that some Americans place such a high value on the public display of religion. It promotes hypocrisy in our public officials. Additionally, it shows the true religious values in America. We don't care what you believe in. As long as you appear to believe in the right things.

Dane, you are getting annoy... (Below threshold)

Dane, you are getting annoying.

I think you're pretty close on this one, JayTea.

First and foremost, Obama is an academic and an intellectual; an egghead, so to speak. So were his mother and grandmother. Based on my experience, eggheads are not people of deep faith. Rather, they look at religion the same way they look at everything else -- a collection of propositions that one chooses to selectively accept or not accept based on how you understand or interpret them.

A lot of intellectuals belong to faith communities because they receive emotional and spiritual benefits from the relationships formed within those communities. But they are more likely to engage their faith through study and intellectual arguments, rather than through the kind of deep trusting faith (and abiding fear of damnation) that you find among "ordinary" religious folk.

That seems to be how Barack Obama approaches his own religion.

As long as you're criticizi... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

As long as you're criticizing Muslims, why don't you give equal time to that religious cult whose Golden Rule is, never do anything nice for anyone, unless you have something to gain from it for yourself. Just a thought.

Thanks, Dane. I didn't both... (Below threshold)

Thanks, Dane. I didn't bother to cite examples of Obama's declarations of faith when I was contrasting them with his actions, so thanks for the quotes. They really flesh out the contrast I was drawing.

J.

Seriously, Dane... just tak... (Below threshold)

Seriously, Dane... just take all those quotes you dragged up that "prove me wrong" and drop them right after Paragraph 4 (that's the "President Obama is a Christian" one) of my original article. All they do is add substance to it -- and don't contradict #5 or my conclusion in the least.

J.

James, I'm not fond of that... (Below threshold)

James, I'm not fond of that game, either. But Obama chose to play it, so he's obligated to play it fairly and honestly. I don't think he is.

J.

Dane's research is impressi... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Dane's research is impressive. It also supports his view of the President. That is he accepts that all that Obama utters is indeed true on face value - no argument. Jay offers another view of Obama held by many. You must interpret his words carefully, there are many contradictions in his rather cloudy past, and at the very worst on occasion he lies. In this particular thread it has to do with his religion but the same could be said of his selling of healthcare, foreign policy, etc. I personally believe the President is mostly amoral because he sees himself above the average civilized man and so his only religion is his own self-perceived enlightened view of the world. When he had the name of Jesus covered at Georgetown for a speech he gave it was a very unusual move for someone of any religious persuasion who is comfortable showing tolerance for the religious beliefs of others.

J:He's been dragge... (Below threshold)
James H:

J:

He's been dragged kicking and screaming into the game, IMO. And quite frankly, you're pointing your blunderbuss in the wrong direction. You want to call out somebody? Don't call out the man who wants to quietly pratice, or not practice, his faith. Call out the people who aren't content unless their president is Christian and puts on a sufficient dog-and-pony show to demonstrate that faith. Call out the people who insist President Obama is a Muslim because he isn't seen attending church regularly and because he disapproves of gambling in Las Vegas.

You're calling out the wrong people here, Jay Tea. If you're not fond of the public religion game, as you put it, then why not say so on the front page?

"What I find disgusting ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"What I find disgusting is right-wingers' continual quest to ensure that candidates for office are Christians."

James, it's not just "right-wingers" who do that. People of all political persuasions criticized Romney for not being the "right kind of Christian". Democrats consistently criticize some politicians for even speaking about their faith, but it's ususally only republican politicians they criticize. I find it disgusting when one uses politics for the criteria for singling them out for criticism of their faith; no matter if they're right or left.

Dane, what Jay has done here is only to weigh in with his own opinion. You have yours - which is almost always in opposition to most of us here - and Jay has his. He doesn't owe you or anyone else here anything else. You instead immediatley pop in and begin questioning Jay's faith and integrity when he's been quite clear as as to what he believes. So which is it? If Jay has been clear in words as to how he feels about God why should he be questioned and not Obama?

I happen to pretty much agree with Jay. I don't find Obama particularly convincing regardless of his statements. The reason for that is his continual habit of saying all manner of things that he contradicts in his actions and I think that translates into other aspects of his life. I think, as Jay has said, that he's been an opportunist in that regard.

Perhaps one could approach ... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Perhaps one could approach Jay Tea's issue from another perspective.

Considering President Obama's associations with his friend, Malik Shabazz, a leader of the radical Muslim thugs in the Black Panthers, and with his other friend and mentor, Louis Farrackhan, a leader of another gang of Muslim thugs, perhaps those black Muslims are the Muslims with whom President Obama is the most familiar ...., and who would be surprised to learn that radical black Muslims are the ONLY Muslims with whom that lazy, useless and decadent dilettante is familiar? Gives some insights as to perhaps why that empty suit thinks the way that he does, doesn't it?

For all of his education, Obama remains a shallow, obtuse, dense and ignorant man, who is still so set in his ways that he continues to empathize only with radicals and extremists, deluding himself, as all madmen do, that he and his sycophants are "enlightened" when, in fact, that menagerie of loonies is anything but.

First - Quit misrepresentin... (Below threshold)
jim m:

First - Quit misrepresenting Franklin Graham's comment. Graham simply stated the traditional muslim viewpoint that anyone born of a muslim father was automatically a muslim. Graham actually stated that he thought obama considered himself to be a Christian and refused to question Barry's faith any further.

I think this is the key to understanding obama's view of his own religion. He sees himself as a muslim by birth but not by practice. So he retains and celebrates his muslim heritage and it is part of what defines him.

He also attended a nominally Christian church so he considers himself a Christian as well. But this church was not anything like a traditional Christian church. It was a marxist, liberation theology, Jesus was a black man church. It didn't teach traditional Christian values, it taught class warfare and racial hatred (anyone disputing that should listen to rev wright's sermons before arguing to the contrary).

So obama considers himself both muslim AND Christian. He also considers himself an enlightened academic, which means that he denies the miraculous nature of religion. He sees religion as a social movement and as a community organizer sees it as a tool to manipulate the public.

Finally, obama was raised by marxists who commonly are found to be atheists. I think this fits in with the idea that his religion is a social construct and is not of a spiritual or miraculous nature. It fits with the religion of rev wright's church and the class warfare taught there.

Obama is a blank slate. It is an image he actively cultivates. So if you want to see him as a muslim he can be that. If it helps him to be seen as a Christian he can be that. The reality is that he is nothing. He is whatever it is fashionable or useful to be at the moment. He believes primarily in himself and his own advancement.

I think Jay has raised an i... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

I think Jay has raised an interesting question, at least for me. But it's not really the one he wrote about.

That question is: What are the beliefs and principles that Obama holds dear? My view is that two years into his Presidency we still don't know. On the other hand, we do have some gauge of those things he doesn't care about or in which he does not believe.

Again in my view, religion for Obama is like a lapel pin. Something he wears to create the image. Nothing more.

jim m, I thought this entir... (Below threshold)

jim m, I thought this entire piece was an expansion on Franklin Graham's statement. I agree with him, largely, on this one. Sorry that didn't come across to you.

J.

Thanks for the breakdown, J... (Below threshold)
Kat:

Thanks for the breakdown, Jay; I find myself largely in agreement with you. As a Christian, I find Obama's assertions of faith pretty meaningless, because I see no evidence that it is in fact a real and living faith. IOW, I do not see his words backed up with action.

On a side note - and it's somewhat OT, so I won't completely hijack the thread with it - you said:

It doesn't help me that the Christian doctrine demands that one accept God's existence without evidence; that we are told that God refuses to offer proof of His existence.

I am very curious who it was that told you that God refuses to offer proof of His existence, because that is a lie.

While it is true that God does not appear in glory in the sky so that everyone is coerced into belief in Him, He does offer quite ample evidence in His existence... It's simply that sinful humans (not pinging on you, 'cause I'm one, too!) refuse to acknowledge it and "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (see Romans 1 - and Psalm 19, just for starters).

Anyway, it's just a quick correction for you - I have always respected your open and honest agnosticism, because you have always been intelligent and serious in your objections, and your posts on whatever topic are thought-provoking, even when I disagree.

Thanks again, and keep up the good work!

President Obama is an assho... (Below threshold)
Bill Fabrizio:

President Obama is an asshole! End of conversation!

I don't care what faiths ou... (Below threshold)

I don't care what faiths our presidents, past, present or future, choose to follow. I don't require our leaders to be devout "people of God".

But, just once, I would like to have a president who hates golf.

Obama is certainly free to ... (Below threshold)

Obama is certainly free to call himself a Christian in the same sense I'm entitled to call myself a toaster. But his actual beliefs, as stated by Obama himself so I'm not speculating here even a little bit, are totally incompatible with Christianity.

"I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people."

"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 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."

"What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don't presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, the aligning myself to my faith and my values is a good thing."

On what sin is: "Being out of alignment with my values."

On being aligned spiritually: "It's when I'm being true to myself."

Laura @ 8:58 - Bless you, m... (Below threshold)
Father O'Brien:

Laura @ 8:58 - Bless you, my child.

Yes, let's take the preside... (Below threshold)
Joe:

Yes, let's take the president at his word, shall we?

* During his campaign for the presidency and since, Obama repeatedly assured us that he would protect Medicare against cuts; but ObamaCare includes savage cuts in Medicare.

* To obtain passage of his first stimulus bill, Obama assured us that 90% of the jobs created would be in the private sector; but as he well knew, most of them were to be in the public sector.

* Early in the health care debate, Obama assured us that he had not said that he favored a single payer system; but he was on record as having said exactly that.

* Obama gave primary voters a firm assurance that if he became the nominee of the Democratic party he would (unlike Hillary Clinton) abide by the campaign finance limits of public funding; but as soon as he became the party's nominee, he reneged on that pledge.

* During the presidential campaign Obama criticized the presence of former lobbyists in the Bush administration and solemnly assured us that he would appoint no lobbyists to his administration; but once elected he proceeded to appoint even more lobbyists than his predecessors.

* Obama criticized the size of George Bush's deficit and promised to stop deficit spending if elected; but he has already quadrupled the size of the deficit he objected to and recklessly continues new federal spending in the trillions.

* When campaigning Obama criticized bills before the congress that were too long for anyone to be able to read and promised to stop that; but the bills he has been backing throughout his first year are infinitely longer (2000+ pages) than the ones he criticized.

* Candidate Obama promised an end to the corruption of earmarks and pork, but in the bills he has supported during his tenure there have been more and bigger earmarks than ever before.

* Candidate Obama promised us that CIA personnel involved in the interrogation of terrorists would not be prosecuted; but his administration is now doing exactly that.

* Obama assured a joint session of Congress that the health bill he supported (pre-Stupak) would not provide public funding for abortions; but bitter resistance on the part of House Democrats to inclusion of language to that effect soon proved that it did.

* Candidate Obama promised that he would make sure that there was always enough time for the public to read legislation before it was enacted; but he has done exactly the opposite, repeatedly pressing for even faster passage of even longer bills.

* Candidate Obama promised bipartisanship and an end to partisan bickering; but in a display of especially ruthless partisanship his allies shut Republicans out of all key meetings on his health care initiative, with the unprecedented result that domestic legislation of historic importance garnered not a single Republican vote in the Senate.

* Candidate Obama criticized his opponent's plan to tax employer paid healthcare benefits, and promised he would not tax them; but the bill he backed will do just that.

* Obama had promised that he would not sign a healthcare bill that would add one dime to the federal deficit; but the law he signed adds trillions in new federal spending, offset only by new sources of revenue that are both uncertain and more properly seen as offsetting the already existing deficit.

* Obama has repeatedly assured the American people that if they like their current health plan they can keep it; but the House bill which he supported created huge incentives for employers to drop their coverage and shift their members to a public option.

* Obama has just as often assured the public that under his health plan everyone will be able to keep their current doctor; but many will lose their doctors when ObamaCare's large cuts in Medicare funding induce more doctors to withdraw from Medicare coverage, as they also would were employers to transfer patients to a public option to save money.

* Obama claimed that Caterpillar's CEO had told him that Caterpillar would begin hiring again as a result of the stimulus bill; but that individual immediately announced that he had said no such thing, and that Caterpillar would in fact be laying off more workers.

* Candidate Obama promised that his administration (unlike his predecessor's) would be so transparent that TV cameras (C-Span) would be there for key deliberations; but an unprecedented level of secrecy prevails as the final stages of Obamacare are negotiated behind closed doors and kept so secret that even the Senate majority whip admitted that he had no idea what was going on. Requests for Obama to honor the promise of C-Span cameras were ignored.

* Candidate Obama claimed that violent radical Bill Ayers was just another guy in his neighborhood; but the record shows that the two had worked closely together.

* Obama assured us that his health plan would never ration care, or "pull the plug" on grandma; but the legislation he backs sets up panels to make crucial decisions on when to withhold care, and it makes such deep cuts in Medicare that rationing is inevitable.

* Obama assured us that health insurance premiums would not go up if ObamaCare became law, insisting indignantly that people who say this have not read the bill; but the legislation forces insurers to cover preexisting conditions, which will compel them to raise premiums substantially.

Sorry this is so long but I just wanted Dane to see that taking this guy at his word isn't exactly "the end of the story."

He could be an atheist. I ... (Below threshold)
Joe:

He could be an atheist. I have met many atheists who are not so out and loud about their non-belief. Often because the do not wish to be subject to the proselytizing of misguided friends or co-workers. So I think your ruling out atheism so handily is wrong. Doubly because Obama would lose a lot of votes for saying he is atheist. Better to cloak himself in a religion and call it a day.

Regarding Dane it is clear he did not read the whole article as he accused JT of being a man of faith when JT clearly stated he is agnostic.

Finally, I don't really care what Obama believes. His policies are wrong and he should be voted out in 2012 on that only.

"That means his denials of ... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

"That means his denials of his Muslim status makes him an apostate"

Ummm, no.

That would make him a Muslim lying to a non-believer.

You don't hear the term "se... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

You don't hear the term "secular humanist" thrown around much anymore. I believe this is Obama's status. As to his declarations of faith - his is a liar. You cannot believe anything that comes out of his mouth. Like most all liberals, Obama is a moral relativist. That is about as far from Christianity as one can get. American Thinker posted a great article about this.

As to proof of Christianity - I suggest you read some books by Lee Strobel. Another atheist who sought to prove the non-existence of God, looked at the evidence, and changed his mind.

In brief, I do not believe the Bible could exist without divine intervention. It is not humanly possible to have been written for numerous reasons. There is no other document like it in history. It was written over hundreds of years by different authors, yet it is harmonious (despite leftist contentions to the contrary). Considering that you can hardly get ten people in one room to agree on anything, this is truly miraculous. Moreover, every archeological discovery that has been made has supported the accuracy of the bible. Where men have contested that individuals or civilizations were "mythical" they have eventually been disproved, where proof is available. Again, there are numerous books which point out the modern archeology supportive of the bible.

Lastly, God came to earth in human form, the sky was darkened when He was crucified for our sins, He performed dozens of miracles in front of witnesses, He raised from the dead and again appeared in front of hundreds of witnesses. What is Jesus if not proof? Chopped liver? No ordinary man such as Jesus could exist. Humanity does not have it in us to produce such a man. Jesus is divine.

One may object that these events are far removed in history, but this makes them no less real, or less properly documented. Like Pearl Harbor, or 9-11, the lessons of history are easy to forget. Time salves the conscience. It takes a bit of effort to dig out the truth, but it is worth it.

For those who want to contend with me, don't bother. I don't intend to get into an argument. You can take Jesus as your Savior of leave Him. The God-granted freedom of choice is yours. This is the most wonderful foundation truth of our nation. That our natural rights descend from One greater than any of us. The rights to life, liberty, property (fruit of labor), and the PURSUIT of happiness. That is why liberals hate God and attack Christianity at every turn.

Father/Rabbi/Pastor/Imam Ob... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Father/Rabbi/Pastor/Imam Obama keeps asking Americans if they would like to go back to the days of Bush.

That's too funny.

My answer is an emphatic, hell yes, you dimwit!

What rational American wouldn't like to go back to 5% unemployment and inflation that was 30% of what it is now?

(Never mind that, any day now, that dimwit's screwy judgment is goiung to get a lot of people killed.)

I couldn't find the "Presid... (Below threshold)
Roy:

I couldn't find the "President Obama is not a Leader" section. I assume then, that it's in a few hundred other posts.

I think he is an Obamaoist.... (Below threshold)
Rich:

I think he is an Obamaoist.

Regarding Dane it is cle... (Below threshold)

Regarding Dane it is clear he did not read the whole article as he accused JT of being a man of faith when JT clearly stated he is agnostic.

Joe, it's worse than that. I stated what I was, and why I'm that way.

But Dane only reads that which fits his own little stereotypes, and ignores the rest.

J.

American democratic freedom... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

American democratic freedoms do not apply to the Christian church. The authority to determine who is and is not a member is held by the local church and any governing bodies. This authority devolves from the Apostolic scriptures, and in the Roman Catholic church, from tradition.

El Presidente Chupacabra has sermonized, prior to the 2008 campaign, in the most extreme and arrogant terms on his low regard for the Christian kerygma. See Chuck Norris on these disqualifying criteria.

"With Obama, though, I'm g... (Below threshold)
Jake:

"With Obama, though, I'm going to speculate a bit. Obama is agnostic because he doesn't care."

I'm so glad to have your insightful (read: completely uninformed wild ass guess) commentary on Obama's faith.

My feelings about god are basically exactly yours as you've outlined them. But that doesn't give me ability to judge, assume, or guess at what Obama's faith is.

This is a ridiculous conversation topic.

He pretty clearly gets his ... (Below threshold)

He pretty clearly gets his 'beliefs' from his globe-trotting, multiculturalist, new-age mom ("But my mother was [a] deeply spiritual person, and would spend a lot of time talking about values and give me books about the world's religions, and talk to me about them."). Laura pulled the key info from a frank interview he gave on religion to a Chicago paper in 2004. I understand the whole 'you're not a real christian because...' arguments...but if you don't even believe that Jesus is 'the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'...how on earth do you then claim to be Christian? He isn't even hiding any of it in this interview...

"I draw from the Christian faith."

"So, I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people."

That's just not Christianity as it has ever been defined. Saying Jesus was wrong about salvation is a poor way to show you are a Christian.

As for those that 'jokingly' claim that he thinks he's god himself? Are they really joking?

"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, why am I doing it."

He has an ongoing conversation with god which consists of asking himself questions?

All that said, I don't give a rat's rear end if he's Christian, Muslim, or an atheist nor whether he lies about it...I'm more concerned about his being a classic economic fascist.

"I think I have an... (Below threshold)
"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, why am I doing it."

He has an ongoing conversation with god which consists of asking himself questions?

LOL, nice catch.

I find his lack of qualific... (Below threshold)
Nine Fourteen:

I find his lack of qualifications rather disturbing as well.

Worst president evah...

Jay,I'm a bit curi... (Below threshold)
ChiefMinion:

Jay,

I'm a bit curious. You indicate in one paragraph that you do not have the faith gene. Do you consider yourself an agnostic or an atheist? (If that question is too personal or I'm off the reservation, I apologize in advance.) I struggle with some of these questions myself.

As for BO, his religion is not as important to me as his utter lack of clarity on the matter. Worse still, he believes he has been clear in the matter and views with disdain anyone who feels otherwise.

Nice article, good comments. This is why Wizbang is first on my morning list.

Chief, to me atheism -- the... (Below threshold)

Chief, to me atheism -- the absolute rejection of a God -- requires as much certainty and belief as any form of religion. I'm kind of with those who see atheism -- especially the in-your-face kind -- as a kind of religion in itself, as it demands the same kind of acceptance without proof as religions do.

By calling myself agnostic, I'm declaring myself a disinterested party, a kind of conscientious objector, in the struggle between the two factions.

Sadly, too many take that as a challenge to try to pull me on to their side. Apparently, folks like me in the middle are considered prizes of some kind, and open to their proselytizing.

I don't take those attempts well at all.

No, not well at all.

J.

interesting...if you found ... (Below threshold)
G.:

interesting...if you found yourself in hell one day what would you think of those attempts then?

"But that doesn't give m... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"But that doesn't give me ability to judge, assume, or guess at what Obama's faith is."

Of course it does.

And apparently the conversation topic isn't too ridiculous to comment on, announce your own beliefs and declare that the author doesn't have the ability to judge, assume or guess at something.

Dane, you are getting an... (Below threshold)
DaveK:

Dane, you are getting annoying.

I think you're pretty close on this one, JayTea.

First and foremost, Obama is an academic and an intellectual; an egghead, so to speak. So were his mother and grandmother. Based on my experience, eggheads are not people of deep faith. Rather, they look at religion the same way they look at everything else -- a collection of propositions that one chooses to selectively accept or not accept based on how you understand or interpret them.

A lot of intellectuals belong to faith communities because they receive emotional and spiritual benefits from the relationships formed within those communities. But they are more likely to engage their faith through study and intellectual arguments, rather than through the kind of deep trusting faith (and abiding fear of damnation) that you find among "ordinary" religious folk.

That seems to be how Barack Obama approaches his own religion
Wow, Michael. At the risk of seeming patronising (which I am not) that comment was very deep, convicting, but deep! Maybe not as far as Obama goes, but just as applied to myself and the way I approach my spiritual relationship. Thank you for the food for thought.

I had this debate with an a... (Below threshold)
Ron:

I had this debate with an atheist once concerning proof of God. It is fairly simple. God reveals himself to whomsoever he will, and at that moment it becomes clear to accept him or not. With Jesus once you accept him and realize his forgiveness, and verbalize the recongnician, the Spirit of God become apart of you and remains with you the rest of your life. Therefore the proof of God resides with in you.

Jesus says; and I paraphrase, previously the Kingdom of Heaven was taken by force but henceforth the Kingdom shall reside within mens hearts.

Whether Obama is a died in the wool Christian or not; he apparently does not want people to know, he is certainly not a saint. His Hypocracy is evident which most certainly makes him a liar, and to us Christians that makes him like a pharasee, who Jesus said were of thier father the devil. Jesus said of the devil that he was a liar and a murder in the begining.

Obama worships himself. Th... (Below threshold)
MAJ Arkay:

Obama worships himself. There is no room in his narcissism for any other diety.

Good comments. Obama is rea... (Below threshold)
Jim Crane:

Good comments. Obama is really not what you'd call Christian in what is generally considered such. The black lib. theology / rev. wright church is an odd assortment of things but not what's thought of as mainstream Christian. I agree with the Obama's an agnostic group.He worships Obama and socialist/Marxist/and statist gods.(plus Obama)

Put quite simply, Barry wil... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Put quite simply, Barry will be whatever you want him to be.

I Find Your Lack Of Wisdom ... (Below threshold)
James Inman Author Profile Page:

I Find Your Lack Of Wisdom Disturbing. It really boggles my mind why the first black president in the history of the United States has to deal with some of the DUMBEST people on the planet. When Bush was in office we all wondered if he even READ. You know what's disturbing? Being an illiterate is disturbing.

Re: "It really boggles my m... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Re: "It really boggles my mind why the first black president in the history of the United States has to deal with some of the DUMBEST people on the planet."

We too wonder how the dems presently running congress got elected, let alone, re-elected.

"To me, and to a lot of Chr... (Below threshold)
Jeff L:

"To me, and to a lot of Christians, that's not a sincere expression of faith."

Tell me Jay.......what would be a sincere expression of faith to you and a lot of other Christians?
How do you express your faith?

James Inman,Obama ... (Below threshold)
Sky Captain:

James Inman,

Obama is NOT "the first black President in US history". Obama is not black. Go look it up. Obama is half white and most of the rest is Arab.
Your ignorance is showing.
After all, one of Warren Harding's great-grandmothers may have been black. If this is the case, then wasn't Warren Harding the "first black President"?

You know what's disturbing, James? Showing just how big a dumbass you are just to hijack a thread is disturbing.

Also disturbing is Obama's penchant for freely adjusting his religious views to fit his perceived audience.

Jeff L, I hate to use the o... (Below threshold)

Jeff L, I hate to use the old cliche', but I gotta explain it, you won't get it. But let me give you a couple of examples:

President George W. Bush meeting, privately, with the families of those killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

President Bush's spontaneous embrace of Ashley Faulkner, who lost her mother on 9/11.

The above-mentioned Christian aid workers slaughtered in Afghanistan this summer.

Alternately, scroll up and see numerous "missed opportunities" where Obama acted in what many Christians see as an un-Christian manner. The money quote that I missed, but jumped out to others:

"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, why am I doing it."

He has an ongoing conversation with god which consists of asking himself questions?

(Nice catch, Falze.)

How do I express my faith?

Do you even READ the articles, pal?

For myself, I think I simply lack the "faith gene."

J.

To correct James H. totally... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

To correct James H. totally ignorant interpretation of "right wing". I think conservatives for the most part just want a leader, man or woman, with a strong faith. Many reasons for this but one of the most important is they have a core belief and they believe in something that is bigger and more important then themselves. You can be a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddist, as long as you truly demonstrate belief. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Selah! ww

Apparently, folks ... (Below threshold)
Apparently, folks like me in the middle are considered prizes of some kind, and open to their proselytizing.

Well, it's not so much that you're agnostic as that you're fairly well-known. We do get a free set of steak knives for every six people we convert. And for a "big catch" - anyone who is really famous, like Penn Teller - we get a free Christian cruise. I'd have to look it up on the AFA's reward chart to be sure but I figure a popular blogger such as yourself is probably good for at least a free mani/pedi. :-)

I've noticed that phenomenon myself and it irritates the crap out of me... and I'm a believer. I remember how excited people were when it was reported that Jane Fonda became a Christian, via her chauffer. Totally ridiculous.

If God wants to convince you of God's existence, it would probably be via your friend Candy or someone else you trust and admire. Someone who has invested in you personally, and who cares about you on a personal level. Not some stranger arguing on a blog, trying to "logic" you into it.

We do get a free set of ... (Below threshold)

We do get a free set of steak knives for every six people we
convert.

So, gays get a toaster, but Christians get steak knives? I had no idea proselytizing was so... domesticated.

J.

Bottom line is...To the lef... (Below threshold)
Nine Fourteen:

Bottom line is...To the left Barry is the WORD. The word that gave them shivers and tingles not so long ago.

Now the Wons Word has turned to sour grapes.

And there is a cold wind of November blowing in the near future.

Does anyone see a deliberat... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Does anyone see a deliberate attempt by some conservatives to imply that Obama is muslim?

eggheads are not people ... (Below threshold)
john:

eggheads are not people of deep faith. Rather, they look at religion the same way they look at everything else -- a collection of propositions that one chooses to selectively accept or not accept based on how you understand or interpret them.

Now that's funny. I'd love hearing you address how people of "deep faith" have a collection of propositions that they choose to selectively accept or not accept based on how they understand or interpret them. Or even just whether it gets in they way of their earthly pleasure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHaVUjjH3EI

According to Franklin Gr... (Below threshold)
john:

According to Franklin Graham, under the laws followed by a large number of Muslims worldwide

And also under their laws, there's lots of other stuff that is not applicable in America. Interesting how conservatives cite Muslim law when it suits them, but condemn it so strongly when it doesn't.

Can't ANY of the leftists h... (Below threshold)

Can't ANY of the leftists here read a whole article? More specifically, the third paragraph and the entire conclusion, where I repeatedly say that, by most definitions (all of the reasonable ones), Obama is NOT a Muslim.

Sigh...

J.

I think this is actually ve... (Below threshold)

I think this is actually very similar to the question which still exists in too many people's minds, of whether or not Obama was born in the US.

He has said he was, the record prove he was, and there is no logical reason to believe he was not. But people refuse to accept this answer, because their own question is not based on logical grounds to begin with. It's emotional - he is not like them, therefore he can't be a) American, or b) Christian, or (probably next) c) straight, or whatever else defines being like them.

He has said he is Christian, the record proves he is Christian, and there is no reason to believe he is NOT Christian. He is under no obligation to try to do the impossible, and get people to reason logically rather than react.

That has more to do with them than him. When someone has made an emotional decision, there is no amount of logical evidence that will persuade them. Martin Luther and Martin Luther King Jr. could both pop out of the ground, join hands and baptise Obama in Jerusalem and some people still would not believe it.

As if it was even important that a leader be a Christian in the first place. As opposed to whether or not his policies work. That's a rational, adult level of criticism - unfortunately conservatives and Republicans don't have any better solutions. So they'd rather concentrate on this - just like they'd rather concentrate on the blow job Clinton got rather than the good job Clinton was doing.

and there is no reason t... (Below threshold)

and there is no reason to believe he is NOT Christian

well, except for that little part where he says that he doesn't believe Jesus Christ is the true path to salvation...but that's just the sort of thing Christians argue about all the time...some say Jesus, some say Route 66, some say to take back roads cuz it's more scenic...you know, whatever, as long as you believe something you're a Christian...right?

"Does anyone see a delib... (Below threshold)
Nine Fourteen:

"Does anyone see a deliberate attempt by some conservatives to imply that Obama is muslim?"


No, but I see deliberate attempts by the left to imply he is not a muslim when evidence is to the contrary.

Jay Tea. I await your criti... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Jay Tea. I await your critique of OTB and I invite you to investigate the Shroud of Turin. It might be the evidence you seek. There is lots of info about the Shroud out there. Skeptics try to disclaim it, however they cannot explain how it was done, how it was done the way it was done, and how they know there would be a way to see a negative picture in the future.

Can't ANY of the leftist... (Below threshold)
john:

Can't ANY of the leftists here read a whole article? More specifically, the third paragraph and the entire conclusion

I quoted from your second paragraph. Please let us know which paragraphs of your article we should read, and which ones we should not.

He has said he is Christian, t... (Below threshold)
He has said he is Christian, the record proves he is Christian, and there is no reason to believe he is NOT Christian.

Except for the words coming out of his mouth, detailing what he believes, which has more in common with John Lennon's "Imagine" than with Christianity. He doesn't believe, by his own admission, in either heaven or hell. He doesn't believe in sin. He describes Jesus, not as the son of God, or as God incarnate, but as a "historical figure" and "wonderful teacher."

Can't ANY of the leftist... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Can't ANY of the leftists here read a whole article? More specifically, the third paragraph and the entire conclusion, where I repeatedly say that, by most definitions (all of the reasonable ones), Obama is NOT a Muslim.

I wasn't referring to you in my comment.

The only thing Barry BELIEV... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

The only thing Barry BELIEVES in is Barry.

Everything else is a matter of convenience. Ask Rev Wright.

He doesn't believe, by h... (Below threshold)

He doesn't believe, by his own admission, in either heaven or hell. He doesn't believe in sin. He describes Jesus, not as the son of God, or as God incarnate, but as a "historical figure" and "wonderful teacher."

In other words, he believes exactly the same things as Thomas Jefferson, John Madison and others?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

Individual deists varied in the set of critical and constructive elements for which they argued. Some deists rejected miracles and prophecies but still considered themselves Christians because they believed in what they felt to be the pure, original form of Christianity - that is, Christianity as it existed before it was corrupted by additions of such superstitions as miracles, prophecies, and the doctrine of the Trinity. Some deists rejected the claim of Jesus' divinity but continued to hold him in high regard as a moral teacher (see, e.g., Thomas Jefferson's famous Jefferson Bible and Matthew Tindal's 'Christianity as Old as the Creation').

Obama's beliefs may not match up with a fundamentalist view of Christianity. That doesn't mean he's not Christian - that just means he's not a fundamentalist.

Although it may be hard for fundamentalists to understand that - since they are often uncomfortable with the notion that other interpretations may be just as right as theirs.

Above where I mentioned "Jo... (Below threshold)

Above where I mentioned "John Madison", I should have separated this into "James Madison" and "John Adams" - also people who might, if being subjected to the same rules as Obama, suddenly be classified as not Christian.

No, but I see deliberate... (Below threshold)

No, but I see deliberate attempts by the left to imply he is not a muslim when evidence is to the contrary.

Sigh!

What contrary ***evidence*** is there that Obama is a Muslim? Not guilty-until-proven-guilty suspicion - what ***evidence***?

Jim X, anyone who believes ... (Below threshold)

Jim X, anyone who believes in God - or in A god, not necessarily the God of the bible - is a deist. Deist =/= Christian

And by biblical standards (and the bible is, after all, the foundational, and the primary sourcebook, of Christianity, Thomas Jefferson was not a Christian either.

As for other views being "just as right" that's a really stupid concept. It's certainly possible for all faiths to be WRONG, but it's NOT possible for them to be equally right.

OK, Laura. You at least see... (Below threshold)

OK, Laura. You at least seem comfortable with the realization that many to most of our founding fathers were not Christian, by that definition.

We definitely part ways with the idea of other religions being "just as right" as "stupid".

I fail to see how a loving God would send 4/5 of the Earth to Hell for all eternity, solely for not believing in the *one, right* set of documents written by men.

And I also fail to see how a God who is infinite and powerful can only be reached by one path. There is nothing in life that is like that - nothing in the Universe. Why should there be something like that in the ultimate reality beyond it all? If anything there should be more possibility in the infinite, and not less.

No, to me it's much easier to think that those who are sure all others are wrong, are wrong in that one belief.

No, to me it's much easi... (Below threshold)

No, to me it's much easier to think that those who are sure all others are wrong, are wrong in that one belief.

So you're good as long as they're only wrong about the absolute central core tenet of their religions. Okay, then.

Jim, I really don't see how... (Below threshold)

Jim, I really don't see how it's my job in life to try to persuade you of things you fail to see. Good luck with that; I wish you the best in your "easier" mode of thinking, although I'm not really optimistic for you.

My argument remains that the definition of Christianity is what the bible says it is, and people who reject that definition should not be permitted to call themselves Christians without being called out for it. (Nor do I particularly feel like arguing with you about the canon, so if that's your next step, don't bother. It's unlikely either one of us would accept the sources offered by the other.)

Upon reflection, I do think... (Below threshold)

Upon reflection, I do think my last comment was kind of harsh. But Jim, from where I sit, the ongoing demands that Christianity "reform" itself to more closely align with a postmodern, multi-culti mindset are very tiresome. Maybe there are similar, ongoing demands made of Hindus, Muslims (and I'm referring here to supposedly moderate, mainstream Muslims, obviously not jihadis), etc. but if there are, I just don't see it. In fact, what I see is those faiths - which are just as exclusive in their claims as Christianity is - lauded by liberals and held up as admirable, worthy, and to be celebrated, not merely tolerated.

As far as I'm concerned, people can believe, or not... but quit trying to change the definitions that have stood for the last two millennia!

Jim X. your true colors are... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Jim X. your true colors are coming out. You have more of a problem with Christianity then anything else. But Islam is even more straight forward about their faith being the only way to heaven. Jesus did say "No one gets to the father except through me" which is fairly conclusive. Jesus tomb was empty which fullfilled the prophecies of the old testament. If Jefferson did not believe that about Jesus, then he has the faith of Judaism.

You also so such exasperation at some here for sticking to an untrue narrative about Obama's faith. How exaperated were you with the multitude of false narratives concerning GW Bush? You hypocrite. ww

"I think conservatives for ... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

"I think conservatives for the most part just want a leader, man or woman, with a strong faith." WildWillie

I'm in no position to speak all conservatives, but for me I'm not so much about the exibition of religious faith I want to see in our Presidents (yes, Presidents! In every one of them that I will live to see, and those that will come after that) as the faith I need to see exhibited toward our country and "we the people." By the way, this is an area in which Obama completely and utterly fails.

By way of contrast, did anyone ever question that 43 was keeping faith with the country and us? On the local and state-wide basis this same requirement applies. For an example there compare "America's Mayor" to Bloomberg.

Can't ANY of the l... (Below threshold)
Can't ANY of the leftists here read a whole article? More specifically, the third paragraph and the entire conclusion
I quoted from your second paragraph. Please let us know which paragraphs of your article we should read, and which ones we should not.

Well, John, if you read the WHOLE THING, in its entirety, you'd see that the "he's a Muslim/he's not a Muslim/he's a Christian/he's not a Christian" thing was a rhetorical device, examining each possibility in turn and giving the evidence for each. And then, at the conclusion, I give what I think is the true answer.

Man, you suck at reading comprehension. I don't write for the lowest common denominator -- I demand a certain level of intelligence and sophistication from the readers. You, obviously, fail.

J.

Enter the dweeb (DJ)... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Enter the dweeb (DJ):

Since we're discussing Barack's religious beliefs, rather than his politics, competency, sanity, or the other usual qualities that make him such a character, I will say that there is no requisite template for a Christian. Not going to church every week does not disqualify him, nor does his unorthodox opinion regarding dogma and the Gospel. Speaking culturally, Barack is probably honest in calling himself "Christian".

The odd thing to me, is why he thinks of himself as Christian. Barack's faith seems to be something he uses as a tool to get what he wants:

'Hmm, I need a mop so I can clean up this spill'

'Hmm, I need a calculator so I can balance my checkbook'

'Hmm, I need some faith so I gain cred with the mainstream voters'

I'll cut him some slack about talking to God, but I do find it interesting that he sees himself qualified to speak to God as a peer, man to man if you will. Like my first observation, it appears that to Barack Obama, God is like a religious butler, someone to bounce ideas off of like Arthur speaking to Hobson:

Barack: "God, do you know what I'm going to do?"

God: "Do tell."

Barack: "I'm going to solve poverty and racism."

There's not even a hint of humility in Barack Obama, not to mention a sense of contrition.

DJ, I certainly agree that ... (Below threshold)

DJ, I certainly agree that he's being honest in calling himself a Christian, as far as the culture is concerned. I also agree that not attending church every week doesn't disqualify him. Reagan didn't attend church much while in office either. But failing to believe in Jesus as the son of God and God incarnate, in Jesus' death as the needed remedy for our sin, is a dealbreaker. The New Testament is exceedingly clear on that point. And Obama was very clear that he does not believe those things.

Jim X. your true colors ... (Below threshold)

Jim X. your true colors are coming out.

Ww, my true colors are here all along.


You have more of a problem with Christianity then anything else.

No. You have more of a problem with anything else, than with Christianity. Which is your right. But you'll understand me better, the more you can put your own opinions to the side and actually listen to people *as if* they could be right also.

Jesus did say "No one gets to the father except through me" which is fairly conclusive.

Jesus said a lot of things, and the Old Testament said a lot more things - a lot of which can directly contradict each other. So everyone picks and chooses what their Christianity it is - and what is in the Bible that they're going to ignore.

Which again is all fine - the problem is when people think that **THEIR** interpretation is **THE ONLY** right interpretation, therefore everyone else is going to Hell - and somehow also are unfit to run a country.

If Jefferson did not believe that about Jesus, then he has the faith of Judaism.

So are all Jews going to Hell, to be tortured in fire for all eternity? Yes or no?

How exaperated were you with the multitude of false narratives concerning GW Bush? You hypocrite. ww

Please tell me which false narrative of George Bush I'm referring to. You prejudicial hypocrite. jx

But Jim, from wher... (Below threshold)
But Jim, from where I sit, the ongoing demands that Christianity "reform" itself to more closely align with a postmodern, multi-culti mindset are very tiresome.

I think you may be mistaking "demands" for criticism. As far as I'm concerned, Christianity can align itself any way it wants - including forms which you apparently don't consider Christianity, even though the practitioners do. But it's my right, certainly, to state when I think it doesn't make sense. And I see no reason not to.

Maybe there are similar, ongoing demands made of Hindus, Muslims (and I'm referring here to supposedly moderate, mainstream Muslims, obviously not jihadis), etc. but if there are, I just don't see it.

Then you are not looking closely enough. All religions are criticized. I think you may only be seeing the criticism that you don't like, because it pertains to something you hold dear. You certainly don't appear to have any issues criticizing other beliefs besides your own. Nor should you. It's just that it's a two-way street, and God willing it always will be.

As far as I'm concerned, people can believe, or not... but quit trying to change the definitions that have stood for the last two millennia!

First, they have not stood for the last two millennia - they have instead changed CONSTANTLY over that two millenia. In fact, if you read the history of Christianity, you know that even Christianity's basic tenets weren't in place until **hundreds** of years after the Crucixion. The Bible itself wasn't decided on until the 5th century - and still not completely. It wasn't fully formal until 1546.

Go read some of the history of your own professed religion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Christianity#Biblical_canon

There's not even a hint ... (Below threshold)

There's not even a hint of humility in Barack Obama, not to mention a sense of contrition.

Whereas GWB was a model of humility?

Wow.

What I mean, Laura, is that... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

What I mean, Laura, is that it's interesting to consider why Mr. Obama considers himself Christian; it's obviously because he finds it useful, but not a commitment to God, nor a belief that he is accountable to an absolute power. And that is truly disappointing.

There's this guy I know, he's Muslim. Now, as an evangelical Christian I think he's well off the mark, but for all that I respect his devotion to his faith. He shows respect to his wife, he clearly loves his children, he donates to charity, is humble, and when he goes to prayer, near as I can tell he's asking God how he can be a better man and serve God in honesty and compassion. That's a man of faith, and I suspect God is pleased by his heart. How that works out when he stands before God is a mystery to me, I'll witness when God tells me to do so but I'll not presume to pretend he's not every bit the man I'd like to be myself in how he acts and lives.

A guy like that, his faith changes who he is and reinforces his commitment to do the right thing. A guy like Obama, though, hmmm, I seem to recall a bunch of men in the past who used religion to support whatever they felt like doing. Men like Torquemada, Cortez, Hasan i-Sabbah, Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah, Saddam Hussein, Minbyauk Thihapate, Al Gore ... you get the idea.

jimx: "Whereas GWB was ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

jimx: "Whereas GWB was a model of humility?"

Actually, very much yes, Jim. Easily the most humble POTUS we've had since Gerry Ford. Although I will admit that President Carter, up to now, had the most reason to be humble.

First, they have n... (Below threshold)
First, they have not stood for the last two millennia - they have instead changed CONSTANTLY over that two millenia. In fact, if you read the history of Christianity, you know that even Christianity's basic tenets weren't in place until **hundreds** of years after the Crucixion. The Bible itself wasn't decided on until the 5th century - and still not completely. It wasn't fully formal until 1546.

As I said, I don't want to argue the canon because it's unlikely either one of us would accept the other's sources. But Wikipedia? Please!

Jesus said a lot of things, and the Old Testament said a lot more things - a lot of which can directly contradict each other.

No. The old testament declared the law, showed us that we are entirely incapable of obeying it fully, and introduced the system of sacrifice to cover sin, from Genesis when God gave Adam and Eve animal skins to cover their nakedness all through the OT instructions on sacrifice rituals. In the new testament, Jesus fulfilled the law, rendering obedience to the old testament covenant unnecessary. Christians are not required to obey old testament laws. We look to the OT for history, theory, prophecy, and instruction on various concepts. We look to the new testament, the new covenant, for instruction on day to day life.

It's not a matter of hypocritically picking and choosing. This principle of abrogation is common and widely accepted in many religions just as it is in our modern legal system. The bible was written by many different people over between 1400 and 1800 years, but it is a consistent narrative telling the story of how God made a way to reconcile with us in spite of our sin.

DJ Drummond | August 26, 2010 5:44 PM - Yes, okay, I see what you mean, and I agree.

Well, John, if you read ... (Below threshold)
john:

Well, John, if you read the WHOLE THING, in its entirety, you'd see that the "he's a Muslim/he's not a Muslim/he's a Christian/he's not a Christian" thing was a rhetorical device, examining each possibility in turn and giving the evidence for each. And then, at the conclusion, I give what I think is the true answer.

Yeah, I got that. And I commented on one of
your "possibilities", one that enough conservatives agree with that you deemed it worthy to include in your article. So what's your problem? I didn't accuse you of subscribing to that premise, nor did I challenge you on your conclusion. I assumed that since you brought that viewpoint into the conversation that it was open for commenting on. Again, if you want comments only on certain paragraphs, you need to let us know.

It's entertaining to be accused of low reading comprehension by someone touchy enough to take one comment on one point in one paragraph and somehow interpret it as applying to another several paragraphs away.

Once again, John proves tha... (Below threshold)
Wattamaroooooon:

Once again, John proves that "Dumb & Dumber" was, in fact, a documentary.

Jim X, if you can read and ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Jim X, if you can read and I assume (maybe wrongly) that you can, I stated up the thread a little that conservatives like a person of faith, not any faith in particular, but a faith so we know they have core beliefs and believes in something greater then themselves.

If you do not know the significance of Jesus rising from the dead then you have no idea about Christianity.

I do not know where you are getting "everyone goes to hell for all eternity" unless you attended Rev. Wrights hate filled sermons. Possible. You do have strange faith ideas. Do you hate jews? ww

Actually, very much yes,... (Below threshold)

Actually, very much yes, Jim. Easily the most humble POTUS we've had since Gerry Ford.

Oh my good God.

Well I couldn't ask for clearer evidence that we see what suits our preferences, and not anything else.

I guess we'll believe what we want to believe. But I'll tell you what:

Here's a video of GWB wiping his hand on Bill Clinton's shirt, when they were both in Haiti.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqqUEf9alsw

Have you ever done such a thing?

**Would you** ever do such a thing?

If anyone else other than GWB did this, wouldn't you consider that an unbelievably self-centered thing to do?

Try it. Seriously, just actually try it right now - put any other two names of people into that concept "X wipes his hand on Y" - and see if that seems self-centered and arrogant to you.

Great post Jay. I love rea... (Below threshold)
Jeff L:

Great post Jay. I love reading the comments seeing posters usually in lockstep with each other attacking each other, insulting each other, calling names. It just does not get any better than this. More religion baiting posts please!

As I said, I don't... (Below threshold)
As I said, I don't want to argue the canon because it's unlikely either one of us would accept the other's sources. But Wikipedia? Please!

I'll tell you what - prove me wrong with any other authority on the Canon that you choose.

You said that the definition of Christianity has stood unchanged for 2000 years. I have shown you are wrong. Please either counter my argument, or admit that you were wrong.

I submit to you that if you think the most important thing about Christianity is him rising from the dead, then *you* don't understand Christianity.

What *I* consider far more important is Christ's (tragically ignored) message of humility, peace, forgiveness, and charity towards the weak, the poor and even those in jail.

In the new testament, Jesus fulfilled the law, rendering obedience to the old testament covenant unnecessary. Christians are not required to obey old testament laws.

OK, great! So if that's all moot now, and what Jesus said is the only thing that matters, then I shouldn't hear any True Christians ever judge someone according to anything in the Old Testament. Right?

Al Gore... you get th... (Below threshold)

Al Gore... you get the idea.

Sure. Ronald Reagan...Richard M. Nixon...George W. Bush...

You said that the defini... (Below threshold)

You said that the definition of Christianity has stood unchanged for 2000 years. I have shown you are wrong. Please either counter my argument, or admit that you were wrong.

Okay, Jim. When I wrote "two millennia" I did not mean precisely 2000 years. It was a ballpark figure. It was a rounded figure. My intent was to claim that since the time near the death of the death of Christ approximately 2000 years ago, when the gospels were written during the lifetimes of people who witnessed his death personally or who knew people who did, that core Christian doctrine about salvation and the very definitions of what makes Christianity Christianity has not changed. Happy now?

I submit to you that if you think the most important thing about Christianity is him rising from the dead, then *you* don't understand Christianity.

Wow... just - wow. You clearly have not studied the bible or comprehended what Jesus said about himself. I suspect you've read just enough of it to try to play gotcha with Christians online.

then I shouldn't hear any True Christians ever judge someone according to anything in the Old Testament. Right?
It depends on what you mean by "judge." Do you mean, pass sentence on them and stone them, for example? Or do you mean, form an opinion about their behavior based on biblical values? Are you about to play the "you h8ters just want to execute teh gheys" card? Because if so, don't bother. I repeat: We look to the OT for history, theory, prophecy, and instruction on various concepts. We look to the new testament, the new covenant, for instruction on day to day life.
You clearly have not stu... (Below threshold)

You clearly have not studied the bible or comprehended what Jesus said about himself.

Actually Laura, I grew up with the Bible as part of my daily life, and I know the Bible fairly well. Partly because my grandfather, who I loved very much, was a Methodist minister. I also am aware of the Bible's contradictions. Which is also why I am aware that it is an imperfect document, assembled by imperfect human beings, and now being reinterpreted by imperfect human beings in a culture and civilization that is very far removed from its original context.

It still has value - but anyone claiming perfection on the part of the Bible *or* claiming to be the owners of the only possible correct interpretation of it, is in my opinion almost certainly wrong.

Or do you mean, form an opinion about their behavior based on biblical values? Are you about to play the "you h8ters just want to execute teh gheys" card?

You tell me. Either of those is wrong in my opinion. And not merely because I don't think homosexuality is evil - I also don't see how anyone can look at the mess of contradictions in Leviticus, as only one example, and consider them a coherent roadmap for moral living in modern society.

And if that part is not right, then the entire Old Testament is not a perfect document. Which means the Bible is not a perfect document. Which means you are interpreting it as you see fit, which is of course your right - but you should be aware that you are interpreting it according to *your opinion*, which is not necessarily any more or less right than anyone else's.

"It depends on what you mea... (Below threshold)
Jeff L:

"It depends on what you mean by "judge." Do you mean, pass sentence on them and stone them, for example? Or do you mean, form an opinion about their behavior based on biblical values?"

Which one are you qualified to be Laura?

Which is also why I am a... (Below threshold)

Which is also why I am aware that it is an imperfect document, assembled by imperfect human beings,

You're perfectly entitled to believe that - but surely you're aware that view contradicts mainstream Christianity. No major denomination takes that view, including the Methodists. Which is how all this started - with Obama claiming to be a Christian even those his stated beliefs oppose the core values of mainstream, orthodox Christianity.

Jeff, you may not have gott... (Below threshold)

Jeff, you may not have gotten the memo but we don't stone people anymore. Christians don't, anyway.

Whether Obama in his heart... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Whether Obama in his heart of hearts is an atheist, agnostic or a Christian (in the sense he takes Christ seriously- he probably is) or a blend of all three, I don't know? But I find Obama`s cerebral and rational approach to the ultimate reality of the world refreshing, rather than disturbing. And if he publicly declared himself with any "a" ambivalence that would be electoral suicide, as it would for any politician. Maybe, that is why so few scientists ever run for public office. Let`s face it, the Bible never once mentions intelligence as an attribute or virtue to be desired.

Many Americans it seems, (even Jay Tea himself?), would be more comfortable or less disturbed with someone with the world-view of George Bush senior as President.

Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?

Bush: No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

"Jeff, you may not have got... (Below threshold)
Jeff L:

"Jeff, you may not have gotten the memo but we don't stone people anymore. Christians don't, anyway."

For someome screaming that they are a christian you sure have a sharp tongue. Your assumptions, overall tone, your assumptions about Jim come off as extremely unchristian.

No one on this earth is qualified to judge another person. I believe it is matthew 7:1 Judge not lest ye be judged. God will judge us all in time and it's not going to be pleasant.

You're perfectly e... (Below threshold)
You're perfectly entitled to believe that - but surely you're aware that view contradicts mainstream Christianity.

Well whether or not the *fact* of interpretation is accepted by Christians, it exists nonetheless.

But also, I am aware that contradicts much of formal mainstream Christian doctrine, but I do not think it contradicts Christian belief as practiced by most Christians

Otherwise the Pope would have no problem in constantly stating that all non-Catholics are going to Hell. And all Lutherans would say the same, except *Lutherans* are the only ones who will be saved. Or the Baptists. Or any other faction.

I mean, how often do you yourself look at someone you know is Jewish and think "They're going to burn in Hell for all eternity" ?

LOL, Jeff, and yet you "jud... (Below threshold)

LOL, Jeff, and yet you "judge" me based on the tone in which YOU read my text! I really can't take responsibility for your perception of my tone - that's all on you. I haven't screamed at all, though I do admit to laughing out loud a couple of times. I've quite enjoyed the debate. If you're going to take things quite so personally - especially when they weren't even directed at you - perhaps the internet isn't the right place for you to engage with others, since it lacks visual and auditory cues.

I'm well aware of the verse you reference. Are you aware of this one?

For it is no business of mine to be judging those who are outside; but it is yours to be judging those who are among you; As for those who are outside, God is their judge. So put away the evil man from among you.
1 Corinthians 5:12-13

Christians MUST assess and make conclusions (also known as "judging") when it comes to doctrine and the very definitions of Christianity. Jude also warned about this:

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude 1:3-4

If "Christianity" is to be a free for all, consisting of whatever people want it to consist of, then it's meaningless as a term. Christians MUST question and be like Bereans when it comes to people redefining what Christianity really means.

Jim, the practice of Christ... (Below threshold)

Jim, the practice of Christianity is necessarily imperfect because we're all sinners and we're all prone to rationalization when it comes to our sin. That is all the more reason not to set aside biblical doctrine as the standard - we need something to hold fast to; we need a measuring stick. Left to ourselves, we will keep moving the goalposts.

Different denominations quibble over the details - did Mary remain a virgin, how much liturgy is the right amount, etc. And each of us thinks that we are the most correct, though we don't often talk about it because it's impolitic. But in the area of core doctrine - what I call the dealbreakers, who Jesus was/is, the need for and the solution of his death and resurrection - the denominations are very consistent. If we bend on that core doctrine, Christianity will have no meaning.

Well Laura, if and when we ... (Below threshold)

Well Laura, if and when we find out what there is to the afterlife, I hope you're wrong. Because otherwise God is willing to have 4/5 of his children tortured in hell for all eternity for believing a different set of documents than he'd prefer. And not how they treat each other, or their children, or their neigbors.

I mean according to those rules, a hard-working father who raises his children and dies defending them will go to Hell for being Buddhist - but a child-raping murderer who finds Jesus before he is executed will go to Heaven.

Does that seem right?

Doesn't sound like a loving father to me. If God is a greater being than us, we won't necessarily understand everything He does or why - but if He really loves us, it's not too much to ask that He doesn't stack the deck against us with eternal torture on the line.

But it seems we have differing opinions on the matter. So be it. : )

For dane: <a href=... (Below threshold)
Does that seem rig... (Below threshold)
Does that seem right?

If I accepted your premise that otherwise innocent people were being rejected by a cruel and arbitrary God, it would seem horribly unjust.

On the other hand, if we are all sinners, and if the many verses that the bible includes expressing the concept that the truth is plain and we are without excuse (Psalm 19, Romans 1:18-20, 2:15; Ephesians 2:1-3; Jeremiah 29:13 and many more)and that an illiterate Pakistani goat herder who has never heard the gospel has access to the same remedy that was available to all the OT people listed in Hebrews 11 - then I would still believe that God is a merciful and loving father. As I do.

I've enjoyed the debate - I don't hang around Wizbang often enough but I do hope to run into you again.

Jim x, you are entirely wro... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Jim x, you are entirely wrong. Laura is correct. Being a christian means you believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and that His death paid for your sins and that those two beliefs are the only path to heaven. (forgive me if my terminology is imperfect to get the point across)

My saying this does NOT prove it's true, nor, like you, do I even think it's fair. My beliefs don't run that way. But that is what being a Christian is. If you believe the above, you are Christian. If not, you aren't. Period.

Jim, you truly are in need ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Jim, you truly are in need of God's direction and inspiration.

May He bless you.

Soon.

A muslim has the obligation... (Below threshold)
olsoljer:

A muslim has the obligation to lie to infidels to advance their idealogy.

If it wasn't so pathetic I would find it amusing that obama proves he is a Christian by taking his oath of office on a bible.
Every day people take an oath sworn upon the Bible, and lie. It's called testifying in court. I really don't believe a muslim would have any problem doing so.

As for religion affecting election to the office of President - I remember when the general consensus was a Catholic could never be elected - enter John F. Kennedy.
I wouldn't vote for Romney, not because of his religion, his Mass. healthcare was enough to cure me. Being what one might consider a pagan, religion has no bearing on who I vote for. muslim/islam is not a religion, it's an ideology dedicated to world domination and death to those who do not believe in that thief, murdering, child molester.

DJ, the Good Lord blesses m... (Below threshold)

DJ, the Good Lord blesses me every day.

May he soon bless you with the power of genuine introspection. It's a hard gift. But a worthy one for an adult - you merely have to be man enough to apply it.

Oh, just to post this here ... (Below threshold)

Oh, just to post this here - DJ has now created an article openly insulting me.

I responded to his childishness in the comments page, with this:

"Irony

Insulting someone for comments made on another post, rather than engage them in honest discussion, in a post titled "Humility".

He thereupon deleted this comment, and then commented that I was not interested in honest discussion.

Is your mind blown yet?

Posting this here, in the thought that it would be slightly harder for DJ to freak out and go authoritarian here. And it amuses me that there should be a record of this. Tempest in a Tea Party teapot that it is.

Ah, and now he's deleted my... (Below threshold)

Ah, and now he's deleted my other comments too. Good thing I saved them here:

DJ, I believe it was you who opened up with insulting me. Correct me if I'm wrong here?

If I know so little about honest discussion, you should be able to show an example of such. Please do.

Be the change you want in the world. If you don't like "bile and spittle-in-print", you might consider not insulting people who haven't insulted you.

* * *

Oh, and I consider deleting comments to be quite cowardly. Which probably means you'll delete this comment next.

Which is fine, and is you right. Nevertheless, it is neither mature, reasonable, nor an act of humility - which increases the irony index of this post to mind-blowing proportions.

DJ then posted this: ... (Below threshold)

DJ then posted this:
[ the troll still thinks it's all about him ]

I'll just post this here and move on.

Of course it's not all about me. What it is about, is about someone insulting me and then not having the courage or moral rightness to even let other people see my response.

But, so be it DJ. If you aren't man enough to face me, that's for you to deal with. I wash my hands of you.

Welcome to the way of the D... (Below threshold)
erbine:

Welcome to the way of the DJ, Jim. I've found it's best to ignore him altogether. He's incredibly disingenuous, hypocritical, and thin-skinned. Basically, a waste of time.

JT, on the other hand, can at least take it as well as he can give it.

True that, erbine. JT is so... (Below threshold)

True that, erbine. JT is someone who can disagree without necessarily having issues.

The final wrap-up:... (Below threshold)

The final wrap-up:

I posted a comment stating that if DJ deletes that comment, he's confirming that he's a coward.

DJ didn't seem to, so I posted another comment.

DJ edited that one. I actually gave him credit for not deleting the previous one; now he was only being half-cowardly.

I then post this comment. We'll see if it's still there, once I refresh the page. I'm betting no.

[Waaaaah I'm gonna edit your comments!] said the manchild named DJ.

But okay, at least you didn't delete the previous comment. I guess that makes you only half-cowardly. We'll see if you delete this one though.

But now, at last, to the direct topic of *this* post - here's the real GWB in action - wiping his hand on Bill Clinton's shirt. When they were both in Haiti, after the earthquake.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqqUEf9alsw

Does that seem like a humble man?

As I said in the previous comment thread that spawned this article:

Have you ever done such a thing?

**Would you** ever do such a thing?

If anyone else other than GWB did this, wouldn't you consider that an unbelievably self-centered thing to do?

Try it. Seriously, just actually try it right now - put any other two names of people into that concept "X wipes his hand on Y" - and see if that seems self-centered and arrogant to you.



jim x reminds me of a lot o... (Below threshold)

jim x reminds me of a lot of liberals: they have a great deal of contempt for those who proclaim their Christianity, denounce the beliefs and practices, but are incredibly well versed in the nuances specifically so they can "call out" Christians for their alleged moral failings.

Were I a Christian, I'd be quite irritated to be lectured on what my faith means by someone who's made their contempt for it abundantly well known. In fact, I'd be very tempted to say some very un-Christian things.

Such as, "fuck off, you worthless asswipes."

The same sentiment can be applied to those who use MY threads to carry out their vendettas against my colleagues.

And I WILL delete comments that are not germane to the topic of my posting. Cheerfully.

J.

Et tu, Jay T?Your ... (Below threshold)

Et tu, Jay T?

Your statement reminds me of a lot of conservatives: you

a) mistake others' criticism as insults, and
b) consider insults you agree with to be valid criticism.

If you read # 102, you can see that Laura, who is a rather devout Christian, did not apparently feel so lectured or insulted. She can handle a strong back-and-forth discussion. I have assumed you can too.

DJ, obviously, can not. As seen by his immature death-wish in post # 104.

But, you're free to back up your colleagues, in any way you see fit. That doesn't change the fact that insulting someone first and then making sure no one hears their defense, is the act of a coward. And you know it, and I know it.

Here's what you're asking, ... (Below threshold)

Here's what you're asking, jim x:

For me to impose my own standards of proper comment policy on a very long-time colleague who disagrees, on behalf of someone I really don't like. To disregard that since I returned here, I no longer hold the title "main page editor" and have precisely the same title and position as DJ. To violate the unwritten but respected rule that authors do NOT intervene in others' threads. To indulge your hissy-fit over how DJ acted by going even more off-topic on my thread.

That just might happen. I might decide to do that.

Don't hold your breath waiting, and don't bet the rent on it.

Now stay on topic on my thread, or I'll start emulating DJ. Yes, I am more patient than he. No, my patience is not infinite.

And further, jim x... I NEVER bluff. NEVER. If I say I will do something, such as editing or deleting your comments or banning you, that you can take to the bank.

J.

Jay, I'm pretty sure I have... (Below threshold)

Jay, I'm pretty sure I haven't asked you to do anything. And I'm especially sure I didn't ask you to impose your standards on anyone else.

But now that you've made it clear you wouldn't like me to respond to DJ's actions on this thread, I am happy to agree to that.




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