A new national survey by the Pew Research Center reveals a substantial and growing number of Americans (18 %) say that Barack Obama is a Muslim, while only 34% believe he is a Christian, a proportion that has declined 14% in a little over a year. Nearly half of Americans polled say they are unclear as to what our President’s religion is.
People lack clarity because they lack evidence. The President has refrained from public worship as a general rule. His public relations team has insisted that he prays daily and attends corporate worship services on occasion; but references to God, and even more so references to Christ, are all but missing from his everyday vernacular.
Americans do not know what to believe because of confusing and even contradictory statements made by Obama. This week, Glenn Beck circulated to his subscribers a link to an article from 2004 when then State Senator Barack Obama visited with Chicago Sun Times columnist Cathleen Falsani over coffee in Chicago for the sole purpose of discussing his spirituality. The conversation lasted for more than an hour and its transcript is, as of this writing, posted online in full.
When asked what he believed, Obama said “I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith. I draw from the Christian faith.” But what does he believe? Many draw information or ideology from the Christian faith.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:15-16) Obama did not say whether or not he did.
Jesus went on to say, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) But Obama went on to say: “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 there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there's an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived.”
Jesus didn’t say there were many paths to the same place, but rather just one: “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Obama claims to be rooted in the Christian tradition, yet he says he believes there are many paths to the same place. One of the foundational principles of Christianity is the belief in Christ as Savior, the one and only way for man to be reconciled to God in this life and the life everlasting. But Obama apparently doesn’t believe a Savior is necessary, for he finds it “hard to believe that (his) God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell.”
Obama also communicated he believes in a nameless “higher power”, with a set of common values that connect us as people and “move us forward”. But this type of universal spirit of which we are all said to be a part reeks of New Age philosophy, not Christianity. This belief system promotes the human ability to tap into a “common mind” in order to transform our world. New Age thinking is merely a new set of clothes for a century old philosophy that believes in a living world rather than a living God.
Obama’s words do not reflect an understanding of the Christian tradition, religion or faith. Moreover, he never says he believes in Jesus Christ as the God-man who came to save him from his sin. Instead he said that for him, he saw Jesus as a “historical figure”, “a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith,” and a “wonderful teacher.” But he did not call Jesus his personal Savior, Lord or friend.
When asked about prayer, Obama said: “I think I have an ongoing conversation with God…constantly asking myself questions about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.” Who is he conversing with?
When asked about sin, Obama defined it as: “Being out of alignment with my values.” Whose values?
When asked when he feels the most aligned spiritually, Obama replied: “It's when I'm being true to myself.” True to whom?
When asked about his public confession of faith, he replied: “I think it was just a moment to certify or publicly affirm a growing faith in me.” Faith in whom?
Some may believe our President’s personal belief systems are unrelated to his leadership of our nation. But the privatizing of people’s faith over the past century is partly to blame for the state of our country and our world. As Christians have kept their beliefs to themselves, the truth of Christ has not been passed faithfully to subsequent generations, resulting in motivations that are less about glorifying God and more about glorifying self.
What we believe about the world drives our responses to it. As of August 2010, an increasing number of people say they are not sure what beliefs drive our current President’s decisions and actions. Many don’t care. But some care a great deal. I am one of them.
Question: If polled, what would people say drove your responses to the world? What would they say you believe?