Monday, July 25, 2016
Is Barack Obama a Christian as He Claims? Part 2
In this part I am going to examine parts of the transcript of a 2004 interview of Barack Obama by Cathleen Falsani. My responses will be in maroon.
During the interview, Obama was asked what he believed in regards to religion. He stated: I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith. So, I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10. My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim. And I’d say, probably, intellectually I’ve drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith. So, I’m rooted in the Christian tradition.
How can he be “rooted in the Christian tradition” when this statement says nothing about Christianity, rather it mentions “Eastern” religions, Islam, agnosticism, and Judaism?
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.
Christianity teaches only ONE path to God, and that is through Jesus Christ (Matt. 7:13; John 3:18, 36; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; 1 John 2:23, 5:11-12), and for Obama to claim to be a Christian and yet say there are many paths to God proves he doesn’t understand the Christian faith. Yes there are indeed moral values which transcend race and culture; God tells us that these things are planted in the heart of every person (Romans 2:14-15)
And so, part of my project in life was probably to spend the first 40 years of my life figuring out what I did believe – I’m 42 now – and it’s not that I had it all completely worked out, but I’m spending a lot of time now trying to apply what I believe and trying to live up to those values.
When he was asked if he had always been a Christian, Obama replied that “I was raised more by my mother and my mother was Christian.”
This says what his mother was but doesn’t say Obama was always a Christian. He wasn’t asked to clarify.
Obama was then asked what “flavor” and he responded thus:
My grandparents who were from small towns in Kansas. My grandmother was Methodist. My grandfather was Baptist. This was at a time when I think the Methodists felt slightly superior to the Baptists. And by the time I was born, they were, I think, my grandparents had joined a Universalist church. So, my mother, who I think had as much influence on my values as anybody, was not someone who wore her religion on her sleeve. We’d go to church for Easter. She wasn’t a church lady.
As I said, we moved to Indonesia. She remarried an Indonesian who wasn’t particularly, he wasn’t a practicing Muslim. I went to a Catholic school in a Muslim country. So I was studying the Bible and catechisms by day, and at night you’d hear the prayer call.
So I don’t think as a child we were, or I had a structured religious education. But my mother was 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. And I think always, her view always was that underlying these religions were a common set of beliefs about how you treat other people and how you aspire to act, not just for yourself but also for the greater good.
So we find that Obama was exposed to various religious beliefs and that his mother taught that all these religions had a “common set of beliefs,” yet nothing is said about what his mother’s beliefs really were even though he says she was a Christian. My question is, why would a Christian mother want to introduce her son into all these other belief systems?
Barack Obama claims he came to Christ via an altar call in 1987 or 1988: It was a daytime service, during a daytime service. And it was a powerful moment. Because, it was powerful for me because it not only confirmed my faith, it not only gave shape to my faith, but I think, also, allowed me to connect the work I had been pursuing with my faith.
So it was an “altar call” which decided Obama’s faith; altar calls are responsible for a lot of false conversions.
When asked if that meant he “got yourself born again,” Obama replied:
Yeah, although I don’t — I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up, a suspicion of dogma. And I’m not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I’ve got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others. I’m a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it’s best comes with a big dose of doubt.
Notice he immediately attacks “dogma,” and doesn’t like the idea that Christianity claims to have a “monopoly on truth.” He also thinks religion is “best” “with a big dose of doubt.” Without “dogma” or “doctrine” one has no foundation for their faith. I have to question just how deep his faith is if he thinks it has to come with “a big dose of doubt.”
I’m suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding. I think that, particularly as somebody who’s now in the public realm and is a student of what brings people together and what drives them apart, there’s an enormous amount of damage done around the world in the name of religion and certainty.
Apparently, the truth claims of the Christian faith disturb Mr. Obama. If one doesn’t think their faith is true, then what is their faith really in?
Obama was asked, “Who’s Jesus to you?” This was his response: Right. Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he’s also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher. And he’s also a wonderful teacher. I think it’s important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history.
Notice that Obama says nothing about Jesus saving us from our sins, only that He is a bridge between God and man who is powerful as a “means of us reaching something higher” (whatever that may be), and that He is a “wonderful teacher.” And then he makes a point about the importance of ANY faith.
With a follow-up question he stated he has a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” as well as having read the Bible.
Lots of people who are non-Christians read the Bible; reading the Bible does not make one a believer. He never explains what he means by a “personal relationship” with Jesus; Mormons make the same claim, but they worship a Jesus of their own making, which the UCC denomination also does.
Further in the interview he stated, “I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper, we are all children of God.”
Here is another example where Obama proves he doesn’t understand the Christian faith. We are NOT all “children of God” (John 8:41-45, 47). To be a child of God one MUST be a true Christian.
Continuing in the interview, Obama said, “There’s the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior that they’re going to hell.” When asked if he believe that he said, 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.
Well, the Scripture says over and over again that unless one personally believes that Christ died for their sin, they will die in their sin (Romans 6:23) — and the punishment for sin is eternal in hell. Jesus talked more about hell than He did about heaven, and yet Mr. Obama denies this.
Obama was asked if he believed in heaven. His response: 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. When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I’ve been a good father to them, and I see in them that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they’re kind people and that they’re honest people, and they’re curious people, that’s a little piece of heaven.
Obama’s heaven is accessed through good works, yet the Bible says that, to God, all our righteous deeds, all our good works, are just like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
When asked what sin is, Obama said, Being out of alignment with my values.
Sin is being out of alignment with Obama’s values, not out of alignment with God’s values?!?
This statement alone proves that Mr. Obama has no understanding of the Christian faith. Sin is rebellion against God’s laws, not being “out of alignment” with one’s personal values.
Then he was asked what happens if he has sin in his life: I think it’s the same thing as the question about heaven. In the same way that if I’m true to myself and my faith that that is its own reward, when I’m not true to it, it’s its own punishment.
So if he is true to himself and his faith, that is its own reward, and when he is not true to them it is its own punishment? There is no real punishment from God? God just looks the other way?
So is Barack Obama a Christian as defined by the Bible? By what we have seen of the beliefs taught by his church (both denomination and local), and by his own publicly stated political beliefs and actions (pro-abortion, pro-same-sex fake marriage, pro-homosexuality in general, pro-“transgender,” pro-sexual immorality in general, pro-Muslim and anti-Christian statements and actions, pro-socialism [theft], etc), one could not conclude that he believes in the God or Christ of the Bible. Additionally, from this interview, it is very plain that he has virtually no understanding of the Christian faith, let alone an understanding of what sin is.
Okay, what is the purpose of this exercise of examining Barack Obama’s claims to be a Christian? Discernment! Just because someone claims to be a follower of Christ, if his stated beliefs and actions contradict what Scripture tells us, then we have to say he is lying about being a Christian. If a church organization/denomination claims to be Christian and yet teaches contrary to what God has told us in Scripture, then they are worshiping a god and christ of their own making, and they are still dead in their sins.