There was quite a hubbub last week over President Obama’s faith after a Pew Forum survey showed that 1 in 5 Americans believe Obama to be a Muslim. I don’t know how so many Americans could be so misinformed as to believe such a thing, but there it is. In fact, Obama professes to be a Christian, and all the indications are that he is a progressive one at that. In other words, his Christian faith resembles more what you would find in one of the liberal mainline churches than what you would find in an evangelical church.
Case in point. Michael Patton links to an interview with Obama from 2004 in which the future president talks extensively about his beliefs. It’s really clear that he is not a Muslim. I thought what was most interesting about this interview was how much it delves into theology. The interviewer asked him his beliefs about Jesus, sin, heaven, hell, and a host of other issues. Here are some snippets, but you should really take a minute to read the whole piece.
“I’m rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place.”
“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.”
“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.”
“I think that the difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and prostelytize. There’s the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior that they’re going to hellâ€¦ 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.”
There’s one final set of remarks that are revealing, and I’ll have to include the interviewer here:
FALSANI: Do you believe in sin?
FALSANI: What is sin?
OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values.
Like I said, he’s definitely not a Muslim. He identifies with a postmodern/liberalish version of Christianity. Read the rest here.