A new twist on the “Is Obama a Christian?” debate

November 19, 2008

The “Is Obama a Christian?” discussion is starting up again, this time not by people who suspect he’s a Muslim but those who think he’s a phony follower of Jesus Christ. The occasion for this is the posting on Beliefnet of an interview he gave to the Chicago Sun Times in 2004, while he was still an Illinois state senator. Conservative Christians have taken his religious views as proof he’s not a real Christian, but there’s support from a more liberal corner for his views.

That there is disagreement isn’t really a surprise. Theologians have been debating who is a Christian almost since the dawn of the faith and still dispute where the dividing lines lie. What is more interesting is that critics are picking apart his views — or purported views — on theological issues that have no obvious importance for his job as president.

(Photo: Obama at Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, June 15, 2008/John Gress)

Bloggers Joe Carter and Rod Dreher read in Obama’s interview a denial of the Nicene Creed since he called Jesus “a bridge between God and man” rather than clearly saying he is the Son of God (hat tip to Steve Waldman). “Unless Obama was being incredibly and uncharacteristically inarticulate, this is heterodox. You cannot be a Christian in any meaningful sense and deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. You just can’t,” Dreher writes. Has Obama denied the divinity of Jesus Christ here? That’s not clear here. Another point that Carter notes is that he doesn’t believe that people who have not embraced Jesus as their personal saviour will automatically go 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,” he said.

Elsewhere on its site, Beliefnet quotes a prominent Catholic theologian saying the same thing: “…Everything we believe about God, and everything we know about man, prevents us from accepting that beyond the limits of the Church there is no more salvation … We are no longer ready and able to think that our neighbor, who is a decent and respectable man and in many ways better than we are, should be eternally damned simply because he is not a Catholic. We are no longer ready, no longer willing, to think that eternal corruption should be inflicted on people in Asia, in Africa, or wherever it may be, merely on account of their not having “Catholic” marked in their passport.” This came from none other than a certain Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI. The quote is from 1964, from the young Ratzinger, and is not what he would say today. But even he said it back then and many theologians would agree with Obama’s view today.

As Waldman points out, it’s a view that George Bush would also agree with. And apparently with him many Christians as well:“millions and millions of people call themselves Christian, worship at Christian churches and believe that acceptance of Christ is not required for entry into heaven. In a recent Pew poll, 70% said ‘many religions can lead to eternal life.’ 66% of Protestants and 79% of Catholics said they agreed with that idea.”

Over at the Episcopal Café blog The Lead, blogger Sounds like a good Episcopalian. The Episcopal Church welcomes you.”

Do you think it’s important to know exactly which Christian teachings the president-elect embraces and which ones he doesn’t, even if they have no relevance to his performance in the White House?

(Photo: President Bush at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, August 29, 2006/Jim Young)
57 comments

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Important? No. Interesting? Very. It does help to shed light on political positions that a politician may take that are contrary to his/her professed faith. If he/she holds to heterodox theology, then it’s not suprising that his/her positions contradict the faith.

One note on the Ratzinger quote – he makes reference to someone not being eternally damned because he is not Catholic. He makes no reference, though, to someone not being eternally damned because he is not Christian. Different religions are quite a different story vs. different demoninations.

Whatever happened to separation of church and state? Pardon me but Pres. Obama can believe whatever he wishes as long as he grants me the same privilege, It,s high time religion should be removed from political discourse. Look what a Christian gave us the past 8 years. Get a life people and quit nosing into peoples,s lives, and that includes the President of the USA! D, Ward

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,” he said.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>
i agree with obama on this but if you read the bible it will tell you the same thing.
i believe we are judged by the good we do on earth toward one another.

Posted by Dale Medlock | Report as abusive

A more fundamental question that actually does bear on his work as the President of the USA is what is his belief about the specialness of humanity. If he believes that human beings are not any different, other than just more highly evolved, than other animal life forms and, at the same time, eats other animals, then this is highly problematic. If, on the other hand, he believes that human beings are uniquely special because they have a special relationship with the uncreated creator, that they are created in the image/likeness of the uncreated creator, then this is something that IS relevant to his work and decision making process as President. The classic belief of the “big 3″ monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – here listed in age order) is this very belief that mankind is created in the image/likeness of the uncreated creator. The further trinitarian belief of a multifaceted trinitarian godhead is also relevant. It roots the human-divine relationship in the type of the divine-divine relationship, ultimately characterized by the concept of love (as opposed to power or submission). This is also relevant to Mr. Obama’s decision making as President. I for one, am uncomfortable with a person sitting in, arguably, the most powerful office in the world, who doesn’t firmly believe that humans are created in the image/likeness of the uncreated creator, have inalienable value as such, and that the overarching and best relationship we have with one another is characterize by love/compassion rather than power. In short, this is why I believe a review of Mr. Obama’s Christian beliefs is relevant. Just my two cents. In our pluralistic society I certain realize that my views are not all that normative.

Posted by Chuck | Report as abusive

Ah, another dilema from the “In God We Trust so lets blow the Arabs up irrespective of what they stand for” brigade.

Exactly why we need to have separation of State from Religion.

Idiots.

Posted by nick | Report as abusive

The same “Christians” that are so worried about Obama are the ones responsible for all the death and misery brought to the world by electing bush, they share in his guilt. bush claims to be Christian, yet absolutely does not act like Christ would, since he sent thousands to die and kill in Iraq for no reason whatsoever, other than his own political motives,and lied repeatedly to the American people and congress. Frankly, bush is proof that some people should be left to their drunken ways. If he were still a drunken, wife beating,AWOL doper running around in a pickup in Texas the world would be better off.

Posted by Wayne | Report as abusive

wayne, sure don’t agree with your assessment!
For one thing, our President had an elected duty to protect Am.citzens and declair “war on terriorism!”
And we do beleive that it’s important to have our President believing facts, rather than “pie in the sky” beliefs…the Bible is very clear on facts regarding the Christian life and the after-life.

I choose Christianiy over any other religion because it is clear that it came from our Creator, God. It’s not man’s ideas or whimsy that makes it truth, it is truth that we can trust as absolute.

Posted by sharon | Report as abusive

Right wing Christians are alwlays trying to maintain that they are the only ‘real’ Christings while the more moderate Christian majority takes a much less judgemental and hence in some ways much more Christian view of the detailed beliefs of others.

The details of Obama’s personal Christian belief are between him and God. This is no one elses business.

There needs to be a return to a better separation between church and state and the fanatic-Christian-right-wing-nuts also need to learn how to respect other’s personal privacy.

Posted by get_over_it | Report as abusive

The real question of the hour is, who will take a stand and agree with the words of Christ, as written in the gospels and confirmed by the Law and the Prophets?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – Jn 14:6

God is a righteous judge, no one condemned to the lake of fire (eternal torment etc) with go there unjustly…we can be sure of that, so let’s get on with building our lives on what He says.

Whether you believe Jesus Christ is the only way or not has no bearing on the fact that He is the only way to Heaven. One fact both believers and non-believers will have to accept; we will all meet death and then you will know the truth. As one wise individual said, “If I’ve accepted Christ before I die and there is no God, I’ve lost nothing. But If I’ve rejected Christ at death and God is real, I’ve lost everything. I’m not will to take that chance.”

Posted by Mspiret | Report as abusive

From a Christian stand point: If you claim to be Christian, but say it doesn’t matter if you believe in Jesus to get to heaven, than what would the point of His sacrifice have been?

Posted by Jordan | Report as abusive

This is more evidence that our president-elect has a kind and loving heart, and and an innate sense of decency. As a child of the 60s, I feel that the Age of Aquarius has dawned.

Posted by Tim Dunn | Report as abusive

I find the evangelical assertions largely groundless and would like to add two points to the discussion that pertain to their criticism (without addressing the separation of church and state or the role of Obama’s faith):

1) The Nicene Creed does not mention hell or damnation.

2) Declaring that Jesus IS a bridge does not declare that Jesus is NOT divine. These are two different statements. One is an affirmation and the other is a negation. Obama would have needed to say that Jesus is “only” or “merely” a bridge to warrant the criticisms being leveled at him.

Would it follow then that these critics deny that Jesus is a “bridge” or “mediator between God and man(?)”

Stating “x” says nothing about “y;” even if “y” is expected. It only states “x” unless “x” is defined as excluding “y.”

I sense a grasping at straws by persons with an agenda to find fault.

Posted by adam | Report as abusive

Wow. So much mental health where I didn’t expect to find it. Stand tall, you who deny an evil god, and clean house now and then.

Posted by Nolo Credere | Report as abusive

Meh. I don’t care. This discussion is just a waste of time.

Posted by Terry | Report as abusive

I dont know what the noise is about, If we are truely christians we know that Bush and Obama will one day face a judgment that is far more powerful thank ourselves.

I dont think it matters what religion some one is or if they follow it to the letter but it is more important what is in his heart and how his decision process is formed….after 8 years of bush we have war and economic crisis….maybe we should judge Obama in a few years after we find out what is in his heart and not before we find out what he is going to do!!! and how he is going to do it.

Posted by Cassie | Report as abusive

Disappointing for an evangelical Christian like me, but he’s my president, not my pastor.

From this interview Obama comes out as a veery confused Christian, accepting the moral lessons but avoiding the surrendering of one’s will to God’s.
He’s got wrong a bunch of fundamental Christian tenets! He’s got the weirdest prayer life(“I’m constantly asking myself questions” ???), believes abortion is a right of the mother, that Christianity is mostly a set of moral values, that only ministers have the Holy Spirit, that one can substitute reading the Bible for an “internal monologue/dialogue”. To top it all, he’s not even sure heaven and hell exist.
If you don’t stand on sound ground, you’ll be prey to false teachers, like Jeremiah Wright. I leave God to judge if Obama is a Christian or not, for He will certainly do it in His time.

I think he’ll be a great president, though. Bush is no doubt a more solid Christian, but a disastrous statesman. This country is ruled by the constitution, not by the Bible.

Posted by jose | Report as abusive

Spurgeon wrote “If we were more like Christ, we should be more hated by his enemies. It were a sad dishonour to a child of God to be the world’s favourite. It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout ‘Well done’ to the Christian man.”

I’m sorry to say that my observation of Obama is that he does not honor all of God’s Word. He chooses passages that fit a secular agenda but he has belittled other passages that don’t fit his secular world view.

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he warns “the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth…”

Paul calls these people “evil” and “impostors.”

Posted by N Waff | Report as abusive

Its not what a Christian says but what a Christian does.

Obama is the result of a speculation bubble about his morality and faith. In the process people have transposed their own best hopes onto his empty leftist canvas.

Sham job.

Posted by Bobo | Report as abusive

This article hurts my heart.

Barack Obama’s religious faith is only as much our business as he makes it. I didn’t vote for religious reasons, despite the fact that I am deeply religious.

My deep sadness is because millions of people are in churches and don’t understand or accept the truths that are fundamental to their own faith. I don’t want to be unkind. I just want to sound a clear call. Faith in Christ is, indeed, the only way to heaven.

Some respond to this awful reckoning by simply denying it. You can’t do that and still be a true Christian. We do need to reach out to those who have not heard. Our compassion for them should drive us to every length to share this message with them. They are in grave danger. I wish everyone embraced this truth.

Posted by treddy | Report as abusive

None shall go to the father except through me – Jesus.

This is the root of variable interpretation. I beg to differ with my fundamentalist brothers about what going through Jesus means. I believe that Jesus can come to a little kid in India who has never heard of him – and still not know his name after. When he comes to you, he will let you know it is God speaking – through your heart. You then have a choice before you. Jesus is an aculturalist. There is plenty of scripture to support this. I can;t stand it when some people think merely “singing up for his team” is what this passage is about.

If you don’t have an ear to listen, as Jesus says, you will never hear him call you. Doesn’t matter what you SAY.

Posted by gogo | Report as abusive

It is very clear from listening to the “Obama supporters” that they didn’t so much as vote for Obama as they voted against Bush. Admittedly, President Bush has not exhibited competence in many aspects of his administration – Katrina, the first half of the Iraq war, the almost-criminal efforts of Secretary Paulson to name a few. And President-elect Obama didn’t win in a landslide (a la Reagan). And can any of the Democrats even tell us what President-elect Obama is going to pursue in his administration. His whole campaign was one big obfuscation and consistent of two themes: (1) Change, albeit undefined, and (2) I’m against Bush – and since John McCain is in the same party as Bush you should vote for me.

And can you tell us what values are important to President-Elect Obama? The only consistent one is that women should be allowed to kill the nascient life within their wombs if they have a headache (or any other “threat” to their health) until the child is born and breathing. Everything else (especially his position on the war) morphed during the campaign. In the end, you didn’t know whether he was coming or going on almost all of his positions.
Truly, all I want to know about him is does he believe that human life has implicit, undeniable value because it is created in the image/likeness of the uncreated Creator. If he doesn’t believe this, then he is no better than Stalin or Mao and we should all be afraid of what he could bring about.

Posted by Chuck | Report as abusive

obama said in front of a gathering of democratic activists while campaigning for the nomination,’”i made an intellectual decision to convert to christianity when i was 23.i did not have an epiphany.”my take on this was that he was assuring the audience that although he considered himself a believer he was not born again,or a fundamentalist,which would have been detrimental to his acceptance,draw your own conclusion,but i thought he was compromising.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

What make you Christians think that you are the chosen flock.
There are many other Religions.
I can’t stand how you can talk like you know it all.
Again their is this hate if Obama does not believe like you believe.
Religion brings nothing but hate and wars.
Burn all the holy books and live in PEACE and help you fellow man.
Look at all the filthy rich so called Christian people, while there are people sleeping on the street.

“Do you think it’s important to know exactly which Christian teachings the president-elect embraces and which ones he doesn’t, even if they have no relevance to his performance in the White House?”

This question only makes sense for a Christian Dominionist who believes that America is a Christian nation that must have a professing, “bible-believing” Christian for God to bless the nation. Such a belief is usually tied into a belief in American exceptionalism as well. For such people, Calvin’s Geneva and the Puritan theocracy in New England were the glory days. Returning America to such a time – where there is no separation of church and state and Christian Americans are more equal than other citizens – is the underlying project of which each American should be very wary.

Posted by Rev. Will McGarvey | Report as abusive

I firmly believe that only 3872 holy ghosts fit on the tip of a needle. Since Obama did not agree with me, I did not vote for him.

Posted by B. Svensson | Report as abusive

What is wrong with asking questions? Job (bible) asked many questions and God never condemned Job for it. Abraham asked God questions, the Pharisees would ask Jesus questions and Jesus would answer or reply with a question. Pilate asked Jesus questions and Jesus responded without condemning asking questions.

The Nicene Creed is not in the bible. There are Christians who reject the Nicene Creed while other Christians call the Christians who reject the Nicene Creed ‘not’ true Christians.

I believe in Jesus, that he lived and that he died for mankind. However, I do not believe in the Nicene Creed. I am a Christian but most ‘standard’ Christians would reject me because I do not believe in the Nicene Creed. So then I am judged by them when the judging is left to Jesus as King.

As for questioning if there is a heaven and hell, even Solomon questioned such things. He wrote in Eccl. 9:5 and 9:10 the condition of the dead. Some say these are his discouraged words, but the point is, Solomon questioned it and God never condemned Solomon for it.

I am not saying Obama is Solomon nor am I saying he is Jesus. I know better.

I do believe that Obama wants to help America and Americans have a better life for all of us and not simply a section of America. It’s a tall order.

Remember what Jesus said! Stop looking at the ‘toothpick’ in your neighbors’ eye when you should be looking at the rafter in your own eye! (Matt. 7:5)

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Mr. Heneghan…

I think that every constitutionally literate American has an implied constitutional responsibility to comment (as well as to resist) whenever and wherever the explicit first amendment freedom of RELIGION is threatened within the United States. However, Mr. Obama and congress won’t be legislating religion…as that would be a violation of Amendment I to said U.S. Constitution (contained in the Bill of Rights).

On the other hand, Mr. Bush AND a republican-controlled congress pushed the first-amendment-restriction envelope just about as far as they could push it over a period of 6 years, i.e., the apparent (and NOT so apparent) restrictions on the explicit freedoms of SPEECH & PRESS, e.g., governmental snooping, eavesdropping & spying…as well as governmental disregard for the explicitly constitutional privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and the explicitly constitutional right of probable cause.

This fixation on Mr. Obama’s faith (or not) is in my view some kind of a fringe-cult thing presently in the desperate throes of trying to keep from drowning amid the mainstream backlash that is pulling against years of Bush/republican envelope pushing.

To close the loop, these cultist fringe types probably monitor the religious faith (or not) of each of the 545 highest elected/appointed members of the U.S. government, i.e., president, chief justice (and the 8 other supreme court judges), house members (435) & members of the senate (100).

The United States is not a theocracy or shadow-theocracy (e.g., Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Arabia, Lebanon), so all of this “checking” on Mr. Obama’s private religious faith (or not) is starting to sound like the “checkers” are fringe-cult Muslims and/or Christians and/or Jews.

While these fringe types have the first amendment freedom of SPEECH and you have the first amendment freedom of the PRESS within the political boundaries of the United States, Mr. Heneghan…I don’t see why they have to get so much of your attention, i.e., the publicity inherent to your web logs. A footnote is about all the “publicity” they deserve in the overall “scheme” of the universe.

OK Jack
oklahomajack.com

This is just ridiculous.

“Do you think it’s important to know exactly which Christian teachings the president-elect embraces and which ones he doesn’t,”

No. I don’t think it’s important, nor should any voter. Are we to look forward to four years of the media continually pushing right wing themes about Obama? It wasn’t enough for the media to ennable the “Is he a secret Muslim” rumor? Now it’s helping along the “Does he really understand what a Christian is?” Who cares if he does? Give it a rest already.

Posted by CT Voter | Report as abusive

“What make you Christians think that you are the chosen flock. There are many other Religions.” – That’s a great point you made there ‘Mimi’, however this particular blog addresses Christianity. As a Christian, I believe that you and others have been drawn to this particular story and it’s comments to learn, or at least be made aware of the Fundamentals of Christianity. Some others are drawn here to share their knowledge to help people like yourselves learn more and to make an informed decision as to whether you will follow Christ or not.

Certainly, God will hold harmless those who have not been given the knowledge in order to make their choice, including both children and adults, both in the United States and Afar.

But for President-elect Obama, or anyone claiming to be Christian, one must believe in two fundamental ideals:

1 That Jesus Christ is the ONLY Living Son of God

and

2 The he Died on the Cross as payment for our Sins.

If you pray to God and acknowledge those two things then congratulations if you wanted to be a Christian, you now are.

If you have never prayed such a prayer or currently do not subscribe to either of the two ideals above, but you call yourself a Christian – then you are a LIAR.

You can treat your neighbors as you want to be treated or even better and call yourself Christian-Like in your actions, but not in your FAITH.

There is no other way to be considered Christian in any TRUE Christian FAITH.

And now You and GOD are both aware that you now know the difference.

In Him,
Brian

Posted by Brian in Middle River MD | Report as abusive

Regarding the Nicene Creed – this is specifically Roman Catholic and one does not need to be a Catholic, Roman or otherwise to be a Christian.

and to the spelling police, # 2 should have read:
2 That he Died on the Cross as payment for our Sins.

Have a great weekend, feedback is welcomed,
Brian

Posted by Brian in Middle River MD | Report as abusive

To Brian in Middle River — the Nicene Creed is not only Roman Catholic. I don’t have a full list but a quick look at Wikipedia shows the following: “The Nicene Creed is an ecumenical Christian statement of faith accepted in the Eastern Orthodox Church, Assyrian Church of the East, Oriental Orthodox churches, the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, the Anglican Communion, and almost all branches of Protestantism, including the Reformed churches, the Presbyterian Church, and the Methodist Church.”

Posted by Tom Heneghan | Report as abusive

Unitarian’s are Christian’s denying the divinity of Jesus. Jesus probably denied his divinity, except as a bridge between human and an ideal divinity. Jesus followed Hosea in denouncing sacrifices to God; but followers of Paul spin the torture of Jesus into a monstrous human sacrifice–as atonement (God’s bribe) for the sin’s of Adam & Eve. This human sacrifice is spun into love for human–the greatest marketing trick ever!

Posted by Michael Kubara | Report as abusive

to brian in middle river md.thank you for your boldness.many today have moderated god and scripture to suit their own particular situation.if there is no redemptive evidence or change to a persons lifestyle as is highlighted in the book of james, their christian authenticity can be in doubt. 20 years ago at 4.00 in the morning out of desperation i cried out to an unknown god,although an unbeliever, and there was a presence in the room,guess who? my life totally changed to the extent that my parents saw the difference and became believers in their seventies. how pathetic that some would imply that we are judging them ,when their word and deeds are convicting themselves.keep up the good work,”the truth will set you free”.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Those who started this debate may have nothing else to do. Whether Jesus is proven to be Son of God or NOT is purely man made to show that “I am Superior than THOU” as there is nothing else he can contribute to make the world, a better place and a world without strifes. Such attitude has killed millions of Jesus followers and non followers. How much more blood these people needed to spill before they realize that “A FATHER WHO LETS HIS SON SUFFERS THE AGONIES, PAINS AND SUFFERINGS THAT JESUS WENT TRUE before He died may not be a “real” father”? Is it not also against one of the TEN Commandments to kill? Or must Christians also believe in “JIHAD”?

If what you believe is TRUE why bother to judge others at all? After all, won’t it not be better for you if Obama do not go to the HEAVEN which you believe?

Meanwhile he has won an election fair and square, allow him to govern especially when those before him failed to govern well and gives you, the world and America to-day, – a b….y MESS!!

Unholy Wars based on the greed for the control of Oil, economic meltdown, God punishment of hurricanes and California fires, destruction of the ozone layer, etc.

Now true Christians should rise and pray for a better future and more peaceful world throwing light to dark corners instead of casting doubts on other people beliefs. Live more in penance than criticisms. You have the freedom for war or peace, you have chosen WAR, you have the freedom to sow love or hate but you have chosen to grow hatred…. why do we all wake up to real teaching of Jesus, “LOVE THY NEIGHBOR”.

“THE BATTLE FOR GOD” has got to stop… if we want to live in peace and prosperity.

Help him to clean up the mess which was left behind by a “VERY GOOD” Christian…. rather than looking for ways to stop him from becoming an effective President.

A very wise minister once told me that “taking the Lord’s name in vain, really means to claim to know the mind of God.” In essence, to claim to understand what God might or might not think of any given action. May I suggest that we all stop acting like we could know what God thinks – which religion is true, which religion is wrong, who is good or who is bad. Perhaps if we all start with the understanding that God would love all his/her children unconditionally, we could stop hate in the name of religion that has taken so many lives throughout history.

Stop worrying if Mr. Obama is a good Christian, and start looking to see if he is a good man!

Posted by Marla Taylor | Report as abusive

Obama’s stance on critical issues such as abortion, stem cell research, the church he attended for twenty years, and homosexual rights provide some food for thought as to whether or not he’s a Christian. God knows, but we don’t. Maybe Obama is a very confused and mixed up Christian.

The sanctity of life is very important; Obama will let babies die.

Homosexuality is a sin just like stealing, lusting, coveting, etc. It is not the same thing as racial discrimination just because of your color. If we give homosexuals rights to marry, do we give thieves the right to steal without worry of prosecution?

Stem cell research: do we kill babies to try and save older people???

Jeremiah Wright: does this man teach the bible, or does he incite the congregation on volatile social issues???

The conservative Christian right has very different views than Obama.

There is only one way to heaven: that is through the Son, Jesus Christ. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son does not have life.

People can believe that other religions will get them to heaven, but the bible is clear to point out the road to salvation. If you do an indepth study of the matter, other so-called religions just don’t stand up to the bible.

Being a good person cannot get you a ticket to enter heaven. The bible says that no one is good.

Posted by kirk Thomas | Report as abusive

I remember when the Christian Right was taking credit for electing Mr. Bush, shouldn’t they now step up and take responsibility for their/his actions?

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

Maria,

Your comment strikes me as a bit strange. You suggest that we all stop acting like we know what God thinks, and then you offer what you believe God thinks.

Posted by Joshua | Report as abusive

Oh for crying out loud, this ceaseless nattering about christian this muslim that concerning President-elect Obama is beyond ridiculous!! A lot of people have too much time on their hands if something like this dominates their thoughts.

Paleontological excavations of 30,000 year old burial sites have shown that our ancestors had a spritual belief system that included the idea of an afterlife/heaven/valhalla, or whatever other word one uses to describe life after death. Because they were not members of one of the many current major religions that have heaven as a central element, were they doomed to the fires of eternal damnation?

I know, here is another batch of lost souls for the mormons to baptize, along with jewish holocaust victoms, just to make sure that all of their eccliastical i’s are dotted and t’s crossed so that they can make that final journey.

PAH!!!

If one lives as best that they possibly can by obeying the ten commandments, God will take care of them. Period.

So instead of wasting time with this denominational argy-bargy, we should be praying that President Obama is given the strength of Atlas and the wisdom of Soloman to guide us and the world through the crises that we are facing.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Really, people! Is it really relevant except in the way it informs his ethics?

I, personally, am a hindu, and believe that we are all only projections of the creator, and when we die, if we are enlightened, we cease to exist as the individuals we think we are. If we are not enlightened, we keep on re-entering the material universe again and again until we are. Heaven and Hell are also projections, and based on our belief systems, we will experience either of them (temporarily) based on our Karma. Then it is back to the wheel. The gods in hinduism are also projections of the creator and are also temporary (though less so than you or me). Ergo – be kind to each other as we are one.

Posted by NR | Report as abusive

I sincerely believe that Barack Obama is a Christian, however I wonder what branch of Christianity Dumbya belongs to!

Posted by Robert Egan | Report as abusive

I cannot think of anything less relevant to whether this man will make a good President than what version of Christianity he practices. I don’t want him to claim to know God’s will, I want him to be a good intelligent man, leading this country in some decent direction. That takes sense, listening, and patience – not God, whatever version you claim to follow. As for Christianity, I find it odd that the direct quotes of the person it is named for are so often ignored by those who claim it in favor of mean spirited interpretations.

Here is why this question is important: we’re out of growth. Birth-rate has tanked among the middle class. Demand is stalled. We are about to enter a period of deflation, and many are secretly worrying how it will be to work, hard, into their seventies–or even until they die, now that their retirement is gone. Death by starvation is ahead for some, because we are out of growth.

We did not used to be out of growth, as a world. There was a time when nation after nation went abroad seeking two things: goods, and souls. Yes, souls. And it was essential. Greed alone was never enough to motivate a population; as proof I give you the students of today, when not even money for grades serves to waken them. Adventure alone is not enough, or we would not be the fattest, laziest demographic in history. Even love is not enough, or the Japanese would not be addicted (as they are, a condom company has researched why their sales are down there) to pornography and masturbation and forget, as they have, to reproduce.

No, we need souls. It was the drive of the (always small) number of saints to save those souls in other lands because they believed those souls were in danger of being lost. It was love for those souls. The same love, by the way, that caused the monks and brothers who served in the American Southwest and the rest of the continent south to educate the people, to nurse them, to protect them with the first legislation against slavery in the new world ever introduced. But I do not want to argue the question of whether the Church’s crime was to educate the natives (as She was charged by the revolutionary government in Mexico), I want to argue that we are failing to grow because we have lost our hunger to save souls. And now you can connect the dots to the question under discussion in this rather remarkable article.

The earth has grown too small in some ways to live out this belief, but the universe has not! It is there for us, starting with solar energy that would solve all our woes in that camp, for only about thirty thousand dollars an acre (not more than it costs to develop a project in Manhattan). We have the technology, but we do not have the will. Our will is focused on contracting, making our populations ever-smaller, living on ever-smaller portions of the earth, as a solution to the problem. And the issue of whether we still love those souls yet to be saved in Alpha Centauri is central (and invisible, until I bring it to your attention). We would not grow to save ourselves, but we will grow to save others (that’s why God loves us so irrationally as He does). And our economy will not heal until we make that re-commitment. It’s grow, or die. And that means believe, or die. Believe in the old way (as the article suggests, the Church, and after Her the churches, used to believe, in saving souls because they would not be saved outside the Church and Christ). There is still a group among Catholics that believes and preaches and practices this most important, most central pre-Vatican II teaching. They are only barely ‘among Catholics,’ as the Church is toying with declaring them in schism. They are called the Society of St. Pius X, or SSPX. Google it and you can find them.

I am surprised to the depths that Reuters and Tom Hennigan understand the centrality of this particular question, even if many posters do not.

You Americans are sillier than I could imagine.
What does it matter if OBAMA IS A CHRISTIAN OR NOT?
If being a christian means like being GEORGE BUSH OR DICK CHENEY, then I hope for USA sake OBAMA is not a christian.
You Americans belittle India and other countries about our caste/ class/ religious divisions. I can tell you no self respecting paper nor news channel nor web site would allow this sort of crap ragrding Indian politicians.
AMERICANS BETTER GROW UP AND FACE THE REALITY.
I HAVE TO CONFESS THAT KARL MARX APPEARS TO BE RIGHT WHEN HE SAID RELIGION IS THE OPIUM OF THE MASSES.

such a topic is so childish its almost laughable….americans came to this continent to escape religious persecution and once they got here they started persecuting everyone besides themselves – even to this day its so sad to see ‘christians’ acting so cowardly..no courage just do what ‘god’(their pastor) says, teach shame, teach guilt, teach intolerance…then pray for more :( OMG

Posted by seren | Report as abusive

No person that believes in abortion rights can be a christian…there is no excuse.

Posted by old ewok | Report as abusive

Jan Baker,

Fed-ex some of what you are toking, please.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Ummm, Why is this crap considered, “News”? Remember why America was founded in the first place? Remember separation of church and state? Are you so insecure in your own religious beliefs that you need constant reaffirmation? What are you frightened of? Give it a break.

It’s really quite simple! Muslims, Christians and Jews are all believers of the one and the same God and despite their disputes over the centuries, which I believe are all motivated by culture, greed and possessions, the good people from all of these faiths will all go to heaven.

The damned are the Hindu’s, the Buda’s, Benny Hinn followers and other non believers of God.

As for the gentleman that defended the Caste system in India, I ask you, you pathetic individual, how can one be punished throughout one’s entire natural life for something they have absolutely no control over. These sufferers only have to say ‘I believe in god’ and they will join the believers.

Americans don’t need to grow-up, Indians need to be enlightened!!!

Posted by Tycoon | Report as abusive