|The prophet Isaiah|
I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, "Here am I, here am I,"
to a nation that did not call on my name.
I spread out my hands all the day
to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
following their own devices;
But you who forsake the LORD,
who forget my holy mountain,
who set a table for Fortune
and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny;
I will destine you to the sword,
and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter;
because, when I called, you did not answer,
when I spoke, you did not listen,
but you did what was evil in my eyes,
and chose what I did not delight in."
– from Isaiah 5:1-2,11-12
Despite Obama's protests to the contrary, I have to say that Obama is not a Christian. He is a secular humanist, just as his mother Stanley Ann Dunham was.
Secular humanism is like a soft-core version of atheism. It is a precursor for godlessness; almost like a "gateway drug". It is what socialism is to communism. It conditions society for the ultimate goal of those opposed to religion, which is a society devoid of faith in God.
For all those who wish to mold society along their own designs, it is of necessity to eliminate any meaningful form of religion. Any belief in God that impacts on society has to be stripped away. The only thing that can be allowed is a personal form of religion, which is given the name "spirituality". As long as this "spirituality" does not organize and place demands on society, then it can be tolerated. The more amorphous and less specific this belief in other-worldliness is the better for their purposes.
Humanism contrasts to communism, where the state becomes the ultimate god. Humanism prefers no centralized god-like being. It prefers the diffuse godlessness of relativism, where there are many competing religions which never rise to the level where they can challenge the central authority of the state. Yes, there are similarities to communism, but there are also many differences.
When Obama speaks of Christianity, he speaks of the "precepts" of Christ. These are just moral principles, but there is much more to Christianity than mere morality.
When Obama speaks of God, he is speaking of a vague creator-God. Something like the "Great Architect" of freemasonry.
And yet Obama says: "Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings -- that we're sinful and we're flawed and we make mistakes and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God."
What is wrong with this statement? At a casual glance it seems to be the statement of a sincere believer in Christ. Well, first of all, the problem is that Obama's faith is limited to sound bites like the one above. He refuses to get into any long, sustained conversations about religion where his true belief with regards to statements like that above can be tested. He insists that his religious beliefs are highly "personal".
Could a true secular humanist have sincerely made the statement above? Let's test it to see.
"Jesus Christ dying for my sins" – A humanist could accept the Christian argument that Christ died for the sins of all, without giving it any true significance for himself. He could just say, well if Christ died for everyone's sins, then he died for my sins as well. Notice that Obama does not say that Christ died for "me", instead he says Christ died for "my sins". Is there a bit of a theological nuance there? Maybe.
"spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings" – The significance of Christ's death is that we should exhibit "humility" according to Obama. Humility can be a theological virtue, or it can just be a secular moral value. Ultimately as Christians, we have to humble ourselves before God, while Obama seems to be pointing to the necessity of humility towards other "human beings". From a Christian perspective, the importance of humility is that it is a step towards accepting God as the master of our lives. From a humanist perspective, humility is a good trait to exhibit since it can lessen conflict in society.
"that we're sinful and we're flawed and we make mistakes" – Obama starts out with the theological word "sinful" and then seems to descend from a theological height to a lower secular level by ending in "we make mistakes". A sin is an offense against God. A mistake is well, just a mistake. Every mistake is not a sin. Only God can pardon sins. Some simple mistakes are morally neutral. Taking a wrong turn can be a mistake, but is usually not a sin. As far as being "flawed", most Christians would think that this is an allusion to Original Sin. But it doesn't have to be. From a humanist perspective this could just be a statement regarding the imperfection of the human body as a purely physical object; or the imperfection of our minds in comparison to the perfectly predictable behavior of a computer.
"and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God." – This seems like the most theologically correct part of Obama's statement. It seems like an ironclad statement of faith in God and Jesus Christ, but is it? I noticed one small flaw in this statement – perhaps it was deliberate, and perhaps not. Obama says that we "achieve" salvation. A more correct statement would be that we are "granted" salvation. Do you see the difference? To "achieve" is to reach a goal through your own efforts. To be "granted" implies a gift which is not deserved. Salvation is a gift from God. No one deserves this gift; no one can earn it.
None of us are worthy of salvation. This is the true meaning of the Cross. Christ sacrificed himself for us. He didn't just "die" as Obama states above. If Christ just died a martyr's death for the sake of a cause, then Christianity has no unique message to offer the world. History is full of martyrs for one cause or another.
But the "good news" – the Gospel – is that Christ is the Son of God who sacrificed himself for the sins of the whole world.
This is the Gospel Truth. This is the truth that all Christians should be proud to proclaim as often and as loudly as possible.
The difference between the secular humanist and the believer is seen in this parable by Jesus in Luke 18:10-14.
"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
After publishing this and re-reading it, I realized that I hadn't really addressed the final words in Obama's statement, "through the grace of God." My first thought is that perhaps Obama just got carried away in the moment and went a bit further than he intended to. It must be a tough act to have to pretend to be Christian while really holding secular humanists beliefs. You can see in the video just how uncomfortable Obama is speaking on this subject. And that despite the fact that Obama was surely prepped for this question about his Christian faith.
The problem is not with his use of "God" in this statement since he can easily equate this with a vague creator-god as I mentioned above. The problem is the use of the phrase "grace of God". This would seem to be a strictly Christian terminology. But I suppose that even this could be twisted into some sort of vague secular concept. I suspect that Obama meant to just say something like "through God", but slipped up.
I also realized that as a Christian it is my God given duty to pray for lost souls like Obama. As the opening quote from Isaiah affirms, God is full of mercy. It is not so much that God condemns us, as it is that we turn away from God and condemn ourselves. Our judgement may not come during this lifetime, but be assured that the time will come. And while Isaiah's prophecies may speak of the "sword" and "slaughter" for those who turn away from God, I don't believe that these should be taken literally in a physical sense. But I do believe that these are true words in terms of the punishment that the soul will suffer.
As Christians we should not wish that any souls should suffer in the after-life and that is the reason that we must pray for the conversion of the souls of sinners; a conversion from turning their backs on God, to facing God and walking towards Him. God will use us in His plan, whether we face Him or turn our backs on Him. He would prefer to use us as believers, but He will use the non-believers as well. But after the non-believers have been used, they will be thrown into the fire as Jesus described in John 15:6.
Jesus promised us the gift of the Holy Spirit. We usually take this for granted, but just imagine what the world would be like today if the Holy Spirit had not come after Christ's resurrection.