Obama on faith: The exclusive interview

Obama on Faith

The exclusive interview transcript

Click here to view my pictures from election night 2008 in Chicago!

Editor’s Note:
At 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, 2004, when I was the religion reporter (I left the paper in Jan 2010) at the Chicago Sun-Times, I met then-State Sen. Barack Obama at Café Baci, a small coffee joint at 330 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago, to interview him exclusively about his spirituality. Our conversation took place a few days after he’d clinched the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that he eventually won. We spoke for more than an hour. He came alone. He answered everything I asked without notes or hesitation. The profile of Obama that grew from the interview at Cafe Baci became the first in a series in the Sun-Times called “The God Factor,” that eventually became my first book, The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People (FSG, March 2006.) Because of the staggering interest in now-President Obama’s faith and spiritual predilections, I thought it might be helpful to share that interview, uncut and in its entirety, here.

GG

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Interview with State Sen. Barack Obama
3:30 p.m., Saturday March 27
Café Baci, 330 S. Michigan Avenue
Me: decaf
He: alone, on time, grabs a Naked juice protein shake

GG:
What do you believe?

OBAMA:
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.

(A patron stops and says, “Congratulations,” shakes his hand. “Thank you very much. I appreciate that. Thank you.”)

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.

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.

GG:
Have you always been a Christian?

OBAMA:
I was raised more by my mother and my mother was Christian.

GG:
Any particular flavor?

OBAMA:
No.

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.

And, so that, I think, was what I carried with me through college. I probably didn’t get started getting active in church activities until I moved to Chicago.

The way I came to Chicago in 1985 was that I was interested in community organizing and I was inspired by the Civil Rights movement. And the idea that ordinary people could do extraordinary things. And there was a group of churches out on the South Side of Chicago that had come together to form an organization to try to deal with the devastation of steel plants that had closed. And didn’t have much money, but felt that if they formed an organization and hired somebody to organize them to work on issues that affected their community, that it would strengthen the church and also strengthen the community.

So they hired me, for $13,000 a year. The princely sum. And I drove out here and I didn’t know anybody and started working with both the ministers and the lay people in these churches on issues like creating job training programs, or after school programs for youth, or making sure that city services were fairly allocated to under served communities.

This would be in Roseland, West Pullman, Altgeld Gardens, far South Side working class and lower income communities.

And it was in those places where I think what had been more of an intellectual view of religion deepened because I’d be spending an enormous amount of time with church ladies, sort of surrogate mothers and fathers and everybody I was working with was 50 or 55 or 60, and here I was a 23-year-old kid running around.

I became much more familiar with the ongoing tradition of the historic black church and it’s importance in the community.

And the power of that culture to give people strength in very difficult circumstances, and the power of that church to give people courage against great odds. And it moved me deeply.

So that, one of the churches I met, or one of the churches that I became involved in was Trinity United Church of Christ. And the pastor there, Jeremiah Wright, became a good friend. So I joined that church and committed myself to Christ in that church.

GG:
Did you actually go up for an altar call?

OBAMA:
Yes. Absolutely.
It was a daytime service, during a daytime service. And it was a powerful moment. Because, ti 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.

GG:
How long ago?

OBAMA:
16, 17 years ago
1987 or 88

GG:
So you got yourself born again?

OBAMA:
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. 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.

GG:
Do you still attend Trinity?

OBAMA:
Yep. Every week. 11 oclock service.

Ever been there? Good service.

I actually wrote a book called Dreams from My Father, it’s kind of a meditation on race. There’s a whole chapter on the church in that, and my first visits to Trinity.

GG:
Do you pray often?

OBAMA:
Uh, yeah, I guess I do.
Its’ not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I’m constantly asking myself questions about what I’m doing, why am I doing it.

One of the interesting things about being in public life is there are constantly these pressures being placed on you from different sides. To be effective, you have to be able to listen to a variety of points of view, synthesize viewpoints. You also have to know when to be just a strong advocate, and push back against certain people or views that you think aren’t right or don’t serve your constituents.

And so, the biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass. Those are the conversations I’m having internally. I’m measuring my actions against that inner voice that for me at least is audible, is active, it tells me where I think I’m on track and where I think I’m off track.

It’s interesting particularly now after this election, comes with it a lot of celebrity. And I always think of politics as having two sides. There’s a vanity aspect to politics, and then there’s a substantive part of politics. Now you need some sizzle with the steak to be effective, but I think it’s easy to get swept up in the vanity side of it, the desire to be liked and recognized and important. It’s important for me throughout the day to measure and to take stock and to say, now, am I doing this because I think it’s advantageous to me politically, or because I think it’s the right thing to do? Am I doing this to get my name in the papers or am I doing this because it’s necessary to accomplish my motives.

GG:
Checking for altruism?

OBAMA:
Yeah. I mean, something like it.
Looking for, … It’s interesting, the most powerful political moments for me come when I feel like my actions are aligned with a certain truth. I can feel it. When I’m talking to a group and I’m saying something truthful, I can feel a power that comes out of those statements that is different than when I’m just being glib or clever.

GG:
What’s that power? Is it the holy spirit? God?

OBAMA:
Well, I think it’s the power of the recognition of God, or the recognition of a larger truth that is being shared between me and an audience.

That’s something you learn watching ministers, quite a bit. What they call the Holy Spirit. They want the Holy Spirit to come down before they’re preaching, right? Not to try to intellectualize it but what I see is there are moments that happen within a sermon where the minister gets out of his ego and is speaking from a deeper source. And it’s powerful.

There are also times when you can see the ego getting in the way. Where the minister is performing and clearly straining for applause or an Amen. And those are distinct moments. I think those former moments are sacred.
GG:
Who’s Jesus to you?

(He laughs nervously)

OBAMA:
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.
GG:
Is Jesus someone who you feel you have a regular connection with now, a personal connection with in your life?

OBAMA:
Yeah. Yes. I think some of the things I talked about earlier are addressed through, are channeled through my Christian faith and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

GG:
Have you read the bible?

OBAMA:
Absolutely.
I read it not as regularly as I would like. These days I don’t have much time for reading or reflection, period.

GG:
Do you try to take some time for whatever, meditation prayer reading?

OBAMA:
I’ll be honest with you, I used to all the time, in a fairly disciplined way. But during the course of this campaign, I don’t. And I probably need to and would like to, but that’s where that internal monologue, or dialogue I think supplants my opportunity to read and reflect in a structured way these days.

It’s much more sort of as I’m going through the day trying to take stock and take a moment here and a moment there to take stock, why am I here, how does this connect with a larger sense of purpose.
GG:
Do you have people in your life that you look to for guidance?

OBAMA:
Well, my pastor is certainly someone who I have an enormous amount of respect for.
I have a number of friends who are ministers. Reverend Meeks is a close friend and colleague of mine in the state Senate. Father Michael Pfleger is a dear friend, and somebody I interact with closely.

GG:
Those two will keep you on your toes.

OBAMA:
And they’re good friends. Because both of them are in the public eye, there are ways we can all reflect on what’s happening to each of us in ways that are useful.

I think they can help me, they can appreciate certain specific challenges that I go through as a public figure.

GG:
Jack Ryan [Obama's Republican opponent in the U.S. Senate race at the time] said talking about your faith is frought with peril for a public figure.

OBAMA:
Which is why you generally will not see me spending a lot of time talking about it on the stump.

Alongside my own deep personal faith, I am a follower, as well, of our civic religion. I am a big believer in the separation of church and state. I am a big believer in our constitutional structure. I mean, I’m a law professor at the University of Chicago teaching constitutional law. I am a great admirer of our founding charter, and its resolve to prevent theocracies from forming, and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root ion this country.

As I said before, in my own public policy, I’m very suspicious of religious certainty expressing itself in politics.

Now, that’s different form a belief that values have to inform our public policy. I think it’s perfectly consistent to say that I want my government to be operating for all faiths and all peoples, including atheists and agnostics, while also insisting that there are values tha tinform my politics that are appropriate to talk about.

A standard line in my stump speech during this campaign is that my politics are informed by a belief that we’re all connected. That if there’s a child on the South Side of Chicago that can’t read, that makes a difference in my life even if it’s not my own child. If there’s a senior citizen in downstate Illinois that’s struggling to pay for their medicine and having to chose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer even if it’s not my grandparent. And if there’s an Arab American family that’s being rounded up by John Ashcroft without the benefit of due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

I can give religious expression to that. I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper, we are all children of God. Or I can express it in secular terms. But the basic premise remains the same. I think sometimes Democrats have made the mistake of shying away from a conversation about values for fear that they sacrifice the important value of tolerance. And I don’t think those two things are mutually exclusive.

GG:
Do you think it’s wrong for people to want to know about a civic leader’s spirituality?

OBAMA:

I don’t’ think it’s wrong. I think that political leaders are subject to all sorts of vetting by the public, and this can be a component of that.

I think that I am disturbed by, let me put it this way: I think there is an enormous danger on the part of public figures to rationalize or justify their actions by claiming God’s mandate.

I think there is this tendency that I don’t think is healthy for public figures to wear religion on their sleeve as a means to insulate themselves from criticism, or dialogue with people who disagree with them.

GG:
The conversation stopper, when you say you’re a Christian and leave it at that.

OBAMA:
Where do you move forward with that?

This is something that I’m sure I’d have serious debates with my fellow Christians about. 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 hell.

GG
You don’t believe that?

OBAMA:
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.

Part of the reason I think it’s always difficult for public figures to talk about this is that the nature of politics is that you want to have everybody like you and project the best possible traits onto you. Often times that’s by being as vague as possible, or appealing to the lowest common denominators. The more specific and detailed you are on issues as personal and fundamental as your faith, the more potentially dangerous it is.

GG:
Do you ever have people who know you’re a Christian question a particular stance you take on an issue, how can you be a Christian and …

OBAMA:
Like the right to choose.
I haven’t been challenged in those direct ways. And to that extent, I give the public a lot of credit. I’m always stuck by how much common sense the American people have. They get confused sometimes, watch Fox News or listen to talk radio. That’s dangerous sometimes. But generally, Americans are tolerant and I think recognize that faith is a personal thing, and they may feel very strongly about an issue like abortion or gay marriage, but if they discuss it with me as an elected official they will discuss it with me in those terms and not, say, as ‘you call yourself a Christian.’ I cannot recall that ever happening.

GG:
Do you get questions about your faith?

OBAMA:
Obviously as an African American politician rooted in the African American community, I spend a lot of time in the black church. I have no qualms in those settings in participating fully in those services and celebrating my God in that wonderful community that is the black church.

(he pauses)

But I also try to be . . . Rarely in those settings do people come up to me and say, what are your beliefs. They are going to presume, and rightly so. Although they may presume a set of doctrines that I subscribe to that I don’t necessarily subscribe to.

But I don’t think that’s unique to me. I think that each of us when we walk into our church or mosque or synagogue are interpreting that experience in different ways, are reading scriptures in different ways and are arriving at our own understanding at different ways and in different phases.

I don’t know a healthy congregation or an effective minister who doesn’t recognize that.

If all it took was someone proclaiming I believe Jesus Christ and that he died for my sins, and that was all there was to it, people wouldn’t have to keep coming to church, would they.

GG:
Do you believe in heaven?

OBAMA:
Do I believe in the harps and clouds and wings?

GG:
A place spiritually you go to after you die?

OBAMA:
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.

GG:
Do you believe in sin?

OBAMA:
Yes.

GG:
What is sin?

OBAMA:
Being out of alignment with my values.

GG:
What happens if you have sin in your life?

OBAMA:
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.

GG:
Where do you find spiritual inspiration? Music, nature, literature, people, a conduit you plug into?

OBAMA:
There are so many.
Nothing is more powerful than the black church experience. A good choir and a good sermon in the black church, it’s pretty hard not to be move and be transported.

I can be transported by watching a good performance of Hamlet, or reading Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, or listening to Miles Davis.
GG:
Is there something that you go back to as a touchstone, a book, a particular piece of music, a place …

OBAMA:
As I said before, in my own sort of mental library, the Civil Rights movement has a powerful hold on me. IT’s a point in time where I think heaven and earth meet. Because it’s a moment in which a collective faith transforms everything. So when I read Gandhi or I read King or I read certain passages of Abraham Lincoln and I think about those times where people’s values are tested, I think those inspire me.

GG:
What are you doing when you feel the most centered, the most aligned spiritually?

OBAMA:
I think I already described it. It’s when I’m being true to myself. And that can happen in me making a speech or it can happen in me playing with my kids, or it can happen in a small interaction with a security guard in a building when I’m recognizing them and exchanging a good word.

GG:
Is there someone you would look to as an example of how not to do it?

OBAMA:
Bin Laden.

(grins broadly)

GG:
… An example of a role model, who combined everything you said you want to do in your life, and your faith?

OBAMA:
I think Gandhi is a great example of a profoundly spiritual man who acted and risked everything on behalf of those values but never slipped into intolerance or dogma. He seemed to always maintain an air of doubt about him.

I think Dr. King, and Lincoln. Those three are good examples for me of people who applied their faith to a larger canvas without allowing that faith to metastasize into something that is hurtful.

GG:
Can we go back to that morning service in 1987 or 88 — when you have a moment that you can go back to that as an epiphany…

OBAMA:
It wasn’t an epiphany.
It was much more of a gradual process for me. I know there are some people who fall out. Which is wonderful. God bless them. For me it was probably because there is a certain self-consciousness that I possess as somebody with probably too much book learning, and also a very polyglot background.

GG:
It wasn’t like a moment where you finally got it? It was a symbol of that decision?

OBAMA:
Exactly. I think it was just a moment to certify or publicly affirm a growing faith in me.

-END-

131 Comments

131 thoughts on “Obama on faith: The exclusive interview

  1. Anita Davis

    As I read the comments the President made about his beliefs. I see one that truly makes me scared and sad. His stated he does not have time to study Gods word. He would like too be able to do more but just is too busy. If we are so busy we do not have time for God, the Bible says he will not have time for us. Either we are for him or against him. It makes him sick, he says we are neither hot nor cold and he will spew us out of his mouth. Can we say we make God sick the way we conduct ourselves and run the country. If we have leaders that will admit they are too busy for God, we do not need them. We as a collective group of Americans should be on our knees praying to God, that he will spare us longer so we can turn back to him and his teachings. We are on a fast slide down hill and I pray we will wake up before we destroy ourselves. God can help us turn around and wants us to but it is up to us. He will not make us, as he did not make his people in the Old Testament. We have a choice. I pray we will choose to stop our sinful ways and get back to trying to better our selves and teach our family to follow and trust God to let us keep our freedoms. We are letting the world take our children. Gangs, drugs, hatred, lack of concern for others is growing rapidly. Can’t we see we are sitting by and letting people within and without our country destroy us. WAKE UP. AMERICA before it is too late to turn back.

    • JJ

      ha! I knew exactly that this type of ‘comment” would be soon forthcoming! Some will always think that “THEY” have the only right way! :) Which is really what’s wrong with this country – is and always has been!

      • President Obama says he is a Christian yet does not believe the basic tenet of Christianity which is Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven. I’m not saying anyone else has to be a Christian, but I AM saying that if you claim to be one, the main belief is that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. He’s wrong and I pity him for that.

        Anyone who does not believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven and is not born again, will not see Heaven and will spend an eternity in hell. Not my rules, those are God’s rules and we must abide by what our Creator has said.

        Also, if you choose not to believe, that is your free will choice, however, you will pay the consequences of unbelief with an eternity in hell. I don’t say this to be mean, I say this because I don’t wish that on anyone. I pray the President Obama will repent of his evil ways and TRULY accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior, if he did, he would stop these awful things he is doing and help America and her people rather than hinder them.

      • sally mulkey

        fact ; Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. If there would have been any other way , then God would not have let his only son die like he did for the sins of all man kind, and God does not send any one to hell they choose to go when they reject the only way that God has given. Now if i am wrong about that than i have nothing to loose ,but my friend if you are wrong you will have all eternity to regret it.

    • Raul Ocasio

      Let me just say…I love people like you so close to god and know so much :) I am just 12 and I try to get as close to god as I can. You know how kids my age like to curse and that stuff well when I became saved (ill admit it I sinned) I cut down everything by everything I just mean cursing that’s the one thing that was easy to catch…..I never lie, steal, cheat, or anything else. I still try to read the bible more, I basically try to be as good as possible im confident of going to Heaven but its just the thought of death I really believe Heaven is paradise but there is still a lot of questions I have unanswered that’s scaring me because im not getting no answers and I can kinda be how you say “over worried” and even teachers that support god to be honest I only know what that ive talked to before about this not a full lengthly conversation but good enough to were I knew….I knew enough

    • We all have times of being busy, and not being busy, raising a family, a new job. It’s not an excuse, but life. So what would Jesus do – throw away the whole person for a sin or a misstep? If you are looking for dirt you will find it, but you will probably miss all the good that is there. Live in your dirt filled life, or look for the light and enjoy.

  2. Thanks for sharing this.
    What an honest interview that was – with no hint of trying to put on a faith that is not real for him for political purposes. His suspicion of absolute certaintity is very refreshing – few admit to being in that place. Certainly few American politicians do it – as far as we in the UK can see.
    Such an interview, for me, makes him more trustworthy rather than less.
    Dyfed.

  3. Lindsey

    Thanks fo much for sharing this! @Anita- I believe that you are taking one statement out of context. Just because someone does not have time to read the Bible as often as they would like does not mean that they are not spending time with God. He never once said that he was so busy that he did not have time for God. That is an inference that you made when you read this. He stated that he prays daily and has a personal relationship with Christ. Is God not with him just because he is not reading the Bible daily?

    • Amanda

      Yeah…I think that actually makes him a better Christian than some of us…His transparency is actually painful at times…in a good way.

    • Debi Brewer

      Actually,he didn’t say he prayed daily. He said he talked with himself. In fact, he was very vague and not definite on anything. It sounded like answers given to questions asked about something he was pretty ignorant about. Yes, very vague.

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  5. Danielle

    No one has the right to look down on anyone for their interpretations of their beliefs. We all take from the Bible what we feel is right. Who is to say either is wrong? I do believe there is a life after death. I do believe there is a Heaven and a Hell and I surely prefer to go to Heaven, but that is my choice to believe. People need to worry about themselves more rather than others. I do not believe that the God I know would condemn a man to life in Hell if he was never tought or shown the way. If a person was born blind and never seen the sea, how could that person tell you the sea is blue? From what they are told? Blue may be purple to many and we will never know it because we don’t share the same eyes, vision. Whatever Barrack believes is good for him, but the truth shall be revealed when judgement day comes. It will come. And all shall be clear then. No more: he’s wrong, she’s wrong. We will all see.

  6. Lynne Clark

    I have been listening a lot on this latest issue of Mr Obama allowing Muslims freedom of choice in building a mosque where 9/11 was and I first of all was really upset and still am in some respect as I know the muslims expect us to allow them to choose and have freedom, but they don’t like us christians having faith and sharing our faith in freedom and that is what scares me and also made me very disappointed in Mr Obama since he says he is a Christian, but after reading your interview, I saw a different side of Baraka Obama, and although I still don’t agree with what he is doing, I see the christian light coming from him, you did a great job on the interview and he answered truthfully and openly, God bless you

  7. mark gerst

    Wow! Very refreshing. Maybe you should share it with Fox News.

  8. Kathleen

    “God lives within you as you”. Hearing that quote years ago helped me learn to pay attention to my internal voice. I’m retired now, but my new goal in life is to create joy! It is easy to do with a smile, a kind remark, a compliment, a little encouragement. And I even have a very small budget I can use at the $1 store.

    Try it! Its the best way to make 1+1=3 that I know of.

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  10. Margie Fultz

    I read a lot more in this interview than not having time to study the Bible, which would be important if you are claiming Christianity as your faith, because you had better know it.
    He seems to go on the assumption that he is practicing faith when he feels he is doing something right, not going by what God has to say is right. This is disturbing. He wants to believe in a higher power but seems to not want to follow what this higher power says. If you are a christian, God will be first, and not even your job as president, wanting to please everyone would take precedence over that.

    I see a Oprah Winfrey type of belief that good people will get rewarded and their beliefs are not so important. I believe many good people will go to hell if they don’t believe in one path to God through Jesus Christ His son, and I did not make this up. Obama mentions their our many paths to the same place. I can see if many people believe that why four fifths of them may go to hell if the true christians do not show them Christ’s love and reach out to them.

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  15. Bryan Mason

    In 2 different places in this interview, Obama expresses a belief that he himself is God, at least for himself.

    In Christianity, the definition of sin is typically considered to be “rebellion against God’s will” which can also be expressed as not being in alignment with God’s values. When Obama is asked what he considers sin, he replies with “being out of alignment with my values.” In other words, he can only sin against himself. Either God doesn’t care, or he believes himself to be God in some kind of new age way.

    Second, when asked how often he prays, he says throughout the day. Then he says “I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I’m constantly asking myself questions about what I’m doing, why am I doing it.” He says he converses with God all day, and then goes on to explain that those conversations are actually with himself. So, he thinks that he is God.

    I’ve heard many accuse him of being an egomaniac who had self-delusions of godhood, but I didn’t believe it until now. Very interesting….and very scary.

  16. Phil

    I expect that many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians will have a negative response to this interview, because then-Senator Obama did not give the easy canned responses about his beliefs. He could have given the Apostles Creed and carefully toed that line, but he did not. He expressed his Christianity as a force that continues to grow and evolve in his life. Most importantly, he expressed openness to that which he does not fully understand. Conservative Christians are looking for stasis. They like concrete answers. They don’t like change & uncertainty even though they live amid God’s creation, which is continually coming into being, growing, dying, evolving. Since God did not create stasis, I would suggest then-Senator Obama’s Christianity is far more consistent with God and his handiwork than daily Bible reading or professing a simple creed. But some can’t see the forest…

    • JJ

      - -Phil – – as a good and “well programmed” Conservative Christian would say: AMEN BROTHER! :)
      THank you for an intelligent response to an intelligent man’s interview!

    • phil…..your premise that God does not create stasis, assumes that God then, himself is not static. however, His own word to us describes Him and unchanging…the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. therefore, God’s values would be unchanging also. while our faith may personal be a force that elvolves….it is meaningless if it does not evolve towards alignment with what God declares in His written word. that is the guide He has given us. not some ‘voive’ in our heads.

      • silvawebdev

        Just because God does not change does not mean that his creation does not change – it does. There is one constant in the world it is change – The bible may have the same words, but has the “word” always been spoken the same? Can you honestly agree with all your friends about every definition of every aspect of Christianity – and condemn those with similar, but slightly different definitions to hell?

    • Grey

      Can you verify this interview. At first I really didn’t believe you, but after a few moments I realized that Obama was just as big a liar then as he is today. No surprize.

  17. Naje`

    Obama is nothing more than a mere human being like us all. The words he used were profound and do hold meaning, but no more than the next man. He obviously says what he means and appears delighted to do so. So it is important that we understand that even though he is sincere in his every word, that does not mean that his every word is sincerely true. There is plenty that he does not understand, but seemingly wishes to think that he does. One point to address, we as Christians all share the same goal and body in Christ. There is no fruit on one tree that can bare fruit on another. Similarly, there is no one fruit that can grow on two separate trees. I am one to always pray,” God please protect us, even from ourselves,” because we tend to cause ourselves to stray from the faith. Some of the things Obama believes, conflicts with the Christian faith he is suppose to be committed to. He is straying, due to trying to please the world’s desires. It is dynamically important to remember & consistently study the truth, in order not to lose sight. May the truth be consistently given to Obama. Furthermore, children go to heaven if they die because they do not yet hold the capacity to understand the Sovereignty of Jesus Christ or He Himself. That is why the judgement day was subject to be held during the ending times because that gives everyone a chance at Life. God be with our fellow in Christ & feed him the food that he can digest, until he is ready for the main courses. Amen.

  18. Naje`

    Obama is nothing more than a mere human being like us all. The words he used were profound and do hold meaning, but no more than the next man. He obviously says what he means and appears delighted to do so. So it is important that we understand that even though he is sincere in his every word, that does not mean that his every word is sincerely true. There is plenty that he does not understand, but seemingly wishes to think that he does. One point to address, we as Christians all share the same goal and body in Christ. There is no fruit on one tree that can bare fruit on another. Similarly, there is no one fruit that can grow on two separate trees. I am one to always pray,” God please protect us, even from ourselves,” because we tend to cause ourselves to stray from the faith. Some of the things Obama believes, conflicts with the Christian faith he is suppose to be committed to. He is straying, due to trying to please the world’s desires. It is dynamically important to remember & consistently study the truth, in order not to lose sight. May the truth be consistently given to Obama. Furthermore, children go to heaven if they die because they do not yet hold the capacity to understand the Sovereignty of Jesus Christ or He Himself. I think that, that was a low blow to the Christian faith. Obama was not in line when he said that & proves his true understanding. That is why the judgement day was subject to be held during the “Ending Times” because that gives everyone a chance at Life. God be with our fellow in Christ & feed him the food that he can digest, until he is ready for the main courses, if he indeed is as he says he is. Amen.

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  20. Cherish

    Thank you for sharing. This was very interesting and sad because it reveals to me that he is not a Christian (at least, he wasn’t at the time of this interview it seems).

    When you asked him who Jesus was to him – he didn’t confess/mention Him as Lord and Savior, but rather as “a historical figure… a wonderful teacher” and someone he feels he has a relationship with… BUT…

    When you asked if he didn’t believe that people who don’t accept Jesus (as Lord and Savior) would go to hell, he stated:

    “…Part of the reason I think it’s always difficult for public figures to talk about this is that the nature of politics is that you want to have everybody like you and project the best possible traits onto you. Often times that’s by being as vague as possible, or appealing to the lowest common denominators. The more specific and detailed you are on issues as personal and fundamental as your faith, the more potentially dangerous it is.”

    I WISH, WISH, WISH you would’ve asked him: “But… isn’t that what Jesus did? He was very specific and detailed on issues. He wasn’t concerned about people liking him. What makes you think, as a Christian/Believer, that you shouldn’t do the same?”

    Dang, right about now, I’m sorry that I voted for him.

    • JJ

      Sorry you voted for him? — because YOUR way IS the only way – right?
      WRONG!
      But glad for you that YOUR way makes you happy!

    • Amanda

      I really feel that Christ respects that we work out our own salvation…Obama’s honesty here is refreshing and shows depth and true interest in the Christian faith…which is more than a lot of Christians can say about themselves.

      • angmom2005

        If we work out our own salvation then why did Jesus die? If we can do it ourselves then he died in vain. Galatians 2:21

    • angmom2005

      I agree definately lacking fundamental beliefs that would profess he believes in Jesus! Now 3 yrs later how do you all feel about him!?

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  22. Ashley

    I’m with Cherish. Every point-blank question he was asked drew a meandering response with no substance….at least no substance that anyone could argue with. This doesn’t mean he cannot do right as President; it just means that he’s not a Christian.

    • silvawebdev

      Anyone can just repeat what they know their interviewer, or audience wants to hear – Obama is a smart man and knows exactly what people want to hear, but far from being a manipulator, a deceiver he is giving you what he believes unlike almost any public figure I know of – or priest. Would you really feel better if he lied as so many Christians do just to make you feel warm and fuzzy? Btw, please list all the do’s and dont’s of your version of Christianity so we know where you are coming from and can address those issues – and perhaps some other Christians can screen you out because you have some different views from their list.

  23. Jeff

    He says he is a christian and that he has a relationship with Christ. But yet, he says he believes there many paths to heaven, and that he doesn’t believe that anyone who does not have a relationship with Christ will not go to hell. SORRY people!…..Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life and no comes the the Father except through me”….Jesus told Nichodemus in John 3:3 that the ONLY way to heaven was “you must be born again”. Obama can not be a true christian and not believe what Jesus has said. Obama’s statements contradict what Jesus said…..so who do you believe more..Obama or Jesus Christ?!….the bible says “it is by grace that we are saved, not by works”….so if Obama thinks he can just do the best he can and that is all that it takes then he really is an idiot!!!!!!…….His actions show me he is a muslim, but trying to fool the American people by calling himself a christian…..One day every knee (including Obama’s) will bow and every tongue confess (including Obama’s) that Jesus Christ is LORD!!!

  24. Richie

    The self-honesty that runs through this article gives me confidence that our country is being led by a man who thinks though his decisions.

    • amazingrace22

      Its 2012 and he didnt think thru this country’s checkbook …we are ruined! He didnt think thru borrowing money from China…This man has an agenda and I want him out!

    • Amanda

      Totally agree.

  25. Paul

    President Obama’s honesty and candor in this interview is courageous. The fundamentalists in our world (those both at home and in foreign lands) will never be happy with the answers — though I cannot fathom any reasonable person continuing to question where our President stands on faith after reading this interview.

    @Jeff — the bible is full of contradictions.. Your interpretation of the bible is not the only one out there — and a major problem in our country today is just that — we are all different and we all see, read and hear things differently. It’s called interpretation. Now if we can all just learn another word that Jesus used quite a bit — tolerance.

    • Peace

      @ Paul – I have searched the bible thoroughly and found that Jesus never once uttered the word “tolerance”. I appreciate then-Senator Obama’s candor regarding his beliefs, however, he is more of a Universalist than a Christian. The biggest tenant of Christianity is that Jesus went to the cross and died for our sins. When Mr. Obama was asked what he believed about Jesus he replied, “Jesus is an historical figure for me”. For Christians, Jesus does not merely live in history, He lives in us! I believe that Mr. Obama is sincere in his personal philosophies, but his idea of Christianity is simply an idea and does not line up with the God of the bible.

      • JJ

        “Jesus lives in us” — – that is YOUR belief – having assumed that what you have been taught about the bible is “Truth”. BUT! Is it? That is the question we all seek to find the answer to and many/most , do not. THe “Stories” and accounts of Jesus life on earth – were all written a decade or more after he was on earth – and by those who never knew him! (all hearsay and stories passed down and re-interpreted as years passed , just like that game called “Gossip”)
        So – it’s wonderful if those stories make you feel happy and secure , but don’t be quite so sure that YOUR beliefs are so perfect!

      • Peace

        You’re right, JJ. “Jesus lives in us”, is my belief and the belief of people who actively label themselves as Christians. I respect your right to find truth in your life. For me, and those who call themselves Christians, Jesus is the truth. I have been taught many things but what I have studied and learned for myself is that Jesus is the right choice for my life; He is my truth. My previous statement was in response to the word “tolerance” in relation to things attributed to Jesus. If you can find where Jesus instructed his people to be tolerant in the bible please let me know. I have studied the scriptures where Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love one another. Love is then defined in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. From our own pale lives we recognize that love is not tolerant, it is forgiving and there is a huge difference between those two words. Tolerance means you lay down for your beating and smile when it’s over. Forgiving means you can be upset about the situation, but then you let it go and don’t hold it against them later. Forgiveness is a lot harder than tolerance because when you tolerate something you are usually seething about it on the inside; it’s mental bondage. Forgiveness is a day to day willful desire to let the offenses of the past remain in the past without influencing the present.

        JJ, my response was not a personal attack against you or anyone else. What I believe, I believe is right for me. I don’t know what you believe but you seem a little angry at every one you responded to for having an opinion that is different than yours. My spiritual journey has led me to Jesus. Where has yours led you? Are you enjoying your life? Have you found that inner peace that makes the hard times bearable? If you have I am genuinely happy for you, but if not, then I encourage you to investigate and find your joy. I have noticed that most people have very little understanding of the bible and Jesus but lots to say about him. I know, because I used to be quite critical of all things Christian, but I received a life changing challenge one day. Someone said to me, simply, “read the book”! So I did, and I am irrevocably changed.

        The main reason I do not think “Christian” is an accurate description of Mr. Obama’s spiritual journey is because everything he says pertains to himself or an internal dialogue taking place in his mind. God communicates with our spirits, not our minds. Someone with an experience with God speaks of the spiritual birth that transpires when God truly enters in. There is an inexplicable joy that invades ones countenance when speaking of the moment you let God in your heart. Everyone expresses themselves differently but the truth of the expression is the truth of God. God is supernatural, not metaphysical, not intellectual. He is supernatural and by definition supersedes anything we can think him to be. Therefore Mr. Obama’s thoughts on God do not constitute being a Christian.

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  27. Marc-the-Pooh

    Obama’s faith runs parallel to mine when he says: “…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.”

    I share the same spiritual principles that the President has, and I happen to think and know that I am living the spirituality that is defining the 21st century man. It is a mysticism that transcends religious boundaries, and it is one which is spiritually transforming humanity and, eventually, the world we live in.

    When I supported his candidacy for President, I did feel and sense that quality or aspect of spirituality in him. To those who will find fault in our spiritual beliefs regardless of religious background or faith orientation: Do grow up. We are now living well into the 21st century.

    • JJ

      OH! So well said!

    • John h

      Obama’s beliefs mirror many others in Church and society. I hear echos of what he says in this interview everywhere. It’s taking what you like in Christianity and taking out what you dislike and throwing in your homespun philosophy and ideas from popular culture. I believe it is called mixture. I don’t agree with this watering down of Christianity. His views are similar to some of Abraham Lincoln’s views an Christianity, and many of America’s founding fathers held similar beliefs.

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  29. William M

    What we have here on this forum is a discussion and clash over absolute v. subjective truth. Christianity (orthodox, but not necessarily fundamentalist) has historically claimed what we see in I Corinthians 15:3-8. Now the implications what that means theologically have been worked out through various theologians (some authentic believers and others not) for thousands of years. But orthodoxy has traditionally been found in one’s believe in the exclusivity of the Gospel. Now, you can make various accusations about events in church history and choose to be skeptical; that is your right not as a person. However, it is absurd that any of you would be angry with someone for absolute beliefs in an age where any belief is permitted. Peoples beliefs are based on their social conditioning; therefore it fails logic to be angry with people who have grown up with absolute beliefs. Now, there are no wrong beliefs; we have only begun to explore the dark corridor of what it means to be human; the infusion of power and control we have over our lives and the destinies of others. Nothing is certain; everything is perhaps permissible. You can argue societal ethics all you want but at the end of the day, society is as fickle as politician. Can you blame people for wanting certainty in a world where suddenly no certainty exists? When all is chaos and without meaning, except by the meaning we give it, why then do you begrudge those who have decided to find meaning in absolute truth. Can we say that Muslims who turn to violent jihad are unjustified in their faith in eternal paradise if they endure pain for only a second? Does life not bring enough pain in of itself to make the act worth giving everything for? Who is to say that we should eliminate a group of us who are lagging behind in the evolutionary cycle; maybe perhaps we need to be rid of the religious people for good…rid the world of their filth? We would have a golden utopia of all of us would just give ourselves over to the wisdom of Eastern Mysticism; harnessing the power of our “spirit” inside of us to attain peace and oneness with natural universe. If there is no certainty; why could not any path lead to God…but is that a God worth pursuing? Shall we find love for a God who will let anyone and everyone into his presence and in his favor? Is their truly righteousness where there is not justice? Shall we all just be allowed to walk in having done what was only in our biological programming to do? Perhaps it is God who is to blame? Perhaps, we would be better off without him/her/it then…maybe we are alone. Maybe all that matters is power; history is after all determined by the victors and not the vanquished. Shall I take what is my neighbors since it will give me greater dominion over him? What, how can this be wrong? There is no wrong; we have escaped the archaic notions of good and evil; we have determined that we are all there is and our survival is more important than anything else. But it is not just about survival anymore; its about dominance. Love is reserved for those who I can use to my advantage and even this I can use as a tool to dominate my fellow man. Depravity? What depravity exists, when I have become god and do whatever I please. Oh, society will stop me? Well, then I will raise up another society and my society will crush yours…then who is to tell me what is depraved? Civilization is built by those who are willing to transcend reality; they are the ones who define what is real to everyone else. What is reality but what we make it? If those who believe in absolute truth wish to assert their reality, then the only logical and I will daresay, necessary way to deal with them is extermination. They shall not ruin our chance to make “heavens and the earth” in our image and fulfill our every desire. When are we going to decide to rise up and finally fight these men and women who still live in the world of the 1st century rather than the 21st? Shall we always be under their dominion; under their hate for freedom and tolerance? Everyone is justified to believe what they wish, but at the day the one with bigger weapons wins; might has always and will always define right. So, stop arguing with these fanatics and destroy them once and for all…our world is at stake. I do not blame them for their beliefs; but at the end of the day they stand in the way of our future…and they will be punished for it.

    Or maybe that is all wrong; maybe there is something to what these people are saying. Maybe there is a reason they believe that Jesus Christ is the only way; maybe he is the only one who can really save us. Maybe there is something to the belief of this sect of Judaism, that claims Jesus Christ is alive. That only way to be reunited and reconciled to God is through him; that all other religions point in half truth/half error at something that was lost after the Fall; after we made the choice to pursue freedom without love. Perhaps the Creation is paying a heavy price for the sin of ape-related creatures God decided to place his image upon. Maybe God has been trying to communicate to us throughout the years since that time but all that we have been able to hear is static, because we are broken. God knew this, so he orchestrated everything so that he could come down and tell us himself; in the form of Jesus Christ. Maybe this same Christ lived the sinless; love enraptured existence completely connected to God that our ancestors failed to do. This allowed him, the God-man, to take the responsibility for the freedom he gave us and pay the necessary price to redeem us from our disgusting state. What if God, actually turned his wrath, his gun, upon himself; so that anyone who would believe in him; would be restored both here and when the world is renewed. What if he did rise from the dead; as the martyrs went to their graves testifying, some dying as grizzly a death as being fed to lions for sport? They still die today, all around the blackened, rebellious earth…

    You see it really does come down to belief. It comes down to what or rather who you put your trust in. An empiricist will have great difficulty accepting any religious belief whatsoever. A skeptic and an inclusive will always have a hard time find truth amongst so many viable options. But has that really changed from the 1st century? Were there not options then too? Were they not debating the same things? Have we really progressed as much as our pride would have us to believe? Is orthodoxy absurd? Yes, or course it is! But so is pluralism; so is atheism; so is just about any idea or vision that has ever lighted up the human eyes. At the end of the day its not about evidence; because there are valiant apologists on all sides. It isn’t really about dominance either because all groups have had their share violence done to them. At the end of the day, what is really is about faith and believe; it is a choice based on conviction. It is what one perceives as true. Could I be wrong? Yes, we all could be wrong. Is that any reason to refuse to stand for orthodoxy or heterodoxy if we so choose? Is God happy with our lukewarmness…would he not rather we believe or go home?

    Tolerance is wonderful; if we have the humility to listen to the intolerant. Tolerance benefits a society as long as we forgo our judgments about one another; because we are all human and if I am correct, made in the image of God. Tolerance turns ugly when we are allowed to hold nothing tightly from the idea that somehow this keep us from being absurd. We will always be absurd; we will always have ideas and visions that are not right. Be courageous and be willing to look for truth wherever it is found; continue to talk and continue to disagree. Else our society, the great Enlightenment experiment, will fail and might/the majority will make right.

  30. Ashley

    Oh, my….

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  32. forevermax

    I’ll bet if he had been asked if he believes Jesus is the Son of God, he would have said
    NO. He can say he’s a Christian all he wants, but I see no sign of Christ in him.
    He stands for too many things the Word of God condemns. I recalll he wouldn’t even speak at a Catholic University unless they put a cloth over a crucifix of Jesus which was
    behind the podium. That’s not what Christians do!
    The guys a Muslim…for sure!

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  34. There is a difference between being “religious” and being “spiritual.” When one is truly spiritual, one learns to bridge and to narrow the huge gaps between and among religious systems and cultures. A truly spiritual person cannot be just a Christian or just a Muslim or just a Jew or just a Buddhist, etc. A truly spiritual person embraces all faiths equally, or none at all. If you comprehend this and practice it in life, then you are a true spiritual person.

    It is refreshing to know that President Obama is a spiritual person.

    • I think when you do what you just stated, you have smoked weed.

    • Sally J

      That’s YOUR definition of a spiritual person. The definition of many people of a spiritual person is someone who is committed in their faith – whether it be Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc., or as you have said, a combination of different faiths.

    • EA

      Spiritual? Maybe. Christian? No, at least in terms of historic Christianity. What Obama describes in this interview is a melange of feel good sentiments and New Age beliefs that leverage some Christian vocabulary. Obama has created his own version of religion with himself as the touchstone of right or wrong. No surprise, it’s very common these days.

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  38. Rich2201

    He appears to be a spiritual person and has accepted Christ as his savior. But he’s not well informed, scripturally. He didn’t know how to answer the born again question, he doesn’t seem to recall that Christ promised eternal life and everlasting life, and he has not been touched with man’s essential need of salvation (see Romans, chapter 1). I appreciate his attitude about doubt – I interpret to mean the same thing as openness to new revelation.

    In my own experience, I have found that you can be spiritual without knowing the Bible. However, it is an unguided, unsure spirituality. A Christian’s spirituality is informed by the living Word of God. When you have a rich store of verses in your being, the Spirit can call them to mind when the time is right.

    Is it not important that, as a Christian, your values are informed by your faith and your faith is solidly based on the sure foundation of the written word of God? That is where he is lacking.

    We’ve had protestant and Catholic presidents, many of whom have been occasional church-goers with a less than sound understanding or appreciation of faith. We’ve also had clearly grounded, born again presidents. I don’t see a strong correlation between the soundness of their theology and the successes or failures of their administrations.

    There is not a shred of evidence here that he is a muslim. He’s just a Christian with a kind of amorphous theology. There are many in the US who fall into this category.

    Anyhow, the dude is President. Not pastor, not elder, not pope. We live in a society that promises freedom of religion to all. If we only vote for candidates based on their particular sect, we have no hope but to be divided and in danger of losing our uniquely American experience for our future generations.

    The French have a saying, “Politicians are like toilets. They don’t have to be pretty. They just have to work.”

  39. Mike

    Of course, it is not considered at all fashionable in polite society today to declare so bold a reverence for, never mind a reliance on, God’s Word and providence as did our 40th President. And if you want to gain the approval of the anointed societal advancers, it is just flat out.
    And, clearly, our nation is so much the better for that today.

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  43. Sara

    GG,
    It seems that quotes from your interview with Obama are all over the internet (that’s what led me here! :). But one quote (‘All people of faith—Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, everyone knows the same God’) I could not find here. Is this something your removed or have people erroneously attributed it to you? If the latter is true, do you know its origins? Thanks!

  44. Sated

    A very smart and articulate man who probably does genuinely struggle with spiritual issues and probably does find comfort in the church as he described it. But at the heart of it he is a cynical, superior, politician covering all his bases. Go back and read how the interview began:
    “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.”
    Got all religious voting blocs covered. I prefer less style and more substance.

  45. cliff cash

    i LOVE how you people on this thread get to decide that he isn’t a christian…. wow. Let me share something with you. That energy and ugliness of going around and telling everyone what they are or are not and who’s going to Heaven and who isn’t, THAT is exactly what is turning modern America away from God and away from Christ. You don’t have that right. You never have. You never will. You are 1 in 7 billion people on this planet and the only thing I can tell you for sure about your relationship with God is that you are absolutely in no way more important to him or more righteous than Barrack Obama. To have the attitude of judgement and condemnation and walk around draped in a false righteousness that you think you earned with words, is a way bigger sin than any of the ones you could be judging. If you think that God is pleased with you for behaving in a way that turns his children away from him, I will pray for you.

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  48. Joe

    Most of the comments sound like the writers drink too much kool aid. Not once did Obama proclaim he is a born again christian or that he believes Jesus died to save our souls. I heard him keep returning to feel good salvation….Serial killers say they feel good about what they do, I guess they are men of GOD also.

  49. Folks, anyone who IS a Christian knows that President Obama does not believe the most basic tenet of Christianity which is Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven. It does not matter whether we like it or do not like it, we have the free will to believe or not to believe, but it does not change the facts that Jesus is the only way to Heaven.

    President Obama says he is a Christian yet does not believe the basic tenet of Christianity which is Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven. I’m not saying anyone else has to be a Christian, but I AM saying that if you claim to be one, the main belief is that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. He’s wrong and I pity him for that.

    Anyone who does not believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven and is not born again, will not see Heaven and will spend an eternity in hell. Not my rules, those are God’s rules and we must abide by what our Creator has said.

    Also, if you choose not to believe, that is your free will choice, however, you will pay the consequences of unbelief with an eternity in hell. I don’t say this to be mean, I say this because I don’t wish that on anyone. I pray the President Obama will repent of his evil ways and TRULY accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior, if he did, he would stop these awful things he is doing and help America and her people rather than hinder them.

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  52. Great interview and article, it gives a better perspective of the President’s personal faith and beliefs. And I agree with the statement about, a Hindu child. God is a loving God and He won’t send half of the world to hell for not being a Christian. It doesn’t make sense to me. Thank You for posting this. YES WE CAN CHANGE http://closetohomeministries.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/yes-we-can-change/

  53. Tanya

    The Bible says the the path to salvation is narrow and few will find it, but the path to destruction is wide and most will go that way. Sad, but true, if you really believe that the bible is God’s word. That belief is diminishing in today’s world.

  54. kevo

    The good thing is that he is honest about his faith.As christians we got to put 100% of our belief in Jesus Christ.Heaven and Hell is real and the bible confirms it.A true follower shows love and obedience to his master and the bible confirms it as well.Its not a debatable argument or whatever one may call it but its the simple truth.Jesus is the TRUTH.believe it or not!

    • JK

      Perhaps it is not a “debatable argument — but what is the crux of it all is do you truly believe the Bible is GOD’s word — or the men who “claim” to have been inspired by God???? I don’t. Many supposed “Men of God” have predicted the end of the world on special days – that have passed! Joseph Smith SAYS he was inspired by God to take many wives! (I think he was inspired by his own “desires” . So You believe what you believe – – that’s fine if you are happier because of your beliefs. But many of us feel differently. And to believe YOUR way and beliefs is the only way – – ??? hmn – very arrogant ! Just remember to be kind and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I see waaaay too much unkindness in so many who believe the Bible is GOD’s word – And the disrespect and hatred shown our president by the same “upright” Godfearing, followers of it and Jesus Christ — is shameful!

      • Roadside Prophet

        To everyone on here debating….

        This article was very very insightful. It answered my questions without a doubt as to what the President believes. Thank you.

        You all have the right to believe whatever you want! However, remember that you are bound to those beliefs, those choices. So choose wisely as the penalty could be quite high.

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  59. Robert Chenault

    Much can be learned by what he didn’t say. He had every opportunity to confess Jesus is his personal savior. A Christian is defined as a “follower of Christ”. Christ did instruct but in the context of knowing Him and understanding that He is the way, the truth, and life; no one comes to the Father but through Him.” Jesus gave His life so that our sins would be pardoned by the Father. I don’t know one Christian, given the opportunity to proclaim Christ as their savior, would not do so. I also don’t know one that would say that Jesus was a teacher. I believe Obama’s answer was one of political calculation as any Christian knows that there is only one path to the Father; not many as Obama proclaims.

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  61. Just Me

    I am a true believer in God. I rarely go to church, read the Bible, or even traditionally pray, but I call myself a Christian. I may not agree with President Obama’s whole statement, but this much I do… I talk to God not only daily, but throughout the day. I talk to Him as if He were sitting right beside me, or walking with me wherever I may be or whatever I may be doing. I generally believe what the Bible says, but also believe that there may be some things that got lost or even added in translation. My thing is, that for so long the church kept the Word of God from the people. Only the priests, or holy men, were allowed to see, read, and translate the Bible. Though they may have been men of God they were still MEN, and we all know MAN is a self serving creature, and not in any way perfect. I rely on my personal relationship with God to point me in the right direction. I rely on God to tell me where to go and what to do. I sin, according to the Bible, we all sin and fall short of the glory God, but I ask Him to forgive me, show me how to correct what I am doing wrong, and to show me the sins that I may be unaware of. I trust in Him and believe with all my heart that He will guide me when I ask Him to. I trust He will forgive me as many times as I ask for it. If you’re a hardcore believer, good for you, but don’t knock me because my relationship is no less than yours. I believe that I have a very strong relationship with Him because I don’t just stop by once or twice a week, I communicate with my Father every day, all day. Jesus also said ” where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am also”. All this to say, who are you to judge? ( also in the Bible) Who are you to say if President Obama is a Christian, or even what a Christian is? My motto is ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME. So please all you hardcore Christians, get off your high horse, you are no better than anyone else, you cannot presume to know the mind of God.

  62. Mike Ozbolt

    There is no proof from this interview that President Obama is a Christian. If he were a Christian, his statements would most likely offend most of you. His statements about Christ would be synonymous with what he reads in his bible. “That there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved.” Christ’s very own claims about himself were offensive to many because he claimed to be God, the only god of the Torah, who created man and existed before Abraham. If you find these claims to be offensive it is because you don’t want to admit that Jesus was God. If you were to admit to yourself that Jesus was God you would have to recognize that you have sinned because it was He who died for the sins of the entire world. And your sin is this: that you have suppressed the truth about God and made him out to be a liar. You have cut yourself off from the source of life because it is by His words that we live. And his words were about Himself, in that he was the way, the truth and the life. “No man can come to the Father but by me.” Jesus said that the law could be summed up in this: “Love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and with all your strength. And the second in like unto it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Now how is it possible for you to love God if you have rejected him when he came to us and told us who he was? And this is why He was crucified: because He said that he was the one true God. If you hate Christians who say that Jesus is the only way it is because you hate Jesus who said that he was God. If you hate Jesus for saying that He was God it is because you won’t listen to the Father who was made manifest through him. Therefore you hate the Son, and the Father, and have rejected the Holy Spirit. That is your sin and the sin that Jesus died for willingly so that you would believe in Him. And that is the power by which He has overcome the world. The power of His love.

  63. sherry

    who believes Obama is a Christian. I believe he’s a Muslim.

  64. Jesus is the Way

    It is been nearly 10 years after the interview as I write this, and Obama is in the first year of his second term. I have read this interview several times over the last five years, and have used it as a measuring stick to determine what Obama truly believes. Here is what I have surmised:
    – Obama talks about tolerance as a value. It is not. In fact, he places tolerance for other beliefs and behaviors over values: “I think sometimes Democrats have made the mistake of shying away from a conversation about values for fear that they sacrifice the important value of tolerance. And I don’t think those two things are mutually exclusive.” Tolerance is not a value, it is the license to do nothing and feel good about it. We often say things like, “who am I to judge?” in order to justify doing nothing at all. But that flies in the face of what Jesus tells us to do! By Obama’s own definition, abortion can be tolerated because we should not judge the woman desperate enough to seek it. Jesus would say the same thing.The Liberal says it because according to him or her, abortion is a “woman’s reproductive right”. But Jesus would tell us not to condemn the woman because like her, we are all sinners. He would also tell us that abortion is wrong, and to repent of it and stop doing it! Jesus did not practice tolerance, he practiced mercy that restrained His intolerance towards sin. God does not tolerate sin. The bible makes it clear that He is intolerant of it. But He is also understanding of our situation. So, to enable reconciliation, He came as the man Jesus Christ, lived a sinless life, and substituted His own life in place of ours to satisfy God’s intolerance to sin. Through faith in Jesus, we are given the gift of righteousness, Jesus’ righteousness. Therefore, there is no tolerance of sin, but forgiveness where there is repentance.

    So, if God is intolerant of sin, and we are all sinners, and He practices mercy and grace towards us, then we should be merciful and gracious towards others. That means listening to others, but discerning the truth. It means taking a stand to defend the defenseless, like the unborn, instead of “tolerating” abortion. It also means helping our neighbor when they seek it, but also doing our best to not be a burden to others. Tolerance is not a virtue, it is not a value, either. It is a way to escape doing something to correct wrong behavior. Obama and his fellow Liberals preach tolerance as a value. It simply is not. That is the insidiousness of the Liberal, humanist agenda: appear religious, tout tolerance and open minded ness, and loudly proclaim, ” judge not lest thee be judged!”, all the while leading people down the road to Hell by denying the power of forgiveness through repentance. Jesus shows God exercises mercy and grace towards us, as sinners, but not tolerance. If He does that, should we not do the same? Don’t judge the sinner, since we are all sinners. Instead, judge the sin, and encourage our brothers and sisters to turn away from sin and turn to Jesus.

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  86. Harry

    It’s interesting how many people say that there are many ways to God when every religion is in fact exclusive. Every major religion excludes all other belief systems. Ravi Zacharias does a nice job of explaining how the base beliefs of every religion are different.

    For Obama, with no real depth of historical religious study for background makes profound judgements on major religions. His influence from Hinduism shows more than Islam or Christianity, as it tries to be all encompassing, but isn’t. He doesn’t know Christianity or the God of the Bible well or he would know that Abraham from the old Testament asked the question “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” over the destruction of Sodom; where God would have spared the entire city if even 10 righteous people could have been found. On the other hand Allah has consigned all infidels and many Muslims who do not meet up with the religious requirements to the eternal torture in descriptions that would turn the stomach of most hardened criminals. He seems to know only the propaganda from the Islamic side as he talks about the great benefits of Islam, but neglects to mention that Islam was the last major religion to adhere to banning slavery, and indeed is now beginning to press for its acceptance again in a number of Islamic countries. He doesn’t mention the scientific benefits because almost all of them are traced to other nations entirely or to captured and converted citizens, who were killed for apostasy or other reasons.

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