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Obama delivers very Christian message at Christmas tree lighting
President Obama and his family at the Thursday night tree lighting.
December 1st, 2011
10:12 PM ET

Obama delivers very Christian message at Christmas tree lighting

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - President Barack Obama delivered an unusually stark Christian message at the White House Christmas tree lighting Thursday night, saying Christ's message "lies at the heart of my Christian faith and that of millions of Americans."

"More than 2,000 years ago, a child was born to two faithful travelers who could find rest only in a stable, among the cattle and the sheep," Obama said at the tree lighting ceremony, a longstanding White House tradition.


"But this was not just any child," Obama continued. "Christ’s birth made the angels rejoice and attracted shepherds and kings from afar. He was a manifestation of God’s love for us."

Obama has been more public and specific about his religious beliefs since polls last year showed that only a minority of Americans know he is Christian. Last Easter, Obama got unusually specific about his beliefs on Christ's resurrection at a White House prayer breakfast.

Some conservative Christian leaders have questioned Obama's Christian faith, even though Obama got his start in politics through church-based political organizing and has written about accepting Jesus in his 20s.

Last month, South Carolina Christian conservative leader Bob Jones III told a reporter “I’ve no reason to think (Obama is) Christian."

“Some people will say whatever they think the politically helpful thing would be,” Jones said. “I say, ‘Where is the evidence that he is a Christian?’ ”

In his remarks at Thursday's tree lighting, Obama said that Jesus "grew up to become a leader with a servant’s heart who taught us a message as simple as it is powerful: that we should love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves."

"So long as the gifts and the parties are happening, it’s important for us to keep in mind the central message of this season," he said, "and keep Christ’s words not only in our thoughts, but also in our deeds."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Christmas

soundoff (2,184 Responses)
  1. Kris

    This is all stupid! People are going to believe OR NOT what they feel. If you don't like it, then TOUGH! Personally, I think all religions are rubbish, abusive to all it's participants and will be the down-fall of humans. Progress cannot proceed with religion. This is what I feel.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • Dennis

      Kris,
      What a person believes and lives by is their "religion". Since you believe all religions are "rubbish, abusive to all it's participants and will be the down-fall of humans. Progress cannot proceed with religion" then one can only conclude that your statement is rubbish, abusive to all it's participants and will be the down-fall of humans.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  2. gw

    He was lighting a freakn Christmas Tree. And, he's a Christian. Seems logical that he would say something about the idea of Christ being born and all that. Get a grip. What did anyone expect him to say? If he didn't say it, the right-wing would accuse him of taking the Christ out of Christmas.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Atheist Hunter

      He is not Christian.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  3. Ray

    Christmas is about Christs birth...plain and simple. you can say seasond greetings, happy holidays or anything you want to but in the end it is Jesus birth celebration. It is proper that he spoke of Jesus at the CHRISTMAS tree lighting ceremeony as much as he would speak of Moses at a menorah lighting or a Hindu god at Diwalii. If you believe, it is a nice and respectful. If you don't believe, then don't listen to it.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      The problem is that he was doing it in his official capacity as the President of the United States of America. If he wants to have a Christmas tree in his private life and address friends and family that's fine but addressing the entire country with a religious message is inappropriate.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • AGuest9

      Actually, in the end, it's the pagan holiday of yule, the celebration of winter, which was co-opted by the catholic church.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      In the end its actually a pagan holiday.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Casey

      Incorrect. It's is a Roman Catholic feast day. It takes place on December 25 because the Church figured having their own feast day around the celebration of the winter solstace would helm them gain converts. That doesn't make it NOT a Christian holiday.

      Idiot.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Snc735

      you can not argue with the deluded. they ignore history and even rewrite history(texas).

      December 2, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      @Casey

      The 25th may not be specifically pagan but the tree most definitely is.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Yo!

      "That doesn't make it NOT a Christian holiday."

      Keep making excuses for your god. Christmas is suppose to be the celebration of Christ’s birth but guess what he wasn't born in December – duh, he was born in September- They took a pagan holiday and are now claiming it as their own which prove there was NO god that inspired the bible, but it was men trying to convince people of a new religion.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Smart!

      December 2, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  4. Joel

    Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, pagan, atheist, makes no difference to me. I'll vote for a good person of any faith, or of no faith.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      President Obama is the most intelligent and qualified candidate currently running. If the Republicans put up anyone worth considering then I would weigh my options. Their current batch of crazy is unacceptable.

      I'll go with Obama as the (far) lesser of two evils.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Yeah and before long you'll go hungry!

      December 2, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Alyssa

      Amen Joel!

      December 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  5. pat

    This would be alright if I knew that someday we would elect a president who isn't christian.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • stickyd

      We are getting ready to elect a Mormon in 2012. Romney!

      December 2, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      At least regular Christians have 2000 years of cover ups to hide the lies. Mormons only have less than 200 years of history to realize the ridiculousness of their claims.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  6. andawg

    I'm not a theological scholar, but I've put in enough time and research into understanding at least the basics of various faiths (mostly the 3 major ones) to know that a majority of atheists are speaking out of ignorance. Interestingly, they are probably doing exactly what they claim they speak against. Blindly following another atheist without doing any "free thinking" of their own to form an educated informed opinion and belief of their own.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • GSK

      huh? what is it that the atheists are speaking incorrectly of?

      December 2, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Tevii

      Granted there are always the blind followers of anything, but Id have to disagree with your statement. Most atheists are highly educated individuals who simply acknowledge the flaws that the faithful refuse to see. I am agnostic myself and have intensely studied most religions of the world. Ive read the Koran, Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, the Tao Te Chang, and even the Apocrypha Ive studied everything from Bahai to Buddhism. But besides reading the religious books, ive also delved into the histories of each. Its becasue of all this knowledge Im not religious.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • GSK

      As an agnostic atheist I don't believe in the existence of GOD but I don't claim to know that God doesn't exist. Obviously some versions of gods can actually be shown to be rubbish, ex Judeo gods...

      December 2, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • older sista

      OMGosh! Good to hear you say that. I was 31, had hired a Christian babysitter and up until then I (being a child of the 70's 'so-called hippie movement') had looked at Hindu, Buddist, & Krishna theology but realized one day, and told her, "I really don't know anything about the Christian faith. I'VE THROWN STONES AT IT ALL MY LIFE BUT I REALLY DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT." There are not enough words to explain and convey this God, this name above all names, this Creator and all that He is. It was like stepping into the cosmos with His fingers under my feet. But I learned that no matter what people SAY, if you don't have the Holy Spirit, you do not have the Christ and vice versa. You may have a religion or a concept or your own little wooden, painted image but this God speaks to His children. (adopted children) And He is what He says He is, never what we thought.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • andawg

      Too many examples to provide.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      Meaning you have none.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • andawg

      I'm not questining the education or intelligence of an atheist. I'm questioning their knowledge of anything related to faith or religion. There's a huge difference.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      Ask me anything you're curious about. I'm willing to bet I know a hell of a lot more about your religion and its history than you do.

      The best way to become an atheist – read the Bible.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • andawg

      What does a highly educated doctor know about practicing law?

      December 2, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      What the hell does that have to do with atheism? Ask a question or admit you're just trolling.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • andawg

      Warmes... – You stole that line from Penn Gilette and countless athiests before him which just proves my original point. Reading the bible has produced countless more believers than atheists. You're making this too easy...

      December 2, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      andawg I didn't steal that line from anyone. I am almost certainly more knowledgeable than you are about Christianity. Ask me a specific question or shut your mouth.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Tevii

      Im trying to be civil and not let this become a stupid battle. But I was referring to religion and not just academics. My following example is of course a microcosm, but out of everyone I know, the people that have ACTUALLY read the bible are the atheists. The religious people I know have not. That says something. Now I can promise you I am highly educated in religion, but you also need to look past the propaganda and/or brainwashing and look at the history surrounding the birth of these religions. Such an example: Mormonism was created by a KNOWN AND CONVICTED CON man. So based on that, does it sound as if its unreasonable to believe he made it up? Maybe he conned a certain amount of people that unknowingly spread his lies. All it takes is convincing one generation. The brainwashing does the rest.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  7. GlennUpNorth

    Who knows how Christian the President is. One thing for sure seems to be that Christian is something that South Carolina conservative leader Bob Jones III is not.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • TheWiz71

      Hear, hear (since there is no "like")!

      December 2, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  8. Optimist

    If Jesus was god then why did he pray to god.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • TheWiz71

      He prayed to his "Father" mostly, at least according to the Gospels. Not about to get into Trinitarian theology here though.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      If Jesus was God or the Son of God then how does his crucifixion count as a sacrifice?

      What is death to God?

      December 2, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • runner girl

      He prayed to God the Father becaue Jesus was in the flesh "incarnate" at the time. Phillipians 2:6-11. Jesus gave up his divine priviledges and humbled himself to human form but without sin. He was the perfect sacrifice to atone for sin. He is our example of how humans were designed to function in relationship to God and mankind/creation.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • andawg

      If you have serious sincere questions about God, christianity or any faith you would/should not be looking for answers on this discussion board.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • OJ

      It does not make sense to me either. Why is he praying to his father, when he is God. God is the ultimate supreme power and prays to body. I know superman is.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • GSK

      OJ, it won't make any sense because it's all rubbish..

      December 2, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      Also is it really a sacrifice for Jesus if he goes to heaven afterward? What kind of sacrifice is that. It's like a deal where I give you my life savings but in three days you give me a billion dollars, is me giving up my life's savings for a little bit really a sacrifice?

      It would make more sense if Jesus had to spend eternity in hell in order to forgive the "sins" of everyone. That would actually be a sacrifice. The authors of the bible really missed the boat in that narrative.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • whataworld88

      Yeah giving up your life savings and being torn apart with whips and crucified is near as makes no difference.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  9. Ray

    Bob Jones....REALLY.... like ANYONE cares about what Bob Jones thinks or says? Doesn't he have a "university" that is non accredited???

    December 2, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  10. GSK

    If you still believe in myths and fairy tales you need to grow up...

    December 2, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • TheWiz71

      If you are coming off as an uninformed bigot, then you need to re-examine your own beliefs.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • GSK

      TheWiz71, There is not evidence for any myths out there to be true, the correct position is not to believe in them until they are shown to be true.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • runner girl

      GSK–sorry to feel our faith is a myth. It is not myth. There is scientific, historical data to substantiate many biblical facts. You have the choice to not believe but do not mock our faith. I would not disrespect you for being agnostic or atheist.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      And what scientific data and historical data would that be?

      December 2, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • Heathen

      Would you still respect GSK if she/he was a grown adult who still believed in Santa Claus? That's how us non-believers tend to see unquestioning theism. I would also like to see these hoards of scientific and historical evidence for the divinity of a dead Jewish carpenter.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  11. Ryan

    Hey just because its fitting to this article- Christians, I love you all, as does God, but let's not push our beliefs on those not willing to listen. I understand the idea of missionary work, and to spread the word to those who have not yet heard the Word of God, but if a man (or woman) has heard the Word, and has refused to convert, let him be. He will be stubborn and live without God, or he will eventually believe. BUT... To you Athiests, that get so frustrated and upset with Christians for telling you about religion and spirituality and the belief in God, do not EVER, EVER try to do the same to me. Specifically, @Colin, I do not recall ever forcing a bible down your throat, nor ever telling you you had to worship. In saying that, back down and let me have FAITH in what *I* BELIEVE in. Obviously we have not shook God's hands, and as a Christian it is a tiring argument. The idea is that there is something better to look forward to after death, and whether you want to call it ignorance or you want to call it naiviety, I call it FAITH. Let me have my FAITH and leave me alone, stop getting mad at Christians for preaching while you do the same thing and attempt to preach to us that it is dumb. The President of the United States of America is Christian, and he said a blessing at a Christian ceremony, get over it and move on.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      When your FAITH lets women have safe medical abortions, lets gays marry, lets science teachers teach evolutionary biology as a matter of fact and gets its geriatric claws out of my government, we'll let you be.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • hippypoet

      @warms – You're a moron. Go back to school to learn something before you speak.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      Thanks fake hippypoet! Happy holidays!

      December 2, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • hippypoet

      your welcome ignoramous

      December 2, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      *you're

      December 2, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • ToleranceMuch?

      @warmesTghosT: your argument seems to be that you don't like Christian behavior because it is intolerant; yet, your response is to be intolerant to beliefs you disagree with. How is that at all consistent? Tolerance is only appropriate if other people agree with your firmly held beliefs? Ryan's point was against those who try to minimize or belittle his faith. You obviously don't agree with it, but your response to not "let [Christians] be" until they agree with your position speaks more to your intolerance than Ryan's.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      Tolerance –

      I don't vote atheists into office simply because they are atheist. I don't try to enforce laws that restrict the civil liberties this nation is founded on based on my religious beliefs or lack thereof.

      What I want Christians to do is BE LIKE CHRIST. He acted NOTHING like the way American Christians act. You all worship the Bible and use it to condemn, hate, judge and sometimes murder people who SIMPLY DONT AGREE WITH YOU. Atheists point out your hypocrisy on the internet. The two are not comparable.

      American Christians worship the Bible. Jesus is just their meal ticket to Heaven.

      If you acted like Christ, you wouldn't hear a peep from us.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  12. Colin

    There are some pretty fundamental objections to Christianity that are hard to get around. Now before some believer rants back at me that I am evil, an “angry atheist”, or going to burn for all eternity in hell, please take the time to actually read and cogitate the objections. If you have an objection to what I say – post it, if you only object to the fact that I said it – don’t waste your breath, I feel no duty to be quiet about them.

    1. At its most fundamental level, Christianity requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,700,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,700,000,000 years for h.o.mo sapiens to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

    While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies.

    Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.

    2. This “all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers, so as to know if they think bad thoughts, so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

    3. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze and Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.

    4. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Christianity does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

    Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

    5. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

    6. When backed into a corner, Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something, which it most certainly is not, one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

    7. The Bible is literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, ra.pe and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

    8. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is honestly not believe in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.

    9. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Horus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

    December 2, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • TheWiz71

      A few legitimate points, but the rest is hogwash. Sorry I don't have time right now to get into a point by point rebuttal. Dig deeper.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Felix The Navidad

      When the soul is rotted ,the mind and body are not far behind. Colin evidences a rotted soul.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Colin

      Felix, TheWiz – can I safely assume you will not point out anything you disagree with and why I am wrong?

      December 2, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • tallulah13

      @Felix

      "When the soul is rotted ,the mind and body are not far behind. Colin evidences a rotted soul."

      Colin makes a logical comment, you respond with pointless nonsense. Do you wonder why people turn away from religion?

      December 2, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Felix The Navidad

      The diagnosis is accurate and stands by the evidence of your own writings. Right and wrong are not relevant, your soul is rotted.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Atheist Hunter

      You're sad.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Felix The Navidad

      When someone defends a rotted soul it is a strong indicator that their soul is also shriveled and dead. That is one foul appendage you are dragging through life , tallulah 13.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      @Felix

      "When the soul is rotted ,the mind and body are not far behind. Colin evidences a rotted soul."

      Nice deflection.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • Chuckles

      I just never understand why, when Colin pastes this and a couple other ones like this believers feel the need to chime in and attack Colin without arguing or debating even a single point. It's as if Colin is saying "your argument is full of holes" and the believer saying, "yeah?! Well your face is ugly!".

      December 2, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      like the Dawkins quote "What they do do is stick their fingers in their ears and go 'la la la'."

      December 2, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Felix The Navidad

      Trying to warn morons of the dangers of their rotting ,fetid, pustules for souls is an exercise in futility ,no la la la involved. You are dead within and slowly destroying yourselves and the others you draw in.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • KindaDetailedResponse

      Colin,

      You raise some good points, but none of your historical evidence is supported by outside sources that you are willing to list. If you're looking for a concise rebuttal to many of your points, check out book one and book two of C.S. Lewis's *Mere Christianity*–it doesn't rely on ancient texts but rather give a logical argument. Every argument is based on presuppositions and assumptions; otherwise, we'd never be able to posit anything. It is obvious you have assumptions about god/God/not-God that support your conclusions (e.g. God spies on people, a magical creature, et al), but could your assumptions be wrong? I'm willing to admit that my Christian assumptions might be wrong, but that's part of belief (I'm okay with doubt).

      As far as the OT and NT being discredited as contradictory, reliant on earlier ANE texts, and unreliable, I would encourage you to read (just as) legitimate scholarship that disagrees with your assumptions, i.e. N.T. Wright, Gerhard von Rad, et al. There are rational responses that interpret the evidence in a distinctly different manner than the scholarship you are reading. I hope you are not of the opinion that some scholars are *more objective* than others; EVERYONE has a system of biases that interprets the evidence he/she encounters.

      As a brief rebuttal about the legitimacy of the Gospels as history, I would say that the primary purpose of each gospel is to give a theological history of Jesus' ministry–not a historical textbook version. This purpose does not mitigate the historical events recorded, but it frames the story around a theological narrative. Having accounts written so shortly after the events (30-60 years), should speak more to their veracity than undermine their legitimacy. A historical narrative of World War II (think Ambrose's *Band of Brothers*) is not corrupted because it is written by someone who wasn't there, decades after the events, with a narrative style, is it? The historian/author interviews those who were there and collects their stories in one volume. Does the historian include every detail and event? No, he/she edits the stories to fit the larger narrative. Sounds a bit like the Synoptic Gospels, don't you think? Do we challenge the authorship of Caesar's *Gallic Wars* because he will use the third person? Some scholarship does and some doesn't–which one we agree with often is a result of our presuppositions and assumptions about Julius Caesar.

      Is that enough of a response so I am not ridiculed as an unthinking religious lemming?

      December 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  13. stickyd

    Sorry, I'm not buying it! The Muslims are instructed to lie and be deceitful at all costs for the cause of Islam. He's a wolf in sheep's clothing.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      Proof that some of us haven't evolved quite as much as others.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • story55

      Grow up, my child. I will pray that you one day find Christ in your heart. In the meantime, please read the Bible and learn why you are in direct violation of its teachings.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • gw

      I wonder how many Muslims are actually secretly Christians. I'll be there are even Jews who are really both Muslims and Christians. Paranoia really makes things complicated.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • stickyd

      You're going to pray for me b/c I don't believe or trust Obama? Comical. I would direct my prayers at the millions of Muslims and Islamic radicals that want nothing more than all Jews and America wiped off the face of the Earth. I'm content with my religious beliefs. I don't need anyone's approval except God.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      I've read much, though not all, of the New Testament. I probably know it better than you do. Any questions for me?

      December 2, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • tkogrady

      Right – that's why he had bin Laden killed along with a host of other al Queda leaders, kept Guantanamo Bay open and took a bunch of heat about what his Christian minister said. You can "say" what you want, but it is stark contrast to the readily available facts.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • claybigsby

      "please read the Bible and learn why you are in direct violation of its teachings."

      Christ never wrote anything during his life. The men who wrote about Jesus never knew him. The bible is a bunch of writings by MEN. get over it.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • tallulah13

      sticky only believes what he/she wants to believe. He/she has no need of proof. Nope. Some overpaid republican pundit told a lie and people kept repeating that lie, and that's all the proof sticky needs. Who needs honesty and reality? Not sticky!

      December 2, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    Is Obama an unitarian?

    From the above article:

    In his remarks at Thursday's tree lighting, Obama said that Jesus "grew up to become a leader with a servant’s heart who taught us a message as simple as it is powerful: that we should love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves."

    Unquote.

    Possibly, Obama's message was not a Christian message, but a Muslim message.

    Why?

    The Koran acknowledges Jesus as a religous leader with a servant's heart, whereby, of course, Muhammad thought of Jesus to be an Islamic leader and not a Christian one (in Muhammad's sight Christians are people who don't or didn't obey the Imam Jesus and Muslims are the true followers of Jesus). The Koran even says that Jesus was not so proud to call himself the "Son of God", but he considered himself as servant of the Lord of the World (alleged Allah).

    And, of course, Muhammad teached that Muslims (true believers) should love each other (Christians or infidels are excluded from the Muslim love and shall be slain).

    In contrast a true Christian message about Jesus Christ:

    Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. 2011 years ago the Son of God (one person of the Holy Trinity) incarnated and became a man, who was called Jesus from Nazareth. This was and is the greatest miracle of all ages that God became man. Jesus Christ was and is fully God and fully man at the same time. Jesus Christ had and has two natures: a divine one and a human one. Thus, in Jesus the Godhead and the mankind became perfectly united (but not mixed). By becoming a man God manifested His infinite love for us.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Bob

      The Bible mentions Jesus has a servant's heart and there's even a CHRISTIAN relief organization of this name (http://servantsheartrelief.org/ourmission/spiritual/), but the Koran NEVER used such terms to describe Jesus. But hey, don't the truth stand in the way of good fable (that Obama's really a Muslim).

      December 2, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Brad

      You wanted to hear a different message – more Christian and more divisive. Why would you suggest that his message might be more from Islam than from a Christian confession? Perhaps only to make his message seem more divisive on the basis of what he did not say?

      December 2, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • GinBR

      Rainer, a true Christian would not try to debate whether or not a person is indeed a Christian if that person says that they are. But, since you want to only pick and chose the portions of what he said to debate his "Christiandom", let's look at another quote from this article.

      "But this was not just any child," Obama continued. "Christ’s birth made the angels rejoice and attracted shepherds and kings from afar. He was a manifestation of God’s love for us."

      That statement does not sound like muslim principles to me. Saying that Christ was a manifestation of God's love is not speaking of a prophet but of deity. Rainer, I think you need more Christ in your life than the President does.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • tallulah13

      Guess what, Rainer? You don't get to as.sign religions to people. They get to choose what church they belong to.

      If President Obama says he's a christian, I believe him, because I don't get my information about him from blowhards like you or those highly-paid political pundits. Frankly, I don't care what religion he follows as long as he leaves it at the door when he goes to work.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  15. angryoldguy

    The amount of HATE in America is beyond anything I have ever seen! (I'm 62) I thought I had seen some pretty severe actions/reactions in my time, but I read these responses and I fear for the future of my country. All you can see, perhaps want to see are deep divisions over belief/non-belief! Shame on all of you! What kind of country do you think all of the HATE will produce? Where is the TOLERANCE (religious or otherwise) so many of you SAY you want to see in America? It would appear to be non-existent in the majority of your responses!

    December 2, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • GSK

      Exactly where is the tolerance ? why can't OBAMA respect nonbelievers and believers in other religions?

      December 2, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Glenn

      Amen!

      December 2, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • stickyd

      The vast majority of Americans and their religions are tolerant and respect others rights and religions. Funny thing is no other country in the middle east is tolerant of our religious freedoms and wants us wiped off the face of the Earth. Therefore, I'm tired of being tolerant of others without being extended the same courtesy. Time for war against Islam!

      December 2, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  16. Rob

    I am really not religious.. but he is I guess.. so I can't blame him.. for me the season is about spending time with friends and family..and I do love giving gifts..I did all my shopping on line and got everyone on my list this hilarious, cheap, beginners cookbook .. it's called. well.. I can't tell you the name of it here cause some of you will freak out, but if you google "whipped & bea ten culinary works" you can find it..but seriously, don't go if you can't take a good joke or if you get offended easily...

    December 2, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • SciFiChickie

      lmao... I have got someone who needs that book too.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  17. Cynthia Gray

    For those of you who proclaim to be athiest I have one question. Why must you be so mean in your comments about Christianity? I believe it is because you feel threatened by those who have a belief in a living God (not a myth) who cares and loves His children. The terrible things that happen in the world are primarily caused by mankind's evil, not God's absence. Thank you Mr. President for stating your faith in God and your belief that He came as a child and grew to lead and guide the world in a better way of living. For those of you who do not believe, I will continue to pray for you to come to Him. He does love you and wants you to become His child.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Colin

      Yes cynthia, we atheists are a terrrible bunch. Let me give you a few quick reasons I do not like christianity:

      (i) a woman's right to choose;
      (ii) teaching evolution in school;
      (iii) medical immunization of teen girls against HPV;
      (iv) assisted suicide;
      (v) gay marriage;
      (vi) my right to view art and theatre deemed “offensive,” “blasphemous” or “obscene” by theists
      (vii) basic $ex education for older school children;
      (viii) treating drug abuse as principally a medical issue;
      (xi) population control;
      (x) buying alcohol on a Sunday;
      (xi) use of condoms and other contraceptives
      (xii) stem cell research.
      (xiii) the prohibition on little 10 year-old boys joining organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, based on the religious views of their parents.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • UncleM

      Terrible things happen because of religious delusions.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Chuckles

      Was that a real question or did you just need a rehtorical one to spout absurd belief?

      December 2, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      Because Christianity is a heinous lie foisted on young children and is used daily to subjugate and demean anyone who thinks differently. Because Christianity has been an active force of evil in this world for the past 1,700 or so years. Because Christians today feel enti-tled to pass draconic laws prohibiting the happiness and freedoms of others.

      Because Christianity is an active force perpetually retarding the progress of our species' civilization.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Kris

      Please don't pretend to know anything about the mind of an athiest. The main difference between those who believe such NONSENSE and those who don't is simple. Atheist and other non-conformists know that they can think for themselves and make their own choices and doesn't have to participate in any kind of herd-mentality. I was raised in a very STRICT Xtian household that was very abusive because everything as "prayed" about. Please don't speak of the "love" of some invisible deity that no person REALLY knows exists for sure. "Faith is believing in what you know ain't so!" ...stated by Mark Twain and I couldn't agree more.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • claybigsby

      "I believe it is because you feel threatened by those who have a belief in a living God (not a myth) who cares and loves His children."

      First, I am not an atheist, but the fact that you think atheists are threatened by you believing in a book written by men is laughable. People who do not believe in your book are threatened by the idea of this country turning into a theocracy, which is what most christians want (and most christians still think this is a christian nation).

      Second, explain how you know the stories in the bible, WRITTEN BY MEN (human beings like yourself), are not myths or stories taken from previous generations? The fact is that you DONT KNOW. No one does so dont try to sell me something that I know for a fact you have no proof of. Explain why some passages that were originally in the bible were excluded by MEN. I for one do not trust the word of MEN who claim they were under gods influence when writing the bible. I will not trust the words of MEN who talk about Jesus when they actually never knew him and only wrote about him 40 years after he died. You can if you want, but dont tell me that I am going to hell for eternity because I can't find the logic to put my beliefs in the words of 30+ MEN.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • NOo..oON

      @Cynthia Gray,
      Because Christians use pretexts, like having "one question", in order to spew their own imaginings on the nature of human motivations and how they all supposedly fit neatly into the well maintained and manicured fantasy land of Christianity.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  18. Tim M.

    If "Christmas" is just a made-up holiday and only a commercial fund-raiser, why is there so much more good cheer around this time of year? Believing in something is better than falling for everything else.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • story55

      That's a logical falacy, given the history of Christmas as originally being a Pagan tradition celebrating Saturnalia and correlating to the Winter Solstice. There was much joy and good cheer in those cultures as in our own. It's important for us to be educated enough to see beyond the confines of our time and place.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Alyssa

      Believing in one delusion is really that much better than not falling for all those other delusions? I believe in independent thinking.

      December 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  19. warmesTghosT

    So, here is what I've never been able to understand.

    If Jesus was God, or of God, or the Son of God or whatever you call him, and he KNEW during his life and ministry that he was a divine being...

    How can you call his crucifixion a sacrifice? It's not a sacrifice if he gave up nothing. What is death to a god?

    December 2, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Colin

      Add to that the sheer absurdity of god "needing" a sacrifice. He is god, he could just forgive us. Second, the original sin was a myth as we now all know. The whole core belief of christianity is flat silly.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Matt

      During Jesus Christ's time on Earth, he was a mortal human, empowered by God though his perfect faith to do God's work. While Jesus Christ was the Son of God (we are all children of God), God treated Jesus Christ like He treats us; God gives us the choice to believe in Him, trust in him, and fulfill His will for our lives or just live life as we please, apart from God (whole another topic). Jesus Christ's crucifixion WAS a sacrifice because God gave Him the choice. If you have read the Bibile, you know that just before Jesus knew He was going to be crucified, He battled with His mortal flesh, not wanting to be crucified, but knew that it was God's will for Him to die on the cross. Jesus DECIDED he would follow God's plan and die for us all on the cross. And to further solidify it was a true sacrifice, Jesus Christ, empowered with all the powers of God, hung there the entire time, naked, beaten, ridiculed, and with an open, blood-gushing wound in His side, when at any time, He could have removed himself from it because he was the Son of God. As the Bible teaches us, the wages of sin is death. Jesus Christ knew no sin and did not deserve to die in God's law. But, Jesus took our sin, our place on that cross, and chose to die for us all, fulfilling God's will, and becoming the perfect sacrifice and atonement that was necessary in God's eyes for us to have a relationship with Him and have the gift of eternal life.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      Matt – he didn't give up anything. Therefore, not a sacrifice.

      He didn't lose his life, his health, his sanity or his divinity. Sacrifice means you willingly give up something. He gave nothing.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Matt

      @warmesTghosT

      He gave up his life on Earth, willingly, on the cross. Can't speak it any plainer than I did.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      No, Matt, he didn't, because three days later he was up and walking around talking to people. And, according to your book, he's coming back.

      And, if he's God, then nothing stops him from popping down here incognito (or cognito) whenever he wishes.

      He. Didn't. Sacrifice. Anything.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      if Jesus was to spend eternity in hell it would have been a sacrifice. I said it on another post, if i give you (sacrifice) my life savings and in three days you give me a billion dollars is it really a sacrifice?

      December 2, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  20. tacc2

    I'm so glad it's OK for government officials to blabber on about their religion at tax payer funded events. How would all of you Christians feel if the O-man started talking about the prophet Mohammad flying up to Heaven on a winged horse and all that BS? I really have no problem with government officials talking about or even endorsing religion ON THEIR OWN TIME. But it's totally inappropriate at a state funded event.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • batteryinme

      Agreed. So tired of this moronic adherence to these made up dogmas.....who cares about Bob Jones?!?! Not this American.

      December 2, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Jason

      I don't believe it to be inappropriate at all for the President to be discussing Christian believes at a celebration of a Christmas holiday event. You take no offense to the National Park Service putting on this event celebrating a Christian Holiday, but you do take offense to the Key note speaker talking about that faith? I ask are you going to be as upset on Tuesday of the Speaker of the House makes remarks about Christ when he lights the Capitol Tree?

      December 2, 2011 at 9:40 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.