The Gospel according to Obama
President Obama is not just a racial trailblazer, but some say a religious pioneer as well. No president has ever shared his type of Christianity, historians say. Some say he may revive a form of Christianity that once dominated America.
October 21st, 2012
06:59 AM ET

The Gospel according to Obama

By John Blake, CNN

President Barack Obama was sharing a pulpit one day with a conservative Christian leader when a revealing exchange took place.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Christian who has taken public stands against abortion and same-sex marriage, had joined Obama for an AIDS summit. They were speaking before a conservative megachurch filled with white evangelicals.

When Brownback rose to speak, he joked that he had joined Obama earlier at an NAACP meeting where Obama was treated like Elvis and he was virtually ignored. Turning to Obama, a smiling Brownback said, “Welcome to my house!”

The audience exploded with laughter and applause. Obama rose, walked before the congregation and then declared:

“There is one thing I have to say, Sam. This is my house, too. This is God’s house.”

Historians may remember Obama as the nation’s first black president, but he’s also a religious pioneer. He’s not only changed people’s perception of who can be president, some scholars and pastors say, but he’s also expanding the definition of who can be a Christian by challenging the religious right’s domination of the national stage.

When Obama invoked Jesus to support same-sex marriage, framed health care as a moral imperative to care for “the least of these,’’ and once urged people to read their Bible but just not literally, he was invoking another Christian tradition that once dominated American public life so much that it gave the nation its first megachurches, historians say.

“Barack Obama has referred to his faith more times than most presidents ever have, but for many it’s the wrong kind of faith,” says Jim Wallis, head of Sojourners, an evangelical activist group based in Washington that focuses on poverty and social justice issues.

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“It is not the faith of the religious right. It’s about things that they don’t talk about. It’s about how the Bible is full of God’s clear instruction to care for the poor.”

Some see a 'different' kind of Christian

Obama is a progressive Christian who blends the emotional fire of the African-American church, the ecumenical outlook of contemporary Protestantism, and the activism of the Social Gospel, a late 19th-century movement whose leaders faulted American churches for focusing too much on personal salvation while ignoring the conditions that led to pervasive poverty.

No other president has shared the hybrid faith that Obama displays, says Diana Butler Bass, a historian and author of “Christianity after Religion.”

“The kind of faith that Obama articulates is not the sort of Christianity that’s understood by the media or by a large swath of Christians in the U.S.,” says Bass, a progressive Christian. “He’s a different kind of Christian, and the media and the public awareness needs to reawaken to that fact.”

Some Christians, however, still see Obama as the “other.” He doesn’t act or talk like other Christians, says the Rev. Gary Cass, a conservative Christian president of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

“I just don’t see or hear in his accounts the kind of things that I’ve heard as a minister for over 25 years coming from the mouths of people who have genuinely converted to Christianity,” says Cass, pastor of Christ Church in San Diego.

Cass says he’s never heard Obama say he’s “born-again.” There’s no emotional conversion story to hang onto.

Obama talks about his faith and attends church, but Cass says that doesn’t mean he’s a Christian.

“Joining a church doesn’t mean you’re a Christian. “You can put me in the garage, but that doesn’t turn me into a car.”

The origins of Obama’s faith

The suspicion about Obama’s faith may seem odd at first because he’s written and spoken so much about his spiritual evolution in his two autobiographies, “Dreams of my Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.” Other books, like “The Faith of Obama” by Stephen Mansfield, also explore Obama’s beliefs.

The 1925 “Monkey” trial of John Scopes, a high school biology teacher who taught evolution, drove fundamentalists underground, some say.

Mansfield says Obama is the first president who wasn’t raised in a Christian home. Obama’s mother was an atheist and his grandparents were religious skeptics (Obama’s family has challenged the description of his mother as an atheist. Obama called her “the most spiritually awakened” person he’d ever known, and his sister called their mother an agnostic).

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Mansfield called Obama’s boyhood a “religious swirl.  He was exposed to Catholicism, Islam, and strains of Hinduism and Buddhism while growing up in Indonesia during the 1960s.

“In our household, the Bible, the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology,” Obama said in Mansfield’s book. “On Easter or Christmas Day, my mother might drag me to church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites.”

Obama became a Christian while he was a community organizer in Chicago. He joined a predominantly black United Church of Christ. The UCC became the first mainline Protestant denomination to officially support same-sex marriage in 2005.

Obama’s faith showed many of the elements of a liberal Protestant church: an emphasis on the separation of church and state, religious tolerance and the refusal to embrace a literal reading of the Bible.

In a 2006 speech before a Sojourners meeting, Obama talked about his approach to the Bible:

“Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?”

When many people think of Obama’s religious experience in Chicago, though, they cite his exposure to the angry sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and “black liberation theology,” a movement that emerged in the late 1960s and blended the Social Gospel with the black power movement.

Bass, the church historian, says another black pastor shaped Obama’s theology more: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

He attended liberal Protestant seminaries where he learned about the Social Gospel’s concern for the entire person, soul and body.

Obama has reached out to evangelical leaders like Rick Warren, seen here praying at Obama’s inauguration, but many still doubt his faith.

King once wrote that “any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them …is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.”

But King and the black church also fused the Social Gospel with an emotional fervor missing from white Protestant churches, Bass says. Other presidents like Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were influenced by the Social Gospel, but they weren’t shaped by the black church.

“This is the first time we’re hearing the Social Gospel from the perspective of the black church from the Oval Office. It makes it warmer, more emotive, more communal," Bass says. "There is less fear of linking the Social Gospel with the stories of the Bible, especially the stories of Exodus and Jesus’ healings.”

The emphasis on community uplift - not individual attainment - may strike some Americans as socialist. But the emphasis on community is part of King’s “Beloved Community,” Bass says.

King once wrote that all people are caught up in an “inescapable network of mutuality… I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be.”

“When I listen to Obama, I don’t hear communism, I hear the Beloved Community,” Bass says. “But a lot of white Americans don’t hear that because they never sat in those churches and heard it over and over again. It’s the whole theology that motivated MLK and the civil rights movement.”

Obama is not a Christian, some think

For some, Obama’s actions in the Oval Office seem to contradict Christianity.

Jesus was nonviolent. Obama has ramped up drone attacks in Afghanistan that have not only removed terrorists, but killed civilians.

The Bible talks about the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. Obama invoked Jesus when he came out in support of same-sex marriage. “The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule," Obama told ABC News during his announcement.

Jesus talked about helping the poor. But he never said anything about creating a massive health care law that taxed the rich to help the poor, some Christians argue.

But Wallis of Sojourners says Obama’s push for health care was a supreme example of Christian faith.

A situation where 50 million Americans don’t have health insurance is “a fundamental Christian problem,” Wallis says.

“Health is such a Gospel issue. Jesus was involved in healing all the time, and to have some people excluded from health care because they lack wealth is a fundamental Christian contradiction.”

Wallis has been one of the most persistent defenders of Obama’s faith. But no matter how much Scripture he and others cite, doubts about Obama’s faith have followed him throughout his political career.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson once said that Obama distorted the traditional understanding of the Bible “to fit his own world, his own confused theology.” The Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, publicly questioned Obama’s faith, then later apologized.

Conservative Christian books and websites are filled with stories of Obama allegedly trying to suppress the nation’s Christian heritage.

The Rev. Steven Andrew, author of “Making a Strong Nation,” says Obama is trying to change the national motto from “In God we Trust” to “Out of Many, One,” and he’s ordered the Pentagon to remove biblical verses from its daily report.

“That’s the most serious thing someone can do to a nation, trying to separate a nation from God,” he says. “He seems to be trying to change the Christian laws our Founding Fathers made.”

Andrew says Obama is actually an enemy of Christianity. In his book, Andrew argues that the Founding Fathers were Christians who created a “covenant Christian nation” and calls for a “national repentance.”

“I think he’s an anti-Christ,” Andrew says.  Cass, of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, says Obama’s emphasis on helping the poor through social justice isn’t Christianity.

Christians who talk about “social justice” are often practicing “warmed-over Marxism,” Cass says.

“Do I believe in caring for the poor and oppressed? Yes. But you don’t do it along the lines of communistic redistributing.”

Obama’s support of same-sex marriage and abortion rights also disqualifies him from being a Christian, Cass says.

“It’s the most pro-abortion administration in the history of America.  On every social issue – the sanctity of life and of marriage between men and women – Obama is on the wrong side of every moral issue,” he says.

He says a progressive Christian is a contradiction.

“No Christian says I believe in Jesus Christ and I reject the Bible,” Cass says. “These progressives who say they’re Christians are liars. They’re using Christianity as a guise to advance their own agenda.”

Cass says he doesn’t know what Obama believes.

“He’s conflicted,” Cass says. “He has Muslim sympathies from his upbringing."

How progressive Christianity lost the public square

There was a time when Obama’s brand of Christianity would have been understood by millions of Americans, historians say.

Obama along with first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha leave church after attending a Sunday prayer service.

The Social Gospel and progressive Protestantism dominated the American religious square from the end of the 19th century up to the 1960s. At times, the traditions blended together so seamlessly that it was hard to tell the difference.

The Social Gospel rose out of the excesses of the Gilded Age in the 1880s, when urban poverty spread across America as immigrants crammed into filthy slums to work long hours in unsafe conditions.

Walter Rauschenbusch, a Baptist pastor in a New York slum, urged the church to take “social sins” as seriously as they took individual vices. Churches began feeding the poor and fighting against other social ills.

“The notion that religious people should be about feeding the poor and helping the homeless is a carryover of the Social Gospel,” says Charles Kammer, a religion professor at Wooster College in Ohio. The Social Gospel was adopted by many Protestant churches in the late 19th and early 20th century, says Bass, the church historian. Some of the Social Gospel churches grew popular because they provided the poor with everything from English classes to sewing instructions and basketball leagues.

“The first American megachurches were liberal, Social Gospel urban churches,” Bass says.

The Social Gospel, though, sparked a backlash from a group of pastors during World War I. They were called fundamentalists. They published a pamphlet listing the “fundamentals of the faith:” Biblical inerrancy, the virgin birth, Adam and Eve.

But the fundamentalists lost the battle for public opinion during the “Scopes Monkey Trial” in 1925. John Scopes, a high school science teacher, was tried for violating a Tennessee law that prohibited the teaching of evolution.

Though Scopes lost, fundamentalist Christians were mocked in the press as “anti-intellectual rubes,” and a number of states suspended pending legislation that would have made teaching evolution illegal, says David Felten, author of “Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity.”

The trial drove fundamentalists underground where they created a subculture, their own media networks, seminaries and megachurches, he says.

That subculture thrives today, Felten says, and has infiltrated the political arena. It has created an “alternative intellectual universe” that denies science, rational thought – and any beliefs that violate their definition of being a Christian, Felten says.

“They have millions of adherents who believe in a literal six day creation and a literal Adam and Eve – so it’s not a stretch to believe that President Obama is a Kenyan-born secret Muslim bent on destroying the country,” Felten says.

Progressive Christians eventually lost the messaging wars to this fundamentalist subculture, Bass says. Their nuanced view of faith couldn’t compete with the “spiritual triumphalism” of conservatives.

“If you get up and say we’re right and we have the truth, then you have a powerful public message,” she says. “They have a theological advantage in the public discourse. It’s comforting to have things clear, to have things black and white.”

The result today is that the Protestant tradition that shapes much of Obama’s Christianity is fading from public view.

The share of Protestant Christians in the United States has dropped below 50% of the population, according to a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

White mainline Protestants make up only 15% of the nation’s population, the survey revealed. The study also found that the fastest growing "religious group" in the country is people who are not affiliated with any religion.

Another generation of Christians, though, may bring a new version of progressive Christianity back.

The lines between younger conservative Christians and progressives are blurring, says Marcia Pally, author of “The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good.”

Pally spent six years traveling across America to interview evangelicals. She says her research revealed that more than 60% of young evangelicals support more governmental programs to aid the needy, as well as more emphasis on economic justice and environmental protection issues.

“What’s interesting is that these values, associated with Obama and the black Protestant tradition are now also the values of a growing number of white evangelicals,” she says.

Her perspective suggests that Obama’s faith may be treated by history in two ways:

He could be seen as the last embodiment of a progressive version of Christianity that went obsolete.

Or he could be seen as a leader who helped resurrect a dying brand of Christianity for a new generation.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Barack Obama • Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Church • Courts • Creationism • Culture & Science • Culture wars • Evolution • evolvution • Faith • Fundamentalism • Gay marriage • Gay rights • God • History • Homosexuality • Interfaith issues • Obama • Protestant • Religious liberty • Same-sex marriage • Schools • Science

soundoff (8,626 Responses)
  1. Michelle

    II was a Christian for the first 22 year of my life. I joined the First Methodist Church when I was twelve and latter joined the Congregational Church. What I know about Christianity is that you don't have to be born again to be a Christian. All you have to do is believe in Christ. If you are "born again" you don't have to announce it to the world and wear it wear it as a badge of honor. President Obama has the right to his own personal beliefs of what it means to be a Christian. Only certain Christian Faiths stress the "born again" philosophy, any way. No Christian faith has any right so declare it is the only one true path and that our President has to follow that path. I don't feel that any the member of any Faith has the right to declare who is a Christian and who is not.

    October 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  2. jillj

    Benghazi Update: WHERE IS THE RAGE??? I'm posting here because the media is protecting Obama... By now everyone knows that Obama lied about Benghazi and was still lying about it at the UN on 9/25, two weeks later.... No protest, No video. Denied security requests. And, people got murdered.

    But, have you heard Charles Woods, attorney, judge and father of murdered Navy Seal Ty Woods? He called Beck on Thursday and was interviewed by Hannity yesterday to try and get the truth out:

    When his son's body arrived at Andrews AFB, Mr. Woods met with President Obama, VP Biden and Hillary Clinton.

    According to Mr. Woods: President Obama wouldn't look him in the eye, mumbled an insincere apology and was like shaking hands with "a dead fish".

    VP Biden inappropriate exclaimed in front of the parents: Your son must have balls the size of cue balls. And, Hillary continued the lie...

    Ms. Clinton told him: We'll get the guy who made this video...

    Why didn't Obama, Biden and Hillary tell him: We'll get the terrorists who MURDERED your son?

    All Mr. Woods wants to know is: Who, at the WH, gave the order NOT to save my son?

    The attack and firefight last for 7+ hours... Cameras in the compound, drones overhead and satellites streamed LIVE LIVE LIVE video to the State Department, CIA, FBI, Pentagon and the WH Situation Room. Did Obama watch Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans die in REAL TIME, or did he sleep on it and watch it in the morning en route to more campaigning in Las Vegas?

    Mr. Woods wants to know: Did Obama personally block the orders to send in the Quick Reaction Force commandos from Sicily or elsewhere nearby? The Seals were using lasers to "paint" the targets where the mortar attacks were coming from, for air support that never came...

    How's that for leaving them for dead? I'm sure the FBI, CIA and military are brimming with confidence to see how the Commander-in-Chief "has their back". Making a mockery of these murders, lying about it and now blaming the "fog of war".

    Why did it take three weeks to get an FBI investigation team there, when CNN could stroll in the next day and get Ambassador Steven's journal? I'm sure Team Obama (and the biased, corrupt media) are just hoping voters won't find out the truth until after the election. After all this is all about Obama and HIS campaign. Remember, to Obama these murdered Americans are just "bumps in the road." NO RAGE from Obama...

    Americans were MURDERED and Obama, Hillary and everyone else let it happen, then LIED and continue the COVER-UP.

    Where is the RAGE at EVERY campaign event Obama has? How about the media? If this had been Bush or any Republican they'd be covering this non-stop, 24/7. Are they so far gone for Obama they have no morals, or sense of right and wrong, either?

    Where is the RAGE????????????

    October 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • End Religion

      The rage is in your head.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  3. laroy

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCAffMSWSzY&w=420&h=315%5D

    October 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  4. WillieLove

    Bible stands alone and needs no help. jesus is the way and only way to heaven. Call on his name the thou shall be saved. all you have to do is call on his name. jesus loves every person in this world. Jesus helped people so should every person in leadership but they wont' because they are blinded by greed and power.

    October 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • oneworld2

      So what did people before jesus do to get into heaven?

      October 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • oneworld2

      Not to mention the people never heard about jesus.

      October 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • End Religion

      your bible is garbage. jesus never existed. your delusional religion is dying. grab your ankles and bend over.

      October 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • sam stone

      i find it interesting that you seek eternity with a being from whom you have to be "saved".

      October 29, 2012 at 4:33 am |
    • Russell's Teapot

      Looks like the millions of people that lived throughout the Americas from the time of Jesus' death till the late 1400's kinda got the short end of the stick... You know, the whole not accepting Jesus before they died so they burn in hell for eternity part?

      October 30, 2012 at 2:01 am |
  5. Riley Ann

    There is a place after death....several Holy Scriptures attest to that fact. Examine them for yourself. Satan has blinded the eyes of those who believe not that Christ came in the flesh to atone for man's sins. God had to satisfy His justice. He is a just God. God the Holy Spirit is real, and those who blaspheme Him have committed the unpardonable sin. My question is: if you don't believe now, or consider your options, what will you feel when you awake in Hell? Why does man have a conscience? It is just very risky not to find out for yourselves what the truth is. Pride will stop you from a spiritual or even intellectual search. While was studying at Bible College, a very handsome and wealthy young man gave his story about living in Montreal when he was a student there. He was from India. He said he was always seeking, never satisfied with what his religion taught. The day he was to move out of his apartment, he happened to look under the bed and found a Bible. He took it up and read. He was so sincere and humble with his story, that God had considered him for ministry and answered the need of his heart. If you are seeking the truth,God will meet you. I've had two near-death exeriences in 3 years, and I'm now recovering enough to move. This is my story. God is Love. He saved a wretched sinner such as I and restored me from the havoc of sin's consequences. The law of sowing and reaping is constant, but you will see it in your lifetime. The wrath of the God of justice is swift and sure, but also His mercy lasts forever. Before the storm, I respectfully share my views with you. Peace, M & R

    October 28, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • End Religion

      @riley: "There is a place after death...."

      no, there isn't

      "several Holy Scriptures attest to that fact."

      several books tell stories of a caped crusader named Batman. Does he exist?

      "Examine them for yourself."

      no need. They've been shown false time and time again.

      "Satan has blinded the eyes of those who believe not that Christ came in the flesh to atone for man's sins."

      god and satan do not exist. You're suffering from a delusion brought about by your fear of the unknown.

      "God had to satisfy His justice."

      you mean god has blood lust and needed to satisfy it.

      "He is a just God."

      "Just" as in killing every being on the planet in a flood except those inside Noah's Ark? Your god is the opposite of loving and just.

      "God the Holy Spirit is real, and those who blaspheme Him have committed the unpardonable sin."

      Proof Every Christian Goes to Hell by End Religion
      1) The only irredeemable sin against your Lord thy God is denying him, the Holy Spirit
      2) To deny is to refuse to admit truth of or to refuse to give that which is requested
      3) Any sin is to deny god of his commandments
      4) Therefore, even one sin results in a soul that cannot be forgiven. Sin once, and you're going to hell whether you repent or not. Since Christians are "born into sin" they're automagically damned to hell and cannot be forgiven.

      "My question is: if you don't believe now, or consider your options, what will you feel when you awake in Hell?"

      Nothing. The body is what feels pain. If anyone awakes in hell, they will feel nothing.

      "Why does man have a conscience?"

      Evolved for survival.

      "If you are seeking the truth,God will meet you."

      And yet he never does.

      "I've had two near-death exeriences in 3 years, and I'm now recovering enough to move. This is my story."

      It helps us understand why you're a few cards short of a full deck.

      October 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  6. Emma

    Another prime example of Obama's manipulative skills–now in the name of religion. By their works you will know them.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      Lol...what now he's a demon or something??? "by the works...." lol

      Please tell me exactly how low is your IQ? Do you also quote Dr Seuss cause that's as real as that magic baby book.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • jasie

      how can you claim to be a Christian when you don't believe the Bble.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  7. 1John1-9

    October 6, 2012 when I was assigned to deliver a message to the men in a maximum security prison. I had prepared a message to deliver, but as our team gathered together to head out, I kept hearing in my spirit "make it simple, tell the story". I heard this in my head over-and -over. Then I heard, "start from the beginning, make it plain". As I listened to what I believe were instructions from the Lord, I could picture myself teaching truth compact in story form. I had approximately thirty minutes to deliver God's message to men who would never be released from prison in this lifetime, but because God so loved the World that He gave His only Begotten Son, no matter what anyone has done in their lifetime, God wants everyone to have a chance to be redeemed, even those who have done the unthinkable crimes of today. Here's what the Lord gave me:

    When God created the heavens and the earth, He created (Adam) a man from the dust of the ground and the woman was created from one of Adam's ribs, (not another man). Genesis 1& 2. There was great fellowship between God, Adam, & Eve. The couple had everything they needed. No worries about providing for themselves, no 9-5, no grocery stores or malls. They had it all and were on secure and friendly terms with God. There was awesome fellowship between the three of them. John 15:15, paints a clear picture of what this fellowship may have looked like.
    According to Genesis chapter three, there was a visitor lurking in the Garden of Eden, (the Serpent). Where did he come from? Why was he there? In Isaiah Chapter 14:13-14; is a clue. Before Satan was Satan, his name was Lucifer. His aspiration was to ascend into heaven and exalt a throne above the stars of God. He wanted to ascend above the heights of the clouds and become like the "Most High". One blogger/ writer stated that Isaiah 14 is typically seen as prophetic and speaking to the king of Babylon, which represents Satan. Ezekiel chapter 28, also seen as a similar passage, against the king of Tyre, who apparently also represents Satan. Ezekiel describes him having a seal of perfection and full of wisdom with perfect beauty in Gods garden, Eden.
    He was beautiful! He had stones all over him; Sardis, topaz, diamond, Beryl, onyx, jasper, sapphire, turquoise and emerald with gold. There was a workmanship of timbrels and pipes since the day he was created. He was the anointed cherub that allowed his beauty and splendor to become "Puffed Up". The spirit of pride took over and he no longer wanted to worship God, instead he wanted to be worshipped! The scriptures tell us that he was the anointed cherub who covers and was established, he was on a holy mountain and walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones; V14. He was perfect in his ways from the day he was created until iniquity was found in him; V15. His heart was puffed up because of his beauty. His wisdom corrupted for the sake of his splendor and his heart set as the heart of a god; V6.
    In Revelation chapter 12; war broke out in heaven. Why did war break out? Was it over Worship, Authority, Creativity, Pride vs Humility or Deception? Throughout the bible, it appears to be all of the above! In chapter 12:7-10 of Revelation; Michael and his angels fought against Lucifer and his angels, and Lucifer and his homeboys lost, they were kicked out of heaven to the earth. Once they landed on earth they spotted Eve and targeted her to come under the subjection of Lucifers pride.
    In the third chapter of Genesis we find Eve going throughout the garden as usual. She has an encounter with Satan and they discuss "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil". Eve was the first earthly victim to get hung in the web of deception. Satan wanted to finish what he started in the heavens, here on earth. Adam was instructed to take care of the garden. Today when you tend a garden, you must water and remove excess weeds while figuring a way to keep the bugs and other animals from eating the goods! In the midst of great fellowship, God gave Adam critical rules to follow: "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Genesis 2:17.
    Note that these instructions were given to Adam before Eve was created, yes! Both the instruction and the consequence. The consequence was harsh, but justly fair because God included a warning and consequence with his instruction. I'm sure most of us thought death meant a sudden death. Later I realized: "you shall surely die" was a duel death. A physical death, (you will not live forever as originally planned), and a spiritual death, which meant loosing intimate fellowship and connection with God. They were left on their own, out of the ark of safety. They had no map/instructions/counsel on how to live life. They were left in the dark, to fend for themselves, so to speak.
    Not only did Adam and Eve suffer from their disobedience, but their sin entered into the world, and death by sin. Death was passed to all humans born into the world; Romans 5:12. The entire human race plunged into separation from God's presence and fellowship. What a horrifying thought! What does this mean for us today? Based on my knowledge of the scripture this means that everyone born in the world today is born without "GOD". We were born spiritually dead, without a lamp unto our feet to divinely guide us… no sweet commune with a God who gives us reassurance and peace the world will never offer or give. Everyone born in the world is headed for eternal doom. But, because God loves us so deeply, he executed provision to bring mankind back into its rightful relationship with him. We have His son, Jesus Christ who is the perfect GIFT to us. It is our responsibility to activate this gift provided for our taking. It's our responsibility to stretch our hands and hearts out to accept this gift.
    Things will never be the way they were originally intended, but one guarantee is that we can have the same intimate relationship with God that Adam and Eve once had. Scripture gives us the instructions how to bring this relationship into our personal existence.

    No one really knows what's in Barak's heart but the Lord! Everyone will surely give an account of their free will...Read Romans 10:9-12

    October 28, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Russell's Teapot

      God must not have been very smart... Put a human in a room and tell them they can do whatever they want but whatever they do, do not touch one particular item, its forbidden and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what will eventually happen. SMH at punishing humans for being curious, and quality given to us by God, but condemned but put into use

      October 30, 2012 at 2:23 am |
  8. Dave

    Andrew says Obama is actually an enemy of Christianity. In his book, Andrew argues that the Founding Fathers were Christians who created a “covenant Christian nation” and calls for a “national repentance.”

    It is odd that some Evangelicals are so unsure of the Christianity of the current President, while being so sure of the Christanity of America's Founding Fathers. What about Jefferson? Is cutting up the Bible and denying miracles, and Christ's divinity Christian? Would John Adams, and James Madison pass muster? It seems that Rev. Steven Andrew has revised history in order to make his point. Too many Evangelical writers have used selective quotes, and glossed over our Founding Fathers' unorthodox beliefs. Don't they realize that such Christian leaders such as Jonathan Edwards also had differences with these Founding Fathers. Don' t make up history.

    October 28, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  9. Sylvia'sMom

    Sure is funny how Obama's Christianity can be called into doubt, but yet any talk of Romney's cult isn't fair game!!

    I think Romney's cult should be talked about – and loudly! Especially by those who say they're Christian Republicans!!

    People gotta learn that all hypocrisies only leads to eventual failures..!

    October 27, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Kathy

      So we question Obama's Christianity, but we know that Romney does not even claim to be Christian! I have to conclude that I can not be the judge of their spiritual beliefs. However, I find nothing in Obama's 4 years of leadership that limits our religious freedom that our forefathers fought for.

      October 28, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  10. allfaith

    Are pride and self-importance part of Christianity? Is the voice of the closed minded the one to shephard the world? I see you Barack. The world is one.

    October 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  11. Don Lingrell

    while on the subject, my faith, and mr. obama's faith, and yours for that matter, require no one else's approval. you are not my judge, or his. i am not your judge either. i will vote for barrack obama for president because i think he is the best man for the job and has the interests of all the people of this country at heart.

    October 27, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race

      1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building."

      We, as a race of living godheads tend to forget where from we were built and by whose hands our bodies of Godly structured buildings did lay one's foundation while in the womb. Abortion should be law for all a woman is doing when she aborts is terminating God's building being built. God and His Godly do not mind women terminating His buildings for innerspace is far more open and spacious then here upon this Earthly rock. God's workers are many and He puts them to work wherever and whenever the seeds of celestial life deem it so. Remember always that our bodies are merely but God's buildings.

      Lettuce Love Let-her

      October 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  12. Sam

    I have come into the the world to testify to the truth. everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.....Jesus/Yeshua Jn. 18:37 Enter through the narrow gate....Mathew 7:13 I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me. ...Jesus/Messiah Jn. 14:6 All roads defenitely do NOT lead to heaven. Only One way!

    October 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      if that's your testimony, then you've committed perjury.

      October 27, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • northern light

      " All roads defenitely do NOT lead to heaven. Only One way!"

      All religious roads lead to "nowhere".....that is because there is nowhere to go after we die.

      Einstein was a smart man ....and right about religion....just myth and fable to make "some" people feel good.

      October 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • rick

      sam: you have no authority on who goes to heaven.

      October 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race

      Romeo of Romeo where is your Rome now? Still on the hunt I see,,,,,Lost in transit,,,, maybe,,,,?

      Lettuce Bee,

      October 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  13. Shelia

    There's no such thing as a "Social Gospel." There IS the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST – not of Obama. I'm amazed at how little people know about the Bible - and I'm as guilty as the next person for not reading it. In fact - I'm ashamed that I've fallen down on that task. Yes - I'm busy == doing so many other things that aren't important at all. The day is coming when I'll need to know that words in the Bible. Remember Bonhoffer in Germany - no Bible. If we stay on the track we're on now - we won't be allowed to have a Bible - much less read it. We won't value the Word of God until it's taken away. I salute, honor, and respect Rev. Graham for being faithful to his Lord. How many of us realize there's more to being a Christian than just believing Christ is the Son of God. We must make Him our Lord. Remember the story of the rich young ruler who came to Christ. He couldn't part with his riches in order to follow Christ. Christ didn't send him away. He left on his own accord. How quickly we have forgotten that Obama did away with the National Day of Prayer during his time in office. Yes - he asked that folks pray on September 11, 2012 - but what about the other days of prayer. Now - am I saying all our problems can be solved by Obama or Romney - no - absolutely not. Our Country has been in decline for quite sometime now. We've killed (murdered) millions of innocent babies. Our schools are full of violence. Our TV programs are pulling us all down - anything goes - sleep with one people one night, another the next. Is this good - no - absolutely not. And yes - we're getting closer and closer to gay marriage. Read the Bible. You want God's answers - well read His greatest gift to us - His Word. I'm no Saint and I'll not pass judgment on anyone - that's God's job and He can have it. But - I promise you this - all the answers to life's questions ARE found in the Bible. I challenge us all to open one and see what it says. Soon and very soon - you may not be allowed to own or open one - just are we may not be allowed to attend the church of our choice to worship. Listen and heed these words of the Apostle Paul - "Be not deceived, God is not mocked." His DAY is coming.

    October 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • End Religion

      "Be not deceived, God is not mocked."

      Hey god: Nanny nanny boo boo, stick your head in doo doo!
      Hi, I'm god. I am really stoooopid. Bless me for I'm a wimp. I shall not be mocked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      ....except occasionally.

      October 26, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Don Lingrell

      who, other than the bible, says that it is the word of god? you have 4 gospels included, but none of them say "these are the words of jesus that i heard him speak". at the council of nicea, the catholic church threw out at least 40 other gospels that many people of the time who also considered themselves "christians"revered. it galls me to have people tell me what the bible means when most of them haven't even read the part they have. then they murder each other in the name of the king of love.

      October 27, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • rick

      sheila: your god will certainly be mocked

      October 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  14. Michelle Hess

    Reblogged this on BraveGirl Running...Life, Faith & Sport and commented:
    I think this is a good summary article about what people think of the President's faith.

    October 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  15. shawn

    I agree compleatly with the Presidents 'Christianity'. This country was founded on Christian principles is a lie if one Truly believes in Jesus Christ. Those same people came here and used all things evil to crush the Native Americans. Lies, cheating, killing, introducing them to liquor and deadly viruses. Starving them literally and spiritually. Those big so called Christians in the white house and senate are still lying, cheating, killing, using the poor to continue their wealth. I have never met more hypocrites, seen more uglyness of hearts then in those of people who go to church all the time. They used being 'saved' as an excuse. 'Christians arnt perfect, we're just forgiven' , that saying makes me want to vomit. My God is a fair, kind and loving God. The Jesus Christ I belive in was a champion of the poor, the down trodden. He was disguested at those walking around proffesing to love God then doing and acting evil. God wants us to be of open heart and chairtable. Other presidents have proffesed their faith in God yet they have actions of nothing but Evil. Who decides what 'acting and speaking' like a Christian is? Better yet, WHY does a president have to be a "Christian' at all? History had Proven over and over that being a 'Christian' in NO WAY means you are a good person or that you will do the right thing!

    October 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  16. keeeleee

    That’s not to say Obama backers at OSU have stopped trying to deliver young voters in this critical battleground state. They have been at work for months, coaxing out-of-state students to register to vote in Columbus.

    "I'm from Newport Beach, Calif.,” says fashion design major Sarah Dickler, “but I registered here because I was told that it would make a greater impact if I voted here in, you know, a swing state."

    That's Obama's shameful believe.

    October 26, 2012 at 1:23 am |
  17. Da King

    Obama will lose because he is against the Bible on babies and marriage.

    October 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • obama voter

      ^ignorant slander

      October 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Da King

      OV, Well see!

      October 26, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Da King, "well see"?

      You never got past freshman year in high school, did you? Guess what, dumbazz? I don't need you to tell me anything. I have an education, a career, and a mind. When you get any one of the three, alert the media. Until then, and EVEN then, you don't have any business telling women what to do with their bodies or the contents thereof.

      October 26, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • northern light

      To Dad King

      So it seems you would rather vote for a man who believes in this:

      "The sacred Book of Mormon is alleged to have been found on ancient golden plates buried in a hill in upstate New Year, just outside of Rochester. Furthermore, Mormons teach that these plates were translated from their original 'reformed Egyptian' language into English solely by the uneducated, 24-year old Joseph Smith. He did this supposedly by looking into a hat, where his magic 'peep stone' was sitting. The English words appeared miraculously in the stone.

      Americans do indeed get the government they deserve....given hat 75% of you do not think evolution is a fact....not a theory.

      October 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  18. tamtag

    Liked this article. I agree with Andrew.

    October 25, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  19. Darren Boehm

    President Obama's faith is real it is just not the same faith as Evangelical christians. he worships another jesus and this is not the Jesus of the bible.
    While he is to be commended on his commitment to the poor and downtrodden he like all past presidents are riding the evangelical coat tails to gain that extra vote.
    The people that vote for him on these grounds are biblically illiterate and do not understand the gospel or the Bible , for example the common mistake that these folk make is to always rip some verse out of the old testament and use it to attack the christian faith .
    This shows nothing more than ignorance of the bible and it's message for mankind maybe the President would do well to get alongside himself men of true faith Godly men who don't aspire for public office,who dont name universities after themselves , who will tell him what Gods wants of him and not what the opinion polls want.
    Maybe Judgment needs to fall on the country so that the President will seek the One true God's will instead of the left wing ideology that is driving him at the moment Sadly America's days of being a great nation is surely coming to an end because they have forgotten their God

    October 25, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • End Religion

      This is why we must end religion. Your blood lust makes me sick. Religion has absolutely nothing to do with love. You want things your way or you want the rivers to run red. You are a disgusting human being.

      October 25, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Brad

      You and people like you are nut jobs and really should have your head examined.

      October 25, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Julia

      Darren- You do not know the presidents inner most thoughts, nor the thoughts of every member of the evangelical church. The more you study religion and the religious the more you find each individual has their own "take" on what their religion means. As unique as fingerprints. Also Not everyone voting is even the same religious back ground or even has a religion.

      End Religion – "Bloodlust"? Seriously? I dont agree with everything this guy had to say either but I think calling the man "disgusting" is taking it a bit far.

      October 26, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Eric

      Your strident certainty of your position reminds me of the Pharisees to whom Jesus so often showed the error of their ways.

      October 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • nonconformist

      There is one basic assumption that you get wrong. You assume there actually is a god who is in control of everything. Not only is there no proof that a god exists but the probability of it is extremely low. This makes all of the religious rants simply delusional.

      October 26, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • End Religion

      @julia: "bloodlust? seriously?"

      He said, "Maybe Judgment needs to fall on the country so that the President will seek the One true God's will" which means he hopes the entire country, except whom he feels are "true believers," should be slaughtered by god in an apocalypse. Sounds bloodlusty to me. Sounds disgusting too. Sounds like my original comment was right on target.

      October 26, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  20. inthespirit

    "Beware of bartering the Word of God for a more suitable conception of your own." Oswald Chambers

    October 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • End Religion

      "Beware of believing in and talking to imaginary creatures." Russell Finneybot III

      October 25, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
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About this blog

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.