Barack Obama is Not the AntiChrist!

He may not be your preferred candidate. He’s not mine. But I am so tired of hearing that Barack Obama is the anti-christ that I might just vote for him to prove others wrong.

There has been a an all-to-common alarm sounded by a number of well-meaning Christians that Barack Obama might bring about the end of the world and kick off the beginning stages of the rapture and the Great Tribulation! Most of these comments stem from poor understandings of the already poor theology of the beloved Left Behind books. But is there any real weight to this concern?

I think at the heart of this issue is that many Christians have gotten so use to associating Christianity with Republicanism that a change in national politics, to the degree which Obama desires, threatens their notions of the faith. They have gotten so use to being on the “in crowd” (or at least that’s where they think they are), that the idea of being an outsider in American politics is a scary thought for many conservative Christians. I am inclined to think, however, that not being so closely associated with the national political scene is going to serve the church well.

At what time in history did the church most grow in number and spiritual maturity? Well it might be somewhat hard to prove, but it has been suggested that the church grew the most when they faced persecution and were not in the pocket of the politicians (i.e. the early church era prior to Roman adoption of Christianity). Here’s the reality American Christians must own up to: Being on the “in” with American politics has not stemmed the tied of moral corruption in our society and hasn’t helped the church as much as everyone thinks it has. Instead we have churches that look an awful lot like the sinful world, and a Christian culture that has so misunderstood the gospel that it associates the fall of Republican power with the Return of Christ and the final judgment!

But perhaps, just perhaps, by not being so consumed with our (fictional?) place in the American political system we can finally focus on regaining a proper understanding of the gospel, and develop a more spiritually mature church.

P.S. if Barack Obama does turn out to be an anti-christ I’ll write a retraction!

About Dave Dunham
  • http://www.joelamoroney.wordpress.com Joel A Moroney

    The connection between Christianity and politics has always seemed strange to me over here in Australia. We don’t have a political party that is “The Christian” party. At our last federal election, both men going for the top job claimed to be Christian and it was not a deciding factor in the election. I never heard either appealing for my vote based on my faith.
    The other thing that interests me about this election is that we here in Oz are mainly hearing about Obama. We hear who’s supporting him and what they’re doing to sway people to vote for him. Not so much McCain. I know we’re getting a one sided account, but what makes McCain the better candidate from a Christian perspective? I’m curious and would love to hear more.

    Joel A Moroneys last blog post..Metro Station: Shake It

  • Garrett

    “Being on the “in” with American politics has not stemmed the tied of moral corruption in our society and hasn’t helped the church as much as everyone thinks it has.”

    Eh, I don’t think anyone is arguing that the church grew tremendously under Roman state rule. But would you prefer to live in such a time and under such oppression? Conservative Christians are an easy target, but this time I think you missed the mark.

    Out of curiosity, are there any credible proponents of the Obama as antichrist idea? I don’t think anyone takes that assertion seriously, so it seems like a straw man.

  • http://www.mosaiclife.com wendy

    Hahah. You must have gotten the same e-mail forward that I did.

    wendys last blog post..Second session

  • Dave Dunham

    @ Joel- the most pressing issue for a number of conservative Christians is abortion. McCain is pro-life, Obama is pro-choice and so this is the deciding factor for many believers in America, especially those of the “Obama is Anti-Christ” ilk (though certainly this is not the feeling of all pro-lifers).

    @ Garrett- I am afraid you’ll have to elaborate one how I “missed the mark.” What do you think the “mark” I was aiming for was?

    @ Wendy- Yes I got that e-mail…good grief!

  • Alan Noble

    I don’t have anything intelligent to say right now. I just wanted to note how awesome that picture is.

  • http://www.benbartlett.blogspot.com Ben Bartlett

    David,

    Very good article. I do think, though, I would have been curious to see how you handle the, “Obama is a pro-death socialist” crowd. The “Obama is the anti-Christ” crowd is certainly very fringe. However, the “Obama is a pro-death socialist crowd” is widespread (especially, I’ve noticed, at my own seminary). They are even fueled by such top experts as George Will and Robert George (not saying those fine men necessarily go this far, but that their perspectives are seen as supportive of this crowd). Would you say we are about to elect a left-wing extremist? I think the rhetoric surrounding this assertion is much more prevalent in Christian circles than the one you address.

    That said, I thought you handled it very well and think the majority of the article (last three paragraphs) is extremely challenging, in a very good way, to the question of Christians in politics. Great work.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..Happiness and Ethics

  • http://electexiles.wordpress.com Drew

    @Ben Bartlett -

    Hey David,

    I silently keep track of your blog from the shadows (google-reader) but this particular post struck a chord with me. I actually wrote a simliar post begging Christians to stop forwarding those ridiculous emails about Obama. I worry about Christians who think the sky is falling just because a candidate might be elected who disagrees significantly with their politics.

    I am no supporter of Obama, that has been made clear in a number of posts about his stance on abortion on my blog, but I will also not publicly campaign for McCain or any other political figure, because I feel its not my place to campaign for a political candidate as a pastor.

    You have probably seen John Piper’s video over at JT’s blog, I think he does an excellent job of reminding Christians that our treasure is not on earth and we don’t look for salvation in the political system and that God is absolutely soveriegn over this election. If Obama is elected it is God’s will and it will be for the good of God’s people (Romans 8:28).

    Here’s to hoping with you that whatever happens this election, Christians are challenged to live more faithfully for Christ and that God brings revival to our churches!

    Drews last blog post..Christ in the Independent Music Scene – Danielson: A Family Movie

  • http://electexiles.wordpress.com Drew

    I don’t know why that comment said @ Ben Bartlett, sorry it was meant to be directed at the Post David wrote. I really need to learn to learn more about html!

    Drews last blog post..Christ in the Independent Music Scene – Danielson: A Family Movie

  • http://thewaterspout.wordpress.com Hooser

    Obama is pro-choice. McCain is pro-stem cell research. So were voting for a lesser of two evils. During Democratic presidencies Christians share criticisms with the political right, so they develop blind spots to the differences between the right and the gospel. During Republican presidencies Christians place so much faith in the Republicans that they will blindly defend them when they do blatantly un-biblical things.

    Christians should not be of the right or the left. Jesus is Lord yesterday, today, and even after tomorrow. Any sort of faith or despair regarding these political circumstances is just flat out idolatry. Change will happen from the bottom up, not the top down and if Christians want to make a difference, they need to do more in their community than in the voting booth. Be a faithful Christian first, and don’t worry about your vote.

    Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

    Hoosers last blog post..How Facebook Can Make Money

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    @David – The thing I always wonder about is how exactly Obama being the anti-Christ is a bad thing to these people. If we, as American Christians, had the power to initiate the return of Christ and the consummation of the heavenly kingdom, how rad would that be? A vote for Obama is a vote for Christ’s return? Maranatha and pass the ballot!

    Of course, people either forget that the Second Coming is a good thing or else they don’t really believe their own hype and just like to scare people.

    @Garrett – You really do like to say Straw Man, don’t you?

    @Ben – Fringe or not, I tend to run into some of these people in the real-life circles in which I swim. Of course, as you say, the socialist-deathmonger crowd is more populous. I think it fun to point out that socialists look at Obama and say without blanching: “Nope. He’s no socialist.” I have a friend who’s voting Obama but is far from happy with him as a candidate because he’s so very centrist—only slightly left of centrist from McCain, who is also centrist.

    To the socialist accusation, I always garner much amusement by asking which party’s president pushed bailing out the banks to the tune of 700 gazillion dollars. To the pro-death accusation, I tend to point out that both candidates say they don’t like abortion and neither candidate believes the Roe v. Wade should be reversed.

    @Hooser – McCain is more than just pro-stem cell research. He also does not believe Roe v. Wade should be reversed.

    The Danes last blog post..20081031.NetNeutrality

  • http://electexiles.wordpress.com Drew

    @ The Dane – I like your point about how Obama being the anti-Christ isn’t a bad thing–as the Apostle Paul says, “to die and be with Christ is far better.” If he were the antichrist would it matter whether or not he was elected? Don’t we want Jesus to return? Evangelical Christianity in America is far to comfortable and far too fearful.

    Indeed, if Obama gets elected, it could mean more abortions and more murdering of the unborn, (again not campaigning for anyone) but if McCain is elected I don’t see him doing much to change the state of abortion here either.

    @Joel – There are also modern day examples of the church growing substantially–look at China–the church is growing rapidly there in the midst of persecution. I am not saying that I want t be persecuted, but if the Lord should choose to bring difficulty to the lives of American Christians, it could indeed be a good thing–God works all things together for those who love him and are called according to his purposes! American Christianity is fat and out of shape, we expect too much from our political system.

    Drews last blog post..Christ in the Independent Music Scene – Danielson: A Family Movie

  • http://www.benbartlett.blogspot.com Ben Bartlett

    Dane,

    I agree with your thoughts entirely.

    I’m always amused to point out that were we living in England, Obama might be hard pressed to choose whether he is Liberal, Labor, or Conservative! Obama is Socialist in a way very similar to Bush being a Fascist. Can’t tell you how many of my liberal friends in college were certain that if Bush were elected, we would lose all civil rights (especially the “right” to abortion), he would abolish term limits, and we’d be back to hanging minorities in the street for sport. Um, no.

    Of course, it’s hard to get too mad at them for those obnoxious statements now… the shoe is on the other foot, and it fits just as well.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..Happiness and Ethics

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    @Drew – Yeah, I don’t really see this huge gulf of distance between McCain and Obama on abortion. In either case, if trends go as trends do, abortion rates will continue to drop. Abortion was high under Reagan and jumped up under Bush Sr., then dipped dramatically under Clinton and continued to decrease during W. If McCain is elected, I imagine we’ll continue to see diminishment of abortion rates. If Obama gets elected, we may see a greater rate of diminishment, as while he is a bit more in favour of “Choice” than his opponent he’s also more in favour of the kinds of social programs that seem to help those who might otherwise get abortions. At this stage, I think it’s anyone’s guess who’d do more to diminish abortion rates.

    As well, I’m not such a fan of using the term “murder” to describe abortion—since in most cases it appears to be closer to something like manslaughter. And of course, the Bible does seem to put a lesser value on unborn infant life than it does on the post-natal (or at least it does in the context of the Mosaic legal system…).

    @Ben – It feels kind of nice to agree with you every so often ^_^

    The Danes last blog post..20081031.NetNeutrality

  • http://www.benbartlett.blogspot.com Ben Bartlett

    Right, well, just so long as we don’t get comfortable!

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..Economic Grapes of Wrath

  • http://electexiles.wordpress.com Drew

    @ Dane – I assume you are referring to exodus 21:22. What is your understanding of that? Do you think it is referring to premature birth or to a miscarriage?

    It seems to me that there is an obvious difference between what Ex. 21 is referring to, which would be consummate with manslaughter and what modern-day abortion is. Today women make a choice to end the life of unborn babies in their womb–when it is a conscience choice and we determine that what is in the mother’s womb is a human at even the earliest stages of developement, then I feel compelled to call it murder.

    I would also say that the Bible seems to see “people in the womb” as known by God, which seems to me to be the highest argument for babies in the womb being just that, babies. Here are some examples–Psalm 22:9-10; 139:13; Luke 1:15 (Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb, how could something not human be filled with the HS?).

    Anyway, I really do appreciate your comments and I hope I am not turning this meta into a discussion on abortion, because like I said, I really do appreciate and agree with the heart of David’s post! I also appreciate your thoughts, The Dane, and would be interested to hear your thoughts on some of these passages and about how a woman’s “choice” to have an abortion is not the willful ending of human life, i.e. murder.

    Drews last blog post..Christ in the Independent Music Scene – Danielson: A Family Movie

  • http://www.abandonallfear.co.uk Alex Fear

    “There has been a an all-to-common alarm sounded by a number of well-meaning Christians that Barack Obama might bring about the end of the world and kick off the beginning stages of the rapture and the Great Tribulation!”

    “Well-meaning” Christians?

    Don’t you mean ignorant and lazy-brained? Are they even Christians who are propagating this or just haters?

    Everyone here knows Obama is a Christian right? Maybe you don’t agree with his theology but he is a Christian.

    Also for someone mentioning McCain being pro-Stem-cell research.. A lot of people don’t seem to realise that you don’t need a fetus to collect stem cells- stem cells can be collected from placenta. Christians would be more effective if we campaigned for better science and alternatives, rather than just “do not want” campaigns.

    Imagine how we’d steal the thunder from Richard Dawkins and his barmy army if Christians started campaigning for science and showing concern for those who are already born.

    Alex Fears last blog post..[Government Policy Announcement] Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang… You’re Dead

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    @Drew – Oh I absolutely believe that an abortion is the ending of a human life and therefore wrong. I just don’t think the term “murder” adequately describes what is going on there.

    First things first. I believe that the unborn human is fully human. I believe the unborn human is a person. I believe the unborn person has as much a soul as you or I. I also believe that John the Baptist exhibited faith without knowledge whilst in the womb (which I use to demonstrate the possibility of my own faith from infancy, as there is not a time in memory when I did not believe).

    That said, the vast majority of those aborting babies are neither doing so in malicious contempt for another person’s life nor do many even belief that the life they are taking is a full-fledged human person. Their killings are born of ignorance and negligence rather than anything we would normally call murder. I think that if we strip abortion from its context, it’s easy to call it murder but if we treat it from within its context, it comes out as something a bit different. Manslaughter would not be the technical legal definition, but I feel it comes closer to accurately defining the dynamic at work.

    Further, despite the full-personhood of the unborn infant, it seems that the Mosaic system (cf. Ex. 21:22) places a different kind of punishment on those who cause the accidental death of the unborn vs. the accidental death of the mother. Looking at the passage and the language used, it seems unlikely that premature birth is in mind. There would be no reason to use such terminology as it would be redundant to describe someone inducing a birth to occur by violence and then stipulate that such a birth was premature (inducement by violence presumes prematurity). The plain reading is that the passage is speaking of miscarriage due to violence.

    In any case, this passage does not relate directly to abortion except for that it may speak to the value of the unborn life in Mosaic society and creates sanctions for unborn infant deaths caused by accident/negligence.

    The Danes last blog post..20081031.NetNeutrality

  • http://electexiles.wordpress.com Drew

    @The Dane – Thanks for clarifying your position. I just think that if abortion is the conscious ending of human life then it is murder whether or not the mother making the decision sees it as such. There in lies the problem of the human sinful condition–we make the sin in our lives out to be less than it really is. If people don’t see the unborn as human life then that is due to ignorance which is a result of the fall–we continually (myself included) make sin out to be less than it really is. I would agree with you that Christians ought to be more sensitive about calling abortion murder, especially to those who have made the foolish decision to have a baby aborted–such women need to hear of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ rather than be pegged as murders!

    Anyway, I shouldn’t say more, otherwise I will make the blogging error of hijacking a comment meta for my own purposes!

    Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts, I enjoy reading your blog and I am glad that we can have honest and civil conversation on important issues like this.

    Drews last blog post..Christ in the Independent Music Scene – Danielson: A Family Movie

  • JoeInNY

    I’m not sure if Obama is the anti-Christ, but he’s close enough for rock-n-roll. He’s a Marxist, so that makes him anti-American. He’s pro-choice, so that makes him anti-Christian. Kicking reporters off the campaign because they don’t agree with his politics is also anti-American. That’s something Chavez would do. With all the liberal press against McCain/Palin, do you see them throwing reporters off the campaign trail? He’s about as close to the anti-Christ America has ever seen. A vote for Obama is a vote against America & Christianity…

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    @JoelnNY – Well, even if Obama was Marxist (a perception that any Marxist worth his salt will chortle at with much heartiness and gusto), that would not preclude him from being pro-American. One of the great things about America is that it actually promotes a panoply of differing ideologies. One does not even have to believe in democracy to be a good American. What you suggest runs akin the reasoning that gripped America during McCarthy’s villainous rein during the Red Scare.

    Way to choose someone worthwhile to associate with.

    @Garrett – I really don’t think you understand how the Straw Man fallacy works. I would hold off ’til you get a better handle on it.

    As to whether David can find any credible proponents of the Obama as antichrist idea, this kind of begs the question since in order to believe that Obama is the anti-Christ, one has to forfeit all credibility. It kind of goes with the territory.

    Sort of like with people who claim that Obama is a Marxist. Of course there aren’t credible proponents of the idea. It’s outlandish enough that one must sacrifice their good sense in order to buy into that kind of propaganda.

    But you get the idea.

    The Danes last blog post..20081103.Obama08

  • JoeInNY

    @The Dane – Well it certainly seems you’ve swallowed the Kool-Aid. Spreading the wealth isn’t enough for you to see he’s a Marxist? Of course not. You’re already infected, so I won’t waste my time with you.

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    @JoeInNY – Huh. That may actually be the best response I’ve gotten in the last two months. I mean, how often is it that even the trolls won’t waste time with you.

    The Danes last blog post..20081103.Obama08

  • David Dunham

    @JoelnNY- We do try to encourage actual conversation on this site. And would much rather see real interaction on topics than simply a written dismissal of another person. The Dane has given some real content to be considered. We’d invite you to actually deal with what he has said.

  • David Dunham

    @The Dane, what do you think about Obama’s stance on fixing the economy?

  • http://www.benbartlett.blogspot.com Ben Bartlett

    I too am curious for the take from our Libertarian friend. That said, I’ll be especially interested to see your reactions to a post that I’ve submitted but that hasn’t gone up yet regarding the economy. My contention is that it’s a lot less broke than we make it out to be.

    In fact, my greatest fear about Obama is that with large majorities in both houses, he’ll pass large, poorly run government programs that will strain the economy for eons to come. As far as fixing the economy, time tends to be the best at doing that.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..Economic Grapes of Wrath

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    @ David and Ben – I have to teach now (fascinatingly enough, on Abimelech, the first king of Israel, coincidentally keeping with the political flavour of the day) so I won’t be able to get to the question ’til after lunch, but for now I’ll agree with Ben that economies, if left on their own will tend toward self-regulation so it’s unfortunate that America hasn’t believed in a self-regulating economy for a couple hundred years now.

    But more on this later, I promise!

    The Danes last blog post..20081103.Obama08

  • http://www.christandpopculture.com/ Richard Clark

    For the record, the article Ben’s talking about will be published on Friday.

  • JoeInNY

    @David Dunham – Did “The Dane” deal with with my points from my post? Liberalism is a mental disorder…..

  • JoeInNY

    There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:
    haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
    a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
    a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.
    -Proverbs 6:16-19

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kri8G-lGYfg

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    @David and Ben – Honestly, economics is my least strong suit, so I’m not really super qualified to judge one economics plan against another. I do believe that unhindered Libertarianism (with regards economic issues too) is really the best way to go. The problem in the real world is that hindered Libertarianism can have disastrous effects. So then pragmatically, there’s got to be some play between when Libertarian principle will work and when it won’t (presuming massive hindrance—which seems realistic).

    For this reason, I did like some of the direction Ron Paul wanted to take things. But the truth of the matter is that economic ups and downs don’t really bother me one way or another. I just lost $5K in the last six months, but it’s just money.

    As for Obama’s plan?

    Things that I don’t mind:
    • Jumpstart the Economy – A year ago, this might have seemed obscene. After the bank bailout? Chump change.
    • Middle America Tax Relief – While I prefer abolishing the Income Tax in favour of a sales tax, I prefer Obama’s tax bracketing to McCain’s.

    Things I Don’t Mind Mostly because the Effects Are Beyond Me
    • Trade. I don’t like the idea of tax breaks for sending jobs overseas, but I do like cheap DVD players.
    • Investment into clean energy source jobs and development – it sounds nice, but I suppose it would depend on how the investment was carried out.
    • Labour. I’m no fan of unions or guilds, but I am a fan of the American’s right to unionize if he likes.

    Bleh… there’s so much to his plan that I’m not equipped to deal with. I don’t know… I guess I’d have to hear about a specific part of his plan and then see if I have anything to say about it.

    The Danes last blog post..20081103.Obama08

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    @Rich – I too would like to congratulate you on the picture choice. It looks like he just smelt one of Biden’s farts.

    The Danes last blog post..20081103.Obama08

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  • Candice

    @Joel A Moroney -
    A lot of Christians vote straight republic based soley on the abortion issue. Because Democrats are pro-choice and Republicans are pro-life and Christians like voting against murdering babies. I read from a couple places that Obama voted against required medical care for newborn infants that survived partial birth abortions. I didn’t vote based on pro-either because I don’t feel like either would suceed in outlawing abortion, but the nurses testimonies of babies being left to cry basically to death for 8 hours in equipment closets after failed partial birth abortions sealed my vote. I hope that gives you a peek at the connection. Which I’m sure that’s just a piece of it.

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    @Candice – From what I could tell, Obama voted against a particular bill (SB 1661) and that’s the piece of partial birth survival legislation that everyone’s talked about.

    Now I can’t tell you his particular reason for voting against it, but having read it, I can tell you its a poorly drafted piece of legislation with plenty of holes for abuse. The language is vague—especially in Section 10—and vague enough so that even a woman initiating an abortion could probably sue for “punitive damages” against a doctor carrying out her wishes. Or the boyfriend/husband of woman electing to abort.

    The drafters should have been more careful in preparing the bill. As it was written, it didn’t deserve votes.

    The Danes last blog post..20081106.ObamaTax

  • Dave Dunham

    I am not quite where Ben Bartlett is, not yet anyways. I am still somewhat hung up on the whole abortion issue and have trouble voting for a candidate so clearly for it. I don’t want to be a one-issue-voter, but this one seems so big that I don’t know how to quiet my conscience over it. That being said, I agree with The Dane (let’s hope that doesn’t become a routine), The Bill in question was very controversial and had lots of problems.

  • http://www.benbartlett.blogspot.com Ben Bartlett

    Yep, good call guys. Actually, it was more than just a bad bill… there was already a law on the books that did the same thing. The bill was an entirely useless one, designed to embarass people and not to do anything new from a legal standpoint or even address a need.

    And David, you raise a good point. My approach to voting is something I’ve built up over years of political study and interest, so I have one perspective on what my conscience will allow… but nobody should vote AGAINST their conscience.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..Where will the new Wilberforce come from?

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