You can be skeptical and friendly at the same time.
Follow Patheos Atheist:
I don’t see how this is very different from my current existence…
(via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal — Thanks to everyone for the link!)
BREAKING NEWS: BARACK OBAMA IS AN AGNOSTIC!!!
I know this if off topic and maybe I’ll post this elsewhere if it doesn’t get enough attention, but I just read a very enlightening quote. In Dreams of My Father, Obama’s memior that no one seems to care about, he describes the following exchange:
Obama is cagey, in a lawyerly way, about the supernatural claims of religion. Recounting a conversation about death that he had with one of his two young daughters, he wrote, ”I wondered whether I should have told her the truth, that I wasn’t sure what happens when we die, any more than I was sure of where the soul resides or what existed before the Big Bang.” So I think we can take it that he doesn’t believe—or at least doesn’t exactly believe—in the afterlife or the creation.
The commentary is from a Seattle newspaper. Now Obama, in campaign ads and other venues, promotes his strong Christian faith, promotes his belief in Christ, and promotes his spiritual transition in adulthood. I think this is bunk rhetoric designed for political gain. I can’t imagine any devout or even moderate Christian vacillating on the existence of an afterlife or, even worse, what existed prior to the Big Bang!
“I don’t know what happens when we die” and “I believe in heaven” are not mutually exclusive. They are answering different questions. One is a question of knowledge and the other is a question of belief.
No offense, but I fail to see how your interpretation of a columnist’s interpretation of a section of Obama’s book is breaking news. And yes, it is off topic.
For the record, most of the Christians I know would admit they didn’t know how God did it even if they were convinced that God did do it. Again, believing in something is very different from knowing it.
You’re kidding me right? The commentary is irrelevant. Obama professes to be a devout Christian, someone whose faith is a central part of his life. Yet he makes a statement like this:
that I wasn’t sure what happens when we die, any more than I was sure of where the soul resides or what existed before the Big Bang
We can play semantics games all we want, but it’s pretty clear how much doubt Obama harbors concerning rather basic premises of Christianity. And I think the above quote implies a doubt in BELIEF, which given his professed faith is contradictory. I can’t imagine even a moderate Christian admitting such unsuredness (that’s made up but whatever) about what existed prior to the Big Bang. Probably the most basic foundational belief of Christianity is the supposition of an eternal Creator. Obama quite clearly seems unsure of this proposition.
Read my previous comment again.
The belief of an eternal Creator has nothing at all to do with the knowledge of what existed prior to the Big Bang. You’re way off base. Believing that Goddidit is very different from knowing how.
Just because Obama is clearly not a Young Earth Creationist or a Literalist (or whatever) that doesn’t mean he’s not a Christian.
Agnosticism is not lacking belief, it is being without [special] knowledge.
I don’t get the idea of hell at all. What is the purpose of hell and why is it found mainly in religions concerned with salvation? Aren’t the concepts of eternal salvation and eternal hell mutually exclusive? or is it all supposed to be some sort of game between God and Satan like the one they play on Job?
On an art related note why is it that the devil is always depicted as having horns? Is this another co-opted god symbol from another faith like Poseidon’s trident being turned into a pitchfork?
“I don’t get the idea of hell at all. What is the purpose of hell and why is it found mainly in religions concerned with salvation?”
Hell and the devil are vitally necessary for Christianity, because they provide the explanation for when bad things happen to good people. This allows Christians to live in a world in which everything that happens is proof that they’re doing the right thing.
An example of Christian thinking: if the local pagan hangout is hit by a tornado, then clearly that was god judging those evil pagans. If the Baptist church is hit by a tornado, then clearly this was Satan attacking the faithful. In either case, the Christians get to rejoice that god is on their side.
“On an art related note why is it that the devil is always depicted as having horns?”
Early in church history, it was important to undermine the pagans, so Satan is made to look like the pagan god Pan, who has goat hooves and horns.
“Is this another co-opted god symbol from another faith like Poseidon’s trident being turned into a pitchfork?”
On an art related note why is it that the devil is always depicted as having horns?
Because he’s sexually aroused.
I hope you skipped back through and saw this one, Hemant.
Thanks, Tao Jones. “The Unbrainwashed”‘s take on this is, essentially, the funamentalist one: You must literally believe X to be a Christian, Obama doesn’t literally believe X, therefore he’s not a Christian.
I can imagine Ken Miller saying pretty much the same thing, but you wouldn’t say he isn’t a Christian.
I don’t get the idea of hell at all.
You’re not alone there. Most Christians don’t. Many Christians have dumped the idea of a literal hell entirely, reasoning that it’s not actually that important.
Follow Patheos on
Copyright 2008-2014, Patheos. All rights reserved.