The Faith of Barack Obama written by New York Times best-selling author Stephen Mansfield was released in August by Thomas Nelson publishers. The book carries the endorsement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the front cover. Tutu, one of the global “Elders,” calls the book “perceptive and well-written.” The publisher’s description of the book reads:
. . . takes readers inside the mind, heart, and soul of presidential hopeful Barack Obama–as a person of faith, as a man, as an American, and possibly as our future commander in chief.
Mansfield, says: “If a man’s faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him, and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life.”
According to Mansfield, Obama is “raising the banner of what he hopes will be the faith-based politics of a new generation . . . and he will carry that banner to whatever heights of power his God and the American people allow.”
Recently, when Obama was interviewed by Rick Warren, Obama told Warren that Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior. Yet this “banner” Obama raises is one that has an interspiritual foundation, representing a new kind of “Christianity,” one that looks more like Brian McLaren’s spirituality than traditional, biblical Christianity.
Mansfield’s book addresses the concern many have that Obama may be a closet Muslim, but he dismisses the possibility in the book, saying he was too young to be a “full convert to Islam”(p. 18). But what emerges from this book is a man who is New Age in philosophy, believing that all religions are legitimate paths to God, and all humanity is connected together (spiritually speaking – i.e., God is in all):
Obama does clearly believe that the form of Christianity that he committed to at Trinity Church in 1985 is not the only path to God. “I am rooted in the Christian tradition,” he has said. Nevertheless he asserts, “I believe there are many paths to the same place and that is a belief there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.” He first saw his broad embrace of faith modeled by his mother. “In our household,” he has explained, “The Bible, [t]he Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf . . . on Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to a church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites.” (p.55 of Mansfield’s book, quoting from Audacity of Hope, Obama, p. 203).
After his interspiritually-based upbringing, Obama later spent twenty years in a church, which promotes the panenthestic (God in all), interspiritual approach. In a 2006 article in United Church News, Obama stated that the teachings of the UCC (United Church of Christ), of which he was a member (Trinity United Church of Christ) until recently, are “foundation stones for his political work.” Just what are those “teachings” comprised of? On Trinity’s website, on the Yoga page, the following statement is highlighted:
Within each [of] us is the seed of Divinity. Each Soul is divine. I bow to the divinity in us all!
This is classic Hinduism that teaches that divinity resides in every human being. It is also the message of the New Age movement–man’s divinity!
In Obama’s own autobiography, Audacity of Hope, he calls himself a “progressive” (i.e., emerging or postmodern) and says: “We need to take faith seriously not simply to block the religious right but to engage all persons of faith in the larger project of American renewal” (p. 216). Echoing the sentiments of Rick Warren (a close friend of Obama, says Warren), he clarifies that partnerships between “religious and secular” will have to be built, and “each side will need to accept some ground rules for collaboration” (p. 216). He adds:
Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers. (p. 218)
Obama insists that to base national “policy” on biblical truths “would be a dangerous thing” to do (p. 220).
There is one sentence in Audacity of Hope that sums up Barack Obama’s spirituality. He states:
When I read the Bible, I do so with the belief that it is not a static (stable) text but the Living Word and that I must be continually open to new revelations.(p. 224)
In other words, just as Tony Jones said in his book The New Christians, and just as other emergents consistently say, the truths in the written Word of God, the Bible, are not unchanging and cannot be looked upon as stable or immoveable. “New revelations” can bring about new “truths” . . . truth is fluid.
To be interspiritual (all paths lead to God), to be panentheistic (divinity is in all), to reject God’s Word, and to embrace mysticism is to be what Alice Bailey called a rejuvenated Christian, who is one who follows “another gospel” and “another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:4).
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)