I just stumbled on an article about Obama’s journey of faith.
The story of Obama’s religious journey is a uniquely American tale. It’s one of a seeker, an intellectually curious young man trying to cobble together a religious identity out of myriad influences. Always drawn to life’s Big Questions, Obama embarked on a spiritual quest in which he tried to reconcile his rational side with his yearning for transcendence. He found Christ—but that hasn’t stopped him from asking questions. “I’m on my own faith journey and I’m searching,” he says. “I leave open the possibility that I’m entirely wrong.”
It’s nice to know there are people out there who think so seriously about religion. And I like how he said he leaves open the possibility that he is entirely wrong. I can’t deny that I feel this way as well. In my earnest reading of the bible, I sometimes get seized by jolts of doubt and it worries me that I might have strayed from the Truth, still.
Another thing that troubles me is the inflexibility of some believers. I don’t know and I don’t think anyone else should claim to know for sure either, especially people whose words hold greater weight, like pastors and such. Because when they think they know and stop communicating with God, they stray further and further away from Him.
That’s the problem I have with organized religions, conservative churches and such. As humans, it is impossible for us to prevent our personal biases from creeping into even something so sacred as our faith. The big problem surfaces when we unknowingly (or deliberately, the horrors!) develop our own distorted brand of faith and try to impose this on other people. I now believe in the Word of God but it is so open to interpretations that no one person can claim incontrovertible understanding.
Some on the right say his particular brand of Christianity is a modern amalgam—unorthodox, undisciplined, even insincere. Last month Dr. James Dobson accused Obama of “deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own world view, his own confused theology.”
I feel threatened reading this because the structure of my faith is similar to that of Obama’s. I may have found my way to the foot of the cross but I am still a pluralist. I believe in contraception, in euthanasia and in abortion. I believe in the mature decision to terminate a marriage in divorce and heck, I even still see marriage as a legal contract more than a holy matrimony. And I do not see the wrong in premarital sex as long as both parties engage in it responsibly and sensibly.
With all these convictions is the overarching belief that free will is a right of birth. And this, I’m sure even the most conservative of Christians cannot dispute because it was God, in His graciousness, who granted it to us. I do not see how my endorsement of free will and pluralism makes me less sincere in my approach to God. It is insulting to even imagine people accusing me of not following Christ with my whole life.
To be sure though, I consulted the Word of God and found this: If you love me, you will obey what I command. (John 14:15)
HMM…I’m trying to make sense of this.