November 6, 2015

Some thoughts about Barack Obama’s faith

Donald Trump’s recent refusal to slap down a questioner’s statement that Obama is a Muslim seems to have kicked that wasp’s nest yet again.  Though Trump himself appears to be sting-proof, the incident is still interesting because it highlights the ongoing uncertainty over Obama’s true beliefs.  While none of us can see into the man’s heart (and we will assume, for sake of argument, that Obama has such an organ) we can make reasonable assumptions based on his behavior.  When you take that look, it really does appear that most people have gotten it wrong.
Let’s begin with the question “Is Barack Obama a Muslim?”  It is true that his father and grandfather were Muslims, that he went to a Muslim school as a child, and that he shows some obvious Muslim sympathies.  Plenty of people in the Muslim world believe Obama is a Muslim, based on the reasons I’ve just outlined.  There is a difference, though, between being a Muslim and being a Muslim sympathizer.  While I don’t have very much praise to offer for Islam, one must acknowledge that it’s a rigorous religion with a clearly defined doctrine.  The word “Muslim” itself means “one who submits (to Allah)”.  If I were listing the attributes of our 44th president, the phrase “one who submits (to Allah)” would not appear anywhere on the list.  He may bow pathetically in front of foreign leaders, but there is little indication he “submits” to anything in a religious sense.  Muslims are required to declare their faith, and claiming to be a Christian infidel for political expedience is something serious Muslims seldom do.  The requirement to pray, on your knees, five times a day is not a duty real Muslims shrug off lightly either.  Can anyone honestly imagine Obama getting reverently down on his knees to worship anything – other than an awkwardly placed mirror?  Muslims are strictly opposed to intoxicants of any kind.  This does not sound like the religion for a man who talks casually about using marijuana and cocaine.  Muslims are not even supposed to smoke, but Obama certainly does.  Religious doctrines, right or wrong, produces a certain kind of man.  Bin Laden, for all his genocidal fanaticism, has to be given credit for the qualities of patience and bodily discipline.  Whatever Barack Obama might imagine about himself, he just doesn’t pass muster as a Muslim – at least not in a religious sense.
Obama’s claim to Christianity falls apart for similar reasons.  What is there that is Christian about him?  He does not refer to his supposed Christian faith except when it’s politically useful.  He criticizes Christians at almost every opportunity, displaying not only a contempt for the faith, but a spectacular sense of egotism that is out of character with the faith.  I grant that his election to two terms does seem like a terrible miracle, but he was elected president – he was not anointed a new Christ.  It is not for him to lecture real Christians about the shortcomings of their religion, and if he were a Christian he would know that.  Those who look to Obama for either salvation or moral guidance would be better off praying to the tooth fairy.  Of course, the claim that he’s the Antichrist is entirely laughable too.  For one thing, why would the puppet of Satan, whose evil powers are beyond estimation, need to resort to such a clumsy apparatus as a teleprompter?  I’m not here to play the devil’s advocate – but let’s give the devil his due!  Of all the possible emissaries in the world, he could find no better servant than Barack Hussein Obama?  The 20th century produced many more likely candidates for the job of Antichrist – none of them so petulant and disengaged.
The best evidence that Obama is not a Christian really isn’t his obvious lack of piety, but the fact that most people on the atheist left take it for granted that he’s an atheist like themselves.  When he is accused of being Muslim they will shout indignantly that Obama has declared himself a Christian – but they protest with a wink and a nod.  Anyone can see that Obama joined reverend Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ primarily to convince the local voters that a Harvard-educated lawyer from Hawaii was, somehow, a real black man.  And Wright, in any case, doesn’t add much to anybody’s Christian credentials.  He’s not a “love thy neighbor” sort of pastor.  He’s the sort of pastor a liberal anti-traditionalist might well find entertaining – on those Sundays when the weather is either a little too wet or windy for golf.

While Obama isn’t disciplined enough to be a Muslim, or sincere enough to be a Christian, he doesn’t seem to quite pass muster as an atheist either.  Atheists believe there is no god.  They believe we are all the products of nature, and that there is nothing divine, or mystical, or truly special about any of us.  Obama writes and speaks with an air of destiny any hardheaded atheist ought to find disturbing.  He may not believe in American exceptionalism, but he clearly believes in his own exceptionalism.  I’m not just being vicious to the president here.  I am being vicious – but I’m not just being vicious.  There is a point at which vanity becomes more than an unpleasant personal trait, and crosses into the realm of a pathology.  Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a recognized form of mental illness, and Barack Obama embodies every one of its symptoms:

1.                   An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).
2.                   Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3.                   Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
4.                   Requires excessive admiration.
5.                   Has a sense of entitlement.
6.                   Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends.
7.                   Lacks empathy.
8.                  Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him.
9.                   Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes.
                - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV , American Psychiatric Association
It is only necessary, by the way, to show five out of the nine symptoms.
While there has never been a clinical diagnosis of the president, for obvious reasons, let’s not be blind.  Even some liberal journalists have pointed out that our president seems disappointed with the world – as though the world were failing him, rather than him failing to cope successfully with it.  All presidents have hefty egos, but this is something more than simply ego.  Barack Obama’s favoritism toward Muslims has nothing to do with actual religious beliefs – of which he may well be incapable.  His fondness for Islam is nothing more than a mystical preoccupation with his own personal heritage.  His lukewarm Christianity is a mere expedience.  Even his atheism is no more than the casual adoption of the formless, open-ended pseudo-religion of his benefactors.  His true god is, and probably always will be, himself.

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