Christianity, President Obama, and Progressive Religion

A few years ago, there was some question concerning President Obama’s Christian faith.  I doubt not that much of it was an attempt to discredit him by conservatives, but some of it was also driven by his own words of admiration for Muhammad and the religion of Islam.  Regardless, the issue was resolved in the media by President Obama’s protestation that he was a Christian, and in today’s society, saying that one is something is irrefutable evidence that one is something—just ask a transgender.

Well, I would like to take up the unenviable task of rehearsing that question all over again for the purpose of elucidating some religious tenets of what today goes by the name of “progressivism.”  (Understand, I only use the former President as an example for my larger purpose.)  To begin, I believe that Barak Obama believes that he is a Christian.  Having said that, I do not think he cares for the doctrinal content of the Christian faith as that concerns, say, the historic doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the atonement, regeneration, the Second Coming, Biblical inspiration, and a host of other teachings of the faith.  I believe that for Mr. Obama, Christianity primarily consists of the ethical teachings of Jesus boiled down to the Sermon on the Mount and others of his sayings—all of which are then tossed into the contemporary blender of tolerance, diversity, and social justice touching on race, gender, LGBT, the environment, etc., etc., and, most important of all, harnessing the coercive power of government to remake society along Progressive lines.   

Which is all to say that for Barak Obama, his real religion is progressivism.  Let me put it this way: If Mr. Obama were to emigrate to, say, a Muslim nation, and it became expedient or just plain convenient for him to convert to Islam…well, as long as that particular brand of Islam allowed for Progressive ideals (though that’s hard to imagine), I think he would convert.  And if you were to confront him about it, I think he would shrug his shoulders and say something like, “Look!  We’re forcing people to live together whether they like it or not, government is feeding, housing, and clothing people, and actively promoting racial and gender equality while punishing inequality, women receive free contraception and unlimited access to abortion, people of the same sex can marry or be whatever gender they wish, we’ve moved away from fossil fuels, banned drinking straws AND saved the whales!  What more can you ask for?”  In other words, to an ardent Progressive, religions such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, or what have you, IN THEIR BEST FORMS are merely expressions of THAT ONE TRUE RELIGION which is BY DEFAULT progressivism. To put it another way, religion only serves the purpose of politics in the task of social reconstruction.

But why do I call progressivism a religion?  Because it has all the trappings of one.  Like most religions, it has a theory (mythology, rather) of origins which is called, “evolution.”  And though this theory is predicated on naturalism, it still posits a god but renames him, “natural selection,” because, for some odd reason, it seems impossible to get anything done without some mechanism doing it.  Imagine that!  This mythos becomes all-embracing providing answers to questions reaching back billions of years when no one was there to see anything happen.  But that’s okay because the cosmos is littered with evidence all over the place needing only the discerning eye of the scientist to unlock its secrets and tell us what happened.

But evolution embraces far more than just “science.”  You see, the doctrine of evolution also provides a framework for viewing all of history and thus, like religion, has an eschatology as well—a doctrine of last things or how things will turn out in the end.  To the Progressive, “history” is marching ever forward (our better angels in tow) towards a wonderful new world where all is right.  There is no oppression, everyone has the same amount of stuff, and no one is better than anyone else.  As for personal liberty, there is sexual freedom (of course) but government makes certain that all else is regulated and evenly distributed.  It is a heaven on earth—a utopia—that progressives desire, which is why they speak little of an afterlife; after all, such ideas sap people’s energy from the here and now, which is what really matters.  To the extent there is a heaven “up there,” everyone goes (except for evangelicals and traditional Catholics).  But interestingly and actually quite fascinating, like Christianity and other religions, progressivism also has its apocalyptic side which we see in the environmental “crisis” that is constantly played out before us in the media and our educational institutions.  “The earth has only ten years,” we hear, “and then we will be unable to reverse certain catastrophe!”  It will be decades before we are able to quantify the trauma inflicted on hundreds of millions of children the world over for such passion-laden, apocalyptic child abuse.  But then such apocalyptic fervor answers the Progressive need for more government control.

I could speak of other doctrines: progressivism has a doctrine of sin, but it is reinterpreted from the personal to the societal.  A person is a sinner only to the extent that he harms society, and that harm is socially-constructed along the lines of racism, sexism, homo-, trans-phobia, etc.  And like sin, salvation is also socially-constructed with everyone living in peace on the Quad of some educational institution, forever learning, and forever becoming more equal.  Sorta makes angels floating on clouds sound exciting, doesn’t it!  You see, they really don’t grasp that their understanding of equality (which is conflated with sameness) actually makes for a terribly boring world. 

I’ll stop here but I think you see what I mean when I say that I think Mr. Obama’s religion (and millions like him) really has little in common with historic Christianity as it understands itself.  His religion is progressivism—which truly is a religion—with Jesus making cameo appearances in support (or kidnapped, if you prefer).  And Progressive religion will always oppose and hate (and I do mean “hate”) authentic Christianity, because the latter stands in direct contrast to the former—and the former’s understanding of diversity and tolerance will only extend so far.  Authentic Christianity will always pose an existential threat to progressivism, WHICH IS ONLY THE OLD PAGANISM IN GAUDIER GARB.  Communist countries both current and past are all the proof we need of that.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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