In 2004, while running for the United States Senate, candidate Barack Obama gave an interview with Cathleen Falsani, then a religion reporter for the Chicago Sun Times
. The full transcript of that interview is now available HERE
. If you are eligible to vote in the November election, and you fail to read the entire transcript, then you are a very great fool.
Each of us is burdened with our own perspective, and so what another finds most interesting or illuminating may differ from those parts that seemed to me important. I offer two.
FALSANI: Who’s Jesus to you?
(He laughs nervously)
Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he’s also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher.
And he’s also a wonderful teacher. I think it’s important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history.
In Mere Christianity
, C.S. Lewis wrote:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.
Just so. Later, we have this:
Do you believe in sin?
What is sin?
Being out of alignment with my values.
If ever I've seen a concise and straightforward statement of the guiding principle of modern secularism, that's it right there. Note that in this moral system, either I also sin when I am "out of alignment" with the believer's values, or else those values are without any basis whatever to claim any authority over me, since I'm equally free to imagine my own "values," being "out of alignment" with which is the only sin. In either case, we are each of us left without hope and, incidentally, at the mercy of whomever has the most guns.