A Philosopher's Blog

The Belief Obama is a Muslim

Posted in Philosophy, Politics, Reasoning/Logic by Michael LaBossiere on August 26, 2010

Belief is an interesting thing. When people are being rational, they believe in proportion to the evidence and in accord with its strength. When people are being irrational, they believe whatever they happen to feel strongly about. Good reasons and bad reasons matter not, all one needs is to feel it strongly enough.

One excellent example of this is shown by a recent Pew Research center poll. While there has been no new evidence for the claim that Obama is a Muslin, there has been a significant change in the percentage of people who believe that he is a Muslim and not a Christian. As shown in the Pew results (above) only 34% of those polled think he is Christian while 18% think he is Muslim. 43% now claim to not know his religion.

Another interesting bit of information is the fact that 31% of Republicans apparently believe that Obama is a Muslim.

As far as his faith goes, only he truly knows what he believes. However, as far as external evidence, there seems to be about as much evidence to believe that he is a Christian as there is for most people who claim to be Christians. After all, he goes to church occasionally, he claims to be a Christian, and he mentions God from time to time. He is clearly not, as some might say, a “Super Jesus” Christian.

As far as his being a Muslim, there seems to be no real evidence for this claim. No evidence of his being a member of a mosque, no profession of belief, no following of specific Muslim doctrines, and so on. While he has said nice things about Islam and has acted in ways to improve relations between the United States and Muslim countries, this hardly counts as evidence that he is a Muslim. After all, many Christians have said nice things about Islam and have worked to improve relations between the faiths. So, if he is a Muslim, then he is certainly a very secret Muslim.

Of course, that might be exactly what some people believe-that Obama is concealing his true faith under the guise of Christianity. The obvious concern is, of course, how did such people pierce his disguise and what evidence do they have of his true faith?

What I suspect is that they have nothing that would pass muster as evidence. Instead, the change in what people think is based on how they feel about Obama rather than any plausible evidence that supports the claim that he is a Muslim. As noted above, 31% of Republicans believe Obama is a Muslim. This seems to indicate that the belief is not based on evidence but on the political views of the believers. Of course, it could be countered that the Democrats fail to see evidence because of their own bias. But, then how does one explain that fact that most Republicans do not believe that he is Muslim? The best explanation, I think, is that he is not a Muslim.

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24 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on August 26, 2010 at 7:45 am

    I’m not sure religion is a good area to test people’s rationality, or even to expect rational behavior.

    This interview with Franklin Graham explains why evangelical Christians might regard Obama as a Muslim. It is religious reasoning, but not entirely irrational.

  2. freddiek said, on August 26, 2010 at 9:14 am

    tj
    The first two questions Graham the Younger was asked—“Do you have any doubt about the President’s Christian faith? and “Do you believe him?” he answered first by providing qualifications to his answer then by somehow, as if by (political) magic, avoiding a simple yes or no. He did, at about 3:30 say, directly, without qualification. “. . .he’s a Christiain”. Why not say so before he even extended his answer to the first question? “‘He’s a Christian'” Franklin Graham says so” should ring loudly from the pulpits of every American church this Sunday. Will it? Or will his evasive BS answering the first two questions rule? Or will this silly controversy over Obama’s beliefs continue to fester in the minds of some “birther/Christians” who have only less-than-honorable ideological motives?

    Every response was like a small piece of a sermon –an attempt to convert Muslims and others to Christianity. You can take the evangelical minister out of the tent. . .

    I hope we Christians remember the most memorable words Graham spoke here: “Jesus never took a life” and refrain from violent idiocy as this controversy unfolds.

    Finally: This seems more rational:http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/25/imam-rauf-and-moderate-islam/

  3. brucetheeconomist said, on August 26, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    I think maybe you could argue that our relation with Israel has suffered over the last 24 months. I think you could argue for the Obama’s a Muslim view based on that.

    Let me make it clear, I don’t think the President is Muslim.

  4. freddiek said, on August 26, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    “Let me make it clear, I don’t think the President is Muslim.”
    –Let make one thing perfectlly clear. I did not have sex with that woman—Ms Lewinsky.–

    That’s easy for you to say. :) Woulld it take you 3+ minutes (as it did Franklin Graham) to come to the conclusion that “He’s a Christian”? :)

    Just kidding. I think.

    • T. J. Babson said, on August 26, 2010 at 11:25 pm

      Clearly, Graham’s point is that Obama was born a Muslim, and that in order to become a Christian he had to accept Jesus, and that people have to make up their own minds as to whether Obama is telling the truth.

      I know it is amazing, but some people believe Obama may lie for political gain. Imagine that.

    • T. J. Babson said, on August 27, 2010 at 10:38 pm

      “And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.” –Obama in Cairo

      In a July 2 interview, Bolden told Al Jazeera’s Imran Garda that when he took over at NASA, Obama had directed him to “find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and math and engineering.”

      http://usgovinfo.about.com/b/2010/07/07/obama-tells-nasa-to-improve-muslim-relations.htm

      Is it any wonder people are getting confused?

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 28, 2010 at 3:33 pm

        I’m not. If I wanted to improve relations with Muslims and Muslim dominated countries, I would do the same thing. Likewise, if I wanted to appeal to Christians, I’d say nice things about Christianity and go to church. After all, a ruler needs to appear to be a man of God. As Aristotle wrote: ” A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.” Bush’s handlers understood this quite well and Obama no doubt gets it.

  5. T. J. Babson said, on August 28, 2010 at 3:40 am

    This is surprising–conservative evangelical beliefs?

    The Rev. Ken Vaux teaches theological ethics at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill. He also used to live near Obama in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, so this is a man who knows.

    Obama actually holds conservative evangelical Christian beliefs, Vaux said, but he is open to other faiths in a way unlike any other president since John F. Kennedy.

    http://www.stripes.com/blogs/the-rumor-doctor/the-rumor-doctor-1.104348/is-president-obama-a-muslim-1.116159

    • freddiek said, on August 28, 2010 at 8:02 am

      “Is it any wonder people are getting confused?”
      After having a president who, for eight years, had virtually no foreign policy outside the wars in Iraq and Pakistan? Not too surprising that the “true” conservatives who now label Bush a RINO yet who were instrumental in getting him elected twice, would be confused fairly easily.

      “Obama actually holds conservative evangelical Christian beliefs, Vaux said, but he is open to other faiths in a way unlike any other president since John F. Kennedy.”
      Now THAT’s scary. . . .”open to other faiths”. Seems the one who should be frightened here should be Obama. Look what happened to JFK. :(

  6. T. J. Babson said, on August 28, 2010 at 9:04 am

    That’s ridiculous. Bush did more for Africa than any other president.

    Nairobi — Activists are expressing disappointment with President Barack Obama’s plans for the Aids treatment programme in Africa, charging that he has fallen short of the achievements of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

    “President Obama has all but failed to fulfil his commitments to wage an aggressive battle against global Aids,” a coalition of Aids-focused groups declared last week, assigning him a grade of D+ for his performance to date.

    Gregg Gonsalves, a leading US anti-Aids campaigner, warned an audience in New York last week, “I am about to say something shocking: I miss George W Bush.”

    In many respects, Gonsalves continued, Bush was a terrible president, but “he was exceptional in one. The President’s Emergency Programme for Aids Relief (Pepfar), despite its flaws, saved millions of lives around the world.”

    http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/200912140042.html

  7. kernunos said, on August 30, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I think the biggest problem with Obama is he is never really clear on anything he may or may not believe in. At some point in his life his name was changed from Barry to Barrack. I have no idea when but if this happened of his own volition then maybe it raises some confusion. Truly I don’t care what religion he is. His policies are what scares me. All I hear is people defending positions that Obama really doesn’t commit on and make clear(not talking religion now) which makes him a confusing man or vague at best. This problem is not just a Republican one when it comes to his faith. In an article by Jake Tapper there is a growing trend to the confusion of his faith even among Democrats and African Americans.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/08/growing-number-of-americans-falsely-believe-president-obama-is-muslim.html

    In the article.

    “But even among the president’s allies, the numbers are shifting. In March 2009, 55% of Democrats said the president is a Christian, which he is. That number is now 46%. African-Americans, who voted for President Obama overwhelmingly, have also shown a similar shift. In March 2009, 36% of African-Americans said they didn’t know the president’s religion; that number is now 46%. Self-described liberal Democrats who don’t know what religion the president is shifted from 23% to 31%.”

    There seems to be a growing trend across the board so I don’t think we can attribute this to just Republicans or the Right Media. It is curious for sure. My first guess without really spending the time to investigate or ponder would be to blame his actions and not peoples words.

    Here he send confusing messages. Before you get all up in arms Freddiek I know the Stephy’ interview is out of context.

    Here is a political commercial from the elections. Yes it is biased as the other video but my point is the confusion.

    I tried to find video of barrack praising Christianity. I did find this article but if you do quick searches you will see what I mean when it is overwhelmingly one sided.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/62473-obama-praises-catholic-church-for-new-us-saint.

    Is he a Christian, sure. If he says he is then he is. I have to take him on his word after all.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 31, 2010 at 11:09 am

      I think his given name is Barrack and he went by Barry for a while. I don’t really see anything sinister here. After all, I’m legally “Michael” but I go by “Mike” and some Michael’s go by “Mickey.”

      He seems as clear about his faith as almost anyone else. That is, he goes to church occasionally, says he is a Christian and talks about God now and then. If that isn’t enough evidence, then we’d have to accept that almost all alleged Christians are in doubt. Then again, perhaps that is dead on since most folk just talk the talk a little bit, yet fail to truly abide by the religious principles. As far as living righteous lives…well, who does that? Certainly not me.

      • kernunos said, on August 31, 2010 at 12:55 pm

        “I think his given name is Barrack and he went by Barry for a while. I don’t really see anything sinister here. After all, I’m legally “Michael” but I go by “Mike” and some Michael’s go by “Mickey.”” Well Mike this is true but sports stars for instance often change to Muslim names when they become Muslims. Since americans are more in tune with sports than world socio/political/religious issues then maybe his name change can be slightly confusing.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 31, 2010 at 2:11 pm

          Yes, Muhammad Ali changed his name. But Barrack Obama was named “Barrack Obama” when he was born. I would say “look at his certificate of live birth”, but some people doubt that is real. He went by the nickname “Barry”, but decided to go back to his formal name. Newsweek did a piece on this.

          Thinking that Obama is a Muslim based on his name is like thinking that Omar Bradley was a Muslim. Or like thinking that anyone named David is Jewish.

          • kernunos said, on September 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm

            Yes I know but again, he is not just confusing Fox viewers. His name change aside maybe his actions have something to do with it.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 2, 2010 at 4:27 pm

              The name change hardly seems confusing. After all, people do not seem confused when people call me “Mike” or “Michael.” Why would going from “Barry” to “Barrack” create confusion? Now, if he went from Barry to Sally, then than that would have been a bit confusing.

      • kernunos said, on August 31, 2010 at 12:58 pm

        You don’t need to convince me. The american people across the boards are seeming to get more confused. I have a theory here and there but no evidence. I thought he changed his name to Barrack later on like college.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 31, 2010 at 2:14 pm

          He did “change” it in that he went from going by a nickname “Barry” to his real name “Barrack.’ I suppose some people who are being misled and are unable or unwilling to apply a little critical thought and a tiny bit of investigation would become confused by this. As such, this serves as an excellent example of why it is important to develop critical thinking skills and be willing to do some checking before accepting claims.

          • kernunos said, on September 1, 2010 at 2:53 pm

            It is the publics’ responsibility now to investigate? I think they should. They would find out how he said the surge wouldn’t work and then that he didn’t say he said it wouldn’t work. They will find how he said the health care bill was not a tax and then that is was a tax after it was passed. They would find how he signed an executive order that the health care bill would not fund abortion and now the government is funding abortion….etc. Which side or which story would they find?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 2, 2010 at 4:24 pm

              Quite right-the truth does not reveal itself and must be found. But one should not stop at the truths one wants to see, but keep going to see all of them.

            • kernunos said, on September 3, 2010 at 3:54 pm

              here ya go then. Assuming you can listen to Beck without going into a rage. Back from March 2008.

              This is a very confusing Christianity.

            • kernunos said, on September 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm

              The truth will set you free. Hmmm, a made up theology that is compatible with Marxism. Good golly, all that socialist stuff again. The problem is that Obama is not forward on what he really believes. Nobody seems to know except those that make excuses for him.

          • kernunos said, on September 3, 2010 at 3:44 pm

            You are absolutely correct Mike, I decided to do some investigation. Here is what I found. Obama spent 20 years of his life listening to rev. Wright who has some interesting training….

            “Wright, who began the “Ministers in Training” (“M.I.T.”) program at Trinity United Church of Christ, has been a national leader in promoting theological education and the preparation of seminarians for the African-American church.[24] The church’s mission statement is based upon systematized Black liberation theology that started with the works of James Hal Cone.[25][26]” This was from…

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremiah_Wright

            James Hal Cone is very interesting. Seems he is a pioneer in the Socialist world. He is a big Marxist and he came up with the bright idea of mixing Socialism/Communism with religion. Make the masses feel like victims of the man and reinforce it with religion.

            People are probably confused as they may not understand this Marxist form of Christianity. The whole Muslim+Obama thing is a boondoggle.

  8. kernunos said, on August 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    This says it all right here. I’m sure people didn’t know who the were voting for. these two experts didn’t.


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