The Gnosticism of Barack Obama – Crisis Magazine

FR. DANIEL PATTEE, TOR

Barack Obama

Eric Voegelin, one of the great political philosophers of the last century (1901-1985), professed no religion, but he recognized its falsifications. After extensively studying early Christianity, he found “Gnosticism” to render intelligible certain twentieth century movements like Nazism. Gnosticism, as he understood it, spins an ideology within which all reality becomes refashioned and so falsified. Gnosticism is “existence in rebellion against God and man.” Gnostic ideology, which for Voegelin included Marxism, precipitates a “gnostic rebellion” whereby God becomes solely identified as a category of human consciousness. Once this step is taken, the “god of consciousness” can then be remade or simply “unmade,” thereby opening the way for a complete makeover of man, woman, and society. Pope John III published an anathema against them in the year 561: “If anyone introduces some other names of the Godhead in addition to the Holy Trinity because, as he says, there is in the Godhead himself a Trinity of the Trinity, just as the Gnostics and Priscillians have stated, let him be anathema.”

Early Christian Gnostics conceived a division in God prior to creation wherein the material world became the production of the “lesser god” of the division. It led Gnostics to devalue the material world within which a select few possessed a “spark” of divinity, experienced as longing for the “true God” beyond hapless matter. The escape route was gnosis (Greek) or knowledge, a type of “awakening” that not all were capable of undergoing. The Gnostics envisioned all men and women in three categories: the “spiritual” elite, the “psychic” or soul-full, and the “material” or materially immersed. Unlike the spiritual ones who readily awakened to their destiny, the psychics could be saved, but only with difficulty, while the materially immersed were incapable of salvific enlightenment. Most women belonged to the third category, since from them came more matter in the form of children in marriage which, in turn, led Gnostics to devalue marriage. Gnostic reinvention is well illustrated in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas(written between 140-180 AD) wherein Peter protests to Jesus about Mary, his mother: “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.” Jesus responds: “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males.”

Gnostics suffer imprisonment from limits imposed by matter, which contradicts Christian teaching regarding the Fall as source of human suffering. We suffer from sin and evil. The creation accounts in Scripture “suggest that human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbor and with the earth itself. According to the Bible, these three vital relationships have been broken, both outwardly and within us. This rupture is sin” (Laudato Si, #66). Division between soul and body means death for us and we are incapable of mending the divide. The Gnostic ideologue, on the other hand, “knows” the future and systematically seeks to realize it here and now, not through faith in Christ, but through total confidence in the power of human knowledge and agency. But Christ, and he alone, has power to “change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body” (Phil. 3:21). It is against this power of Christ, to whom God has “subjected everything” (1 Cor. 15:28), that the Gnostic (unwittingly?) rebels. Adolf Hitler, a self-styled secular messiah, could have resolved all history around himself, if he’d had power sufficient to unseat Christ, “the great hidden key to human history and the part we play in it” (Bl. Paul VI, Philippines, 1970). Instead as Jesus warned would happen (Mark 8:36), Hitler destroyed himself, eventually committing suicide, and leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.

President Barack Obama has spun an ideology to which all other narratives, including Sacred Scripture, must submit (e.g., the HHS Mandate). He is less a politician and more an ideologue. Obama is a reality fabricator, as when the Benghazi attacks were attributed to a YouTube video, showing characteristics of a Gnostic “awakening.” In February of 1996, for example, Barack Obama, then running for the IL State Senate, typed and signed his responses to a questionnaire sent him by a Chicago gay and lesbian newspaper. He declared: “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages” (Windy City Times, Jan 14, 2009). Fast forward to Barack Obama, Presidential candidate in 2008 who, when asked to “define marriage” by Rick Warren at the Saddleback Civil Forum, said: “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman (applause). Now, for me as a Christian—for me—for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.” David Axelrod, political strategist for Obama’s 2008 campaign, wrote in his recent book Believer (2015) that Obama purposely misled the nation on this issue in 2008. Obama had always favored same-sex “marriage” and later feigned “going through an evolution on this issue” as president (ABC Interview, R. Roberts, May 9, 2012).

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