Analysis: Film revives questions about Abraham Lincoln’s faith, but offers few answers

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(RNS) The release of the new Steven Spielberg movie "Lincoln" has resurrected more than the physical presence of America's 16th president. It has also brought to the fore again questions about his faith. Was he a Christian? Was he an atheist? By Kimberly Winston.

  • TDJ

    Whatever else Lincoln may have been, he wasn’t an atheist. Dawkins should keep up dreaming.


  • Adrian Johnson

    A historian called my attention to a note in a journal some years ago about a late-life interview of a Baptist laundress in the White House who was approached by Lincoln secretly to be taken by night to be baptized by her preacher whose discretion could be trusted. I wish I could remember the journal and date. The woman was reputed to be honest and truthful, therefore the note on the inteview was deemed worthy of publication though of course not verifiable. Lincoln was known to be secretive about his private beliefs, and this accords with previous behavior.

  • trl

    If Lincoln was right regarding the Civil War being gods punishment for slavery, we are headed for a much greater disaster because of the sin of legalized abortion…

  • Nancy

    President Lincoln was born in my “Neck of the Woods,” and it ALWAYS made me proud to say that. Lincoln was, in my opinion, the GREATEST President this country has ever known! Many would concur with that. Richard Dawkins is DILLUSIONAL to think that Lincoln was ANYTHING BUT a Christian.

  • Carlyle

    I AGREE WITH MARY TODD LINCOLN,there are far too many TECHNICAL Christians;Lincoln wisely avoided being one .He led our nation in a way that reflected Christian truths and he gave his life for these beliefs.God knew his heart and it was much like His only Son’s .Abe most likely is watching from heaven and is saddened by the path THIS generation has strayed onto.In this way he shares a bond with our Saviour, because sin has blinded the minds of a great many people today as it was when they lived and gave their all to show us a better way.Abortion and homosexuality will speed us on our way to becoming another Sodom & Gomorrah unless we repent.The truth does not change.

  • David

    Here is my blog post reflecting on the question of do the ends justify the means with regard to Lincoln’s tactics:

  • jeff

    “fundamentalist christian” is an anachronism when applied to Lincoln’s background. His father Thomas was a Baptist farmer-preacher who was among those who did not join the relatively new national convention, remaining with the older “movement” organization rather than a denomination organization. People like Lincoln’s father tended to retain the older Calvinist view of God, a view which seems to inform the Second Inaugural Address.

  • Thomas

    I have no doubt that Lincoln was not a Christian. He was very interested in the communist movement, and promoted Carl Marx’s idea of an income tax during the war. After Lincoln died Marx sent his regrets.

    Lincoln cared only about having a forced Union of the States. When the South (Confederate States) declared their independence, Lincoln said “where will I get my revenues”? He cared nothing about slavery, infact he had plans to deport blacks to Africa or Liberia after the undeclared war against the South. He was an evil person who caused the death of thousands of Southern citizens.