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Lincoln's Battle with God: A President's…
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Lincoln's Battle with God: A President's Struggle with Faith and What It… (udgave 2012)

af Stephen Mansfield (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1456144,073 (4.03)10
Throughout his life, Lincoln fought with God. In his early years in Illinois, he rejected even the existence of God and became the village atheist. In time, this changed but still he wrestled with the truth of the Bible, preachers, doctrines, the will of God, the providence of God, and then, finally, God's purposes in the Civil War. Still, on the day he was shot, Lincoln said he longed to go to Jerusalem to walk in the Savior's steps. What had happened? What was the journey that took Abraham Lincoln from outspoken atheist to a man who yearned to walk in the footsteps of Christ? Author Stephen Mansfield tells the richly textured story of Abraham Lincoln's spiritual life and draws from it a meaning sure to inspire Americans today.… (mere)
Medlem:Firstplymouth
Titel:Lincoln's Battle with God: A President's Struggle with Faith and What It Meant for America
Forfattere:Stephen Mansfield (Forfatter)
Info:Thomas Nelson (2012), Edition: First Printing, 272 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Bio L

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Lincoln's Battle with God: A President's Struggle with Faith and What It Meant for America af Stephen Mansfield

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Viser 1-5 af 6 (næste | vis alle)
A marvelous book focusing on the spiritual journey of Abraham Lincoln, from an athiest to a skeptic to a believer, whose developing faith affected the nation and helped his understanding of the Civil War. Lincoln is such a complicated subject but this appears to be a honest and unbiased portrait.
"We want conclusions rather than processes, and we want conversions rather than religious journeys. The search for Abraham Lincoln's faith disappoints only if we begin that journey assuming there will be a dramatic resolution, that at some point in the story Abraham Lincoln will kneel at an altar and satisfy us with a verifiable spiritual experience."
"The silencing of Lincoln's faith by the secular and the exaggerating of Lincoln's faith by the religious have given us a less accurate and a less engaging Lincoln. We are poorer for the distortions." ( )
  Luke_Brown | Sep 10, 2016 |
"The silencing of Lincoln’s faith by the secular and the exaggerating of Lincoln’s faith by the religious have given us a less accurate and a less engaging Lincoln. We are poorer for the distortions."

There seems to be a blanket assumption on the part of most of us Americans that Abraham Lincoln was just born a Christian, remained a Christian and died a Christian. Nothing could be further from the truth. While it is true that he was born into a very Christian family, Thomas and Nancy Lincoln being referred to as "Hard Shell Baptists", he went on quite a spiritual path of his own when he was a young man first arriving in New Salem, Illinois. Lincoln's boyhood had been marked with the early death of his beloved mother Nancy when he was 9 and a very stern and (possibly) abusive father. While all this was going on at home, Lincoln was exposed to the beginnings of what would be referred to later on through the years as "Big Tent Revivals" nearly next door to his home in Kentucky on the Cumberland Trail. At first, these were pure revivals with only the savings of souls as the goal, but quickly devolved into part religious fervor; part entertainment for the masses and part glorious opportunities for snake oil salesmen who came to take advantage of the faithful and/or gullible country folk. There was quite a bit of hell fire and brimstone coming from the pulpit and Lincoln wasn't having any of it. He wasn't a fan of legalism; he didn't like the idea of hell for anybody, and he certainly didn't like the attitude of the self-righteous (allegedly) predestined for heaven souls who gloated over their predestined for hell brethren. Then there was the fighting between the Christian denominations - fighting that had become so feverish that it wasn't uncommon for the Methodist to interrupt a Baptist service and vice versa. Add to this Lincoln's proneness to melancholy (a trait inherited from his mother); the death of his mother and a much beloved older sister with his father's coldness towards him, it's no wonder then that by the time he is on his own in Illinois, Lincoln who "... had known only the religion of the haughty, self-assured hyper-Calvinist or the exuberant camp meeting extremes. He had found both wanting. Paine and Volney—along with Burns and Gibbon before them—pointed a way out of the confusion of perpetual skepticism into a clear and always rational faith: the existence of God, love of mankind, the cathedral of the mind. This was what they gave Lincoln, and he loved them for it." As a matter of fact, Lincoln's departure from the traditional Christian faith was such that he was nicknamed the "Infidel" by some of the locals. He even (allegedly, according to one source close to him) "decided to write a booklet arguing his newfound ideas. This became known in memory as his “little book on Infidelity,” the one in which he attacked the divinity of Christ and the inspiration of the Bible." (The friend burned the book knowing that it would have been the death blow to Lincoln's political career if it got out.)

So how do we get from that Lincoln to the one who moments before his death is confiding to his wife Mary Todd Lincoln (according to Mary herself), that "We will visit the Holy Land and see those places hallowed by the footsteps of the Savior ..... There is no place I so much desire to see as Jerusalem." According to Mansfield, Lincoln's journey was a long, torturous process. Lincoln's life was marked by tragedy and melancholy but he was also well read and self-educated and it was, according to the author, one particular book and one very intellectual clergyman who turns out to be the turning point in Lincoln's spiritual journey. It seems that Lincoln didn't come to his faith by faith alone but by a very studious and measured study of it. There doesn't seem to be any eleventh hour prayer or lightning bolt from the sky. And even then, like the author points out, we can never really know for sure but the evidence certainly does point to the fact that the young Lincoln of New Salem in the early 1830s is a much different Lincoln that we see leading the nation through the Civil War who refers to the "... better angels of our nature" in his first inaugural speech and quotes the New Testament in his second inaugural speech.

It is a fascinating look into one aspect of Lincoln's character - but I think possibly one of his most important - that not only shaped him personally as the years went on but the decisions he made later that affected so many. I like this clay-footed struggling with God Lincoln so much better than the alternative.

"... He always surprises, always resists confinement to the forms and definitions imposed upon him. He lived in an age still foreign to us. He was a complicated soul, an innovative mind, and an oppressed spirit. He was raw and earthy and poetic. He could be ambitious and enraged and cold. He rose from a spare cabin to the White House, and did so in an age of titanic conflict, of near incomprehensible change. We can strive to know what we may of Lincoln. We can hope to understand. Yet never can we confine him; never can we seek to make him conform."



(I also listened to a small sample of this on audio, read by the author, and was not disappointed.) ( )
  avidmom | Jun 12, 2016 |
Every once in a while I pick up a non-fiction book that I can read without having to read something else after every chapter. This book was one of them. I felt no need to read another book at the same time.

Learning how Lincoln went form an atheist to a believer in a short time, but on his own, was an experience. He was a tremendous man. ( )
1 stem koalamom | Sep 2, 2013 |
Lincoln's Battle with God follows the spiritual life of Lincoln from his earliest days to his death and the slow growth from being agnostic, if not out and out atheist to becoming a God-believing man. He never joined an organized church, but had close ties with several churchmen who were influential in his growth and development as a Christian. Much is repetitive, but the writing is clear and the book follows a chronologic time pattern. 3.5 stars ( )
1 stem oldman | Aug 6, 2013 |
According to the author, Abraham Lincoln's father and mother (Thomas and Nancy) were members of a strict strain of the Baptist church, sometimes spoken of as “Hard Shell Baptists,” known for its primitiveness and belief in predestination. As Lincoln became a young man, living on his own in New Salem and Springfield, Illinois (1831-1840s), he reacted negatively toward established Christian institutions and the Bible as God's word. As Lincoln matured, married, fathered children, and experienced personal tragedies, he gradually fostered an approving attitude toward Christ and his church, although he never “joined” a church.

I believe the author deserves an “A for Effort” in his attempt to describe Lincoln's religious influences through the various stages of his life up to its end. He cites numerous primary and secondary sources to document his claims.

The author attempts to describe a potential influence that revivals associated with Barton W. Stone (pp. 18-24) may have had on Lincoln's parents when they lived in Kentucky, but it is really a guess. Stone, while a Presbyterian at the time of his famous Cane Ridge Revival in 1801, was struggling with the doctrine of predestination that the author maintains the Lincolns believed. After 1804, Stone was to be associated with the Christian Church or Church of Christ, and the Lincolns remained Baptists.

The book is enhanced by a number of photos. The appendix includes copies of a number of famous speeches by Lincoln. There is a bibliography but no index. ( )
  SCRH | Mar 18, 2013 |
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Throughout his life, Lincoln fought with God. In his early years in Illinois, he rejected even the existence of God and became the village atheist. In time, this changed but still he wrestled with the truth of the Bible, preachers, doctrines, the will of God, the providence of God, and then, finally, God's purposes in the Civil War. Still, on the day he was shot, Lincoln said he longed to go to Jerusalem to walk in the Savior's steps. What had happened? What was the journey that took Abraham Lincoln from outspoken atheist to a man who yearned to walk in the footsteps of Christ? Author Stephen Mansfield tells the richly textured story of Abraham Lincoln's spiritual life and draws from it a meaning sure to inspire Americans today.

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