Jon Huntsman Jr’s (ex-governor of Utah and recently-resigned ambassador to China) religious beliefs were recently described as “ambiguous” by the SLTrib (4 Feb 2011):
In an interview with Forbes last year, he said he wasn’t “overly religious” and noted that he derives satisfaction from several religions and philosophies.
Yesterday, President Obama felt the need to describe and defend his religious beliefs. At a national prayer breakfast, he firmly stated that he is a Christian (not Muslim) and he believes in prayer. Despite White House denials, President Obama probably felt compelled to do this because of detractors questioning his faith. Despite the speech, I suspect that for many fundamentalist Christians, his beliefs are still pretty squishy. But, so what. His beliefs are what they are, we need to leave his religion alone.
British mathematician/physicist and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead disliked the idea of an omnipotent, all-knowing God; he believed that He is persuasive and not coercive. Because of this belief, some have argued that Whitehead’s God is religiously squishy and not a deity worthy of worship. Critics referred to Whitehead’s concept of God as “quasi-theism.” Both sides are entitled to their opinions.
No two individuals have identical religious beliefs. We all have our own personal religion, some within an organized church and some without. For some of us, our belief system is well developed; for others of us, it is not.
For most of us, there is a lot of ecclesiastical squishiness in our person articles of faith, and this vagueness is accompanied by a considerable amount of doubt. But the bottom line is, we need to respect the religious beliefs of Huntsman, Obama, Whitehead, and others.