Abraham Lincoln’s Struggle with Divine Providence
There is an anonymous saying “It is easy to see the hand of God in the world; the difficulty is to figure out which way His finger is pointing.” Lincoln rejected the Hard-shell Baptist religion of his parents, yet struggled with discerning God’s will throughout his life. His articulation of that struggle has led Spiritualists, Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, atheists, and others to claim him as one of their own, while Jews refer to him as Rabbi Abraham.
What were the stages of Lincoln’s spiritual journey? How did his contemporaries view his religious beliefs? What was his religious stance at the end of his life? Why do so many denominations claim him as their own? How have biographers and others distorted his faith in Providence?
Mark Szymcik teaches philosophy and religion at Quinsiganond Community College and Becker College. He was previously a history teacher of special needs high school students.