personal faith and spiritually was never fully exposed or defined during his
lifetime. His contemporaries and a host of later historians have poured through
Lincoln’s personal writings and the documents of his closest friends and
co-workers trying to resolve who Lincoln really was from a philosophical and
spiritual perspective. He obviously mastered the ability to keep his personal
beliefs shrouded in a vague mystery that many still invest much effort into trying
to decode and expose.
never belonged to an organized church. Lincoln read the Bible daily, but he
never joined an organized church in his lifetime.
It is well recorded that Mr. Lincoln regularly attended the New York Avenue
Presbyterian Church in Washington DC with Mrs. Lincoln during his presidency. Lincoln’s
use of the Bible was extraordinary because he absorbs it and releases it. But
he never said, “as the Bible says”.
He just put it into his own syntax and words and it becomes part of his
majestic rhetoric. (quoted by Harold Holzer) 
have been many serious questions arise about Lincoln’s religious posture
because of a book that he apparently authored as a young attorney. This
document was brought to the forefront by Lincoln’s law firm partner William Herndon
after Lincoln was assassinated.
literary work has often referred to as an essay based on the works of one of
the founding fathers named Thomas Paine titled “The Age of Reason”.
Lincoln was an avid student of both Thomas
Jefferson and his friends, Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin. All three of
these founding fathers were known deists.
of these colonial leaders were also considered to be acknowledged enlightenment
thinkers in their day, not “Christians” in any traditional or doctrinal sense
of the word. As a young man Lincoln’s thoughts were clearly in line with these founding
fathers. The discernment issues about Lincoln’s personal postures of religious
faith develop as He grows older.
the writings of His contemporaries, we can be fairly certain that Lincoln was and
probably remained a “universalist” who could not fathom the orthodox Christian
doctrine of endless and eternal punishment. It can also be easily understood
that Mr. Lincoln struggled with accepting the concept of substitutionary
atonement, as popularly interpreted and taught regarding the death, burial and
resurrection of Jesus Christ in the New Testament via fundamental Christian
denominations and even Roman Catholicism.
believed in a Supreme Being, but he did not believe in the God of Christians.
The God of Christians was to him the most hideous monster that the imagination
of man had ever conceived. There were two doctrines taught in connection with
this deity which he especially abhorred -- the doctrine of endless punishment,
and the doctrine of vicarious atonement. That the innocent should suffer for
the guilty -- that God should permit his sinless son to be put to a cruel death
to atone for the sins of wicked men -- was to him an act of the most infamous
injustice. His whole nature rebelled against the idea”. (Frederick Douglas)
is a substantial group on either side of this debate regarding Lincoln’s
genuine religious convictions. However, they will all somewhat agree that if
Lincoln ever did become a “Christian”, in the classical sense of the doctrine, it
happened very near the end of his life while they lived in the Nation’s capital.
Todd. Lincoln is quoted and endorsed on both sides of Lincoln’s potential
“Christian” testimony, or lack thereof. However, Mrs. Lincoln was often known
to hold sťances at the White House after their son Willie died. She was regularly
identified with spiritualists and mediums in Washington DC.
of these varying testimonies and reflections on the faith and spiritual
perspectives of both Abraham and Mary Lincoln leave a very cloudy image of who
Lincoln was and how he genuinely formed his world view that affected his
cultural and sociological perspectives.
It is both very easy to make him out to
traditional enlightenment thinking deist. And it is also very easy to interpret
him to be a moderately believing traditional “Christian” that simply struggled
with a various doctrines presented and adhered to by the Christian Churches that
influenced Lincoln’s daily living.
 Jayanti, Vikram
Lincoln (A&E Television Networks
2009) DVD AAAE172190LT5
John B. Abraham Lincoln: Was He a
Christian? (New York, Truth seeker Company,
1906) p. 156