Apparently, for most Americans, Barack Obama is their hero. Obama is followed by Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Abraham Lincoln, John McCain, John F. Kennedy, Chesley Sullenberger, and Mother Teresa.
This list is based on a study done by the Harris Poll.
I have to admit that, given current events, I am not surprised that President Obama came in first place. I am more surprised that Jesus came in second. I am surprised because Jesus is such a controversial figure and so many either flat-out reject that he ever existed (or that he is the same person the Bible presents) or they totally reject his teaching. Why would he be so popular? Even if every Christian polled chose Jesus as their hero, which I doubt happened, I do not think that would give Jesus enough votes to be number two on this list. Some outside of Christianity must have voted for Jesus as well.
Which leads me to ask two questions: Does it make any sense for someone who does not believe in the Jesus of Christianity and the Bible to think highly of Jesus at all? Would it make sense for a non-believer to have Jesus as their hero?
I tend to side with C. S. Lewis on this issue when he says:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil from Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was or is the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit on him and kill him as a demon: or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come to any patronizing nonsense about him being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)