Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Nov/12

22

Et Tu Obama?

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Slate’s Daniel Engber sighs over Rubio’s geology problems, but then gives us this extract from a Q&A with then Senator Obama at the Compassion Forum ( know, I know) at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. on April 13, 2008:

Q: Senator, if one of your daughters asked you—and maybe they already have—“Daddy, did god really create the world in 6 days?,” what would you say?
A: What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know.

Look at that last sentence, and shake your head. Candidate Obama did not, he says, “presume to know” whether the creation of the Earth happened “exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible”. Good grief.

Yet another profile in courage.

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6 comments

  • Rbaron321 · November 22, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks for posting this. Good to know that this sorta pandering spreads across party lines.

  • Marco · November 23, 2012 at 2:10 am

    Very likely there’s a difference between what he tells the press he “would” tell his children, and what he actually tells them, although it’s presumptuous of me to say so. Yes, it’s a weasel worded response which tries to avoid appearing irreligious, while also avoiding any suspicion of fundamentalism.

    I’m really not sure, though, what some of my liberal religious acquaintances tell their kids on this subject. They don’t believe in the literal truth of the Bible, but from what I’ve seen, most of them seem to steer away from telling the children that the supernatural bits are myth, and that the history is dubious. Maybe they save that for later, about the time they have the Santa talk.

  • CJColucci · November 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    While I wouldn’t call what Obama said “courageous,” it is, in fact, the actual, working religious belief of most mainstream Christians, which is what Obama has always said he is, and appears, on the available evidence, to be. Not being a mainstream Christian myself, I don’t agree with it, but I’m not out to pick a fight over mainstream Christians not being atheists, so I don’t get the point of the criticism.

  • Clark · November 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Interesting that Romney’s been the only guy really forthcoming on this issue. (Actually I’d assume Huntsman was too although I can’t find anything on it)

  • Andrew Stuttaford · November 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    CJ, it’s rather more than that. There are many more biblical literalists, particularly in the US, than I once might have expected, but most mainstream Christians still, I think, generally regard the “six days” as symbolic.

    Obama alludes to that, but then remains firmly on the fence when it comes to the geological age of the Earth.

    To the extent that this is relevant, I went to (Church of England) services once or twice a day during the school term between the time I was 8 and 17, and I don’t recall any doubt being expressed about the idea that the Earth was billions of years old.

  • seevee · November 25, 2012 at 5:31 am

    I think that folks who don’t take the bible literally, but still believe in an all-knowing God who sent His son here to temporarily die for our sins, are no less silly because they believe the world was created 4.5 billion years ago as apposed to the week mentioned in the bible.

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