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Monday, April 14, 2008

Obama's a Theistic Evolutionist

Senator Barack Obama believes science and religion—including evolution and creation—are not incompatible, according to statements he made at The Compassion Forum yesterday. Both Senator Hillary Clinton and Obama appeared and spoke separately at the forum on faith and values (John McCain declined to participate), which was held at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, and lasted a little more than an hour and a half. The discussion was moderated by Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and CNN anchor Campbell Brown, but the question about how Obama reconciles science and religion came from a clergy member in the audience.
"There are those who suggest that if you have a scientific bent of mind, then somehow you should reject religion, and I fundamentally disagree with that," said Obama, who describes himself as a "devout" Christian. "In fact, the more I learn about the world, the more I know about science, the more I'm amazed about the mystery of this planet and this universe. And it strengthens my faith as opposed to weakens it." When it comes to reconciling the Genesis creation story with our scientific understanding of the age of the universe, Obama said he believes God created the Earth in six days, but the Bible might not mean 24-hour days, the way we now think of them.
Clinton also spoke about personal faith and beliefs, saying that she doesn't think she "could have made my life’s journey without being anchored in God’s grace and without having that, you know, sense of forgiveness and unconditional love.” She also said that as president, her decision-making process would involve both faith and study. "I think that for a lot of us, decisions are ones that you don’t just make and put on a shelf,” she said. “To be fair, to be constantly struggling and challenging yourself, you have to keep opening up that decision and asking.” —Heather Wax