"I am Joseph. I am from Dallas, Texas, and how you answer this question will tell us everything we need to know about you. Do you believe every word of this book? Specifically, this book that I am holding in my hand, do you believe this book? "
The candidates' replies were rife with sucking up to the religious right and attempts at making themselves look like "good moral, religious people" (the thought of which is humorous; "moral" and "politician" are mutually exclusive) and for those of us not fluent in bullshit, I have taken the liberty of translating their responses into rational English.
Giuliani: "OK. The reality is, I believe it, but I don't believe it's necessarily literally true in every single respect. I think there are parts of the Bible that are interpretive. I think there are parts of the Bible that are allegorical. I think there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be interpreted in a modern context.
So, yes, I believe it. I think it's the great book ever written. I read it frequently. I read it very frequently when I've gone through the bigger crises in my life, and I find great wisdom in it, and it does define to a very large extent my faith. But I don't believe every single thing in the literal sense of Jonah being in the belly of the whale, or, you know, there are some things in it that I think were put there as allegorical."
TRANSLATION: "Just like any other Christian, I like to pick and choose which parts of the Bible I take literally and which parts I think are just symbolism, even though there really is no rational way of determining which parts are the symbolic parts. This way, I can cherry-pick to avoid the inconvience of having draconian beliefs along with the ones that make me a good, moral person! Also, I never read it, but I have a copy on my bookshelf somewhere."
Romney: "I believe the Bible is the word of God, absolutely. And I try I try to live by it as well as I can, but I miss in a lot of ways. But it's a guide for my life and for hundreds of millions, billions of people around the world. I believe in the Bible....I believe it's the word of God, the Bible is the word of God. The Bible is the word of God. I mean, I might interpret the word differently than you interpret the word, but I read the Bible and I believe the Bible is the word of God. I don't disagree with the Bible. I try to live by it."
TRANSLATION: "Lots of people around the world belive in the Bible, so why wouldnt I? I dont always live my life by the Bible, but I am a good moral person nontheless. This is totally completely 100% different from atheists being moral people and not living accoding to the Bible because we all know atheists are souless heathens who will burn in hell. Also, the Bible is open to subjective interpretation, yet it gives us absolute morals we must live by. Please ignore this aparent contradiction. Did I mention that the Bible is the word of God? The Bible is the word of God."
Huckabee: "Sure. I believe the Bible is exactly what it is. It's the word of revelation to us from God himself. And the fact is that when people ask do we believe all of it, you either believe it or you don't believe it. But in the greater sense, I think what the question tried to make us feel like was that, well, if you believe the part that says “Go and pluck out your eye,” well, none of us believe that we ought to go pluck out our eye. That obviously is allegorical. But the Bible has some messages that nobody really can confuse and really not left up to interpretation. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And as much as you've done it to the least of these brethren, you've done it unto me. Until we get those simple, real easy things right, I'm not sure we ought to spend a whole lot of time fighting over the other parts that are a little bit complicated. And as the only person here on the stage with a theology degree, there are parts of it I don't fully comprehend and understand, because the Bible is a revelation of an infinite god, and no finite person is ever going to fully understand it. If they do, their god is too small."
TRANSLATION: "I believe that it is 100% fact that you either believe in all of the Bible or none of the Bible. But some of it is allegory. And some of it no one understands. But, even if we dont understand it, we should belive it anyway! Beliving in something you dont understand and not questioning it is the key to being a good Christian. All that confusing stuff we can ignore for now anyway, because we should focus on The Golden Rule. What was that? Atheists have been saying that The Golden Rule is all that matters for years? And you can be a good moral person without the Bible? Poppycock! My
I think no further comments are necessary.