The Intersection

When our lame outgoing president suggested teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in science classes back in (I think) 2005, I like many was outraged. But Bush’s recent comments in one of his outgoing legacy saving interviews put the issue in a somewhat different light:

MCFADDEN: Is it literally true, the Bible?

BUSH: You know. Probably not … No, I’m not a literalist, but I think you can learn a lot from it, but I do think that the New Testament, for example is … has got … You know, the important lesson is “God sent a son.”

MCFADDEN: So, you can read the Bible…

BUSH: That God in the flesh, that mankind can understand there is a God who is full of grace and that nothing you can do to earn his love. His love is a gift and that in order to draw closer to God and in order to express your appreciation for that love is why you change your behavior.

MCFADDEN: So, you can read the Bible and not take it literally. I mean you can — it’s not inconsistent to love the Bible and believe in evolution, say.

BUSH: Yeah, I mean, I do. I mean, evolution is an interesting subject. I happen to believe that evolution doesn’t fully explain the mystery of life and …

MCFADDEN: But do you believe in it?

BUSH: That God created the world, I do, yeah.

MCFADDEN: But what about …

BUSH: Well, I think you can have both. I think evolution can — you’re getting me way out of my lane here. I’m just a simple president. But it’s, I think that God created the Earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty, and I don’t think it’s incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution.

So Bush is not a “fundamentalist”: He doesn’t read the Bible literally, he doesn’t believe evolution and religion are incompatible.

None of this excuses his stance on the teaching of intelligent design–which, most assuredly, was political pandering. And I agree: He was, indeed, a “simple president.”

Still, when it comes to reconciling science and religion, Bush is apparently like much of America–he accepts both.

Comments

  1. #1 Dark Tent
    December 9, 2008

    “you’re getting me way out of my lane here. I’m just a simple president.” — George W. Bush

    That may be the most honest — and truest — statement that Bush has ever uttered. Reminds me more than a little of Chauncey Gardiner (Being There)

    IMHO, we’d all be way better off if George Bush spent a little more time out of his lane — ie, the one that leads into (but not out of) the alligator swamp.

  2. #2 skyotter
    December 9, 2008

    my opinion of him increases. strange feeling, but there it is

  3. #3 Julie Stahlhut
    December 9, 2008

    I’ve never believed that Bush was a staunch creationist, for the simple reason that I doubt he’s ever thought about that issue for five minutes. When it’s been in his interest to pander to the religious right, he’s been happy to do so — and his not bothering to learn anything about either scientific or theological subtleties fits right in with the theme of his entire presidency.

  4. #4 hardindr
    December 9, 2008

    We’ve known that GWB is not a fundamentalist (or even an evangelical) for a long time.

  5. #5 James F
    December 9, 2008

    Cold comfort, though, when Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, and Tom Tancredo all raised their hands to affirm that they “don’t believe” in evolution in the GOP debate.

  6. #6 Nattering Nabob of Negativism
    December 9, 2008

    The money quote:
    “I’m just a simple president.” — George Bush

    Out of the mouths of boobs ….

  7. #7 Dylan Otto Krider
    December 9, 2008

    Conservatives use evangelicals as their foot soldiers because they need people to knock on doors, which is why they promise Amendments that will never pass. Many economic conservatives on the Ayn Randian variety tend to be atheists – a moraless universe appeals to the objectivists.

    One wonders when evangelicals will stop allowing themselves to be used.

  8. #8 Romeo Vitelli
    December 9, 2008

    “One wonders when evangelicals will stop allowing themselves to be used.”

    When it stops working for them.

  9. #9 Jon Winsor
    December 10, 2008

    “One wonders when evangelicals will stop allowing themselves to be used.”

    Remember Huckenfreude?

  10. #10 Simple Citizen
    December 11, 2008

    ARTICLE QUOTE:
    So Bush is not a “fundamentalist”: He doesn’t read the Bible literally, he doesn’t believe evolution and religion are incompatible.

    RESPONSE:
    GWB may not really be a Christian. It’s much more likely that he is not a well-taught Christian. If the latter is true, that does not make him a non-Christian.

    Among Christians there are 3 theories on the creation of the world: 1. that God created the world in six 24-hr periods and on the 7th He rested, 2. that the six “days” refer to six epochs 1000s of years long, or 3) that the six “days” are a literary device, that the miracle of God’s creation of the world is put in narrative form and set to terms that finite creatures (humans) can understand and relate to, kind of like a poem or a song.

    But it sounds to me like GWB fits either the 2nd or 3rd category above, and more likely the third. He probably doesn’t even know it. At any rate, that’s where I fall. It makes it possible to believe in MICRO-evolution, but not MACRO-evolution. So then it is possible to believe every word of the Bible while knowing that not every word is to be understood in an absolutely wooden, literal sense. McFadden asked GWB if he believes the Bible is literally true, and GWB said “Probably not…” He is more right than he realizes.

    No one believes Christianity and science are incompatible. No one. Not even non-Christians. Or, I should say, THOUGHTFUL people know that Christianity and science are not incompatible. This is just political rhetoric with the specific purpose of trying to persuade people that Christians are at best uninformed, and at worst brainwashed, but in either case unable to offer anything constructive with regard to the public discourse.

    To believe that God created the world is in no way to deny the wonder of science and the pursuit of understanding natural processes. God CREATED science, and He USED natural processes — and is still USING them today — to create and sustain HIS world. In fact, the pursuit of knowledge of understanding of natural, scientific phenomenon is the pursuit of the knowledge of GOD! So it is just the opposite: Christianity and JUNK SCIENCE are incompatible.

    Whether you believe that or not, Intelligent Design — which, by the way, originated in the SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY, not the Christian community — should be taught alongside evolution. Then students can decide for themselves which camp they fall into. This is real education.

    ARTICLE QUOTE:
    Still, when it comes to reconciling science and religion, Bush is apparently like much of America–he accepts both.

    RESPONSE:
    Of course he does.

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