Beliefnet
Steven Waldman

Many religious conservatives simply don’t believe that religious liberals are genuinely, well, religious.
The new Beliefnet election survey shows two things: that the religious Obama supporters are just as pious in several key ways. 81% pray DAILY, not exactly the behavior of closet secular humanists. Only 16% percent of them believe the Bible is merely the concoction of men.
But there is a major difference. Religious Obama voters have an entirely different relationship with the Bible. 57.7% of McCain religious voters (those who attend church weekly or more) say God is “the literal word of God” while 41% believe that the Bible is “divinely inspired but not everything in it is the literal word of God.”
For Obama’s religious voters the pattern is reversed. Just 17.3% percent say it’s the literal word of God, while 66.4% believe it’s divinely inspired.
From this key theological difference flows a dramatically different political worldview. For instance, religious liberals who look at the zeitgeist of the Bible – the core messages – believe that many particular injunctions were NOT decreed directly by God and therefore need not necessarily be followed. Therefore, they’re not persuaded by the idea that homosexuality is an abomination because the Bible says so. Conservatives, on the other hand, view this as a scriptural no-brainer: it’s in black and white. If you take the good books seriously, and literally, the message is clear.
Both sides find it inexplicable that the other can use their religion to justify their positions on gay marriage. But understand the differences in how they approach the bible, and the political differences make sense.

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