GRANTHAM, PA - Why does God allow good things to happen to bad people? Do you believe life starts at conception? When have you felt the presence of the Holy Spirit? Did God create the world in six days?
Those questions were among the many asked to Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama during The Compassion Forum at Messiah College Sunday night. Sen. John McCain was invited to the event, but declined.
The two spent 90 minutes sharing their personal beliefs in a forum broadcast around the world.
Clinton took the stage first, answering questions about Obama's recent comments that people in small towns in Pennsylvania were bitter, clinging to their "guns and religion."
"The Democratic party … has been viewed as a party that didn't understand and respect the values and way of life for so many of our fellow Americans," Clinton said.
Obama was also questioned about his comments.
"Religion is a bulwark," he said. "I've talked about this in my own life, when things aren't going well. When economic hardships hit in these communities, they have their faith and their traditions that have been passed on to them for generations and generations. I was referring to states all along the Midwest and even my home state. I think it's unfortunate … that people have been trying to construe my words."
Throughout the forum, the two gave answers that were sometimes funny and at other times very personal.
"I have, ever since I have been a little girl have felt the presence of God in my life," Clinton said. "It has been a gift of grace that has been sustaining. Ever since I was a little child I have felt the enveloping love of God."
When asked about conception and when life begins, Clinton said, "I believe that the potential for life begins at conception. For me it is not also only about a potential life it is about the other lives involved."
Clinton said that she believes abortion should be legal, but that it should be "safe and rare." She went on to talk about her work promoting foster care and reducing teenage pregnancy.
The same question was posted to Obama, and he answered saying, "this is something that I have not come to a firm resolution on." He went on to ponder whether it begins "when a cell separates when a soul stirs." Obama said, "I do not presume to know the answer to that question."
Various leaders from a variety of denominations and religions asked questions of the candidates throughout the event.
Be sure to watch The 700 Club Monday for a full report from David Brody who is in Pennsylvania covering the event. Check your local listings for times.