"Every great religion in the world -- Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism --essentially comes to do unto others as you would like them to do unto you," he said during CNN's Democratic town hall event on Tuesday night.
Though Sanders was raised Jewish and believes in God, he identifies as a secular rather than a religious Jew. He doesn't often address his religion, and The New York Times notes that he sometimes even shies away from using the term "Jewish."
But asked about his faith on Tuesday, he boiled it down to the belief that "we have got to work together."
"It's very easy to turn our backs on kids who are hungry or veterans who are sleeping on the street, but I believe that what human nature is about is that everybody in this room impacts everybody else in all kinds of ways that we can't understand." he said. "That's my religion. That's what I believe in."
You know that's also what I believe in.
I obviously would not characterize it as my religion, but it is my philosophy.
I have to admit this is the answer concerning religion that I have been waiting to hear from a presidential candidate, and it is like music to my ears.
However having said that, it is also yet another reason why Sanders is unlikely to win a general election.
For all intents and purposes Bernie has just outed himself as an Atheist, more or less. And NOBODY is more reviled and mistrusted in this country than Atheists.
Christians especially are terrified of those who do not identify as religious, believing that morality is impossible without an all encompassing belief in God.
Preferably their god.
So even though Bernie Sanders has lived an incredibly ethical and honest life, the mere fact that he refuses to identify as religious, or let's face it Christian, makes winning the presidency a fantasy.
And believe me, probably nobody wishes that were less true than I.
Update: For those doubting my premise about the mistrust felt toward Atheists:
Social science has long revealed high rates of secularphobia – the irrational dislike, distrust, fear, or hatred of nonreligious people – within American society. For example, a study by Penny Edgell of the University of Minnesota, from back in 2006, found that atheists come in last place when Americans are asked to rank members of certain racial, ethnic, or religious groups as potential spouses for their kids. And a Gallup poll from 2012 found that 43 pecent of Americans said that they would not vote for an atheist for president, putting atheists in last/worst place, behind Muslims (40 percent of Americans said they wouldn’t vote for a Muslim for president), homosexuals (30 percent wouldn’t), Mormons (18 percent wouldn’t), Latinos (7 percent wouldn’t), Jews (6 percent wouldn’t), Catholics (5 percent wouldn’t), women (5 percent wouldn’t) and African Americans (4 percent wouldn’t).
Additionally, psychology professor Adrian Furnham found that people give lower priority to patients with atheist or agnostic views than to Christian patients when asked to rank them on a waiting list to receive a kidney, and legal scholar Eugene Volokh has documented the degree to which atheist parents have been denied custody rights in the wake of a divorce.
THAT is why no national politician in America will actually cop to being an Atheist, though in my opinion Bernie comes the closest.
I have read other interviews with him where he is even more blunt that belief in God plays virtually no part in his day to day life, nor on his political point of view.