Surprising stats about the Bible and society

Before I get into my post today I want to say that I love Feedly. I started using the RSS reader service about a week ago (and apparently I wasn’t alone), after we all learned about the demise of Google reader and I must say I’m using it so much more than I was using Google reader. So if you’re still looking for a replacement consider giving Feedly a try.

Thanks to Feedly I spotted new research from The Barna Group today about the Bible’s place in society. Barna set out to answer these questions:

“The interest in a cable series makes it clear the American public is certainly interested in the Bible. But what do Americans actually think about the Bible? Do they believe it to be sacred, authoritative or merely nonsense? Do they try to follow its exhortations, or do they regard the Bible as antiquated literature? Does the Bible still matter—besides television ratings—to Americans?”

Barna Bible ResearchHere are some of the highlights and lowlights:

Barna found that almost 9 out of 10 Americans own a Bible (a decline since 1993 though). “Add to that, eight out of ten (80%) Americans identify the Bible as sacred literature, without any prompting from interviewers. That proportion has also dipped from 2011, when 85% of respondents affirmed this perspective of the Bible. Americans’ overall belief in Scripture’s sacredness may also explain why almost two-thirds (61%) of American adults also say they wish they read the Bible more.”

Lack of Bible reading is one of the reasons many Americans believe the morals of our country are on the decline. (See graphic above).

All of those findings surprised me. What didn’t shock me were the more worrying trends including growing antagonism toward the Bible that Barna also noted in this recent study.

For example: “the percentage of adults who believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to live a meaningful life has declined substantially from 75% to 66% in the last two years” and “The biggest jump of any group are those American adults who are antagonistic to the Bible, meaning they believe the Bible to just be a book of stories and teachings written by men, and they rarely or never read the Bible. That group stood at one in ten adults (10%) in 2011. In 2013, their ranks have grown to 17% of all U.S. adults.”

To read the entire State of the Bible 2013 study from Barna Research and The American Bible Society visit Barna’s website. Previous Barna research found that people in cities were not very Biblically-minded (see link below).

This entry was posted in Bookshelf, Christian Life, The Word and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Surprising stats about the Bible and society

  1. Thanks for this. Also thanks for the feed reader rec. I live in a cave and had only heard vague rumors of Google Reader’s demise, and was far too preoccupied with my thesis to be upset. Thanks for your small contibution to maintaining my sanity.

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