June 7, 2007

A Third of Americans Read Their Bibles Literally

According to Editor & Publisher, a recent Gallup poll indicates that almost a third of Americans believe that the Christian bible is the literal word of god and should be read as such. Yeah, I suppose I'm not surprised either. Then again, I live in the South where the percentage is quite a bit higher. While these numbers are alarming, poll results also contain some reason for optimism.

One important implication of this poll is that the results should be cited when one is confronted by moderate Christians claiming that nobody reads the bible literally anymore. I cannot tell you the number of times I have encountered this reaction. It is nice to have some data to show that 31% is not exactly "nobody."

Although the article notes that the percentage of Americans believing in a literal reading of their bible is "only slightly lower than several decades ago," it appears that there was a 7% decline when compared with 1970s and 1980s data. Small progress to be sure, but it at least suggests that there is movement in the right direction.

What is the solution to correcting such irrational beliefs? It appears that education offers at least a partial solution.
There is also a strong relationship between education and belief in a literal Bible, Gallup explains, with such belief becoming much less prevalent as schooling continues.

Believe [sic] in the literal word of the Bible is strongest among those whose schooling stopped with high school and declines steadily with educational level, with only 20% of college graduates holding that view and 11% of those with an advanced degree.
I suppose this is more evidence about how important it is to promote secular education in place of indoctrination.

H/T to Pam's House Blend

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