View Full Version : Bible Reading Declines

10-26-2007, 07:01 AM

Scholars estimate that in 1776 as few as 10 to 17% of Americans claimed any religious affiliation at all, and that the popular attitude toward religion was one of vast indifference--though few wished to harm religious freedom. In 2002, 96% of Americans believe in God or a universal spirit. About 90% of American adults claim a religious preference, and 70% claim membership in a church, synagogue, or other religious body. (The End of American Religion "As We Know It?" Center for the study of Religion and Society NewsLetter, Charles L. Harper, Omaha, Nebraska, spring 1997 Volume 8, Number 2).

Some Christian leaders are alarmed at the Bible illiteracy and they say, "this generation is the most biblically illiterate generation they've ever seen. " The problem is Americans are not charging their lives by the Scriptures. The reason is they are guiding their lives by psychology and popular culture. Churches and religion are losing their influence and that commitment to Christianity is slipping in important ways.

According national surveys conducted in 1992, by Barna Research, almost half of the Christian adults read from the Bible during a week. In 1995, that figure came down to less than one-third. In 1999, the figure rose to slightly more than one-third. The evangelical pollster (George Barna) is convinced that "traditional Christianity" is losing its grip. And a 1997 Barna Research poll showed 12 percent of Christians think Noah's wife was Joan of Arc. A recent study by Christian pollster George Barna showed 63% couldn't name the four gospels of the New Testament.

The shallowness of American Christianity has been documented in a book co-authored by Pollster George Gallup and Michael Lindsay. Two of their major findings are "the glaring lack of knowledge about the Bible, basic doctrines, and the traditions of one's church…. (and) the superficiality of faith, with many people not knowing what they believe, or why" (REF: George Gallup Jr. and D. Michael Lindsay, Surveying the Religious Landscape: Trends in U.S. Beliefs, 1999, p.4).

Gideons International annually distributes more than 45 million Bibles--an average of 86 per minute, better than one every second. About 92 percent of Christian Americans own at least one or portion of the Bible (the New Testament) in their homes, and the average household has three. Two-thirds say it holds the answers to the basic questions of life. However, the number of Americans who consider the Bible as infallible and wielding authority over their lives is decreasing distinctly (REF: George Gallup Jr. ibid, pp.34-35, 50).

"Most Americans consider the Bible to be a collection of inspired writings, but 'not everything in it should be taken literally.' This moves toward understanding the Bible as the inspired, and not necessarily as the actual, word of God, is one of the most dramatic shifts in religious beliefs since 1960s. As recently as 1963, two persons in three viewed the Bible as the actual word of God, to be taken literally, word for word. Today, only one person in three still holds to that interpretation." (REF: George Gallup Jr. ibid, pp.35-36). Pollster George Gallup has put it: "We revere the Bible, but we don't read it."

Worse, Gallup said, the percentage of people with a college education has more than tripled since 1935 "but the level of biblical knowledge appears to have hardly budged." Andy Dzurovcik of Faith Lutheran Church in Clark, NJ a pastor for 28 years, says ""The Bible is the best-selling, least-read and least-understood book."

The November 27, 1999 issue of The Dallas Morning News contained a featured article on the declining readership of the Bible, in its religion section whose headline read " Who Reads it? Fewer and Fewer, Say Those Bemoaning Bible Illiteracy." This article notes that even though most of the readers of the Bible have their own Bibles, they scored poorly when quizzed on simple basic questions about the Bible.

Ten Commandments are considered to be the moral health of American society, however six out of 10 Americans can't name half of them, or any of the Ten Commandments. To the question "Can you name the first and last books of the Bible? " An older man answered “First Testament...and I think second one." They think "Moses" gave the Sermon on the Mount?

When a True or false question was asked whether the Bible teaches "God helps those who help themselves?" A young man answered it to be “True”. Actually, Ben Franklin said that. About 80 percent of born-again Christians believe it is the Bible that says, "God helps those who help themselves."

In Europe and particularly in Northern Europe, serious Bible reading is definitely on the decline and also living by its values. For a long time Northern Europe has been known as the "North German Plain of Irreligion." Christianity is increasingly disjointed from the book on which it is founded. As a result, scholars have described the late 20th century as the post-Christian era.

Americans are far more likely to believe, belong, and participate in dynamic religious organizations than are their counterparts in England, France, Germany, Sweden, and Italy. In those nations church attendance is so low that many people attend only to symbolize three important biographic events: to get hatched, matched, and dispatched! Indeed, the question that scholars of religion always needed to explain was "why are Americans so religious compared to everyone else?" Well, a believer in religious decline might ask, " Is not America now subject to the same secularizing forces that made religion such an empty formality in much of Europe?" (Charles L. Harper, Ibid)

What are the consequences of being a Biblically illiterate society?

Dr. Vinson Synan, Dean of Regent University's School of Divinity says: "You can see the results everywhere, the breakdown of homes, divorces, the permissiveness of sex, homosexuality, AIDS, all of these things are consequences of not knowing the word of God." He calls Biblical illiteracy the "ultimate disaster" for a nation, even greater than AIDS or atomic war. "Because if people lived Biblical lifestyles, they would not have AIDS, if people followed the Scriptures there would be no nuclear war, so most of our problems are from unbiblical behavior." (REF: Biblical Illiteracy by Wendy Griffith CBN News Reporter)


Gallup, George, Religion in America: 1996 Report, Princeton, NJ: Princeton Religious Research Center.

Barna, George, 1996. The Index of Leading Spiritual Indicators, Oxnard, Calif.: Barna Spiritual Research Group.

Finke, Roger, and Rodney Stark, 1992. The Churching of America: Winners and Losers in the Economic Struggle, 1776-1990. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Thomas, George, 1996. Cultural Analysis of Religious Change and Movements, Sociological Inquiry, Vol. 66, No. 3, Pp. 285-302.


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10-27-2007, 09:12 AM
Might be a bad thing, because most of them will become atheist and become monkeys.. i mean darwin.

10-27-2007, 09:32 AM
If you are going to add 'further readings'; while not go the whole hog with regard to intellectual integrity and include your SOURCE.

Which is; Islamic Foundation Research International Inc.

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