Biblical Literacy in America, Past and Present

Biblical Literacy in America, Past and Present

By Dr. Daniel Botkin

“ “Atheists, Agnostics, Mormons and Jews Score Best on Religious Knowledge Survey.” These are the results of a nationwide poll conducted by The Pew Forum this past summer. According to previous surveys, 60% of American adults say that religion is “very important” to them. But this latest survey reveals “that large numbers of Americans are uninformed about the tenets, practices, history and leading figures of major faith traditions — including their own.”

Here are just two examples that demonstrate Americans’ ignorance of the Bible. Only 63% of Americans know that Genesis is the first book of the Bible. Only 71% know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem — in spite of the popular Christmas song “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

The poll of 3,412 adults consisted of 32 questions. The following shows how many of the 32 questions each group of respondents, on average, answered correctly:

• Atheist/Agnostic 20.9

• Jewish 20.5

• Mormon 20.3

• White evangelical Protestant…17.6

• White Catholic 16.0

• White mainline Protestant. 15.8

• Nothing in particular 15.2

• Black Protestant… 13.4

• Hispanic Catholic 11.6

One person posted this comment on a Christian Web site: “No big surprise. Believers think with their hearts; nonbelievers think with their heads.” To which another person responded: “Actually, everyone thinks with their heads. Believers just think less.”…”

(this article is an excerpt from the January–February 2011edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)

To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 10, click this link:

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