Most Americans See Bible as Truth

4 06 2007

Filed under: Christian worldview, Secularism, Humanism, Atheism, Religion, Gallup, Bible, Truth

Since 1981, Gallup has been polling Americans on the amount of truth in the Bible and if it should be followed literally. A new Gallup poll recently released says about one-third of the American adult population believes the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally word for word. This percentage is only slightly lower than several decades ago.

Gallup reports that the majority of those “who don’t believe that the Bible is literally true believe that it is the inspired word of God but that not everything it in should be taken literally.” Finally, about one in five Americans believe the Bible is merely an ancient book of “fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man.”

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.

Those who believe in the literal Bible amount to 31% of adult Americans. This is a decline of about 7% compared with Gallup polls taken in the 1970s and 1980s. It is strongest in the South.

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 came across this post from a blogger named Daniel Miessler, who seems to be fairly accurate in his explanation; albeit, he’s an atheist.

Option 1: Education is secular in nature and leads people astray. It teaches people to question the origins of the Bible, the apparent (but untrue) contradictions within it, and its similarities with previous stories — all of which is wrong because the Bible warns against trying to gain too much worldly knowledge. The true way to gather knowledge is to stop worrying about what all this human (and therefore flawed) education says and read the scriptures as God intended.

Option 2: The Bible is a collection of stories written by numerous authors, edited numerous times, over roughly 900 years. The only people who believe it to be the literal work of God are people who have been indoctrinated to believe so. As such, those who are exposed to education gain the benefit of perspective and are able to see what it truly is. The more education one has the more likely they 1) came from a family that didn’t harshly indoctrinate them as children, and 2) get more exposure to alternative ways of interpreting the world. Both of these lead to less chance of believing the Bible is the literal work of God.

The fact that Daniel was raised in a religious home plays a large role in his understanding of the Bible and education. Unfortunately, his parents do not seem to have imparted to him or exemplified for him a Christian worldview.

CitizenLink makes another interesting observation with this quote from Gallup’s editor-in-chief:

Frank Newport, editor in chief at Gallup, said we still live in a country where God’s word is taken seriously.

“Religious people around the world who believe that a religious document is inerrant will engage in behaviors and support types of policies which are significantly different than others might and those have real implications for society,” he told Family News in Focus.

The other steady result is that belief in the Bible correlates with church attendance and Protestant theology. Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said such a connection makes sense.

“People who take the Bible seriously are going to go to church,” he said. “And if they go to church, they’re going to hear sermons, and they’re going to have Sunday school lessons that are going to teach them that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible word of God.”

Add the people who say the whole Bible is the direct word of God with those who see it as divinely inspired, but who do not take all parts literally, and nearly 80 percent of Americans consider the Bible to be a major source of truth.

Jesus said something interesting in John 18:37:

In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

In the second portion, He states that He is here to testify to the truth. This implies a trial. And His final statement in the verse implies that there are sides and that those on the side of truth listen to Him. The trial is good vs. evil and the sides are Jesus vs. Satan.

It’s sad that the more time we spend in a secular classroom seeking knowledge, the less we believe of the Bible. Instead of studying from a Christian worldview perspective which looks at everything from a Biblical angle, we encourage students to look through the lens of logic and reason. Logic and reason, both gifts from God that make complete sense when gazed upon through Jesus’ eyes, in a secular sense demand material proof for what has already been proven. That is, that we are all created by a God that loves us and sent His only Son to die for us all and proven in the Bible. Fortunately, most Americans still believe this.

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