Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Literal truth

Stan Guthrie at Christianity Today's Liveblog reports that, according to a new Barna survey, many Americans "accept the literal truth of six key Bible stories."
Here are the overall results among adults to the question of whether they thought a specific story in the Bible was “literally true, meaning it happened exactly as described in the Bible”:
  • Christ’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection (75%);
  • Daniel in the Lion’s Den (65%);
  • Moses parting the Red Sea (64%);
  • David and Goliath (63%);
  • Peter walking on water (60%);
  • God creating the universe in six days (60%).
When you break down the numbers, it gets even more interesting. Several factors are correlated with less belief in a literal resurrection: high education, mainline vs. non-mainline Protestantism, Catholicism vs. Protestantism, and white vs. black. So, statistically speaking, a highly educated white Catholic or mainline professor from the Northeast would likely be more skeptical than a blue-collar African-American Protestant from the Midwest or South. [more]
Taking Bible Stories Literally | Liveblog | Christianity Today, Barna Group: Most Americans Take Well-Known Bible Stories at Face Value


  1. High education... Why does education kill faith? It shouldn't.

  2. It may be the nature of higher education today rather than the fact of being highly educated. But, the results aren't as bad as one might think. Barna's summary says:
    "Surprisingly, the most significant Bible story of all - 'the story of Jesus Christ rising from the dead, after being crucified and buried' - was also the most widely embraced. Three out of four adults (75%) said they interpreted that narrative literally, while only one out of five (19%) said they did not take that story literally. The more highly educated respondents were, the less likely they were to take the story literally, although even two-thirds of college graduates (68%) believe the resurrection narrative is literally true. ...."


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