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how people read the Bible

October 22, 2007

Barna has released the findings of a new study. Survey respondents were given six “renowened” Bible stories and asked if they believe each is “literally true, meaning it happened exactly as described in the Bible,” or “meant to illustrate a principle but is not to be taken literally.

Percentage of American adults who believe the following stories are literally true:
Jesus’ Resurrection: 75%
Daniel in the Lion’s Den: 65%
Parting the Red Sea: 64%
David Killing Goliath: 63%
Peter Walks on Water: 60%
Six Days of Creation: 60%

The report breaks the numbers down by region, ethnicity, education, etc. You can read all that here if you like.

George Barna made the following comment on the new report,

” … the widespread embrace of these accounts raises questions about the unmistakable gap between belief and behavior. On the one hand we have tens of millions of people who view these narratives as reflections of reality … On the other hand, a majority of those same people harbor a stubborn indifference toward God … It seems millions of Americans believe the Bible is true, but are not willing to translate those stories into action. … the Bible has become a respected but impersonal religious history lesson that stays removed from their life (sic).”

Lord, keep me out of that majority!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Jen permalink
    October 22, 2007 7:15 pm

    Only 1,000 people were surveyed … out of 300-Million Americans, that’s less than 4% of the population. Those numbers could be vastly different from what actually is believed as truth. Another thing, how are they doing this random sampling of people? VIA phone? I have problems with that too, however, I’ll save that rant for another day.

  2. Lex permalink
    October 22, 2007 7:42 pm

    Any survey or study you read on a large population is going to be based on a sample set that is relatively very small. Barna does phone surveys. There’s the percent error and stuff listed at the bottom of the report.

  3. jen permalink
    October 23, 2007 12:29 pm

    But has anyone ever actually done one of these relativly small scale surveys and then just for fun really attmpted to get the whole population (Okay, so I know that would be pretty much impossible to do – well, no one would want to)to see if their percent of error was really what they thought it to be? Really, who comes up with that stuff? I’m sure there’s some math formula whatever to figure out the percent error, but truly…has anyone ever done that?? ….i’m really just being argumentative.tata!

  4. Lex permalink
    October 23, 2007 1:58 pm

    I can tell you’re being argumentative, but I can’t figure out why. The majority of the American population believes the Bible is true and accurate. That’s good.

  5. jen permalink
    October 23, 2007 2:32 pm

    I agree, that is good. But polling in general….who says it’s really all that accurate, how do they know. Actually this would be something to go research and maybe get credit for in my politcal science class. What a brilliant idea!

  6. The Academy Against Apathy permalink
    October 24, 2007 4:55 pm

    she has a political science class that’s why she’s aurgumentitive. Did I spell that right?

  7. Anonymous permalink
    February 9, 2008 10:15 pm


  8. Anonymous permalink
    February 9, 2008 10:16 pm

    aurgumentitive? No, you didn’t.

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