Magazine article The Christian Century

More Say Good Book Is Not a God Book

Magazine article The Christian Century

More Say Good Book Is Not a God Book

Article excerpt

Bible films may be raking it in at the box office, but fewer people are reading the original and taking it seriously.

The American Bible Society's latest State of the Bible survey documents steep skepticism that the Good Book is a God book.

"We are seeing an incredible change in just a few years' time," said Roy Peterson, president of the society.

The study, conducted annually by Barna Research, finds:

* The most "engaged" readers--who read the Bible almost daily and see it as sacred--are now matched by "skeptics" who say it's just a book of stories and advice. Both groups measured 19 percent.

* While the number of engaged stayed steady, the number of skeptics grew by 10 percentage points since the same survey was conducted in 2011.

* Skeptics cut into the number of adults Barna calls "Bible friendly," those who read the Bible occasionally and see it as inspired by God. The "friendly" demographic fell to 37 percent, down from 45 percent in 2011.

* The percentage of people who view the Bible as sacred has dropped to 79 percent, down from 86 percent in 2011.

The study is based on 2,036 interviews with U.S. adults in January and February.

Peterson told RNS that the statistics are "sobering but not discouraging. …

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