Younger Generations Lead Move as Americans Lose Faith in the Bible, Poll Shows

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 10, 2014 | Go to article overview

Younger Generations Lead Move as Americans Lose Faith in the Bible, Poll Shows


Byline: Meredith Somers, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

More Americans are doubting the infallibility of the Bible, treating it as a guidebook rather than the actual words of God, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The State of the Bible survey, conducted by the Barna Group and the American Bible Society, shows that 19 percent of American adults are "skeptical" about the Bible and 19 percent are "engaged" with the book.

It's the first time in the four years of the survey that the two groups are tied, with skeptics growing by 10 percentage points since 2011. The shift is attributed in large part to the growing doubts of the millennial generation and Generation X.

"I think young people have always questioned their parents, questioned the church," said Roy Peterson, president of the American Bible Society. "In our experience, they may not necessarily be coming back like previous generations. Young people might have said, 'God's word is written by God, and it's an important book.' Today the skeptics are saying, 'It's just like any other piece of literature, and it's no different from that.'"

Millennials, generally described as those born since 1980, are less likely to own, read and respect the Bible. Survey conductors predicted this trend would continue through the next five years.

"It is a concern for us," Mr. Peterson said. "You know how ideologic we are when we're young, hoping the church lives out what Jesus said to do, seeing the church meeting injustice and hurts of our society. We have to help people find answers in Scripture."

Bible skepticism is on the rise. The survey showed that 79 percent of Americans believe the Bible is sacred, down from 86 percent in 2011.

The survey found that 88 percent of Americans have a Bible in their home, but only about 37 percent of them read it on a regular basis. …

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