Should the Quran and the Book of Mormon be on par with the Holy Bible? In disturbing findings that shed light on the state of Christianity in America, about half of Americans seem to think these three books are fairly interchangeable.
Indeed, on the heels of Gallup’s assessment of the religiosity by state, American Bible Society is releasing in-depth findings from its State of the Bible survey. The survey details Americans’ beliefs about the Bible, its role in society, its presence in U.S. homes and more.
According to the survey, conducted by Barna Group on behalf of American Bible Society, 46 percent believe the Bible, the Quran and the Book of Mormon are different expressions of the same spiritual truths. An equal number disagree.
In some better news, the study also reveals 47 percent of American adults believe the Bible has too little influence in society today. Only 16 percent believe it has too much influence, with the remaining adults expressing neutral opinions.
What’s more, 55 percent read the Bible to be closer to God, but that’s down 9 percent from just a year ago. And although 79 percent believe they are knowledgeable about the Bible, 54 percent were unable to correctly identify the first five books of the Bible.
“Findings from The State of the Bible 2012 survey show Americans desire to read the Bible more and turn to it for the answers to life questions but have an increasingly less reverent view of its contents,” said David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group.
Indeed, 62 percent of adults age 66 and older believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to know about living a meaningful life, dropping to 54 percent among boomers (age 47 to 65), 44 percent among those age 28 to 46, and dropping even further to 34 percent for those age 18 to 27.
On average, 85 percent of U.S. households own a Bible, and the average number of Bibles per household is 4.3. Thirty-six percent of Americans read the Bible less than once a year or never while 33 percent read the Bible once a week or more.
“In order to further our efforts to make the Bible accessible to people in a way that best fits their lives, it is imperative that we have a firm grasp on the views and actions of Americans around the Bible,” says Lamar Vest, president of American Bible Society. “While the message of the Bible is unchanging, how we deliver it is ever changing. The State of the Bible 2012 helps us to better understand how Americans are interacting with God’s Word.”