Americans Positive toward Bible, though ‘Antagonistic’ Views on Rise

Americans Positive toward Bible, though ‘Antagonistic’ Views on Rise

This, suggested by two recent surveys, one by the American Bible Society and Barna (report), the other by Lifeway Research (report).

CT offers a convenient summary:

For the most part, Americans have positive things to say about the Bible. More than half call it a good source of morals (52%). About a third say it’s helpful (37%), true (36%), and life-changing (35%), according to a new LifeWay Research survey.

Even more told the American Bible Society (ABS) and Barna Group that they believe it’s the actual or inspired word of God (81%).

But a growing segment— 19 percent in 2017, up from 10 percent in 2011—say it’s simply a book of teachings and stories written by men.

That group has remained fairly stable in recent years (17% in 2013, 19% in 2014, 21% in 2015, and 22% in 2016). So this year for their State of the Bible report, ABS and Barna asked the people in that category a new question: If you think the Bible was written only by humans, do you think it was meant to be manipulative or controlling?

Almost 4 out of 5 skeptics said yes, which adds up to 13 percent of the US population. (A similar number of Americans told LifeWay that the Bible was bigoted (8%) or harmful (7%).)

This 13 percent who take a negative view of the Bible are labelled ‘antagonistic’ in the ABS/Barna survey. Further, I noticed the interesting—but not surprising—implication that those whose Bible engagement is classified as ‘skeptic’ (including both antagonistic and non-antagonistic) skew younger, whilst warmer engagement skews older. One-third of millennials, for example, fit the ‘skeptic’ category, another third ‘neutral’, according to the survey:

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