The Barna Group just released it’s latest findings on how Americans view the Bible. It found that skepticism towards the Bible continues to steadily increase and the Christian faith is viewed in a negative light to more people. “With each passing year, the percent of Americans who believe that the Bible is ‘just another book written by men’ increases. So too do the perceptions that the Bible is actually harmful and that people who live by its principles are religious extremists,” notes Barna’s president, David Kinnaman.
Here are some of the highlights by the numbers:
►80% of American adults still name the Bible as their #1 most recognizable sacred text. In 2011, that percentage was 86%.
►In 2016, 14% of those surveyed said none of the top 4 sacred texts (Bible, Torah, Koran, Book of Mormon) are sacred. That’s an increase of 7% from 2011 thanks to an increase of skepticism among Gen-Xers and Millenials.
►33% in 2016 believe the Bible is completely accurate in what it teaches. That’s down from 48% in 2011.
►23% strongly disagree today that the Bible is accurate in its teachings. That number was 12% in 2011.
►In 2011, 53% felt strongly that the Bible has every principle to have a meaningful life. In 2016, that number has dropped to 45%, while those who strongly disagree with that statement has risen from 12% to 18% in those years.
At the same time, the study came away with these positives:
►Close to 90% of teens and adults admitted to owning a Bible.
►66% still view the Bible as the inspired word of God containing what God actually said.
►No matter what age group, practicing Christians still believe they should be faithful to God’s word.
Kinnaman believes the challenges the Bible faces can be turned into good. “…our researchers continue to find bright spots that demonstrate the Bible’s cultural staying power and persistent hold on people’s hearts. Each of these realities, among others, is a window of opportunity open to leaders. But these windows are not likely to remain open forever…”
The causes for the downward trends are numerous, although Barna did not extensively research that. Those causes are all basically rooted in the sinful, God-resistant nature of humans, which include the following:
►Fake popular Bibles which add to and take away from God’s word.
►The intentional dumbing down of the masses through the media, government, educational system, the Internet, and, yes, even churches.
►Embracing the theory of evolution with the assumption that it’s fact.
►Rising or sustained popularity of false religions like atheism, Islam, Catholicism, New Age, etc.
►The brainwashing of college kids on secular and some religious campuses to embrace socialism.
►Parents who don’t “train up a child in the way he should go.” (Prov. 22:6)
►Churches who compromise doctrine for the sake of being popular with humans.
►Church leaders who see ministry as a job, not a God-ordained calling.
And the list goes on and on. Will the US become like all other great nations before it that fell because of their hatred for God? Probably. I hate to see that happen because of the souls that will be lost for eternity. However, my commitment is with God and his word regardless of what America chooses. If that means I will be labeled non-patriotic when America says I should go along with their anti-Christ trends, so be it.
I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. Job 23:12
Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. Ps. 119:111