American skepticism of the Bible is at an all-time high according to a new survey released this week. More Americans than ever before in history say that they think the Bible is not the divinely inspired word of God, but is simply comprised of the teachings of man. The numbers of Americans who say they have serious doubts about the Bible clocked in at 19%, or about one in five, according to the latest study performed by the American Bible Society. That represents a huge increase over past survey numbers.
The Barna Group, a New York nonprofit organization, conducted the survey about two months ago, and results were released earlier this week. Most Americans, the survey found, own a Bible—about 88 percent of households, but belief that the book is the word of God is dwindling rapidly; the biggest downturn can be seen in the demographic of younger people.
The survey results seem to have come as somewhat of a surprise to the Bible Society. Spokesperson Geof Morin states that his organization has plans to perform outreach efforts utilizing social media, and that he and his colleagues hope to encourage younger people to use their electronic gadgets such as smart phones and tablets to read Bible verses every day. Roy Peterson, the President of the Society, says the Bible can help all Americans to better comprehend life and that it can assist in reversing what he sees as the moral decline of society.
The survey supports earlier findings released this year that atheism and agnosticism are growing at a rapid pace in American society. Additionally, a PEW study released in 2012 found that young people as well as older adults are losing their religious faith faster than has ever before been recorded. In that study, PEW found a third of young Americans reported that they have “no religious affiliation.”
The current survey results show that Millennials, generally understood to be between the ages of 18 and 29, are racing toward American skepticism of the Bible like never before, putting the numbers of non believers at an all time high. About 70 percent of Millennials feel that the Bible has no significant impact on society. Nearly 40 percent of Millennials have never read the Bible, and 25 percent of people overall stated they’ve never read the book considered divinely inspired by Christians.
The number of people who doubt the influence the Bible has doubled since 2011, representing a huge shift in attitudes about the “good book.” 80 percent of Americans said they read the Bible fewer than four times a week and that they do not view it as divinely inspired.
Anti-gay teachings in the Bible and within some Christian churches are cited as the number one reason why younger people are pulling away from their faith. It was revealed in 2013 that more than half of Americans support gay marriage, and societal attitudes toward same sex relationships have changed dramatically in the last ten years. 70 percent of the younger adults polled said that churches have been greatly alienating the Millennial generation, and that has caused them to leave the faith altogether.
American skepticism of the Bible is at an all time high, and research is piling up that U.S. citizens are rapidly losing their religion and becoming agnostic or atheist. Several younger Christian philosophers and authors have pleaded with Christian churches to progress along with modern sensibilities or risk losing massive numbers of members over time. Those who have presented an alternative to anti-gay teachings say that is possible to reconcile religion with current societal norms of equality and acceptance for gays. However, others have pointed out that as scientific knowledge progresses, a bigger threat to religious belief is beginning to take shape in American society. The numbers of people losing their faith for various reasons are currently skyrocketing upwards, and show no signs of abating.
By: Rebecca Savastio