Thursday 10 April 2014

The State of the Bible in America 2014

Each year, the Barna Group and American Bible Society partner in a study of Americans’ attitudes towards the Bible. The results of the 2014 study have just been released, looking at the following six areas:

1. Bible Perceptions
2. Bible Penetration
3. Bible Engagement
4. Bible Literacy
5. Moral Decline and Social Impact
6. Giving to Non-Profit Organizations

As reported by Barna, they identify six trends in engagement with the Bible:

• Bible skepticism is now ‘tied’ with Bible engagement – skepticism or agnosticism about the Bible has increased and now stands at 19%, the same as the percentage of those who are Bible engaged

• Despite the declines, most Americans continue to be ‘pro-Bible’ – but ‘being pro-Bible doesn’t necessarily mean Americans use the Bible regularly, however. Only 37% of Americans report reading the Bible once a week or more’.

• Distraction and busyness continue to squeeze out the Bible – ‘Americans say they want to read the Bible – 62% wish they read Scripture more – they just don't know how to make time’.

• The age of screens has come to stay in the Bible market – use of tablets and smartphones for Bible searches has skyrocketed, from 18% in 2011 to 35% in 2014.

• Increasingly, people come to the Bible for answers or comfort – there is an increase in those looking for pragmatic answers to life's problems.

• People are less likely to link moral decline with a lack of Bible reading – they blame decline on other things (movies, music, TV, etc).

The data and analysis is available here; an infographic is available here.

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