Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Christians and the Bible: An Unread Book

A detail of Jahannes Gutenberg's copy: No wonder nobody reads it.
My friend Janeson Keeley sent me an interesting link to a site called delanceyplace.com that features a post today about how Bible sales up, but nobody seems to be reading what they're buying.

The post tells us that a new survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has found that 79 percent of Americans believe the Bible is "the word of god" and that it is to be taken literally (even, I guess, that part in Leviticus that says football is an abomination, along with being gay). We're told that another poll finds that half of us think the Bible is "totally accurate in all its teachings" (including all that stuff about your neighbor's ass) and that is further refined to 78 percent of all "born-again" Christians believing that statement.

We're also told in this piece that fewer than half of adult Americans know the first book of the Bible (Bereshit--I swear to god--in Hebrew; I don't think it's pronounced "bear shit," though) or the names of the four Gospels. Pretty basic stuff, I'd say, since a hell of a lot of guys are named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Although fundamentalists are insisting that the 10 Commandments be posted in schools, they apparently don't have them posted in their homes, since two thirds of them don't know even half of them. A legislator from Georgia who sponsored a bill to display the 10 Commandments in the House and Senate could name just three when asked by Stephen Colbert to do that.
These lovely people--who get to vote, based most often on what they believe the Bible tells them--don't read the Bible, but they are sure buying spare copies just in case they get a minute when nothing's on TV.

In 2007, 25 million of those little black books sold for $770 million. And that without an Oprah endorsement. I'd love to see CLOG! do that well when I get it on the market.


  1. I am pulling for CLOG!

  2. You know friend, as a "born again, fundamentalist, Believer" myself I think you're right. It IS embarrassing that so many people who claim to be Christians don't even read the Bible or have any idea how to apply it to their lives. The lives we display to the world are often far from representing what we preach. BUT, of all the Christians I know and love, I don't know even one who lives out what he/she believes perfectly, including myself. If we did, there wouldn't be a need for a Savior. If we were all perfect, what would we need to be saved from? Grace :) God loves us in spite of our shortcomings and sin. Grace :)

  3. I'm an atheist I can name the first book and the four gospels. I can name nearly every other book in the bible too. Even (or maybe Especially) as an atheist I think it's important to know a little about the predominant religion that surrounds us, even if it is all just bunk.

  4. Brooke: If Christians were all like you--and some other fine Christians I know--we would have no problem with Christians. Ghandi wouldn't have either. He said, "I like your Christ. Not so much your Christians."