Say, there's hope yet if these statements are true. This clipping is a little old now, but how accurate was it?

“Americans buy more than 20 million new Bibles every year to add to the four that the average American has at home. Yet the state of American biblical knowledge is abysmal. A Gallup survey found that less than half of Americans can name the first book of the Bible (Genesis), only a third know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount (Billy Graham is a popular answer) and a quarter do not know what is celebrated at Easter (the resurrection, the foundational event of Christianity). Sixty per cent cannot name half the ten commandments; 12% think Noah was married to Joan of Arc. George Gallup, a leading Evangelical as well as a premier pollster, describes America as “a nation of biblical illiterates”. The Economist. December 2007.

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Replies to This Discussion

Yes, it was Dwight Eisenhower, wasn't it, who was saddened to be told that half the population of the USA have below average intelligence.
As George Carlin said "Considering how dumb the average American is you have to realize that half of them are dumber than that"
Americans buy more than 20 million new Bibles every year to add to the four that the average American has at home

That's right, one Bible under each leg of the table. That leaves out 20 million devout Christians who can actually read.
Improved Biblical literacy would undoubtedly translate into an increase in disbelief.

I still recall- 17 years later- my discomfort after reading 1 Chronicles 21 about King David's "illegal" census and the way that Jehovah punished him for it. After giving David three options, Jehovah killed 70,000 Israelites by means of a pestilence. Even David was distressed by the perverted "justice".

Reading that planted a seed in me.
Nate,

Reading the bible with a critical (finally) is exactly what set me on the path to reason. Most of my fellow countrymen:

1. Are too lazy to actually study the text.
2. Never study the history of the text.
3. Are ignorant of textual criticism.
4. Don't want to know anyway. (Fingers in ears going 'Lalalalalalala')

We have been witnessing the slow death of the Enlightenment in America over the last 80 years or so. It makes me both angry and sad.
I'll guess that each question was followed by a set of tick boxes, with various choices offered.
And another point regarding the answering of questionnaires, whether polled or written, is the number and quality of answers that come from non-believers, disinterested parties, and happy-go-lucky jokers.
By way of information, my source was Bill Mckibben in The Christian Paradox: How a faithful Nation Gets Jesus wrong, published by Harpers, August 2005, page 31.
There are some serious problems with labeling believers as simple minded. It's just not true

You have a point. Some aren't. But it doesn't make their delusions less of a concern. And there's still a vast majority of believers who lack healthy skepticism and gave up critical thinking.
If it were just a case of being simple-minded or stupid I could understand it a little better. Yet I know some very intelligent people with advanced university degrees (MS and PhD) who swallow that crap hook, line and sinker. Go figure...
I think the problem is that these intellectuals don't examine their own religious beliefs critically, as they would with other subjects of interest. And this is very sad indeed!
Jaume: You have a point. Some aren't. But it doesn't make their delusions less of a concern. And there's still a vast majority of believers who lack healthy skepticism and gave up critical thinking.

Brad: If it were just a case of being simple-minded or stupid I could understand it a little better. Yet I know some very intelligent people with advanced university degrees (MS and PhD) who swallow that crap hook, line and sinker. Go figure...

Don: I think the problem is that these intellectuals don't examine their own religious beliefs critically, as they would with other subjects of interest. And this is very sad indeed!

There is very good reason for the lack of critical thinking with regards to Christianity. Quite simply, the Bible is full of counsel admonishing against it. Blind obedience is repeatedly rewarded. Doubt is seen as weakness and even betrayal. As a result, many believers see lack of faith as more sinful than "carnal" offenses. Intelligence is associated with prideful arrogance and haughtiness. The stupid and sheeplike are praised as vessels existing to display the glory of God. Had I left my cult as a sinner and not as one at intellectual odds with their doctrines, I would have fared much better.

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