Respecting, But Not Reading the Bible

A new report finds that Americans overwhelmingly believe morals and values are declining in the United States. The most-cited cause for the decline? A lack of Bible reading. The findings are reported in the American Bible Society’s annual State of the Bible survey released on March 26. While 66 percent of those surveyed agreed that the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life, 58 percent say they do not personally want wisdom and advice from the Bible, and 57 percent say they read the Bible fewer than five times per year. Doug Birdsall, president of American Bible Society, called the Bible the “ultimate instruction guide on how to live a moral life.” Unfortunately, he said, “more than half of Americans rarely, if ever, read it,” a lack of connection between belief and action he described as troubling. “If we had a cure for cancer, wouldn’t everyone with cancer take it? Americans are telling us that the cure for declining morality is sitting on our bookshelves, but more than half of Americans are simply letting the cure gather dust.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Vincent Gaitley
4 years 10 months ago
And this surprises anyone? We have a literate society--created at enormous educational expense--yet we have few readers of books. Anyone admitting to reading the Bible at home, or alone, or for fun is easily marked as a kook, or zealot. This is the branding of the modern media. What person is a good role model on television who also reads the Bible? Of course Catholics contribute to this with our weekly thumbnail readings--don't dare read the whole book! Want a cure for the non-reading literate culture? Turn off the TVs. Oh, that's not happening.
Beth Cioffoletti
4 years 10 months ago
Maybe it is just me, but I have a hard time reading the bible. I find it both boring and confusing. Little "thumbnails" - and the lectio divina that is offered at my weekly contemplative prayer group are somewhat easier, but it takes a certain discipline and effort on my part. Reading and discussing with others is also helpful, but I tend to think that bible reading is not the same as reading for information or pleasure, and putting in that category as this article seems to do, ultimately causes more confusion.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Father Ireneusz Ekiert, administrator of Mary Help of Christians Church in Parkland, Fla., leads parishioners during an outdoor Stations of the Cross service on Feb. 16 dedicated to the victims and survivors of the deadly mass shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (CNS photo/Tom Tracy)
In the midst of the unimaginable, Father Ekiert is telling his parishioners to show and live love daily—not just in a time of grief and horror.
Kate SteinFebruary 20, 2018
When I played hockey, other players of color were few and far between.
Antonio De Loera-BrustFebruary 20, 2018
Five years later, looking back on a momentous day in the life of the church
James Martin, SJFebruary 18, 2018