Monday, April 02, 2007

Kudos to Alabama and their biblical literacy...but we can all do better!

From an H.B. London (Focus on the Family) newsletter:

A new poll found that Alabamians were the most knowledgeable on some biblical basics. The Press-Register/University of South Alabama survey of 404 adults found that most Americans can't identify one of the four Gospels while 70 percent of Alabamians can correctly identify all four. More than 70 percent of the Alabama respondents knew where Jesus was born (Bethlehem) and nearly 90 percent correctly identified Jesus' words, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God," as coming from the Bible, cited Boston University professor Stephen Prothero.

Only 16 percent of respondents knew that President Bush's reference to the Jericho Road in his first inaugural address was the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan. Prothero was most troubled that 30 percent of respondents incorrectly attributed Benjamin Franklin's adage, "God helps those who help themselves," to the Bible. In Prothero's opinion, the phrase is opposed to the spirit of the Bible that teaches God helps those that cannot help themselves.

A key concern for Prothero, "is that we're not doing anything about the religious illiteracy problem, but we are ramping up religion in politics, so there's more and more of a gap between what American citizens know and what's going on in the political world."

Dean of the School of Christian Studies, Cecil R. Taylor, commented on "how biblically illiterate even students who come from Bible-believing, Bible-teaching churches are." Forty-one percent of the poll respondents said they wanted to learn more, while 59 percent said they possessed a "full understanding." Taylor said that within some Christian circles, "It's not how much you know, it's whether you believe."

Prothero said that for evangelicals it is about having a relationship with Jesus and feeling Him in your heart. For most liberal Protestants, it's doing — soup kitchens, social gospel and taking care of the poor. Neither is about knowing. Prothero said that in early American history, Christianity was about knowing — God gave us our brains; use them. God gave us the Bible that has truth in it; we should learn it. Prothero continued, "But, you know, I think that we're now in a phase...where there's more emphasis on loving Jesus than on knowing what he has to say."


At 1:01 AM, Blogger Marshall said...

I was raised in Alabama and am now going back to plant a church there. So, hopefully I will add to the knowledge and also add to the love. Those two ought to go together with another: doing. Knowing, loving, doing - maybe some core values of a new church?


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