Last week we took a look at society’s attitude in general about God and Jesus. What a confused society! We, as a nation, have gone from placing Christian principles as foundation building blocks to being all over the spectrum of who God is and His impact on the world. This lack of conviction has almost lead to a modern day “Tower of Babel” with societal and government policies all over the landscape. Unfortunately it would appear that the secular world may be winning. This is the challenge that today’s church has and it is a never ending battle. Today we will take a look at society’s beliefs about the Bible and begin to understand why the world today seems so “rudderless” in determining which direction to go in solving problems. It would almost seem as though there are some in the world who do not want to see problems resolved…I wonder whose ‘bible’ they are following?
So much of the American belief system comes down to what people make of the Bible. Almost nine out of ten (85%) own at least one Bible [Barana Group, “OmniPoll 1-14 OL-PH”]. However, despite its wide ownership, household ownership has dropped from 92% in 1993 [Barna Group, “OmniPoll 1-14 PH”, among 1,012 adults in January 2014]. A huge majority believes that it can be considered “sacred” or “holy” literature though even that thinking is in slow demise. O! ne-fifth (23%) contend that it is the actual Word of God, has no errors, and can be taken literally. Slightly more (30%) describe it as the inspired Word of God without errors but including passages that are symbolic rather than literal. Another 15% say it is the inspired Word of God but does contain some factual and historical errors however still may be trusted. The remaining one-third of the population view the Bible either as a book by writers who conveyed their own understanding of God’s ways and principles, those who contend the Bible is simply a book of popular stories that offer man-derived advice, and adults who have not yet figured out what they believe about the Bible [Barna Group and American Bible Society, “The State of the Bible:2014”].
On a typical day about one out of five Americans will actually read the Bible of their own volition. About one-seventh (15%) read the Bible every day. The rest come from those who read it several times a week (13%) or once a week (9%) or those who read the Bible anywhere from once or twice a month to once a year (27%). Nine percent read it less than once a year while one-quarter of adults never read the Bible.
Those who spend time reading the Bible devote about a half-hour per sitting. Time-use studies show that Americans spend more time doing a dozen other things than absorbing God’s words to us. Those ‘things’ include watching television, talking to friends and family, listening to music and the radio, surfing the Internet, dealing with texts and e-mails, managing household chores, attending to personal hygiene, eating, sports and hobbies, etc. Apparently because we do not really believe it will produce sufficient return on our investment of time and energy, we turn our efforts away from the Bible. Only a minority believe! s the Bible contains everything we need to know to live a meaningful life, and even that minority is declining in size [Barna Group and American Bible Society, “The State of the Bible, 2013”, www.americanbible.org/uploads/content (accessed 2 August 2014)]. Few adults are interested in gleaning wisdom from the Bible on all kinds of perplexing issues. Only 22% of Americans are interested in receiving input on parenting, 24% on family conflict, and 28% on dealing with illness or death. In some cases, such as grasping what the Bible has to say about politics, most people don’t even want to know (54%) [Barna Group, “OmniPoll 1-13 OL”, national survey of 1,078 adults conducted in January 2013].
Our lack of commitment to the Bible also has to do with the fact that only one in three adults is convinced that the Bible is completely accurate and reliable in the principles that it teaches [Barna Group, “OmniPoll 1-14 OL-PH”]. This only brings emphasis to the Church’s obligation to integrate today’s life challenges with the guidance we receive from God’s Word. The Bible has to be more than just nice sounding words and bible stories. It has to be made a ‘living document’..not one that we modify to suit our lifestyles but a document that we mold our lives to… and it is the Church’s calling to make this happen. It is a challenge that we as Christians must accept.
Next week we will address the myth of ‘separation of church and state’. With election time looming we need to understand that if the Church does not take a political stand…and that is what satan fears…we will give away the Christian principles our founders fought so hard to gain.
– Bob Munsey