An Unused Religious Icon?
Are we Christians becoming less able to defend the truths of Scripture, like creation? Dozens of studies show that not only are we, as a group, less ready to defend the hope that we have in Christ, but also we are less able to explain why we have that hope.
George Barna, president of the Barna Research group, has analyzed data from 28 religion surveys that he conducted between 1987 and 1996. In 1992, nearly 50 percent of those polled said that they had read the Bible during the previous week. By 1996, that figure had dropped to 34 percent. Yet, in another 1996 poll, 80 percent of those polled said the Bible is the most influential book in human history, and 76 percent said that the Bible is important to them.
Barna concludes from this kind of information that for many Americans, the Bible has turned into an unused religious icon. The result is a general biblical ignorance. Barna documents this fact with examples from other surveys. For example, 80 percent of those asked thought, incorrectly, that the statement, "God helps those who help themselves" was in the Bible. In another instance, only 50 percent of those polled knew that Jonah was a book of the Bible while 10 percent thought that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.
If we are to defend the great truths of the Bible – like creation and the flood – and show their relevancy to Christ's saving work, we must each look at ourselves. Shouldn't we all study the Bible more than we do?