A Blog Around The Clock

Why have a book if you never read it?

i-710d005c8660d36282911838843a792d-ClockWeb logo2.JPGI know you know this, but it is worth repeating every now and then (May 18, 2005):

Some interesting statistics, via Jane:

Some statistics:

* About 92 percent of American own at least one copy of the Bible.
* The average household has 3 copies.
* About 67 percent of Americans say that the Bible holds the answers to the basic questions of life.
* The Bible is the world’s all-time best seller.
* At least 20 million copies are sold each year.
* Gideon International annually distributes more than 45 million copies.

Biblical knowledge (Biblical illiteracy is rampant):

* Perhaps 15 percent of Americans participate in Bible studies.
* The number of people who read the Bible, at least occasionally is 59 percent.
* Less than 50 percent of Americans can name the first book of the Bible (Genesis).
* Only 1/3 of Americans know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount (more people identified Billy Graham rather than Jesus).
* Twenty-five percent of Americans don’t know what is celebrated on Easter (the Resurrection of Christ, the foundational event of Christianity).
* Twelve percent of Christians think that Noah’s wife is Joan of Arc.
* Eighty percent of born-again Christians (including George W. Bush) think it is the Bible that says “God helps them that help themselves.” (Actually it was said by Benjamin Franklin.)

It is not just ignorance of science, but also ignorance of religion, that is widespread in America. Does this totals to ABSOLUTE ignorance? Where do people get their disinformation? Can we step in and provide some information instead? As argument from authority obviously works on many people, how can we replace the local fire’n’brimstone preacher, as well as Hannity, as the “authority” for many more people?


  1. #1 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 19, 2006

    Can we step in and provide some information instead?

    Not if they find out you’re an evil atheist, because then they’ll assume you are working for the devil.

    I wish I were joking.

  2. #2 coturnix
    December 19, 2006

    I do believe that man of those Christians are “soft”, i.e., culturally/socially religious because that’s the way they were broight up, everone around them is like that, and they have never heard anyone question it. They have never examined their own beliefs as the idea of such an excercise never occured to them before.

    If they heard the questioning every day, and if the mood of the land shifted so such questioning is respectable and religion seen as childish foolishness, they would readily lose their religion as they are quite rational in all other aspects of their lives.

  3. #3 jklein
    December 19, 2006

    Christianity and conservatism are all about adopting silly, false moral superiority to cover real moral atrocities. They don’t actually have to read it – it couldn’t matter less what it says.

  4. #4 Silent Ounce
    December 19, 2006

    78% of statistics are made up. I’d like to see some verification. And what is the source of Bush believing that? Citations anyone?

    “adopting silly, false moral superiority”
    Kind of like what you’re doing right now?

    I’m not Christian, hell, I’m not anything but a strong agnostic. But I do think critically.

  5. #5 jeffk
    December 19, 2006

    No, my moral superiority isn’t false.

    Want some false moral superiority? How about we crusade against abortions while not giving half a shit about actual, living, suffering children. Crusade agains socialism while not giving half a shit about actual living, suffering workers. Then let’s switch back to talking about living, suffering workers in the name of not protecting the living, suffering earth. Crusade against gays while not giving half a shit about actual living, suffering.. gays. Let’s talk about morality when our only true moral compass is measured in dollars. And the entire time, let’s do it under the banner of a god that doesn’t exist in the name of a book we havn’t read.

  6. #6 Mike Boyes
    December 20, 2006

    Congratulations jeffk on the most spectacular and successful, one shot, comprehensive dismissal I have ever read.

    In the standard internet parlance:


    and wholeheartedly seconded.

  7. #7 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 21, 2006

    78% of statistics are made up.

    Yes, but if you add a decimal point, 24.6% more people will believe your made-up statistics.

  8. #8 oxeador
    December 22, 2006

    If one reads the whole Bible from beginning to the end, thinking about it, then one is most likely to stop being a Christian (assuming one was a Christian in the first place).
    Hence, I expect from a country with some many Christians that most of them have not read it.

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