Do You Believe The Bible is True?

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According to the polls, 63% of Americans believe the bible is literally true. But apparently, they are either lying or too stupid to know what is actually in the bible, as you will see in this video [5:56]

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Actually, I think most people don't understand the correct meaning of the word "literally". The way it's used in vernacular even when used by the so-called "chattering class", leaves one to wonder if they don't intend to mean "practically" or "essentially" or "for what it's worth" or "just like I means it to mean" or most likely they mean it is unarguably the truth cuz you really oughtn't to be arguin'cuz it makes the baby jeezus cry n stuff.
If you actually point out to these same people logical problems with literal interpretations they get it, most of 'em, but, they just latch onto another miraculous, though to them another fine example of proof, it doesn't change their mind, does it? Humans, we're not all that logical from time to time, and it's always a good time to at least attempt to be somewhat logical but making us do it is harder that imagined. Most of these same folks will listen to someone who they admire for whatever reason and that's sometimes a good way to at least open the door to reality and reason, if only a tiny bit.

Re: "Literally". The term is often used ironically. Thus your pedantic and annoying confusion.

"According to the polls, 63% of Americans believe the bible is literally true"

It bothers me when numbers and percentages are "quoted" with no source reference given, especially in sci blogs. Can you tell us where this 63% number is from, GS? Perhaps the source can clear up some evident issues in the comments by showing us what questions were asked, exactly.

It's a case of picking and chosing when it comes to these Christians.

I'm sorry, but that 63% number is flat wrong; 33% seems the correct value. See here, "Interpretation of Scripture" under "Beliefs and Practices"; see also the GSS, running BIBLE as a variable.

the video cites that number (63% of americans claim to believe the bible is literally true) and they do cite the source for that stat in the video (i'd check and tell you, but i am in the middle of something else at the moment).

my question is why do people always go after Christians with the whole " Do you believe the bible?"

They should be attacking jews, Jews believe the old testament. As christians we just believe Jesus, not the old testament. There is nothing in this video that jesus preached.

So.....go after jews not christians about it

While i respect the point that some of these types of quotes may be more pertinent for those of the Jewish faith, it remains true that the statistic is about Christians. While it may certainly be the case that 63% is an inflated number based on how questions were asked and how the study was done, that does not call for "attacking jews" about it instead. Especially if your question is addressing the problem going after people of a religious faith because of their beliefs, deflecting the same sort of "attacks" onto another group of people really doesn't solve any problems.

Not trying to make this a religion thing - but carful with how you word your ideas please, you wouldn't want somebody disregarding your points because it comes off as hate. I'm sure I just misunderstood you though.

would it surprise you to know that 100% of the world thinks americans are crazy and would waste time on an article like this

Does that mean that 37% think that nothing in the Bible is true, or that 37% think that not everything in the Bible is true, or that most things are not true.... so confused.

I can't even play videos on this computer and I can pick out some flaws.

As others have previously mentioned, the statistics are untrustworthy. It doesn't matter who provided them, statistics are easily manipulated.

To add to that, the term "The Bible" is ill-defined, there are many translations of The Bible, some of them giving completely different messages, so "X number of people believe The Bible is literally true" is an inconclusive statement.

However, addressing Bryan's comment: Jesus Christ (who's real name was Joshua) was Jewish, and it's worth noting that "The Bible" consists of the Old Testament, and the New Testament together. Before you make broad comments on what any entire group of people believe, at least participate in their gatherings (go to church) and it might help to be omnipotent so you can read the minds of every Christian in the world and make accurate statements on what they all believe. Generalizations like that just make you look stupid, and if you claim to be Christian they reflect badly on Christianity, thus supporting the point of the video.

Also, Christopher Wing: Pretty much the same as above, generalizations, stupid, don't do it. More than half of NASA's various facilities are in "The South" as commonly defined, off the top of my head. If this was worth my time I'd find some other examples.

Note that I am not responding to this nonsense out of religious affiliation of any kind, though I feel very strongly about the subject. I feel even more strongly about stupidity and ignorance. It's worth two minutes of typing to try to encourage at least one person to use their brain cells.

I would have expected a little more thought on a scientific article, and a little more understanding on a religious subject. Then again, I should know better.

Last poll I saw on evolution said only 49% of the US population rejected Darwinism. All the Biblical literalists I know are young-earth Creationists. So I don't think this makes sense, because it seems to say that 14% of Americans are Biblical literalists who believe in Darwin.

source of 63% figure. Isn't Google great?

This, from the survey, is curious:

Among Evangelical Christians, 89% believe the Bible is literally true and just 4% say it is not.

So 7% of Evangelicals aren't sure? Or don't want to say?

I just finished reading Nick Lane's book, "Life Ascending: The Ten Greatest Inventions of Evolution." I should be careful with making any solid statements, but he makes a couple of references to very reputable scientists who've worked with the human genome project or continue to do research in genetics who both strongly support evolution and their religion. As I recall they were a Catholic and an evangelical Christian. Dr. Jack Horner in his most recent book, "How to Build a Dinosaur," discusses one of his co-workers who had been a young earth creationist, but now maintains her faith, supports evolution and researched into paleontology. Further, I'd point out that George LeMaitre(sp?) who pulled together the various theories to come up with the big bang theory and was disparged by Einstien was a Jesuit priest. Einstien himself said, "God does not play dice with the universe," as well as "I want to know God's thoughts, the rest are details." Seemingly indicating a faith. The best point made in the video is at the end where it is pointed out that all of the things mentioned are in the Bible, but abortion is not. The irony of course is that Christ himself said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." As we are all sinners and even a thought of transgression is a sin(re: if you've committed adultery in your heart) it is somewhat ironic to ask about stoning people or judging others.

By Mike Olson (not verified) on 04 Aug 2009 #permalink

Mike - I think the two scientists you mention are Francis Collins (an evangelical), and Ken Miller (Catholic). Miller was an expert witness in the Dover trial where ID was handed its donkey.

For most people, being religious isn't the problem: it's literalism that goes to the unscientific.

Hm; post got eaten by the moderation queue. Perhaps for hyperlinks to sources? Ah, well.

Anyway, 33% is a better figure for Biblical Inerrancy; the General Social Survey (GSS) and the Pew Religious survey both get very close to this value.

Not that 1-in-3 isn't a scary fraction in its own right....

More than half of NASA's various facilities are in "The South" as commonly defined, off the top of my head.

Come on. Those are federal facilities, not the products of local ingenuity. The Houston facility is there because Lyndon Johnson wanted it there; Cape Canaveral, because of its geography, as I understand it.

Mike : no, Einstein's quotes don't indicate a faith, or not any kind of conventional one, at least. The word "God" is for him a metaphore for the inner workings of nature. And in another quote, Einstein said that the idea of a personal god totally liked credibility for him (I think he used the word "preposterous"). OK, it's his personal opinion, it doesn't have more weight because he's Einstein. But it's better to know what he really meant.

By Christophe Thill (not verified) on 04 Aug 2009 #permalink

@Amy (#4):

It's a case of picking and chosing when it comes to these Christians.

As opposed to whom? Picking and choosing is the only way you can believe any of the Bible. It's full of contradictions.

@Bryan (#7):

There is nothing in this video that jesus preached.

Wrong. In Matthew 15:4, Jesus quotes approvingly an Old Testament verse saying, "Whoever curses his father or mother must be put to death." He doesn't get upset about Jehovah commanding such cruelty, nor even clears his throat and mumbles something about the punishment being maybe a tad on the harsh side. Jesus just tells what he thinks about the idea that supporting religion with money is more important than supporting your elderly parents, and I get the distinct impression he doesn't support it. (He doesn't seem to be overly meticulous in applying such a mundane rule to himself and his disciples, though. Abandoning your parents to follow him is just fine and dandy. Anyway, that's beside the point.)

It is difficult to see how anyone who is unacquainted with the languages the bible is written in (Hebrew and Greek) and who has even the fainted inkling of how the bible was eventually 'put together' could have any 'faith' in its veracity.

By lewis e. haymes (not verified) on 05 Aug 2009 #permalink

mea culpa - for 'fainted' read 'faintest' - apologies

By lewis e. haymes (not verified) on 05 Aug 2009 #permalink