*reprinted from the BBC News website, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/wear/8146460.stm
Knowledge of Bible ‘in decline’
Knowledge of the Bible is declining among people in the UK, according to academics from Durham University.
The National Biblical Literacy Survey found that young people believe the Bible is old-fashioned and for people like EastEnders’ character Dot Cotton.
More than 900 people from faith and non-faith backgrounds were surveyed, with fewer than one in 20 able to name all of the Ten Commandments.
But the study showed many still turn to the Bible at times of emotional stress.
The researchers said their findings showed the Church and politicians could no longer make assumptions about people’s knowledge of the Bible, which in under 45s is in decline.
The study revealed that 62% of respondents did not know the parable of the Prodigal Son and 60% could not name anything about the story of the Good Samaritan.
One respondent said David and Goliath was the name of a ship, while another thought Daniel – who survived being thrown into the lions’ den – was the Lion King.
The study was funded by a consortium of national churches, charitable trusts and Bible agencies.
Younger interviewees told researchers that the Bible was “old-fashioned”, “irrelevant” and “for Dot Cottons” – in reference to the churchgoing character in the BBC One soap.
The Rev Brian Brown, a Methodist minister and visiting fellow in media and communication at St John’s College, Durham University, said: “The Church and political leaders should take serious note of the findings and recognize that we cannot make the assumptions we used to make about the Bible and its place in contemporary people’s lives and culture.”
But he added: “Many respondents said they still turn to the Bible for support and guidance at key moments.”
The declining rate of Bible literacy in the United Kingdom is at the heart of the transformation of a once thriving and vibrant society flush with national success and worldwide influence. The once great British Empire led the world in scientific discovery, economic vitality, military ability, and humanitarian compassion. Some might argue that these indicators were the reason for their success as a nation. However, the Bible advocate understands that these national accomplishments are the result of a greater societal understanding. Historically, where does the governmental philosophy reside which produces such national success?
As concerning the British Empire, historians have labeled the Victorian Era as “a long period of prosperity for the British people, as profits gained from the overseas British Empire, as well as from industrial improvements at home, allowed a large, educated middle class to develop.”( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_era) Queen Victoria, for whom this era is named, publically identified the source of their prosperity when she said, “that book [the Bible] accounts for the supremacy of England.” [italics mine] Haley’s Bible Handbook The Bible advocate understands that national success is derived from a knowledge and literacy of the Bible and gives birth to the outward signs of national prosperity.
Today England is a whited sepulcher of its former self. Churches are closing, being replaced with mosques. Biblical thought has been replaced with secular humanism. This transformation has caused this once superpower to be replaced by another nation whose roots are founded in Biblical thought: America. Will Americans today recognize that the not so secret reason for our success has been an appreciation for this God Book. Even by theological terms, the most liberal of our founding fathers Benjamin Franklin acknowledged,
“God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel”–Constitutional Convention of 1787 | original manuscript of this speech
America is destined to the current fate of England if our people lose a knowledge and basic understanding of the Bible. A return to the book is the only sure prescription to our current national woes, hence it is our duty to read it for ourselves, our families, and our nation.