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Gallup poll on the Bible

SLD

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Gallup's latest poll on American's view of the Bible shows some heartening news. 21% of us no longer accept it as anything but a collection of myths and fables. That's up from 10% in the mid-80's. In the meantime, literal belief in the bible has decreased to an all time low of only 28%. The middle view has stayed steady.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/170834/three-four-bible-word-god.aspx

Here is the poll results:

View attachment 413

Note though the slight growth in religious belief after 2009. I would attribute this to the recession. Gains made against religious belief are very fragile. We still have a tendency to revert to religion in the face of troubled times.

SLD
 

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dockeen

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I worry about the 'bad times" effects as well, as there is a big comfort in someone who has "all the answers", even if those answers are rancid bovine fecal material.
 

SLD

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It looks like it happens after 9/11 as well. It seems that throughout the 90's us secularists were really gaining steam, but the movement has slowed after shocks, and then rebounds followed by another shock and is now rebounding. At least the overall trend is upwards.

SLD
 

marc

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What I'd like to see is a study on those who think the bible is the word of god, how many of those people have actually read it?
 

Sheshbazzar

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how many of those people have actually read it?
Among my church going Bible 'quotin n'toting BibleBelt kinfolk, its damn few. The book serving as little more than a 'Sunday dress' accessory.
Most never open their Bible's at home, a good many of them are actually functionally illiterate, and couldn't (and/or won't) read a page if their very lives depended upon it, being totally dependent upon their preachers to cherry-pick what parts they will hear _and what they won't.
Don't mean they won't try to sermonize and attempt to lay their guilt trip on you with what they can remember of that last cherry pickin' however.
 

abaddon

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The preacher will not only cherry-pick what bits for them to hear, but also speak on God's behalf and interpret what those literally true bits mean. While my fellow churchgoers probably had not read their Bibles, the preacher probably had. And yet, to convey "the literal truth of God's every word" he had people skipping from a passage in the NT to one in the OT and then back to another in the NT… And he INTERPRETED the literal word of God, making very strained connections between the disconnected bits. What he was saying wasn't what the words themselves said, not on the face of it. So however literally true it is, it seems ok to many literalist believers that it's deeper meanings are damn obscure and take a specialist to dig and find what God was thinking when he wrote "the book".
 

SLD

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I see a lot of people around here at places like starbucks reading their bible and studyingit intently. I am not sure thugh to what extent they've really read the bible though or just parts of it.

SLD
 
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Most people who say they believe the WHOLE bible have never read more than selected bits. Quote them some of the more obscure parts and you'll hear, "That's not in the bible."

Eldarion Lathria
 

dockeen

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Most people who say they believe the WHOLE bible have never read more than selected bits. Quote them some of the more obscure parts and you'll hear, "That's not in the bible."

Eldarion Lathria

Or the flip side, those that believe ditties like "god helps those that help themselves" are IN the bible.
 

marc

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Yea, that is what I would expect. Why actually read it, after all it is only the words of the creator of the universe, how important could that be?
 

Sheshbazzar

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SLD said:
I see a lot of people around here at places like starbucks reading their bible and studyingit intently. I am not sure thugh to what extent they've really read the bible though or just parts of it.

SLD
My observation and experience has been that those you see intently 'studying' their Bible focus almost exclusively upon NT texts.
And supplement that with Fundie apologetic reading materials that misrepresent and make hash out of those 'OT' verses they plagiarize, all the while carefully avoiding and/or ignoring the many non-Christian doctrine, contrary to christian teaching, aspects of the predictions made by the Hebrew prophets.
Observe their Bibles, if well worn and a bit dirty from usage, it will almost invariably be that section called the New Testament. I can't tell you how many times I have been told by ignorant christers, that they don't need to know what the 'Old' Testament says, unaware of what their preachers are unwilling to deal with _the FACT that the conduct and rituals of that future messianic kingdom as envisioned and as described by these 'inspired' Hebrew prophets does not at all align with the conclusions of most of their christian ideas or teachings.

Sheshbazzar the Hebrew
 

SLD

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SLD said:
I see a lot of people around here at places like starbucks reading their bible and studyingit intently. I am not sure thugh to what extent they've really read the bible though or just parts of it.

SLD
My observation and experience has been that those you see intently 'studying' their Bible focus almost exclusively upon NT texts.
And supplement that with Fundie apologetic reading materials that misrepresent and make hash out of those 'OT' verses they plagiarize, all the while carefully avoiding and/or ignoring the many non-Christian doctrine, contrary to christian teaching, aspects of the predictions made by the Hebrew prophets.
Observe their Bibles, if well worn and a bit dirty from usage, it will almost invariably be that section called the New Testament. I can't tell you how many times I have been told by ignorant christers, that they don't need to know what the 'Old' Testament says, unaware of what their preachers are unwilling to deal with _the FACT that the conduct and rituals of that future messianic kingdom as envisioned and as described by these 'inspired' Hebrew prophets does not at all align with the conclusions of most of their christian ideas or teachings.

Sheshbazzar the Hebrew
Blasphemer!! OK. I'm going to Starbucks on a Sunday morning and maybe I'll strike up a conversation with one of them.

SLD
 

Jokodo

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Gallup's latest poll on American's view of the Bible shows some heartening news. 21% of us no longer accept it as anything but a collection of myths and fables. That's up from 10% in the mid-80's. In the meantime, literal belief in the bible has decreased to an all time low of only 28%. The middle view has stayed steady.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/170834/three-four-bible-word-god.aspx

Here is the poll results:

View attachment 413

Note though the slight growth in religious belief after 2009. I would attribute this to the recession. Gains made against religious belief are very fragile. We still have a tendency to revert to religion in the face of troubled times.

SLD

I would not spend to much time trying to explain the apparent growth of reigious belief after 2009 because:

Gallup said:
the margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points
 

Observer

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I think a lot of people treat the matter the way we treat going to the doctor or the mechanic. I never bothered to learn much about what my dentist does or read any of the published studies that show how exercise is good for me, etc. I just let the experts and specialists do their work and I generally follow their recommendation, especially when there is no controversy or debate among the experts on the matter.

I think many religious people assume their preacher is the expert, has read the Bible, and has convincing explanations regarding its troubling parts. They don't feel the desire to engage in the debate themselves, especially that most of the "experts" in the field agree on the general ideas anyway (the Bible is a holy book, there is a god, whose son is Jesus,etc).

We're not all experts on all matters. We specialize.

It seems we, people who bothered to educate themselves in this field, whether we became atheists or remained religious, are the odd ones.
 

Kharakov

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Observe their Bibles, if well worn and a bit dirty from usage, it will almost invariably be that section called the New Testament. I can't tell you how many times I have been told by ignorant christers, that they don't need to know what the 'Old' Testament says, unaware of what their preachers are unwilling to deal with _the FACT that the conduct and rituals of that future messianic kingdom as envisioned and as described by these 'inspired' Hebrew prophets does not at all align with the conclusions of most of their christian ideas or teachings.
Well, really, the OT was about coercion, and the NT about manipulation, or "fishing for men", as it's called. Since the ultimate foundation of reality is consciousness, one cannot build a kingdom on top of the oppressed without a certain amount of complacency, anger and action defused by overt manipulation, false histories, etc.

And really, you still don't see what side of the battle you are on- still fighting, although you've already lost. You will die. And those who are rich will live forever, hidden behind the veil of mortality, living off the work of men, enhanced beyond your dreams, and you will have none of it.

The bible was simply a tool used in the past, now, with the police state emerging, various individuals driven to madness to create excuses for more police power, until finally, every last freedom of yours is stripped away. Old and beaten, you will be but an empty voice on the internet, railing against those who spoke of a God that does not exist. You, with your great insight, will see what you never had the opportunity to have, the riches, the life, the glory, and eternity, but you were never loved, never invited to the party, never willing to stab the lower man in the back in order to side with those with the riches.

You sided with the poor and downtrodden, and in doing so, sacrificed a future of eternal joy to a.. hell, who the hell am I kidding? You never had a chance. :p
 

funinspace

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I think a lot of people treat the matter the way we treat going to the doctor or the mechanic. I never bothered to learn much about what my dentist does or read any of the published studies that show how exercise is good for me, etc. I just let the experts and specialists do their work and I generally follow their recommendation, especially when there is no controversy or debate among the experts on the matter.

I think many religious people assume their preacher is the expert, has read the Bible, and has convincing explanations regarding its troubling parts. They don't feel the desire to engage in the debate themselves, especially that most of the "experts" in the field agree on the general ideas anyway (the Bible is a holy book, there is a god, whose son is Jesus,etc).

We're not all experts on all matters. We specialize.

It seems we, people who bothered to educate themselves in this field, whether we became atheists or remained religious, are the odd ones.
While I agree up to a point...at the same time if you sat down and listened to a mechanic speak say for 40 hours a year for decades about Mustangs; did say 25 hours a year studying the same exact automotive repair manual for decades, one would think that most people would learn quite a bit how their Mustang works...
 

arkirk

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For a book that purports to be the Truth, sprung from ancient and fearful people, the Bible has had a dishearteningly long run. It has insinuated itself into the history of the human race and may well aid in its extinction. Its values, I believe have had a devastating effect on the advance of Science and of civil organization. For an ancient book with so many assertions that have proven false, there seems to be a kind of addiction that much of the race has that tends to run through our species that keeps it alive. Gore Vidal asserted that the real problem is monotheism. There are strong reasons to accept this theory as other monotheistic religions are equally ensconced in the non Christian portions of the world.

One thing you do find in various monotheistic religious texts is the constant assertion of the importance of the WORD of God. Some of us think that our language should be a vehicle for communication of theories and histories and that words alone can never represent reality in its totality. All of these texts (monotheistic religious texts) are so language centered, they do not admit to contrary experiences. For example, in Revelations, the WORD is represented as a sword issuing from the mouth of the Son of Man (a resurrected Jesus of the end times).

I can only hope these WORD WORSHIPPERS fail in their efforts to reify the WORD. It looks to me like they are hanging on with an addiction that makes Meth look like child's play. The Bible and other monotheistic texts seem designed to play to human weakness and need for reassurance they have powerful friends in their battle against reality. They only retreat from fundamentalism with the greatest reluctance and cling to every little bit of comfort left in their WORD.

I suspect that our other extremely flawed social institutions of governance therefore have the same problem. The laws governments pass are treated in much the same way as religious texts. It is a strange parallel.
 

doubtingt

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Yea, that is what I would expect. Why actually read it, after all it is only the words of the creator of the universe, how important could that be?

The lack of actual attention to what the Bible literally says by those claiming Biblical literalism reveals that taking the Bible literally is largely a post-hoc rationalization for trying to justify views that are compatible with the Bible but have their real roots elsewhere.
This relates to a point I think gets overlooked by non-believers and those concerned with anti-science, anti-evolution and also bigoted sexist and homophobic attitudes. Often you hear arguments that presume that Biblical literalism is the root problem and that these things are the effects of literalism. But in reality "literalism" is largely a symptom of the problem. People don't reject evolution because they take the Bible literally. They take the Bible literally because it helps support their rejection of evolution, which they don't like because it undermines human specialness and most popular conceptions of God within monotheism. The same goes for other types of anti-science and for sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. The relation with literalism isn't because literalism is the cause of these things, but because the Bible is in fact inherently anti-science, authoritarian and bigoted. Thus, those drawn to these views for other psychological and political reasons use the Bible and take it literally to justify these views.
On the surface this might seem to suggest that theism and the Bible themselves don't increase these negative things. But that not the case. Those wanting to ignore reason and/or promote bigotry are the most likely to hold up God the Bible as an authorities precisely because they inherently promote and support these things. They are ideas invented to serve such purposes. Thus, while not a root cause, monotheism and the Bible are strong enablers and amplifiers of unreason and intolerance. Literalism, often just means take what the Bible says and was meant to say seriously. "Moderate" theists that treat it as "metaphorical truth" are not being more reasonable, just more intellectually dishonest. They want to ignore the ideas and values that the Bible was clearly designed to convey and pretend it says what they prefer, while still pretending that the Bible is the source of those "truths" and not their own subjective views they are imposing on the Bible. Literalists are ignorant of much of the Bible, not so much because those parts contradict their authoritarian, human-centric, and intolerant worldview, but because those ignored parts aren't directly relevant to those goals. There are some exceptions but on the whole authoritarian, anti-science values have much less to fear from what is in the Bible than do pro-liberty, tolerant, pro-reason values.
 

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Given conscious cherry picking of chapter and verse for the purpose of deception, I wonder how some Preachers manage to live with themselves.
 

Kharakov

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Given conscious cherry picking of chapter and verse for the purpose of deception, I wonder how some Preachers manage to live with themselves.
What makes you believe that they are consciously doing so? Their consciousness could be on the deceived side of the line, while they act instinctively to preserve the pleasant deception that provides them with food, shelter, wealth, happiness, and comfort.

OR rather, autonomic instinctual processes create a comfy heaven for their conscious state by preventing them from knowing certain facts about reality.
 

Underseer

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Gallup's latest poll on American's view of the Bible shows some heartening news. 21% of us no longer accept it as anything but a collection of myths and fables. That's up from 10% in the mid-80's. In the meantime, literal belief in the bible has decreased to an all time low of only 28%. The middle view has stayed steady.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/170834/three-four-bible-word-god.aspx

Here is the poll results:

View attachment 413

Note though the slight growth in religious belief after 2009. I would attribute this to the recession. Gains made against religious belief are very fragile. We still have a tendency to revert to religion in the face of troubled times.

SLD

Judging from the graph, it looks like the increase in our numbers is coming almost entirely from biblical literalists, which corroborates what I've seen in the deconversion testimonials on this forum.
 

DBT

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Given conscious cherry picking of chapter and verse for the purpose of deception, I wonder how some Preachers manage to live with themselves.
What makes you believe that they are consciously doing so? Their consciousness could be on the deceived side of the line, while they act instinctively to preserve the pleasant deception that provides them with food, shelter, wealth, happiness, and comfort. OR rather, autonomic instinctual processes create a comfy heaven for their conscious state by preventing them from knowing certain facts about reality.

Quite possibly. And that is probably the most common condition, and why I specified ''some Preachers.'' Some Preachers being those who become conscious of the discrepancies and the contradictions, the absurdities and the deceptions yet keep on their chosen mission to convert the unbeliever and tend to the spiritual needs of their flock.
 

Kharakov

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Given conscious cherry picking of chapter and verse for the purpose of deception, I wonder how some Preachers manage to live with themselves.
What makes you believe that they are consciously doing so? Their consciousness could be on the deceived side of the line, while they act instinctively to preserve the pleasant deception that provides them with food, shelter, wealth, happiness, and comfort. OR rather, autonomic instinctual processes create a comfy heaven for their conscious state by preventing them from knowing certain facts about reality.

Quite possibly. And that is probably the most common condition, and why I specified ''some Preachers.'' Some Preachers being those who become conscious of the discrepancies and the contradictions, the absurdities and the deceptions yet keep on their chosen mission to convert the unbeliever and tend to the spiritual needs of their flock.
Maybe they believe they are comforting their flock?
 

DBT

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Given conscious cherry picking of chapter and verse for the purpose of deception, I wonder how some Preachers manage to live with themselves.
What makes you believe that they are consciously doing so? Their consciousness could be on the deceived side of the line, while they act instinctively to preserve the pleasant deception that provides them with food, shelter, wealth, happiness, and comfort. OR rather, autonomic instinctual processes create a comfy heaven for their conscious state by preventing them from knowing certain facts about reality.

Quite possibly. And that is probably the most common condition, and why I specified ''some Preachers.'' Some Preachers being those who become conscious of the discrepancies and the contradictions, the absurdities and the deceptions yet keep on their chosen mission to convert the unbeliever and tend to the spiritual needs of their flock.
Maybe they believe they are comforting their flock?

Maybe some preachers do believe that. If so, this still entails the conscious use of lies and deception by the preacher who has lost faith.
 

Kharakov

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It's almost like they preserve the faith in others because they care about what others feel, and know that there are innocent minds within their flock, minds that have somehow made it to adulthood without losing their faith, minds that do not deserve to have this light of faith ripped from their hearts by the cold, harsh hands of reality (joking- reality doesn't have hands, it has claws, and they are dripping with molten spacetime, ripped from the chaos aether).
 

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In my experience growing up in the Baptist church, people were encouraged to read the Bible for themselves. Our church thought it was really important for all Christians to know their holy book and to be able to explain what they believe and why. There was a big emphasis on scripture reading - you just had to do it using a particular set of 'axioms' (for lack of a better word).
- The preacher is an expert
- The Bible is completely true and good
- If science or history contradicts the Bible, the historical/scientific scholarship is wrong
- If the Bible appears to contradict itself, the reader is necessarily wrong about at least one passage in question

Also, at that point in time, while the church's position was that the Bible was the true, perfect word of God, they did not insist on taking every word of it literally. (I never got a good answer about how to know what's literal and what's not...but that's the topic of another conversation!) From what I understand, the Southern Baptist Convention has moved much more toward a literalist position over the past couple of decades.

Here's another interesting observation: While certainly not everyone who reads the whole thing de-converts, most of the ex-fundamentalists I know personally (de-converted entirely or moved to a non-fundamentalist church) are folks who put a lot of time and energy into studying it.
 

credoconsolans

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Gallup's latest poll on American's view of the Bible shows some heartening news. 21% of us no longer accept it as anything but a collection of myths and fables. That's up from 10% in the mid-80's. In the meantime, literal belief in the bible has decreased to an all time low of only 28%. The middle view has stayed steady.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/170834/three-four-bible-word-god.aspx

Here is the poll results:

View attachment 413

Note though the slight growth in religious belief after 2009. I would attribute this to the recession. Gains made against religious belief are very fragile. We still have a tendency to revert to religion in the face of troubled times.

SLD

We always will. When people feel helpless and powerless, people will turn to religion.
 

dockeen

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There is a newish, yet oldish way of looking at the bible. It says that, no matter how hard or prayerfully one studies the bible, there will be parts that one will not understand until one gets to heaven and talks to the father, and gets the Aha! moment. These are tests of faith, sand traps on the way to the heavenly 18th hole.
 

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In that case, god needs to have a walking, talking snake on the premises. I want to see how the damn thing walks, and then and I want to talk to it, and come to think of it, I want to see that talking jackass from Numbers, too. If I can see that, it'll be a different story. 'Excuse me, god, I had it all wrong.' And if god is really a forgiving fellow, he'll pat me on the head and make all the people who just believed this crap on the face of it wear dunce caps. It could happen.
 
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