Religion News: 85 percent of U.S. households own a Bible

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

On the heels of Gallup’s assessment of the religiosity by state, American Bible Society revealed findings from its State of the Bible survey, which details Americans’ beliefs about the Bible, its role in society, its presence in U.S. homes and more.

The annual State of the Bible 2012 survey, conducted by Barna Group on behalf of American Bible Society, found:

• 47 percent of American adults believe the Bible has too little influence in society today; only 16 percent believe it has too much influence, with the remaining adults expressing neutral opinions.

• 55 percent read the Bible to be closer to God, down 9 percent (from 64 percent) in 2011.

• 79 percent believe they are knowledgeable about the Bible, but 54 percent were unable to correctly identify the first five books of the Bible.

• 46 percent believe the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon are different expressions of the same spiritual truths; 46 percent disagree.

• On average, 85 percent of U.S. households own a Bible; the average number of Bibles per household is 4.3.

• 36 percent of Americans read the Bible less than once a year or never while 33 percent read the Bible once a week or more.

• Generational patterns emerged where younger adults are less likely to perceive the Bible as relevant and useful when compared with older adults.

• Sixty-two percent of adults age 66 and older believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to know about living a meaningful life, dropping to 54 percent among boomers (age 47 to 65), 44 percent among those age 28 to 46, and dropping even further to 34 percent for those age 18 to 27.

Full findings available at


Week in Religion

- April 19, 1887, the Catholic University of America was chartered in Washington, D.C.

- April 20, 1943, in Poland, Germans Nazi troops massacred the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

- April 21, 1649, The Toleration Act was passed by the Maryland Assembly. It protected Roman Catholics within the American colony against Protestant harassment.

-- William D. Blake, Almanac of the Christian Church

Survey Says

Slightly more than half of the public (54 percent) says that churches should keep out of politics, compared with 40 percent who say religious institutions should express their views on social and political matters.

-- Pew Research on Religion & Public Life

Good Book?

"Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball" by R.A. Dickey and Wayne Coffey

Sustained by his profound Christian faith, the love of his wife and children, and a relentless quest for self-awareness and authenticity, the immensely likable Dickey details his transformation from a reckless, risk-taking loner to a grounded, life- affirming big leaguer. He emerged as one of the premier pitchers in the National League in 2010 –– and the knuckle-balling embodiment of the wonders that perseverance and human wisdom can produce. Dickey views his story as one of redemption.

-- Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Quote of the week

"It is so difficult to make real what one believes, and to make these trials, as they are intended, real blessings." -- John Henry Newman, English churchman

The Word

neo-Buddhism: A movement founded by B.R. Ambedkar in India in the mid-1950s to encourage members of the Hindu caste of untouchables to convert to Buddhism, which would assure them of social acceptance as well as spiritual guidance. Mass conversions are still held today.


Religion Around the World

Religious makeup of Russia (2006 est.)

Russian Orthodox: 15-20 percent

Muslim: 10-15 percent

Other Christian: 2 percent

- CIA Factbook

GateHouse News Service