By Aaron Earls
Both nominal and practicing Christians see the Bible as sacred, but that’s where the agreement stops.
Those Christians who attend church services at least once a month, and say their faith is very important to them, hold the Bible in the highest regard for them and for society, according to the 2016 State of the Bible from American Bible Society. The same is not true for other self-identified Christians.
Ninety percent of non-practicing Christians say the Bible is sacred. That is only slightly below the 96 percent of practicing Protestant Christians who say the same. Only 36 percent of Americans of other faiths or no faith agree.
In virtually every other area, however, nominal Christians are closer to non-Christians in their attitude toward the Bible.
While 84 percent of practicing Protestant Christians strongly agree the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life, only 32 percent of non-practicing Christians and 11 percent of non-Christians say the same.
Practicing Protestants believe the Bible would help the political process become more cordial. More than 8 in 10 (86 percent) say regular Bible reading would make politics more civil. Less than half of nominal Christians (46 percent) and non-Christians (16 percent) say the same.
Nominal Christians (47 percent) and non-Christians (16 percent) are also less likely than practicing Protestants (86 percent) to believe regular Bible reading would make politicians more effective.
Almost 3 in 4 (72 percent) practicing Protestants believe the Bible has too little influence in our society. Forty percent of nominal Christians and 17 percent of non-Christians agree.
Nominal Christians were alone in one position. They were significantly more likely to believe the role the Bible plays in society today is just right (40 percent) than both practicing Protestants (24 percent) and non-Christians (20 percent).
AARON EARLS (Aaron.Earls@Lifeway.com) is online editor of Facts & Trends.