Monday, December 17, 2007

Do Americans Believe in the Virgin Birth? Daniel in the Lions Den? Samson?

There were a number of consistent response patterns revealed in the research. Those patterns included the following:

Born again Christians were far more likely than non-born again adults to accept each of the six narratives as fully accurate. On average the difference between the two groups was forty percentage points! In relation to four of the six stories tested, the born again group was twice as likely as their counterparts to view the story in question as literal truth.

Protestants were more likely than Catholics to accept each of the six stories as literally true. Catholics especially struggled to put their faith in the Old Testament stories. Examining a dozen Bible evaluated in this manner by The Barna Group in surveys in October and December, about half of all Catholics trusted the Old Testament stories evaluated, compared to about three-quarters believing the New Testament stories. Meanwhile, among Protestants, in relation to all six of the scriptural narratives, those who attend mainline churches were significantly less likely than those attending other Protestant congregations to say that they trusted the stories as told.

People who live in the South were more likely than residents of all other regions to embrace the truth of all six stories.

Downscale individuals were substantially more likely than upscale people to characterize each of the six stories as factually reliable.

Those who portrayed themselves as mostly conservative on political matters were substantially more likely than those who called themselves mostly liberal to consider each of the six stories to be literally true. The average difference between the two segments was 26 percentage points.

For full results of study click here.

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