Regular Bible reading contributes to political civility and meaningful living, according to a majority of U.S. adults in an American Bible Society/Barna Group survey.
Fifty-one percent of Americans said regular Bible reading would improve civility in politics and 53 percent felt this practice would help politicians to lead more effectively, while 66 percent said the Bible contains everything needed to live a meaningful life.
Affirmative responses increased with the age of survey participants.
For example, 31 percent of Millennials (born between 1984 and 2002) tied political civility to Bible reading, compared to 71 percent of Elders (1945 or before), while 34 percent of Millennials connected political effectiveness and Bible reading and 76 percent of Elders did so.
This trend held true in responses to every survey question.
While 71 percent of Millennials said the Bible was sacred literature, this was 20 percentage points less than Elders.
An even larger gap (38 percentage points) was found in these groups’ responses to whether the Bible is sufficient for meaningful living.
When asked about the Bible’s influence on society, only 35 percent of Millennials said it was “too little,” while 58 percent of Elders did so.
Similarly, 26 percent of Millennials said the Bible was too influential on society, compared to 8 percent of Elders.
“Americans with a positive opinion of the Bible and its teachings are in the majority – but the majority is not evenly distributed across the population,” the report noted.
“Generally, American adults under 50 tend to be more skeptical, or at least more ambivalent, about the Bible than older adults, and this is especially true of Millennials aged 18 to 31. … Given their skepticism about the Bible itself, it makes sense that younger Americans are also more ambivalent than older adults about the Bible’s role in society and politics.”
The full survey results are available here.