Friday, April 11, 2014

The rise of "Bible skeptics"
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"The American Bible Society’s latest State of the Bible survey documents steep skepticism that the Good Book is a God book," writes Cathy Lynn Grossman of Religion News Service. She quotes Roy Peterson, president of the society, who cites "incredible change in just a few years' time.
Among the findings:

The most “engaged” readers — who read the Bible almost daily and see it as sacred — are now matched by “skeptics” who say it’s just a book of stories and advice. Both groups measured 19 percent.
While the engaged stayed steady since 2011, skeptics grew by 10 percentage points — since the same survey was conducted in 2011.
What do you think accounts for these findings? I am tempted to say that the Bible is such a rich and complex document, and that approaches to reading it are frequently so simplistic ("It is literally true." "It is totally false.") that there are bound to be extreme reactions when people actually begin to study the text and try to make sense of it.
The article also includes some speculation by Peterson about "adjusting our outreach" to reach Millennials. I am considering opening a consulting practice for religious leaders trying to reach millennials that will give one, and only one, piece of advice: Don't speak until you've spoke to them. I should probably get the fees up front, huh

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