Caution: Reading the Bible might make you more… Liberal??

Dare read the Text?

I COULD HAVE TOLD YOU THAT

As I read this article on Christianity Today, I couldn’t help but keep thinking: “this is no surprise to me at all… and yet, I imagine, it’s a BIG surprise to a great many people!”

As the article indicates, a survey done at Baylor University tried to track people’s frequency of Bible reading with how they agreed or disagreed with certain political and moral issues.

It turns out, the more people said they read the Bible per week:

- the less likely they would be in support of things like the Patriot Act
– the less likely they would be in favor of harsher criminal justice
– the more people see science not as an enemy but as an ally

None of this surprised me at all. For years I have been arguing against the charge that me and my beliefs are “unbiblical,” and that always confounded me. Were people making these accusations actually READING the Bible? The article suggests that the MOST conservative Christians in this study, who did NOT read their Bible very often, marked the MOST conservative answers politically and ethically. Again, not surprised.

Also, check out what the article and study suggest about richer people who don’t read their Bibles very much. I won’t put it here, you’ll have to read it yourself.

Lastly, this was perhaps my favorite line from the article:

The discussion becomes even more interesting when we consider who is most likely to read the Bible frequently. It’s evangelicals and biblical literalists, those who tend to be more conservative on these topics. In other words, those who read the Bible most often are more conservative, but the more they read the Bible, the more likely it is that their views will change, at least on these topics.

And this gives me hope. Hope that the more we can teach the Bible and encourage people to be students of the Word, the less they will cling to old conservative beliefs that are not grounded in Scripture but grounded in a certain economic-political structures handed to them by others.