Thirty percent of Americans believe that the Bible is the actual word of God, according to a recent Gallup survey. While nearly 50 percent agree that Scripture is “inspired” by God, only three in ten say that it should be interpreted literally. Another 17 percent say the Bible is merely an ancient book of stories recorded by man. According to Gallup, the view that the Bible is divinely inspired, but should not be taken literally, has been the most common opinion over the 40 years that the pollster has been querying Americans on the issue. Gallup noted that the “high point” in the number of Americans believing in the literal interpretation of Scripture was 40 percent in 1980 and 1984, with the low coming in 2001, when only 27 percent said they thought the Bible was the actual, literal word of God.
With an increase in a respondent’s education, and with a decrease in one’s church attendance, a literal interpretation of the Bible goes down, found the Gallup pollsters. “A majority, 54%, of those who attend religious services on a weekly basis believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible,” noted Gallup, “more than twice the percentage of those who attend church less often.”
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