The research also uncovered a significant disconnect in belief versus behavior. While 66% of those surveyed agreed that the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life, 58% say they do not personally want wisdom and advice from the Bible, and about the same amount (57%) read it fewer than five times per year.
The State of the Bible 2013 survey, conducted by Barna Group on behalf of American Bible Society, found that:
•56% of adults believe the Bible should have a greater role in U.S. society.
•But actual Bible reading and perceptions about the Bible have become increasingly polarized, with 6 million new Bible antagonists in the last year alone.
•More than half (57%) of those ages 18-28 report reading the Bible less than three times a year or never.
“Americans overwhelmingly recognize the decline of morality in our nation,” said Doug Birdsall, president of American Bible Society. “The good news is the Bible is the ultimate instruction guide on how to live a moral life. Unfortunately, more than half of Americans rarely, if ever, read it. The disconnect between belief and action when it comes to Bible reading is troubling, says Birdsall.
“If we had a cure for cancer, wouldn’t everyone with cancer take it? Americans are telling us that the cure for declining morality is sitting on our bookshelves,” says Birdsall. “But more than half of Americans are simply letting the cure gather dust.”