The Bible-minded Capital district

The concept of the Bible’s “accuracy” is a rather muddled notion to me.

Jesus.poorThere have been a couple of polls recently that suggest that the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY area is more godless or less godly, than most parts of the country if you read the headlines:

These Are The Most Godless Cities In America. The subtitle reads: “A new survey ranks U.S. cities in terms of ‘bible-mindedness'”By ‘bible-mindedness’, the study means “a combination of how often respondents read the Bible and how accurate they think the Bible is.” As bible-minded, we’re #99, or second from the bottom.

The TIME poll seems too simplistic. I’ve read the Bible over time, though not as often recently as some think I ought to. But the concept of the Bible’s “accuracy” is a rather muddled notion to me. If it’s that it’s “true”, that there are fundamental truths to be found therein, I tend to believe that. If the question is whether it is literally, six days from ignition to humans, historically accurate, then I’d suggest that it was never meant to be regarded that way.

I submit that that the press seems to see religion as an either/or. EITHER one believes that every single word of the Bible was handed down by God as history and theology (a tricky thing, that) OR one is an atheist, who would hate God if he or she believed god existed. And press coverage of the so-called evangelical movement, especially by ABC News, seemed to solidify this simplistic duality.

I submit that there’s a great middle who find inspiration in some parts of the Bible, who believe that other sections were meant for a different, earlier audience and that that’s OK.

Seen another way, in a different poll by Barna, the Capital District is #1 in Post-Christian Metrics.

The Barna scale was more interesting:

1. do not believe in God
2. identify as atheist or agnostic
3. disagree that faith is important in their lives
4. have not prayed to God (in the last year)
5. have never made a commitment to Jesus
6. disagree the Bible is accurate
7. have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
8. have not attended a Christian church (in the last year)
9. agree that Jesus committed sins
10. do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”
11. have not read the Bible (in the last week)
12. have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
13. have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
14. have not attended a religious small group (in the last week)
15. do not participate in a house church (in the last year)

#6 is as problematic for me as it was in the TIME poll. #10 I feel that the way I live my life is sharing my faith, so wouldn’t know how to answer that one. I don’t attend Sunday school because it clashes with the church choir.

Bottom line: I reject the notion that if one does not take the Bible literally, one is godless, whatever THAT means. But, at some fundamental level, I appreciate the glee our high (or low) ranking has generated; I DO get it.