More people than ever before, even the majority of Christians, believe that the Bible is more stories and fables than the literal word of God, says a new Gallup poll. This is the first time that there has been that much of a split between what could be viewed as true Bible literalists as opposed to those who believe in interpreting the stories in the Bible and applying them to a contemporary world.
“Over the past three decades, Americans’ view of the Bible as the literal Word of God has been declining, while their view that the Bible is a collection of fables, myths and history recorded by man has been increasing,” Gallup observed about the poll, which was conducted of 1,011 American adults between May 3–7, with the margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
Among all sampled Americans, fewer than one in four, of 24 percent in total, said the Bible is “the actual Word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word.”
A slightly higher 26 percent said that the Bible is “a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.”
While another 47 percent said they believe the Bible is “inspired by God, not all to be taken literally,” Gallup said it was the first time in its four-decade observations that biblical literalism has not surpassed biblical skepticism.
Belief in the Bible as the literal Word of God was lowest among young adults aged 18- to 29-year-olds, with 12 percent supporting such a view, and highest among the 50- to 64-year-olds, at 31 percent.
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