An American Bible Society study reveals that teenagers still see the Bible as a holy book. The level to which they see it, though, lies in several factors.
Conducted in May, the report polled teenagers from different regions, backgrounds, and varying degrees of faith practice. It’s no surprise those in the South who actively practice their faith revealed higher numbers of “strongly agree.” By comparison, teens in the Northeast answered more in the negative.
An overwhelming majority of teenagers see the Bible as sacred, but those numbers have dipped. In 2015, 89 percent termed the Bible as sacred literature. This year’s 86 percent figure is still high yet reflects a significant drop, statistically speaking.
Seen as a source for meaningful living
One’s level of participation in his or her faith determined perspective. When asked if they saw the Bible as a source of hope, 96 percent of practicing Protestants answered yes. That number dropped to 44 percent among non-practicing Christians. The divide between those groups lengthened regarding the Bible containing everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life – 85 to 27 percent.
Participants termed as “practicing” attended a religious service at least once a month and said their faith was important to them. However, socioeconomic status revealed interesting findings.
Teens from lower-income homes were more likely (41 percent) to see the Bible as a resource for a meaningful life. Those from middle class (36 percent) and higher-income homes (28 percent) didn’t as much. African-American teens and their non-white peers agreed at the highest rate (53 and 41 percent, respectively) with that assessment.
Overall, 40 percent of teenagers agreed the Bible has too little influence on American society while one-quarter said it had just the right amount. The number of teens saying the Bible had too much influence rose from 13 percent in 2015 to 17 percent this year.
Public and political persuasion
Demographics played a significant role in teens’ views of the Bible in politics. Active Protestants (94 percent) said it would be beneficial for political leaders to read the Bible regularly. But, 80 percent of non-practicing Christians felt such as practice wouldn’t help the political process.
In the 2015 study 62 percent of teens felt increased Bible reading among candidates would benefit politics. That number dropped to 53 percent in this year’s report.
Public reading of Scripture provided expected responses according to background. Altogether, 36 percent of teens said it made them happy to see sacred books are still important to people. Thirty-three percent stated it encouraged them, and 27 percent said it reminded them to read their own Bible.
Someone reading their Bible in public encouraged practicing Protestants (81 percent) most. Only 11 percent of those from another faith/no faith reciprocated that sentiment.