Is Doubt About the Bible Growing?

According to a recent poll, only 16% of young adults in the U. S. consider the Bible to be the authoritative word of God.  That number has been steadily declining.

Large chunks of the evangelical community are now reassessing the Bible and coming to see it as something less than the ultimate authority in their faith.  I never hear of liberal groups working backwards into the Bible as the word of God.

What will become of the faith if the Bible comes to be viewed mostly as ancient literature instead of the authoritative voice of the faith?  At this time we don’t know.

Even now, few people read the Bible outside of worship.  For whatever reason, there is not the interest their once was.

In my opinion, society has outlasted the Bible.  The larger society is now less able and less interested in the fanciful stories and judgemental  text.

We know, of course, doubt began from day one in Christianity.  Jesus preached the end would come momentarily.  When it didn’t happy, the faith began to drop this prediction from it message.  Some Jews did not believe Jesus was the one.  Believers have never come up with enough evidence to seal the deal.

Treating the Bible as an authoritative tome is helpful for lots of people and, certainly, that will continue.  The question is about its influence in the country’s politics and culture.

My guess is belief lite will become more popular as time goes on.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/bible-629290-bell-biblical.html

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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21 Responses to Is Doubt About the Bible Growing?

  1. entech says:

    There is not much room for doubt to grow, 99% for non believers and 100% for believers.
    Believers really need to pull something out of the bag, something convincing, convincing to all who are not so bound to their faith that even to question it would probably be considered blasphemy.

  2. Avatar of Mac Mac says:

    Well, it depends on what one is using the Bible for.

    If you’re using it to achieve an understanding of something beyond yourself; a guide to treating your brothers and sisters of humanity with respect and dignity; several strongly worded suggestions to mind your own business; and other suggestions regarding respecting the planet we live on; I don’t think it’s going to lose it’s credibility for quite some time.

    However, if you’re one who is using it to control others with fear and shame; to give youself a sense of superiority; or to help you sleep better at night knowing you’re going to Heaven and the whore across the street is not; there may be some problems looming.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Mac 2:36 Good summary of different approaches to the faith.

      • Avatar of Mac Mac says:

        It’s been my observation that those who most quote scripture tend to be the ones who are trying the change someone else’s behavior rather than perhaps elevate their own human and spiritual experience.

        But,what do I know? I say my prayers every night lying in bed next to a man, for godssakes. And I use phrases like ‘human and spiritual experience.’ :)

  3. Matt Noah says:

    Which Bible?

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Matt 4:13 Which Bible?

      The one that’s the word of God.

      • Matt Noah says:

        For those who like Wikipedia, the answer to the question “Which Bible?” is referenced here –> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible

        As a Catholic, the simple answer is one. The more complicated answer is closer to 16 as shown, again Wikipedia, here –> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Bible

        My non-Catholic christian friends don’t recognize the Deuterocanonical books. That leads to differences in theology and dogma.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Re. Deuterocanonical; Martin Luther- 1483-1546. Deuterocanonical codified at Trent, 1545-1563. (note timeline). Jerome too had strong reservations of Deuterocanonical. It is accurate to say the non-Hebrew Greek influenced LXX intertestamental books were both accepted and/ or held as “lesser and questionable authority ” by various Doctors of the Church from early on, leading up to Trent, which made it dogmatically official.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          It is also accurate to say parts of the Deuterocanonical are use to justify RCC specific doctrines. Which in turn makes them questionable.

  4. Wanna B Sure says:

    Anyone read the comments on the attached link ?

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      including the additional comments.

    • entech says:

      Don’t have the bandwidth available at the moment. I usually spend more time following the comments than the articles. Always interested in others views and opinions.
      You can get a lot from the comments.

  5. Matt Noah says:

    The 1960 film, Inherit the Wind, starring Spencer Tracy, was a profound observation of the bible and the differences between the catholic and non-catholic christian faiths. It was not, I think, purposely made that way.

    Nonetheless, the movie, a fictionalized account of the Tennessee ‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ from the 1920s, exposed a single man’s reliance on the Bible as the “Word of God”.

    In brief summary, the problem with Protestant faiths is that they rely on their personal interpretation of the Bible whereas the Catholic faith relies on the Magisterium of the Church. Catholics believe the Bible is the unerring Word of God but we leave it to the Church to interpret and teach. We believe that the disciple Peter was the first Vicar of Christ on earth and his successors, the Popes, carry that duty and responsibility on until God deems fit to end it or change it.

    Sure, there are Protestant faiths that seem to be unchanging but we’ve seen every one change to a greater or lesser degree over time. The Catholic Church is unchanging in terms of its infallible teachings. Practices and customs change.

    For example, the Catholic Church continues to teach that artificial contraception is wrong. Until 1930, all christian denominations concurred. Now, the Catholic church stands alone. This is an infallible teaching. An example of a customs change is that of all Masses being in latin. That has changed as it was a custom or practice.

    Is doubt about the Bible growing? What’s important is whether souls are being saved.

  6. Freedom says:

    “Only 16% of young adults in the U. S. consider the Bible to be the authoritative word of God.” This can be explained by the 10-80-10 rule. 10% of the population will never believe in a God, 10% will always believe in a God, and the other 80% will believe whatever they are told. Considering that most people are educated in secular schools, that teach evolution not creation, it should be no surprise that the numbers of believers is going down. If you put the students in religious schools, or put the Bible back into the public schools, these percentages would change. After all, an hour a week of religious training is no match for 30-35 hours a week of Darwinism.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Freedom 12:45 I suppose the teaching of evolution has some affect of religious thinking. But, hasn’t evolution been taught for many decades, most of which were decades when numbers were growing in all branches of Christianity? It seems like something else has changed. That is the introduction of critical thinking and the computer. The skeptical notion that, “If it seems to good to be true, it probably is,” is now applied to the promise of a life after death.

    • entech says:

      7 hours a day for five days ???
      Dose not leave time for anything else, no maths, language studies, history, geography it is not surprising that creationists are hard to talk to.
      What was it Henry said, if it doesn’t pass through the sieve of scripture it is wrong !!!
      There is a large number of highly regarded scientists that accept and teach evolutionary theory and still maintain their Christian faith; Catholic an Anglican priests amongst them.

      • Henry says:

        Out of context. You have been corrected before on this. Your learning curve is……rather flat world-like.

        • entech says:

          As usual, whatever you say henry.
          To misquote Qui ipsos custode et custodes – who will correct the correcter ???

  7. Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

    The only thing I’d quibble with is the idea that society is less interested in fanciful stories. They’re just consumed in different mediums but the good ones share all the same lessons that any number of religious traditions have from the beginning.

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