The Spring 2010 issue of Word in Action, the Bible Society’s magazine, contains an article by Jennie Pollock entitled ‘Positive Vibes for Bible’. This sets out the headline findings of a recent opinion poll commissioned by Theos, the public theology think tank which is part-supported by the Bible Society. You will find this article at:
In fact, the research was conducted by ComRes as far back as 14 October-21 November 2008 among a telephone sample of 2,060 adults aged 18 and over in the United Kingdom. Two background questions about the Bible were included as part of the quantitative phase of the Theos ‘Rescuing Darwin’ project.
These particular questions were not reported on in the main document arising from the survey: Caroline Lawes, Faith and Darwin: Harmony, Conflict or Confusion? (London: Theos, 2009, £10). However, the full data tabulations for them were posted by Theos on its website on 18 February 2010 and will be found at:
The first question asked how often respondents read the Bible. 12% replied at least once a week, 27% less often and 61% never. Weekly or more frequent readers were likely to be aged 65 and over (19%), to live in Northern Ireland (20%), and to be ethnic blacks (29%) or practising Christians (88%). Non-readers were especially prevalent among those aged 18-24 (73%), those whose final level of education was GCSE or equivalent (70%), Asians (78%), non-Christians (71%) and those with no religion (82%).
The second question offered four statements about the Bible and asked which came closest to the interviewee’s opinion. 26% considered the Bible to be the divinely inspired word of God, including 39% of those aged 65 and over, 35% in Wales, 33% in Northern Ireland, 35% of the DE social group, 36% with no educational qualifications, 64% of blacks and 83% of practising Christians.
For 37% the Bible was a useful book of guidance and advice for our lives but not the word of God. 19% regarded it as beautiful literature but otherwise irrelevant to us today. 11% dismissed it as an irrelevant and dangerous collection of ancient myths, including 19% of those aged 18-24, 24% of Asians, 22% of non-Christians and 19% with no religion.
Other surveys have also covered the degree to which the Bible is considered to be of divine origin, although the question-wording is not strictly comparable with that used in this ComRes/Theos poll. For the results from these earlier studies, see: