During a time when fewer Americans are claiming biblical allegiance, Christian values are still holding powerful sway in culture — even among those who don’t necessarily see value in Scripture.
In fact, the sixth chapter of the American Bible Society’s 13th annual “State of the Bible” report found something truly remarkable: “Even Americans who are hostile toward Scripture value biblical behaviors.”
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The research found those who think America would be better off without the Bible score higher when it comes to “valuing pro-social behaviors that are championed in Scripture.”
Americans who believe the U.S. would fare better without the Bible actually score higher on valuing pro-social behaviors heralded in Scripture than do those who think would be “worse off” or “about the same” without Scripture.
These findings are pretty fascinating and show the sweeping impact the Old and New Testaments can have, even among those who would likely consider themselves as being far from Bible-minded.
“Our research shows that even those Americans who are most hostile toward the Bible value biblical behaviors like loving your neighbor, caring for creation, and welcoming the stranger,” Dr. John Farquhar Plake, chief ministry insights officer at the American Bible Society, said in a statement.
According to Farquhar, these findings could offer pathways to share the Gospel.
“This shared passion for neighborly behavior is a new avenue for ministry leaders to start conversations about the values Americans share and their ultimate source in Jesus and his Word,” he said.
There’s also something to be said about the negative elements associated with indifference, as the so-called “Moveable Middle” — the people the American Bible Society counts as possibly appreciating Christianity or Scripture but not being active participants — are also apathetic to biblical values.
“This group is more likely to consider the biblical behaviors surveyed — including welcoming immigrants, befriending people of other races or religions, or advocating for the oppressed — as only ‘somewhat’ important,” the press release explains. “In contrast, both Scripture-engaged Americans and Americans who do not engage with Scripture are more likely to count these behaviors as ‘important’ or ‘very important.'”
Data from Chapter 6: The Bible and Behavior in the “State of the Bible” survey comes from 2,761 online interviews with U.S. adults.
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