In The People’s Religion, George Gallup’s research during the 1980s revealed that about 80 percent of Americans claimed to be Christians, but less than half knew the names of the four Gospels and that Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount.
Gallup also reported that “a large majority of Americans believe the Ten Commandments are still valid rules for living today, but they have a tough time recalling exactly what those rules are.”
Gallup also found that while the majority of Americans knew the purpose of Easter, 20 percent of teenagers who were regular church attenders did not know the reason for the celebration of Easter.
After all the research that his organization conducted, Gallup’s explanation for the situation was this:
Americans revere the Bible — but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.The People’s Religion: American Faith in the 90’s [ ebook | print ]
So how did America become a “nation of biblical illiterates” by the 1980s?
When did the decline begin?
Of course, it’s human nature to place blame. In the case of biblical illiteracy, some place the blame on that turbulent decade of the 1960s.
That’s where this story is going next.
By the way, keep a look out for more revealing research from Gallup.
A Serious Look at Biblical Literacy