One thing is sure from the results of our reader survey: BAR readers are independent-minded people. They pick and choose, making up their own minds. But, as attested by the fact that they continue to subscribe, they like to read and sift arguments even when they disagree. And they are not overly impressed with the conclusions of so-called experts.
All the above is reflected in the answers to BAR’s 20th-anniversary reader survey.
Over half (54 percent) of our more than 8,000 respondents believe that Israel emerged in the Promised Land just as the Bible describes it—as the result of a military conquest. Less than two percent said the emergence of Israel was the result of a social revolution of Canaanite peasants, which is the prevailing theory among modern critical scholars. But close to 40 percent said Israel came about through a combination of conquest, social revolution and peaceful infiltration—a sensible judgment.
Perhaps most of those who favored the military-conquest model also stated that they believe in the literal truth of the Bible (42 percent said they do; over 50 percent said they do not).
The overwhelming majority of readers (88 percent) said they believe in God—far more than the 42 percent who believe in the literal truth of the Bible. (5.6 percent said they do not believe in God and about the same percent said they don’t know.)
While almost 9 out of 10 readers believe in God, only 2 out of 3 believe in the Virgin Birth.