Biblical Archaeology Review 41:2, March/April 2015

Strata: Are We Different?

In the September/October 2014 BAR, we reported on the results of a recent Gallup poll in which more than a thousand American adults were asked to indicate which of three statements best represented their view of the Bible’s historical accuracy. These were the statements:

1. The Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word.

2. The Bible is the inspired word of God, but not everything in it should be taken literally.

3. The Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.

This naturally led us to wonder how BAR readers compare with the Gallup poll reflecting the American population as a whole. Were our readers proportionally different from Americans generally? Were they more heavily literalists, believing that the Bible represented the Word of God? Or did a greater percentage of them regard the Bible as an ancient book of fables, legends and history? Did BAR attract more people with one attitude toward the Bible than another? Were BAR readers more like Americans generally, or did they differ significantly?

So we decided to ask you. We announced our own survey using the same statements that were in the Gallup poll and asked our readers to tell us which statement they most agreed with. More than 3,000 BAR readers responded, over three times the number in the Gallup poll.

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