Reading Reflection:

Religious Literacy, Steven Prothero (HarperSanFrancisco, 2007)

The subtitle of this book is What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn’t.  The statistics Prothero gives are stunning.  I thought I would share a few.  You’ll have to read the book to see if you agree with him on how we should be taught… The Gospel of John instructs Christians to “search the scriptures” (John 5:39), but little searching, and even less finding, is being done.  In 1997 Tonight Show host Jay Leno took to the streets of New York to find out how much average Americans know about the Bible.  Interviewees told him that God created Eve from an apple, that Jacob gave his son Joseph a new car, and that Matthew was swallowed by a whale.  But biblical illiteracy is not limited to Manhattan.  Consider these sobering facts gleaned from more scientific surveys: ·         Only half of American adults can name even one of the four Gospels.

·         Most Americans cannot name the first book of the Bible.

·         Only one-third know that Jesus (no, not Billy Graham) delivered the Sermon on the Mount.

·         A majority of Americans wrongly believe that the Bible says that Jesus was born in Jerusalem.

·         When asked whether the New Testament book of Acts is in the Old Testament, one quarter of Americans say    yes.  More than a third say that they don’t know.

·         Most Americans don’t know that Jonah is a book in the Bible.

·         Ten percent of Americans believed that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.

Wow.  Our culture seems to be turned off by any true content to our faith.  We seem to think that we can just be good instead of knowing the One who is good.  Many claim to be a Christian merely as a social stance.  It’s like saying, “I’m a moral person.”  How can you even say you are a Christian if you do not know Christ?  I would be in utter despair if the gospel was, “be a better you.”  I am completely inept to earn God’s blessing.  One of my favorite book titles is by Francis Schaeffer, He is There and He is Not Silent.  God is real.  He has spoken to us.  I would think that believers and unbelievers alike should care to take a listen.  I just pray that as a church, we can faithfully fulfill our Great Commission to go and make disciples, accurately dispensing his gospel message.