Hope: Polling Shows 1 Bright Spot for Christianity in America

More often than not, surveys tend to quantify what impressions have already conveyed. And when it comes to quantifying faith, those impressions might suggest few apparent reasons to hope for good news.

Nonetheless, a new “State of the Bible 2024” survey by the American Bible Society did reveal at least one piece of hopeful news: Amid an otherwise depressing set of revelations, 15 percent of respondents reported an increase in their personal Bible use from 2023 to 2024.

The Jerusalem Post called this a “resilient, albeit small, group of individuals deepening their engagement with scripture.”

Small and resilient, yes, but 15 percent represents a strong minority within a larger-yet-dwindling minority of adults who reported any meaningful Bible engagement at all.

For instance, the “State of the Bible USA 2024” survey revealed that, apart from church services, only 38 percent of American adults “engage with the Bible” as often as three or four times per year outside of church. That number marked a slight decrease from 40 percent in 2023.

Worse yet, as recently as 2011, 50 percent of respondents reported that same frequency of Bible engagement.

The most obvious explanation for that decline lies in generational priorities. As Americans born during the first half of the 20th century have passed away, their beliefs have died with them.

And if the loss of the World War II generation did not already fill us with melancholy, then the realization that Gen-Z values have begun to replace those older beliefs might make us despondent.

Indeed, the survey rated only 11 percent of Gen-Z adults as “Scripture Engaged,” based on a new Spiritual Vitality Gauge that uses nine important questions to assess respondents’ spiritual health.

Furthermore, as measured by the Scripture Vitality Gauge, the number of Americans categorized as spiritually “Ailing” rose from 21 percent to 28 percent since last year.

The decline in Bible engagement also has regional dimensions with partly historical explanations.

For instance, of all the survey’s Bible-engaged respondents, nearly twice as many hailed from the American South as from the Northeast or Midwest.

That makes sense in light of the Protestant influence in Southern history. By contrast, Northern cities in the 19th century experienced multiple waves of mass immigration from predominantly Catholic countries or regions, such as Ireland, Italy and Eastern Europe.

Catholicism, of course, offers its own kind of spiritual vitality. Historically, however, it has not encouraged believers to engage with the Bible in the same way that Protestantism has.

In light of all this, what should we make of Americans’ spiritual health in 2024?

To begin, we might borrow a phrase from prominent Canadian psychologist and political conservative Jordan Peterson.

In a 2022 appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, Peterson beautifully described Christ’s Passion and Resurrection.

“You look far enough into the abyss, you see the light,” Peterson said.

Readers may view a clip of those comments in the YouTube video below. Peterson began talking about the gospels around the 6:25 mark and continued for more than three minutes.

Seeing the light after staring into the abyss seems an apt description of one possible reaction to the spiritual-health survey.

Yes, things look bad, especially for Gen-Z.

On the other hand, in addition to the 15 percent who reported increased Bible engagement, another 53 percent said they wished they could read the Bible more often than they did.

That result would appear to confirm another impression derived from the recent experience of simply living in the world.

In short, as Gen Z’s woke values win cultural ascendancy, exasperated Americans know they can find an antidote in Biblical truth.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

 

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