A new report from the think-tank Theos shows that the Bible is seen as valuable by the vast majority of the UK population, including those who describe themselves as having no religion.
According to the report 82% believe the Bible to be either a useful book of guidance and advice, beautiful literature or the word of God. 11% believe it to be ‘an irrelevant and dangerous collection of ancient myths’, (and 7% did not answer).
37% believe the Bible to be ‘a useful book of guidance and advice for our lives’, and 26% said they believe the Bible to be the word of God. Those groups combined suggest that most people trust the Scriptures.
The Bible society commented that it’s interesting to consider these findings alongside something like the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer. That survey found that in the UK, 29% trust the government and 38% trust business. Non governmental organisations (NGOs) scored 42%.
19% consider the Scriptures to be beautiful literature – and 38% say they read them at least once a year. That makes the Bible a wide-reaching, rich cultural resource (up there with visits to museums and galleries or libraries).
As Theos themselves suggest, the survey results as a whole – which look at attitudes to religion in general – show the picture is much more complex than is often portrayed. To take just one example, 7% of those who described themselves as having no religion also believed the Bible to be ‘the divinely inspired word of God’.
Either way though I think it is interesting that the Bible in effect had an 82% approval rating – given the recent PCC election debacle there aren’t many things in the UK that can claim that.