U.S. citizens know almost nothing about the Bible. Although most regard it as the word of God, few read it anymore. Even evangelicals from the Bible Belt seem more focused on loving Jesus than on learning what he had to say.
After citing his own eyewitness testimony regarding biblical illiteracy among the nation’s undergraduates, Prothero also provides statistical evidence given by American pollsters. This problem is not just a religious problem, but a civic one. Prothero writes:
Biblical illiteracy is not just a religious problem. It is a civic problem with political consequences. How can citizens participate in biblically inflected debates on abortion, capital punishment or the environment without knowing something about the Bible? Because they lack biblical literacy, Americans are easily swayed by demagogues on the left or the right who claim — often incorrectly — that the Bible says this about war or that about homosexuality.
Prothero’s solution is to provide a biblical literacy course in our public schools. While I’m generally supportive of such an idea. The concept could be hijacked to teach a politically-correct, liberalized view of Scripture which would strip the Bible of its moral authority. As a pastor, I’m more concerned that the Bible be taught in our churches. The Bible left the pulpits of America’s Protestant churches long before it left the classroom. Churches, as Hercules Collins has written, are “the schools of Christ.” When these schools do not teach the Bible, it is no wonder that we live in a land of biblical idiots!