Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Which Cities Are Most "Bible-Minded?"

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Founding Father Noah Webster, generally considered the father of public education in America, said, "Education is useless without the Bible."

After talking with 76,505 adults over 10 years, the highly respected evangelical Barna Group has identified the most "Bible-minded" cities in America.

The survey also shows the "least Bible-minded" cities in America.

It is written, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."

Could it also be said that as a city collectively thinks, so is it?

To my readers in Seattle and Portland---No, neither were number 1.

The Christian Post says, "The evangelical polling organization determined 'Bible-Mindedness' by asking the respondents how regular they are in reading the Bible and what they think of its accuracy."

This definition captures action and attitude---those who both engage and esteem the Christian Scriptures.

The rankings reflect an overall openness or resistance to the Bible in various US cities.

The results of the Barna Survey found that Birmingham, Anniston, and Tuscaloosa in Alabama are tied for 2nd, with 49% being Bible-minded.

Chattanooga, TN. is the most Bible-minded city in the country at 50%.

Roanoke and Lynchburg, Virginia are the 3rd most Bible-minded at 48%.

The Tri-Cities area of Tennessee are nearly 48% and are rated 4th.

Shreveport, Louisiana is 5th at 47%.

The next 5 cities are also in the South. Charlotte, NC.-46%; Springfield, Missouri-46%; Little Rock and Pine Bluff, Ark., 44%; Knoxville, TN., 44%; Greenville, Spartanburg, and Anderson, SC and Asheville, NC-44%.

Which cities are the least Bible-minded?

Albany, Schenectady and Troy, New York are the least Bible-minded in the country. Only 10% of the folks in those cities read the Bible regularly or believe in its accuracy.

New England area hosts the 2nd and 3rd least Bible-minded with Boston, and Manchester, NH. at 11%.

Providence, RI., and New Bedford, Mass. are at 11%.

Cedar Rapids and Waterloo in Iowa, at 14%, are the only Midwest cities in the "least" group.

The East Coast and the West make up the remainder of the "least" Bible-minded cities, with Las Vegas, 14%; San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose at 15%; Hartford and New Haven, Conn., 16%; Salt Lake City, 17%, and New York City at 17%.

Seattle-Tacoma is 76th (24th from the bottom) out of the top 100 most Bible-minded cities at 21%, Portland is 54th out of 100 most Bible-minded at 26%, and Spokane is 52nd at 26%.

I suspect Seattle may have been less Bible-minded, and Tacoma more so had the 2 cities been surveyed separately.

The entire 100 cities are listed at this link.

Interestingly, the 2 most "churched" cities in America are Chattanooga and Salt Lake City, with 59% regularly attending church.

While Salt Lake City is highly churched, it is not necessarily "Bible-minded."

The areas of Augusta-Aiken, Georgia, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana are 3rd and 4th most churched at 57%.

Nationally, 25% of the population is considered Bible-minded---those who have read the Bible in the past week and who strongly assert the Bible is accurate in the principles it teaches---per this study.

The late Francis Schaeffer spoke often of the moral decline in our culture, and in doing so, often spoke of what he called the "Christian consensus" that gave birth and gave rise to our great nation.

The "Christian consensus" was based on how people felt about the Bible and the worldview they held as a result of their belief about the Bible.

Keep this in mind---Although only 25% of America both read and believe the Bible, and that percentage was once higher, it still represents one-fourth of our population of about 325 million.

This survey reveals, then, that about 80 million Americans still read the Bible regularly and believe it.

These comments are taken from an article Francis Schaeffer wrote explaining the "Watershed Effect" or his version of a House Divided and the "Christian consensus":
Christianity is no longer providing the consensus for our society. And Christianity is no longer providing the consensus upon which our law is based. That is not to say that the United States ever was a “Christian nation” in the sense that all or most of our citizens were Christians, nor in the sense that the nation, its laws, and social life were ever a full and complete expression of Christian truth. There is no golden age in the past which we can idealize — whether it is early America, the Reformation, or the early church. But until recent decades something did exist which can rightly be called a Christian consensus or ethos which gave a distinctive shape to Western society and to the United States in a definite way. Now that consensus is all but gone, and the freedoms that it brought are being destroyed before our eyes. We are at a time when humanism is coming to its natural conclusion in morals, in values, and in law. All that society has today are relativistic values based upon statistical averages, or the arbitrary decisions of those who hold legal and political power.
I'm reminded of the Psalmist in Psalm 11, "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the Righteous do?"

Schaeffer concluded the article with this. Given the times in which we live, how then should we live out our lives:
Here then is the watershed of the evangelical world. We must say most lovingly but clearly: evangelicalism is not consistently evangelical unless there is a line drawn between those who take a full view of Scripture and those who do not. But remember that we are not just talking about an abstract theological doctrine. It makes little difference in the end if Scripture is compromised by theological infiltration or by infiltration from the surrounding culture. It is the obeying of Scripture which is the watershed — obeying the Bible equally in doctrine and in the way we live in the full spectrum of life.
We must, with prayer, say no to the theological attack upon Scripture. We must say no to this, clearly and lovingly, with strength. And we must say no to the attack upon Scripture which comes from our being infiltrated in our lives by the current world view of no-fault in moral issues. We must say no to these things equally.
The world of our day has no fixed values and standards, and therefore what people conceive as their personal or society’s happiness covers everything. We are not in that position. We have the inerrant Scripture, Looking to Christ for strength against tremendous pressure because our whole culture is against us at this point, we must reject the infiltration in theology and in life equally. We both must affirm the inerrancy of Scripture and then live under it in our personal lives and in society. None of us do this perfectly, but it must be the “set” of our thinking and living. And when we fail we must ask God’s forgiveness.
God’s Word will never pass away, but looking back to the Old Testament and since the time of Christ, with tears we must say that because of lack of fortitude and faithfulness on the part of God’s people, God’s Word has many times been allowed to be bent, to conform to the surrounding, passing, changing culture of that moment rather than to stand as the inerrant Word of God judging the form of the world spirit and the surrounding culture of that moment. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, may our children and grandchildren not say that such can be said about us.

Francis Schaeffer is now with the Lord. We are here, asking ourselves the same question the Psalmist ask regarding foundations that have been shaken.

I sincerely believe that if God's people are faithful to Him and His Word, there will be a new spiritual awakening in our time, in our country to facilitate God purposes.

Be Informed. Be Faithful.