THE MINDSET LIST OF AMERICAN BIBLICAL ILLITERACY

by Tom McBride

THE MINDSET LIST OF AMERICAN BIBLICAL ILLITERACY 

By Ron Nief and Tom McBride (niefr@beloit.edu and mcbridet@beloit.edu)

There was a time when bible stories were taught in school as literature. No more.

Surveys confirm a dramatic decline in church membership and attendance, particularly among young people. Biblical illiteracy is up there with financial illiteracy. “People revere the bible but nobody reads it,” concluded a Gallup poll.

Our concern does not relate to a decline in faith and morals. Our issue is that, today, with little exposure to the hymns and classic stories of Joshua, David, Paul, and Lot’s wife, generations are coming away with little understanding of important scriptural references that fill great literature and pop up in rock lyrics and platform speeches.

The Pew Research Council has found that nearly half of adult Americans hardly, if ever, read the Bible. As for these Americans: 

1. They have never met a bad Samaritan.

2. Loaves of bread and a few fishes have always made for a smelly picnic lunch.

3. They have always assumed that being called “prodigal” when they came home late was a compliment.

4. They have read the writing on the stall but not on the wall unless it was a Power Point presentation. 

5. The Burning Bush is what starts all those California wildfires. 

6. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a rock band.

7. Noah’s Ark has always been a waterpark.

8. Eternal life is accomplished when your brain’s neurons turn to digits and are uploaded into your grieving laptop. 

9. The Lions’ Den has more likely offered liquor than man-eaters.

10. He who is without sin has never lived in a glass house.

11. Adam’s Rib is an old movie they keep showing on TMC. 

12. The Arcs—Noah and Joan d’—are related.

 13. They don’t realize that Catholic is to catholic as Democrat is to democrat.

14. The Road to Damascus is a two lane backroad in Georgia

15. The Tower of Babel is where social media was developed. 

16. East of Eden was James Dean’s first movie. 

17. Moses is a former spokesman for the NRA. 

18. The parting of the Red Sea must be attributed to climate change. 

19. A Plague of Locusts comes to Africa every so often and is covered on CNN and PBS. 

20. John, Paul, George, and Ringo are the four gospel writers. 

21. “Walking on water” is an impressive move in surfing, 

22. The Cedars of Lebanon is the hospital where all the Hollywood stars went to die. 

23. “Talent” has always been something you were born with, not a coin given out by masters to faithless servants taken to hiding theirs “under a bushel.” 

24. Good Friday includes happy hour at TGIF’s.

25. Isn’t the 23rd Psalm the one that starts, “Fourscore and seven years ago?”  

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