Will 'The Bible' Positively Impact America? Lack of Bible Reading Believed as Cause of Moral Decline, Survey Finds

By Rachel Liu, Crossmap On April 5, 2013

"The Bible" hit series on History Channel may have set off some buzz across the nation, but the life of Americans may still be far from the truth of the Bible.

American Bible Society's new survey shows that only one in five Americans read the Bible on a regular basis, and that many associate the moral decline of the nation with a lack of Bible reading.  

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"The State of the Bible" report reports findings from a nationwide study conducted by Barna Research.

While 88 % own a Bible and 89 % consider the Bible as sacred, the results show that belief does not necessarily match behavior.

57 % of the participants read the Bible fewer than five times a year, and

61 % wish they read the Bible more.

Only 21 % read the Bible at least four times every week, with firm belief that the Bible is the actual Word of God.

77 % think that America's morality is going downhill, raising a lack of Bible reading as the No.1 cause for the moral decline.

The next most popular reasons for the moral decline were negative influence of media and corruption from corporate greed.

In March, the Bible received an unusually high level of spotlight as Mark Burnett-produced "The Bible" mini-series turned out to be a big hit on History Channel. The 10-hour program depicted monumental events in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

The TV series was aimed at tackling a growing Biblical illiteracy among young people, Burnett said.

"It's like saying you never heard of Macbeth or King Lear," Burnett remarked ahead of the series' premiere.

"In school, you have to know a certain amount of Shakespeare, but no Bible. So there's got to be a way to look at it from a pure literature point of view. If it wasn't for the Bible, arguably Shakespeare wouldn't have written those stories."

"The Bible" made a record-breaking viewership with 13.2 million viewers at its March 3. premiere. The fifth episode, aired on Easter Sunday, featured Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, concluding the series with 12.3 million viewers.

One spin-off of "The Bible" among others is in the works, entitled "Jesus of Nazareth," another TV show by Brian Bird and Michael Landon Jr. 

While the Bible may become a popular topic on screen, we are yet to see America begin to read the scripture as the living truth.