Americans who see the Bible as fable now outnumber those who believe it to be the literal word of God.
Gallup announced the shift in a survey it released Tuesday titled “Record Few Americans Believe Bible is Literal Word of God.”
“This is the first time in Gallup’s four-decade trend that biblical literalism has not surpassed biblical skepticism,” the organization said online.
However, 71 percent of Americans believe the Bible to be a sacred document that is “God-inspired if not God’s own’s words,” Gallup said.
Many who believe Scripture to be inspired by God say it need not be taken literally, Gallup reported in its Values and Beliefs poll, which was conducted May 3-7.
But there are groups in which these statistics do not hold true. Among non-white adults 50 and older and with no college education, the Bible is viewed as the true word of God.
However, among white adults aged 18 to 49, and who are college educated, tend to be more skeptical about Scripture.
“Still, in all of these age groups, the largest segment takes the middle position, believing the Bible reflects the inspired word of God,” according to the Gallup report. “
In its summary of the poll, Gallup noted that its findings reflect the downward trend in the number of Christians in the U.S. since the 1970s and 1980s. During that period, nearly 40 percent of Americans believed the Bible to be the literal word of God.