By Bob Allen
Nearly one in 10 Americans believe the Bible is a dangerous book, and 14 percent say following its teaching would be harmful for American society, according to a new survey on sacred texts and society by LifeWay Research.
At 9 percent the Bible fared better than the Quran — 24 percent said Islam’s holy book is dangerous and 33 percent said following its teachings would be bad for society. Just 28 percent said they believe following the Quran’s teaching would be good for American society, compared to 80 percent who said that about the Bible.
The survey found significant differences along demographic lines. Among evangelicals, 37 percent agreed the Quran is dangerous. The non-religious (17 percent) and Americans with other religions (8 percent) were more likely to say that about the Bible.
Nearly half of young adults age 18-24 (48 percent) believed following the Quran’s teaching would be beneficial for American society, while more than 80 percent of those 45 and older said following the Bible would be good for America.
The survey, released Oct. 30, was based on responses of 1,000 Americans in September 2014.
A Gallup Poll in June found Americans’ confidence in the church and organized religion has declined dramatically over the past four decades, reaching an all-time low this year. In 1965 as many as 68 percent of Americans said they had either a “great deal” or “quite a lot of confidence” in the church and organized religions. By 2015 the number dropped to 42 percent.
The sharpest decline occurred between 2001 and 2002, when the Roman Catholic Church grappled with a major sexual abuse scandal. While some years have shown improvements, organized religion has never regained the levels of confidence it enjoyed in the 1970s and 1980s.