Saturday, February 09, 2013

Knoxville is the No 1 Bible-Minded City in the U. S.?

Just learned of this on the Stone-Campbell list.  According to a survey by the Barna Group, Knoxville, TN is, by their criteria, the most Bible-minded city in the U. S.  Here is a quote from the Barna Site:

The report ranks the most and least “Bible-minded” cities by looking at how people in those cities view the Bible. The study is based on 42,855 interviews conducted nationwide and the analysis of Bible trends was commissioned by American Bible Society. Individuals who report reading the Bible in a typical week and who strongly assert the Bible is accurate in the principles it teaches are considered to be Bible-minded. This definition captures action and attitude—those who both engage and esteem the Christian scriptures. The rankings thus reflect an overall openness or resistance to the Bible in the country’s largest markets.

Top Cities
Regionally, the South still qualifies as the most Bible-minded. The top ranking cities, where at least half of the population qualifies as Bible-minded, are all Southern cities. This includes the media markets for Knoxville, TN (52% of the population are Bible-minded),.....
I have some reservations about the assumptions of the survey.  Most of these Bible-minded people have their pet regions of the text and their knowledge is limited to within certain prescribed boundaries.  They bring their common-sense realism to it and while they may think they are reading it objectively and properly as independent and rational individuals, it is their upbringing and their community that is reading it for and with them.   If they were really truly Bible-minded they would engage and wrestle with it more.They would know more about the Bible and their religion than they do. 

Also, Bible-minded may not be the best way to describe the results of the survey.  We could think of other designations like Most Biblicist.  For the definition of this and problems related to it I refer you to Scott McKnight's  Jesus Creed Blog and an 8-part series on the topic which he wrote there in July and August of 2011.  The first on is here.  And the second here.  The impetus and motivation of Scott's critique comes in part from thoughts inspired by the book The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith. 

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