— One activity can bring Christians, whether conservative or liberal, together:
reading their Bible, a Baylor University
research assistant, has reported.
Frequently reading the Bible changed the attitudes of all Christians no matter
their political background, Aaron Franzen reported in a news release from
Baylor’s Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA).
“Thus, even as opposition to same-sex marriage and legalized abortion tends to
increase with more time spent with the Bible, so does the number of people who
say it is important to actively seek social and economic justice,” the ARDA
Franzen said he believes little research has been done in this area of
Christian life because so many people think they know what the Bible says and
find reading it “a habitual and ultimately meaningless activity.”
But the study, released in early July analyzing the Baylor Religion Survey’s
2007 data, arrives at a different conclusion. Franzen’s findings revealed that
habitual Bible reading led to a consolidation of viewpoints on several
political and social issues:
- Almost half of the survey respondents who read their Bible less than once a
year supported gay “marriage,” while only 6 percent of those who dug into the
Word several times a week or more believed gay couples should be able to obtain
a marriage license.
- As Christians read the Bible more frequently, they were 27 percent more
likely to believe it is important to consume less to be a good person and 22
percent less likely to think science and religion are incompatible.
- Bible readers also were more likely to be against abortion, expanding the
government’s authority to fight terrorism, harsher punishment of criminals and
the death penalty.
However, the agreement on these issues from people in all political camps is
not widespread because daily or weekly Bible reading is not as common as many
would think, Franzen said.
The study showed that the majority of people do not read their Bibles
frequently. Less than a quarter of those surveyed said they read scripture
weekly or more often.