What do you know about your faith? In a recent book called Religious Literacy, author Stephen Prothero critiques the general theological ignorance of the United States – usually credited as the most religious nation in the world. Some statistics cited point to fewer than half of American adults know that Genesis is the first book of the Bible. Half can only name one of the four gospels, and more than 10% believe Noah’s wife was Joan of Arc.
There is a difference between faith and blind faith. If you are reading this portion of my site, I assume you are a Christian. If so, why? What do you base your faith on?
Back in Deuteronomy 6:6-8, Moses tells the people of Israel:
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes.
In II Timothy 2:15, Paul writes:
Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.
Also, II Timothy 3:16-17:
Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.
A Christian’s faith is to be one based on knowledge of the scriptures – and not merely our favorite few passages. We should be reading our Bibles and studying what is taught there. Some passages are tough. Others might actually challenge our beliefs – calling for deeper study or for a change in ourselves. We were not left the Bible so we could ignore it (earning it the label: the best selling book in the world that is the least read.)
If you were asked about your faith, would you be able to answer based on knowledge of the Bible. From the sounds of Prothero’s work, most of us could not. Biblical ignorance is easily remedied. We just have to set aside the time to study.
For more on the book Religious Literacy:
- Newsweek: Are Americans Ignorant About Religion?
- PBS: Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Religious Literacy
- USA Today: Americans Get an “F” in Religion
- Washington Post: Blind Faith
(I’m happy to say that I got 14/15 correct on the Newsweek quiz. One of the questions on Mormonism threw me…)