The Bible vs. The Future

AJ Mastav
4 min readOct 11, 2022
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Every so often, the Gallup Poll asks Americans whether or not they believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God. As one might expect, the proportion of people saying “Yes” has been declining slowly but steadily over time, and as of June 2022 it had dropped to 20%. Forty years ago, this proportion was around 40%, so one possible implication is that this might track well with the proportion of people who call jeans “dungarees”: the worldview of an older generation that is, perhaps, dying with them.

On the other hand, the Gallup poll points out that, among Evangelical Christians, the proportion of people who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible is twice what it is for the total US population (40%). So it seems likely that there is always going to be a pretty substantial population in the US that holds to this view.

It is worth noting that most Americans do not say that the Bible is rubbish. Most (60%) say that it is the inspired Word of God, but that not everything in it is to be taken literally. Only a relatively small number, 16% of the total population, lump the Bible in with, say, Aesop’s fables and Mother Goose.

It is also worth noting that the Gallup Poll has a separate question about the origins of humanity, asking:

Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings?

  1. Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process. 33% agree with this.

2. Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process. 22% agree with this.

3. God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the 10,000 years or so. 40% agree with this.

One question that this statistic raises is: why would 40% of the people in an industrialized country, where there is free — mandatory, for most of us — public education, believe in a set of ideas that are contradicted by really, really basic science?

The answers to many of the questions that children are so adept at asking (things like Where did the Earth come from? When did dinosaurs live? How big is space? Where can I get more chocolate…

AJ Mastav

Professional planner, unprofessional writer. Member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Also, a Sunday School teacher.