Holy Books

Just read an interesting piece at Barna.org.  According to Barna research, 84% of people asked (1003 adults surveyed) considered the Bible a Holy book.  Thirty-eight percent of those 84% classified themselves as a non-Christian.  It is broken down even more depending on race and gender.  Article here.  

In the survey, two dozen different books were answered as being “holy books” by those questioned.  

“Although two dozen documents were named by respondents as constituting sacred literature, only three other books were labeled as such by at least 1% of the public. Those included the Koran (deemed a holy book by 4%); the Book of Mormon (3%); and the Torah (2%). Muslims, whose holy book is the Koran, represent about one-half of one percent of the nation’s population. Mormons, who include the Book of Mormon as one of their sacred texts, are roughly 2% of America. Jews, who include the Torah among their holy documents, are also about 2% of the adult public.

Among the books listed by one-half of one percent but less than 1% were the Bhagavad Gita (revered by Hindus), the Talmud (a Jewish text), and Teachings of the Buddha (which is esteemed by Buddhists).

In addition, several other books were mentioned: Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard, Mein Kampf by Adolph Hitler, Secret Book by Rhonda Byrne, and Quiet Strength by football coach Tony Dungy.”

Thus we see a wide array of accepted literature within the world as being holy and sacred texts.  This is the type of culture we are living in.  Christianity doesn’t even just see the Bible as being the only Holy Book.  Evangelical Christians – 99% of them see the Bible as THE ONLY Holy Book.  Other “forms of Christianity” though allow leeway in their views, including the Book of Mormon and the Koran.  

Thus, it brings me to the entire point of this whole post.  How much do we know?  These statistics are alarming.  Sure, a lot of people highly value the Bible and consider it holy, but they allow other books to creep into their ideas of what is a holy book.  How much do we know?  I own a copy of the Book of Mormon, but I’ve yet to crack it.  You can find copies of the Koran in English (as offensive as that may be to some Muslims), but we don’t read it.  I believe there is so much value at knowing what these other texts say.  We should read them critically.  We should know what they say, because apparently the people we are called to be lights to have read them, or at least know what some of them are about.  My fear is that too many Christians are ignorant of what these texts say (present company included), thus by being ignorant we couldn’t ever hold a conversation with someone.  

Am I the only one seeing the apologetic value of knowing what these other texts say?  It may not be necessary to read every word (although it wouldn’t hurt) but just to read it critically and understand the implications it has within the culture and in relation to Christianity, I see so much value.

With the statistics presented by Barna, I think it’s a call for Christians to wake up and step out of our Christian bubbles, and be prepared to deal with what is lurking outside of ourselves.

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