Monday, March 26, 2007


Unlike much of the rest of America, a survey finds that Alabama rates well in biblical literacy:
For example, nearly 70 percent of respondents to last week's Press-Register/University of South Alabama survey correctly named all four canonical Gospels. "They don't call it the Bible Belt for nothing," said Keith Nicholls, a political scientist and director of the USA Polling Group, which conducted the poll.

Most Americans, however, can't identify even one of the four Gospels, according to polls cited by Boston University professor Stephen Prothero, who has received national acclaim for his recent book titled "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know -- and Doesn't."

The Press-Register/USA poll of 404 adults statewide has a margin of error of 5 percentage points. The survey included some questions that were similar to ones that Prothero has asked his Boston University students.

More than 70 percent of the Alabama respondents knew the location that the Bible identifies as Jesus' birthplace (Bethlehem) and nearly 90 percent correctly stated that a famous phrase from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount -- "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God" -- comes from the Bible.

It's nice to be in Alabama!


jdavidb said...

Reminds me of the Jay Leno "Jaywalking" segment where he interviewed college girls about Thanksgiving.

"Do you know who started Thanksgiving?"

"The Pilgrims?"

"That's right. Do you know why the Pilgrims came to America?"

"Religious freedom!"

"Right, again. Do you know what religion the Pilgrims were?"

"Ummm .... atheist?"

World Evangelist said...

Hi Alan,

I am a little curious why you chose not to post my earlier comment. It is your blog and your call, but I thought my point was relevant, and I was not trying to be antagonistic. From my perspective, one of a handful of evangelists in Canada, it seems like the number of evangelists in places like Alabama is disproportionate to the rest of the nation (North America). Do you know that of the 100 largest cities in Canada that only 8 have congregations? That though we have 10 provinces and three territories but of those only 5 have congregations? Nearly 6,000,000 people in the GTA with just two of us trying to evangelize it. Can you understand how frustrating that can be?

I am delighted that Alabamians are knowledgeable about God's Word, but I still think my earlier comment was relevant in light of those statistics.

God bless you Brother. I truly appreciate the good work you do at home, and abroad!

Alan said...

My apologies, but I don't recall the earlier comment. It's likely that it slipped through the moderation cracks rather than being deliberately tanked. My policy it to publish on topic comments that are profanity and vulgarity free. Sometimes comments come in that are buried in other emails, and I simply don't see them. Again, my apologies the comment wasn't published to the site.

Anyway, I do understand your frustration. At the same time, there are also more Christians in Alabama and simply more congregations with preachers doing necessary work in teaching and edification. If you consider the work in India the ratio of people to evangelists is far greater than anything you would find in Canada. It's a worldwide problem, and we all have a responsibility to do what we are able to do.

World Evangelist said...

Basically, my earlier comment was that that survey would compel me, as an evangelist in Alabama, to give some serious thought to getting out to the rest of the nation where they are obviously needed.

I can well imagine the attraction of being in a place where more have respect for God, but is this life about going/staying where we feel comfortable, or where we are most needed?


John Maddocks

Alan said...

Well, John, I believe your profile page states that you are from Canada, which is where you live now. I assume you find it fairly comfortable to live where you are from. I am not from Alabama nor is my wife, but we had opportunity to move here so we did.

I don't disagree that more evangelists are needed the world over, but it is also short sighted to stop nourishing established works that are able to support men such as yourself in your work in Canada. If, for example, the congregation at Edward's Lake were to dwindle in size because of neglect they would not have the funds to help men in other places. The church here at Wilsonville supports men in a number of different locations, and has sent native preachers on three different continents support money in the past six months. A number of preachers I know, including myself, travel regularly to foreign fields to teach and evangelize.

If the comment you mention that was unpublished was in response to this particular post then it simply didn't come through to me. I did not receive it and must have been a posting error through Blogger. My apologies.

World Evangelist said...

Actually Alan, I spent 11 years in Central Florida, a place where, though I loved the people, I was never very comfortable living. I grew up in Jordan Station, Ontario (population 500) a small farming community where my family has been for 200 years. That was a comfortable plsce to live I now live in Toronto, with a combined population of nearly 6,000,000. It is like another world to where I was raised, and living in such a large metropolitan area is often anything but comfortable.

I am not trying to persuade you to leave Alabama, and I receive support from two congregations in Birmingham, for which I am truly grateful. I appreciate the good work you do at home and abroad. I myself have been to India, and am planning to go back this year. I have made three trips to China, two to Australia and one to Singapore.

My point is simply this, when I read statistics like the ones you presented, my first thought would be, "Hey, there is a large percentage of the population that is unfed spiritually and something needs to be done about it", not, "It's nice to be in Alabama!" But hey, that's me.

Anonymous said...

I am thankful to be in Gardendale, Alabama (North Birmingham) having just moved here about a year ago to preach the gospel. And, quite frankly, I don't intend to apologize for it. Like faithful brethren everywhere, I am thankful for faithful preachers everywhere. Faithfulness is not determined by the difficulty of the place they labor or the foreign field they enter.
Where ever there are lost souls we need to evangelize as we have the opportunity - be it in the US or Canada.
Preachers who travel to foreign lands (and I do enough of it myself so I am talking to me too) need to remember that such travels might look good on our resume or obituary but all that matters when we face Our Heavenly Father in judgment is if we have been faithful to Him.
Bill Robinson

John said...

Hi Bill:

No offense meant to you, Alan, or any of the other good men preaching in Alabama (and other Bible belt states), many of whom are my good friends. I simply was trying to put my spin on what I would take away from those statistics.

The Gospel is needed everywhere. I do however wish that more would give serious thought to taking it to the more difficult areas of the world.

Your Brother,

John Maddocks
Toronto, ON