Churchgoing as Antidote for Reading

This month’s The Writer Magazine’s short piece about a poll result indicating that “The United States is not a reading nation” (p.9) is not surprising. But one particular detail, if not necessarily surprising, is certainly striking and thought-provoking.

In the poll conducted by Associated Press/Ipsos, it was found that over the past year, “Churchgoers read half as much as non-churchgoers did”.

Disappointing – that’s the word I was looking for. Utterly disappointing. But at least I understand why so few churchgoers have ever read an academic book about the Bible or some other aspect of their faith. They simply aren’t reading.

But what is the root cause of this fact, I wonder? I cannot figure it out.

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  • Drew Tatusko

    Interesting factoid. I will want to look at it a bit more since how statistics are reported is always something to critically engage.But I am reading a lot on the development of bible college education and its relationship to evangelical higher education (e.g. Moody and Wheaton) and the development of the bible college begins as one of an anti-intellectual education. Bible and practical training are held in high esteem, but reading through what others have through about the same sorts of things was, and still is in many places, seen as something of a debasement of just reading scripture.I am ferreting out some of the variables, but the history of evangelicalism has a very pronounced characteristic of anti-intellectualism that is not limited only to fundamentalists.

  • Ian

    Isn’t church attendance (negatively) correlated with SES and education? And wouldn’t those things correlate with the amount people read?

  • Quixie

    Relatedly . . .I recently read a statistic that said that 50% of Americans read 0 books a year (zero—naught—zilch!).But at least Iraq’s liberated.Right?o_Ó