We’re Number 95!

The Barna Group has completed a survey of the most “Bible Minded” regions in America:

“The study is based on 42,855 interviews conducted nationwide and the analysis of Bible trends was commissioned by American Bible Society. Individuals who report reading the Bible in a typical week and who strongly assert the Bible is accurate in the principles it teaches are considered to be Bible-minded. This definition captures action and attitude—those who both engage and esteem the Christian scriptures. The rankings thus reflect an overall openness or resistance to the Bible in the country’s largest markets.”

I’m sure that we could quibble about the methodology and definitions here, but whev. Its not a survey that’s going to surprise anyone. It confirms that the Bible belt does still exist, and that the north east is the least Biblically centered region. Urban areas are less likely to be Biblically minded than rural areas.

Coming in at next to last place is my home in the capital region (Albany/Schenectady/Troy) at 10% of … whatever it is that they measure. Woohooo! From one of their feeds they report, “Just one in five residents of Albany, NY read the Bible in the past week (19%)” Worse news: I’m one of the 19%, and I’m an atheist.

Of course, at #96 the least Biblically minded city is Providence, RI, where Elemenope used to hail from. Kind of ironic that a city named “Providence” would come in last, but it is Lovecraft country.

Another feed reports, “Albany, NY has the highest percent of Christians who have not made a commitment to Jesus (59%),” and the terminology pretty much gives away their game: you’re either an Evangelical or you don’t really count. They don’t discuss religious diversity or the rise of the nones, they talk about “openness or resistance to the Bible.”

Albany is a diverse place with lots of different Christian denominations, but Barna is basically a marketing research group for Evangelical Christians. I doubt they’d consider our healthy UU population to “real Christians,” or our Korean Christian community to be appropriately “Bible minded.” All this probably means that there will be more evangelism and church planting in my area.

(click twice to embiggen)

  • UrsaMinor

    Poor vorjack. I think Elemenope has you beat by a whole percentage point.

    • Elemenope


  • Nox

    “I doubt they’d consider our healthy UU population to “real Christians,” or our Korean Christian community to be appropriately “Bible minded”.”

    You’re probably right. Using the phrase “bible-minded” (or thinking that would be a thing you could measure geographically) does seem suggest they’re looking for a very specific type of christian. Ranking Salt Lake City 84th (perhaps the only major american city where Jesus is on most people’s minds most of the time, and ideas based on the bible are more than half of what citizens talk about from day to day) would seem to suggest this as well.

    • kessy_athena

      Apparently even non evangelical devout Protestants aren’t good enough for them. They rank Philadelphia as being more “bible minded” then Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York PA. (Those are all smallish cities in the center of PA.) There’s an old saying about Pennsylvania – it consists of Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west, and a big swath of Alabama in between. Did I mention that Lancaster is the center of Amish country? So I’d say the people who did this “study” pretty clearly have managed to be both completely delusional and incredibly intolerant all at the same time.

      • UrsaMinor

        Whenever you see a chart like this, it’s always best to remember that it’s the author’s statement on Where My Patented Version of the Right Kind of People Live.

    • Jabster

      According to this study the definition of Bible minded is having read the Bible in the last seven days and agreeing strongly in the accuracy of the Bible.

      Sort of cutting down your Christian targets with the second part me thinks …

      • kessy_athena

        Actually, I’m a little curious about the part of having read it within the last seven days. I have little to no personal experience with devout christians, so I’m a bit puzzled. I know the thing is fairly long and not exactly the most readable book in the world, but really, how long could it possibly take you to read the whole thing cover to cover? And I get the distinct impression that most christians (even the evangelicals and other bible thumpers) *haven’t* actually read it cover to cover. So how can they be reading it at least once a week their whole lives and still not know what’s in it? Am I missing something here?

        • Custador

          Presumably that’s a measure of whether you went to the kind of church in the last seven days (Sunday) where you read the Buy Bull during the service.

        • Noelle

          Ah, the brand of Xian they’re looking for is the one who does little daily devotional and reads a small passage to meditate upon. Many passages are read multiple times throughout a lifetime. It would also pertain to those who are of the mind to look up the verses they like using to argue with people, just to remind themselves they’re still there I guess. Reading along in the church bulletin would also count. If one subcribes to a verse of the day on one’s phone or FB, that’d count.

          • kessy_athena

            That’s not reading, that’s… that’s… I dunno, fetishizing, I guess. If someone’s gonna read the darn thing then just read it.

  • Robin Gregory-Stewart

    This kind of survey is very useful – it lets us know where we don’t want to be.

  • Noelle

    Is “bible-minded” akin to “bible-thumping”?

    I am a little amused to see conservative Grand Rapids, MI lumped together with liberal Kalamazoo, MI.

    • UrsaMinor

      You must understand that from any distance, they look alike.

      • Noelle

        Well, sure. To many living outside your state, New York is basically Manhattan. On occasion, a different burrough gets a place in a TV show (TV and movies seem to like Brooklyn). We don’t know what goes on in all that other land you have there.

        It’s a shame though, if they were looking for bible-thumpers (I mean “minders”) in my state, they could’ve found them by polling the right cities and not canceling out their results with a bunch of liberal college kids and a fairly large Muslim population. Quite noticibly missisng is our own little as liberal as New England city of Ann Arbor, MI.

        • UrsaMinor

          Folks from the city don’t know what goes on in all that other land we have here either. Upstate to a Manhattanite is a semi-mythical wilderness full of cows and orchards and deer that serves as a demilitarized zone between Westchester County and Quebec. The inhabitants of Upstate are viewed with suspicion, and it is dimly suspected that we might side with the Canadians if pressed because we have lots of things in common with them, like blizzards and elk.

          • Noelle

            Well, you do all ride moose and hunt bear through 12 feet of snow in both directions year-round, so what would you expect people to think about you? They should extend the commuter trains so that people who fell asleep at Grand Central station might wake up in Utica.

            • UrsaMinor

              I’ve been there. Even fellow Upstaters find it difficult to wake up in Utica.

  • Patrick

    I am surprised that Portland, OR (my home) is 65th.

  • mikespeir

    Well, Vernon, Texas, has enough Bible-mindedness (to largely void those words of meaning) to cover for Boston through Providence. Not that many people here really know much about the Bible.

  • Brian K

    Two years in Knoxville, TN was MORE than enough. LOL

  • Claidheamhmor

    Ah, Portland OR, Seattle and Sacramento, my one-time home cities all! Doing well, within a percentage point. The east coast outdid them all. (Sigh. I aspire to visiting a certain grave that says, “I am Providence.” )
    Salt Lake City surprised me, too. Spending the time on the Book of Mormon instead, perhaps?