The results of an interesting and stellar survey, at least to me, and the first of its kind, has just been released concerning how much U.S. citizens study religious texts, which would be mostly the Bible. It is entitled “The Humanities in American Life: Insights for Religious Studies.” It was administered by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators by conducting interviews with a diverse range of over 5,000 individuals. I was surprised to learn from this survey that adult Black Americans engage in religious text study significantly more than all other adult Americans do. This survey was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The following are some of the results of this survey:
- 22% of adults engage often in religious text study
- 37% of adults engage occasionally in religious text study
- 29% of people age 60 or older engage often in religious text study
- 33% of Black Americans engage often in religious text study
- Young adults (ages 18-29) are somewhat more likely than elderly adults (ages 60 and more) to seek information on religions and cultures other than their own
- Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than White Americans to believe that teaching differences in religious thought is important.
- 29% of Americans believe differences in religious thought should be taught exclusively outside of school (in the home, church, or community)
- 60% of Americans believe differences in religious thought should not be taught in school until middle school or high school.