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It is important to note that affected individuals may not have all of the symptoms discussed below.
Meanwhile, about half of Americans -- a proportion largely unchanged over the years -- fall in the middle, saying the Bible is the inspired word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally. Meanwhile, the percentage defining the Bible as mere stories has doubled, with much of that change occurring in the past three years.
Although biblical literalism now ties with biblical skepticism nationally, these views vary somewhat across different segments of the U. Nonwhites, adults aged 50 and older, and adults with no college education all lean toward believing the Bible is the actual word of God rather than stories and history recorded by man. Men, whites, adults aged 18 to 29 as well as those aged 30 to 49, and college graduates lean in the other direction, with more being skeptics than literalists.
Still, in all of these groups, the largest segment takes the middle position, believing the Bible reflects the inspired word of God. Naturally, there are also strong differences in Americans' perspectives on the Bible by religious preference. As a whole, more Christians take the Bible literally than say it is a book of stories and history recorded by man.
However, within the broad group of Christians, Protestants including those who generically refer to themselves as "Christian" lean toward the literalist view, while Catholics divide evenly between seeing the Bible as the literal word of God and saying it is a book of stories.
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Not surprisingly, the vast majority of those with no religious affiliation fall into the skeptics' camp. Notably, insome of the same groups -- older Americans and Protestants, along with women, were more inclined than their counterparts toward biblical literalism.
Over the past three decades, Americans' view of the Bible as the literal word of God has been declining, while their view that the Bible is a collection of fables, myths and history recorded by man has been increasing. The shift is most pronounced among young adults, indicating the trend is likely to accelerate in the years ahead.
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Americans in all age groups still largely accept the Bible as a holy document, but most of these downplay God's direct role in it. That could mean people are more willing than in the past to believe it is open to interpretation -- if man, not God, wrote the Bible, more can be questioned.
And that, in turn, may have consequences for where Americans come down on a of morally tinged issues.
The country may already be seeing this in growing public acceptance of a variety of behaviors that were once largely frowned on from a Christian perspective -- ranging from gay marriage and premarital sex to out-of-wedlock births and physician-assisted suicide. Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics. for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May, with a random sample of 1, adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.
All reported margins of sampling error include computed de effects for weighting. Landline and cellular telephone s are selected using random-digit-dial methods.
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View complete question responses and trends PDF download. Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.
Seventy-four percent of U. Subscribe to the Gallup News brief and real time alerts. Stay up to date with our latest insights.
Sixty-four percent of Americans say same-sex marriages should be recognized as legally valid. Americans' perceptions of what is morally acceptable continue to grow more permissive, with their views on several issues the most liberal to date.
Long-term biblical literalism has declined some, while a secular take on the Bible has become more common. Americans' attitudes toward Israel and the Palestinians reflect their underlying religious identity and religiosity. Which of the following statements comes closest to describing your views about the Bible -- the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word, the Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally, or the Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man?
Survey Methods for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May, with a random sample of 1, adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U. Foreign Trade: Opportunity or Threat to the U. Up. Three in Four in U. Still See the Bible as Word of God.