Starved for the Word
A recent Gallup poll has found that 65 percent of Americans believe the Bible "answers all or most of the basic questions of life." Slightly less than half of those who believe this about the Bible, however, read it at least every week. Twenty-eight percent of people surveyed who agree with the statement say they never or very rarely read their Bible.
Overall, the survey records that about 60 percent of Americans read the Bible at least occasionally, down 13 percent from the 1980s. The Gallup organization reports that the percentage of people who read the Bible at least once a week has declined slightly in the last ten years from 40 percent in 1990 to 37 percent today.
Currently, 16 percent of Americans say they read the Bible every day, compared to 21 percent who say they read the Bible weekly, 12 percent who say they read it monthly, and 10 percent who say they read it less than monthly. Forty-one percent of those surveyed say they never or rarely read the Bible, and only 14 percent are currently in a Bible study group.
Despite the low level of Bible readership, however, many Americans report a desire to learn more about the Bible. Thirty-five percent say they are "very interested" in deepening their understanding of the Bible, and 40 percent report being "somewhat interested." Twenty-four percent of respondents report having no interest in furthering their biblical understanding.
The Gallup Organization, October 20, 2000
Bypassing God's Design
The idea of having sex in order to have babies will be dead within twenty years according one leading scientist.
Professor Greg Stock of the University of California, Los Angeles, predicted that a number of new technologies would mean that parents wishing to have children will turn to science rather than letting nature take its course.
According to Stock the "messy business" of procreation will, in the richest parts of the world, be consigned to history as humans take control of their evolution and turn instead to the creation of "designer babies."
"This is the beginning of the end of sex as the way we reproduce," he predicted. "We will still have sex for pleasure, of course, but we will view our children as too ... important to leave it to a random meeting of sperm and eggs."
Daily Express, October 25, 2000
"God's ability to work in our life is not determined by being a Christian. ... If God is at work in our lives whether we're Christian or not, what's the big deal about Jesus?" - Rev. Dirk Ficca from his sermon "Uncommon Ground" at the 2000 Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference in Orange, California.
Ficca, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) minister and director of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago, stated before the conference "that when Christians approach them (non-Christians) with the sole purpose of converting them to Christianity, it feels like ... a kind of ethnic cleansing." Ficca continued, "What (missionaries) are saying is: Your religious identity is not acceptable, and my job is to eliminate it from the face of the earth."
Ficca concluded that if we truly believe in the sovereignty of God, we will trust that He can speak to everyone regardless of their religious beliefs.
Evansville Courier and Press, October 28, 2000