Vatican survey compares Americans and Europeans on biblical literacy: Poles do best

June 3, 2008

Americans are more likely than Europeans to own and read a Bible, but Poles are most likely to have a basic knowledge of scripture, reports the Vatican, citing preliminary findings from a survey made for a synod of bishops in October.

More than 90 percent of American households contain at least one copy of the Bible, and three out of four Americans had read at least one passage of scripture over the previous year—compared to only one out of four Spaniards, who ranked last in that respect. Americans were also most likely to read the Bible directly, rather than rely on preachers and other interpreters for knowledge of its contents.

Yet when asked seven basic questions about the Bible’s contents and authorship, only 17 percent of Americans were able to answer all of them correctly—barely more than the average of 15 percent in eight Europeans countries studied. Twenty percent of Polish respondents answered all seven questions correctly. –Religion News Service