A majority of US adults wrongly believe that a Bible verse on caring for the poor and the oppressed was first coined by celebrities, politicians or other prominent figures including President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bono and Angelina Jolie.
Only 13 per cent of Americans surveyed for the American Bible Society were able to correctly credit the Bible as the source of Proverbs 31:8-9, the Contemporary English Version of which states: “You must defend those who are helpless and have no hope. Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless.”
Fifty-four per cent, meanwhile, credited the passage to other sources, with President Obama cited as the most likely author by Americans (16 per cent). Behind Obama, the Dalai Lama was cited as the most likely author by survey participants (nine per cent), followed by Martin Luther King Jr (eight per cent), Oprah Winfrey (four per cent), and U2 frontman Bono (three per cent).
"The survey illustrates the reason we created ‘The Poverty and Justice Bible',” commented R Lamar Vest, president of American Bible Society, “to highlight God's concern for the poor, marginalised and oppressed."
"The Poverty and Justice Bible seeks to challenge the notion that the Bible is outdated and proves that God – not politicians, celebrities or even our greatest activists – was the first to speak out on today's most pressing issues," added Richard Stearns, president and CEO of World Vision, an international relief organisation and collaborator on the Bible project.
Other findings of the Harris Interactive survey included the percentage of adults claiming to be familiar with the Bible (80 per cent) and the percentage adults who think the Bible offers the most teachings on heaven, hell, adultery, pride or jealousy (46 per cent).
The survey also found that one in four men (23 per cent) do not think it is their responsibility to help the poor though there are more teachings on poverty and justice than on heaven, hell, adultery, pride or jealousy.
The Harris Interactive survey was conducted to coincide with the release of the new Poverty and Justice Bible in the US, which highlights the more than 2,100 verses that refer to poverty and justice.
The Bible was released in the UK in early 2008. Copies have been sent to MPs and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
On the web: The Poverty and Justice Bible at www.justicebible.org
Source: by Joshua A Goldberg, Christian Post
Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2009, 5:34 (GMT)