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Pollster Gallup promotes Bible literacy for childrencomment (0)

July 24, 2008

George Gallup Jr. has devoted much of his more than 50 years of polling to assess what Americans believe and know about the Bible. In 2003, nearly half of survey respondents reported they believe the Bible has decisive authority over what they say and do, yet only 28 percent said they regularly study the Bible to find direction in life.

“Americans have a reverence for the Bible, but too many of them don’t read it,” Gallup said.

To help close the gap between Bible reverence and reading, Gallup has agreed to serve as honorary chairman of the Children’s International Arts Festival.

This global effort started by syndicated columnist Carey Kinsolving encourages children to answer Bible questions and illustrate them for online publication and significant prizes.

“Twelve dude ranch owners have come together to offer family vacations for 12 of our winners,” Kinsolving said. “The best children’s writing and drawing will be published in the ‘Kids Color Bible Gospel of John,’ and the best of the best will ride horses with their families on some of the most beautiful ranches in North America.”

Entry forms will be accepted through March 31, 2009, and can be found at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. There is no entry fee.

Kinsolving said he asked Gallup to serve as honorary chairman of the international festival because his polling demonstrates that knowing the Bible and applying it transforms lives and society.
“George Gallup is a pioneer who made the spiritual world more tangible,” Kinsolving said. “When he started surveying to explore people’s spiritual lives in the early 1950s, this was virgin territory.”

“A mountain of survey data shows that when educational background and other variables are held constant, persons who are ‘highly spiritually committed’ are far less likely to engage in antisocial behavior than those less committed,” Gallup said. “They have lower rates of crime, excessive alcohol use and drug addiction than other groups.

“They are more hopeful about the future and experience greater joy in life. They contribute more time helping people who are burdened with physical and emotional needs. They are less likely to be racist, and are more giving and forgiving.”

A 2002 Gallup poll found that 93 percent of Americans own a Bible. Gallup and Kinsolving want to see the Bible brought out of bookcases and put into the lives of children. They believe the Children’s International Arts Festival featured on the Kids Talk About God Web site is a step in the right direction.

To illustrate the state of Bible illiteracy in America, a 2007 article in USA Today reported that 50 percent of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.

In 2000, Gallup reported that fewer than half of Americans can name the first book of the Bible (Genesis), only one-third know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount and one-quarter do not know what is celebrated on Easter.

“I am pleased to serve as honorary chairman of the Children’s International Arts Festival because the festival provides children with incentives to study the Bible,” Gallup said. “Parents and teachers will have a wonderful tool to motivate young people to read, study and think about the Gospel of John.”

KidsTalkAboutGod.org is a non-denominational, Christian ministry that empowers children by publishing their faith expressions and making them available without charge to Web site visitors.

Visitors may download art and Bible lessons for free. As a newspaper column, Kids Talk About God has been in syndication for more than seven years.

Much of the polling data quoted in this article was research done for the American Bible Society. (Gallup)

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