America's most and least 'Bible-minded' cities

AP

The city of Chattanooga, Tennessee was declared the most "Bible-minded" American city of 2013, according to the American Bible Society's second comprehensive study on this issue.

Birmingham, Alabama came second, with Roanoke/Lynchburg, Virginia third.

East coast cities dominated the least Bible-minded end of the table, with Providence, in Rhode Island, and New Bedford, Massachusetts coming joint bottom.

They were just below Albany, the state capital of New York, and Boston and San Francisco.

The results come from a phone survey of over 46,000 people. People were considered Bible-minded if they had both read the Bible in the last seven days, and if they strongly agreed with the Bible's accuracy.

"An analysis of interaction with and views of the Bible continues to help us evaluate the Bible landscape in America," said the society's Geoffrey Morin.

"To help people engage with the [Bible], we need to understand where people are starting from."

Other trends included what the society described as "an inverse relationship" between population size and "Bible friendliness".

In the 25 most Bible-minded areas, only three cities had populations of more than a million households - Charlotte, North Carolina, Nashville, Tennessee, and Dallas, Texas.

Washington DC came in 80th on the list, seven places below Los Angeles (73rd). Gambling haven Las Vegas is 90th, the progressive city of Portland, Oregon is 61st, and the recently bankrupted city of Detroit is 49th.

New York came in at 89th which prompted Time magazine to enquire as to whether the survey question referencing "the Bible" also counted the Jewish Torah.

A spokesperson quoted in Time Magazine said surveyors left it up to respondents to determine what they considered to be the sacred text, but the question's wording was: "How many times do you read the Bible outside of church or a synagogue?"

Talking about the importance of the survey, Mr Morin said: "We want people to know that whether you live in the least or most Bible-minded cities, the Bible can speak to your needs, challenges and concerns and help you make sense of your life."

The complete top and bottom ten lists are as follows

Most Bible Minded 2013:

  1. Chattanooga, Tennessee
  2. Birmingham, Alabama
  3. Roanoke/Lynchburg, Virginia
  4. Springfield, Missouri
  5. Shreveport, Louisiana
  6. Charlotte, North Carolina
  7. Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina/Asheville, North Carolina
  8. Little Rock, Arkansas
  9. Jackson, Mississippi
  10. Knoxville, Tennessee (2012's number 1)

Least Bible Minded 2013:

  1. Providence, Rhode Island/New Bedford, Massachusetts
  2. Albany, New York
  3. Boston
  4. San Francisco
  5. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  6. Buffalo, New York
  7. Hartford/New Haven, Connecticut
  8. Phoenix
  9. Burlington, Vermont
  10. Portland, Maine

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