FIFTY-NINE per cent of children do not recognise Jonah and the
whale as a story from the Bible, and one in three does not think
the nativity is, either, a new survey suggests. The figures were
produced for the Bible Society, which has launched a new campaign,
Pass It On, which urges parents to read Bible stories to their
The survey found that 43 per cent of the children who were
questioned had never read, seen, or heard of the story of the
crucifixion. This figure rose to 61 per cent for the parable of the
Good Samaritan, and the story of the feeding of the 5000.
The survey, which was carried out by YouGov online during
January, polled 804 children aged 8-15, and 1019 parents of
children aged 3-16.
Older children, on average, were worse than younger ones at
correctly identifying Bible stories. But the lack of familiarity
with stories from the Bible extended to parents as well. More than
half (54 per cent) of parents surveyed believed that the plot of
the Hunger Games novels was from a Bible story. Almost
half (46 per cent) failed to recognise the plot of Noah's Ark as a
The Bible Society's chief executive, James Catford, said: "Our
research indicates that the Bible's brilliant and engaging stories
could be lost to future generations unless people take action. . .
The Bible enriches life, and every child should have the
opportunity to experience it."
The survey also suggested that the Bible was still held with
affection in many parents' and children's hearts. Forty-three per
cent of parents thought it was important that children read the
Bible as a source of moral values; 40 per cent believed it was
significant to history and culture; and more than a third said that
it contained classic stories which had stood the test of time.