Bible story ‘could be lost’

14 February 2014


Under construction: Russell Crowe (right) plays Noah and Logan Lerman (left) Ham in Noah, by Paramount Pictures, out in the UK on 4 April

Under construction: Russell Crowe (right) plays Noah and Logan Lerman (left) Ham in Noah, by Paramount Pictures, out in the UK on 4 April

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 children.

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 Bible story.

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.

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