Print

Pittsburghers not very Bible-minded, report says

Written by Peter Smith on .

I'm not sure how much I buy this study, but here goes:

Pittsburgh ranks as the 67th most-Bible minded metro area in the nation, according to the American Bible Society and The Barna Group. The former distributes Bibles and Bible-study tools in various languages, the latter has years of experience conducting research in religion, mainly of interest to evangelicals.

The survey measured Bible-mindedness on two things -- how often people said they read the Bible, and how much they believe in the Bible's accuracy.

Not surprisingly, the most Bible-minded states are in the ... Bible Belt. Topping the list: Woo, woo, Chattanooga, there you are. It's followed by Birmingham, Roanoke/Lynchburg, Springfield (Mo., not the Simpsons' hometown, presumably), Shreveport, Charlotte, you get the idea. Here's the complete report

The least Bible-minded? Providence/New Bedford, Albany, Boston, San Francisco. No surprises there-- they're all part of the Chosen Frozen of Polar Vortex Proportions. But how on earth did Cedar Rapids, Iowa, get to be the fifth lowest on the list? I mean, I know Iowa is a somewhat red state with gay marriage and all. But still, fifth?

Closer to home, the most Bible-minded part of Pennsylvania is Altoona-Johnstown at 40th, and about fifth-highest of all places outside the Bible Belt. Sounds about right. Further down is Philadelphia at 57, Pittsburgh at 67.

OK, help me out here. I know I'm new here, but does anyone think Philadelphia is more religious than Pittsburgh? How about Spokane, Portland, Ore., or Miami, all of which ranked as more Bible-minded. Pittsburgh has a higher percentage of religious adherents than any of those cities. If this survey is valid, then I'm guessing that Pittsburgh's hugely Catholic religious flavor would have worked against it in this survey: While Catholics revere the Bible, their piety doesn't necessarily involve regular Bible reading or in belief in the Scriptures' literal truth. In contrast, the evangelical piety of the Bible Belt is more, yes, Bible-minded. The main thrust of the survey makes sense, but there are enough puzzlers in there to make me wonder.

Rouding out the Keystone cities:

Harrisburg/Lebanon/Lancaster/York: 69

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: 84

In nearby states, Charleston-Huntington, W.Va., is 11, Columbus, Ohio, is 47 and Toledo, Ohio, is at 88.

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.