The folks at the Barna Group have done another poll on beliefs, and surprise, the majority of respondents prefer a literal belief in the Bible as opposed to believing that it consists “merely [of] stories told to communicate life’s principles.” Given how frought with inconsistencies and contradictions the Bible is — and especially given how many alterations have been made by ecclesiastical editing and multiple translations over the centuries — it should seem obvious that any belief in the book’s literal truth is wholly insupportable. But not to the punters who make up Christianity’s rank and file, obviously.
This ignorance is on its boldest display in that over 90% of respondents believe that Jesus was actually born of a virgin. As Biblical scholars have known since, well, forever, the whole virgin-mother thing is based on a gross mistranslation from the original, in which “young woman” became “virgin,” perhaps at the hands of some sexually repressed clerical scribe. So as we see, one of the most widely held and cherished beliefs among Christians is based upon ignorance of their own religion’s history. (This is nothing new, of course. People call the TV show all the time, angrily denying that such and such a passage is in the Bible, only to splutter in confusion when Matt whips open his Bible and reads the passage to them.) Religion is most certainly the path away from, and not toward, knowledge and understanding.