Children and parents don't recognise famous Bible stories

Many are unable to identify key tales such as Noah's Ark, the Nativity and Adam and Eve

Antonia Molloy
Friday 07 February 2014 12:23
Many children have never read, seen, or even heard Biblical stories
Many children have never read, seen, or even heard Biblical stories

Who built the ark? It’s a good question for many of today’s parents and children, who are “unaware” of Bible stories.

Almost three in 10 children do not know that the story of the birth of Jesus is a Biblical tale, research by the Bible Society found.

And many others are unable to identify Adam and Eve or Noah’s Ark as religious stories.

Although many parents believe it is important for their children to be aware of what is written in the Bible, large numbers of youngsters have never read, seen or heard some of its most well-known stories.

The Bible Society said that these findings point to a decrease in Bible literacy and show that while many people still place great importance on the book, little is being done to promote it.

In the survey of 800 eight to 15-year-olds and around 1,100 parents, 29 per cent of children didn’t realise that the Nativity came from the Bible.

One in five (20 per cent) didn’t identify Noah’s Ark as a religious story and 19 per cent didn’t recognise Adam and Eve.

But almost one in 10 (9 per cent) incorrectly though that the stories of King Midas and Icarus came from the Bible, while 6 per cent thought the story of Hercules was contained in the book.

Nearly a quarter of children (23 per cent) had never read, seen or heard Noah’s Ark, along with 25% for the Nativity, 38% for Adam and Eve and 43% for the Crucifixion.

And parents did not fare much better. Nearly half of those questioned (46 per cent) failed to recognise Noah's Ark as a Bible story, while around a third were unsure of or did not recognise the tales of David and Goliath (31 per cent) and Adam and Eve (30 per cent).

Adults also confused modern day literature with the Bible. 34 per cent thought a Harry Potter plot line might be a Biblical narrative, while 54 per cent said the same about the Hunger Games.

The report found that almost half (43%) of parents whose children had seen, heard or read Bible stories said it was important for a child to do so because these tales provided good values, while two in five (40%) thought these stories were important to our history and culture.

Three in 10 (30%) said it was important to ensure that classic stories and books were passed on to future generations.

It also revealed that over a quarter of children (28%) said they would like to read, hear or see more Bible stories.

The Bible Society published the research to mark the launch of its new Pass It On campaign, which aims to encourage parents to keep the Bible alive by passing on its stories to their children.

James Catford, group chief executive of Bible Society, said: "It's clear that parents want to give their children the best start in life.

"The Bible's contribution to our culture - language, literature, the visual arts and music - is immense.

"It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from.

"The Bible enriches life, and every child should have the opportunity to experience it.

"If we don't use the Bible, we risk losing it.

"We're calling on parents to pass it on."

Additional reporting by Press Association

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