By Paul Tooher
How well do residents of Chicagoland know the Bible?
Turns out, it depends on who you ask.
According to a study recently conducted by the American Bible Society, Chicago ranks 74th most “Bible-minded” metro area in the nation out of 100 surveyed.
The study defines “Bible-mindedness” as a combination of how often respondents read the Bible and how accurate they think the Bible is.
According to the study, “Respondents who report reading the Bible within the past seven days and who agree strongly in the accuracy of the Bible are classified as ‘Bible-minded.’”
The ABS report also said it found “an inverse relationship exists between population size and Bible-friendliness. Of the top 25 Bible-minded markets, only three have a population of greater than one million households: Charlotte, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Dallas.”
According to the ABS, the five most Bible-minded cities in the nation are Chattanooga, Tenn.; Birmingham, Ala.; Roanoke, Va.; Springfield, Mo.; Shreveport, La.; Charlotte, N.C.; Greenville, S.C.; Little Rock, Ark.; Jackson, Miss. and Knoxville, Tenn.
Providence R.I., was deemed to be the least Bible-minded city in the nation, just behind Albany, N.Y., Boston, San Francisco, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Buffalo, N.Y., Hartford, Conn., Phoenix, Burlington, Vt., and Portland, Me.
Not so fast, says the Bible-searching website BibleGateway.com which has released a study of its own with some striking differences.
According to Bible Gateway, Chicago ranks 34th, 40 spots higher than the Windy City’s ranking by the ABS.
Bible Gateway says its based its rankings only on how often people in a given city used its Bible-searching software. It also says it controlled for population so that big cities didn’t dominate its finding.
According to its ranking, Atlanta is the most Bible-minded city (the city ranked 29th on the ABS ranking), followed by Dallas, Washington, D.C., Charlotte, N.C., Nashville, Tenn., Raleigh, N.C., Waco, Texas, Chattanooga, Tenn., and San Antonio.
Biblegateway.com ranks Salt Lake City as the least Bible-minded city in the nation, behind Burlington, Vt., Providence, R.I., Albany, N.Y., Buffalo, Portland, Maine, Las Vegas, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Penn., Syracuse, N.Y., and Green Bay, Wis.