BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Christian Examiner) – Birmingham, Alabama, is a genteel Southern city and also the top Bible-minded place in the country.
In an annual study jointly produced by the Barna Group, a Christian research firm, and the American Bible Society, Birmingham bumped Chattanooga, Tennessee, from the top spot, and Alabama took top state honors from Tennessee, which had been number one for the previous three years, according to a Barna press release.
"The study provides us with a great starting point to understand where people are interacting with Scripture and what their views are of the Bible," said Andrew Hood, managing director of communications at the American Bible Society. "We want to help people continue to grow their engagement with the Bible."
"Ultimately," Hood continued, "we want people to know that, whether they live in one of the most or lest Bible-minded cities, the Bible can speak to their needs and challenges and help them make sense of life."
A "Bible-minded city" is one in which the greatest number of respondents said they read the Bible in the last seven days, and believe strongly in the accuracy of the Bible. Nationally, only 27 percent of the population was considered Bible-minded, Hood said.
The Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, Alabama, area ranked first with 51 percent of respondents said to be "Bible-minded." Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Tri-Cities, Tennessee, both had 50 percent. Roanoke/Lynchburg, Virginia, scored 48 percent, and rounding out the top five, Shreveport, Louisiana, with 46 percent of respondents said to be Bible-minded.
New York City entered the bottom ten for the first time, ranking 91 on the list of 100 for 2015. Also for the first time, Dallas, Texas, dropped out of the top 25 most Bible-minded cities in major media markets. It came in at 26.
Providence, Rhode Island, and New Bedford, Massachusetts, with only 9 percent of either city being Bible-minded, placed last in the survey.
But they were joined at the bottom of the list by other northeastern cities.
Albany/Schenectady/Troy, New York, was next to last with 10 percent of residents being Bible-minded, and Boston, Massachusetts, and Manchester, New Hampshire, tied at 14 percent apiece for 98th place.