“The B-I-B-L-E – yes, that’s the book for me,” is a popular Sunday school song and it could very well be the unofficial song of Knoxville, Tenn.
The American Bible Society recently named Knoxville as the nation’s biggest Bible-reading city.
“The mayor was thrilled,” said Geoffrey Morin, a spokesman for the American Bible Society.
“We attribute our ranking as the No. 1 most Bible-minded place to strong churches and compassionate community organizations that serve people of all faiths and backgrounds,” she said. “I hope the message this sends is that we are a place that loves, cares for, and accepts all our neighbors. That is, after all, the heart of the Bible’s message.”
Morin said the rankings are based on the percentage of citizens who read the Bible at least once a week and believe in the accuracy of the Scriptures.
Based on those criteria, he says the nation’s most Bible-minded city is Knoxville, Tenn., followed by Shreveport, La.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Birmingham, Ala.; Jackson, Miss.; Springfield, Mo.; Charlotte, N.C.; Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va.; Huntsville, Ala.; and Charleston, W.Va.
Morin said they were surprised by the results of their study.
“The Bible Belt as we know it doesn’t exist anymore,” he said. “It’s more like a Bible Polka Dot.”
While the top cities were in the Southeast, a number of large cities didn’t even make the top 25.
Nashville, home to the Southern Baptist Convention headquarters, failed to make the top five. Colorado Springs, once deemed the nation’s holiest city by Men’s Health, has fallen into the middle of the pack.
“We are a far more pluralistic country than we have ever been,” Morin said.
As for cities where the family Bible is gathering dust?
Morin said the northeastern United States was home to the least Bible-minded cities.
And surprisingly, the least of the least was not Washington, D.C. It was Providence, R.I. – whose founder named it in honor of “God’s merciful providence.”
“That’s not to say there are folks who read the Bible, but as a percentage of population, those are the lowest rankings.
Others on the bottom of the list are Albany, N.Y.; Burlington, Vt.; Portland, Maine; Hartford, Conn.; Boston; San Francisco and Phoenix.
Morin said he would not speculate on what their findings meant when it comes to Biblical events like where Americans will be spending eternity.
“I won’t comment on whose going where, when and how,” he said. “But the survey tells us there’s more opportunity for more people in those regions to discover what’s great in God’s Word.”
|Most Bible-Minded Cities||Least Bible-Minded Cities|
With reporting from Associated Press