Have beliefs about the Bible changed over time? Not so much.
Using Gallup data, we can see the following:
- The question was first asked in 1976, with 38 percent professing a belief that the Bible is the literal word of God.
- This climbed to 40 percent by 1980.
- After this peak, it dropped as low as 27 percent and no higher than 34 percent over the next several years.
- The latest poll, in May 2011, pegs it at 30 percent believing literally in the Bible.
- In 1976, only 13 percent believed the book is fables, legends, and moral precepts written by man.
- This peaked at 22 percent thinking so by 2008.
- It's now at 17 percent, according to the May 2011 survey.