Children and parents 'unaware of Bible stories'

Nativity play Many of the children asked did not know that the story of the Nativity came from the Bible

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Widespread ignorance exists among children and parents about the contents of the Bible, research has suggested.

Surveys for the Bible Society found almost three in 10 young people were unaware the story of the birth of Jesus came from the Bible.

A similar number of children had never read or heard about tales of the Crucifixion or Adam and Eve.

The report was based on a poll of 800 children aged eight to 15 and about 1,100 parents.

Good values

The study revealed a generation of children with little knowledge of the most important stories forming the basis of Christianity, and parents who often knew little more.

Start Quote

Too few children have the opportunity to hear and reflect on what this life-changing book contains”

End Quote Dr Richard Chartres Bishop of London

Of the children who were questioned, more than a third failed to identify either the Good Samaritan or David and Goliath as Biblical stories.

Many of the parents who responded saw the Bible as a source of good values for their children.

But almost half did not recognise the story of Noah's Ark as coming from the Bible, and many confused Biblical stories with plotlines from well-known films such as Harry Potter.

The Bible Society commissioned the study as part of its Pass It On campaign to encourage parents to give the stories to their children.

The group said the findings were "symptomatic of the fact that many children indicate they have never read, seen or even heard these stories".

'Immense contribution'

In a foreword to the report, Bishop of London Dr Richard Chartres said sharing Bible stories "is as vital now as it has ever been".

"Too few children have the opportunity to hear and reflect on what this life-changing book contains," he said.

"Even those that do when they are young often take its awesome stories for granted when they become adults. There is work to be done."

James Catford, group chief executive of the 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."

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