Jerry Johnston Interviews Stephen Davis on Biblical Literacy in America19 August 2016
On a quick stop in California, I met with Dr. Stephen Davis. Davis is the Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College in California. Interacting daily with youth in his religion lectures, Davis has experienced first-hand the secularization proliferating among American youth. I asked Davis if the accelerating number of nones was discouraging. He replied,
“Nowadays in a decreasingly Christian civilization, I think it is costly to be a Christian because you have to take a stand and a stand that most people in your community probably will not agree with or even understand. And I actually think that is a good thing. So, I’m not entirely pessimistic about the fact that the group of nones is growing. I think, perhaps, it can lead us to a place where being a Christian is something that will be taken more seriously by Christians because it will cost them something. They’ll have to take a stand, they’ll have to say “no” to certain things, they’ll have to say “yes” to certain things. In the 50s, I really didn’t see much difference from the way the people that I knew who claimed to be Christians were living their lives and the way people were living their lives who weren’t Christians and didn’t come to church. Nowadays, I think there is a difference and there needs to be a difference. So that’s the one thing that I’m a little bit optimistic about. Of course, I would rather this be a much more Christian society than what we’ve got, but there’s a silver lining there in my opinion.”
Tracking the rise of secularism in America and the UK, Cristie Jo and I are filming with secular and Christian leaders alike. However, our goal is not just to pinpoint the causes of biblical illiteracy but to develop resources promoting biblical literacy.