An Ifop survey for the Alliance Biblique Française carried out in partnership with La Croix L'Hebdo, entitled "The French and the Bible", reveals that this multi-millennium work, which is one of the bases of the faith of Christians, remains a unexplored land for a large part of the French.
THEFrench Bible Alliance commissioned a new study from Ifop (Institute for Opinion and Marketing Studies) on the relationship that the French have with the Bible. A survey published in The Cross The Weekly which testifies to the decline of the reading and knowledge of the Scriptures.
A “terra incognita”, an “unexplored continent”. This is what the Bible seems to be for a large part of the French, as Élodie Maurot, journalist for La Croix, writes.
"It's far from the universe of the French, which is quite impressive since we are a Christian country historically", she confides to us.
The Ifop survey reveals that only a quarter of French people (27%) have a Bible, compared to 42% in 2001. Bible reading has also decreased since it concerns only 19% of the French population, of which only 4% do so at least once a month, while 81% of respondents say they “never” read it.
Results which confirm, according to the sociologist Yann Raison du Cleuziou, "that the Bible remains of a relatively elitist use". He describes a “rare and declining” practice.
The Bible among Catholics and Protestants
Not surprisingly, Protestants (79%) are very likely to have one or more Bibles at home. As Élodie Maurot points out, “saying that you don't have a Bible at home when you're Protestant is not easy! ".
As for practicing Catholics, although a large number of them (73%) claim to have a Bible, there is however a decline with -5 points in twelve years. The history of Catholics with the Bible (which they also more readily call the Holy Scriptures) is however quite recent, the journalist reminds us, explaining that "the golden age of the French with the Bible is in the years 1960, 1970”.
She quotes the historian Guillaume Cuchet who indicates that “the conflict between Catholics and Protestants weighed heavily in this affair. In the Catholic world, until the middle of the XNUMXth century, there was mistrust of the dissemination of this text”.
However, Élodie Maurot believes that these figures reflect a real "familiarity" with the Book "which has settled and remains" in Catholic homes. She retains from this survey that today among Christians, "pno one ignores the Bible”.
Work and... hope!
If the French Biblical Alliance believes that it has work to make the rest of the French aware of this fundamental text for believers and make them want to look into it, other results of this survey invite us to hope.
They indicate in particular that even today and despite the decline observed, the Bible is recognized as a classic of world culture and that some of the stories it contains, such as the birth of Jesus (81%) or the ark of Noé (81%) are still well known to the general public.
Also, only 5% of French people believe that this text is of no interest. And, 50% of them, when asked what is, according to them and on a personal level, "the main interest that one can derive from reading the Bible", answer that they see an interest in it. religious or spiritual, before a cultural or literary interest (24%).
Finally, one in four French people say they would like to get to know it better. If those who expressed this wish are mainly among the already practicing Catholics (67%) or to a lesser extent among the Protestants (49%), the remaining French people therefore remain an audience to conquer!
Camille Westphal Perrier