The Biblical Literalism Scale (BLS) is a 10-item scale found in an article by Andrew Village (2005).
The content of the scale includes biblical events rated by participants on a scale as follows: ‘definitely happened’, ‘probably happened’, ‘not certain’, ‘probably a story’ or ‘definitely a story.’ High scores indicated a more literal belief.
The survey sample consisted of 404 Christian participants. Scores ranged from 10 (all of the items were rated as stories) to 50 (all items rated as “definitely happened”).
Old Testament items were rated as less literal than New Testament items. The average scores were highest in Evangelical churches and lowest in Anglo-Catholic churches.
Correlation of scores with other variables
BLS and frequent charismatic experience (r = .51) (note a)
BLS and frequent Bible reading (r = .47) (note b)
BLS and age (r = -.17)
BLS and education (r = -.14)
Women scored slightly on higher (39.8) literalism than did men (37.2), but the difference was statistically significant.
David killed a giant called Goliath.
Jonah was in the belly of a fish (or whale) for three days.
Jesus turned water into wine.
The author reported coefficient alpha = .92
Some items revealed a ceiling effect. For example, “Jesus’ mother was a virgin when she conceived Jesus.” M = 4.4 and SD = 1.0.
a. Related Post see Measuring Religious Fundamentalism
b. For research and scales measuring biblical fundamentalism, see Counseling and Psychotherapy with Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians
Village, A. (2005) Factors shaping biblical literalism: a study among Anglican laity. Journal of Beliefs & Values, 26:1, 29-38, DOI: 10.1080/13617670500047566
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