Bible-minded cities: Chattanooga No. 2, Tri-Cities 3, Knoxville 11, Memphis 27

Chattanooga is rated the nation’s second most “Bible-minded city” and the Tennessee’s Tri-Cities area – Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport – is third, according a rating by the American Bible Society and Barna Group.

Knoxville came in at No. 11, Nashville 14th and Memphis 27th among the 100 cities listed. Birmingham is at the top of the list. Providence, R.I., at the bottom. (Note: Full list HERE.)

The Johnson City Press has a write-up on the report:

Results were drawn from a survey by the evangelical Christian polling firm, in which participants were considered “Bible-minded” if they had read the Bible at least once in the previous week and if they took a literal interpretation of scripture.

Ben Proffitt, director of missions for the Holston Baptist Association, and Dr. Vic Young, founder of Fountain of Life Bible Church in Johnson City, both celebrated the news that the home to their congregations are seen to be among the nation’s most Bible-minded.

“That’s quite impressive if we’re third in the country,” Young said.

He said his church’s emphasis on Bible literacy and defense of the Bible and its contents has been fruitful, with many of those whose interest was sparked at Fountain of Life Bible Church going on to start an education and career in theology, which often sends them to start their own churches.

…Proffitt also puts a lot of stock into the amount of Biblical education a person has.

“I’m enthused to hear this,” he said. “Maybe I’m a little surprised because I feel much of this generation is Biblically illiterate.”

…Tim Brent, an organizer with the Tri-Cities Happy Atheists and a local online freethinker meet-up group that has nearly 200 members, doesn’t see the third-place designation as good news for the area, although he understands many will celebrate being deemed more Bible-minded than most cities across the country.

“It’s certainly not one of surprise,“ Brent said. ”We know where we live.“