A new study sheds light on why women are more likely than men to believe the Bible is literally true. The research, which appears in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, found evidence that intimacy with God explained the gender gap in biblical literalism.
The researchers analyzed data from 1,394 respondents in the national Baylor Religion Survey’s third wave. They found that attachment to God and seeking to establish a stronger connection with God were both associated with more literal views of the Bible.
In other words, both men and women who took the Bible more literally were more likely to say they had “a warm relationship with God” and reported spending more time alone praying and reading the Bible. But women tended to report both stronger attachments to God and spending more time attempting to connect with God, which explained their higher rates of biblical literalism.
“We found that while it’s true women take the Bible more literally than men, once attachment to God is accounted for that relationship disappears. So it’s really intimacy with God driving this difference, not gender per se,” Kent told PsyPost.
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