Americans still hold a strong belief in the Bible, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Three in 10 say it is the literal word of God, while 49 percent say it is the inspired word of God but should not be taken literally.
Only 17 percent believe it is an ancient book of stories recorded by man.
Although the number of people who believe the Bible is literally true has fallen in the last two decades, Gallup points out that the dominant view in America is that the Bible is the word of God, whether inspired or literal.
Highly religious Americans, particularly those of Protestant faiths, still commonly believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible.
The polling company has tracked whether Americans take the Bible literally for the past 40 years.
Respondents to the Gallup poll were given three options as responses to the poll:
- The Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word.
- The Bible is the inspired word of God, but not everything in it should be taken literally.
- The Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 5-8, 2011, with a random sample of 1,018 adults, aged 18 and older.