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Many Brits don’t know some of the most popular Bible stories – including the true meaning of Christmas Day, a study has revealed. Researchers found that as well as struggling to name the birth of Jesus as the event behind Christmas Day, a large number were also left scratching their heads when asked about the stories of Adam and Eve and Easter.
The names of Jesus’ disciples and the person who built the Ark also caused confusion.
And rather than the gold, frankincense and myrrh given to Jesus to mark his birth, some believe the Three Wise Men named a star after him and handed over a donkey.
The stats emerged in a study commissioned to mark the release of epic TV mini-series The Bible on Blu-ray and DVD, out on Boxing Day.
A spokesman for the study said:
“Some of the Bible stories are more well-known than others, but it’s staggering to think that so many aren’t familiar with even the basic reason behind Christmas.
”Every year, we sit down to celebrate the festive occasion and all of the traditions that goes with it, but it seems there are some who do this, despite having no idea why.
”We are constantly told that the number of people attending church is dropping, which goes some way to explaining why so many are less familiar with the Bible than in years gone by.
”So much of our culture and traditions are based on the Bible stories, it’s important to be familiar with them.”
The study of 2,000 Brits found that 16% were unaware that Christmas Day marks the birth of Jesus, with 6% thinking he was born on Christmas Eve.
Almost one in twenty even believed Good Friday – the day of his death – was celebrated as the day of his birth.
But it’s not just the Christmas story which leaves Brits floundering, with many also struggling to name some of the reasons and traditions behind Easter.
One in five had no idea that Jesus died on Good Friday with more than one in twenty thinking Shrove Tuesday marks his death.
And almost one in ten had no idea Jesus wore a crown of thorns when he died, instead believing he wore a hat, the crown jewels and even a pair of sunglasses.
More than half also had no idea that Maundy Thursday is to mark the day of the last supper.
The study also found that one in ten didn’t know that it was Judas who betrayed Jesus, while more than a quarter were oblivious to the story about god creating the world in six days.
Instead, more than one in ten believe it took 40 days, while almost one in twenty thought it was nearer 60 days.
Adam and Eve also caused some confusion, with one in ten failing to name an apple as the fruit Adam eat in the Garden of Eden and another 15% unaware it was the snake who tempted him.
Other Bibles stories which left many stumped include the number and names of Jesus’s disciples, Moses being responsible for parting the Dead Sea and that Noah built the Ark.
Despite this, the study found that 80% of Brits have read the Bible, with 60% saying they consider themselves to be ‘familiar’ with it and its stories.