Friday, August 03, 2012

Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You Have Been Told

Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You've Been Told
By Bradley R.E. Wright Ph.D.
ISBN 978-0-7642-0742-4
Published by Bethany House
Reviewed by Clint Walker

I loved many of the classes I had as an undergraduate in the Behavioral Sciences Department. I thought my psychology classes were interesting, I loved my sociology of religion course, and my senior seminar was enjoyable. Perhaps the most helpful and interesting class for life, as well as discerning truth, was Behavioral Science Research Methods (BSRM).

One of the most important things I learned in my BSRM class was that statistics are often manipulated and misused. I learned a little of this in my introductory psychology class in Chicago, when a statistician shared that an erroneously large estimate of television watching was originally stated by people he worked with, albeit for an unofficial, non-scientific purpose. Either way, through BSRM and other classes, I learned fairly quickly that many statistics offer poor controls, unwise questions, and otherwise steer their readers in the wrong direction.

In Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites by Bradley Wright, Wright identifies several groups of statistics that are used to paint a grimmer picture of the church in the United States than one might anticipate. He takes time, in common language, to explain why many of these statistical studies are at best inaccurate, and at worst misleading. He believes that Christians and the church are too quick to embrace a negative narrative and faulty statistics.

One of the things that I found most fascinating in this study is that the grim picture of the church comes less often from outside the church than inside the evangelical echo chamber. This is partly because evangelical Christians, like everyone else, are overly enmeshed with a 24-hour news cycle and its penchant for drama and crisis. Even more though, there is a lot of money to be made by so called "Christian" businesspersons by scaring believers into accepting a frightening narrative about themselves, and then looking toward the so-called "church experts" for solutions to the problems they present.

I think more people should become familiar with Wright, and take a look at this book he has written.

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