I bought Bradley R.E. Wright’s Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told, because I was troubled by a radio preacher who’d stated that America’s Christians are no better than non-Christians when it comes to divorce and other behaviors.
A sociologist, Wright loves surveys and stats. In his book, he points out the faulty scaffolding that lies behind a few surveys which, nevertheless, then fuel headlines. He reminds us that “The media who want to sell more newspapers and books and commercials, attract people’s attention by offering the unexpected and the ironic.” And, “Negative statistics about Christianity receive more attention that positive ones, and consequently are more likely to become conventional wisdom…Christians acting like Christians just isn’t as interesting as ‘Christians gone wild.’ ”
For the record, The General Social Survey cited in the book reveals that “Christians and members of other religions have lower divorce rates, about 42%, than do the religiously unaffiliated, about 50%.” (No big diff, eh?)
While Christians and their leaders might reasonably hope for a greater difference between Christians and non-Christians when it comes to behavior, we can’t forget an important fact that God (and Wright) know: We are all sinners – a fact which might make Christians, who sin, repent and sin again, come across as hypocrites.
Of note is the number of surveys indicating that improved (more Christian-like) behaviors and attitudes are positively correlated with higher frequencies of church attendance. What we surround ourselves with is what we tend to embody.
(Dig the trippy chart constructed with wavy bands representing the populations’ childhood faith and their adult faith. http://eclecticchristian.com/?s=childhood+faith+chart.)
In Chapter 6, Wright reiterates, “Becoming a Christian doesn’t make people good, it just makes them better.”
Better what? Better than whom?
Becoming a Christian is helping me be a better person than I was before I crossed the line of faith. So, yeah, in that sense, I’m better. Thank you, Jesus.
More about Bradley R. E. Wright http://brewright.com/