July 7th, 2010 09:39 EST
Sociologist Shatters Myths from the Secular and Christian Media
You`ve probably heard the many negative media reports about the evangelical church, such as:
Â· Christian young people are leaving the Christian faith in record numbers
Â· The divorce rate among Christians is as high as those of nonbelievers
Â· Christians today are watered down in their beliefs and actions
But are these truly accurate?
In "Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You`ve Been Told" (Bethany House), sociologist Bradley R.E. Wright, PhD, shatters these popular myths, along with many others. Using the best available data, he reveals to readers why and how many of the commonly shared statistics are incomplete and inaccurate.
He discusses the different dynamics of how statistics are often misquoted as they get passed on and how even Christian leaders will pick statistics for their usefulness rather than for accuracy.
And he highlights the problems caused for the church by the continuing emphasis on negatively slanted statistics.
"My goal is not to show the Church in a particular light but rather to let the data speak for itself," he says. His book describes how Christians are doing in six areas: church growth, what Christians believe, their participation in church activities, family and sexual issues, how Christians treat others, and how others perceive Christians.
As Wright has examined the data, he finds a richer, more nuanced story about what`s happening with religion in America. Though Wright focuses on Evangelical Christians (because that is his vantage point as one himself), he also analyzes Mainline Protestants and Catholics. As a result, many of the ideas in this book apply to American Christianity more generally.
And the result is some surprisingly good news for Christians.
"Brad Wright`s book is well-written and intelligent, and does a fine job of challenging received wisdom on a wide variety of topics. I hope the book finds the audience it deserves." -- Philip Jenkins, Penn State University and Baylor University
"I hope this book goes viral because this book shows that there`s lots of good news when it comes to the condition of the church in the West." -- Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bradley R.E. Wright, PhD is associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut. After receiving tenure, he switched his academic focus from crime to religion in order to research American Christianity. Brad received his PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, the top-ranked sociology graduate program in the United States. He has a popular blog (http://brewright.com) based on his research. Brad is married with two children and lives in Storrs, Connecticut.