Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You've Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media
By Bradley R.E. Wright, Ph.D.
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction
Published 2010, Bethany House
Paperback, 234 pages
According to the media, the church is rapidly shrinking, both in numbers and in effectiveness. But the good news is, much of the bad news is wrong. Sociologist Bradley R. E. Wright uncovers what's really happening in the church: evangelicals are more respected by secular culture now than they were ten years ago; divorce rates of Christians are lower than those who aren't affiliated with a religion; young evangelicals are active in the faith. Wright reveals to readers why and how statistics are distorted, and shows that God is still effectively working through his people today.For a book filled with sociological data, statistics, and charts on nearly every other page, I found this book to be surprisingly engrossing. To be sure, this book is by no means an easy read, and requires a certain amount of intellect to understand the plethora of data that Wright provides on every conceivable topic related to the image of Christianity - whether it be from the perspective of Christians or non-Christians.
Wright also uses the book to teach the reader not only the correct data about many of the misconceptions of the image of Christianity, but also how to respond to the blind faith that many have when quoting others' seemingly statistically-based beliefs. He gives examples of this in conversation and how to enlighten others all throughout the book. He describes how many people, when addressing topics in Christianity, will use embellished or misinterpreted statistics to draw attention to themselves as an author or preacher just like the fear-mongering of the news on television or newspaper. He also discusses how the power of personal prejudices and stereotypes can override the blatant evidence to the contrary for many people.
Without getting into all of the detailed statistical findings that Wright reveals, I can easily say that most claims about the image of Christianity are exaggerated or completely false. But don't take my word for it - read it for yourself.
The Cover: The cover is mostly taken up by the lengthy title, with a collection of microphones pointed at it. The microphones I imagine are intended to represent the book as some sort of lecture, but I find them unnecessary.
First Line: "You may have heard the bad news about Christianity in America: The church is shrinking; Christians get divorced more than anyone else; non-Christians have a very low opinion of Christians; and on and on it goes."
This opening peaked my interest, as I am familiar with all of these rumors of mythic proportions.
Favorite Quote: "Bad news has pushed aside the good news about the Good News."
Read For: Off The Shelf Challenge
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*