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Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You've Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media Paperback – July 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A sociologist at the University of Connecticut, Wright examines recent survey data on Christian evangelicals to see if they substantiate the often misguided and hyperbolic public perceptions of this faith group. Separating the wheat from the chaff, he explains how some poorly worded, ill-sampled statistics give the wrong impression of evangelicals and why people should avoid giving them credence. Though he often blames the media for gleefully reporting bad news about devout Christians, he doesnÖt spare evangelical polemicists such as Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel for their false exaggerations of evangelical shortcomings. His biggest target may be the pollster George Barna, whose surveys on Christianity have generated intense controversy. WrightÖs colloquial writing style gives this volume the feel of a folksy college lecture series. The abundant use of graphics adds to the impression the bookÖs genesis was cribbed from introductory sociology of religion classes. The conclusions drawn here--no surprise--are that the most committed Christians practice what they preach, performing better than the rest of the population on a host of social measures including divorce, domestic violence, sexual misconduct, crime, substance abuse, and everyday honesty.
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From the Back Cover

What if all the bad news you've been hearing about Christians isn't true?

Here are some facts that may surprise you:
• Evangelicals are more respected by society today than they were twenty years ago.
• Divorce rates of Christian couples are lower than those of nonbelievers.
• The percentage of young people who attend church has held steady over the past twenty years.

All these statements are true, yet we've been told the opposite time and time again. Why is the church being misled? And what is the true state of Christianity in America today?

Sociologist Brad Wright shatters popular myths by sifting through the best available data. He reveals how Christians are doing when it comes to everything from marriage and morality to church growth and public perception. While not all the news is good, it turns out there is a wealth of encouraging information that we're not being told.

Get the truth behind the statistics you've been hearing and how the numbers are being manipulated, and discover what is really happening in American Christianity.

"Buy this book and read it carefully. Then buy one more and give it to your best friend and ask that person to do the same thing. 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

"Amid the widespread, distorted, alarmist, and erroneous claims about American Christianity, it is always good to learn some basic, reliable facts. Brad Wright pulls together a lot of good ones in these pages to reconnect people to reality. Let us hope that the misinformed critics and alarmists pay attention."

Christian Smith, Professor of Sociology, University of Notre Dame

"This is an extremely needed book that is a delight to read."

Rodney Stark
Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences, Baylor University
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764207466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764207464
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bradley Wright is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut where he studies American Christianity and, in general, in fascinated by the interplay between faith and data.

His first book, Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites... and Other Lies You've Been Told, was a modest success, winning a Christianity Today book award. His second book, Upside: Surprising Good News about the State of Our World, not so much. It supports the idea that good news doesn't sell.

His hobbies include photography, cycling, and hiking. He is married and has two children and a small dog.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By N. Taylor on July 30, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Sociological data, charts galore, and religion. All of these components put together make me just giddy. For reasons completely unknown to me even now, I found myself in sociology classes with people that can only be described as "the granola." Discussing survey questions, statistically significance, aggregating and disaggregating data, standard deviations, and best of all, a little book called "How to Lie with Statistics." The experience left me with an affinity for picking apart statistics and a 20 year old sociology degree. The bachelor kind. That gets you hired at JCPenney, doing the same thing the high school graduate does, muttering, "I hate my life."

Filled with charts, engaging explanation, and elbow-patch college professor humor, this book sets out to debunk commonly quoted myths regarding religion, focusing on Christianity and, more specifically, Evangelical Christianity.

Statistics are fascinating things. People tend to believe them when quoted. A few things to keep in mind when seeing a statistic. What is the thesis question, who is gathering the data and for what purpose, what is the N or population for data (the smaller the study size, the less reliable the data and does it represent a fair amount of different groups), and is it statistically significant?

The author addresses, through statistics and surveys, how Christians, and more specifically, evangelical Christians, are doing in regard to Christian lifestyle. For instance, why do we hear so much bad news about Christianity? (It sells stories) Is Christianity on the Brink of Extinction? Are we losing our youth? Are evangelical Christians all poor, uneducated, southern whites? Do Christians think and do Christian things? Do Christians love others? What do non-Christians think of us?
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Andy Rowell on July 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Bradley Wright's new book Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You've Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media calmly and clearly sorts through statistics about Christians in America today.

Wright is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut. Sociologists Rodney Stark and Christian Smith blurb the book positively as does Scot McKnight. In the book, he wisely points out the many reasons statistics can get garbled and exaggerated. Many hyperbolic reports of the demise of Christians and evangelicals from a variety of sources are exposed as faulty. Wright is generally gentle in his criticisms and his sense of humor pops up throughout the book.

The conclusion includes this summary judgment, "You know, I'm kind of enjoying this oversimplification, so let's take it a step further. That's right, after about a year of reading the scholarly literature and analyzing scores of data sets, I am distilling my evaluation of Evangelical Christianity to a single grade. I give American Evangelical Christianity a B" (213). To a large extent, he finds evangelicals are doing quite well. He is most concerned about the tendency of white evangelicals to be suspicious of people of other races. But even this area has a bright spot as the trend appears to be improving.

What is perhaps most refreshing about Wright's book is his encouragement for regular people to have a healthy skepticism toward statistics. "If nothing else, I hope you realize the need to be more skeptical when it comes to statistics about Christianity" (218). The sloppy use of statistics is a stain on both secular journalists and Christian authors. Wright's book is a significant dose of truth and sanity among the cacophony of shrill pronouncements. Get it and become a voice of reason in your sphere of influence.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Susan on July 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I also happen to be fairly well versed in statistics and number crunching. Reading this book was a fun exercise in applying my number crunching skills to better understanding the state of Christianity in America today. Regardless of my own interests and background, the intended audience is not number crunchers at all, but anyone with an interest in how the Christian Church is really doing these days.

I was very interested in what Wright had to say about the religiously unaffiliated people in America today. Who are the folks who choose not to affiliate with any particular religion? What do they think about God? What do they think about Christians? Wright takes on these questions and shares data from enough studies to form a pretty good picture of the unaffiliated group. He demonstrates that they are not all agnostics and atheists. It's fascinating stuff!

I was also challenged by what Wright had to share about how Christians are doing when it comes to loving others. As Christians, we are challenged to love everyone, even those who we disagree with about church, politics, or family issues. He paints a broad picture about how Christians are doing, but I found it easy to personalize the questions and think about how I am doing in these areas. So there's even some food for personal growth here.

Thanks, Dr. Wright, for this terrific book. My favorite line appears in the last chapter of the book: "With statistics, we should be everything we shouldn't be with people - cranky, skeptical, and critical." I agree!
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