Monday, December 6, 2010

Book Review: Christians Are Hate-filled Hypocrites-- and Other Lies You've Been Told

(You can tell my ambivalence from the frequency of "however"s below!)

The title of the book says it all. The thing is, the first chapter quotes Rodney Stark extensively and I kept thinking throughout that Stark would've done it better. However, I welcome actual data applied to actual problems however I can get it. I'm glad it's out there because many of the things the author discusses are cases where the media has distorted some sociological data. However, it just doesn't do enough to avoid being a disappointment. My favorite part of the book was actually a chart from a blog that shows conversion rates from one denomination to another, which tells me that 75% of evangelical youth remain evangelical when they grow up. If that stat surprises you (because many people who have youth-group seminars to sell trumpet stats that are much lower than that, probably to sell tickets to their seminars) then you may want to check out this book.

It also doesn't help that, you know, everyone's a hypocrite in one way or another, so the accusation that Christians are hypocrites doesn't surprise or shock me, or even strike me as needing defending. However, some of the other assertions -- like that church doesn't affect divore rate -- are rightly put to rest in this book. I just wish there had been more of a focus on that, rather than measuring "warmth of feeling" toward other groups in the last half, which I don't find particularly helpful. Oh well.

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