Scot McKnight has written a post on Bradley R. E. 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. My first thought on seeing the title of the book was, Would the title of that book even fit in a tweet? (It will, with two characters to spare!) McKnight’s post is mostly an introduction to the book and an encouragement for us to buy it.
I have not read it, but it sounds like Wright’s book may be trying to set the record straight on some of the assertions made by unChristian: What a New Generation Really Things about Christianity… and Why it Matters. If that is, at least in part, what Wright is in fact trying to do, I will be very interested to read the book (when I can scratch up the money and time to read something not related to my dissertation). I will also be interested to see if it gets as much press as unChristian did. I suspect that if Wright is trying to provide nuance and subtlety to the interpretation and use of statistics which can be used to bludgeon other people in arguments, it regrettably will not be as popular as a book that just allows you to create a neat stereotype of an entire group of people. (At the moment it is ranked 21,241 on amazon, which is not bad.)
I will look forward to writing more if and when I have a chance to read the book for myself.
Has anyone read the book? Are my hunches about what it will be about on target at all? What are you thoughts?
(By the way, Bradley R. E. Wright also has a blog, which I have enjoyed reading. In addition to being a professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, he is also a gifted photographer.)
John Meunier said:
Thank you for pointing to this, Kevin.
I wonder when reading the reactions to unChristian and similar books what would have happened had the early Christian church responded to stereotypes fostered by Romans.
Hm, have not read the book, but have read unChristian. It seems to me that the method the Barna Group uses is pretty solid, statistically valid, etc. So, unChristian does adequately (it seems to me) reveal attitudes that people have about the Christians and congregations that demonstrate the attitudes Kinnamon and Lyons address in unChristian. So, I’m not sure what the new book’s beef is about. Guess I’ll have to find it (maybe buy it) as well.
Kevin Watson said:
Thanks for the response Steve. Perhaps I should have been more clear that I was speculating about the connection between unChristian and Wright’s book. It may well be that Wright is not at all intending to respond to unChristian. Thanks for pointing to your sense of the accuracy and fairness of unChristian. One of the reason I had the reaction I initially did was that I did not have any objections to unChristian when I first read it (but that was awhile ago). That means my comment about the stereotyping large groups of people may have been over the top and unfair to insinuate as part of unChristian’s purpose. Ideally, if I have time it would be great to reread unChristian at the same time as reading Wright’s book.