American evangelicals, who profess to be committed to Truth, are among the worst abusers of simple descriptive statistics, which claim to represent the truth about reality, of any group I have ever seen. At stake in this misuse are evangelicals’ own integrity, credibility with outsiders, and effectiveness in the world. It is an issue worth making a fuss over. And so I write.
The article goes on to examine a claim:
“This generation of teens is the largest in history—and current trends show that only 4 percent will be evangelical believers by the time they become adults. Compare this with 34 percent of adults today who are evangelicals. We are on the verge of a catastrophe.”
That 4% statistic began as a informal survey done by an author of a book on youth ministry and eventually worked its way up to 4-page magazine advertisements for a national leadership summit seeking to “re-educate 20,000 youth pastors in 44 cities around the nation.”
Christianity Today’s article does not seek to catalogue other bad statistical behavior by Evangelicals but rather to inform the reader of the importance of using statistics accurately. One can only hope many ex-gay leaders I write about regularly will learn from this.
Friend of Ex-Gay Watch, Jim Burroway, also posted on this article.