You may have heard the news story about how Christians knew less than atheists about their own religion. This would be a perfect opportunity for Christians to start beating up on themselves, and many have already started doing so.
But maybe that's not such a good idea.
In his excellent new book Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites . . . and Other Lies You've Been Told, Bradley R. E. Wright examines Christians' tendency to believe -- even to embrace -- every stereotype and label that's flung at them. In a recent interview at Christianity Today, Wright remarked, "What we hear is, 'Christianity's going to fail. You're all a bunch of failures. But if you buy my book, listen to my sermon, or go to my conference, I'll solve everything.' These fear messages demoralize people, hinder the message of the church, and hide real problems."
As Wright explains, some statistics are manipulated or faked (e.g., statistics about Christian divorce rates), while others show a genuine need for improvement (such as statistics about our racial attitudes, or this new study about our religious knowledge). But neither is a reason for wallowing in what I call "Christian guilt." Instead, why not simply be thankful to God for the areas where we're doing well, and humbly pray and work to improve in the areas where we need to do better?