Bradley Wright is associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, where he researches social well-being and Christian spirituality. He is the author of “Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites… and Other Lies You’ve Been Told” and “Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World.” He has authored over 25 peer-reviewed articles, as well as other articles for publications like Christianity Today. Wright holds a B.A. in cultural anthropology and an M.S. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
While some narratives suggest that the sky is falling for Christianity, sociologist Bradley Wright takes an optimistic approach. Not only are evangelicals holding steady in their numbers, they are not perceived by those outside the faith as negatively as most people think. And, many people who do not affiliate with a particular religion are open to spirituality. These are all good things for people who like to share the good news.
In Today’s Conversation podcast hosted by NAE President Walter Kim, you’ll hear Bradley and Walter discuss these numbers as well as:
- Why people are attracted to failure narratives;
- What the numbers say about racial bias in churches and how to foster self-control;
- What kinds of research questions the Church should be asking; and
- How pastors and other Christian leaders can meaningfully decipher and employ research.
Read a Portion of the Transcript
Walter: If you could share one message with Christian leaders about what you have learned, what would it be?
Bradley: I’m going to cheat and give you two. One is that most statistics we hear are bad about religion, and they survive just because they’re outrageous, not because they’re good. So, put a big question mark behind just about any statistic you hear unless you know it’s from a good source. The second thing that I would want Christian leaders to know is that social science can have a role in promoting the faith, or it can have a role in at least understanding the faith. So, there’s a place for it. I don’t think I’m ready to have sociologists up at the pulpit. But social research tells us about how people work and how our communities work, and there’s something there that I think can help us basically be better Christians.
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- What is an Evangelical? — National Association of Evangelicals
- “Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites … and Other Lies You’ve Been Told” — Bradley R. E. Wright
- “Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World” — Bradley R. E. Wright
- “Is American Christianity on Its Last Legs? The Data Say Otherwise.” — Christianity Today article by Bradley Wright
- “The Science of Sinning Less” — Christianity Today article by Bradley Wright with David Carreon
- “Dear Pastor, Can I Come to Your Church?” — Christianity Today article by Bradley Wright
Today’s Conversation is brought to you by Christian Community Credit Union.