BIAS & The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: UNC professor Dr. Keith Payne has written an important book for understanding how racial bias is splitting Americans. To understand how the Church can bridge this divide and bring people together, church leaders must first take a look at this well researched book. Here are some excerpt from an article the author wrote about this important topic.

The Truth about Anti-White Discrimination

by Keith Payne, Scientific American Magazine, 6/17/19. Dr. Payne is a Professor in Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC Chapel Hill. He is author of The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die.

…News stories are full of statistical evidence for disparities between black and whites, such as the fact that the average black family earns about half as much as the average white family, or that the unemployment rate for blacks is twice that for whites, or that the wealth of the average white family is ten times the wealth of the average black family. But this kind of evidence is like a political Rorschach test that looks very different to liberals and conservatives. What looks to liberals like evidence of discrimination looks to conservatives like evidence of racial disparities in hard work and responsible behavior.  

The only kind of evidence that can hope to bridge this divide comes from experiments which directly measure discrimination — and these experiments have been done.

…Consider an experiment by sociologist Devah Pager, who sent pairs of experimenters—one black and one white—to apply for 340 job ads in New York City. She gave them resumes doctored to have identical qualifications. She gave them scripts so that the applicants said the same things when handing in their applications. She even dressed them alike. She found that black applicants got half the call backs that white applicants got with the same qualifications.

This study inspired experiments in lots of areas of life. One study, for example, responded to more than 14,000 online apartment rental adds but varied whether the name attached to the email implied a white applicant (e.g., Allison Bauer) or a black applicant (e.g., Ebony Washington). The black applicants were twenty-six percent less likely to be told that the apartment was available.

These kinds of experiments are not ambiguous like statistics on disparities are. There were no differences in merit. Race was the cause. Real employers and landlords discriminated against blacks and in favor of whites, by a large margin.

The key is to keep repeating the facts and their basis in reason and science, until they become part of the background that any conversation takes for granted. It is frustratingly slow work. But to even get started, we need to move the conversation about discrimination beyond evidence of disparities, and focus on the experiments and the stubborn facts they deliver.

Read more at … https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-truth-about-anti-white-discrimination/

BARNABAS FRIEND & “Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I increasingly appreciate the encouraging friends in my life, who I call “Barnabas Friends.” In my coaching work I’ve found that church leaders thrive on (and need) regular encouragement. Here is today’s encouraging quote.

“…I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 MSG

http://bible.com/97/2co.12.7-10.msg

BELIEF & When Americans Say They Believe in God, What Do They Mean?

by Pew Research, 4/25/18.

Previous Pew Research Center studies have shown that the share of Americans who believe in God with absolute certainty has declined in recent years, while the share saying they have doubts about God’s existence – or that they do not believe in God at all – has grown.

These trends raise a series of questions: When respondents say they don’t believe in God, what are they rejecting? Are they rejecting belief in any higher power or spiritual force in the universe? Or are they rejecting only a traditional Christian idea of God – perhaps recalling images of a bearded man in the sky? Conversely, when respondents say they dobelieve in God, what do they believe in – God as described in the Bible, or some other spiritual force or supreme being?

A new Pew Research Center survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults finds that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God of the Bible, but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. A slim majority of Americans (56%) say they believe in God “as described in the Bible.” And one-in-ten do not believe in any higher power or spiritual force.

In the U.S., belief in a deity is common even among the religiously unaffiliated – a group composed of those who identify themselves, religiously, as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” and sometimes referred to, collectively, as religious “nones.” Indeed, nearly three-quarters of religious “nones” (72%) believe in a higher power of some kind, even if not in God as described in the Bible.

Read more at … https://www.pewforum.org/2018/04/25/when-americans-say-they-believe-in-god-what-do-they-mean/

BELIEF & Less than half of Americans say religion can answer today’s problems. #LifeWay

by Aaron Earls, LifeWay, 1/23/19.

As Americans grow accustomed to turning to Google for help, God no longer seems as relevant.

For the first time since Gallup began asking in 1957, less than half of Americans(46 percent) say religion can answer all or most of today’s problems. A growing number—up to 39 percent—see religion as largely old-fashioned and out of date.

Gallup religion answer today's questions old fashioned

Unsurprisingly, the more one attends church, the more likely they are to believe religion does have the answers.

Eight in 10 weekly church attenders (81 percent) say religion can answer today’s problems. More than half of nearly weekly and monthly attendees (58 percent) agree.

But 27 percent of those who attend less often see religion as having the answers, while 58 percent say it is old-fashioned and out of date.

Fewer than 1 in 10 religiously unaffiliated Americans (9 percent) believe religion has answers for today. Seventy-three percent see it as largely out of date.

“The public is now more closely divided than ever before in its views of religion as the answer to what ails society,” said Gallup’s report.

Read more at … https://factsandtrends.net/2019/01/10/losing-our-religion-less-than-half-of-americans-say-religion-can-answer-todays-problems/

BIBLE & 5 facts on how Americans view the Bible and other religious texts #PewResearch

by  , Pew Research Fact Tank, 4/14/17.

… Here are five key facts about Americans and their holy texts.

About a third of Americans (35%) say they read scripture at least once a week, while 45% seldom or never read scripture, according to 2014 data from our Religious Landscape Study

Three-quarters of Christians say they believe the Bible is the word of God. Eight-in-ten Muslims (83%) say the Quran is the word of God, according to the 2014 survey. Far fewer Jews (37%) say they view the Torah as the word of God.

Christians, who make up a majority of U.S. adults (71%), are divided over how to interpret the Bible. While about four-in-ten Christians (39%) say the Bible’s text is the word of God and should be taken literally, 36% say it should not be interpreted literally or express another or no opinion. A separate 18% of Christians view the Bible as a book written by men, not God.

In 2014, about four-in-ten Christians (42%) said reading the Bible or other religious materials is an essential part of what being Christian means to them personally. An additional 37% say reading the Bible is important but not essential to being a Christian, and 21% say reading the Bible is not an important part of their Christian identity.

Seven-in-ten Americans (71%) know the Bible teaches that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. A similar share know that Moses was the biblical figure who led the Exodus from Egypt, and 63% could identify Genesis as the first book of the Bible, according to our 2010 religious knowledge survey. But fewer than half of adults (45%) could name all four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), and only four-in-ten (39%) identified Job as the biblical figure known for remaining obedient to God despite extraordinary suffering.

Read more at … http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/14/5-facts-on-how-americans-view-the-bible-and-other-religious-texts/

BELIEF & When Americans Say They Believe in God, What Do They Mean? #PewResearch

Pew Research, 4/25/18

Previous Pew Research Center studies have shown that the share of Americans who believe in God with absolute certainty has declined in recent years, while the share saying they have doubts about God’s existence – or that they do not believe in God at all – has grown.

These trends raise a series of questions: When respondents say they don’t believe in God, what are they rejecting? Are they rejecting belief in any higher power or spiritual force in the universe? Or are they rejecting only a traditional Christian idea of God – perhaps recalling images of a bearded man in the sky? Conversely, when respondents say they dobelieve in God, what do they believe in – God as described in the Bible, or some other spiritual force or supreme being?

A new Pew Research Center survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults finds that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God of the Bible, but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. A slim majority of Americans (56%) say they believe in God “as described in the Bible.” And one-in-ten do not believe in any higher power or spiritual force.

In the U.S., belief in a deity is common even among the religiously unaffiliated – a group composed of those who identify themselves, religiously, as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” and sometimes referred to, collectively, as religious “nones.” Indeed, nearly three-quarters of religious “nones” (72%) believe in a higher power of some kind, even if not in God as described in the Bible.

The survey questions that mention the Bible do not specify any particular verses or translations, leaving that up to each respondent’s understanding. But it is clear from questions elsewhere in the survey that Americans who say they believe in God “as described in the Bible” generally envision an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving deity who determines most or all of what happens in their lives. By contrast, people who say they believe in a “higher power or spiritual force” – but not in God as described in the Bible – are much less likely to believe in a deity who is omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent and active in human affairs.

Read more at … http://www.pewforum.org/2018/04/25/when-americans-say-they-believe-in-god-what-do-they-mean/