It always bugs me when facts are presented without the appropriate context. One of the worst offenders is when today’s numbers of a set population are compared to previous numbers in history. For example, an often repeated fact during the current National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and today’s National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is that there are more slaves today than at any time in history.
That’s true. But it shouldn’t be shocking. There are also more people today than at any time in history, by an order of magnitude. Which makes stats like this deceiving. A straight numbers comparison doesn’t give you a clear picture of what’s really happening. Slavery as a percentage of the total population could also be at the lowest point in history.
The shock and awe of the fact doesn’t stem from the injustice of slavery, it stems from population growth. More people means more slaves. A lower percentage than ever, but a higher total number than ever. It’s kind of like arguing that more people die in car accidents today than in any time in human history, so we really need to care about car accidents. That might be true (I can’t find the numbers to back it up), but if it is, it’s only because there are more people driving cars now than ever before so there’s likely going to be more deaths than ever before.
Continue reading More People Are Dying Than Ever Before!: Facts Need Context
I’ve argued about the whole ‘one nation under God’ thing before, and most of you are probably sick of it. But that’s OK—it’s my blog.
Lee Greenwood, a country music artist who wrote “God Bless the USA” and is a spokesperson for the effort to keep “under God” in the pledge, said the following in a Decision magazine Q&A “One Nation Under God: A Conversation with Lee Greenwood”:
“It bothers me to know there is the possibility that I as a Christian would be not only an underdog, but that I would be trodden upon if I claimed that I was a Christian.”
Maybe I shouldn’t nitpick Greenwood’s statements, but he seems to be expressing a fear of persecution. Get used it, Greenwood. You’re a Christian. It’ll happen. You are an underdog. You should be trodden upon. That’s the whole nature of our faith. We are beaten down, we are losers, we are illegitimate.
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10, NIV)
It kind of gets to me when Christians think we live in a Christian nation are are therefore free from any trouble, any hardship, any difficulty. That’s false security.
Prayer. That’s what they ask for. They’re being beaten, intimidated, starved, tortured. And they ask for prayer. Not for food. Not for clothing. And not even for an end to the persecution. They’re in countries like Egypt, Sudan, and China. Christians being persecuted for their faith. They value Bibles over bread and are willing to risk their well being just to read one. Mine sits on the shelf by my bed. I glanced through it the other day while I ate my breakfast. I wasn’t in danger of the police busting down my door.
It boggles my mind what different worlds we live in. They would spend every last cent on a Bible. I spend hundreds to ensure I’ll have matching dishes for every occasion. Sometimes I just don’t understand. Christianity makes so little sense in the twenty-first century. I wonder if people felt the same way in the first century.