Stark and Johnson on bad news about religion

Rodney Stark and Byron Johnson have written a provocative essay for the Wall Street Journal. In it, they document the various ways that the media selects “scare” stories about Christianity for publication while ignoring “stay-the-same” or “getting-better” stories.

They start:

“The national news media yawned over the Baylor Survey’s findings that the number of American atheists has remained steady at 4% since 1944, and that church membership has reached an all-time high. But when a study by the Barna Research Group claimed that young people under 30 are deserting the church in droves, it made headlines and newscasts across the nation—even though it was a false alarm.”

For the rest of the article…

They are right, but, frankly, I don’t think that it matters.  There is simply too much demand for bad news about Christianity, both by Christians and non-Christians, and so we can expect the media to continue to provide it.

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