Monday, March 13, 2006

Why do the heathen rage?

Umm ... because reporters keep writing boneheaded stuff under the label of religion reporting, and copy editors keep letting them get away with it? Yeah, that'd be it.

For a quick discussion, though: What would you identify as the central flaw of this passage?

But a recent nationwide survey by The Barna Group, a leading Christian research organization, suggests that pastors don't really know their own congregations well.

Researchers asked 1,002 Americans to list their personal priorities, and only 15 percent ranked God and faith first. Meanwhile, 627 Protestant pastors said they believed 70 percent of their church members would place God as their highest priority.

That's a 55 percent discrepancy.

There's plenty to chew on there, and somebody else jumps on your favorite point first, feel free to point out anything else that ails the article (it doesn't seem to be online yet, but you shouldn't have any trouble finding it in your favorite Sunday morning paper).

By a pleasant coincidence, should anyone want to get a head start: What do you figure would be a good way to start the conversation in J4400 on Tuesday evening?

4 Comments:

Blogger nicole bogdas said...

I don't want to steal everyone's thunder so I'll get the party started with this: 15 percent of 1,002 Americans is not the same 627 Protestan pastors SPECULATING on what 70 percent of their congregation would do.

1:14 AM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Niko Dugan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:16 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Niko Dugan said...

Oh, God -- so many numbers, so much wrong in so little a space.

A case of taking the general and specific and mashing them together to get the outcome that supports the sentence before it.

a) 1,002 Americans surveyed about their priorities. We don't know, or aren't told, how many of these Americans are Protestants, and how many of those Protestants put God first.

b) 627 Protestant pastors said they thought (NOT believed) 70 percent of their members would put God first. Again, we don't know, or aren't told, how many total pastors were interviewed, and from how many different faiths, or if 627 is even a majority of those Protestant pastors. Maybe 1,500 of them thought 15 percent of their flock would put God first.

Finally, even assuming the two figures are at all related, it's not a 55 percent discrepancy; it's a 55 percentage point discrepancy. XX percent - XX percent = XX percentage points.

Sorry. I'll stop ranting now.

9:20 PM, March 14, 2006  
Anonymous Erin White said...

This story is saying that people who attend church on a regular basis care about God the same amount as the general population.

Because people roll out of bed early on Sundays just so they'll be tired for football.

5:27 PM, March 15, 2006  

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