Upside (book review)

Have you ever heard how a TV news producer decides what the lead story will be? Or how a managing editor decides which stories get the front page of the newspaper? It comes down to this: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Sad, but too often true. With all of this negative news leading, Dr. Bradley R.E. Wright’s book Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World is indeed surprisingly good news!

Dr. Wright notes that sociologist Joel Best “classifies the different types of bad statistics as follows: some numbers are bad to begin with; some numbers get bad as they are passed along; and some numbers are chosen because they are bad.” In other words, there’s just a lot of bad news out there!

But despite all of this negative press, people around the world are surprisingly upbeat. That’s because when a sociologist like Dr. Wright gets a hold of all of these statistics, he can put them into the proper perspective. He looks at the data on a variety of topics:

  • Personal finances
  • Education
  • Health
  • Crime and war
  • Marriage and divorce
  • The environment

“The trouble with this country is that there are too many people going about saying ‘the trouble with this country is….’” —Sinclair Lewis

Do bad things happen? Yes. Are there some issues that still need to be addressed? Absolutely. Is the world ready to collapse all around us? It doesn’t appear so. Christians should have the clearest and keenest worldview because it’s a biblical worldview. Dr. Wright does an excellent job of helping the reader find the perspective that is realistic, yet balanced.

Economist professor Julian Simons summarized it this way—

Almost every economic and social change or trend points in the positive direction, as long as we view the matter over a reasonably long period of time. That is, all aspects of material human welfare are improving in the aggregate.

I am a Bethany House book reviewer.

See The Invisible

Noted New Atheist Richard Dawkins says,

“Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence. … Faith is not allowed to justify itself by argument.”

I wholeheartedly—and even respectfully—disagree.

The Bible does define faith as “Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Just a few verses later there is an even stronger statement about faith: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.

I have evaluated the evidence. I have thought long and hard about the options. I can justify all of the arguments. And my faith stands strong!

God wants all who call on Him to grow in God-pleasing faith. So I’m really excited to dive into our brand new series called SEE THE INVISIBLE this Sunday.

I hope you can join me at 10:30am this Sunday at Calvary Assembly of God.

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