It was a lovely little dinner party. There were eight of us sitting around the table discussing politics and current events. For once, blessed relief from long-winded plot descriptions about everyone’s favorite t.v. shows. Did I mention I don’t watch? I read instead.
Anyway…this particular night Lindsey was complaining about crime and the terrible time we live in. More violence, more killing, and unspeakable horrors like never before. She’s not alone in her fear. I hear it from almost everyone I meet. I even heard it from the pulpit recently and it left me squirming. Because I know, it simply is not true. We are actually living in the most peaceful time in recorded history. But no one seems to believe it.
And I don’t blame them. Turn on the television and see first-hand a school shooting. Open your computer and watch someone cut themselves. Read the newspaper and learn about a child murdered while playing outside. It’s enough to make you angry, sad and depressed in a 30 second soundbite.
We’re human and we feel deeply. We’re people of faith whose first instinct is empathy. Yet, Lindsey, and just about everyone else it seems, is reluctant to give up their emotional response to entertain a factual one: One that is extremely encouraging, reassuring,and hopeful.
By now I know better than to try to convince anyone to give up their fear. They won’t listen if I suggest to tune out the bad news and turn on to a different story. Because the real story isn’t much of a story at all. It’s facts, figures, charts, and data. Hard data collected from reliable sources. Numbers crunched and analyzed and put into perspective. Yawn.
But today I share a Pew Research Center study. Take a glance. Tomorrow I’ll bring back videos, articles, and stories.
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