I've been studying this work by Bradley R. E. Wright, and reference it a lot because there is so much truth to be found. I reviewed it on my review blog when it first came out.
Frankly, statistics can be molded to make any point you want. It is all in how you word the question. On another blog, someone wrote that he could get the exact answer you wanted if you gave him carte blanche in wording the questions.
Recently I have noticed so many using statistics and tweaking them into what they want, rather that facing bald facts. Politically, we should be acting like Paul when he wrote the Corinthians in his first letter...
1Corinthians 11:18 Indeed, first, I hear divisions to be among you when you come together in the assembly. And I believe it in some part. 19 For also heresies need to be among you, so that the approved ones may become revealed among you.
There is something there, but wait until the smoke clears before charging into a situation (or quote a statistic). How often do we hear something shocking, form an opinion, then run around shouting/gossiping a message that may or may not be true? What usually happens is we hear a stat from one source, and a few days later the same stat from another source until the thing becomes true without having ever been checked out in the first place.
We've lived in this Soap Opera generation where drama is the norm, therefore shock value has sky rocketed.
If I had ever turned in a newspaper story without fact checking, I'm sure I'd have gotten more than a slapped wrist. But, I had already learned my lesson before that could ever happen. When the truth is known, not even Satan can shout you down. There is something about truth that stops the mouths of liars, and something about liars who will deny truth or believe truth is a lie simply because of their own nature.
Unfortunately, there is this thing going around in the political circles which is growing like cancer. Twisted Truth, which is actually a lie, is being used to clog the cogs of justice. When all a person has to do is accuse without presenting any evidence, there is something horribly wrong with the system. It isn't a new thing, either. It is pervading our culture and is insidiously creeping into our churches, harming our pastors and undermining church leadership. It reminds me so much of the Salem Witch Hunts... modicum of truth wrapped with gargantuan lies, and people lost their lives.
Question: Have you ever experienced this kind of accusation in your work or in your church?