Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

When I was in college I took Elementary Statistics to fulfill part of my math requirements. Calculus was beyond me because I am much more comfortable with words than numbers, and I heard Elementary Statistics was a pretty easy class. Turns out what I heard was right and I believe I got an A in the class.

Of all the things I learned in that class, the one I remember is this quote by Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” As a result, I have always been skeptical of statistics of any kind.

A few statistics have caught my eye lately. One is the statistics about the recent Pew Research Poll on religious knowledge. According to the statistics generated by this poll, atheists and agnostics are significantly more knowledgeable about religion than are evangelical Christians. I happened to take both a 10 question and a 15 question version of the original 32-question poll and got 10 right on the first one and 14 right on the second. I guess that makes me statistically smarter than an atheist or agnostic.

Some other statistic that I have seen lately are that 1 out of 10 people is born gay, 6 out of 100 people are alcoholics, 1 of every 2 kids are bullied and 1 in 10 are regularly victimized (who knows how many kids are being bullies), and 5% of the U.S. population suffers from depression.

But do all of these statistics really mean anything? Do they reveal the real truth about humanity? Do they help us get through another day or understand what to do to solve the pain and suffering that plagues the human race?

There are two other statistic that I know of, and they are the only ones I can think of that don’t fall into the category of “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” The first is that 10 out of 10 people are born with a sinful nature, with a desire or propensity to engage in conduct that is harmful to themselves or others, and is not that which God has revealed as being in their best interest. “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:22-23.

The second is that 10 out of 10 sinners are loved by God, and His gift of grace through Christ is available to anyone who accepts it. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17.

There is only one answer to the pain and suffering that members of the human race inflict on each other and on themselves. That answer is Jesus Christ. It is the power of His Holy Spirit that heals the heart of sinful man and allows him to love his fellow man and himself enough to truly desire that which is best. As Jars of Clay sings in the hymn “Nothing But the Blood”:

What can wash away my sin
What can make me whole again
For my pardon this I see
For my cleansing this my plea

Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing, nothing, nothing but the blood of Jesus

Nothing can for sin atone
Not of good that I have done
This is all my hope and peace
This is all my righteousness

Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
And no other fount I know
Nothing, nothing, nothing but the blood of Jesus
Nothing, nothing, nothing but the blood of Jesus

Statistics lie, but God does not. Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” John 14:6. It is only when we all accept the truth of our own sinful nature and His solution to this overwhelming problem of humanity that truth will prevail, and pain and suffering will cease.

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


3 Responses

  1. Ahhh! Thanks SO MUCH, Linda!

    It bugs me to pieces. I think these so called facts are intended to force people’s thinking into a specific direction. The sooner the truth gets out, the better it is for all – Jesus is indeed the only way 🙂

    Thanks again and have a fantastic day!


    • Ann, When I posted this I had already posted my Friday Recipe, but I read a “statistic” that just bugged me and I couldn’t get this off my mind. I’m glad you found it to be a blessing. 🙂 Peace, Linda

  2. I loved your statistics, which didn’t lie! 🙂 What an awesome post, Linda. God bless you and guide you as you lead us on in Christ! deb

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