After listening to several dark reviews of 2014—recapped news of the beheadings in Iraq, the Ebola epidemic, racial strife, airplanes crashed or missing, ongoing violence in Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and several African countries—it’s no wonder we’re glad to put last year behind us. Amid all the fear and anxiety, where can we find some good news?
After a steady diet of cable news, you may be surprised to learn the following:
- Abortions in the US are at their lowest rate since 1976.
- Violent crime has hit a 20-year low, with overall crime falling for fifteen straight years.
- Globally, absolute poverty (what’s necessary to afford minimal standards of food, clothing, health care and shelter) has reached the lowest level in recorded history.
- Deaths from wars in this century are fewer than at any comparable period in the twentieth century.
- Life expectancy continues to rise, reaching 78 in the US and 71 worldwide (up from 59 in 1970).
- Child mortality rates have dropped dramatically in the last forty years while education and literacy rates have soared.
Statistics don’t always dispel doubt, I realize. Yet over the past year, I’ve also witnessed the good news firsthand, through my own travels and ministry.
At a conference of Prison Fellowship International (PFI), which ministers to prisoners in more than 125 countries, I met African Christians who bring soup and bread to prisoners and establish schools for children incarcerated with their mothers. In places like Brazil and Belize the government has turned over the administration of entire prisons to PFI with remarkable results.
The most prestigious medical college in the India, Christian Medical College Vellore, ...1