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The World is Getting Better How God's nation takes over the entire Earth.

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Only 6% of Americans think the world is getting better.1 News media-consuming Americans are bludgeoned with pessimism day after day. With wars raging, diseases spreading, and increased awareness of poverty and injustice it isn’t hard to imagine why. While we are fed a constant stream of despair, what hope do we have?

It has been 2,000 years since the promised Messiah finally came and announced the arrival of his nation and defeated his enemies. He was victorious. If he really was the Messiah and achieved victory on the cross then why is the world getting worse and worse? How is that victory? For the past few decades in the west, the idea of a coming Great Tribulation, an Antichrist, and the Rapture has captured the imagination of pop-Christianity and altered the evangelical’s understanding of Christ’s power to overcome the world.

These beliefs are rooted in the idea that Satan wins (if only temporarily) and teaches people to be fatalistic. It re-empowers a disempowered devil (Luke 10:19; Colossians 2:15). It is worth noting that this doom-and-gloom “end times” system of beliefs has not been held by the majority of Christian thinkers throughout the past 2,000 years (it was invented less than 200 years ago). Instead, the idea of “end times” involved increasing peace, decreasing violence, and the spread of the Kingdom of God. So which is it? What does Scripture say? What do the facts say?

What if the doom-and-gloom is all a deception from the greatest deceiver of all? What if the world is getting better? It turns out that Scripture and the facts prove it.

A Nation That Supplants All Others

The first concept we have to understand when we think about the trajectory of human history is the Kingdom of God. A simple definition of a kingdom is “a domain where a king rules,” essentially a nation. The Kingdom of God implies a King, and of course, Jesus is that King. Christ’s nation, and citizenship in it, is what the Gospel is all about (Matthew 4:23). The Kingdom is where God’s will is done here on Earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). This nation is described by Jesus as a plant that starts out as the smallest of seeds but turns into the largest plant in the garden:

What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.
Mark 4:30-32

If the Kingdom of God expands to become the largest plant (nation) in the whole garden (earth) then that means that large and powerful empires of the world will need to fail and crumble. This is exactly what the book of Daniel prophecies. God gave the prophet a vision of history represented by a towering statue. This statue prophetically unveils the four world empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.2 In the vision, the four empires are struck and destroyed by a small rock: “…the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35). As Daniel’s vision continues, he further learns that this stone, which grows into a mountain, is none other than the Kingdom of God:

In the time of those kings [during the period of the Roman Empire] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.
Daniel 2:44

Daniel also sees Jesus being enthroned as the King of that Kingdom (Daniel 7:13-14). Some have assumed this is a description of the second coming of Christ, but to assume that is to ignore the clear fact that Daniel’s vision said this would occur during the time of the Roman Empire. This prophetic vision was the inauguration of the Kingdom of God during the first advent of Christ. And sure enough, it was. Jesus has set up his Kingdom, a nation without end that will crush every other nation.

When Will Jesus Return?

Jesus taught that the the gospel of the kingdom,” which included “healing every disease and sickness” (Matthew 9:35) is here now (Mark 1:15, 9:1; Luke 11:20) but also that it is coming more in full (Luke 19:11). Not only did Jesus preach the Kingdom of God, but he also instructed his disciples to preach the in-breaking Kingdom (Luke 9:1-2, Matthew 10:7). The Bible speaks of a progressive restoration as the dominion of the Kingdom grows that we are to experience before Christ’s return.

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
Acts 3:18-21

Many Christians have often taken a stance of waiting and longing for Jesus to return. But here we see that Jesus will remain in heaven until certain things are done. In reality, it is Jesus who is waiting and longing for us to finish the work he told us (and empowered us) to do; then he will return. The apostle Peter even claims that we can cause Jesus to come more quickly.

You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.
2 Peter 3:11-12

Jesus is not waiting for the world to become worse, sick, destroyed, or in need of rescue before he returns (we don’t have to wait for a tribulation); he is waiting for all things to be restored. He is waiting for a Church that will be glorious, and without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:25-27). Even though Jesus could have called legions of angels to subdue the earth and enforce the Kingdom of God upon every person of every nation, his plan was to use people like you and me, acting as his body, empowered by his Spirit, to spread the good news of the Kingdom. From these Scriptures, it seems clear that Christ will not come back until the conditions are met and even that our preparations can hasten the day of his return. But is God’s Kingdom actually growing?

Transforming Planet

The Unstoppable Growing Church

What started as a small mustard seed has already grown into a very large plant. When the Spirit was first poured out on the early Church, 3,000 people were saved in one day (Acts 2:41). That was amazing. Back then, it was a huge number. However, today approximately 3,000 people get saved, scattered throughout the world, every 54 minutes!

Historic census data also demonstrates an ever-increasing Kingdom throughout the centuries since the time of Jesus. While the numbers show that the population of the planet has certainly grown, they also show a continuous increase in the percentage of that population that is Christian throughout the centuries. The spread of God’s Kingdom has always outpaced population growth.

Year Christian World Population
100 AD 1/360th of the world population was Christian
1000 AD 1/220th of the world population was Christian
1500 AD 1/69th of the world population was Christian
1900 AD 1/27th of the world population was Christian
2010 AD 1/3rd of the world population was Christian

The number of Christians around the world has nearly quadrupled in the last 100 years, from about 600 million to more than 2.3 billion, representing 33 percent of the world population.3 More than 80,000 people are joining God’s Kingdom daily.4 That adds up to more than a half-million people who are becoming Christians every week.5 This growth isn’t slowing, it is accelerating.

God’s Worldwide Kingdom

God’s Kingdom is growing all over the planet. The Christian population in sub-Saharan Africa has climbed from 9% in 1910 to 63% in 2010, or from 8.5 million to 516 million during that time.6 Muslims are converting to Christianity in Nigeria amid rapidly rising levels of Christian persecution, which has seen more than ten thousand Christians killed in five years. Despite persecution, there are more Christians in Nigeria than in any single nation in traditionally Christian Western Europe. In fact, Nigeria’s Christian population is nearly the same size as the total population of Germany.7 The blood of the martyrs really is the seed of the Church.8

Christianity in Latin America has increased by over 877% since 1900.9 Not only has Jesus reached the Godless in Latin America, but every hour on average 400 Catholics also convert to Protestantism.10 While Catholicism is also growing, Protestantism is growing three times faster.11 Every single day a new church opens its doors in Guatemala where 60% of its population claims Christ’s lordship.12 In 1970 only 3% of Brazil were Christians compared to more than 50% today.13 All across South America, millions are coming to know Jesus.

There is nowhere on the planet where Christianity is growing faster or larger than in Asia. In the Philippines, 85% of the population identify as Jesus-followers, making up 4% of the world’s Christians.14 In 1920 there were only 300,000 Christians in Korea, while today there are 15 million in South Korea and 9 million in North Korea.15 Although the 1.3 billion people who live in India are predominately Hindu, more than 60 million Christians call this nation home and the Church is growing.16

In 1949 there were only 1 million Christians in China while today there are anywhere from 60-120 million.17 These estimates are very conservative because most of the Church in China is underground. If estimated house church participants and those across rural China are included, as much as 20 percent of the nation already identifies with Jesus. This would be astounding because, before 1970, there were no legally functioning churches in China.18 Though it is difficult to have exact numbers, it is clear that more Christians are worshiping God in China on any given Sunday than in the United States.19 It is predicted that by 2030 China will be the largest Christian population in the world.20

Silencing the Naysayers

Many pessimistic Christians believe that Islam will overtake the world and outgrow Christianity. Why anyone who believes in Christ’s victory would believe this is puzzling. The church is not losing ground to Islam. In fact, Christian conversions have been outpacing Muslim growth for decades. Protestant growth has been three times global population changes and twice that of Islam from 1960-2000.21 While many Muslims convert to Christianity, barely any Christians convert to Islam. Muslims are also concentrated in the Middle East and demand allegiance to the Arabic language, while Christianity is present in every continent, region, and tongue.22 The Church shows no sign of slowing its growth.23

A multitude of Muslims have come into the church over recent decades.24 More Muslims have committed to follow Christ in the last 10 years than in the last 15 centuries.25 While this conversion trend is still new, 10-20 million Muslims have converted to Christianity.26 In 1979 there were only 500 Christians in Iran27 while today there are over a million,28 making it one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world.29 In the Middle East are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity.30 Jesus is at work.

From our perspective in America (and Europe), where church membership is stagnant or declining,31 this sounds like a cooked-up fantasy, but it is true. This is the biggest shift in history. Looking at the statistics, we can clearly see that if growth continues at this rate, whole nations will experience transformation on all levels. The tiny seed that started in the Middle East has grown to permeate the whole planet. We are in the early stages of a total transformation of the world.

Garden Planet

Make America Great Again?

There is some talk of wanting to make America great again—as if America once was great but is no longer. We seem to have forgotten how bad things used to be. In the 1800s, more than 40% of America’s newborns died before the age of five. There were about five million immigrants in the United States, but 20% of them were slaves. The age of sexual consent in many states was nine or ten years old.32 Abortion was legal throughout most of the 19th century and records tell us that more than one-fifth of all pregnancies were aborted.33 Alcoholism was much higher than it is today. Prostitution was also much higher, with New York having approximately one prostitute for every 64 men; and the mayor of Savannah estimated his city had about one in 39.34 Nearly 100 million native people were killed in a massive genocide. Women could not vote, and men could legally beat their wives as long as they did not maim or kill them. Things were not better morally, ethically or spiritually.

The Influence of Jesus

Jesus told us that he would sit on his throne at the renewal of all things (Matthew 19:28). Jesus is on his throne now (Hebrews 10:12). If he was indeed victorious over Satan, sin, and death, we should be seeing fruits of that. If you read or watch the news, you’ll likely think the world is falling to pieces. But there’s another story, a story the news doesn’t often report. This story is backed by data.

As the influence of Jesus has spread around the world, nearly every aspect of our existence has grown more peaceful, healthy, and loving.

War and Terrorism

For the majority of human existence, the world has been torn apart by unending war. You won’t hear this on the news, but we are now living in the most peaceful time in the history of the planet.35 Today everyone is more likely to die in a traffic accident than perish in military conflict; roads have become more dangerous than armies.36 Proportionally speaking, the amount of those who have died in war has been sharply decreasing throughout the centuries. The proportion of people killed annually in wars is less than 1/4th of what it was in the 1980s, 1/7th of what it was in the early 1970s, 1/18th of what it was in the early 1950s, and a 0.5% of what it was during World War II. The rate of deaths from governmental violence (war, terrorism, genocide and warlord militias) in the past decade is a few hundredths of a percentage point.37 While the news tries to feed into fear in order to support a global “war on terror“, statistics confirm that more Westerners die in bathtubs and from staircase falls than from Islamic violence.38 Islamic fundamentalism isn’t conquering the globe, Jesus is, and he is doing it without violence for he has declared that war is abolished.

Homicide

Polls show that over the last twenty years at least two-thirds of all people believe that homicides are increasing.39 Many are convinced that murder rates are the highest ever recorded. How safe from random acts of murder do you feel on a daily basis? In the past, bloodshed was unimaginably severe and widespread.40 In comparison to today, a medieval traveler was a hundred times more likely to be murdered.41 It was extremely common for ordinary people to stab each other over insults at the dinner table.42 This doesn’t describe the world we live in today. Over the last 25 years, the rate of homicides has dropped by nearly 50%.43 The influence of Christ’s commands and ethics of non-violence is being felt all around the world.

Disease

Some people wrongly assume that disease and illness are increasing around the world but nothing could be further from the truth. The scope of disease in our age is nothing compared to the past. Over 30% of Europe died from the Black Death plague in the medieval period.44 Up until relatively recently, in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, smallpox killed at least 500,000,000 people.45 Polio killed 500,000 people every year until it was virtually eliminated.46 Deaths due to cancer have fallen 22%47 since 1994, and AIDs-related deaths have been diminishing for the last fifteen years.48 Chronic diseases are not only less severe than they were a hundred years ago, but they also begin an average of ten years later in life.49 Illnesses are nowhere as severe in this generation as they were in the past. The Great Healer is alive and at work in the world today.

Life Expectancy

It is no secret that people today are living longer than the majority of human history. Around the time of Jesus and the Apostles, people could only enjoy a life expectancy of 18 to 25 years of age.50 Even as late as the early 1700s, the average European still only lived 35 years. In the early 19th century, 40% of children died before the age of five.51 People focus on present conditions but are unaware of the horrors of previous generations. Today, only 0.5% of kids in the United States and Europe are dying. Jesus is winning the war on death.

Poverty

Most Americans think that the number of those living in extreme poverty has increased, with two-thirds thinking extreme poverty has “almost doubled.”52 In 1820, according to estimates, 94% of the world had absolutely no money at all.53 Though conditions continually improved, over half the world was still in extreme poverty as late as 1950.54 While even as recently as the late 1990s, nearly half of China lived in extreme poverty but today that number is less than 1%.55 Currently, less than 10% of the world is gripped by extreme poverty,56 and by 2030, this figure will likely drop to 3%.57 Billions of people, all created in God’s image, are entering a new era where their needs are being met.

Food and Water

A now-classic trope of “end times” preppers is the fear over being able to eat and drink in a coming “apocalypse“. Sadly, this has been a reality for most people throughout history. Pre-modern Europe suffered from famines every few decades.58 Over the centuries, famine has also ravaged India, China, and Africa. Unimaginable numbers died in every region of the world. Many would turn to cannibalism in order to survive. More than seventy million perished in famines triggered by totalitarian regimes. While in the past, millions have died from contaminated water, 90% of the world now has access to clean water.59 It is estimated that within a few decades, no family will ever have to drink from a contaminated stream ever again.60 While in the past tens of millions of people would die due to lack of food, thankfully, today, vulnerability to famine has been virtually eradicated from all regions outside of Africa.61 While just decades ago half the world was chronically malnourished, today large-scale famines are virtually nonexistent, and malnourishment only affects less than 13% of the world.62 God is looking out for the hungry.

Treatment of Women

While sexual assault against women has become front and center in the news cycle it is only because of how we are no longer willing to put up with it. During the time of the Old Testament, women were considered property to be enjoyed and disposed of at the pleasure of men (Deuteronomy 21:10-14, Exodus 21:7-9). In the Roman Coliseum, women were stripped naked, tied to stakes, and raped for entertainment. With the sword, chivalrous medieval knights would regularly abduct women from neighboring kingdoms to satisfy their urges.63 In ancient times it was a tragedy to be born a woman but even in recent history things haven’t been so good. In 1900, the only nation on earth where a woman could vote was New Zealand.64 Ivy League colleges didn’t accept female students until the 1960s.65 Until a few decades ago, a husband could legally confine his wife against her will, rape her, and beat her.66 The story doesn’t end there though. Between 1973 to 2008 sexual assaults have dropped by an astonishing 80%. The decline may, in fact, be even greater since women today are almost certainly more willing to report being raped than in the past when it was trivialized.67

Racism

While racism is unfortunately still a problem today, contemporarily nothing can compare to our unconscionable past. Slavery has been woven into the fabric of society for all of human history up until recently. It is most detestable that the Bible was used by the majority of Christians in America’s past to defend slavery. In the 1800s 25% of white people owned a total of 4 million black people.68 The wretched depravity didn’t go away after slavery was “outlawed“. In the early 1900s, home invasions and lynchings occurred, on average, three times a week.69 Tar-and-featherings, beatings, and rapes were common as the Ku Klux Klan was praised by America’s president, Woodrow Wilson.70 At the time, the Klan had four million members, today it has less than three thousand.71 We now live in a different world where hate crimes have plummeted, between 1994 and 2015 dropping by half.72 While slavery existed in almost all nations as late as 1800, it is now formally banned everywhere.73 Through the influence of the Holy Spirit, the trajectory toward racial equality is evident around the world.

Abortion

It is often mistakenly believed that abortions only became commonplace in America after “Roe v. Wade” in 1973,74 but abortion has been going on for thousands of years. In the Old Testament, we even see God allegedly prescribing abortions for women who conceived through infidelity (Numbers 5:11-21). Before modern abortion techniques, women would use herbal concoctions and toxic drugs to end their pregnancies.75 Around 20% of pregnancies were aborted in the 1800s. In 1973 when abortion was legalized there were 744,600 lives cut short,76 although a comparable 800,000 were terminated annually earlier in the century.77 Contrary to popular Evangelical fears, abortion rates have decreased steadily over the past 50 years.78 Abortions are at record lows79 and the decline is sharp and consistent, half of what it was in 1980 and still dropping.80 Christ’s call to protect all life is taking root in the world’s ethics.

The world is getting better and better and Jesus is far from finished.

The Ever-Expanding Kingdom

Jesus has been sitting at the right hand of God for more than 2,000 years waiting on us to continue his work as his body. The assignment of the Church has been to crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20). As his delegated authorities, by crushing Satan under our feet, we are placing him under Jesus’ feet (Hebrews 10:12-13, 1 Corinthians 15:24-26). In this way, we are part of a progressive destruction of the demonic kingdom, which will continue until death, the final enemy, is destroyed.

The idea that the world is getting worse is just factually wrong.

The lie that the world is getting worse has caused the church to sit back and let Satan do what he wants while condoning it as “God’s will” or “a sign of the times.” This lie has caused the Church to empower the devil by anticipating evil in current events. Even though the world is not anywhere near perfect yet, it is consistently becoming morally, ethically, and spiritually better. We must be watchful and hard at work, for we still have much to accomplish before Christ’s return, but we must do this with the understanding that we are gaining ground, not losing it.

The government will be upon his shoulder, and his name is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace, there will be no end
Isaiah 9:67

The increase of God’s government and peace is truly without end, meaning that once God’s Kingdom arrives (which it already has), it will expand forever, destroying darkness as it goes. We are living in the most incredible season of human history thus far. The amount of people turning to Jesus is of historic proportions, far greater than any of the early apostles ever witnessed. Why should we expect anything different? Jesus was victorious and history should show this! The Kingdom arrived in the first century when the rock cut without hands, Jesus, crashed into the Roman Empire, and it has been growing ever since.

The fundamental idea that the world will get better and that the Church will rise in unity, maturity, and glory before the return of Jesus was the common belief of the historic Church before the mid-twentieth century. We need to recapture this vision and spread it.

 

If you’re still struggling with how these facts line up with your beliefs about end times ideas like a coming Great Tribulation, an Antichrist, and/or the Rapture, be sure to give these articles a read.

Footnotes

  1. Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (New York, Penguin Publishing, 2018), 40. Steve Denning, “Why The World Is Getting Better And Why Hardly Anyone Knows It,” Forbes (November 2017).
  2. Historically, this has been identified as the ten Roman provinces of Augustus Caesar, who ruled from 27 BC to AD 14.
  3. Rodney Stark, Triumph Of Faith: Why The World Is More Religious Than Ever (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2015), 12.
  4. According to historical estimates by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.
  5. The Gospel is reaching even the remotest places in the world, and Christianity is experiencing phenomenal growth globally. In 1910, about two-thirds of the world’s Christians lived in Europe, where the bulk of Christians had been for a millennium. Today, while about a quarter of all Christians live in Europe (26%), and more than a third now are in the Americas (37%); about one in every four Christians lives in sub-Saharan Africa (24%), and about one-in-eight is found in Asia and the Pacific (13%).
  6. Pew Research Report, “Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population” (December 19, 2011).
  7. Various, “Global Christianity: Regional Distribution of Christians,” Pew Research Center (December 19, 2011). http://www.pewforum.org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-regions.
  8. Tertullian in Apologeticus.
  9. Various, “Statistics,” Pew Research Center, www.pewforum.org/Christian/Global-Christianity-exec.aspx.
  10. Roger Aubry, La misión: siguiendo a Jesús por los caminos de América Latina (Buenos Aires: Guadalupe, 1990), 105-115.
  11. See Wes Granberg-Michaelson, “Think Christianity is Dying? No, Christianity is Shifting Dramatically,” The Washington Post (May 20, 2015).
  12. John C. Green, “Pentecostal Growth and Impact in Latin America, Africa, and Asia” in Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism, eds. Donald E. Miller, Kimon H. Sargeant, Richard Flory (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 331.
  13. Paul Strand, “Spirit-Led Revival Movement Sweeps Brazil,” CBN News (March 11, 2011).
  14. Philip Jenkins, “The Future of Christianity in Asia,” Aletia (August 21, 2014), https://aleteia.org/2014/08/21/the-future-of-christianity-in-asia/.
  15. Hollie McKay, “North Korea: How Christians Survive in the World’s Most Anti-Christian Nation,” Fox News (August 18, 2017).
  16. David B. Barrett, George Thomas Kurian, and Todd M. Johnson, eds. World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford University Press, 2001), 374.
  17. Tom Phillips, “China On Course To Become ‘World’s Most Christian Nation’ Within 15 years,” London Telegraph (April 19, 2014).
  18. Mark Noll, “Faith and Conflict: The Global Rise of Christianity,” Council on Foreign Relations and Pew Research Center (March 2, 2005).
  19. Wes Granberg-Michaelson, “Think Christianity is Dying? No, Christianity is Shifting Dramatically,” The Washington Post (May 20, 2015).
  20. John Bingham, “Justin Welby Ponders Landmark China Tour to see the Explosion of Christianity,” The Telegraph, December 14, 2014.
  21. Bruce Milne, Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief (Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2010), 332.
  22. Various, “Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population,” Pew Research Center (December 19, 2011).
  23. See Various, “Global Statistics, 2005-2010,” Operation World.
  24. See reports in David Garrison, A Wind In The House Of Islam: How God Is Drawing Muslims Around The World To Faith In Jesus Christ (WIGTake Resources, 2014).
  25. Audrey Lee, “Why Revival is Exploding Among Muslims,” Charisma (December 2012).
  26. See Duane Alexander Miller and Patrick Johnstone, “Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census,” Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion 11 (2015): 10. Also Timothy C. Morgan, “Why Muslims are Becoming the Best Evangelists: Missiologist Dave Garrison Documents Global Surge in Muslims Leading Muslims to Christ. He calls it, ‘Unprecedented,’” Christianity Today (April 22, 2014).
  27. Joel C. Rosenberg, Inside the Revival: Good News and Changed Hearts Since 9/11 (Wheaton: Tyndale Publishers, 2009), 3.
  28. Michael Ashcraft, “Christianity Exploding in Iran Despite Efforts of Government to Stamp it out,” God Reports (August 4, 2017).
  29. Christian growth in Iran is currently estimated at 19.6% by Operation World.
  30. Editor, “Al-Jazeerah: 6 Million Muslims Convert to Christianity in Africa each year,” Muslim Statistics (December 14, 2012).
  31. Very likely due to its fusion with politics and nationalism. Read more here.
  32. Stephanie Coontz, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap (New York: Basic Books, 1992), p. 184.
  33. Ronald A. Wells, History Through the Eyes of Faith (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1989), p. 179.
  34. John D’Emilio and Estelle Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1988), pp. 65, 133-134.
  35. Arnold Toynbee, War And Civilization (New York: Oxford University Press, 1950), 4.
  36. Gregg Easterbrook, It’s Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear (New York: Public Affairs, 2018), 109.
  37. Steven Pinker, “Violence Vanquished,” The Wall Street Journal (September 24, 2011).
  38. Various, Human Security Report 2013 (Vancouver: Human Security Press, 2014), 25.
  39. John Gramlich, “5 Facts about Crime in the U.S.,” Pew Research Center (January 30, 2018).
  40. See Johan Norgerg, Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future (United Kingdom: Oneworld Publications, 2016), 88.
  41. Douglas T. Kenrick, Ph.D., “Ten Ways the World Is Getting Better: Steven Pinker, Science, Humanism, and Progress,” Psychology Today (March 2018).
  42. Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (New York, Penguin Publishing, 2018), 168.
  43. John Gramlich, “5 facts about crime in the U.S.,” Pew Research Center (January 30, 2018). The homicide rate in the United States is now lower than five per 100,000. Manuel Eisner, “Long-Term Historical Trends in Violent Crime,” Crime and Justice 30 (2003): 83–142.
  44. See Suzanne Austin Alchon, A Pest in the Land: New World Epidemics in a Global Perspective (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003), 21. This infectious disease was caused by bacteria that spread in the air and by physical contact, and was carried by the fleas on rats.
  45. J. N. Hays, Epidemics and Pandemics: Their Impacts on Human History (Santa Barbara, California: ABC CLIO, 2005), 151.
  46. Various, Canadian International Immunization Initiative (September 2007), 3.
  47. Editor, “More than 1.5 million cancer deaths averted in last two decades,” CBS News (December 31, 2014). The number of new cases of HIV/AIDS worldwide has been falling for a decade, and deaths from the disease have been falling since 2005. Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2010), 307-308.
  48. Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2010), 307-308.
  49. William Fogel, The Escape From Hunger and Premature Death, 1700–2100: Europe, America, and the Third World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 10.
  50. Abdel R. Omran, “The Epidemiologic Transition: A Theory of the Epidemiology of Population Change,” Milbank Quarterly 83:4 (2005): 731–57.
  51. Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (New York, Penguin Publishing, 2018), 59.
  52. Steve Denning, “Why The World Is Getting Better And Why Hardly Anyone Knows It,” Forbes (November 2017).
  53. Max Roser, “The Short History of Global Living Conditions and Why it Matters that we Know it,” Our World In Data. https://ourworldindata.org/a-history-of-global-living-conditions-in-5-charts.
  54. See Douglas T. Kenrick Ph.D., “Ten Ways the World Is Getting Better: Steven Pinker, Science, Humanism, and Progress,” Psychology Today (March 2018).
  55. See Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think (New York, Flatiron Books, 2018), 53.
  56. Steve Denning, “Why The World Is Getting Better And Why Hardly Anyone Knows It,” Forbes (November 2017). Also, see Max Roser, “It’s a Cold, Hard Fact: Our World is Becoming a Better Place,” Oxford Martin School (October 20, 2014).
  57. Nicholas Kristof, “Why 2017 May Be the Best Year Ever,” The New York Times (January 21, 2017).
  58. Otto Bettmann, The Good Old Days—They Were Terrible! (New York: Random House, 1974) 136.
  59. Various, “Drinking Water,” World Health Organization (February 7, 2018).
  60. Various, “Key Facts from JMP 2015 Report,” World Health Organization (2015).
  61. Stephen Devereux, “Famine in the Twentieth Century,” Institute of Development Studies (2000): 3.
  62. Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (New York, Penguin Publishing, 2018), 71.
  63. Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (New York: Penguin Publishing, 2011), 5.
  64. See Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (New York, Penguin Publishing, 2018), 222.
  65. Katie McLaughlin, “5 Things Women Couldn’t Do in the 1960s,” CNN (August 25, 2014).
  66. See Margo Wilson and Martin Daly, “The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Chattel,” in J. H. Barkow, L. Cosmides and J. Tooby eds., The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).
  67. Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (New York: Penguin Publishing, 2011), 402.
  68. Stanley L. Engerman, Richard Sutch, and Gavin Wright, “Slavery for Historical Statistics of the United States Millennial Edition,” University of California Project on the Historical Statistics of the United States Center for Social and Economic Policy, Policy Studies Institute, University of California, Riverside, March 2003.
  69. Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (New York, Penguin Publishing, 2018), 219.
  70. See Dylan Matthews, “Woodrow Wilson was extremely racist — even by the standards of his time,” Vox (November 20, 2015). President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s choice for vice president and first Supreme Court nominee were former Ku Klux Klan members. Thad Morgan, “How an Ex-KKK Member Made His Way Onto the U.S. Supreme Court,” History (October 10, 2018).
  71. Megan Trimble, “KKK Groups Still Active in These States in 2017,” U.S. News and World Reports (August 14, 2017).
  72. Charles Kenny, “The Data Are In: Young People are Increasingly Less Racist than Old People,” Quartz (May 24, 2017).
  73. Victor Asal and Amy Pate, “The Decline of Ethnic Political Discrimination, 1950-2003,” in Peace and Conflict 2005: A Global Survey of Armed Conflicts, Self-Determination Movements, and Democracy, edited by Monty G. Marshall, Ted Robert Gurr (University of Maryland: Center for International Development, 2005).
  74. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) is a Supreme Court decision on the issue of the constitutionality of laws that criminalized or restricted access to abortions.
  75. Katha Pollitt, “Abortion in American History,” The Atlantic (May 1997).
  76. Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., “Out of the Long Dark Night: Abortion Statistics and Trends over the Past Thirty Years,” National Right To Life (2003).
  77. Matt Ford, “What Caused the Great Crime Decline in the U.S.?” The Atlantic (April 15, 2016)
  78. Editor, “Abortion Above the Law (In a Good Way),” Christianity Today 59:7 (September 2015): 16. The abortion rate was 11.8 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 in 2015, compared with 12.1 in 2014 and 15.9 in 2006.
  79. Cha reiterates, “Fewer U.S. women are having abortions than at any time since Roe v. Wade.” Tara C. Jatlaoui, from the CDC’s division of reproductive health quoted in Ariana Eunjung Cha, “Number of abortions in U.S. hit a historic low in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available,” Washington Post (Wednesday, November 21, 2018).
  80. Various, “CDCs Abortion Surveillance System FAQs, Centers For Disease Control,” Center For Disease Control, (2015).