Review sites protect us from the hotel that serves rubbery scrambled eggs as its “free hot breakfast,” from the physician who hacks off the wrong limb, and from the college professor who expects students to read assigned texts.
We live in an internet culture saturated with review sites. Yelp, tripadvisor, angie’s list, amazon.
But for the things that really matter, we’re mostly on our own.
There is churchrater.com, which promises to help visitors “find a church that fits,” but it doesn’t seem to have generated much traffic. My congregation has no reviews yet. Churchfinder.com seems rather inaccessible. Yelp and google both include reviews of churches, but few people seem to leave them. Perhaps Americans aren’t quite as comfortable with importing consumerism into religion as we might think.
In the end, though, what matters is the deity rather than the church. Hence the just-launched crown jewel of all review websites: ratemydeity.com. You wouldn’t buy a a pack of underwear — let alone a book — without reading amazon reviews, and you wouldn’t take that Public Speaking course without consulting ratemyprofessor. So you certainly shouldn’t settle on a god, goddess, or other supernatural being without investigating what real adherents have to say about him, her, or it.
Here’s a preview with some review excerpts:
YHWH, 12.5K reviews, ●●●○○. [Don’t even think about inserting a chili pepper symbol].Stay away from this guy. Says he loves everyone but plays favorites and is totally jealous … Strange mix of rock-solid ethics (actually etched in rock) and ticky-tacky stuff. Wants you to care for the poor, widows, and illegal immigrants. But get on his bad side (say, by whacking a rock or touching an ark) and he’ll punish you … Promises that things will get better but they never do … when my boy nearly died of thirst in the desert, he provided water
Krishna, 235K reviews, ●●●○○. [Insert a long string of red-hot chili pepper symbols] An absolute dream, enchanting with the flute. Told me I needed to become free from desire, but I just couldn’t … Many mouths and eyes, many weapons raised high, brighter than a thousand suns, wondrous and terrifying at the same time … Loves without boundaries, gender doesn’t matter, transgresses all boundsJesus, 75,000K reviews, ●●●○○. [Insert three chili pepper symbols]. Impossible. I love God and my neighbors, but it wasn’t good enough. He told me to sell everything I had, give the money to the poor, and follow him … He’s like Bernie Sanders but with good hair. He hates the fat cats, the ones keeping the rest of us down. And get this. He thinks those who work just a little should get as much as those who work a lot. Count me in … I fell in love immediately. I had heard rumors that he was married or at least would kiss his female followers. All false. The guy may as well be living as a hermit in the dessert
Allah. 65,000K reviews, ●●●○○. [Don’t even think about inserting a chili pepper symbol]. Ignore the haters! It’s not all beheadings, stonings, and chopping off hands. Actually, his path is pretty easy. He doesn’t ask for all that much, just lots of prayer, fasting once a year for a month, and almsgiving. And just do your best — he takes effort and intention into account … A lot like YHWH but without the ethnocentrism. Refuses to be depicted. Don’t even think that anything else is divine … when my boy nearly died of thirst in the desert, he provided water
Awman, ●●●○○. Impossibly formal. Insists on being called “Thee” and “Thou.” Is he living in the early nineteenth century? Deep down, though, he’s a softy that promises righteous people a big hug in the celestial kingdom and nearly everybody else some sort of runner-up trophy… Really coy about his love life. Claims to have at least one wife, but clams up immediately when asked about her… Looks exactly like Jesus
There are thousands of other deities, from the most mild to the totally wild. Male, female, and gender-bending. Find out who’s the most accessible or destructive, who will titillate and who just bloviates. There’s someone or something for everyone. Don’t just take a leap of faith — find the deity who is right for you before you start to worship or pray.