Barely Even Stereotyped

Brian LePort has posted two wonderful blog entries about stereotypes regarding denominations, as indicated by Google search autocomplete data. I thought I would check what happens when I type in the labels that I wear – American Baptist and progressive Christian. Neither has anything for the entire phrases (such as “Why are American Baptists” or “Why do progressive Christians”). But here’s what it suggested based on partial or similar phrases:

Apparently American Baptists are insufficiently in the public eye to get stereotyped in Google searches, and progressive Christians are stereotyped only as wrong. Disappointing.

What happens when you search using labels that you identify with or are identified by?

Love Your Neighbor More Than Your Theology
At Some Point God Stops Making Sense
Belief informs Behavior
Micah among the Baptists
  • arcseconds

    I love it how apparently everyone knows that progressive Christianity is wrong, but they’re curious to know why.

    • atalex

      I think it’s pretty obvious why progressive Christianity is wrong: it doesn’t worship Mammon.

      • Digger

        Or a crucified Christ

  • Marta L.

    The general trend applies to more than just religions. I just ran several searches on what you might call Western culture – political persuasions like progressive, Republican, Democrat, libertarian, etc., as well as character traits like nerds, jocks, Harry Potter fans, etc. Across the board, at least with the groups big enough to score much traffic, the questions being asked are pretty negative.

    My guess is this isn’t the way you typically talk if you’re part of the group. There’s a natural distance when you talk about Methodists, and quite often you will disagree with them to some extent. And talking about what they are (as opposed to actions sets up a personal attack at some level. If you search for “why do ______” you get a significantly less negative list, though not entirely in all cases.

    • Marta L.

      I read your post more clearly and see that you did try the “why do _____” label. I tried both why are/do with my own church (Methodist) and those of my extended families (Catholics + Southern Baptists), along with a few other churches and the non-religious labels I tried. Most did turn up some partial questions.

  • Guest

    Why do atheists…
    why do atheists exist
    why do atheists celebrate easter
    why do atheists mock christians
    why do atheists hate catholics
    Why are atheists…
    why are atheists so rude
    why are atheists so stupid
    why are atheists so angry
    why are atheists hated
    That’s kind of sad.
    (I celebrate easter because I enjoy chocolate eggs and because it’s nice to have time with my family.)
    Why do humanists…
    why do humanists not believe in god
    why do humanists reject religion
    why do humanists not like behaviorism
    why do humanists care about morality

    • atalex

      I get “why do atheists wear fedoras.” No clue what that means. Ironically (or not), “why do atheists hate Christians” only comes up for me when I deliberately misspell atheists to start “athi,” which suggests that the only Christians paranoid enough to ask the question are also the ones too ignorant to spell “atheists” properly.

  • The_L1985

    I’m an eclectic Pagan with Wiccan leanings. Here’s what I got.

    For “why do Pagans”: “why do pagans hate christians,” “why do pagans say blessed be,” “why do pagans celebrate summer solstice,” “why do pagans celebrate easter”

    For “why are Pagans”: “why are pagans fat,” “why are pagans hated,” “why are pagans bad,” “why are pagans evil”

    For “why do Wiccans”: “why do wiccans say blessed be,” “why do wiccans cast circles,” why do Wiccans wear black,” “why do wiccans cast spells”

    For “why are Wiccans”: “why are wiccans fat,” “why are wiccans hate [I think they meant "hated" but I'm not sure],” “why are wiccans losers,” “why are wiccans so fat”

    For the record: I don’t hate Christians or Christianity at all; I am not fat, although I have rather wide hips; I do wear black sometimes, but no more often than I wear any other colors; and if working as a college professor making a living wage makes me a “loser,” this is the first I’ve heard of it.


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