Happy One-Year Anniversary!
Dang, where did all the time go? I still remember how nervous I was when I minted this blog and how wild-eyed I got the first time someone linked me to RationalWiki–and how overwhelmed I felt by all the supportive and kind notes and comments. I’m still finding my feet, but y’all are so incredibly, wonderfully patient as I fumble along with this software and with the slow process of finding my voice and getting established.
I thought it’d be fun to reprint some of the more amusing and thought-provoking search terms people use to find the blog. Some of these are probably specifically people looking for a specific entry (I do this myself when I’m hunting for a blog entry and can’t remember where it is); you can kinda tell by the weirdly specific terminology. But other times, I’ve really got no explanation beyond “people are amazingly, crazily wonderful.” I’ll also include my commentary and some links in case you want to check stuff out yourself. Let’s begin!
* “Toxic Christian.” Obviously the blog name itself and its URL are the top hits, but this phrase was the third highest search frequency. I began using this term early on to mean a Christian who abuses others and generally makes the world a horrible place in the name of Christianity. Toxic Christians have no idea what love is–they’re people who have redefined love to the point where even the most outrageous abuses can be called “love.” See, it’s not the person doing the action or saying the words who gets to label the deed/words as love; it’s the target of those deeds/words. And if the target doesn’t think the deeds/words were loving, then they are not no matter how much the Christian involved insists they are. I admit I’m dismayed that there’s now a bunch of awful Facebook Christians out there calling themselves “toxic Christians” with obvious pride and smugness, but we’ll talk about that some other time.
* “Joyce Meyer Wardrobe.” I have no idea how this broke the top 10; I’ve poked at her a few times, notably in this piece about the really disgusting brand of prosperity gospel she preaches. One of the very few comments on this blog I have ever had to seriously moderate came from a Christian who was simply outraged over the idea that I might criticize her idol. So yes: she has a very expensive wardrobe, and she’s not shy about talking about why that is.
* “Ex Christian Testimonies.” I’m an ex-Christian and this blog is more or less my testimony. But if you want to see a lot more of them than just mine, here’s your link.
* “College for Fruitarians.” Sorry, I don’t know of any specific ones, but most colleges include fruit bars in their meal plans, so you’ll probably be okay until you rot the enamel off your teeth and lose way too much weight.
And yes, tons of searches for the various Christians behaving badly that I’ve covered here. Also lots of stuff about the Society for Creative Anachronism (and for those wondering, no, it’s not specifically religious in any way, and as long as a Christian behaves and isn’t a pest, s/he will enjoy time spent with the SCA as much as I did).
Here are some of the less-popular but still interesting searches:
* “why do tv evangelicals squint their eyes so dramatically when they prey?” Whoever searched for this, s/he searched twice for this term. I don’t know either, but the misspelling amuses the hell out of me. They squint because they think it makes them look more Jesus-y, if you’re wondering. The culture has taught them that when they pray, it looks extra-dextra earnest if they squint. So they squint. Jesus won’t hear them if they don’t.
* “can a pastor sow discord” – Yes, I reckon so. Most Christians sow discord at some point. Policing each other’s discord-sowing is one of their favorite past-times.
* “dial h for hero” – Best. Series. Ever. People sent in ideas for superheroes, and DC would pick their favorites every month and do stories about those heroes. It was at once the most idiotic and amazing series I read as a kid (well, maybe that honor belongs to Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew; the 80s were a weird, weird time for comics).
* “i don’t trust christians” – I understand. Sometimes I don’t either. It’s the zealots you have to watch out for though, the ones who are willing to “lie for Jesus” and distort the truth about their religion’s claims, or who lie outrageously on their testimonies. Those are the ones who will act deceptively in other ways too, and they’ll do it without an ounce of shame because to them, the ends totally justify the means. You need to be looking for that mindset; when you see it, then you know not to trust that person. Take it on a case-by-case basis, is my suggestion.
* “my husband is in a cult and lies to me” – Yikes, honey, I just saw this and I’m so sorry. Please do what you must to protect yourself. Cults can really do a number on someone and he might not be in his right mind right now.
* “how do i perform an exorcism on my boyfriend” – First you ask his permission to do something to him. We never do anything non-consensual to anybody, right? Then it depends on what flavor of religion you follow; in some versions of Christianity you have to get a priest or pastor to do it, but in others you can do it yourself. Sometimes demons get banished with prayer, sometimes with oil or water rubbed on them, sometimes by yelling in the target’s face, sometimes by reasoning with them. It gets really complicated from there. Or you can recognize that there’s no such things as demons, and whatever he’s doing that you don’t like is all him, which means that you’re doing something that in the long run won’t change anything he’s doing because ultimately he has to want to change and fix himself. Religious folks blame demons for just about everything; it seems both unhealthy and counter-productive to me.
* “what judgements has god sent since the repeal of doma and the gay pride parades” – Weirdly, none really. In fact he seems really pissed off at Christians, if the latest natural disasters in the US are anything to go by. But what we really ought to wonder is why Christians are okay with their god sending natural disasters that hurt his own people–including innocent children!–when he’s really mad at just those evil liberals and those ickie LGBTQ people and their supporters. What, he’s got bad aim?
* “what are some sure signs some one is a witch pretending to be a christain” – There really aren’t any. You know, it’s really neat that through history, most witchcraft was actually done by Christians; the earliest rituals and spells were just repurposed prayers. There was this neat trend by the Middle Ages where people would write down prayers on bits of paper or even food (or have someone literate do it if they couldn’t–priests did a bangup business in providing these illicit papers), then secrete it in someone’s possessions or feed it to them with or without their knowledge. But you seem very interested in what other people are “really” doing and that’s probably the problem here. It’s probably best not to worry about someone else’s private behavior and get on with your own business.
* “my christian husband wants to try polyamory” – More than a few Christians now speculate that right-wing Christianity may well head into polygamous territory at some point soon, but here’s what I’d tell a person of any gender whose spouse (of any religion) wanted to do something really new with sex: if you don’t want to go there, don’t. You can’t force yourself to be okay with polyamory. If he thinks this is really something he wants to try, and you really don’t think it’s something you’ll ever be comfortable with, then it’s okay to do what you must to protect yourself.
* “how could we let bill gothard happen” – That’s a very complex question with a simple answer. Right-wing Christianity is ripe for people like Bill Gothard to rise to power and hold it; the whole mindset is eager to embrace and reward whoever will pander to their preferences, and Bill Gothard and those of his ilk are adept at manipulating the hopes, fears, and hatred of folks around them. He is the natural outgrowth of the “complementarian” mindset that got rolling in the 80s and 90s. He is a symptom of the sickness in right-wing Christianity; until the religion is in such a place that it absolutely would not ever tolerate people like him, then it will see more and more of those people–and they will get worse and more extreme along with the adherents themselves.
* “for some reason i feel like im carying a burden” – Maybe you are carrying a burden. Or maybe you’re just feeling a bit of anxiety. Or maybe you have some kind of physical problem. Probably a good idea to visit your doctor to talk about this.
* “i think i have angels watching over me and i almost never have nightmares” – Well! Okay then. Good to, uh, hear.
Has it really been a year already? I look back at all these entries and it just makes me marvel. It’s just flown past. And I can’t imagine a better group of folks to have spent it with. Enjoy your day. We’re going back to Japan next time.