Last year was a very. long. year.
Remember Yanny vs. Laurel? That was in mid-May.
I reminded my children of that and they were completely incredulous. I’m old enough to remember when newsworthy events only happened once a week, or even once a month. In 2018 it seems the news cycle completely respawned every 48 hours or so, making a week feel more like a month, and a month feel more like an entire year. It feels like we all aged five years in the space of the last 12 months, and we’ve all gotten much, much worse at talking to people who don’t agree with us about anything and everything.
I spent the bulk of this past year overextended as usual, barely managing my daily responsibilities while still recovering from not one but two of the most emotionally draining years of my life. Readers of this blog know how infrequent my posts became because of this, and for what it’s worth the down time has helped me tremendously. I wrote fewer posts in 2018, but the depth of what I have to say now reflects the work I’ve had to put in figuring out a more accurate way to see myself and the world around me.
With that said, it’s my tradition to post a top ten list of the most popular posts from the previous year, so without further ado, I’ll share those below.
Top Ten Posts in 2018
1. None of This Really Happened – As difficult as it was to process, my post-Christian study of the Bible finally compelled me to accept that just about everything in the first few books of the Bible was made up. I may not agree with those who insist that Jesus never existed, but when it comes to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, I’ve now become a thoroughgoing mythicist.
2. What If Christianity Were True? – Christian apologists spend a great deal of time and energy trying to prove things that either did or didn’t transpire two millennia ago, but if the Christian faith were true there should be a number of easily observable results around us today. This post explores four things we should see today if the claims of Jesus and the New Testament were true.
3. How Faith Breaks Your Thinker – In this post I take seven logical fallacies and show how growing up in church teaches you to accept these as “just the way things are.” This helps to illustrate how faith normalizes bad thinking, leaving us vulnerable to manipulation by people and institutions whose chief purposes are self-serving and often deleterious for the rest of us. In the follow-up article entitled “How Faith Breaks Your Feeler,” I explain eight ways that growing up in church doesn’t just impair your thinking, but also distorts your feelings.
4. Billy Graham Was Not a Great Man – Don’t let the title fool you…Billy Graham was a crucial figure in American evangelical life in the 20th century. But he was also an unwitting pawn in a larger political game that he didn’t understand until it was already too late (he said so himself). This article explains what I mean.
5. Why Evangelicals Just Don’t Care – Eschatology matters, and this article explains exactly how and why white evangelicals came to see the world around them as a fleeting distraction from things they expect to happen after Jesus returns. I then build on this theme in the next post…
6. Evangelicals and the Whitewashing of Jesus – Through more than a century of focusing primarily on the concerns of middle- to upper-class white men, evangelical theology took shape around ignoring the needs of just about everybody else—not by directly telling the Church to do so, but by consistently neglecting to say a single word about the issues that impact their lives.
7. How the Church Became What Jesus Hated – A visit to an affluent local church finally made me understand how fundamentally the Church has come to embody those things that Jesus railed against the most vehemently. Expanding further on the previous three articles above, this post explains what is lost when people are taught to expect that Jesus will return at any moment to torch the whole world and start over again.
8. Why Christianity Keeps Producing Hypocrites – Rather than simply complaining about how cliche hypocrisy has become in the contemporary church, this post explores the “why” behind this phenomenon. I list ten different forces that all work together to create an ideal breeding ground for saying one thing while doing another.
9. What I Hear When You Say “Not All Christians” – People think they are helping when they respond to any or all of the above criticisms by insisting that #NotAllChristians are guilty of what I describe. This article explains why this facile response both dismisses legitimate concerns of mine and undermines the strength of their own position. It makes matters much, much worse.
10. What I Lost When I Lost My Faith – While I’ve written before about all the things I found that I gained from losing my religion, this article details more than a dozen things that I miss from my earlier days. Like many of my articles, this list was compiled from contributions by quite a few “Exvangelicals” like me.
New Private Support Group for Doubters and Deconverts – I’d be remiss if I didn’t include another plug for a private support group on Facebook that I created especially for those who don’t have the luxury of talking openly with anyone else about their doubts and disbeliefs without becoming everyone’s project for re-evangelism. Nosey friends and extended family cannot see who’s in the group, nor can they read anything said in there, so it’s a safe place to share without having to keep your guard up all the time.
A Beginner’s Guide to Godless In Dixie – During the summer I went through and picked out a couple of hundred blog posts from over the last four years, categorizing them according to topics and themes. Anyone who is new to this site should start here in order to get a feel for what I write about, and regular visitors may find articles they’ve missed as well.
Screen Doors and Porch Swings – This post is only one of several excellent pieces by Lori Arnold, who has become a regular contributor to this blog. A former evangelical like me who lives in Arkansas, she has already penned her own deconversion story entitled The Last Petal Falling, and you should expect to see a great deal more of her in this space in the future.
If you’d like to see something covered on this blog that hasn’t been explored enough, feel free to drop a note to godlessindixieblog at gmail dot com and I’ll be interested to hear from you. And if you like what you read on Godless in Dixie, please consider sponsoring me on Patreon, or else you can give to help me keep doing what I’m doing. Every bit helps, and is greatly appreciated.