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Church Stereotypes, According to Google

For some of the most brutally honest Christian stereotypes, head straight to Google.

The search engine relies on an algorithm to suggest popular queries for nearly everything, so when users type questions about churches or denominations, Google's autocomplete feature fills in the rest.

Blogger Brian LePort shared a list of Google's denominational stereotypes on his site, Near Emmaus.

Here are some we found:

Starting with A, we see a range of opinions on Anglicans.

In the results for Calvinists, searchers find John Piper directly addresses their negativity in a post on Desiring God:

The intellectual appeal of the system of Calvinism draws a certain kind of intellectual person [who]... has a greater danger of being hostile, gruff, abrupt, insensitive or intellectualistic.

That first query shows the power of the Colbert Nation. More than five years ago, Stephen Colbert declared Lutheranson notice for being "Popeless Catholics," only to forgive them for the sake of Jane Fonda. It still comes up as Lutherans' top search.

This nickname "the frozen chosen," referring to the traditional worship style and belief in predestination in some Presbyterian churches, apparently hasn't gone away.

Autofill designates a few evangelical groups as cults; these searches mostly generate posts from former members of such churches. Check out our own coverage of Assemblies of God and Calvary Chapel.

We can thank some of the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world for that last result.

Oh, and there's one word that comes up a lot…

Can't people at least spell judgmental correctly? (Or is that too judgmental of us?)

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October 2013

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