Top 50 Biblioblogs for November 2012

by Dec 4, 2012ChurchLife, Culture, Tech4 comments

I just checked out again the Biblioblog top 50—the 50 biblical studies-related blogs that had the most hits in the past month. That includes a pretty big bunch of blogs, nearly 600 from across the theological (and even atheistical) spectrum.

So why are there comparatively few conservative evangelical blogs among the top 50? Justin Taylor and Andy Naselli—and even Al Mohler—are nowhere to be found. No Tim Challies. No Trevin Wax. No Rod Decker. No Carl Trueman. The blogs I’ve just listed are all part of the site’s database (with the exception of the last, probably because people who blog using incomprehensible British pseudonymous personalities are disqualified), but they didn’t make the top 50 at any time in 2012.

The August, 2012 top 50 was actually topped by the “Debunking Christianity” blog. And most of the other blogs on the November, 2012 list, from what I can tell, are theologically liberal. Some are Jewish. One is an unchurched Christian of some strange sort. I don’t read any of them. Not one. (I used to read Evangelical Textual Criticism and Euangelion, but no more. And Euangelion is evangelical but too far left, too academically dry, and too iconoclastic for my tastes. καὶ τὰ λοιπά is interesting, but I had to take it out of my feeds for time reasons.)

I am genuinely curious about the failure of evangelicals to show up on—much less dominate—the list; I was pretty surprised by it. I thought mainline Protestantism was dying, that evangelicalism was far more vital and large. So why are blogs that push mainline views more popular than evangelical blogs?

  • Is it possible that there is a greater number of evangelical bloggers and that they therefore tend to drive down each other’s stats by spreading out the overall readership too thinly?
  • Is it that evangelicals are fooling themselves about their influence and actually constitute a minority of self-proclaimed Christians in the English-speaking world? (Is it, indeed, that hit counts include the whole globe and not just the U.S.?)
  • Is it that a lot of left-wing evangelicals are paying attention to liberal blogs because that’s the direction they’re headed?
  • Is it that the top 50’s hit counts are influenced by links from culturally mainstream sites like the Huffington Post—people who pay no attention to evangelicals?
  • Does this have something to do with a North Korean plot? (Just kidding, just kidding! It would have to be Iranian.)

What do you think? 

P.S. And why do so many top blogs have such horrendous graphic design?

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  1. Jeremy Patterson

    Very interesting. I do not read any of those top 50 blogs either (though I used to read two of them). Here are some random ideas as to your question of “the failure of evangelicals to show up on—much less dominate—the list.”

    1) Maybe Biblioblogs does not have a reliable barometric system. Not likely (I have no idea), but if they don’t, then their list is pointless.

    2) Whatever their barometrics, I would definitely assume it includes hits from all over the world (not just the U.S.) where the tendency is more towards liberal Protestantism at best and debunking Christianity at worst.

    3) Maybe the top 50 blogs have better SOE than the rest and thus get more hits.

    4) Regarding the horrendous graphic design, I think that’s less of an issue for a lot of people than is the content of a given blog. If you find a blog that interests you, and that posts on a fairly regular basis, don’t you keep going back?

    5) I don’t think evangelicals are fooling themselves about their influence (unless they’re telling themselves that they have a huge majority). But outside of evangelical schools, the academic world unfortunately (and blindly, in my view) still clings to liberal or neo-liberal theology. Even in the U.S., non-evangelical universities and seminaries have nothing in common with Justin Taylor, Andy Naselli, Al Mohler, Tim Challies, Trevin Wax, Rod Decker, or Carl Trueman. Add all of the theological students in other countries around the world, and you might have a liberal majority when it comes to theological studies.

    6) At the same time, I really like your idea that there are a ton of evangelical blogs (there are), a situation that would deplete the number of hits per site.

    7) A final thought: maybe evangelical blogs tend to speak more to evangelicals and non-evangelical blogs tend to address themselves to a more generic audience. I think I’m onto something. The evangelical blogs you mention are for the most part ones I would not be interested in if I weren’t a committed evangelical. I’m not saying that’s bad, just making an observation.

    So how can I drive up the hits on your blog?

  2. Don Johnson

    On the notion that the number of evangelical blogs drives down the hits on average, I would guess that there is a pretty high number of christian blogs of the more liberal sort as well. There are millions of blogs, after all. I would suspect that the ‘watering down effect’ is roughly equivalent for either side. So I very much doubt this point is a real factor in the rating system.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  3. Mark L Ward Jr

    It just occurred to me that there is a fairly reliable way of determining whether or not you’re right, Don. And I probably should have done this myself already. Someone could go to the whole list of 600 biblioblogs on the site and see how many are evangelical vs. liberal. That would take a while, of course, and there’s no way to guarantee that it’s a fair sample. But they are pretty inclusive, they say, and they’ve been developing the list for a while (so long, in fact, that some blogs on the list are now defunct).

  4. Todd Jones

    Re: Jeremy’s #5
    If “biblical studies-related” means anything, Mark, it probably means a connection to the academic field of biblical studies. (One of James McGrath’s recent posts is a call for papers for SBL 2013.) Evangelicals can hardly claim to dominate the field either in terms of numbers or in terms of leisure time–the two things that drive up blog traffic, right? I’m sure it’s mostly sheer numbers, though. The membership of mainline churches may be drying up, but the clergy aren’t changing their beliefs as a result of it. We may be witnessing the insulation of academic liberalism–or insulated liberal academia, if there’s a difference.