Pharyngula

God has an awesome PR department

Only the religious could turn a disaster into a mark in the plus column for God. Jim Downey has found an amazing series of books with some impressive titles, all with the point of giving credit to God for personal catastrophe:

  • Thank God For Accidents
  • Thank God For Mistakes
  • Thank God I Adopted
  • Thank God I Am A Bitch
  • Thank God I Am A Dwarf/Midget
  • Thank God I Am A Network Marketer
  • Thank God I Am A Senior Citizen
  • Thank God I Am A Single Parent
  • Thank God I Am A Stay At Home Dad
  • Thank God I Am A Stay At Home Mom
  • Thank God I Am A Virgin
  • Thank God I Am Afraid Of Commitment
  • Thank God I Am An Entrepreneur
  • Thank God I Am Bald/Balding
  • Thank God I Am Bi-Sexual
  • Thank God I Am Blind
  • Thank God I Am Crippled
  • Thank God I Am Deaf
  • Thank God I Am Divorced
  • Thank God I Am Dying
  • Thank God I Am Dyslexic
  • Thank God I Am Gay
  • Thank God I Am Not Married
  • Thank God I Am Physically Disabled
  • Thank God I Am Pregnant
  • Thank God I Am Short
  • Thank God I Am Shy
  • Thank God I Am The Child Of An Alcoholic/Addict
  • Thank God I Am The Parent Of A Disabled Child
  • Thank God I Am a Lesbian
  • Thank God I Am/Was Suicidal
  • Thank God I Can’t Conceive Children
  • Thank God I Died
  • Thank God I Don’t/Didn’t Have Orgasms
  • Thank God I Foreclosed
  • Thank God I Gave Up My Child
  • Thank God I Grew Up Poor
  • Thank God I Had A Heart Attacks
  • Thank God I Had A Miscarriage
  • Thank God I Had A Stroke
  • Thank God I Had An Abortion
  • Thank God I Had An Affair
  • Thank God I Had/Have Acne
  • Thank God I Had/Have Anxiety/Panic Attacks
  • Thank God I Had/Have Arthritis
  • Thank God I Had/Have Erectile Dysfunction
  • Thank God I Have A Dysfunctional Family
  • Thank God I Have A Home Based Business
  • Thank God I Have A Small Penis
  • Thank God I Have An STD
  • Thank God I Have Genital Herpes
  • Thank God I Have HIV/Aids
  • Thank God I Have Hepatitis C
  • Thank God I Have Small Breasts
  • Thank God I Have/Had A Disease
  • Thank God I Have/Had A Learning Disability
  • Thank God I Have/Had A Rare Disease
  • Thank God I Have/Had A Speech Impediment
  • Thank God I Have/Had Allergies
  • Thank God I Have/Had Asthma
  • Thank God I Have/Had Breast Cancer
  • Thank God I Have/Had Cancer
  • Thank God I Have/Had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Chronic Pain / Chronic Illness
  • Thank God I Have/Had Diabetes
  • Thank God I Have/Had Lupus
  • Thank God I Have/Had MS
  • Thank God I Home Schooled
  • Thank God I Married A Codependent
  • Thank God I Married A Control Freak
  • Thank God I Married A Drug Addict
  • Thank God I Married A Gambling Addict
  • Thank God I Married A Porn Addict
  • Thank God I Married A Prescription Drug Addict
  • Thank God I Married A Sex Addict
  • Thank God I Married A Shopping Addict
  • Thank God I Married A Workaholic
  • Thank God I Married An Alcoholic
  • Thank God I Masturbate
  • Thank God I Was A Foster Kid
  • Thank God I Was Adopted
  • Thank God I Was An Orphan
  • Thank God I Was Burned
  • Thank God I Was Emotionally Abused
  • Thank God I Was Homeless
  • Thank God I Was Incested
  • Thank God I Was Let Go
  • Thank God I Was Physically Abused
  • Thank God I Was Raised By Two Dads
  • Thank God I Was Raised By Two Moms
  • Thank God I Was Raped
  • Thank God I Was Scammed
  • Thank God I Was Sexually Molested
  • Thank God I Was/Am A Battered Spouse
  • Thank God I Was/Am A Control Freak
  • Thank God I Was/Am A Drug Addict
  • Thank God I Was/Am A Gambling Addict
  • Thank God I Was/Am A Hypochondriac
  • Thank God I Was/Am A Prescription Drug Addict
  • Thank God I Was/Am A Prostitute
  • Thank God I Was/Am A Schizophrenic
  • Thank God I Was/Am A Sex Addict
  • Thank God I Was/Am A Smoker
  • Thank God I Was/Am A Stripper
  • Thank God I Was/Am A Workaholic
  • Thank God I Was/Am An Alcoholic
  • Thank God I Was/Am Anorexic and/or Bulimic
  • Thank God I Was/Am Bi-polar
  • Thank God I Was/Am Codependent
  • Thank God I Was/Am Depressed
  • Thank God I Was/Am Fat
  • Thank God I Was/Am Poor
  • Thank God I Was/Am Porn Addict
  • Thank God I Was/Am Shopping Addict
  • Thank God I Went Bankrupt
  • Thank God I Went Broke
  • Thank God I Went To Jail/Prison
  • Thank God I Went To War
  • Thank God I was A Teen Mom
  • Thank God My Baby Died
  • Thank God My Best Friend Died
  • Thank God My Boyfriend Left Me
  • Thank God My Brother Died
  • Thank God My Child Has ADD/ADHD
  • Thank God My Child Is Autistic
  • Thank God My Dad Died
  • Thank God My Father Left Me
  • Thank God My Girlfriend Left Me
  • Thank God My Husband Cheated On Me
  • Thank God My Husband Died
  • Thank God My Mom Died
  • Thank God My Mother Left Me
  • Thank God My Parents Divorced
  • Thank God My Pet Died
  • Thank God My Sister Died
  • Thank God My Soul Mate Died
  • Thank God My Wife Cheated On Me
  • Thank God My Wife Died
  • Thank God My ____ Committed Suicide

There are a few weird ones in this litany of woe; it’s revealing that among the awful events like death of a family member, divorce, rape, and cancer, they list being an entrepreneur and a lesbian and a virgin. Somebody is very confused.

The main point seems to be that no matter what happens to you, whether it’s for good or evil, you have to be grateful for it, and pass the responsibility to the Invisible Man in the Sky. As an atheist, I’m pleased to say that this kind of pathetic surrender to fate is alien to me, and I’m not going to thank anyone for any bad events in my life—I’m simply going to fight back.

It does seem to be a great marketing scheme, though—all the masturbating virgin bald midgets with small penises are going to have to buy multiple books to get full coverage.

Comments

  1. #1 The Disgruntled Chemist
    March 28, 2007

    Thank God I Masturbate

    Indeed.

  2. #2 The Disgruntled Chemist
    March 28, 2007

    Thank God I Am The Child Of An Alcoholic/Addict
    Thank God I Was An Orphan

    On a serious note, while some of these are fun to laugh at, the ones above make me really sad. Why not just title it “Thank God for giving me a whole bunch of issues that I might not even know exist and that might assert themselves at massively inopportune personal moments”?

    Why thank God for possibly ruining a kid’s life, for starting them off in a massive hole? What kind of person does it take to thank God for such undeserved misfortune without ever asking themselves why, if he exists, he’s gotta be such an asshole?

    I will never understand this, but I will always feel sorry for such people.

  3. #3 markbt73
    March 28, 2007

    They forgot one:

    Thank God I’m an Atheist

  4. #4 Steve LaBonne
    March 28, 2007

    Thank God I Am Not Married

    Now there is a sentiment I can wholeheartedly endorse… ;)

  5. #5 Jim Downey
    March 28, 2007

    What I like most about the site (you really should wear gloves if you go there, methinks) is how they’re just so honest in how they’re scamming people with this. It’s very much “gee, you had a horrible experience – here, let us help you cash in on it.”

    On my more cynical days I think the people who are susceptible to these scum deserve getting ripped off.

    Jim Downey

  6. #6 Brandon
    March 28, 2007

    Thank God I Died

    Ummmmmm … O.K. So do you first need to read Thank God I Was Resurrected before you can read Thank God I Died?

  7. #7 Bob Russell
    March 28, 2007

    I am soooo tempted to write in with some “Thank God’s” of my own…It would be such good fun to smite these morons with some good old time satire….I like the suggestions above…..Thank god Im an atheist and thank god I masterbate….I would change that to “masterbate ferociously” though….

  8. #8 Brian
    March 28, 2007

    It’s not actually a terrible idea, especially if you’re using the “Thank God” phrase as most people do, as simply an epithet. Your experiences are who you are and you need to accept the good and the bad.

  9. #9 Hank Fox
    March 28, 2007

    What? No “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”? No “Thank God It’s Friday”?

    How about:

    Thank God for Cthulhu

    Thank God for Beer, the Homer Simpson Story

    Thank God I Watched ALL the Episodes of Buffy

    Thank God I Was Molested by Catholic Priests

    Thank God for Chuck Norris and Total Gym Fitness, as Seen on Late Night TV

    Thank God for The Comic Genius of Jerry Lewis (released only in France)

    Thank God I Was Captured by a Faith Healer and Human Cannibal and Held Captive in a Basement Where I Was Partially Eaten and Then Repeatedly Healed Over a Long Period of Time

    Thank God for Normal Bob Smith’s Jesus Dress Up

  10. #10 Mike Haubrich
    March 28, 2007

    I didn’t see one for Thank God I’m An Atheist and the cool thing is that I could make money writing one of those books.

    I could maybe copy some text from Chicken Soup for the Atheist Soul

  11. #11 Bob Russell
    March 28, 2007

    Thank God for Zeus…

    Thank God Jesus was executed…

  12. #12 Scott Hatfield
    March 28, 2007

    Ah. Thank God For Pharyngula.

  13. #13 Bob Russell
    March 28, 2007

    Thank God for an erection.

  14. #14 Steve_C
    March 28, 2007
  15. #15 GW
    March 28, 2007

    Thank God? Doesn’t Satan get credit for anything? Without him, we’d still be doin’ time in that boring garden.

  16. #16 Bob Russell
    March 28, 2007

    The more I think about this , the more stupid and selfish these poor people sound. How selfish when you thank your imaginary friend for the death of a loved one because it has helped you be grateful to your imaginary friend….

    I wanted to again call them all moons but they are brainwashed victims….the grip of superstition is strong….As Billy Connolly says “they are more to be pitied than scolded, I can assure you!”

  17. #17 Bob Russell
    March 28, 2007

    Damnnnnn moons = morons….

  18. #18 sparc
    March 28, 2007

    Thank god THEY are no scientists

  19. #19 Kristine
    March 28, 2007

    Are you kidding me?

    “Thank God my husband died”?
    “Thank God I was abused”?
    “Thank God my friend died”?

    Do these people have any moral values?

    “Thank God I’m American, where I can worship myself and find an excuse for anything.” Or shorten that to: “Thank God for The Secret.”

    It’s the same thing, isn’t it?

  20. #20 natural cynic
    March 28, 2007

    For a synopsis of all the books, how about

    Thank God I’m credulous

    … and for the perpetually cheerful folkie

    Thank God I’m a Country Boy

    thank you John Henry Deutschendorf.

  21. #21 Sean
    March 28, 2007

    Smells more like a scam on the wannabe authors than anything else. I get the distinct whiff of a call for upfront money from any prospective ‘author’ that fills out their webform.

    Publishing fee. Representation fee. Money needed to file for copyright. Can’t say what they will call it, but I am willing to bet the proverbial bottle of scotch that they will be asking for some amount before your personal tale of woe and redemption is published.

    Resistance at that point will be met with traditional scammer pressure with the added bonus of invoking that Christian make-money-fast meme that is spreading around the fundie world these days. Argh, what’s the name? That seed a little money for Jesus now and be filthy rich next year thing…

  22. #22 Christian Burnham
    March 28, 2007

    How about:

    Thank God I’m a pillar of salt

    Thank God my son’s been stoned to death for cursing his parents.

  23. #23 Albatrossity
    March 28, 2007

    It might be a copyright violation, but I do think they should also look into using the very profitable “For Dummies” line. Something like “Thank God – For Dummies” would probably sell pretty well.

  24. #24 Warren
    March 28, 2007

    Uhh…

    Thank God I Adopted

    Not exactly personal catastrophe.

  25. #25 RedMolly
    March 28, 2007

    I think this is possibly the best manifestation of capitalism ever–how ballsy do you have to be to get people to pay you to publish their tales of woe? Hooray for God and the almighty dollar!

    (We riffed on this series at my blog several months ago. My favorite: “Thank God My Mogwai Was Fed After Midnight.)

  26. #26 ed
    March 28, 2007

    Thank god she got an abortion!Did I see this one?

  27. #27 F.Jardim
    March 28, 2007

    “Thank God for IEDs”, in colalboration with the Baptist Westboro church.

    “Thank God I was a thalidomide baby born from a syphilitic mother with cerebral palsy and a queen larva from that movie ‘Aliens’ waiting to burst out of my chest after coating itself in Tabasco sauce”. Probably apocryphal.

    “Thank Xenu for God”, co-authored by Tom Cruise.

    “Thank God I’m illiterate”, audiobook only.

  28. #28 Sonja
    March 28, 2007

    Hey, give ‘em credit for at least trying to tackle one of the toughest questions in all of theism:

    How can bad things happen in the world with an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent deity (unless that deity happens to be an asshole)?

  29. #29 Kseniya
    March 28, 2007

    Thank God for Persephone Otherwise There Would Be No Skiing or Hockey.

  30. #30 mosasaurusrex
    March 28, 2007

    This makes me think of a sign I saw outside of a church I drive by on my way to work every day- it was Thanksgiving time, and it read:

    Pity the Atheist- He Has No One to Thank.

    Huh?

    What about thanking other people who have helped you? Your teachers? Your parents? Your significant other? Your friends?

    And what’s wrong with just plain old being thankful? Must one always be thankful TO someone or something?

    Me, I’m thankful to be alive and to be experiencing the wonderfulness of life on this here planet Earth. And yes, my life has its shitty aspects, but so far the good stuff makes up for it.

  31. #31 Scott Simmons
    March 28, 2007

    “Thank God I Was/Am Codependent”

    Somehow, I imagine the “Was” is probably not very relevant to this book’s audience.

    (Ooh! Bumper sticker! “My Personal Relationship With Jesus Is Codependent” )

  32. #32 j
    March 28, 2007

    I cannot believe these books are not a parody.

  33. #33 Sastra
    March 28, 2007

    If the books were simply titled “Making the Best of ‘X’,” then they probably would not provoke much reaction. After all, if you’re unhappy because you’re sick, or bereaved, or have some other affliction or problem or issue that preoccupies you, it’s generally a good idea to try to get a new perspective on life and look for the silver lining, accept and move on, make lemonade out of those lemons, etc. Trite, yet it can be effective.

    But as Kristine pointed out, the real message seems to be more along the lines of the metaphysics endorsed in The Secret (which is really just a pop rehash of every old theodicy) — one should see every problem as a lovingly bestowed test, given to you for a reason, and *appreciate* it all. That goes beyond attitude adjustment and towards a rather creepy self-centered world view which promotes an unhealthy desire to be abused so you know that you are loved.

  34. #34 rugosa
    March 28, 2007

    The comments were cracking me up until I read the list closely – you guys aren’t making these up. This has to be a parody site. “Thank God I Married a Sex Addict”! Well, a lot of us would be shouting hallalujah if that happened.

    Thank God for Persephone Otherwise There Would Be No Skiing or Hockey – best suggestion, by Kseniya

  35. #35 frog
    March 28, 2007

    Nietzche eats God, then flings the bits stuck between his teeth with a divine tooth pick.

  36. #36 AlanW
    March 28, 2007

    This is not fair, how do you satarise these people?

    “When my twin brother and I were born in the summer of 1969, our mother, unable to handle being a twenty-year old mother, abandoned us in a dirty trailor. My Grandmother and Aunties raised us for the next three and a half years (the proverbial village raising the children), until one day the mother re-appeared, newly married and wanting her babies back. Hesitatingly, my Grandmother acquiesed. Now, at just over four years old, ripped from the only home we knew (a loving one at that), we now suddenly had to call these two total strangers “mommy” and “daddy.” Little did I know, that at four years old, my new “daddy” would savagely beat me to death, while this “mommy” person simply turned her back to me and would not help. Yes, in 1975 at four years old I was brutally murdered. The child left the body, and I came back…a completely different person. Much older, much wiser, with actual memories from the fifties and sixties that I should not have had at four. I was no longer a child. This was merely the beginning of my journey, a journey some view as tragic, traumatic, and horrific. But I’ve always viewed it as a journey of hope, promise, and surviving against all odds. A testament to the courage of the Human Spirit. And I’m still here, 33 years later, to proclaim this message with the fullest of hearts: THANK GOD I DIED!”

  37. #37 Leon
    March 28, 2007

    How about “Thank God for Original Sin”?

    Or better yet, “Thank God for Satan”–since, as Christians are quick to point out, you must have evil in order to know the good, so Satan’s evil is good, right? And, since God is all-powerful and all-knowing, he knew in advance that Satan would rebel against him and become the Prince of Darkness, yet he created him anyway–which must mean that Satan is actually desired by God, and therefore is good himself…

  38. #38 Ben Ackerman
    March 28, 2007

    * Thank God I Was/Am Porn Addict

    That was in there twice…. I don’t know what that means. :-)

  39. #39 kurage
    March 28, 2007

    I agree with Sean – this looks to me like a new variation of an old scam: one of those setups where John Q. Public is told that he, too, can enjoy the prestige of being a “published” author and make a hefty profit off of book sales, all for a very reasonable investment up front!

    The particularly grotesque thing about this little enterprise is that it hinges on convincing people to publicly air their most personal sorrows, and, worse yet, pretend to be grateful for them. It’s one thing to pay to have your crappy poetry “anthologized,” but paying to tell the world you have a small penis, and you’re glad? Tragic, just tragic. And a little hysterical.

    (I myself am tempted to volunteer to author the previously-suggested “Thank God I am an Atheist” volume of this fine series. The delicious irony might make it worth walking directly into a con.)

  40. #40 chaos_engineer
    March 28, 2007

    My links got eaten…

    Miss Snark is at:
    http://misssnark.blogspot.com/2006/07/thank-dog.html

    The “About us” page is:
    http://www.thankgodi.com/content/view/12/32/

  41. #41 Norman Doering
    March 28, 2007

    The possible number of titles is infinite:

    Thank God for Stupid Suckers who buy Books like This

    Thank God for Islamic Terrorists

    Thank God for gods

    Thank God for Brain Tumors and Testicular Cancer

    Thank God for Abortion and Homosexuality (The rightwing really should, they’d be nowhere without them)

    Thank God for Dead Babies

  42. #42 Steve_C
    March 28, 2007

    Thank God I’m an Atheist

    Thank God There Is No God

  43. #43 Sastra
    March 28, 2007

    “Thank God I Can Still Somehow Manage to Thank God”

  44. #44 kurage
    March 28, 2007

    Thank Dog I Am Dyslexic

    Gee, tough crowd.

  45. #45 Torbjörn Larsson
    March 28, 2007

    Thank FSM I didn’t have to compile that list.

  46. #46 Blake Stacey, OM
    March 28, 2007

    Thanks to chaos_engineer, I have to remember reading this:

    As God would have it, John [the co-founder] ended up consulting with many women who had experienced rape. One by one, he assisted them in becoming grateful, and he watched the tears of gratitude well in their eyes as each woman reached the point of saying, “Thank God I was raped.”

    Thank God for scary people.

  47. #47 dorid
    March 28, 2007

    I at first thought this was a parody site, then saw the video. I know too many people who think this way ((shudder)) I guess some people came up with some of the titles I would have written already, although the first thing in my mind was “THANK GOD I’M NOT SUPID ENOUGH TO BUY THESE BOOKS”

    or “Thank God I’m the product of evolution”… OH… I LIKE THAT… I’m going to go put that on a T-Shirt…

  48. #48 Bob Russell
    March 28, 2007

    “Thank Dog I Am Dyslexic
    Gee, tough crowd.
    Posted by: kurage | March 28, 2007 07:36 PM”

    Hey I’m not only dyslexic, i’m an insomniatic agnostic…I couldn’t sleep last night wondering if there really is a dog….:-)

  49. #49 Bob Russell
    March 28, 2007

    Thank God I am God…..sorry just had to break the news sometime…I feel like smiting someone…

  50. #50 Carlie
    March 28, 2007

    Thank God I’m Not Married to You

    Thank God We Don’t Have Universal Health Care

    Thank God I Lost My Leg in Iraq

    Thank God for Anencephaly

  51. #51 Andrew Cooper
    March 28, 2007

    On a trivial point, has anyone else noticed that the featured authors here http://www.thankgodi.com/content/blogcategory/20/106/ are pretty much all rather good looking? No sign of ‘Thank God I Was Born Without A ….’ or ‘Thank God I Was Burnt Beyond Recognition’ authors here*.

    Why’s that, I wonder? Why would a website like this want to give the impression that all its authors are good looking?

    * Apologies if both those titles do actually appear somewhere on the site!

  52. #52 Andrew Cooper
    March 28, 2007

    Follow the money, as a previous commenter suggested: http://www.thankgodi.com/idevaffiliate/

    What a scam, eh?

    A couple more titles:

    ‘Thank God I’m a Muslim’
    ‘Thank God I’m not a Muslim’
    ‘Thank God For Redemption’ by A Hitler, P Pott, J Stalin et al

  53. #53 Samphire
    March 29, 2007

    Go to http://www.cseblogs.com/ to see Kent Hovind thanking God that he is in prison but being utterly unable to work out why.

  54. #54 Soniya
    March 29, 2007

    The “thank god I died” story has gotten even the math wrong. She says she was born in 1969, and then goes on to say in 1975 when she was four…Now how did that happen? Wouldn’t she be six at the time? Is she going to also thank god for makin her age slower than normal people?

  55. #55 jufulu
    March 29, 2007

    For people who grew up in the Sixties:
    Thank God for Drugs, Sex and Rock & Roll.

    For the Geeks:
    Thank God for D&D.

  56. #56 Christophe Thill
    March 29, 2007

    “Thanks God there’s a sucker born every minute”
    (and I’m not talking about octopuses)

    “Thanks Bastet I’m a cat”
    (that was easy)

    Hey, did I really read this on their site:

    “Being a contributing writer in these books is a fantastic way to promote your business or service — no matter what kind of business it is. Some of the businesses that are using being a co-author include:
    Life Coaches
    Network Marketers (*)
    Chiropractors (**)
    Professional Speakers
    Authors/Writers/Poets
    Musicians (***)
    Home Based Business Owners
    Entrepeneurs
    Alternative Health Care Practitioners (**)
    Teachers”

    (*) OK, I understand the “TGI’m a network marketer” now! Do they also have pyramid scammers?
    (**) “Thanks God I haven’t been sued… yet”
    (***) “Thanks God I’m deaf”

  57. #57 Chelsea
    March 29, 2007

    7]-[@|\||< 60|) 4 1337

  58. #58 MpM
    March 29, 2007

    Thank God I am schizophrenic…
    But really I am an aethist… but I really thank God that I am a schizophrenic… but not really… but I reeeaally want to thank God.

    No you don’t!
    I told you… shut up when I am talking to people!

    God will punish you for this…
    But there is no God!

    Damn you!
    But I am only trying….
    Sorry…
    That’s OK.
    I love you.
    Yea… me too.