The nice thing about living in these fascinating modern times is that now heresy is both fun and safe. Gone are the days where you would get the old hot foot for thinking the wrong thing out loud. Sure there is still that niggling little detail of eternal damnation dangling over your head; but being a heretic means you just shove that aside and proceed merrily down the gentle slope into the outer darkness. And never before have the options for different heresies been so readily available. No longer do you have to do the hard work of coming up with a new thought that offends the sensibilities of the established orthodoxy. Now after a few spastic minutes googling you can light upon an established line of thought that is sure to offend your friends and family. You are a fly and the world is full of cow pies, just pick one!
But why spend time on a search engine looking for the turd of a theological position that most appeals to you? Southern Reformed Smoker is proud to present our pasture of damnable options! All the cows have been herded into one meadow and they have laid their manure nicely in that field of dreams. For the heresy curious all they have to do is look around and pick which one they want. So in no specific order…
This is an ideal choice for the college or middle-aged-but-still-trying-to-look-cool Presbyterian. It enjoys a subtile denial of inerrancy but stated in such a way that you can start shrieking any criticism is unfair and not at all what you said. Also there is a robust support for the “Alphabet People” but not so much that you could be accused of being a Methodist. And naturally, all the baby splashing a man could ask for. Finally Cumberland’s Presbys are really gaining traction on a new hire, soon they can claim to have Cumberland Cumberbatch in a Cucumber Cummerbund.*
The Cons are that no matter how hard you try Kevin DeYoung will always trounce your arguments in the kindest but most demoralizing ways. Eventually you will have to give up all the bits of Westminster that you did like for old times sake; and suddenly the whole thing will seem kind of pointless.
I am sure that there is a distinction here to be made, but the baseline is the same. As Garrison Keillor described, “That one is all, and all is one, and God is a column of air vibrating.” You get to wear caftans, church attendance is optional, as well as lots of finger paint and experimental dance. You get to trot out your dibs on George MacDonald incase a doctrinaire Christian raises an eyebrow at you.
Cons are, you look ridiculous. Your lady lesbian “pastor” is probably as bald as a crenshaw mellon and that gaudy scarf is simply not doing enough to distract from the cranial sheen. Do you think she waxes that chrome dome? And she is just the start, those leggings and that poncho you started wearing are not as freeing as you thought they would be, are they sir?
There is a lot of shouting in this one, Hell is very real and for all of those hippies, liberals, and Jews. Mel Gibson would fit in seamlessly; if he weren’t already too deep in to another group (see below). But you do have Carrie A. Nation who made sure you never have a drink, or any fun. You never have to see a woman’s ankle due to the homemade gingham gowns that are required, and you can keep the dust from settling on them with the doilies placed on their hair. Which is exactly what Paul was aiming at in 1 Corinthians, so much time is saved by not needing to dust the women. If anyone like Jesus points out that you are a son of the devil you can always just shout at them, preferably on a box, with a megaphone. Pro tip. If you decide to throw your KJV Bible at someone make sure you go overhand and use a hardcover, leather bound is too floppy to stay on target.
Cons, eventually you are an angry virgin burning in Hell.
Similar to the Universalist/Unitarian but your priest dresses up like Liberace’s stunt double every Sunday. Nothing says tradition like a man in a dress. There is so much equality here that the only time you will see a woman in a dress is Sunday and if she is your priest. This basically has all the high church shenanigans of Catholicism but without the guilt. Though you will occasionally have to give some lip service to doctrine, in reality, there is none here, no god, and no salvation. A proper triple threat!
Cons, African bishops keep harshing your leftward mellow, and you aren’t allowed to say racist things about them anymore to vent your frustration. At some point in the near future you will start to feel the need to trade in this heresy for a more Roman model.
Have you ever burnt down a building? Have you ever wanted to burn down a building? Then this is the one for you! The freshest of all so far. Also more screaming and feeling self righteous than any legalist could ever dream of. And basically if you just smash some capital letters together you can found an entirely new denomination in this brand spanking new religion. Behold: “I speak for the oppressed ALT people.” So easy, you can figure out who exactly those people are after you have torched a government office, printed t-shirts, bought a 1.4 million dollar home, retweeted AOC, canceled Ben Shapiro (but not because he is Jewish… though you hate them too), thrown an off brand can of soup at a cop, and screamed at the sky after remembering that Trump is still alive. Sure it’s a works righteousness, but somebody has got to do it.
Cons, there will come a day when your own privilege will exceed your oppression and then you will be sacrificed upon the alter of Twitter.
Here is a real niche one. But if you are looking for an opportunity to confuse and irritate friends and family this is it. If you were raised Presbyterian right away you will make enemies and set up some persecution for yourself. But if you began life as a regular Baptist it will be a little harder. I would recommend moving to prophesying about the end of the world in Swiss or German as soon as humanly possible. Resist the urge to make a rapture chart though that will only set you back, as as you will be seen as just dated, southern Baptist, and eccentric. Baptize as many people in your bathtub at home as you can or in the summer attend multiple pool parties and dunk everyone.
Cons, the obnoxious behavior may actually be enough to for your friends to consider that since you love going under water so much it would be worth their while to purchase rope and a fishing boat…
Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox
The Coca-cola Classic of heresies. Funky hats, smells, bells, pedophelia, and blatant idol worship. This one has it all. You get to pretend that you are better than the average protestant by pointing to a bunch of old stuff that they ditched for very good reasons. Also how smart will you feel trying to explain the difference between worship and veneration, solecism fallacies be damned! You know the latin Latira and Dulia, and there is no way God could have headed that one off at the pass with the second commandment.
Cons: really, it’s going to be the issue of Jesus having you booted into Hell by his brothers for saying stupid stuff about his moms virginity, and praying to her more than you did him. If you are Roman you also have to put up with the current Pope claiming to be one of you. If you are Eastern you have to put up with the current Putin claiming to be one of you.
Not so much a heresy but damnable none the less. Alternately you could become David French and still get to live in America but be no less obnoxious.
Cons, lack of bathing and BO.
So there you have it veritable smorgasbord of heresies for you to choose from. Sure I left out cults but those are so 1970, like Iris Optical glasses, they didn’t work for David Koresh and Mormonism won’t work for you (unless you are really into holy under-britches). Alternately you could simply remain in the true church where we stand firm on sola Scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria.
*Yes John Oliver started that