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A Sign on a Government Building Promotes an Ignorant Faith

On our way to Fort Wayne a few weeks ago, I took the following picture of the sign in front of the Springfield Township, Harlan, Indiana Fire Station. (which is one of fire stations operated by the Grabill Volunteer Fire Department)  Yes, this is a tax supported government facility. Evidently, they have not heard of the separation of church and state, which is ironic since the fire station is located near an Amish community, a people group known for their belief in a strict separation of church and state.

springfield township fire department

Published: July 22, 2014 | Comments: 4

Evangelicals Use the Wrong Equation to Determine Their Beliefs

bible absolute truth

Most evangelicals are presuppositionalists and don’t even know it. Talk to enough Evangelicals about their beliefs and you will find out that they usually use the following equation:

God+Bible=What I Believe.

Susan, a recent commenter on The Way Forward, said on her blog that her beliefs are 100% what the Bible says. Susan presupposes the Christian God exists, the Bible is an inspired, inerrant, divine text, and that her beliefs come directly from the God who wrote the Bible.  As Catholics rightly observe, every protestant is their own infallible pope. They are absolutely certain that their beliefs are straight from the mouth of God. It is impossible to have a meaningful discussion with people who think like this, especially if you are a non-Christian. The Bible says that non-Christians are deceived, deluded, and blinded by the god of this world. Such people have nothing to offer to the Evangelical. Every conversation is a one way conversation: Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Until the non-Christian is willing to submit to the superior beliefs of the Evangelical, they have nothing to offer the zealot.

Until an Evangelical can at least consider that the above equation is wrong, there is no hope of reaching them. Until they see that the correct equation is:

Culture+God+Bible+Personal Interpretation=What I Believe

it is impossible to have a thoughtful discussion with them. While they may put up with the non-Christian for a time, they will eventually cut off any further discussion. After John Arthur, a regular commenter on The Way Forward, left a comment on Susan’s post The Anti-Pastor, she decided to close the comments:

Now if you don’t mind this topic is not receiving any further comments. Thank you for your participation.

You see, in Susan’s mind, John Arthur didn’t have an open, receptive, willing mind. Any further discussion with him was deemed a waste of time. Until John sees things the right way, the 100% Bible way, there is no reason to talk to him.

No one is born into the world with a belief in the God of a particular religion. It is up to their culture to teach them what the cultural God is. Their tribe, consisting of their parents, siblings, grandparents, and extended family teach them which deity is the approved tribal God. From these deeply engrained presuppositions, a person engages in religious worship and practice. In the Christian cult, this includes reading and studying the Bible and hearing religious leaders preach and teach from the Christian sacred text. These activities reinforce the person’s belief in the cultural and tribal God.

I think one effective way to attack Evangelical belief is to get a person to think sociologically about their beliefs. Rather than focusing on what they believe, focus on why they believe.  John Loftus’s Outsider Test For Faith is one tool I think is helpful in getting people to see their beliefs from a sociological perspective. BTW, The Outsider Test For Faith: How You Can Know Which Religion is True is now in book form.

The question is simple. Why do most Americans self-identify as Christian, whereas most Indians self-identity as Hindu or Muslim? Honestly answering this question will force a person to admit that maybe, just maybe, “true” belief is rooted in culture and family rather than the presuppositions they hold dear. Once they can admit this as a possibility, they are then open to a direct challenge of their beliefs.

Published: July 22, 2014 | Comments: 1

Elizabeth Warren’s List of 11 Progressive Values Worth Fighting For

elizabeth warren quote

Over the weekend, Congresswoman Elizabeth Warren was the keynote speaker at the Netroots Nation convention held in Detroit, Michigan. Warren stated “we have to talk about what does it mean to be a progressive, an American.” She then listed 11 progressive values that are worth fighting for:

  • “We believe Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.
  • “We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth, and we’re willing to fight for it.
  • “We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality, and we will fight for it.
  • “We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage, and we will fight for it.
  • “We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.
  • “We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt, and we will fight for it.
  • “We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions, and we will fight for it.
  • “We believe — and I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014 — we believe in equal pay for equal work, and we will fight for it.
  • “We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America, and we will fight for it.
  • “We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform, and we will fight for it.
  • “And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!

Here are several notable quotes from Warren’s speech:

“We can’t win what we won’t fight for and it will be a hard fight. Many profitable companies look for every way they can to improve profits and bonuses, but many of them have another plan. They use their money and they try to influence Washington. Those with power fight to make sure every rule tilts in their favor. That’s what we are up against. That’s what America is up against,”

“For big corporations, trade negotiations are like Christmas morning. They get gifts they could never get through Congress. These meetings are held in secret so giant corporations can make deals and get inside information while regulations are gutted.”

“Lobbyists and lawyers have plenty of friends in congress. We can whine about it, or we can fight back. I’m fighting back! This is a fight over economics, privilege, and power. But deep down it’s a fight over values.”

Published: July 22, 2014 | Comments: 2

Steve Sanchez Thinks He has a Right to Harrass People for Jesus

woman steve sanchez harrassed at walmart

Cell phone picture taken by Steve Sanchez of a worker at Walmart he was embarrassing.

Steve Sanchez is a fundamentalist Christian who thinks he has the right to witness, evangelize, proselytize, and preach to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Even worse, Sanchez thinks he has the right to photograph those he is harassing. In a May 2014 post titled Witnessing to the Walmart Witch, Sanchez writes:

Courtney, the Walmart customer service lady, (looking down), kept answering “Summerland” when I asked if she’d go to Heaven or Hell when she died.

Heaven or Hell?”

“Summerland.”

The only two choices I’m giving you are Heaven or Hell.”

“Summerland. I’m a Wiccan,” she declared.

Since she wouldn’t answer I had to go to Plan B: I  preached a one minute Gospel to her so she’d understand there is no Summerland, only Hell, because of her idolatry.

What did she do? Thanked me over and over again to get me to go away. “Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.”

Yet I didn’t go away until she heard fully the full Gospel, thank you very much.

A co-worker walked behind her and gave me a Thumb’s Up.

Another co-worker, a Muslim, in full head covering, began her shift. I resisted giving her the Good News because too many people were lining up at the counter.

I know my limits.

The next day I received this comment on Facebook from an atheist: “I don’t understand why you bible thumpers just cant leave us the f*@k alone, funny how we, who choose alternative ideas, don’t push our thoughts/ideas on to you bible thumpers but you think its ok to bombard us with your thoughts and ideas.”

Here was my response: “I would have to be the most hateful person in the world to NOT share the Gospel with Courtney, or you for that matter. If I didn’t share, I would be overlooking the fact of your horrible future reality. So no. As a Bible Thumper, I love you too much not to speak.”

You see, the Steve Sanchez’s of the world think that they are demonstrating love when they badger and harass people who have no interest in what they are selling. They are a special class of people who are not bound by the same social conventions as the rest of us. Treating others with decency and respect doesn’t apply to Steve Sanchez. He is willing to be an asshole for Jesus because his right to evangelize and preach supersedes any person’s right to personal space, even at work.

Courtney, the Walmart customer service worker should have called for the store manager and asked him to stop Sanchez’s gospel bullying. Walmart is a private business and Sanchez has no constitutional right to to witness, evangelize, proselytize, or preach  to Walmart employees or customers. He is free to peddle his delusion on the public sidewalk in front of the Walmart, but once he walks or drives on Walmart property, he no longer has the right to say whatever he wants.

If Walmart does not have a policy in place to deal with people like Steve Sanchez then they need to implement one immediately. If they fail to do so, they run the risk of being sued by harassed workers like Courtney. Walmart has a legal obligation to provide their workers with a workplace free from egregious religious harassment.

If you would like to send Walmart and email about this, please go here. If you send Walmart an email, please mention this blog post. Also, you will need to choose a Walmart store. Search for stores in Dripping Springs, Texas and choose the first store. (it is in Austin)

Let me conclude this post with several graphics Sanchez posted as justification for his harassment of Courtney:

just keep it to yourself

just keep it to yourself

Note

Steve Sanchez is starting a new church in Dripping Springs, Texas called Hope Chapel Hill Country. I wonder how Sanchez would like it if atheists showed up at his church and disrupted him while he was working. I suspect he would quickly call on the police to remove the atheists, arguing that they were keeping him from preaching and worshiping God.

Published: July 22, 2014 | Comments: 7

The Anti-Christ’s Brother is Revealed: His Name is Anti-Pastor

fake church sign for anti pastor

A recent commenter by the name of Susan stopped by to let me know that I was a “hater.” She had this to say on the post Fundamentalist Christian Gnats:

I feel very sad for you and everyone who chooses to agree with your hatred…I know…you’ll say that I’m the “hater” or gnat or what have you…sad

I responded:

What in this post even remotely suggests I was being hateful? I responded in a slightly snarky way to fundamentalist Christians that threaten to slit my throat and who take great delight in deconstructing and attacking every aspect of my life, and I am the one that is a hater and those who see these things for what they are are haters too?

I have no idea if you are a hater. I suspect you are based on the blogs you list on your blogroll, but until you give me reason to think so, I am withholding judgment, a practice you might want to consider implementing in your own life.

A short while ago, Susan decided to write a blog post about me. She’s decided to crown me the Anti-Pastor.  Here’s what she had to say:

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.   2 John 2:18 (ESV)

I have heard that it happens from time to time, a pastor struggles with his faith…and gives up the struggle. Recently I stumbled onto the website of such a former pastor. God only knows if he truly was saved and if he was (I personally doubt it myself) the Lord will retrieve Him in His time. As of this time this ex-pastor not only says he has given up on Christianity, he also feels it his duty to anti-evangelize the flock. He goes about seeking whom he can “assist” in getting others to give up their faith just as he did. That is why I’ve christened him the anti-pastor. He doesn’t think it is enough to blaspheme God by saying He doesn’t exist, he also feels the need to yank people out of the fold. Yeah, that’s right…I truly thought I had seen it all. Is there no limit to the hurt the devil will inflict on Jesus? It seems not, however there is a limit. One day people like the anti-pastor will come to the end of the time the Lord will give to their foolishness which inflicts pain on others. He will limit it in such a way that the only pain they will inflict is on themselves for ever and ever. God in His mercy is still giving him time to repent (otherwise he would have passed from this life into his eternal fate) so I hope he will “get true wisdom” and learn truly of Christ instead of getting his learning from the spirit of antichrist. God only knows how much more time the anti-pastor has left on earth to turn around and repent of the error of his ways.

I’m not going to post a link to this man’s website because the teachings of this man are ugly to say the least. If anyone is interested in doing research into these ridiculous goings on I’ll make it available upon request with a warning to cover yourself in prayer before inflicting such ugliness on yourself. For most of us it is enough to be aware that he’s out there, and the Lord is allowing him to do his worst damage for a while, until He says “Enough!”, and then it will be too late for the anti-pastor. Let’s hope for him he wises up before it is too late for him.

By quoting 2 John 2:18, Susan wants to make a clear connection between the anti-Christ in the Bible and Bruce Gerencser, the anti-pastor. I am honored to be considered in the same league as one of the most famous people in the Christian Bible. My brother Anti-Christ and I have the same father, the Devil, so I am somewhat surprised that it took 57 years for someone to make this connection.

Let me summarize what Susan has concluded about me:

Only God knows if I was ever truly saved but she doesn’t think I was.

So if God only knows, why is she venturing an opinion on the state of my soul? The truth is, she is pretty certain that I was never a Christian.

My goal is life is to evangelize Christians and cause them to lose their faith.

What does this say about God, Jesus, and Christianity if one lowly Evangelical pastor turned atheist can cause someone to lose their faith?  I have stated many times before and I will state it again, my goal is not to turn people into atheists. I am a facilitator. I try to help people who are considering leaving Christianity or who have already left Christianity. Susan will look in vain for ONE person to testify that I tried to evangelize them out of their faith.

Susan spends most of her post threatening me, a blasphemer,  with God, judgment, and hell I don’t think exists.

According to Susan, the only reason I am not dead already is because God is giving me time to repent. I am not sure how she knows this? I wish Christians would make up their mind about what I actually am. One says I am a reprobate, another says God is giving me time to repent. One says I am taken over by Satan, another says I am a Christian that God is fixing to chastise. Please make up your mind people. Am I saved, am I lost? Am I in or am I out? If I am in, please turn the air conditioning on in my mansion. I am coming home sooner rather than later.

Susan doesn’t want to link to The Way Forward. I will assume she wants to avoid putting tender, impressionable souls in harm’s way. Evidently, I am one bad man, yet she tells her readers that it is the Lord himself that is allowing me to write all the horrible, blasphemous things I write on a daily basis. I guess I should stop typing for a moment and say thank you Jesus!

She warns those who dare to come in to my evil lair of iniquity, photography, decadence, and baseball, that they better be prayed up. Evidently, if a person is not prayed up they risk me snatching their Christianity right out of them.

Susan sees me as the enemy and I certainly understand why. I stand in opposition to her fundamentalist Christian beliefs. I suppose I might have responded to Bruce Gerencser, the atheist the same way when I was Bruce Gerencser, the pastor.

Here’s what Susan is missing. I am a loving, kind, decent human being, married to a wonderful heathen woman for 36 years. We have six children and nine, soon to be ten, grandchildren. We are happy, satisfied, and content as a cat getting a squirt of milk from a cow’s teat. Life is good. Susan never saw me as a person because all she saw was someone whom she determined was a hater of God.

Lost on her is the fact that I think it is foolish to hate fictional beings. Saying I hate God is like me saying I hate Santa Claus or the elf that lives in our maple tree. I hate real things, things like war, violence, political and religious oppression, and the St Louis Cardinals. My hatred of fundamentalism stems from the mental and emotional abuse done in the name of fundamentalist’s God. I hate the fruit of fundamentalism not the belief system. If I can get someone to look at the belief system then perhaps I can help end the abuse.

Susan and I agree on one thing, she hopes I find true wisdom. Unfortunately, she can not comprehend me leaving Christianity to find it.  A seeker of true wisdom is willing to travel wherever wisdom can be found. For Susan, the quest for wisdom begins and ends with the Christian God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and an inspired, inerrant text. For me, all I see ahead is open road.

I do hope that Susan will come back and actually have a conversation with me.

 

 

Published: July 22, 2014 | Comments: 26

Baseball is for Girls Too

Yesterday, I attended the game between the Louisville Bats and the Toledo Mud Hens with three of my sons and my grandson. The Bats lost again, but I had a wonderful time out with the boys.

Every time I attend a minor league baseball game, the railing near the dugouts are packed with people trying to get autographs from the players. Most of the young people seeking autographs are boys. Here’s a picture I took of a young Louisville fan that is a reminder that baseball is a girl’s game too.

baseball is a girls game too

After the game, we stopped to eat  at Panera Bread. As we entered the restaurant, I saw the manager glance at us with THAT face. You know, the face that says, really, at 20 minutes to closing you want something to eat? I have been there. I used to manage restaurants, so I know how frustrating it is to get everything cleaned up only to have to prepare food for a few last-minute customers. I always tried to remember that I was in the business to make money and the customer came first. Smile, be polite, and wait on the customer.

Fortunately, the girl who took our order was the exact opposite of her manager. She was a talk-a-tive, happy young adult. When she saw our Cincinnati Reds hats she started talking baseball with me. She told me that baseball was her favorite sport. She seemed quite conversant in all things baseball. I laughed and said, where were you when I started dating girls 40 years ago? She laughed.

This delightful young woman was a reminder to me that girls love baseball too.

 

Published: July 21, 2014 | Comments: 2

One Passage of Scripture My Critics Always Ignore

2 timothy 3

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:1-5:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Most of my fundamentalist Christian critics likely think that this passage from the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God accurately describes the Evangelical Christian pastor turned atheist Bruce Gerencser. This text is meant to be descriptive of certain people alive during the Last Days. Since most fundamentalist Christians think that we are, at this present moment, living in the Last Days, this means that 2 Timothy 3:1-5 is describing people who are presently alive. Ergo, Bruce Gerencser.

What they seem to always miss is that verse five contains a command, from such turn away. Or as the English Standard Version (ESV) says, AVOID SUCH PEOPLE!

When fundamentalist Christians comment on this blog they are disobeying the clear, unambiguous teaching of the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. Not only do they ignore what Paul wrote to young Timothy, they go out of their way to engage, attack, and disrupt. (i.e. like the person who spent the last 24 hours hammering the login page with attempts to log into this blog’s admin page. Over 6,000 attempts) Avoid means stay away from. Seems to me that a number of fundamentalist Christians are doing everything BUT staying away from me.  In fact, I could argue that they are actually the most effective tool I know for drawing people away from their version of Christianity. Keep up the good work!

As I have stated many times over the years, while they may make me the target, the real reason for what they do is their need to be right. They need to feel “right” and what better way to feel right than going after an Evangelical pastor turned atheist. They think if they slay the dragon that this means their beliefs are true. In doing so, they not only ignore the command in 2 Timothy 3:5 but they also reveal who they really are. The Bible says in Galatians 5:

But if ye be led of the Spirit…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

I smell an awful lot of rotting fruit.

Published: July 21, 2014 | Comments: 2

Bruce the Cult Leader

bruce cult leader

Bruce Gerencser, Cult Leader, Deluding the Masses and Leading Them Straight to a Hell That Does Not Exist.

One of the more hilarious bits of gossip floating around on the internet is that I am a cult leader.

Yes, a cult leader.

The thinking goes like this….

I used to be a devoted, card-carrying member of the Christian cult. I was well-respected and I had lots of followers who loved to listen to my Holy Spirit inspired sermons.

But something happened. Many of the conspiracy theorists think that I have been taken over by Satan. They simply can not believe that I would willingly leave Christianity, leave the ministry, and become a godless atheist.

The only possible  answer to my current state of living is that Satan has gotten a hold of my heart and I have become a puppet for the god of this world.

Most everything I write on this blog PROVES that I am indeed working for Satan.  Besides, I am a liberal, socialistic, pacifistic, Democrat. Everyone knows that God is a war-loving, capitalistic Republican.

They are quite certain that Satan is using me to draw people away from Christianity. I have become an enemy of the Christian God. (because, according to them there is only ONE God) They think I have ulterior motives, that I am out to build a vast internet network of former Christians who will do my bidding.  I am the head cheese, the guru of gurus, the chief, the boss, the leader. How else can one explain all these people who read The Way Forward? (a readership that continues to climb as my message reaches the masses)

Here is the silly part, well the biggest silly part.

This requires you, the readers of this blog, to be mindless, brain-dead  Big Time wrestling fans.

Most of the readers of this blog are former Christians, doubting Christians, or Christians who are transitioning to a more liberal form of Christianity. The one thing many readers have in common with each other is that they have been negatively affected by fundamentalist religion.

Many people consider the The Way Forward a safe haven, a place where they can be open and honest about their struggles with religion. No judgments here. I am happy if you are happy.  Wherever your journey takes you is fine with me. Whether you end up with God, no God,another God, or a god of your own making, I am happy for you as long as you have walked the road of your life with honesty and integrity.

For most of us, when we finally decided to break with our fundamentalist past, we gathered up our brains at the door, the same door where we had left our brains many years ago. Fundamentalism does not encourage out of the box thinking. They expect, even demand conformity . One size fits all, Jesus is the answer to everything. Fundamentalism discourages rational, complex thinking, contrary to what some “deep” thinking fundamentalist Calvinists might think.

Once we reengage our minds we are off to the races.  A wild, wonderful world is waiting for us. No longer boxed in, no longer held fast by the cords of fundamentalism, we are free to think, question, and decide based on fact rather than dogma. It is a scary life, but a life I would not trade  for the largest church in America. (once one of by biggest desires)

Look, I am bit narcissistic, as all Americans are. I like the fact that the readership of this blog increases every week.  It is a real  mental boost for me to know that people not only read what I write but also profit from it. Every writer wants their writing to be read by others.

But………….Bruce, a cult leader?

Laugh.

Laugh.

Laugh.

Many of the readers of this blog were already on their way of out religion when our paths crossed. I may give a voice to the burden they carry or I may preach a godless sermon that bears witness to the common struggle we have, but they are not followers of me. In fact, to suggest they are is offensive, not only to them, but to me.

We are free agents. Free to think as we wish. Free to believe or not believe. Free. Free. Free.  For many of us we shouted FREEDOM when we finally escaped the mind-numbing grasp of fundamentalist religion. Do the conspiracy theorists really believe that we will ever pledge ourselves to ANY human leader (or god for that matter) ever again?  Not a chance.

I am not a cult leader and I am quite certain that the readers of this blog are not cult followers who have been duped by a Satan inspired 57-year-old  fat, balding, redheaded man. These days I can’t even get my wife to follow or obey me.  Once she found out those verses in the Bible that said to her submit and obey were no longer applicable…well let’s just say…she is likes her freedom.

Published: July 21, 2014 | Comments: 32