Does My Writing Embolden Evangelicals?

gods army

One of the interesting aspects of my writing is that some of the subjects I cover actually embolden the Evangelical churches, pastors, and believers I critique. If Evangelicals are anything, they are conspiratorial, and they often think they are being persecuted for their faith. So when I write negatively about Evangelicalism, they often see me as a pawn of Satan, a tool being used by the Prince of Darkness to attack and destroy Christianity. People like me “attacking” their faith is a sign to them that they are on the right track.

The Bible says:

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you… (John 15:18-21a)

Jesus said:

  • The world hated me, so the world will hate you too
  • The world persecuted me, so the world will persecute you too

Never mind that Jesus was talking to the Disciples. Many modern Evangelicals are certain that Jesus was talking about them. They are taught from their youth up that the world, the non-Evangelical world, is the enemy of God and a threat to the faith once delivered to the saints.

The author of 1 John had this to say in 1 John 2:15-17:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

I John is clear:

  • Christians should not love the world and the things that are in the world
  • Those who don’t love the world and its lusts and do the will of God will live forever

Now, most Evangelical Christians are quite the hypocrite when it comes to practicing these verses. Most Evangelicals love the world just like the atheist does. (and many atheists/non-Evangelicals live far better lives morally and ethically)  They own houses, land, and cars, and furnish their homes with all the trappings of the American way of life. While they do, at times, push back against the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, for the most part, there is little difference between the Evangelical and the non-Evangelical.

While they ignore their own “worldliness”, they don’t ignore the worldly, godless, anti-Christian writing of people like me. Instead of realizing that their own worldliness, indifference, and irrelevance, is the biggest threat to the future of Evangelicalism, they instead think that people like me, liberalism, or secularism is the “real” threat.

I find this kind of thinking quite amusing. On a typical day, The Way Forward has a thousand or two page views. On a day when I hit the Evangelical dog squarely with a rock, the page views might jump up to five or six thousand. On a rare day, when I am found to be nipping at the feet of one of the Evangelical gods, the number of page views might reach ten thousand. Yes, these numbers are larger than many blogs have, but hardly earth shattering. I am one man among seven billion. I highly doubt that I am more than a gnat flying around the bared, dirty ass of Christianity.

Yes, the number of people who have come to appreciate my writing grows each day and I appreciate every reader who hops on the Bruce Crazy Train. But, I know that I will never reach the masses and that has never been my goal. I am just one man with a story to tell. My story resonates with some people and infuriates others. Some will hop on the train for a while and then hop off. They move on, get tired of me, or I write something that pisses them off. (and trust me, I will, sooner or later, write something every reader will disagree with)

I never started writing so I could gain a large number of readers. Writing was/is cathartic for me, and money wise it monthly costs me  less than one visit to a therapist. As I have said before, writing is like therapy, and I have encouraged more than a few people to begin writing, knowing that putting their thoughts and feelings into words can be quite liberating. Writing allows me to talk out loud, and while I am grateful that more and more people are listening, that was never the goal. I would still write for an audience of one, the one being Polly, because she has to read what I write.   I have some family members who don’t like my writing, so they refuse to read. That’s fine. There is no test at family gatherings to see if my children and extended family have read this blog.

My goal has never been to attack Evangelical Christianity or cause people to lose their faith. (many Evangelicals confuse directness, observation, and critique with attack and hate) Yes, some people have lost their faith because of my writing, but I suspect their loss of faith was far more complicated than just reading something I wrote. Most people who deconvert can point to numerous reasons and writers for why they deconverted. I am just one small voice whispering in the night. If people find my whispers of value I am grateful. If they don’t, I still plan on whispering.

There is nothing I can do about some Evangelicals becoming emboldened by my writing. I am sure the people from Elevate City Church, Fresh Life Community ChurchKing’s Cross Church, Xperience Church, Steven Furtick’s church, First Baptist Church in Hammond, Longview Baptist Temple, King’s Way Baptist Church, and almost every Independent Fundamentalist (IFB) who has ever read this blog, view my writing about them as PROOF that their beliefs are right. They are taught to view the attack of Satan, who is, in this instance, Bruce Gerencser, as a sure sign that they are on the right path. As a result, they become emboldened in their faith and this encourages them to keep keeping on.

I know there is nothing I can do about this. My writing will always be a motivator for some Evangelical Christians. I suspect my writing has improved the prayer life of many people. One former pastor friend actually called a church prayer meeting to pray for me. Some people even go so far as to pray imprecatory prayers, hoping that their God will show the world what he thinks of apostate blasphemers like me. As of 9:00 AM EST on January 21, 2014, God has not answered their prayers. Maybe today!

The past six years have brought me into contact with hundreds of people who were once Christians. Some of these people comment on this blog and some email me expressing their appreciation and support. Over time, as we interact with one another, we have become friends. While we have never met face-to-face, as much as the digital world allows us, we have become good friends. My life has been greatly enriched by the friendships I have made through this blog.

I know that there are a lot of lurkers who read this blog. Sometimes, they will wait for a year before commenting. One man waited five years before he dared to comment, left one comment, and then returned to lurking. I know that I am, in some small measure, helping people I will never come in contact with. They are an IP address and a geographical location in the logs; but they ARE real people and I must never forget this. While I write primarily for myself and for those who find themselves in agreement with me, I know that the vast majority of people who read this blog will never makes themselves known to me. They will never comment, never send me an email, or never make a blog donation. It is enough for me to be a small, silent, unknown measure of help to them, the atheist reverse of, you will never know how many people you helped until you get to heaven. In my case, I never will know since there will be no heavenly accounting for me, just death.

My goal has always been, beyond the personal benefit, to write in such a way to help those who have left Christianity or who are considering leaving. I am not an evangelist for atheism and I have no greater purpose than to be an effective, passionate, and honest writer. If people find help along the path of life, I am grateful. (usually, at this point, some Evangelical zealot will say, GRATEFUL TO WHO?)

I know that I am in the sunset years of my life. Even if I live to be seventy-years old, I have less than fourteen years to live. If I live to seventy-one, Polly and I will have been married fifty-years. I want to live until I die, but I know that the health problems I have suggest that a long life is not in my future. I intend to continue writing until I physically can’t write any longer, get tired of writing, or run out of things to say. Until then, readers will love me or hate me. Perhaps when I stand before the Evangelical God on Judgment Day, he will consider how emboldened the faith of some Evangelicals became because of my writing. Perhaps God is using my evil for good, right? I have no worries about Judgment Day. I live, love, and write…and that is enough for me.

Comments (18)

  1. mikespeir

    You’re leaving a mark. That’s what’s important. The more extreme versions of Christianity are running out of steam. There’s only so much more enegry available to them. As long as you’re inciting them to waste some of it you’re doing a job that needs to be done.

    Reply
  2. Lynn

    Beautifully written, Bruce. Count me as one who loves you and has most definitely been helped by you!

    Also I used to think that way-what you said about emboldening Christians. I used to notice, as a Christian, that Christianity got picked on a lot in the media. I took that as a sign that it was the truth. It didn’t make me bolder or cause me to have more faith, really ( I was always doubtful and confused.) Now when Christianity is criticized, I take each criticism for what it’s worth. It’s mostly legitimate criticism. The obvious hypocrisy of most Christians, how they think they are the owners of the truth and must instruct others, how they don’t show respect or curiosity toward others’ thoughts, how anyone not agreeing with them is of the devil and an evildoer-I mean, really, how absurd is that? But that’s what the Bible tells them. How they claim to love everybody but so obviously do not. How their politics always trumps their religion.

    Reply
  3. Sue Dibs

    Bruce, you are amazing and I enjoy your honesty and humor.

    It was a good good day when I accidentally fell into your blog. I am always happy to see your new posts in my inbox and I treasure each one. In my evolution from fundigelical to Post-Christian, your writing has accelerated my growth and calmed my anxiety and given me the words to describe my transformation.

    Plus, I am still laughing my ass off when I think of your circumcision disclosure! Gotta lot a mileage outta that one, Bud!

    I send my best wishes to you and a gentle fist bump. I am glad we’ve been on the planet at the same time.

    Love, Sue-Who-is-Proceeding-Boldly

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Thanks, Sue.

      I am glad I can make you laugh and I appreciate the *gentle* fist bump. Not too hard, it doesn’t take much these days to knock me over. :)

      Reply
  4. Appalachian Agnostic

    I enjoy your blog because there are many places where your history intersects with my history. A few posts back, when you mentioned Rolfe Barnard, I got to thinking that my life would have been different if he had not traveled the South preaching. It’s impossible to say whether it would have been better or worse, but the BS he preached in his time had a direct effect on the authority figures who controlled the first part of my life.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Yeah, Barnard, even though he was dead, had a HUGE influence on my life once I became a Calvinist. I ended up meeting Henry Mahan, who was a close friend of Barnard, and this led to make all kinds of connections with Calvinistic pastors. Funny how just listening to a cassette tape can change your life.

      Reply
  5. brbr2424

    I’m too lazy to remember the spelling of your name so I google the way forward. It was the top non sponsored link today. That is pretty impressive for a generic search. I look forward to your book. It should sell well.

    When I’ve said I’m grateful or thankful it always baffles me when someone mistakes that for a religious expression.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      SO you are the one! :) Just remember Gerencser not Gerenscer or Grenser or Grinsir,or Grensinger or ________, well you get my point. :)I am the only Bruce Gerencser in the world, so I am not hard to find. :)

      Reply
  6. Matt Martin

    Beliefs have consequences and it’s because religious beliefs (which so often have the most serious consequences of all) are protected from challenge in so many public spaces that blogs such as this one are so important.

    There are few voices as powerful as that of the ex-believer in this case revealing the tricks and rorts of the evangelical christian movement which has for so long held American public discourse to ransom in seeking a return to the values and attitudes of the Iron Age.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Thanks, Matt.

      Reply
  7. NeverAgainV

    I for one -am so glad that you write! Thanks Bruce!

    The “imprecatory” prayers…oh oh…I hate that. Jesus said “love thine enemies…” but now that I think about it, Jesus doesn’t love HIS by burning them in hell fire…so why didn’t Jesus just say “curse thine enemies” as that is what imprecatory prayer pretty much is!

    Oh the mind games, how fun!! There’s something quite contradictory and confusing about the teachings of the ole “holy book”. It’s madness to try to honestly believe that stuff!

    Just my opi though. ;)

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I knew nothing about imprecatory praying until I became a Calvinist. I find it interesting that is it is only right-wing Republicans and fundamentalists who pray these kind of prayers. I don’t remember any liberals praying that God would kill George W Bush. :)Run him out of office, return him to the ranch? Yes. Death? No.

      Reply
  8. NeverAgainV

    Gotta add that because I had spoken my experience in the cult church that i had left, a current member had mentioned how I was “persecuting the church…”! I’m like dude, NO!!
    I’m not persecuting anybody I’m speaking my truth and what happened to me and what I experienced. Of course because I’m not drinking the koolaid anymore, I have now joined the ranks of demon possessed deceivers & a “persecutor and enemy of the truth”! Haha!!
    How wonderful that I can actually laugh about it now! :D

    I guess anyone who has a different opinion than the pastor is persecuting the truth/saints/church etc. Nobody else’s viewpoint has validity because the True Believers already have and know the truth, so we must be liars and deceived. That’s how it works.

    Those fundies have closed their minds. One thing that helped me get out of my brainwashed stupor was I looked around at my world and realized that usually things that were LIVING & GROWING changed, yes changed! and I looked at the antiquated dogma and ridiculous nonsense of bible religion and realized they don’t want to change….

    in time I was out the door and done with it.

    Reply
  9. Ivan

    Bruce, I have a confusion with the part you explained about the “world” that evangelicals understand.

    I have heard people say: “when I was from the world….” So they can relate to their past live because now they don´t listen to secular music, they don´t drink, don´t dance, don´t smoke, don´t… whatever.

    But to have a new car, bigger home for many of them they consider these as blessings.

    Why they relate “world” to habits (dancing, smoking, music), when I think world means “things” (luxury, cars, lust for many things)?

    If a evangelical sees a person smoking they would say, he is from the “world”. But inside that same person feelings he fell bad because he has a habit and is struggling to quit “smoking” and have tried many ways to quit and fails.

    Is this a habit as any other or is this a “worldly” thing?
    I ´d love to see your comment.

    Reply
    1. NeverAgainV

      Hi Ivan, If you don’t mind I’m gonna add my .02 cents.

      From my experience, it seems the church I was in used the term “worldly” in a way that fit what they wanted. In my old church, many of the people were quite well off financially. The pastor even bragged how he was financially “well taken care of…”. Several families in the church had the finest homes, in ground pools, most recent model cars, the best and most recent in technology as far as wide screen tvs, cell phones, games, etc. I recall in the bible the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life…” was spoken against. Yet my expastor had no problem in having the “pride of life” by bragging about the good jobs several of his members have and how well off he is financially!

      So I would say there is just the same ole hypocrisy with Christians if you ask me. The “world” to them would mean something that doesn’t jive with what their pastor teaches. I would be considered “worldly” because I left that church and refuse to go to any church. I would also be considered worldly because I don’t want to read the buybull anymore or go to prayer meetings, etc…. Basically they make anything in the bible agree with their viewpoint.

      I love what you pointed out how “worldly” doesn’t include their nice homes, nice cars, etc…but they will call someone “worldly” just for enjoying secular music or dancing!!!
      You SEE it Ivan, the hypocrisies are quite glaring aren’t they?

      Reply
  10. pilgrimsinthisworld

    Oh my goodness. I see this all of the time.. and I’m an evangelical.. LOL.. People that say they are persecuted by others because they are right.. while many, many times.. it’s their own harsh, judgmental way that is drawing fire.. or their lack of studying scriptures and taking something literal for today that was meant for a different culture with a different context. I know I disagree with your worldview.. but often I find that I feel like an outsider looking in to the church even though I am crazy in love with Jesus Christ.

    Reply
  11. pilgrimsinthisworld

    Oh, and one more thing.. yes.. yes.. and yes… so many fundamental questions are just as “worldly” as non believers.. in fact, I did a study on what worldly means.. and it really has nothing to do with the length of you skirt…. although it could as if you focused on that you would be focused on that and not the eternal.. but it really means a focus that is not only (we have to focus on the temporal to some extent.) on temporal things that are passing away.

    Reply
  12. William E. Hammons III

    Bruce, I hope for your every happiness. There is a warmth and insight to your writing, and though I cannot say I am always in agreement with you, I respect your civility.

    Reply

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