Tag Archive: Atheism

Another Christian Who Doesn’t Get It

saved or lost

Deon Nel43, a devout, I-know-I am-right, filled with the Holy Ghost Christian, left a comment meant to show the deluded readers of this blog the error of their way. What follows is Deon Nel43’s comment and my response. My words are emboldened and italicized.

Email begins here

It is sad to notice that when people on this site describe their past conversion, it ends up to be something like:

  1. Being a member of a church.
  2. Doing what the church and the pastor expected i.e. reading my bible, praying, outreach etc..
  3. Having lots of zeal and being sincere or even on fire for the Lord.

I don’t know of anyone who describes their conversion this way. The things listed by Deon Nel43 are what we would have called the fruit of faith, the evidence that we had been converted.

Is Deon Nel43 suggesting that Christians aren’t members of a church, don’t have to submit to those who the rule over them, or don’t need to pray  and read the Bible? Is Deon Nel43 suggesting that Christians shouldn’t be zealous unto good works? I would be glad to provide proof texts for each one of these. Let the Bible proof text duel begin.

Bruce’s testimony of his past Christian experience sounds much the same and is also a bit confusing.

See above.

In one post he says that his past experiences was ‘REAL’ yet he turned his back on it??? Figure that one out. Maybe he should say that he was sincere.

My experiences were real because I physically, emotionally, mentally, and intellectually experienced them. These experiences are what we call life. I lived it and I know what I experienced. Is Deon Nel43 suggesting I had some sort of out-of-body experience?

And I was sincere too. Deon Nel43 wants to paint me as someone who was sincere but lost; someone who intellectually knew the “facts” but didn’t spiritually possess them. The only problem with this argument is that it is not true. This is just Deon Nel43’s way of dismissing a story (mine) that he can’t explain within the context of his version of Christianity.

That I can understand but how can something be real and then discarded like a dirty rag? Contradiction of words used. Unfortunately, the conversions described on this blog are not the conversions spoken of in scripture.

Who discarded Christianity like a dirty rag? I didn’t. It took several years before I was willing to say I was no longer a Christian. I agonized over this, and it was, by far, the hardest decision I ever made in my life.

It took a lot more soul-searching to get unsaved than it ever took to get saved. People like Deon Nel43 have never walked the path of deconversion so they have no idea how difficult it is to come to a place where you are willing to walk away from all that you considered precious and true.

conversion has always been:

  1. A personal conviction of one’s fallen state and sinfulness
  2. A personal revelation of my inability to do what God requires consistently.
  3. A personal  revelation of His justice and goodness and that those who do such things will not go unpunished.
  4. A personal revelation of God’s love towards one in Jesus Christ.
  5. A personal revelation of Jesus, the need for His death on the cross, His resurrection and ascension.
  6. Jesus personally coming to live in the person through the infilling of His Spirit.

Memo to Deon Nel43: When I was a Christian I wholeheartedly, without reservation believed every one of your six points of conversion. Not only did I believe them, I preached them to others.

Of course, I know how Deon Nel43 will respond to this…I didn’t REALLY believe these things, because if I had I would still be a Christian.

And around and around we go…

Bible conversion therefore takes place when one had the above mentioned revelation, then turns from serving himself and gives himself fully to the Lord never to turn back (true repentance). God will then fill him with His Spirit as He promised. When His Spirit enters that person, a change takes place. This change is describe in the bible as ‘being born from ABOVE’ and ‘conversion’. Conversion is the same as transformation and metamorphosis e.g. a worm that transforms into a butterfly.

How can one be transformed and not know it? How can one have a revelation of one’s sinfulness, of God’s love and righteousness, of Jesus Himself and having His Spirit abiding inside one and still be totally unaware of it? How can one turn from darkness to light and see no difference?

I agree with Deon Nel43. I knew I was a blood-bought child of the living God. I knew the Holy Spirit lived inside me.  And many of the people who read this blog would say the same.  We were there when Jesus saved us. We were there when Jesus transformed our lives. Our attitudes and desires were for the things of God. We were, as the Bible says,  reborn from above.

The bottom line is this: we were every bit as much a Christian as Deon Nel43 is now.  It doesn’t matter whether Deon Nel43 can square this with his particular brand of theology or personal experience. The fact remains, I once was a Christian and now I am not; I once was saved and now I am not. To suggest people like me “never were saved” is to deny reality.

The answer is plain.The conversion experienced does not come from above but is earthly, sensual and demonic and should be repented of, rejected, and cast away…

However there are a true conversion that leads to an abundant life here and in the hereafter…

Here is what is plain for all to see. Neon Del43 thinks his interpretation of the Bible is truth and that his experience is normative. Anyone who does not believe as he believes is not a Christian. Simply put, Neon Del43 is the template for all those who want to be Christian and go to God’s Motel 6 when they die.

The real issue here is that Deon Nel43 doesn’t know what to do with the former Christians on this site. His theology tells him a true follower of Jesus can’t fall from grace, yet here we are.  Rather than recognizing his theology might be wrong, he insists that people such as myself “never were saved,” He ignores the fact that a persuasive case can be made for the Bible teaching that Christians can, in fact, lose their salvation.

Deon Nel43 is just another example of a Christian who doesn’t get it. Many have come before him and I am sure many more will follow.

One Man’s Journey from Faith to Unbelief


What follows is a guest post by a regular reader of this blog. He is writing this anonymously, and after you read his post you will understand why. If you have a story you would like to share in a guest post, please let me know. It is important that Christians who are struggling with their faith or who have lost their faith know that they are not alone. Telling your story, like the one below, will encourage and help many people.

This is the story of my spiritual migration so far.  Like my ancestors who immigrated from Europe to ________ a century and a half ago, I feel like I have crossed the ocean, and don’t know yet where I will settle on this vast continent.

I was raised Southern Baptist. Until about 15 months ago, I would have said we were pretty fundamentalist, but then I started reading The Way Forward (the previous name of this blog) and many other websites.  Now I would call all the churches I have belonged to throughout my life as only moderately conservative.  My time in the church has been a positive experience, and I’ve seen little of the pettiness, jealousy, domineering, and other bad traits so many others have experienced and written about.  I’m not saying it does not exist, just that I have not observed it.

I have especially fond memories of the church I grew up in from the age of 5 until I left for the military at 22.  This church wrapped its arms around me and my mother when she became a single mother after my father died when I was 9.  Many of the men there filled a void and were positive role models to me. The church gave me my first job, as the church janitor, when I was 15.  I made life-long friends there, and if I went back and visited there next Sunday I would still get hugs and handshakes even though I have been gone 30 years.  Because of the positive influence the people in that church had on me as a child and young adult, I have always been drawn to working with children in the church.  I have been a children’s Sunday school teacher, VBS worker, Awana leader, and led Royal Ambassadors (the Southern Baptists’ version of Boy Scouts).

At my first military assignment, on the west coast, I joined a church and made many friends.  One was a girl who was on staff at the church part-time and going to seminary part-time.  One of my roommates also went to seminary at this time.  Our church called a brand new seminary graduate as pastor, although he was older and was starting a second career.  I also read the Bible all the way through for the first time in my life.  With many questions and access to those who were studying at seminary, we had many deep conversations as I asked my questions.  Many of their answers weren’t particularly satisfying, but I suppressed the dissonance and soldiered on in the faith.

Fast forward 10 years and I was married and living on the other side of the country.  After a severe accident, my father-in-law lingered comatose in intensive care for 24 days before finally dying in spite of a coast-to-coast prayer vigil.  The fact that my wife never got to have a last conversation with her dad about his salvation motivated her to get intentional about spreading the gospel, so we took the Evangelism Explosion course and went out knocking on doors every week. At the next assignment and church, the evangelism program was called FAITH, and we did that. That church asked me to be a deacon.  The ‘examination’ was an open book essay test of my personal beliefs.  The military moved me a year later, so my active deacon service was short-lived.

About six years ago my wife amped up her passion and embarked on a master’s degree in Christian apologetics.  I thought it was useless to spend money on an actual degree, although the subject interested me too.

In the spring of 2012 I was driving home one day when I heard the PBS segment on Teresa McBain’s coming out as an atheist.  It sent chills down my spine.  Here was a person raised like me, a Southern Baptist, who had gone on to become a minister, who was renouncing her faith.  A few months later, by myself at home, I found a link to the broadcast and listened again.  This time I caught the reference to the Clergy Project.  I googled it, and found their website.  There I found links to former ministers who had left their faith behind.  That is where I went over the edge of the waterfall.

Over the next few weeks I read and listened to everything I could find from Dan Barker, John Compere, Ken Daniels, Bruce Gerencser, and Rich Lyons.  Bart Ehrman’s Jesus Misquoted was one of the textbooks my wife read for her master’s degree, so I pulled it off the shelf and read it.  One day, looking out the window at the sky it all came together and I told myself “it’s just not true.”  I didn’t get mad at God.  No one at church did me wrong.  I just concluded there was not enough evidence for me to continue to believe.

I don’t know when or how I will ever come out to either my family or church.  I don’t see bringing up the subject with my wife any time soon.  I know she has noticed I don’t insist on saying a blessing before a meal anymore, and that I don’t pull out the checkbook to write a check every Sunday morning, and that I find reasons to not go to the adult Sunday School class (she still teaches a children’s class), and sometimes even admit to just skipping.  If she ever directly challenges me I will probably come clean, since I am a terrible liar.

I have two sons who, for better or worse, think their dad can do no wrong, and I don’t want to damage my relationship with them. My teenage son made a profession of faith as a younger child.  He enjoys going to the youth camps and retreats, but shows little inclination to be there every time the door is open.  He is smarter than his engineer dad and accountant mother put together, so I am hopeful he will reason his way out of Christianity, perhaps with some subtle nudging from me, as he grows older.  For now, whenever he says something outrageous I challenge him to examine the evidence and ensure his beliefs and opinions are well founded.

My younger son has been totally brainwashed by his mom, and made his profession of faith and was baptized last summer, about a month after my ah-ha moment.  Interestingly, he still holds on to a belief in Santa Claus at an age when all the other kids have figured it out.  In fact, we were so frustrated that he wasn’t figuring it out, Christmas before last we told him flat-out that mom and dad were Santa, not some guy who literally comes from the North Pole in a sleigh with reindeer.  Nevertheless, a few days ago he asked me how Santa got around to all the houses he had to go to on Christmas Eve.  I said “well, let’s do the math.  How many houses does he have to go to?  How long does it take to go to each house?  How many hours are there in the night?”  We did not do all the calculations, but hopefully I planted another seed to use reason and evidence.  Maybe once he figures out Santa then he’ll apply the same logic to Christianity.

I’ve never talked about spiritual matters with my older siblings, but all the evidence points to me being the last one to get where they have been for about 40 years, so there is no issue there.  Both our parents are gone now, so that is also not a problem.  Most of our extended family is still Christian, but they live far enough away and we see them rarely enough that there is no need to come out to them.

At church, I had already started working to extract myself even before my epiphany.  I had informed our Sunday School director a few months before that I would not continue as a teacher after the current Sunday School year ended in August 2012.  My term on the one committee I am on will end this year, and I declined to be chairman of the committee this year.  I guess I was too subtle however, since I was surprised to be pulled aside one Sunday morning this past spring and told I had been nominated to be a deacon again.  I was given another examination questionnaire to fill out, and asked to pray about it.  I thought about using the questionnaire to express my new beliefs as a way of coming out, but decided there was nothing to be gained by that approach.  Instead, when they followed up a few weeks later I just said I didn’t think it would be appropriate to go through the process at this time.

I go to the adult Sunday School class about half the time now.  Sometimes I find a good reason to not go; sometimes I just skip out. I can do this and admit it to my wife without fear of condemnation because she has always hated adult Sunday School for its lack of depth of discussion and study (remember she went and got a seminary degree just for her own edification), and teaching children is her escape. I agreed with her that there was little value in the Bible study, but always enjoyed the social aspect. When I go now I usually stay quiet unless someone says something so outrageous I can’t stand not to comment.  One day the teacher opened the lesson by asking what would cause someone to doubt the existence of God.  I suppressed a smile, but did say that when a child is born with massive birth defects I think that would cause someone to doubt God.  Nobody else said anything, but heads nodded up and down.  Another time the topic was love between husband and wife, and the supporting text came from Song of Solomon 6:3 (I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.)  Everyone oohed and aahed about how poetic that was and how wise Solomon was until I spoke up said to keep reading to verse 8 (There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and maidens without number).  Silence.

We sit together as a family in the service.  Once the sermon starts and the scripture has been read and we sit back down, I use the time reading other parts of the Bible to research and document inconsistencies and fallacies I’ve heard.  I do this to bolster my case for the day when I eventually do come out.

I’ll probably continue like this indefinitely, short of someone at the church making one of us mad enough to leave.  That would actually be a good cover story to use.  If I was still in the military it would be easy…we would eventually move and then just not make an effort to find another church.  But for now I am unwilling to perturb the relationship with my wife and sons.

So here I am in _________.  I’m standing firmly on dry land, but who knows where I will go from here, how I will get there, when I will go, or who might go with me.

Should a Christian Preacher Turned Atheist Stop Using His Public Speaking Skills?

preacherShould a Christian-preacher-turned atheist-stop using his public speaking skills? Before this question can be answered, perhaps we should ascertain whether the person in question actually has public speaking skills. I’ve heard more than a few preachers over the years who were horrible public speakers. Their sermons were poorly crafted and their speaking skills ranged from incoherent to monotonous. Personally, I don’t know how some people listen to this kind of preaching year after year. Perhaps this is their purgatory.

I always prided myself in preaching well-crafted sermons. I worked hard in the study to produce the best sermon possible. I spent hours and days preparing my sermons. My goal was to preach in such a way that people would not only hear me but be moved to make a decision. The goal of every sermon was to force people to choose. Neutrality was never an option. Choose YOU this day whom YOU will serve, the Bible says. Even now, the most powerful speeches are the ones that demand something of listeners.

When I preached I was animated and passionate. In my early years, I moved around a good bit, but as I got older my movement lessened. Over time, I developed a style, a methodology of preaching. Generally, people found my style pleasing and my voice easy to listen to. I wasn’t a raging, fire-breathing, pulpit pounding, aisle running Pentecostal, but neither was I a droning, lifeless Methodist. (sorry for the stereotypes)

Words are powerful tools. Coupled with the methodology of preaching, words have the ability to move people and motivate them to do great things. However, words also have the power to manipulate and control. Numerous readers of this blog can testify to how the words of their pastor were used to sway, exploit, shame and abuse.

Any preacher worth his salt knows the power his words have over others Preachers know that the right word at the right time can elicit a certain response. They know what words can trigger an emotional response. Yes, preaching is supposed to be about knowledge and instruction, but mere knowledge will never cause a people to rise to the occasion and go to  war with Satan, the world, Democrats, secularism, and atheists. Great orators know how to stir people to do that which they might not normally do. Therein lies their power, and that power, when used wrongly, can hurt people or cause them to do things that are harmful, not only to themselves, but to others.

So what is a person such as myself to do? I preached my first sermon at age 15 and my last sermon at age 48 I spent 34 years telling people, thus saith the Lord. I have given thousands of sermons, having preached through most of the books in the Bible. Preaching is very much a part of who and what I am.

As a preacher-turned-atheist, I find myself in uncharted waters. I still have a passion for public speaking. I know I could be good at teaching most anything. I suspect, knowing my skill-set, that people would find me engaging and easy to listen to. As most any former parishioner of mine will attest, my ability to hold a crowd’s attention was never a problem. Oh, I had plenty of problems and shortcomings, but when in the pulpit I was at my best.

I miss preaching. I miss the personal interaction with people. I miss seeing my words move, challenge, and motivate people. As most ex-preachers will tell you, preaching was not the reason they left the ministry or deconverted. It was the stuff outside the pulpit; endless meetings, personal squabbles, or financial struggles that caused the most stress and angst.

In 2012, Pentecostal-preacher-turned-atheist, Jerry DeWitt, delivered a powerful speech at the American Atheist Convention. His speech, dare I say sermon, was given using the preaching skills that had served him well as a Pentecostal preacher.

Dan Fincke, a friend of mine who blogs at Camels with Hammers, wrote a lengthy post  about Dewitt’s message and his speaking skills and style. Dan thoughtfully raised some issues that former preachers like Dewitt and I need to consider carefully:

So, as Richard Wade watched this former evangelical go so far as to present the narrative of his turn to atheism in the precise idiom of a Pentecostal preacher, he turned to me and said, “You were right!” It made the dynamic so clear.

So—is this a good thing? I think in most ways it is, but I have a reservation. There is nothing wrong with a narrative in which “once I was blind but now I see”. This has always been a part of secularism. The Enlightenment’s emphasis on the “light of reason” was coopted, for example, by Descartes from St. Augustine. We need to reclaim some of the emotionally resonant metaphorical terrain that is part of our linguistic and cultural means of expressing certain kinds of experiences. Just because a certain emotionally powerful form of personal narrative was cultivated in evangelical circles does not mean it cannot have genuine parallels among apostates. We are not just ripping them off or somehow remaining Christians. But sometimes we do remain evangelicals, only now atheistic kinds. The apostate’s narrative often just has some basic formal similarities that make it true to co-opt similar categories to evangelicals when conceiving of and narrating what is happening within oneself.

But what about the Pentecostal delivery? I can imagine some atheists with what I like to call “religious PTSD” rejecting it out of hand for its “triggering” connotations that remind them of the shameless charlatans who pioneered, and up through today still, exploit those techniques to manipulate people into falsehoods and religiously based moral corruption. But the vast majority of the auditorium seemed happy to play along with DeWitt and to really enjoy the experiment. He got a hearty standing ovation from a good portion of the room when he was done and was one of the day’s leaders for applause lines for sure.

But the Pentecostal style might also simply look so well practiced and formulaic and manipulative that it is the equivalent of a shameless Hallmark card or a schmaltzy movie providing cheap emotional triggers using the easiest and least respectable methods in the book for pushing people’s buttons.

I think that if the emotional button pushing is a way to make an end-run around reason, that is corrupt and despicable. But if it is to package and deliver rational truths and moral ideals of rationalism to people in a way that will properly align their emotions to what is actually true and ethical, then ultimately I am not convinced there’s anything dishonest or manipulative about that. I am open to arguments though….

…As I also explained to Richard the morning before seeing DeWitt, I have preachers’ rhetorical skills and yet for the most part I assiduously avoid them in my classrooms, and instead work with my students dialectically and put the stress on the development of their own reasoning skills. Occasionally, I will get on a roll about something I’m passionate about and reach back to make a rhetorically boosted little speech. But even then I hold back on going quite to preacher levels. And if I do, it’s tempered and not exploitative.

There are two reasons for my hesitation. One is purely technical. I once picked up the interesting advice that if you can do something exceptionally well you should do it only selectively, so as not to diminish its impact. In general you should only put as much rhetorical push into an idea as it needs and save your force for when it’s really needed, always calibrating force applied precisely to what is necessary at every level.

But the more morally serious and germane reason I hesitate to go into preacher mode is that it can be downright anti-dialectical and counter-productive to cultivating an atmosphere of rationalism and habits of careful reasoning. Preaching, rather than just teaching or guiding through questions, runs the risk of inherently training and reinforcing the audience’s infamous preexisting susceptibilities to falling for passions and pretty words at the expense of rational thought. Even if you convince them of your point with your bluster and poetry, you do not train them in careful critical thinking in the process, and so you have not guaranteed they have learned to think for themselves, so much as to simply think like you. And you may have just contributed to their ever ongoing habituation throughout the culture in being led by irrationalistic appeals rather than rational ones. This is not just a pitfall of the parts of our movement that dance with religious forms but also the ones which dance with dubious political rhetorical tactics too.

I’m not sure if it is the case that the preacher’s style is always mutually exclusive with training in critical thinking. Clearly a major part of why it’s so dangerous in actual religions is because it is explicitly coupled with injunctions to just have faith and with countless dubious appeals to unjustified authorities. Can a rationalism which explicitly denounces such things be compatible with some fiery preaching? Can one preach successfully against authoritarianism and faith or is there an implicit bogus appeal to faith in the ungrounded authority of the speaker that is structurally there every time a teacher takes recourse to the tactics of the preacher?

Dan waves the red flag of warning and rightly so. Preaching, particularly certain styles of preaching, can be used to manipulate and control. Dan wisely warns about making an end-run around reason. Far too often preaching is nothing more than the reinforcing of this we believe and we shall not be moved from this we believe.

As a preacher turned atheist, I cannot turn off the speaking skills I used to ply my trade for 34 years. They are very much a part of who I am. The best I can do is be mindful of the power of the skills I have and make sure I use them in such a way that people are not only moved but instructed. I need to be aware of the power I have to manipulate people with my words. Self-awareness of this fact will keep me from falling back into using the tricks of the preaching trade to elicit the desired response from those listening to me.

That said, I want to put in a plug for passionate, pointed, challenging public speaking. Quite frankly, the atheist and humanist movement needs a bit of life pumped into it. I have listened to many speeches, lectures, seminars, and debates that people told me were wonderful. Well-known atheists and humanists, aren’t they great? Uh, no. B-o-r-i-n-g. Dry. Monotonous. Some  atheist and humanist speakers would be better off if they stuck to doing  what they do best: writing books and magazine articles. Leave the public speaking to those who do it well. If they are unwilling to do so, then they need to go back to school and take a few speech classes.

The atheist and humanist movement needs people who have the ability to passionately move people to action. I would rather suffer a bit with Jerry Dewitt’s preaching style (and I am not a fan of the Pentecostal style of preaching), than listen to a well-educated, boring man WOW me right into an afternoon nap. We are in a battle against religious zealots and theocrats, and we need speakers who can stir and motivate people to action.

Some atheists and humanists naïvely believe that knowledge is all that matters. Like Joe Friday, they think if they just give people the facts they will see the error of their way. Don’t get me wrong, knowledge is important; it’s essential. Way too many people becomeatheists out of anger or disappointment with the Christian church. Just like the Christian zealot, the atheist should know why he believes what he does. Or as the Bible says, the atheist should be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within them. But, at the same time, we should not divorce our beliefs from our emotions. Some things matter, and if they matter, our emotions should be stirred, motivating us to act accordingly.

Paul, in 1 Corinthians, wrote about being a voice heard above all others. There is so much clamoring for truth these days. Who do people turn to? Those who stir them; those who speak to them. As atheists and humanists we must not disconnect our intellect from our emotions. If we believe we have the answer to what ails our universe, then we must be passionate about it, and that passion ought to come out in our public speaking. Yes, people need to hear what we have to say, but they also need to feel it.

An Evangelical Christian Asks: What Happens When We Die?

louis ck life after death

An Evangelical Christian asked me, what happens when we die?  Here’s my answer.

The power of religion rests in the hope it gives people concerning life after death. Remove this from religion and churches would be shuttered overnight. Hope, along with fear, is the glue that holds most religions together. What would religion be without the fear of hell and the hope of heaven?

The problem though is that there is no proof for the existence of heaven,hell, or life beyond the grave.  All we have to go on is the various religious texts that clerics use to “prove” that there is a hell and a heaven. No one has ever gone to heaven or hell and returned to tell us about it. The same goes for any life  after death, whether it be reincarnation or Christian resurrection. There is no evidence for life after death. Any belief to the contrary requires faith.

As a skeptic,I rarely appeal to faith. I try to judge matters according to what I can know. What does reason tell me about life after death? What do my observations tell me about reality? What do my experiences tell me about the prospects of eternal life beyond my last breath?

When we die we are dead. That’s it. End of story.  When my heart stops pumping and my lungs stop breathing, I am dead. Every one of us will come to this end. No one escapes death. I know of no one who has come back from the dead. I know of no one who is not right where they were planted or scattered after they died. As with God, there is no empirical evidence for hell, heaven, or life after death. Since there is no evidence, I must conclude that these things do not exist.

Now, this does not mean I don’t wish it could be different. Heaven, eternal life, a pain-free body, being reunited with my father and mother; all these things appeal to me. But then, so does having magical Harry Potter-like powers. Both are fantasies that have no foundation in fact.

Some day, sooner rather than later, I am going to die. It is unlikely that I will be alive 20 years from now. I hope I am, but my body and its slow, gradual, painful decline tells me that death is lurking in the shadows and some day it will come and claim me. Believe me, I want to live. I have no death wish like many Christians do. Take me Jesus, I am ready to go, many a Christian says. Not me. I have no desire to leave on the next boat or any other boat.  I hope the long black train that’s a-comin’ gets derailed in Hell, Michigan.  I want to live as long as I can. I want to be married for 50 years, see my grandchildren get married, and hold my great-grandchildren.

You see, we skeptics value life because this is all we have. We know, based on what the evidence tells us, that there is no hell, heaven, or life after death. This is it, and because this is it we want to wring as much as we can out of life. We are not content to off-load life to a mythical Sweet-By-and-By. Every day matters because every day lived is one less day we have to live.

I have lived about 21,288 days/510,912 hours. What is most important to me is how I spent my past, and how I will spend what days I have left. Have I lived life to its fullest? Have I made a difference? Am I a better person today than I was yesterday? This is enough for me; a well-live life. What more can anyone ask ?

Sadly, many Evangelicals view life as something to be endured so that the can get a divine payoff after death. I know this description sounds crude, but it is the essence of the Christian belief concerning life after death. Endure! Suffer! Be Patient! As the Christian song says, Some day it will be worth it all. Some day you will cross the finish line and receive the prize that awaits you, the Apostle Paul says.

I don’t fault the Evangelical for believing in hell, heaven, and the afterlife. The Christian Bible certainly says these things are real. The Bible clearly says who will be going to hell and heaven. However, as a skeptic, I see no evidence that these beliefs are true. I do not have the requisite faith necessary to suspend reason on these matters. I am unwilling to waste my life in the pursuit of that which, as best I can tell, does not exist.


Ken Ham Warns Atheists Are Out to Steal Children and Eat Them Too

Ken Ham

Eat them, metaphorically speaking, with BBQ sauce.

In 2012,  Ken Ham, a young earth creationist, snake oil salesman, and the CEO of Answers in Genesis, warned his followers about the dangers of secularism and atheism:

… Christians today are hungry to be equipped with the resources to fight the battle before us in this increasingly secular culture, where God’s Word is being attacked on nearly every front.

I love teaching children. Once again, as we’ve seen across the country at similar conferences, we were able to reach hundreds of children and young people who attended the special school assembly programs in Florida.

I want to remind you that our theme at AiG for the next two years is “Standing Our Ground, Rescuing Our Kids” as we focus on rescuing them from this present evil age.

Recently, I coauthored an article for the AiG website about Arizona State University Professor Lawrence Krauss. He has now posted videos accusing Christians who teach their children about creation of committing “child abuse.” He even accuses those who teach their children about hell of committing “child abuse.”

Lawrence Krauss is an atheist, and he is an atheist on a mission right now to capture your kids for the anti-God religion of atheism. Think about it—he wants you to hand your kids over to him so he can try to brainwash children into believing they are just animals and that they are not made in the image of God. He wants them to be taught when you die, you rot—and that’s it! In essence, he wants your kids to be captured for the devil.

You know, I often think about why people such as Krauss are so aggressive in preaching their anti-God message of meaninglessness, purposelessness, and hopelessness. We we know that in Romans 1 we are told such people know that God is real, so they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” And it’s even more than that. They want the focus on them—it is a self-centeredness. They want you to think they are a god! They have succumbed to the devil’s temptation in Genesis 3:5—they want to be like God—they want to be a god!

Such God-haters like Lawrence Krauss and others usually go ballistic when they hear of AiG teaching kids about Genesis. And they just hate me teaching children the truth about science, origins, and how to think correctly about such matters.

This past Monday in Florida, I taught young children for an hour and a half, covering topics like dinosaurs, fossils, the Flood, creation, evolution, the gospel and much more. I showed them how the history recorded in the Bible explains dinosaurs and that observational science confirms the Bible’s history. Secularists hate me teaching children to think correctly about origins as I help them understand what God taught Job in Job 38:4. God asked Job if he was there when God made the earth. But of course, he wasn’t—and that’s the point. When it comes to origins, no human was there to see the earth come into existence! But God has always been there. Evolutionists were not there to see the supposed millions of years of evolution. So I love to teach the kids to ask the question, “Were you there?” when someone talks about millions of years. The kids get it! The atheists don’t want to get it because they don’t want to give up the starting point for their worldview—i.e., that fallible man determines truth.

I taught the high school students how to understand science in relation to the origins issue by showing them the difference between beliefs about the past and knowledge gained by observation, which enables us to build technology.

Recently, Dr. Krauss made the false statement that evolution is the basis of biology and the basis of technology. Absurd nonsense! I made sure I taught the students how to think correctly about such issues. Then I gave them answers to many of the questions skeptics will use to try to make them doubt God’s Word—questions like these: Who made God? How did Noah fit the animals on the Ark? Isn’t natural selection evolution? What about Carbon dating?…

Evangelicals like Ham love a good conspiracy theory. They believe we are living in the last days and Jesus could return to earth at any moment.  (Though I suspect Ham secretly hopes Jesus doesn’t return before he open his Noah’s Ark Amusement Park.) They also believe the world will become increasingly more sinful the closer we get to the return of Jesus. The rise of secularism and atheism is proof to people like Ham that we are living in the last days.

Ken Ham, and millions of other Evangelicals, believe they are called by God to stand against Satan and his lies. In their eyes, secularism, atheism, humanism, evolution, acceptance of homosexuality, and legalized abortion are Satanic lies that must be exposed and defeated.

Ham is right about one thing; America is becoming more secular. He is also right that the battle for the future of America will be fought in our public schools and universities. Make no mistake about it, secularists, humanists, and atheists believe the kind of Christianity Ham peddles is intellectually harmful and retards the thinking of young people.

And so we fight. No longer do secularists, humanists, and atheists hide in the shadows, fearing the wrath of Christian America. We can sense the tide is turning, and so does Ken Ham.

Secularists, humanists, and atheists use reason and facts to show  young people a better way. They show that there is no need to appeal to myth or religious superstition to explain and understand the world. Science is revealing a universe to us that is amazing and wondrous, but it is also showing that the religious narratives of the past 1,800 years are no longer credible explanations for the world we live in.

Ham does his best to disparage secularists, humanists, and atheists. According to Ham:

  • We preach a message of hopelessness
  • We preach a message of meaninglessness
  • We preach a message of purposelessness
  • We know God exists but suppress it
  • We are self-centered, it is all about us

Only with his last point does Ham get it right. Secularists, humanists, and atheists plead guilty to being human-centered (though that is not the ONLY focus we have).  We know that focusing on prayer, God, or pronouncements from ancient religious texts will do little to improve the world. In fact, such beliefs might actually cause great harm (Many of the people who deny global climate change do so for religious reasons.)

Ham and his devoted disciples are infuriated that people like Lawrence Krauss say teaching children creationism is child abuse. However, let’s consider for a moment whether Krauss’s claim is true. If creationism is religious fiction, then teaching children it is true is a lie. From the time they can walk and talk, Evangelical Christian children are taught all sorts of lies from the Bible. How can this not have a negative effect on children? (Especially since belief in the creation myth is carried into adult life.)

Teaching children the earth is 6,020 years old, that God killed with a flood every human being save eight a few thousand years ago, and that anyone who does not accept the Evangelical version of the Christian God will be tortured by  God in hell for eternity, is quite harmful to the intellectual development of children.

The waiting rooms of mental health professionals are filled with people who have had their sense of self-worth damaged or destroyed by Christian teachings like original sin. Being told you are wicked, that you can be oppressed or possessed by Satan, and that God holds absolute power of your life, does not make for a healthy mind.

So, to Ken Ham, I say this: Yes we are coming for your children.  We don’t actually want to dine on fat Christian sucklings, but we do hope to expose them as they get older to the wide, wondrous universe we live in. We hope to teach them to think critically and not to accept something as fact just because a preacher declares from the pulpit  God says __________________.

I am not anti-Christian or anti-religion. I am, however, anti-ignorance. I think parents hurt their children when they keep them from ALL the knowledge available about the universe and their place in it.

Why I Have a Man Crush on Neil deGrasse Tyson


Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is my favorite scientist. He’s an affable man with a unique ability to communicate complex science in a way that the non-science trained person (me) can understand what he is talking about. I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of COSMOS, especially the part where deGrasse Tyson uses the calendar year to explain the history of the universe. I thought, what a wonderful, easy way to explain the history of the universe.

In March 2014, Neil deGrasse Tyson (NDT) sat down for an interview with Bill Moyers (BM), another man I greatly admire.  The interview is quite long. The complete interview transcript can be found on Alternet. What piqued my interest is what deGrasse Tyson said about science, myth, and religious faith:

BM: So when a child sings, or used to sing, I don’t think they do anymore, “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are,” it’s not twinkling. Something powerful, dramatic, and dynamic is happening to it. Right?

NDT: Well, yes, and we call that twinkling. So yeah, there’s starlight coming billions of, or millions of light years, well it depends on if it’s a galaxy, well, hundreds of thousands of light years across space, and it’s a perfect point of light as it hits our atmosphere, turbulence in the atmosphere jiggled the image, and it renders the star twinkling.

And by the way, planets are brighter than stars typically, like Jupiter and Venus. Venus has been in the evening skies lately. And if you go, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are,” and you, I want, you want to wish upon the star, most people are wishing on planets. That’s why their wishes don’t come true. Because the planets are the first stars to come out at night.

BM: Don’t you sometimes feel sad about breaking all these myths apart?

NDT: No, no, because I think it’s, some myths are, deserve to be broken apart. The, out of respect for the human intellect. That, no, when you’re writhing on the ground and froth is coming out of your mouth, you’re having an epileptic seizure. You have not been invaded by the devil. We got this one figured out, okay? I mean, discovery moves on. So, I don’t mind the power of myth and magic. But take it to the next frontier and apply it there. Don’t apply it in places where we’ve long passed what we already know is going on.

BM: Do you give people who make this case, that that was the beginning and that there had to be something that provoked the beginning, do you give them an A at least for trying to reconcile faith and reason?

NDT: I don’t think they’re reconcilable.

BM: What do you mean?

NDT: Well, so let me say that differently. All efforts that have been invested by brilliant people of the past have failed at that exercise. They just fail. And so I don’t, the track record is so poor that going forward, I have essentially zero confidence, near zero confidence, that there will be fruitful things to emerge from the effort to reconcile them. So, for example, if you knew nothing about science, and you read, say, the Bible, the Old Testament, which in Genesis, is an account of nature, that’s what that is, and I said to you, give me your description of the natural world based only on this, you would say the world was created in six days, and that stars are just little points of light much lesser than the sun. And that in fact, they can fall out of the sky, right, because that’s what happens during the Revelation.

You know, one of the signs that the second coming, is that the stars will fall out of the sky and land on Earth. To even write that means you don’t know what those things are. You have no concept of what the actual universe is. So everybody who tried to make proclamations about the physical universe based on Bible passages got the wrong answer.

So what happened was, when science discovers things, and you want to stay religious, or you want to continue to believe that the Bible is unerring, what you would do is you would say, “Well, let me go back to the Bible and reinterpret it.” Then you’d say things like, “Oh, well they didn’t really mean that literally. They meant that figuratively.”

So, this whole sort of reinterpretation of the, how figurative the poetic passages of the Bible are came after science showed that this is not how things unfolded. And so the educated religious people are perfectly fine with that. It’s the fundamentalists who want to say that the Bible is the literally, literal truth of God, that and want to see the Bible as a science textbook, who are knocking on the science doors of the schools, trying to put that content in the science room. Enlightened religious people are not behaving that way. So saying that science is cool, we’re good with that, and use the Bible for, to get your spiritual enlightenment and your emotional fulfillment.

BM: I have known serious religious people, not fundamentalists, who were scared when Carl Sagan opened his series with the words—Carl Sagan, from “Cosmos”: The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. I mean, that scared them, because they interpret that to mean, then if this is it, there’s nothing else. No God and no life after.

NDT: For religious people, many people say, “Well, God is within you,” or God, the, there are ways that people have shaped this, rather than, God is an old, grey-bearded man in the clouds. So if God is within you, what, I’m sure Carl would say, in you in your mind. In your mind, and we can measure the neurosynaptic firings when you have a religious experience.

We can tell you where that’s happening, when it’s happening, what you’re feeling like at the time. So your mind of course is still within the cosmos.

BM: But do you have any sympathy for people who seem to feel, only feel safe in the vastness of the universe you describe in your show if they can infer a personal God who makes it more hospitable to them, cares for them?

NDT: In this, what we tell ourselves is a free country, which means you should have freedom of thought, I don’t care what you think. I just don’t. Go think whatever you want. Go ahead. Think that there’s one God, two Gods, ten Gods, or no Gods. That is what it means to live in a free country. The problem arises is if you have a religious philosophy that is not based on objective realities that you then want to put in a science classroom. Then I’m going to stand there and say, “No, I’m not going to allow you in the science classroom.” I’m not telling you what to think, I’m just telling you in the science class, “You’re not doing science. This is not science. Keep it out.” That’s where I, that’s when I stand up. Otherwise, go ahead. I’m not telling you how to think.

BM: I think you must realize that some people are going to go to your show at the planetarium and they’re going to say, “Ah-hah! Those scientists have discovered God. Because God,” dark matter, “is what holds this universe together.”

NDT: So is that a question?

BM: It’s a statement. You know, you know they’re going to say that—

NDT: So the history of discovery, particularly cosmic discovery, but discovery in general, scientific discovery, is one where at any given moment, there’s a frontier. And there tends to be an urge for people, especially religious people, to assert that across that boundary, into the unknown lies the handiwork of God. This shows up a lot. Newton even said it. He had his laws of gravity and motion and he was explaining the moon and the planets, he was there. He doesn’t mention God for any of that. And then he gets to the limits of what his equations can calculate. So, I don’t, can’t quite figure this out. Maybe God steps in and makes it right every now and then. That’s where he invoked God.

And Ptolemy, he bet on the wrong horse, but he was a brilliant guy. He formulated the geocentric universe, with Earth in the middle. This is where we got epicycles and all this machinations of the heavens. But it was still a mystery to him. He looked up and uttered the following words, “when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies,” these are the planets going through retrograde and back, the mysteries of the Earth, “when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies, I no longer touch Earth with my feet. I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia.”

What he did was invoke, he didn’t invoke Zeus to account for the rock that he’s standing on or the air he’s breathing. It was this point of mystery. And in gets invoked God. This, over time, has been described by philosophers as the God of the gaps. If that’s how you, if that’s where you’re going to put your God in this world, then God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance.

If that’s how you’re going to invoke God. If God is the mystery of the universe, these mysteries, we’re tackling these mysteries one by one. If you’re going to stay religious at the end of the conversation, God has to mean more to you than just where science has yet to tread. So to the person who says, “Maybe dark matter is God,” if the only reason why you’re saying it is because it’s a mystery, then get ready to have that undone.

You’re the man, Neil!

Susan-Anne White Thinks I’m a Despicable, Obnoxious, Militant, Hateful Atheist

Susan-Anne White, a True Christian, So True She Can't Find Any Church Pure Enough For Her

Susan-Anne White, a True Christian, So True She Can’t Find Any Church Pure Enough For Her

Susan-Anne White, a resident of Northern Ireland and a fundamentalist Christian who thinks homosexuality, adultery, divorce, abortion, and rock music should be outlawed, thinks I am a despicable, obnoxious, militant, hateful atheist. She’s taken to her blog to denounce me. Here’s what she had to say:

I have already mentioned the Ex-Pastor Bruce Gerencser in a previous post, and since then, I have continued to read some of the posts on his blog and posted comments when I felt it was necessary and, indeed, my duty to do so.

This man Gerencser, is one of the most despicable, obnoxious individuals I have ever encountered. He is militant, hateful atheism writ large.

He refers to himself at times as Bruce Almighty and when he does so, he adds blasphemy to his many sins. He has now made it impossible for me to post comments on his blog, so obviously, he could not handle the truth contained in my many comments. I also think it likely that I was influencing (for good) some of his regular readers and commenters so he had to silence me. He cannot silence me on our own blog however.

Before he banned me from commenting, I confronted him about his use of the designation “Ms” in reference to me, a designation I abhor. He admitted that he did this to annoy me! I asked him about his wife’s designation i.e is she referred to as “Mrs.” Gerencser or “Ms.” Gerencser. I had to force the issue to get an answer from him and what do you think he said?  “Her name is Polly.”

So there we have it. That being the case, we must assume that on their wedding day, they were pronounced “Mr. and Polly Gerencser” and that, ever since, when they receive any official letters etc, they are addressed to “Mr. and Polly Gerencser.” I think not.

Methinks the EX-Pastor is telling a fib.

Please read all the comments I posted on his blog post (link below) because some of the things he says to me and about me are violent, shocking and slanderous.

BTW, White is not banned. Her comments are moderated. She is free to pontificate and excoriate, but I must approve each comment.  As far as her latest blog post is concerned, I think it speaks for itself.

You can read White’s comments on the following posts Blog News: I Need Your Help, Why Do Fundamentalist Men and Women Dress Differently?, and An Email From a Fundamentalist Christian.

In an October 2015 blog post, White had this to say:

I have been commenting on the blog of a former Pastor turned atheist called Bruce Gerencser for a few days. He also has a Facebook page and he posted my Manifesto on it. You will notice that he made three points about my Manifesto and, taken in order, they are as follows,

1. I am a “fundamentalist crazy”
2. I live in England
3. I’m running for political office

 He is WRONG on all three!

1. I am not crazy
2. I do not live in England (I live in Northern Ireland)
3. I’m not running for political office as the election took place last May.

He also posts a comment from someone calling himself Marc Ewt who states that Northern Ireland is his home country and then proceeds to utter nonsense about NI (some of his assertions are hilarious.)

 Ex-Pastor Bruce Gerencser is gullible enough to believe that every word Marc Ewt utters is the truth and tells him that reading his comment about the state of things in Northern Ireland helps put people like “White” in context. (Note how the former Pastor refers to me as “White” not “Mrs.White” and I don’t like it.) Read the ex-Pastor’s facebook comment below, followed by the comment by Marc Ewt, followed by the ex-Pastor’s response to ignoramus Ewt…

White mentions her Manifesto. Here’s a copy of it:


According to an April 2015 article in the Belfast Telegraph:

…Susan Anne White, who caused a stir when she stood in last year’s council elections, is now aiming to become MP for West Tyrone.

The devout Christian says her campaign will focus on moral issues including society’s “dangerous” homosexual agenda.

She also wants to outlaw rock music, saying it fuels sexual anarchy and drug use.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mrs White, who is standing as an Independent, denied that her views were extreme.

“I don’t consider myself extreme – not at all,” she said. “It is society that has moved. Not so far in the past, most people would have shared my views.

“My views only seem extreme because society has moved away from God’s principles.”

Mrs White, who is from Trillick in Co Tyrone, is one of nine candidates standing in West Tyrone on May 7.

The outgoing Sinn Fein MP, Pat Doherty, has a comfortable 10,000-plus majority. Last May, Mrs White stood for the new Fermanagh and Omagh Council, receiving just 67 first preference votes.

Mrs White said she opposes feminism “with all her might”, and says it is to blame for the recession.

“Feminism is responsible for many of the social ills we see all around us,” she added.

“They [feminists] are responsible for the economy – they destroyed the whole concept of a family wage with the father as the bread-winner and the stay-at-home mother. They make women feel they have to be out in the workforce.”

Mrs White is also “absolutely opposed to the homosexual agenda” in today’s society. If I had the power, I would certainly re-criminalise homosexuality, along with adultery,” she added.

She said anyone involved in homosexual or adulterous practices should be jailed.

“I would stop the funding of gay pride parades and other depraved art and cultural events,” she added.

Despite her strong views, Mrs White claims she is a “true friend” to the gay community.

“I tell them the truth,” she added. “The person who is not a friend, the person who is the enemy to the homosexual is the person who pats them on the back and says their lifestyle is perfectly normal and acceptable.”

While campaigning last year, Mrs White spoke out about rock music, saying acts like Iron Maiden and Kurt Cobain promoted anarchy in society. She said she remained opposed to these and other “vulgar acts”.

“A lot of rock music is dangerous for the hearing,” she added.

“That is not the only problem with it. There is an ideology which permeates rock music and it is sexual anarchy. It is also linked to drugs.” She said rock music had “a terrible effect” on young people.

Mrs White blames the EU for much of society’s “decadence”, saying she would withdraw from Europe “tomorrow”…

Here’s a video of White making inflammatory comments about homosexuals:

Video Link

Here’s a wickedly wonderful bit of satire someone at the Waterford Whispers News wrote about White:

A MONSTER five-foot long rat has been found swimming in the Irish media for the past fortnight, and it’s looking for a good home.

The vermin, a Caucasian Christian bigot, was reported to be dwelling in West Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

It is believed to be the worst of its kind found in recent years.

Nicknamed ‘Susan’ by its minders, the rat is not believed to be physically dangerous but its spine-tingling screams have begun to upset locals.

“It just slithered out from underneath a rock somewhere,” constituent Gerry Kennedy told WWN today. “The vile yoke just sits there screaming nonsense all the time. I’ve called the local animal welfare group to see if we can get rid of it.

“Hopefully they can put it out of its misery.”

The animal is presumed to have escaped or been released by a a local Christian breeder.

Witnesses say the rodent is about the size of a dog, weighs in at 60kg, has a tartan coat and white mane and is thought to feed on those it doesn’t agree with.

Locals have called on anyone that comes in contact with the creature to just ignore it.

According to Wikipedia, Susan-Anne White is fifty-six. While it would be easy to dismiss White’s vitriol towards the human race as early onset dementia, the fact is she is a perfect example of someone who has taken their Christian fundamentalist beliefs to their logical conclusion. White, like the late Fred Phelps and his demented family, says in public what uncounted Evangelical and Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preachers and church members say in private. I’ll give her credit for being willing to display her homophobia and bigotry for all to see. I wish more of her ilk would do the same.

White’s two posts about me generated no traffic to this site. In another post, White stated her blog readership numbers were decreasing.  I wonder why?  Like Steven Anderson, the infamous pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, Arizona, Susan-Anne White has followers who think she is spot on. Not many, but a few. I hope she will continue to write and speak out about the evils of this fallen and depraved world. The more people like her talk, the easier it is for atheists like me to make a case for the bankruptcy of Evangelical Christianity.


Wikipedia article about White

A Catholic Calls on Me to Take Down This Blog and Quit Spreading Evil Disease

god in the mind

Comic by Dan Piraro

Here is an email I received from a Catholic upset over the content of this blog.

Philokalia3 wrote:

Take your blogs down, why spread your evil disease of lack of faith to others; misery loves company. Repent, call out to the Almighty with all your heart, be willing to raise the flag of surrender to God, brother you must ask God for sustained faith it is a gift, not something you conjure out of your own heart. Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, if you are eternally lost, and you asked not for faith it is no ones fault but your own: Joh 6:37  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. Most High and Sovereign Father, grant to this man renewed faith, fill him w Thy Holy Spirit to the uttermost, utterly bind the Enemy and his helpers work against Bruce’s soul, Mother Mary and all ye Holy Ones in Heaven assist me in my prayers for Bruce, St. Pio, St. Jude, St. Anthony of Padua, St Nicholas, St Seraphim  of Sarov, help pray for this man, I beg, that his soul not be lost and that he would no longer work against the Most Holy Faith of Jesus, O Lord have mercy on His soul and irresistibly draw him back to Christ, and to His Church, in Jesus’ name do I pray, Amen

I received this email a couple of years ago. Philokalia3’s prayers, like every other Christian prayer uttered against me, must have not made it to God’s voice mail box. Despite calling on God, Mary, and a host of saints, I remain unrepentant. So much for the “power” of prayer.