Why I Hate Jesus

american jesus 2

I don’t hate the flesh and blood Jesus who walked the dusty roads of Palestine, nor do I hate the Jesus found in the pages of the Bible. These Jesuses are relics of the past. I’ll leave it to historians to argue and debate whether these Jesuses were real or fiction. Over the centuries, Christians have created many Jesuses in their own image. This is the essence of Christianity, an ever-evolving religion bearing little resemblance to what it was even a century ago.

The Jesus I hate is the modern, Western Jesus, the American Jesus, the Jesus who has been a part of my life for almost fifty-eight years. The Jesuses of bygone eras have no power to harm me, but the modern Jesus – the Jesus of the three hundred thousand Christian churches that populate every community in America – he has the power to affect my life, hurt my family, and destroy my country.  And I, with a vengeance, hate him.

Over the years, I have had a number of people write me about how the modern Jesus was ruining their marriage. In many instances, the married couple started out in life as believers, and somewhere along the road of life one of them stopped believing. The still-believing spouse can’t or won’t understand why the other spouse no longer believes. They make it clear that Jesus is still very important to them and if forced to choose between their spouse and family, they would choose Jesus. Simply put, they love Jesus more than they love their families.

Sadly, these types of marriages usually fail. A husband or a wife simply cannot compete with Jesus. He is the perfect lover and perfect friend, one who is always there for the believing spouse. This Jesus hears the prayers of the believing spouse and answers them. This Jesus is the BFF of the believing spouse. This Jesus says to the believer, you must choose, me or your spouse. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus cares nothing for the poor, the hungry, or the sick. This Jesus has no interest in poor immigrants or unwed mothers. This Jesus cares for Tim Tebow more than he does a starving girl in Ethiopia. He cares more about who wins a Grammy or ACM Award than he does poverty-stricken Africa having food and clean water. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus is on the side of the culture warriors. This Jesus hates homosexuals and demands they be treated as second class citizens. This Jesus, no matter the circumstance, demands that a woman carry her fetus to term. Child of a rapist, afflicted with a serious birth defect, the product of incest or a one night stand?  It matters not. This Jesus is pro-life. Yet, this same Jesus supports the incarceration of poor young men of color, often for no other crime than trying to survive. This Jesus is so pro-life he encourages American presidents and politicians to slaughter innocent men, women, and children. This Jesus demands certain criminals be put to death by the state, even though the state has legally murdered innocent people. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus drives fancy cars, has palaces and cathedrals, and followers who spare no expense to make his house the best mansion in town. This Jesus loves Rolexes, Lear jets, and expensive suits. This Jesus sees the multitude and turns his back on them, only concerned with those who say and believe “the right things.” It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus owns condominiums constructed just for those who believe in him. When they die, he gives them the keys. But, for the rest of humanity, billions of people, this Jesus says no keys for you. I have a special Hitler-like plan for you. To the ovens you go, only unlike the Jews, I plan to give you a special body that allows me to torture you with fire and brimstone forever. It is this Jesus I hate.

It is this Jesus who looks at Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, Deists, Universalists, Secularists, Humanists, and Skeptics, and says to them before you were born I made sure you could never be in the group that gets the condominiums when they die. This Jesus says, and it is your fault, sinner man. It is this Jesus who made sure billions of people were born into cultures that worshiped other Gods. It is this Jesus who then says it is their fault they were born at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Too bad, this Jesus says, burn forever in the Lake of Fire. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus divides families, friends, communities, and nations. This Jesus is the means to an end. This Jesus is all about money, power and control. This Jesus subjugates women, tells widows it’s their fault, and ignores the cry of orphans. Everywhere one looks, this Jesus hurts, afflicts, and kills those we love. It is this Jesus I hate. What I can’t understand is why anyone loves this Jesus? Like a clown on a parade route, he throws a few candies towards those who worship him, promising them that a huge pile of candy awaits them when they die. He lets his followers hunger, thirst, and die, yet he tells them it is for their good, that he loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life. This Jesus is all talk, promising the moon and delivering a piece of gravel. Why can’t his followers see this?

Fear me, he tells his followers. I have the keys to life and death. I have the power to make you happy and I have the power to destroy your life. I have the power to take your children, health, and livelihood. I can do these things because I am the biggest, baddest Jesus ever. Fear me and oppress women, immigrants, orphans, homosexuals, and atheists. Refuse my demand and I will rain my judgment down upon your head. But, know that I love you and only want is best for you and yours. It is this Jesus I hate.

Perhaps there is a Jesus somewhere that I could respect, a Jesus who might merit my devotion. For now, all I see is a Jesus who is worthy of derision, mockery, and hate. Yes, hate. It is this Jesus I hate. When the Jesus who genuinely loves humanity and cares for the least of these shows up, let me know. In the meantime, I hate Jesus.

071316

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359 Comments

  1. Aram McLean

    Well said. Jesus sucks.

    Reply
    1. Brian Wozniak

      I agree. The modern Jesus I have met lets my torn ACL that moves my knee cap get banged up, once a day. Lets a jack ass clerk cause me to injure it again. My ACL has been torn for 12 weeks. It’s been sheer agony.

      They Jesus I know lets my younger brothers girlfriend die in a hit and run accident. lets my mothers twin brother be killed in a hit run accident, lets my mother be orphaned and for her to live in multiple foster homes for most of her childhood.

      He lies and says he’ll protect you. While sickos and narcissist attack me in my community.

      The Jesus I know is braggart, and is narcissstic and ego driven.

      He does not protect the innocent from hatred.

      He is a liar and a lunatic. He is not Gods son. He is crazy.

      Reply
      1. Andrew Beltz

        So Bruce admits he is a hater. O.K. He has legitimized hate.

        Now I can tell you Bruce that I hate you, you fat disgusting thing, because you were no good as a pastor and you hurt our family.

        Yes, Bruce, I remember.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          In response to Andrew’s comment, I sent him the following email. Unfortunately, he used a fake email address.

          Andrew,

          Before I post your comment, I would appreciate it if you would elaborate more on the claims made in your comment. I have no recollection of pastoring anyone with the last name Beltz. I see that you currently reside in the Goshen, Kentucky area. I have never lived in Kentucky. Perhaps you moved away from one of the areas I pastored. Which church were you a member of or had a negative experience with me?

          Thank you for taking the time to respond.

          Bruce Gerencser

          Reply
          1. Michael Mock

            Be interesting to see if he responds.

        2. Brian

          Andrew, you speak as a hater and express hatred or is it more pain than hatred? You attack Gerencser’s appearance (bullying and shaming) and then you express your only conclusion, that because he was not good as a pastor he hurt your family. You might want to express a bit more detail or you will remain Andrew Beltz who merely calls somebody names. Gerencser is naming names in this blog and allowing responsibility to be his if that is what is indicated. If you do any reading at all here you will discover that he regrets that he encouraged others to take an extreme stance in belief. Is that how he hurt your family? Did you all become IFB preachers? What do you remember, Andrew?

          Reply
        3. Jane

          Bruce you are a tool used by our arch enemy of this world satan, to ridicule and deceive. There will be a day of reckoning for those that rail against Almighty God. You have the right to disbelieve the creator of the Universe and the precious gift of eternal life made possible by the death and resurrection Of Jesus but to mislead and ridicule the many faithful by the sins of a few is cruel. We all know we are born in sin and are not perfect just forgiven. Those that profess to know it all are fools.

          Reply
          1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            I don’t know it all, but I do know that your God is a mythical being and your Holy Book is an admixture of fact, fiction, error, and contradiction.

            Why is it cruel to tell my story; to point out that what Evangelicals say about the Bible isn’t true; to posit that claims made by Christians about Jesus — virgin birth, resurrection, walking on water, walking through walls, healing blindness with spit and mud — are faith claims that cannot be rationally, intellectually sustained.

            You believe your little sermon here is you preaching the truth. Why am I not permitted to do the same? Surely, Christianity can withstand the words and critique of little ‘ole Bruce, right?

            I’m proud to be called a tool. I only wish I was a big tool. I’m sure my wife would love it if I was a big tool.

          2. GeoffT

            Jane, please explain the following

            “We all know we are born in sin and are not perfect just forgiven.”

            I wasn’t born in sin, nor was anybody else I know. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done lots of bad things since, many of which I’m ashamed, but ‘born’ as though I’ve already done something wrong. I really don’t understand and nor, I suspect, do you.

      2. Zach

        Honestly, do you speak of Jesus or the devil? Jesus never stated that his followers would have a good life. He said, “in this world you will have trouble” Jesus isn’t to blame for the crimes of humanity. Humanity is. Your problems are humanity based and caused.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Ah yes, the Flip Wilson excuse — the Devil made me do it. You totally missed why I wrote this post.

          Reply
          1. Zach

            I wasn’t addressing you there Bruce, apologies for that. The devil made me do it is a terrible argument, yes, and that has zero bearing on my statement. You being a seminary trained study of the book you seemingly despise would very well know that the father of lies can only influence at most (not speaking of all the junk in revelations). That’s not to excuse either that most every person has the fully developed capacity to influence themselves to do terrible things. As I see it, all minds have 2 voices at minimum: the self, and the evil deciever (to borrow from Descartes). I have terrible thoughts pop into my head many days, it could be me, or it could be the evil deciever; at the end of that thought, I have fully ability to act or not act on that thought.

            To address your article: its misguided in my mind because you blame a modern Jesus (jesi to be plural?) instead of the true villains: people. People are who you hate that enact these qualities, not a deity. Just dumbass people misusing a banner of belief to justify their actions (Spanish inquisition anyone?) I won’t stroke your balls as many here are doing because your arguments aren’t compelling, they’re depressingly misguided at best. Or you’re mockingly writing this, I don’t know. Sure, you have a great deal of biblical knowledge and knowledge of the various sects of the belief and their defining divisions, and their arguments, but I don’t see wisdom. I agree with you that mainstream Christians are weak and miserable interpretations of their belief where the outsides are decked in crosses (a symbol of terror and shame in early times and to invert a symbol of terror is somehow modernly demonic?) And the insides of people are as black as ever. I hate that too, but that ain’t Jesus, God, or any deity, that’s a human. Doing things in the name of a deity doesn’t mean a deity is doing it. Hate whatever you wish, but assign blame where it’s due. What has God done to you to make you hate Him? Sounds like you just got sick of the bullshit of ‘christians’ but you yourself never looked inward to see that you have that bullshit inside you too, but it’s easier to point outward than inward.

          2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Of course it is only people since there is no God or Devil. That said, Evangelical say they represent God and speak on his behalf. Thus, I refuse to separate the skunk from his smell.

            I hope you have read the commenting rules. Please leave the psychoanalyzing to my counselor.

      3. Todd

        According to the “Rules” of this blog, the above message should not be approved by Bruce Gerencser; otherwise, it looks like a one-sided set of rules like most of the “churches” you all are whining about.

        If you remember history: Jesus went through an illegal trial and beating by the Jewish Chief Priests and the Sanhedrin; after which, the Romans beat and scourged Jesus then executed him on a tree. and, For what crime was Jesus executed? The sins of the whole world (yours and mine).

        We all can agree that Jesus was a victim who was beaten, abused and killed: So, how is it that any of these “I hate Jesus…” comment are permissible according to “Bruce’s Rules?” Therefore, “Any comment that denigrates abuse victims…will not be approved:”

        smh

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Jesus was not a victim. Everything that happened to him was decreed by God, by Jesus himself. Jesus, as the supposed son of God, could have stopped anything and everything that happened to him. Yet, to portray himself as a helpless martyr he let people abuse and kill him. Not that it was a big deal. After a three day weekend, he came back to life, almost good as new. I’ve suffered more in my life than Jesus has, and I know many other people who can say the same.

          Thus, your comment is without merit. Nice try. Keep on moving down the road. This blog, by the way, is an autocratic kingdom ruled by Bruce Almighty. Maybe you’ve seen my movie.

          Reply
          1. Todd

            Nice try but the “logic” on this site is still “written by man,” hence, it’s about as useful to its readers as the “bible written by man” is to you and your writers.

            Jesus was still a victim, though he allowed himself to be; as evidenced by: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

            “Bruce Almighty”: kinda catchy but the one prudent thing you’ve said on this site was mentioned above: “Keep on moving…” I will follow that counsel and…
            I’ll take heed to what the True Almighty warned:

            “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” and, I definitely don’t want to be like these whiners on this site who are afraid of “a god that doesn’t exist…”

            I really feel sorry for you blokes.

            Later. smh

          2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            No one, I repeat no one, on this site is afraid of your imaginary friend. That would be silly. Why would anyone fear your mythical God?

            All human writings, including the Bible, are written by humans. You are indeed ignorant and uneducated if you ignore the writings of men. That’s all we have by which to educate ourselves.

            I hope you realize quoting the Bible carries no weight here. Many regulars on this site have read the Bible countless times from table of contents to concordance. We know the book. We just don’t buy that it is in any way special. While certain passages are still helpful, much of what the Bible says is unhelpful, out of date, and even criminal. Anyone truly living by the words of the Bible will end up in jail. Perhaps it is time for Christians to write a new Bible.

            It would have been nice if you had engaged the actual content of this post. Instead you tried to make an inane argument, and I, according to God’s word, answered a fool according to his folly. You wasted your one opportunity to put a good word in for the man, the myth, the legend — Jesus H. Christ.

          3. Todd

            Comment deleted. Thou shalt not profane the name of Bruce Almighty.

          4. Todd

            Comment deleted for violating the law of Bruce Almighty.

          5. Todd

            Is the “Bruce Almighty” so bold with his pen and tongue when debating the Quran? I don’t think so; otherwise, you’ll end up on the same list that the Danish cartoonists are (were) on.

            See, it’s easy to pick on the meek and lowly Jesus and his followers but you become “Bruce Nobody” when it comes to believers in god who “hold a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other.”

            Also, deleting comments that you don’t like is a copout; similar to when you were a hireling (supposed pastor): you ran away from being a responsible adult in charge of teaching ppl about god to “move on” by trying to be on easy street: telling ppl lies. Even Voltaire saw his folly but attempted in vain to call out to Jesus on his death bed: he crossed god’s deadline and became a reprobate…

            Before you die, you ought to repent and call on god in mercy that he may delete your comments from his book of deeds… you have fewer yrs in front of you than behind you. And, it will be a sad day when you see all your grandchildren following in your footsteps, hastening to the pit.

            “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him [Bruce Nobody].”

            smh

          6. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            *sigh*

            No further comment of yours will be approved. Your nasty, abusive words are not welcome.

            Bruce

    2. Joseph E Pilon

      I like your argument. Wielding Jesus as a club is not the Jesus of the New Testament. He was as much against legalism and indifference as you are. You remind me of Jesus and I do not hate you.

      Reply
    3. Joseph Spedaliere

      It is hypocracy, and greed that you hate, not Jesus that you hate. There are true followers of Jesus in this world who are working on the poorest and most depleted parts of the world, bringing hope and love to the “least of these”. Most people hate Jesus because He exposes them for the hypocrisy they are. He did it when He walked the earth and He continues to do it today. Instead of having these false i.she’s of Jesus, why not love the real Jesus and follow His example of love and sacrifice for ofhers?

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        In other words, follow and love your version of Jesus, right? There are as many Jesuses in the world as there are Christians. Here a Jesus, there a Jesus, everywhere a Jesus. I assure you that the Jesus I love, followed, and served for almost fifty years was every bit as “real” as yours. He lived in my “heart” just as he lived in yours.

        Reply
        1. Lynn

          So Bruce its “Christians” then and not Jesus you hate? Asking seriously no time to read all that is here so forgive me if you have already answered this question.

          Reply
          1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            I hate this version of Jesus; the Jesus of tens of millions of American Christians. The concept, the myth is the problem.

            Why would I hate Christians? Their religion is the problem.

        2. Senay

          Sorry, but I can’t figure out the best place to reply. Thank you for writing what you did. It felt like both a relief and a recognition of the religious PTSD religion has caused to me personally. I have been hurt too many times in my life by (specifically) Christians, but others too, and I used to internalize it as it was caused by something wrong with me. I did a support group–which I will keep confidential– and ironically, it was within this support group with many religious faiths represented, I discovered most of us in that room suffered from religion-induced PTSD. Nowadays, I just recognize the lousy morality that group has and their false faith/false Jesus, and I don’t want to be with them or a part of them. I do not know if I believe in a God or if I’m agnostic/atheist, but what I do believe is too many evil things have been done in God’s name (including now!) and I refuse to join a mob in God’s name or Jesus’s name. Now, here we are in 2018 and we have NeoNazis-KKK running the US gov’t and spreading across Europe–with violence against Jews, Muslims, and LGBQT. Evil people have used religion to spread their toxic words and poison. I hope things improve. But thank you for what you wrote. I hate how many people have religious PTSD.

          Reply
      2. JulieBarks

        There are atheist who are working in the poorest parts of the world who do so without preaching to them. They give freely of there time and without brainwashing the people they help. No indoctrination required.

        Reply
    4. Robert Okray

      The problem isn’t Jesus, i the problem is people doing the wrong thing in His name. In response, you have refused to do the right thing. Seems illogical.

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        What is the “right” thing (s)? I am a moral, ethical, kind, decent, loving person. Seems “good” enough to me. Or is the “right” thing certain beliefs, and if I don’t embrace those beliefs your God is going to torture me in Hell for eternity?

        My deconversion is laid out in greater detail in the posts found here: https://brucegerencser.net/why/

        Reply
    5. Louise Seager

      Exactly, couldn’t have put all this better myself, a good man (if he ever existed) now a vile, parody, narcissistic, misogynistic, arrogant and vile. Sad times USA, sad times.

      Reply
  2. Infidel753

    Great post. Humans always create God in their own image, and you’ve described perfectly the deity which American fundamentalists have created in theirs.

    Reply
  3. kittybrat

    You said it, Bruce. Damn, you’re good!

    Reply
  4. Marlena

    If I were a christian and superstitious, I would think the devil was masquerading as this version of “Jesus” just to make him look like a jerk. But, I am neither. People are so messed up sometimes.

    Reply
  5. Steve

    Superb, man, but they’re going to flame your ass off for this one!!

    Reply
  6. Charles

    Bruce. I don’t think you really hate Jesus. I think you hate the “Fundie Jesus,” meaning the Jesus Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals have manufactured by twisting scripture to their whims and adding an abundance of their own personal tripe to it. I suspect that if the Jesus of 33 A.D. had read your article, he would have asked to sign on as coauthor.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      My Jesus hate goes far beyond Evangelicalism’s Jesus. I am sure there are some Jesus’s out there who I could admire and respect. Even the two people who I think are closest to the Christian ideal pray every night for those they fear are going to hell.

      Reply
    2. It's just me

      Bruce, how do you deal with assholes like this Charlie asswipe? People that want to tell you what you REALLY think and REALLY feel and REALLY mean. no matter how well you explain yourself. Because you know, they think they know you still do believe in god, but you’re REALLY lying or exaggerating because you are angry and bitter towards god.
      I have found these people in my life too. They think I’m just mad that something or other happened and that I’ll get over it soon and come back to church. I can’t believe the degree to which they are brainwashed or that I was ever that brainwashed myself.
      My hat off to you, Bruce Gerenscer. I could never be so patient to these blowholes.

      Reply
  7. Kerry

    This is an excellent analysis Bruce! Just an FYI, I mentioned this blog over on Debunking Christianity about Hector’s new book.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Thanks Kerry!

      Reply
  8. Ed Chapman

    Did you ever happen to think that the doctrines were wrong, and the Bible is right? People screw up a good thing, not Jesus.

    Ever read Romans 2:14-16? Ever read Romans 5:20 or Romans 5:13 or Deuteronomy 1:39?

    Ever read where God states that he wants mercy, not sacrifice? Ever read that he wants us to love one another, and to feed the poor, which in turn is the same as loving him, feeding him.

    One thing that I find strange about your vision of Jesus, is that Jesus does care if you go to hell. It isn’t his desire. He makes it clear that it is your choice, based on your decisions.

    Now, if you have a problem with Calvinism, I understand. Calvin’s Jesus is a different Jesus. So is Catholicism. Augustine created their Jesus.

    I post comments frequently on a spiritual abuse blog, and that blog is based on the spiritual abuse coming from Calvinism, where women are the second class citizens. Catholics concocted the idea that a remarriage after a divorce was evil. Catholics and Calvinism are strange doctrines. Calvinism is the ones who are peddling the 6 literal 24 hour day creation crap. Catholicism is the one who peddles the sprinkling of water crap on people who don’t even believe in the first place, nor can they believe, because they aren’t even old enough to wipe their own nose.

    I find that the Law of Moses was nothing more than a test, a test to show that no one can pass. All is needed is the faith that Abraham had. But not many want to “believe” that. They think that they must “do” something to gain approval, act a certain way, or dress a certain way.

    Romans 7 shows that one does not die a spiritual death until they have KNOWLEDGE of good and evil. The same happened to Adam and Eve. Born again is a spiritual rebirth.

    You should know all of this, and if you did, as a pastor, then the Jesus that YOU discuss is not the Jesus that you should have learned of the Bible.

    Doctrine is wrong, not the Bible. The Law (Torah, not the law of Moses) events are historical events to tell a spiritual story.

    Take for example Moses…the redeemer, Jesus, the redeemer. Babies murdered to prevent Moses from being born. Babies murdered to prevent Jesus from being born. Moses escorts people to the “promised land”, yet dies before he gets there. Jesus escorts people to the promised land, dying to save people.

    Why do you think that Moses never made it to the “promised land”? Think spiritually. Because Moses represents the law, and no flesh is justified by the law, for all have sinned. So it is by grace thru faith, like Abraham, that we get to the promised land.

    That is spiritually interpreting events of the Law and the Prophets. Israel exists. Jerusalem exists. They are not fictitious cities. What you call Palestine is not promised to Arabs. It was promised to Abraham, hence, promised land. Circumcision is the promissory note. It belongs to the Jews.

    Yes, I am a Zionist believer. The Apostle Paul took a trip on a road to Damascus. Damascus exists.

    How can you disavow Christianity based on what people invent about Jesus instead of countering their Jesus with the Jesus of the Bible? I’m not getting that in you.

    I am against the Jesus of the Catholics, and the Calvinists. I am not a Lutheran, etc. I am just a non-denomination Christian, and I believe.

    Respectfully,

    Ed Chapman

    Reply
    1. Becky Wiren

      Ed, Bruce has been writing about his journey for YEARS. And the regular readers of his blogs over the years are an assortment of atheists, agnostics, some Christians, mostly liberal, and other theists, but ESPECIALLY former fundies etc.

      It sounds like you read this one blog post and think you get where Bruce is coming from…you don’t. So do a little more reading, especially the ABOUT section, COMMENT RULES, and DEAR EVANGELICAL sections. If this pisses you off to get this advice, then I will warn you there’s no point in coming back. Because many, many Christians have come and commented, pretended to be nice, and when we disagreed with them they turned into, quite frankly, a$$holes. And instead of following that “love your neighbor as yourself” pesky quotation from Jesus, those Christians have morphed into ugly, mean, self-righteous and vicious people. Which pretty much alienates all of us.

      Reply
      1. Ed Chapman

        Becky,
        Yep…I came here based on an article on the whack job Mark Biltz’ blood moon nonsense, and I loved how Bruce presented it. I had no idea he was atheist. But I did see the comments where others were indeed unbelievers.

        My roommate is also an atheist. My other roommate is a fan of Mark Biltz, and we live about 1/2 hour from Mark Biltz. In regards to my atheist roommate, his is atheist based on Catholicism. He was raised Catholic. We debate all the time…for fun. So I have no problem visiting this site on a regular basis. The reason…I am interested in how one can be an atheist at all. I’ve told my atheist roommate that Catholicism produces atheists on a normal basis, so if his debate to me is based on Catholicism, I am going to agree with him. Well, the same goes for Calvinism. I hate Calvinism, whether it be the new brand, or the old brand. I’m not a Lutheran, I am not a Catholic. I am not religiously college educated…I don’t have a title of Dr., or reverend, or pastor, or any other money making title. I am just a guy who reads and studies, with a black pen, college ruled paper, a bible (KJV), a Strong’s Concordance, and a lot of coffee. And I, for the life of me, can’t figure out how a former pastor can be an atheist, no matter what his explanation is.

        Why do I say that? Because I know that the Calvin “doctrine” is not in the Bible, after years of study. Bruce is in his 50’s. I am 50. Can’t he fight the doctrine, rather than fighting Christianity? I am not getting this Bruce guy, but I would sure like to figure him out.

        Don’t know if you are familiar with Spiritual Sounding Board, or not, or the name Julie Anne Smith, but that is where I post comments from time to time. Calvin’s doctrines are extremely abusive, and dangerous.

        Ed

        Reply
        1. Becky Wiren

          Bruce answers a lot of those questions in the suggestions I made for you to read. He’s been on quite a journey, from being a Christian for 50 years, a minister for 25 years, to being an atheist. Once you read those things and get a better idea of where he’s coming from, then…you may have NEW questions! Ha. He struggles with chronic pain and illness too, so I thought I would give you a head’s up on where to start.

          Reply
          1. Ed Chapman

            Thanks, Becky. Guess I got some reading to do. Been working a lot lately, and I work nights, so I’ve been scarce on the blogs as of late…but this is quite interesting stuff.

            Ed

    2. Linda

      Question for you Ed. Part of the Lord’s Prayer is and lead us not into temptation. Why does God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden of eden and then tell Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit. Nice guy, eh?

      Reply
      1. Geoff

        Had the people who wrote the bible foreseen the internet, they would have been much more careful with their wording. As it is, the sole intention was to ensure that ordinary people were controlled by texts they couldn’t even read, never mind understand. As soon as the texts were exposed they could be seen as the nonsense they were.

        I don’t think there’s a single part of the Adam and Eve story that stands the slightest scrutiny, and that’s ignoring the fact that it can be shown absolutely to have been impossible.

        Reply
  9. Len Koz

    Would the plural of Jesus be Jesi? Like 1 octopus, 2 octopi?

    Reply
    1. Dale

      LOL, like “Return of the Jesi”? But then, that’d make the singular of Jedi…Jedus?

      Len, you’ve opened a can of worms :-).

      Reply
  10. Scott

    Oh noes! Bible verses and the “Wrong” version of “Jesus”.

    Really, Ed. That’s not going to work. You’ve not read the stuff Bruce has out there on things to read before posting, so give that a try.

    He’s with Bart Erhman on there being a historical Jesus who was a preacher/rabbi/something of that sort. I’m leaning towards the mythicist camp. Telling us we’re “believing” in the “wrong version” of Jesus is why there are 30,000 plus versions of Christianity out there. Every new Christian Sect changes Jesus to meet their needs. It’s like finding the “right” version of Robin Hood or King Arthur. Both of those characters had a “real” origin person, who is nothing like what the legend has become. However we humans like a good heroic story. As we go through time, we tend to add to those characters and the stories change over time making the characters more and more legend/myth/super hero like, the further we move from the origins.

    Telling us that you’re one version or another of a Christian sect does nothing, nor does waggling Bible verses at us. Also “spiritual ________” is complete BS in terms of understanding anything. Try keeping it fact based. “Spiritual” and it’s variations is one extremely abused word and it’s impossible to get two people to agree on what it means.

    Nice try.

    Reply
    1. Ed Chapman

      Yes, really, Scott. I am not talking “my version”. I am saying to stop listening to anyone’s version, and just study the one book. Calvin’s doctrines are abusive and dangerous, and Bruce is coming out of a Calvin doctrine, and his debates are “probably (as I have yet to investigate his arguments)” coming from a Calvin slant.

      The reason that I throw scripture out is due to the fact that Calvinism DELETES those verses when teaching.

      Take for example Romans 5:13. If you ever study Calvinism out, you will see that when Romans 5 is taught, they will stop at verse 12, and pick up again at verse 14. They don’t like verse 13.

      Do you see what I am saying?

      Ed

      Reply
  11. David

    Bruce, I share your distain for the corporate, fundie Jesus that you describe here. I think that the historical Jesus (even Richard Dawkins admits that an historical Jesus probably did exist) would likewise share your distain. I tend to think that the Jesus you describe is a manifestation of a collective cultural ego that has developed over the centuries through a process of social Darwinism and maintained by a program of systematic abuse designed to engender a sort of collective Stockholm Syndrome among the faithful.

    Consider this from Wikipedia:

    “One commonly used hypothesis to explain the effect of Stockholm syndrome is based on Freudian theory. It suggests that the bonding is the individual’s response to trauma in becoming a victim. Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they cease to be perceived as a threat.”

    In my opinion, this is why people continue to believe in the cruel, corporate, social Darwinist Jesus and his sadistic, sociopathic father Yahweh. This also explains why many Christians who may otherwise be perfectly “nice” people often hold to cruel and repugnant beliefs. It’s a survival mechanism. The individual ego is broken down through years of systematic psychological abuse and replaced by the collective ego represented by a great omnipotent, jealous and wrathful but “loving” God. The individual attempts to appease the wrath of this “God” by taking on aspects of its behavior thus renewing the cycle. It is no wonder marriages are ruined when one spouse begins to question their shared faith. Perhaps the would-be apostate has begun a process of reclaiming their selfhood from the collective ego but, to their spouse, they are willfully abnegating the _collective_ selfhood that bound them together in faith and marriage. If the apostate’s spouse has no sense of self beyond the collective tribal ego they would risk fragmenting and damaging the only sense of self they have ever known. That’s how it goes when you unplug from the Matrix. When you awake from the Dream to see things for what they really are you’d like to free everyone but the fact is not everyone can be freed or wants to be free.

    The Jesus you describe above is a very modern notion and reflects the values of a certain segment of our society that, in my opinion, came about, in part, as a result of the process I describe above. Modern religion is merely a tool for asserting social control and the modern notion of Jesus as the, corporatist, elitist, social Darwinist reflect those values. Even though I do believe that there was an historical Jesus I also realize that there is very little that we can infer about him and his teachings from the canonical texts. The gospels were all written hundreds of years after his death by men who never knew him; all, no doubt, interjecting their own notions and opinions. Many other writings that may have been a lot closer to the true teachings of Jesus have been destroyed and or suppressed through the centuries because they do not lend themselves to being made tools of control and manipulation. The Gnostic writings contained within the Nag Hammadi library contain some texts that provide a very different view of Jesus than the one we find in the “approved and sanctioned” canonical texts of the Bible. I’m not saying that they are the “true unaltered words of Jesus” but many of them provide a picture of Jesus that is more in line with my own philosophy of loving-kindness and some _may_ be closer to his esoteric teachings. Jesus is many things to many people. To me he was/is a mystic, zealot, activist, philosopher, and a reminder that there is a spark of the divine within every single human being that connects us with the universe as a whole. His words reach to my from across the eons to remind me that separateness is an illusion and love is the only “true” way.

    Be well Mr. Gerencser,

    David Lee Stanton

    Reply
    1. Scarykitty

      Seriously, did none of you apologists actually read this post? Bruce said, right up front, that he had no real problems with the historical Jesus, that he was talking about how Jesus has been constructed in the West, in America, at this particular time in history. Trying to turn him back to the faith or trying to shore up your own by saying “yes, but” and quoting Bible verses at him is not only pointless, it’s insulting; you are, essentially, telling him that what he feels and believes and writes doesn’t matter, because you know better. The hubris would be amusing if it weren’t so effing annoying.

      Reply
  12. Daniel Wilcox

    Preach it, brother!;-)
    Seriously, this justice speech rings with poetic force.

    And I know you have repeatedly emphasized that your ethical views (being kind, loving, concerned with the needs of others etc.) haven’t changed much since leaving Christianity…if anything become stronger.

    So I am baffled how you could ever have been a Calvinist. I’m not confused about how you came to the Reformed view because of your belief in an inerrant Bible.

    What confuses me is the dedication you would have had for unconditional election and reprobation.
    Or behind your role as a minister, did you always have doubts about God
    hating the reprobate and foreordaining us to eternal damnation before the world began?

    Help me with this if you don’t mind, or refer me back to one of your posts I probably missed.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I was committed to inerrancy and I sincerely wanted to believe the truth and do the will of God. Calvinism, intellectually, made sense to me. It still does, from a Bible perspective. I think, hands down, Calvinism is a better explantation for many of the verses in the Bible.

      But, it was my compassion and love for others that ultimately caused me to abandon Calvinism. I reshaped God into a deity that fit my liberal, progressive beliefs and values. While this God was in conflict with the OT God, it was the only way I could continue to do the work of a pastor.

      Reply
      1. Daniel Wilcox

        Thanks.

        Reply
      2. Timothy Potter

        Dear Bruce,

        Have you ever developed a proper human love for GK Chesterton? I recently finished “What’s wrong with the world” and this, on the deep chumminess of calvinism and modern Western atheism, stuck with me … I’ve attached it at the end by my ***.

        Calvinism is the serious Bible student’s black hole, their heroin, from which there is No Exit. It kills the soul while compelling us to another hit. In its atheist form, it destroys all reason and smashes the compass of thought, erasing any kind of true North (TEST: do you admit all the poor fundies you despise are predestined by the cause-effect chain of the unfeeling universe to behave and think exactly as they do? do you admit you are too? where’s the correct/incorrect, right/wrong, in a universe like that? and where’s your sympathy for their common plight?)). In its Christian form, Calvinism gives us the grand vision of All-That-Is, God, playing with finger puppets that have the appearance of “consciousness” and “will” to amuse himself. I’m guessing you wrestled with these ideas and with the objections of Arminians ad nauseum in your decades in school and ministry, and learned the slippery apologetics well, but as for my own reading, I’ve never seen any Calvinist get beyond the vacuum-sealed thought box that is their school of thought. I’d be so curious to know if you ever did. And I rarely hear any Western freethinkers as honest as Shaw who will admit they are neo-Augustinians and Calvinists, that they have simply replaced God with space-time and mass-energy.

        Yet i see that David, when confronted with that ineffable place of sovereignty, sat down, unlike Calvin, properly humbled. “You hem me in before and behind — Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (Psalm 139:6). How I wish Calvin had said that, instead of madly asserting that he knew the moment when Adam, and we with him, lost his free will — as if a will-less descendant of Adam can write meaningfully about any topic at all, uncertain as he should be that his intellect is not just the toy of a mad topsy-turvy God who is, let us admit, the substance of both Jehovah and Satan. I hope against hope for some Calvinist (or neo-Calvinist like you might still be) someday to admit that the theory of the God who predestines all things is the theory of the God that exists alone in the universe, for He has made no other agents. But as you point out in this blog, that arbitrary God treats the other things, whose destiny He has molded completely, as if they were actually agents, and punishes them as such. Perverse beyond words, if there were a measure in such an arbitrary, nominalist world by which to define perversity. But in reality, there is no “them” to punish (just as in the atheistic version of Calvinism there is no “they” to champion Darwin or oppose him, and the god called space-time is utterly alone and self-amusing). I’m not sure why Calvin’s god bothers to be a trinity — why wouldn’t Jesus be just as false an “other” as humanity is?

        The Jesus I’ve found is with God and is God — just as we are with God and inivited to be in God. The humanly-unsolvable riddle of agency within predestination, the same existential fate-vs-choice question that humanity everywhere has tried to solve, is solved, though ineffably, in Him. He validates time and consciousness and humanity and otherness, while awesome sovereignty over time and space is maintained in the Father. The Son “can” rebel against the Father, against His other self, but before the foundation of the world, He won’t. He is agent and He is predestined, eternally begotten of the Father. In His Colossians (high Christological) self He upholds the physical universe, which (I think) means He validates and participates in time and the world of causes and effects and open futures, even (I think) subjects himself to them, as He hints at in Mark 13:32 In His oneness with the Father, He brings that world of real (not 100% “free” but real) will into the Godhead (into the Holy of Holies, so to speak), where the predestiny of it all mixes it up in ways we can’t (and like David, don’t quite need to) imagine. The Jesus (the Logos) I know is the only answer I have ever seen in any philosophy or epistomology that establishes and buffers both choice /agency (the only grounds humans have to conceive the reality of individual existence or human reason) and destiny (the obvious implication of both Scripture and physics / cosmology, the air of environment that all otherwise-disembodied and individual will must be blessed with if they wish to breathe and move and interact with a world). This Logos and this Logos-sponsored real agent (humanity) is on every page of the Bible. Relatively few verses delve into the mystery of the place of sovereignty, that heavenly Holy of Holies. Thank God these are so few, or we would have all gone mad, like many have who strode too far down that path.

        Calvinism (in Christianity) is superficially intellectually satisfying, like an oversized sealed refrigerator that people climb into for the rich meal it promises — the only problem is that once the door is closed, the light goes off and it’s pretty well predestined to run out of food and air. The only problem with Western post-Christian atheism is — it doesn’t actually open the door and let you out.

        I am, like Ed Chapman, a “layman” (perverse term he didnt use) and a “non-denom” (perverse term he did use). I’m totally bothered by all the things you’re bothered by — but more bothered by the root of all that, by a Church that let the subtle “wolves” of authoritarian rule come in circa 1800 years ago and has never kicked them out. They taught us to introduce artificial hierarchies and inward-church-focus into the flat-structured, servant-led, organic and outward Kingdom-focus that Jesus gave us. Augustine, Anselm, Calvin, and the Anglicans tied us into these perverse cells of separation-by-fixed-destiny even more inexorably. Christians (e.g. the Celts, Francis, the Moravians) escaped the vortex a precious few times and places here and there, but in the 20th century, after the tragic blessing of Mao Zedong, the Chinese house church movement has escaped it, I think, permanently. I think many of India’s Christians are out of the box as well. God bless them, and may He unite us , bottom-up, worldwide, organically, like He is uniting them, through His Django-unchained Spirit. And may the mountain of the Lord draw in all the nations, under whatever cultural or religious name they organize their identities — as He indeed is doing. And may we over-privileged, over-aged, old-wineskinned Western Christians and post-Christians be graced not to miss that boat.

        We Western heirs of Augustine and Calvin and Spinoza and Darwin and all their little boxes would do well to go sit down at the feet of some Chinese peasants with stripes on their backs (both Buddhist and Christian) and unlearn and then learn a few things. (ah Lord God, thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and Thy outstretched arm — why didst thou not make doer-Patrick more influential than thinker-Augustine?!). The greatest movement in at least 1800 years of Christendom is the stripping and building project experienced by the Chinese since 1950, when, if we learned anything, we learned that the organized pyramidal, traditional, set-in-ways, top-down Western church does a better job at obstructing than at aiding the miraculous, empowering, and transforming work of a justice-loving God who flattens mountains and raises up the lowly and illiterate from dunghills. I recommend “God is Red” by atheist Tiananmen-veteran justice-fighter Liao Yiwu for some evidence on this.

        Why can we screw with our God’s plans so badly? Or if it’s a more sterile universe , why can we screw with nature so badly?
        Well, may I meekly suggest, it’s because we really exist, and neither God nor the Universe (or Multiverse) are totalitarians.

        ***
        “The real reason why I did not answer Mr. Shaw’s amusing attack was this: that one simple phrase in it surrendered to me all that I have ever wanted, or could want from him to all eternity. I told Mr. Shaw (in substance) that he was a charming and clever fellow, but a common Calvinist. He admitted that this was true, and there (so far as I am concerned) is an end of the matter. He said that, of course, Calvin was quite right in holding that “if once a man is born it is too late to damn or save him.” That is the fundamental and subterranean secret; that is the last lie in hell.”

        https://books.google.com/books?id=e9NuBAAAQBAJ&pg=PT134&lpg=PT134&dq=whats+wrong+with+the+world+shaw+calvinism&source=bl&ots=eBMIteNzWk&sig=Rd7bWAYCuDrXqigV3XjwgQlfkQg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAmoVChMI3eLz15PHxwIVxRKSCh1CdQNK#v=onepage&q=whats%20wrong%20with%20the%20world%20shaw%20calvinism&f=false

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Timothy,

          I’ve read Chesterton. My atheism is the result of a lack of evidence, not because of any particular theological system.

          As far as your long, waaaay too long comment, please answer a couple of questions:

          1.) Must a person be saved, believe certain things to go to heaven when they die?
          2.) Is there a hell? If you answer yes, then I would ask what determines if a person goes to hell?

          Bruce

          Reply
        2. Becky Wiren

          TL;DR. If you seriously think all of us are going to wade through your post, well, you’re wrong. Editing is your friend.

          Reply
          1. Timothy Potter

            Should I really be sorry for being thoughtful? Has our culture surrendered that deeply to marketability, that you have more fatherly advice for me on how to get read in a blogsite than you have responses on how I should see the world?

            @ Becky: Speaking for the group to announce the policy that “all of us” have, of abstaining from the effort it takes to read through thoughtful comments, on a blog post that starts with the words “I hate…, is not a good sign. Haters hate — some others use stong language but are thoughtful, and respectful of the opposition. But is this blog group committed to sound bites and ad hominems (ie ad Jesus) as the only proper means of communication? The most important subjects in life do require a few words to answer.

            My (site-deleted) reply to Becky, “then the post wasn’t for you,” was quite serious — those who think something valuable (like in this case my time & experience) is beneath them should leave it alone. It’s fine not to listen to someone, but it’s coarse to mock someone just for trying to speak.

            Bruce, From your various replies, I have no confidence you read my post thoughtfully either. Quizzes on hell and on qualifications for salvation are a bit of a non-sequitor to all my comments. I put fair answers (by email) to your “which box are you?” questions, which I think may have sqeezed me out of all your boxes and made me “peculiar” (at least in my take on Christianity), but your only reply to me there (aside from blogging-coaching) was “Discussions with Christians is not high on my value list.” Then why write a post like this? Just to “hate”? Gross stereotyping does not serve anyone’s search for Truth. (But, Quid est veritas?)

            Your final reply to me was ” I don’t believe in God, any God, so there is no real benefit to have a discussion about a being you think exists and I think doesn’t.” This misses the point. My real point is not “I believe in God and you should too,” (and I think that was obvious). My point was “you are still a Calvinist, and you should admit that … and there’s no need for such nihilism.”

            You have not begun your journey toward reality as long as you stay locked in that echo-chamber you entered so long ago. I’m simply inviting you to step out and BEGIN, I’m not telling you where to end up. But I am answering your super-generalized points against Christians, quite well I think.

            If it offends you that I am resurrecting this conversation after signing off, then don’t post it. But the ice-wall you showed me stayed cold in my mind and made me both sad and angry, and today, if only for truth and justice, I had to address it.

            Following is a list of bullet points from my way-too-long post, for anyone who may happen upon it and possibly profit from the experience. You needn’t worry, Becky who likely hasn’t made it this far, you don’t have to read any of this. Again, though, this post fails the criteria of either being an easy-skim modernish sound bite, or starting a petty ill-mannered argument to help you bolster the points you make above, and therefore, I’m sure it has little value to this blog.

            1) Calvinism has an atheist form, which is modern, Western atheism (which G.B. Shaw admitted to GKC in my quote). Calvinism, in essence, is still your (Brice’s) belief system — you once fell into it, and have never escaped. It posits an iron-clad, tightly-sealed universe without agents, and the non-existence of you and me except as finger-puppets on the hands of the Creator (in this case, impersonal space-time, quantum fluctuations, or whatever starts and composes universes like ours).

            2) A “TEST” of reason that I still invite you (Bruce) to answer: do you admit that all your enemies are locked in to their pre-destined beliefs just as you are? From where, then, comes your values system and your ability to disapprove of ANYthing? We are all meaninglessly opinionated and damned to non-existence (currently, not just in the future) and irrelevance. Your opinions and practices are just as meaningless as all those you lambast here. Don’t borrow from the other side’s worldview to condemn them! Or cease being an atheist and learn why and how the universe is more open than you think. Which are you, a believer in responsible action and opinion, or a believer in a valueless universe?

            3) Calvinism (theistic and non-theistic) kills reason. It never had any justification within Christianity, and like a worm, it eats away reason in your atheistic version of it as well.

            4) Something that may be new to you: Jesus, in dusty Palestine, but more properly in a real (non-Calvinist, more-like 3-leafed Patrician) Trinity, is the only thing in epistemology that makes the admixture of real-will and predestination in the universe begin to make sense — preserving a sovereign order without killing Reason or Existence. In VERY brief form (for the topic) I try to make that point in the 4th paragraph, for anyone interested in starting a dialogue on how that might be. You may not be interested in Christianity any more, but I hope you are interested in Reason, for post-Calvinist Atheism has no foundation for that. Presumably you are (interested in Reason), if you bother to run a blog site.

            5) My last three paragraphs attempt to answer the rather silly challenge at the end of your post, which (in apparently willful ignorance, but you still don’t believe in will) implies that no one proclaiming allegiance to a living (resurrected) Jesus, anywhere, is doing anything good for society. Your focus on “American Jesus” ignores the great reality of our day, that Christianity has moved on from the West, toward the “least of these” whom you mention, who are generally in the Global South. I VERY briefly give some reasons that the Church of the West was fated to end up so ugly, since we made bad decisions 1800 years ago. There is a treasure-trove in the book “God is Red” (whose author is atheist) to directly counter all you say here, but not in a mere petty point-on-point way, but systematically and overwhelmingly.

            All of this is thougtful, challenging, and extremely pertinent to your point. The points I make are complex and extremely controversial (MORE controversial and maybe hard to hear among Christians than even among atheists). But with all the replies you get, I’m sure you’ve learned to be good at skimming and pigeon-holing. You as much as state that you have nothing to learn from me, since you know so well what I am. Until you proved to me in writing that you either had not slowed down enough to read my post, or were unwilling to take my post seriously, I told you I would rather communicate with you man to man, which to me was simply a matter of taking up the challenge you laid down. You were not interested in my “peculiar” (rather New Testament word, isn’t that?) Christianity.

            Maybe someone out there IS interested in my “peculiar take,” someone broad-minded enough to acknowledge that a thing needn’t be marketable to be valuable

          2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            I read your comment. I read your email and responded. Don’t like my response? That’s too bad. I’ve seen your type uncounted times over the years. You think you have some special insight that will bring some sort of eureka moment. It’s just the same shit in a different package. What’s worse is that you think you have had some sort of dream/divine vision.

            The fact that you made no attempt to distill your argument (s) down so readers could better understand them leads me to believe you are one of these guys who likes to theologically/intellectually masturbate in public. I’m sure, for you, it feels wonderful. For the rest of us? Yuck.

            I will assume that you have said all you intended to say. Per the commenting rules, you’ve been given the opportunity to say your piece. I will not approve any further comments from you.

          3. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            I checked the server logs to see what you have read on this site. You are in no position to make any judgment about my POV or character based on reading a post or two. If you had bothered to understand who and what I am you would have understood Why I Hate Jesus was not anti-Jesus or anti-Christianity. It was my response to a particular flavor of Western Christianity.

          4. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Since you posted part of my email, I thought readers might be interested in reading the entire email and your response:

            My email:

            Timothy,

            I do not. I don’t believe in God, any God, so there is no real benefit to have a discussion about a being you think exists and I think doesn’t.

            Your comment was as long/longer than the post you replied to. This is normally a sign that your comment is way too long and that if your goal is for people to hear and understand your POV, then you need to be more concise and to the point, especially when you are giving your peculiar take on Christianity.

            I receive numerous emails from people who are considering leaving Christianity or who have already left. Since I have a limited window of time each day when I am well enough to answer emails, write, etc, I try to focus on those things that have value. Discussions with Christians is not high on my value list. I am sure there are other websites and writers who might be interested in your POV, your dream, but I am not.

            Thanks.

            Your response:

            Fair enough. We each have to decide what has value and what’s worth our time, and hope what we decide is as near the truth as possible.

            All the best,

            Tim

          5. Ed Chapman

            In a sense, I partially agree with Tim. For example, my roommate is an atheist. We both really enjoy debate…really, we do. However, he is former Catholic. I am a protestant. I’ve told him time and time again that if he was going to base his argument on Catholicism beliefs, I have no rebuttal.

            I get the idea, also, that you are basing your non-belief in Christianity solely on Calvinism, whether you admit it or not. That was my take on you from the Beginning Bruce. Really.

            Therefore, if you are going to base your non-belief in Christianity, based on “western” whatevers, then still, why are you not a Christian based on Eastern whatevers? But, again, we see it as Calvinism, not Western.

            That’s like saying that you aren’t a Christian because Christians are hypocrites. OK, so what? Every human is a hypocrite. But, we Christians call it, “struggling with sin”, not wanting to sin, but doing it anyway. The 12 Steps calls it, “we are powerless…”

          6. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Your comment reveals you have no clue as to not only my journey but the motivations and reasons for my deconversion.

            My non-belief is rooted in the fact that I see no evidence for the existence of God. Any God,not just the Christian God. That you don’t understand this is astounding.

          7. Ed Chapman

            You are right…I don’t understand why anyone doesn’t believe in the existence of God. One thing that always gets my roommate blood boiling angry is when I ask him where our consciousness comes from. He thinks that he can just get away with responding, “I don’t know.” and leave it at that. So I press him as to why he doesn’t know. In the debate that Ken Ham (a lunatic who believes in literal 24 hour days of the six days creation) had with Bill Nye, the moderator asked Bill where consciousness came from, and he pulled the same trick, by saying, “I don’t know”, and he left it at that. But, that is a major question unanswered by the experts who don’t believe in God. You can see a brain, but you can’t see a mind. That little voice in your head, no one can hear it but you, and that is your thoughts. No one knows your thoughts until you speak them. Consciousness.

            Ed Chapman

          8. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            I don’t know is an honest answer. You assume what we don’t know equals God. Let me, for the sake of argument, grant your premise. I then ask, which God? Why should I accept your God as the answer to the question? Why not one of the other gods humans have invented?

            I will gladly admit that I understand how someone can look at the night sky and think a God of some sort created the universe. But, no Christian has ever successfully demonstrated the bridge necessary to get from a generic God to that God being the God of Christianity. Once someone makes an argument for the creator God being the Christian God…well they have trapped themselves within the boundaries of the Bible. Let the games begin.

            I think science will someday give us a suitable explanation for consciousness. What then, Ed? What will Christians do when science has shown one more time that we don’t need a God to understand the universe?

            Part of the problem is that Christianity is rooted in certainty. It purports to have THE answers, yet science continues to chip away at that assertion. I am content to live with ambiguity, believing that science will continue to give the best explanation for the world we live in. The power of religion comes from ignorance, especially of science. That half of Americans deny evolution, think the earth is less than 10,000 years old, and global warming is a myth, is proof of this ignorance.

          9. Carmen

            I’d also add, Bruce, that “I don’t know is an honest answer” is absolutely true. When Ed – or anyone else – says (as an explanation of consciousness) “It’s GOD” (meaning, of course the CHRISTIAN god, seeing how you live in the USA) . . . well, that’s hubris. It’s amazing how much hubris that Bronze-Age text, written BY men, FOR men, has created. 🙂

          10. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Many theists are unable comprehend that someone like me can have a sense of wonder, awe, and amazement without having to invoke the name of the tribal God.

            I spent most of of my 58 years thinking I had all the answers. I now have far more questions than answers. While I continue to seek knowledge, I no longer need to have all the answers. I’m content to live with I don’t know, especially when it comes to things like consciousness, a matter that has little to do with my day to day life. For the theist is is important. For me? Meh.

          11. Carmen

            Bruce, glad to hear you say that you have more questions than answers – that’s me, too! The older I get, the more questions I have. Perhaps we (and others on this thread, I’ll bet) just have inquiring minds?? I am hoping that’s it! 🙂 Funny that you should mention that, because we had a (United Church of Canada) minister in the early 80’s who always told us to ask lots of questions. He used to say that he didn’t know the answers to most questions, and that he didn’t know too many people who DID have all the answers. He used to tell us that if we ran into anyone who had all the answers, (about religion) it was probably a cult! I am reminded of him when I read the comments from fundagelicals who really seem like their answer is always, “It’s (a) god!”. But then I think that it’s probably much easier to use that pat answer than to think about anything too deeply. . .

          12. Ed Chapman

            Bruce,

            I believe that God gave us carnal examples of eternity. The Universe is just one of those examples. Seed is another. And there is more.

            Many atheists that I know, and I really do know atheists, debate based on carnal only, not even taking into consideration the eternal. For example, they talk tons about a body, more specifically the death of the body in regards to killing, i.e. that my God is the moral monster, but they do not consider the spirit (ghost) of the person. The Calvinism argument of the Pharaoh is a good one. They think that the Pharaoh is in hell fire. But I don’t believe that for a minute. I believe that God gave him mercy due to his ignorance. Remember that Paul got mercy due to his ignorance, too. Romans 2:14-16 shows that the Amazon people with bones in their noses and spears in their hands do by nature the things contained in the law…showing that their own conscience will judge them, even tho they don’t know who Jesus is, or God.

            But, getting back on track, I went off on a tangent, I know, but what convinced me that the Christian God is the God? First of all, it’s the Jewish God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Secondly, the word Israel is biblically defined as “Struggles with God and prevails”. I cannot deny our struggle. I see the Bible as not only a historical, but a spiritual, in the Egypt is spiritually defined as “sin”, and Israel is spiritually defined as Heaven. We are in the desert struggling with God, and when we cross the Jordan river, that is spiritually defined as our carnal death. Moses freed the slaves from Egypt, Jesus freed the slaves of sin.

            What convinced me is that Christianity is the most hated religion in the whole world. And if it is hated so much, there must be something right about it. There is nothing scientific about that, and to me, there doesn’t need to be.

            But prophesy of the land of Israel, and the Jewish people did a lot to convince me. What God would die on a cross to save his own creation? My God. What God besides my God only requires us to just believe and live our belief, i.e. Abraham, and the children of Abraham? Other gods require a scale of good deeds vs. bad deeds. What God considers us his prize, as well as us considering him our prize? My God.

            In regards to global warming, I don’t believe in it, either. In the 70’s, they were telling us of a global freeze. Besides, I don’t really care if it gets 2 degrees warmer in the winter, or summer. Those who warn us about green house gasses are the same ones flying in jets making more. To me, it’s a money making scheme to make the rich pay more taxes. It’s all about the money, not the polar bears.

            I’m always skeptical of people who flippantly use the word “ignorance” in any debate, using it as a derogatory means to silence the opposition, by the way. Some of us do not consider ourselves to be ignorant. We oppose, and we generally know the arguments against our position. We are not ignorant about that. I once heard from someone that it is always good to know the tactics of your adversary. We do know the meaning of the word, ignorance, and we are not ignorant.

            Ed Chapman

          13. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            My use of the word ignorant was a general observation, not addressed to you specifically.

            You find value in the Bible, I do not. Outside of the sermon on the mount, Ecclesiastes, and few chapters here and there, I find the Bible to be an irrelevant ancient text. I spent most of my life studying the Bible, having read the Bible from cover to cover numerous times. Throw in thousands of hours spent reading theological tomes, I’ve had enough of the Bible and Christianity to last three lifetimes.

            So why do I write about Evangelicalism, Christianity, and the
            Bible? Simple…look at all the hysteria over the jailing of Kim Davis, same-sex marriage, and the seventeen religious clowns stuffed in the Republican candidates for President clown car. From the denial of civil rights to gays to the continued subjugation of women, Christianity is to blame. Christianity lies at the heart of the cancer that is killing us. We’re making progress, but ignorance is not easy to eradicate. When most of a populous thinks mouthing words to an invisible deity changes their lot in life…well that shows me we have a lot of work to do.

            I think many Christians grossly underestimate the damage their religion has done to millions of people. Over the past eight years I’ve interacted with hundreds a of people who were at one time devoted followers of Jesus. (and tens of thousands more who read this blog and don’t comment or email me yet find help through my writing) These wonderful people were abused, misused, and savaged by those who say they speak for God and are his followers. Deep, lasting emotional and mental damage was done by those who sing with gusto My God is an Awesome God. In some cases, physical abuse was perpetrated by men of God, from molesting children to rape. (And please don’t suggest these are outliers, a few bad apples)

            The reason I don’t spend time engaging the Tim’s of the world is because my focus is on helping those who are trying to break free from toxic Christianity and helping those who are free and are trying to build a new life for themselves.

            I give each Christian commenter an opportunity to say their piece. I know my writing constipates them so I give them the opportunity to have an enema of sorts. Say what you want, feel better, move on. It’s not that I am intellectually unable to engage them. It’s a matter of wise use of time and energy. Since I have a small window of time each day to do the most good I can, I focus on those I can help.

            Devout Christians aren’t looking for help. They want to put in a word for Jesus, preach, evangelize, straighten out ignorant Bruce, or let everyone know how smart they are. They don’t want dialog or explanation. No need, since they already know the truth. To quote Paul, I know whom I have believed.

            I enjoy discussing my journey with Christians who sincerely want to understand how I got to where I am today. Unfortunately, such Christians are quite rare. A few years back I talked to my counselor about how hostile Christians are to my writing. (Not all Christians, because a fair number of liberal/progressive Christians read this blog, including some Evangelicals who think my critique of American Christianity is spot on) My counselor told me that I was naive to think Christians cared about what I think. He said, they don’t give a shit about what you think, Bruce. Once I understood this it made it easier for me to stop engaging in tiresome, unproductive discussions with Christians who have zero interest in what I think and are only here to make a point for their God or their peculiar flavor of Christianity.

          14. Ed Chapman

            Jail cells for preaching Christ are common since the beginning of Christianity. That’s not new. What was the response of those sent to jail? They would rather suffer shame for his name, and…obey God than man.

            Civil disobedience in America is nothing new, either. But, here is a question…a woman is in jail due to her religious beliefs, and that isn’t supposed to happen in America. Our beliefs are dead if they are not backed up by action. We are Free (true meaning of Freedom in America) to worship the Christian God, including our actions of faith, because faith without works is dead, without reprisals, retribution, punishment, fear.

            Christian morality was indeed at the forefront of our nations founding. I see in the blogs much denial of that, but their denial doesn’t negate out our founding fathers beliefs in the Christian God. Our founding fathers laid the foundation of this nation, and gays getting married was not on the agenda, for it was not even a thought in anyone’s mind, being Christian, and all. Some say that they were deists. Regardless, they believed in Natures God, and that the laws of Nature were created by God, and some things just goes against the laws of nature, even if monkeys go against the law and hump a same sex creature.

            In regards to “subjugation of women”, that’s a Calvinist thing, not a non-Calvinist protestant thing. That’s exactly why I stated that your atheist arguments come from a Calvinist leaning theology.

            But again, Christianity is the most hated belief in the world, and since it is, then that is the right religion, point blank. Jesus said that it would be hated, and he said to not marvel about it, for it is him that people hate. What a coincidence that Jesus would say that the world would hate us, and boom…the world hates us. Imagine that!

            Ed Chapman

          15. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            So, all I need to do is find out what is most hated and then I know that’s the truth? Sure you want to go with that, Ed? If so, atheism or Islam wins hands down in America and Barack Obama is the best president ever.

            No one denies that the founders were influenced by Christianity, albeit a Christianity that bears little resemblance to the Christianity of today. To extrapolate from this fact the belief that they intended to found a Christian nation is absurd. I hate to use the word ignorant again, but a comprehensive reading of American history clearly shows the secular underpinnings of our Republic. If they wanted to establish a theocracy they could have, but they didn’t.

            If a Muslim clerk refused to give a drivers license to women because his religion said women should not drive a car, would you be OK with that? Of course not. Yet, that is exactly what Kim Davis is doing. She has a legal and constitutional duty to perform. If her religion precludes her from doing it she needs to resign.

            Many Christians are butt hurt over this issue, not because of the vileness of homo sex, but because our culture has removed them from their preferred status as the arbiter of truth and morality. Thanks to the Internet, young adults have free and ready access to a plethora of viewpoints and are exposed to facts often hid by those wanting to maintain the American/Christian myth. This is why authors like Bart Ehrman have been so devastating to the Christian narrative about the nature, history, and authority of the Bible. He dares to show that preachers have been lying about the Bible, or at the very least withholding data every person should know before making a decision on the historical claims of Christianity.

          16. Ed Chapman

            Bruce,

            First of all, this nation was not founded upon the belief of the Muslim God, therefore, when you state “If a Muslim clerk refused to give a drivers license to women because his religion said women should not drive a car, would you be OK with that?”, I would respond that Christ set us FREE, and that there is no such custom in Christianity (1 Corinthians 11:16).

            Second, our founding fathers departed a theocracy, therefore, our founding was based on freedom to worship the Christian God based on your own conscience, not based on the state telling you. In this case, the woman jailed is worshiping God based on her conscience, and to force her to go against her conscience of faith is UN American. Therefore, based on our nations founding, the atheists are forcing their non-belief on us, not us forcing our beliefs on them.

            Third, We the People are the government, and that includes the woman jailed. She believes that the law passed is an unjust law. Well, so do I. Civil disobedience. She is in jail, just like Peter and James, and Paul, and a whole slew of others. She will get a righteous reward for it later. We are never to allow, in America, for a Christian believer to do something that goes against their own religious conscience. For a Muslim in regards to drivers license…we have no such custom (from the bible).

            Ed Chapman

          17. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Again, all I can do is sigh

          18. Ed Chapman

            Bruce,

            I almost forgot…

            You had said:
            “So, all I need to do is find out what is most hated and then I know that’s the truth? Sure you want to go with that, Ed? If so, atheism or Islam wins hands down in America and Barack Obama is the best president ever.”

            My response:
            As dumb as my premise sounds, yes, I want to go with that. I know it sounds dumb. But to me, it’s smart, as God uses the foolish to confound the wise. In regards to Obama, he has had some very derogatory things to say about Christianity, therefore, he does not represent America as our past Presidents have.

            Ed Chapman

          19. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            So, only the most hated is true IF it agrees with your POV or theology. Okey dokey.

            This is where I sigh

            Good night,

          20. Ed Chapman

            Good night, Bruce…

            And a huge shout out to my friend Carmen,too!

            Thanks for the conversation people.

            Ed

  13. Carmen

    Well, well! Fancy meeting YOU here! ** she waves to Ed**

    I hope Bruce replies to you; it makes for very interesting ‘conversation’! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Ed Chapman

      Bruce’s sarcasm really got me!! I loved it! And, you know my sarcasms, so I thought I would fit in nicely here. I’m already getting the warm welcome from Scott (note my sarcasm)!!

      Ed

      Reply
  14. Ed Chapman

    Hey, Carmen!!! What a surprise! I should have known, huh? Great seeing you here!

    Ed

    Reply
    1. carmen

      Now, just behave yourself, Ed and you won’t get hurt. (Don’t mention how much you loved that movie, “God’s Not Dead” in this crowd) 😉

      – Carmen

      Reply
      1. Ed Chapman

        Ha!! Kinda hard to do that now…you already told them!! However, I didn’t get a chance to see the NEW movie, “Do You Believe?”, as I was too tired from working nights, lately. But, I plan on still seeing it. Former Seattle Seahawk Brian Bosworth is in the movie, as well as the 6 Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors, and Sybil Shepherd, is also in it.

        Now, in regards to SSB, you know that I defend the abused, and really give a hard time to those who defend the abusive doctrines…but I also defend Christianity. The only ones that I make enemies of, are those who defend the abusive doctrines, calling it Christian. And, you know that I don’t bash atheists, just the whack job Christianity doctrines, aka, Calvinism, Catholicism, etc.

        Ed

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Well, if you are friends with Carmen. 🙂 I don’t have a big problem with religion in general. I’m not an atheist who spends his time saying DIE! DIE! DIE! to religion. I think fundamentalism is a problem wherever it is found. A lot of the people who read this blog are religious, progressive/liberal Christians. I respect them even though I intellectually can not embrace their reasons for believing.

          Reply
  15. Ed Chapman

    Hi Bruce,
    Pleasure to meet you. Yes, Carmen and I have blogged together for a while on another blog. And yes, I agree with you in regards to fundamentalism. I am learning within the last few years, that most, if not all, of the fundamentalism is coming from the Calvin side, not from the non-Calvin side. I’m certainly not “liberal” in my beliefs, but I am certainly not rigid like the Calvinists.

    The Calvinists I encounter are Law/Grace intertwined people…but then again, so are the 7th Day Adventists, and folks like Mark Biltz. Me, I am law vs. faith, not law plus faith, not law plus grace. I know that faith is not a work, or a gift. I know that God gives us free will to choose. I have a few blog articles of my own in regards to a few topics that you have written on. One of them is about the faith thing, and another in regards to the Ken Ham strange doctrine of 6 literal 24 hour day creation. I also loved how you used your sarcasm about that 100,000 year thing.

    I know I’ve got a lot of reading to do on your blog. Look forward to more conversations! Thanks for the welcome!

    Thanks Carmen!

    Ed Chapman

    Reply
  16. John Arthur

    Hi Bruce,

    Thanks for this excellent analysis of the modern Jesus’s of the American and Western churches. I summarised it over on my blog with due accreditation as to its source. It so so good, I didn’t think it needed being added to. I hope you don’t mind too much.

    Many Thanks,

    John Arthur

    Reply
  17. Jaisen

    Bruce,

    Of course you hate Jesus. You spent 25 years as a false teacher imitating John Calvin instead of Him, dishonoring His mother and denying the divinity of His body and blood. Reinventing the wheel and recreating His image without any authority, and then wondering why it didn’t work out. And then it’s supposed to be some great surprise that you “lost the faith” and that other “fundies” act exactly as you do now, only still attached to the evangelical mold that you propagated for so long. Is it really a great surprise to you that you were filled with grace at baptism (the other two didn’t count by the way, clearly), only to watch that grace diminish over the years through your denial of the priesthood, confession and Eucharist, leading to this obvious and glaring state in which you find yourself? It’s clear as day to me. Even the demons believe and shutter. Yet even still your pride reigns in you, the same pride that yelled at Catholocism from the pulpit for years now yells hysterically, “You’re attacking my character!” That same pride that led you away from Jesus tells you that you know who He is now better than ever and you’re going to pollute everyone else’s idea of Him, just from a different pulpit. All the while pretending it’s not your intention to tear down anyone else’s faith. Can you smell the hypocrisy of your own atheistic fundamentalism? Pride truly is the root of all evil. However, the only unforgivable sin is to go to your grave denying the Trinity and all that it entails, not the sin of homosexuality (another false teaching you no doubt helped to spread). As I said before, the doors are always open to you. Grace can always be restored. You may hate the Jesus that you helped create, but the real Jesus still loves you.

    P.S. This Jesus you speak of sounds a lot like every liberal and socialist of the Democratic Party. Which reminds me, aren’t you all three?

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Ah, but you keeping reading. That is until I blocked your newest IP address. Why is that, Jaisen?

      This is fun, Jaisen and instructive. Lots of questioning or doubting folks read this blog. You had an opportunity to share the love of Christ and the value of the Catholic faith. Instead, you have brought shame to God, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary through your vitriolic attack of me personally and those who read this blog. Thank you for allowing us to see the real Jaisen. Just another hateful, self absorbed, full of religious certainly Christian.

      Reply
      1. Jaisen

        Comment deleted.

        Reply
  18. Ed Chapman

    Jaisen,

    One of my roommates is a former Catholic. He is an atheist. I am not a Catholic, but I am a Christian. I know many former Catholics that are atheists. I often state that Catholicism has produced more atheists than most religions of all the world. I say that, because it is true.

    I deny the trinity. I am not Pentecostal, either. I believe that Jesus is the ONLY God. Why?

    Jesus stated that God is a SPIRIT. Well, spirits reside in bodies, and Jesus is the body of God. Jesus is God alone. God is not three people playing the role of one God.

    Father = Spirit
    Son = Body
    Holy Spirit = Mind (soul) of Christ

    We are made in the image of God, and we are three in one.

    When the Apostles Baptized, they did not use a phrase, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and in the Name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Spirit”.

    Do you know what they did? They actually used a name. One name only. Jesus.

    However, since you are a Catholic, bashing Calvin, that is why I stepped in to the conversation. You both came from Augustine.

    And, I know that Catholics are not allowed to “interpret” bible. That’s why you have a spokesperson, i.e. Papa.

    Lastly, all Christians are priests. And, your priests can only forgive sins to those who sinned against them personally. And, we all have that authority. It isn’t a job description.

    Ed Chapman

    Reply
    1. Michael

      Ed,
      how can there be a “relationship” between the Son and the Father, then? It’s like I would demand a same-person marriage to myself and then say I have a relationship with myself. Would that be a homosexual marriage? 🙂

      Michael

      Reply
    2. Suzanne

      Ed, Catholics ARE Christians regardless of what your uneducated fundamentalist pastor is telling you…

      Reply
  19. Jaisen

    Comment deleted

    Reply
  20. carmen

    I read Jaisen’s first comment while I was at school. Interestingly enough, my Gr. 9 students were practising skits. As I read his comment I thought, “Geez! He must be performing his “Pretend you’re Pat Robertson” rant. . . . 🙂

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Jaisen is a good example of the fact that the Catholic Church has a fundamentalist wing too. They can be every bit at hateful, nasty, and hostile as a fundamentalist Baptist.

      Reply
      1. Jaisen

        Carmen,

        “And you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I am going to vomit you from my mouth.”

        Reply
        1. Dale

          Well, Jaisen, you made me want to vomit after reading all of your bullshit.

          Dammit, I hate being so late to discussions. What am I, two months late now?

          Reply
        2. Michael

          Jaisen,
          I think you spread so much hate because you hate yourself. You say the sentence “Jesus loves you.” just as phrase with no meaning at all. It’s because you do not believe He loves you, Jaisen. It’s a phrase for you, too. And you don’t know how to escape it, how to escape not feeling good enough. You want to feel loved, but your religion deosn’t give it to you and you are too scared to doubt things because you believe doubting is heretical. Maybe someone in your life has been telling you over and over that you are not good enough and now you think Bruce thinks this of you, too. But that is not true. You are just as good as any other person in the comment section. God and Mother Mary loves every fiber of your body and everything else is a lie. His and Her love for you are so unconditional you cannot escape it and all He wants is to patiently tear down the self-hate you have for yourself. Please, before you reply anything unkind to me just let the comment sink in.

          Have a nice day, Jaisen.

          Michael

          Reply
      2. April G

        Yeah, I was raised Catholic and some in my family are quite fundamentalist when it comes to Catholicism. 🙁 From my experience Catholics do run the gamut from the uber liberals to the wackos. Very glad to not be a bible believer anymore. That barbaric belief system makes decent people into hurtful and mean people. 🙁

        Reply
  21. Carmen

    It’s the damnedest thing about thinking one has the absolute truth, and the ONLY truth, eh?? – the hateful, nasty, hostile bit, I mean.

    (when – as most people commenting on this blog realize – Bruce is “Truth Almighty”!!, and WITHOUT the nasty bits)

    Reply
  22. Jaisen

    Poor fella, those buttons aren’t working anymore. Rest of comment deleted.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      No, I realize assholes do what assholes do. I’m content to just keep deleting your comments. No work around for that.

      Reply
  23. Jaisen

    Comment deleted.

    Reply
  24. Jaisen

    Comment deleted.

    Reply
  25. Jaisen

    Oh, I get it. You only want to have a dialogue with people who think at your level. No room for dissent or alternate opinions. Roger that. Enjoy your “open-minded, free-thinker” society. Or would that be “me-thinker”? Doesn’t matter. Have a hypocritical day!

    Reply
    1. Becky Wiren

      Bruce isn’t hypocritical, as he doesn’t pretend. Whereas, you say you’re Christian and yet you’ve pretty much decided everyone reading this blog is lost. I have to assume that, as you are a horrible representative of Catholicism. The funny thing is there are people on here who WANT to be Christian, maybe even Catholic. Reading your comments will help push some of them out the door. Because they’ve been treated horribly by so-called Christians, and your comments will merely affirm to them that Christians aren’t really into “loving your neighbor as yourself.”

      Reply
  26. David

    My daily prayer: ” Jesus protect me from your followers.” … and a damn fine song.

    Reply
  27. Jaisen

    Aww, Beckers. Bruce is pretending he’s open-minded while deleting my comments, editing them to make him look smarter, etc., aka, hypocritical to free thought. I never said anyone was lost on here in any of my comments, but hey, you stated the problem there when you said, “I have to assume that…” While you’re welcome to your assumptions and putting words in my mouth, it doesn’t make your assertions any less false. It’s really just par for the course at this point. Bruce’s opinion of how Christians should act is not only irrelevant, it’s also the reason why so many leave: We’re not called to be pandering, politically correct, over-feminized beta-males who won’t stand up for the teachings of Christ. THAT is why so many people lose their faith, because it simply does not work that way. Bruce will delete this comment because he doesn’t want any of those questioning and doubting folks to wonder onto his blog and find somebody actually saying something that makes sense. That’d be bad for business. (oh by all means, I will post THIS comment. It makes perfect sense)

    Reply
    1. David

      Hey Jaisen, just wondering which teachings of Jesus are you standing up for? Turn the other cheek? Love your neighbor as yourself? It seems to me that you are not standing up for the teachings of Jesus rather you are defending your own _personal_ interpretation of your Church’s teachings. I detect quite a bit of egotism in your tone so I won’t hold it against Catholicism that you have chosen to present yourself in such an un-Chistian manner; not that I don’t find fault in your Church’s teachings. There are many people who have been damaged by your Church and its mile-high bureaucracy that stands like a great wall between God and humanity. Although you don’t realize it you, Jaisen, are one of those damaged people. Your comments above about the “pandering, PC, over-feminized beta-males” is most telling. Correct me if I’m wrong but you seem to think that the liberal values of love and tolerance somehow make one weak. This is strange coming from someone who claims to be a follower of Jesus whose central and most enduring message, despite the Church’s bureaucratic meddling and corruption, has always been one of love. If those are the teachings that you are defending then take a break! Jesus doesn’t need you to defend his teachings! Love of the kind taught by Jesus doesn’t need culture warriors to defend it. It is by its very nature unassailable. Love, my friend, is the most powerful force in the universe and no mere human being can defend or destroy it anymore than we can defend or destroy the force of gravity. I can tell you that when you embrace love as the central aspect of your being the last thing you will feel is weak. Love is fearless, love is bold, love is eternal. My friend, I sincerely hope that one day you will come to know the true power of loving-kindness. No church can give you such a gift of Grace as that bestowed by a kind and loving heart.

      Be Well,
      David Lee Stanton

      Reply
    2. Rhoda

      Well, in reality it’s the other way round.
      I lost my faith partly because of the sexism and homophobia of Christians. It’s your type who put people off Christianity. And the really funny thing is you sound exactly like the evangelicals but they would turn round and say Catholics are not Christians. (Ah, evangelicals; if I’d never met any I might still be Christian).

      Reply
  28. Zoe

    I’m glad you posted that last comment Bruce. If there was any question before there isn’t now.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Yeah, Jaisen is the Catholic equivalent of Matt and Jason, from a year or so ago. People like this are clueless or don’t care what damage they do to the witness of their particular religion. Instead, it is all about attacking the atheist, the apostate, the reprobate. I have engaged in uncounted discussions with thoughtful, polite people of faith. However, after 7+ years of doing this, I have zero patience or tolerance for people like Jaisen. I let them say their piece, which according to the Comment Rules they are allowed one comment. Knowing that people like Jaisen need a metaphorical enema, I allow them to say whatever they want. I see their comments as instructive, a poignant reminder to those of us who have left the faith of why it was the best decision we ever made.

      I plan to use Jaisen as the subject of an upcoming post. I am glad he provided me with plenty of material. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Jaisen

        Exciting! Will this upcoming post be about how the judgmental Dear Leader doesn’t like to be questioned or challenged?! Or about how if you stop by Bruce’s corner of the internet to invite him to your church and wish him well you’ll be derided and disparaged (against Dear Leader’s comment rules I might add)?! I’ve yet to see your thoughtful reply to Mr. Ed up top addressing his heresies and omission of Matthew 28:19; will it be about how I should undermine my own convictions by respecting the heresies of others?! I’m sure whatever the topic it’ll be super intellectually stimulating without a thread of truth about anything I’ve said, or the fact that I’ve simply responded to you and your antagonizing readers with the same lack of respect shown me. Not to mention any attempt to correct you (you REALLY hate that!) or your libel will show up as “Comment Deleted.” Either way, you’re welcome. Can’t wait!

        *The sarcasm in this comment is in no way an endorsement of the author of this blog’s hypocritical views of other’s convictions.

        Reply
        1. Ed Chapman

          Jaisen,

          I’m not deleting Matthew 28:19. But since you are not allowed to “interpret” scripture, you fail to see that none of the Apostles used a “phrase”. The Apostles did indeed baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” when they Baptized in the name of Jesus.

          By the way, what is the name of the Holy Spirit?

          And we all know that if it isn’t Catholic teaching, then it is classified as either “unorthodox”, or “heresy” by Catholics.

          Acts 2:38
          Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

          Acts 8:16
          (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

          Acts 19:5
          When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

          I guess that the apostle forgot Yahweh…and again, what is the name of the Holy Spirit?

          Ed Chapman

          Reply
        2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          You do understand talking about “heresy” on an atheist’s blog is silly? I don’t believe there is a god, so any discussion about theology is purely an intellectual exercise for me. I am quite happy to engage in such discussions with anyone who is respectful and polite, two qualities you lack. Lots of people of faith, from a variety of sects, read this blog, thoughtfully comment, interact with me on Facebook, or email me. I am sure, to the person, they see your comments as an example of everything that is wrong with Christianity. You “may” have the right beliefs, but your behavior bears no resemblance to the Jesus you say you follow. Like all fundamentalists, you can not see that you are the problem, not everyone else. You are convinced that you have THE truth,and anyone else, be it Ed, Becky, Carmen, Bruce, or any other person who disagrees with you, is wrong. You are certainly free to think this way, but on this blog you are not free to verbally abuse others who differ from you.

          Here’s the thing, Jaisen, or should I say Jason Jones, your real name, your behavior from your first comment forward is like a person who walks the through the door of someone’s home he doesn’t know and proceeds to drop his pants and shit on the floor. You are surprised at my response, or the response of others? You shouldn’t be.

          I encourage you to get your own blog. Easy to do and won’t cost a dime. Then you will be free to wow people with your beliefs and mastery of Catholicism. Wouldn’t this be better? You could call it Jason Jones, the Catholic Truck Driver.

          One question? I assume you respect the Pope? I wonder if he read your comments what he would think? I wonder if he’d think you are advancing the cause of Catholicism or evidencing the fruit of the Spirit? I suspect Pope Frank would tell you to stop!

          I wish you well, Jason.

          Reply
          1. Jaisen

            comment deleted

  29. Jaisen

    Comment deleted.

    Reply
  30. Jaisen

    comment deleted.

    Reply
  31. Tristan Vick

    Couldn’t have put it better myself, Bruce. Excellent article!

    Reply
  32. tara

    Your work has been so helpful. This might be one of my favorites. I want to share it, and yet I feel I need to reach out to certain IFB folks from my past, who have helped me when I was young, or to my family and apologize or explain first. I need to find a way to be open in my beliefs, my questions, without apologizing for it. Until then, thanks for this awesome window of truth and authenticity that allows us to listen, watch, learn and be supported.

    Reply
  33. Melvin Von Regal

    You welcome comments, but only if they meet your criteria. That’s pretty funny. Sorry to disappoint, but I won’t be telling you how right you are. I think you’re wrong in countless ways, but it’s clear nothing will change your mind and I’m not even going to try. No, the way you see it is that you are the omnipotent, grand poobah, most exaulted potentate. You rule your cyber kingdom and don’t wish to be criticized. What I think about your stance is immaterial. Deny, denounce, and badmouth all you like. For your sake; I hope you’re right. If not, well..it’s gonna suck to be you! I’m not willing to take that risk nor believe it’s all about me. So carry on sunshine and shine on.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Since you came to this site via a search for Steven Anderson, is there something in my post about him that is not correct or is there some factual error? I certainly want to paint an accurate picture of the Man of God from Tempe.

      Funny how you object to me having comment rules and controlling who may comment. I’d love to speak next Sunday at Anderson’s church on The Bankruptcy of Evangelical Christianity. Do you think that would be OK? Of course not. Same thinking applies here. This blog is not the wild west where anyone, especially asshole Evangelicals, are allowed to say whatever they want to say. There are plenty of blogs where you can do that if you wish. Here? My goal is to help those who have doubts, are considering leaving Christianity, or who have already left. I have little to no time for people who want to argue, debate, or put in a good word for Jesus.

      As the comment rules state, I give every Evangelical one opportunity to say whatever they want. You had your chance and you used it on this comment. I’m sure Jesus is quite disappointed that you did not mention him one time.

      Reply
  34. April G

    Must say- that I feel the same way! thanks for writing it Bruce.

    Reply
  35. Dale

    Couldn’t have said this any better myself, Bruce. It’s hard to figure out how the Jesus of the bible, who had compassion on the poor, the widow, the prisoner, those at the bottom of the heap of humanity, turned into a blood-thirsty capitalist who would have voted a straight republican ticket and trampled over the rights of “the least of these”.

    Reply
  36. Jim

    No wonder you get depressed!

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Thank you for professional diagnosis, doctor.

      Reply
  37. De Benny

    It’s an idol, a false god. You are absolutely right to hate this Jesus. And as long as Jesuses are created in the image of Christians, you will hardly find a perfect one. Because people are deficient. What some consider perfect is rotten to others.

    So the Jesus that would merit your devotion is your image of Jesus. And to me it appears this image has much less flaws then the “American Jesus” you speak of. (but again, I’m a human)

    Now the “American Jesus” is just an image, your own Jesus as well. But as the followers of the “American” Jesus are Christians, you who demand love for humanity, are also a Christian just by doing so. You have your image of a loving Jesus and you are a follower of this Jesus. This makes you a Christian, like it or not.

    It’s maybe no form of Christianity you have come across yet among others, it’s maybe not a Christianity you will ever find (or be able to found) a congregation for, but it still is a form of Christianity – that is rather incompatible with “American” Christians who follow “American” Jesus. They won’t consider you a Christian because you don’t fit into their definitions (and as this is where you come from you don’t consider yourself a Christian though you write about a Jesus that would merit your devotion). But why follow their definitions, after all, the are following a false god.

    Reply
  38. Brian

    De Benny, Oh boy, that’s all figured out then!

    Reply
  39. Dale

    Ed, you said:

    “But, here is a question…a woman is in jail due to her religious beliefs, and that isn’t supposed to happen in America.”

    Instead of posting an angry and rambling response, since you’re not that bad of a chap, here’s probably the best quote I’ve heard in quite some time (I’m assuming you speak of Kim Davis) by Rachel Held Evans:

    “No one’s being jailed for practicing her religion. Someone’s being jailed for using the government to force others to practice her religion.”

    Reply
    1. Ed Chapman

      Dale,

      I’m not angry, nor am I rambling. However, I am not in agreement with Rachel Held Evans. She is a bit bitter, due to the nature of the church that she came out of. I am very well aware of her. She came out of a very toxic church that is not Christian, but uses the name of Christ as a weapon against everyone, not just gay people. I am glad that she got out of that church, but she needs time to be angry, and heal. Her intentions are good, however, but I disagree with her.

      Ed Chapman

      Reply
      1. Dale

        I could have phrased that better. I wasn’t accusing you of being angry or of rambling…that’s what I tend to do toward certain folk who love to go on and on about “my right to say what I want here, but Bruce does blah blah blah blah…”

        Sorry about that. Dale get angry and rambles. Not Ed. Dale.

        Reply
  40. Carmen

    Oh dear Ed, you DO realize that every fundamentalist who doesn’t like what ANY woman has to say calls them ‘bitter’, don’t you? It’s that ‘don’t pay any attention to her, she’s bitter so anything she says should be devalued’ card – played by every man who wants to cast aspersions on a woman’s opinion. You need to realize that Rachel Held Evans is held in extremely high regard by many people, Ed. She’s intelligent, compassionate, and well educated. Her opinion is gold. And she’s bang-on in regard to that religious bigot in Kentucky.
    And Ed, another thing. You aren’t the first religious person to take the high road in regards to other ‘christians’ — since there are so many definitions, as Christopher Hitchens would say, “There can’t be one right definition so they must all be wrong.” (or something to that effect) Since there’s something like 35,000 different variations of christianity, do you really think you’re the one who has it RIGHT??? Hubris, Ed. Hubris.
    But thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Ed Chapman

      Carmen, you do realize that she is bitter, don’t you? I didn’t say that out of any religious reasoning.

      When you lay the facts out on the table, she was in a toxic environment, and is confused as to what Christianity really is.

      So, yes, I do take the high road on Christianity. One thing that Catholics do, is to tout how many denominations that there are in the protestant world. Well, you are doing that too, by quoting Hitchens. Any church that advocates abuse is not a Christian Church. They are wolves in sheeps clothing. We all know that abuse happens, but that is NOT what Christianity is all about, and you should know that. However, just because there are many denominations, that does not matter. What matters is how one loves thy neighbor as thyself, AFTER acknowledging Jesus as the savior that forgives sin, and that he died on a cross and rose on the third day.

      The church that Rachel Held Evens belonged to, they did not love they neighbor as thyself. And Rachel has the right to be angry, and bitter. She is confused, and that is OK. It’s part of the healing process.

      Atheists love to use the word “bigot” against us. Isn’t that special, to quote the church lady of Saturday Night Live. I do not give credence to that word in regards to the Christian foundational beliefs.

      For example, if a house was on fire, would I be a bad guy for warning you to get out of the house, or else you will die? Well, that is what it is like being a Christian accused of being a bigot. It is an unfounded accusation. The Apostle Paul put up with a lot of badmouthing from people, calling him a shit load of names, too. It’s NORMAL for us to be badmouthed by those who do not believe in Jesus or God. It goes with the territory.

      Christians are being labeled a bigot for just believing in Christianity. You should also know that a Christian is not allowed to just believe (have personal faith), without action to back it up. We are not allowed to keep God in a box (church only).

      Ed Chapman

      Reply
  41. Carmen

    I’ve never got the impression that Rachel Held Evans was bitter or confused – in fact, she seems very forthright, honest, and what I’d call a progressive christian. Except for the fact that she believes in the holy spook, I really admire her actually. 🙂

    Don’t even get me started on your apostle Paul, Ed. Like I told you on another blog, you need to read other books besides the one I call My Least Favourite Fiction.

    It’s good that you can come here to get your ‘persecuted christian’ fix, anyway! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Bitter, angry, jaded, hurt….these are words used to marginalize those who dare challenge the official narrative. Ed takes it further by suggesting Rachel wasn’t in a true Christian church and subtly questioning whether she is a real Christian. (Bad fruit from a bad tree)

      My mistake with Ed was assuming that because he came to my blog through you that he had a similar POV. I now see that I was quite mistaken. 🙂 Now that Ed has taken to preaching and Bible quoting…that pretty much puts an end to the discussion.

      But what do I know. I am a bitter, angry, jaded, hurt exChristian. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Ed Chapman

        Bruce,

        My intent was not to marginalize, but to give truth to her situation. If she wasn’t bitter, she would still be in that false Christian church. So her bitterness is a good thing, not a bad thing.

        Ed

        Reply
        1. Dale

          Ed, I could not care less about her background or spiritual history. The quote states quite succinctly what I wish I could say. Unfortunately, I’m one of those who thinks of a really good comeback ten hours later. What Rachel said is the truth. Period.

          Reply
  42. Ed Chapman

    I don’t believe in such a thing as a “progressive” Christian. That is compromising.

    In regards for her being an advocate against abuse, I applaud her. But that is about as far as it goes.

    We have a saying, about people who are sincere, in that they are sincerely wrong.

    I will not adjust my beliefs based on popular opinion of the progressives. I will stand firm.

    1 Corinthians 16:13-14 The Message (MSG)

    13-14 Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.

    In regards to persecution, I don’t see that I am being persecuted here, nor by you ever. But the woman in jail…she is. However, I do get called a bigot on the Yahoo Blogs, and you just called that jailed woman a bigot. You’ve never called me a bigot, but I do realize that you may think of me as one.

    Ed

    Reply
  43. Carmen

    “We have a saying, about people who are sincere, in that they are sincerely wrong”

    little bit of irony there, eh Ed?? 😉

    Reply
  44. Ed Chapman

    Not at all, Carmen. Tell me that Christian conduct is not outlined in the bible towards people. Holding signs that state “God Hates Fags” is not a Christian conduct.

    When people leave a cult, they still hold on to certain beliefs. They still have to learn to walk and ride a bike. All they knew before is how to destroy the bike, and not know how to ride it.

    The behavior of a Christian is well outlined, and anyone professing to be a Christian, and does not “do” the word, in the “perfect law of liberty” of “faith”, under Christ, then how in the hell can they be a Christian?

    Reply
    1. Carmen

      So, from your comment above, we can all assume you’ve given away all your earthly possessions and spend your days helping the poor then, Ed?

      You know, that ‘christian conduct’ thing. ..

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Yep. ?

        Every Christian thinks they are a true Christian, have right belief, and right conduct. One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism? Where? Supposedly, every Christian is indwelt by the spirit of God, yet they can’t even agree on core beliefs like salvation, baptism, communion, the Law of God, ecclesiology, eschatology, etc.

        Reply
        1. Ed Chapman

          If I am not mistaken, the Catholics started that confusion, and since the first reformers were former Catholics, they still held to certain beliefs.

          As a non-reformer, non-Catholic Christian, I go to the source, the Bible, whereas the reformers stuck with Augustine, the Catholic/Calvinist guru.

          We all have a Bible now. We don’t have to speak Latin anymore. We reject the Pope, any pope.

          And, I am not a fan of college educated theologians, calling themselves doctor such and such, as their beliefs/opinions/dissertations are based on the belief of their instructor/professor. In addition, Greek/Hebrew scholars are a dime a dozen, and as you rightly say, not even they can agree with one another. That’s why I don’t go to them for instruction. I love to do my own research…research in my military job was lots of fun.

          Reply
          1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Nice try. Not even Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John could agree on what constitutes salvation.

            There never has been pure Christianity. From the beginning there was competing beliefs and it was those Catholics that brought the canon together and gave Christianity a cohesive theology. Or was that the Gnostics? Damn, maybe it was the Essenes? So many Christianites, yet “poor” Ed has the true Christianity and he knows he does because he knows he does,

          2. Carmen

            . ..sigh. . .I know, Bruce. What makes Ed’s stand even more ironic is that he CANNOT see that every other person who feels they know the meaning of a what a REAL christian is, is every bit as convinced as Ed that THEY know the true meaning.

            . . and fundamentalists wonder why skeptics shake their heads. .

          3. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            I’ve concluded that there are as many Christianities as there are Christians. Each Christian has their own version of God, Jesus, and what constitutes salvation. Every Christian appeals to the Bible, yet none of them believe and practice all of it. Every Christian picks and chooses what to believe and practice.

            Which one is right? Why they all are. Each can prove their peculiar version of truth by the Bible. Each appeal to history, distinguishing themselves from the “bad” behavior of the other Christians. As I have said many times, the Ed’s of the world distance themselves from the Phelps clan, but they have far more in common than the Ed’s are willing to admit.

            At least the Phelps’ are honest. God does hate fags. He created them, gave them sexual desire, and then condemns them to hell for acting on the sexual desire he gave them. (Never mind the fact that Jesus could have been gay) Reject this argument? Fine. Let’s go with God hates sin and those who do it. Reject this argument? Fine. Let’s go with the Romans 1,2 argument…that homosexual sex is a sign of reprobation. God not only hates the reprobate, they also can’t be saved. There are kinds of people and behaviors God hates. Shouldn’t a devoted true Christian put on a placard who and what God hates? Full disclosure, right?

            And underneath all of this is the notion of hell. Is there a heaven and hell? What determines who goes to hell? What happens to those in hell? Orthodoxy teaches that God will punish/torture non-Christians night and day for eternity in a place of fire and brimstone. For this to happen God must equip the non-Christian with a body that can withstand an eternity of torture. Awesome, right?

            None of this should surprise us. From Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 we see a violent, capricious God who kills all who dare to get in his way or disobey him. God even went so far as to kill a devoted follower for daring to keep the ark of the Covenant from falling over.

            Here’s the good news. Most Christians are far better people than their God.

          4. Ed Chapman

            Been unavailable the last few days. It’s amazing to me the things atheists say about “believers”.

            God does not hate fags, by the way. For God so loved the world, that he died for them, too. So, how can anyone proclaim that God hates fags?

            And, I might add, that just because denominations cannot agree on issues, that does not negate out that they are saved, even tho some may accuse other denominations that if you don’t believe such and such that you cannot be saved.

            It’s so simple. How was Abraham “saved”? He didn’t have the law of Moses. He just believed. That’s it. And he was justified by the fact that he lived his faith. We Christians are children of Abraham.

            Again, the carnal story of Abraham and his seed is the spiritual story of Jesus.

            The atheist group seems to only see the carnal, negating out the spiritual.

            I’m still going to say that Bruce’s arguments are based on his disdain for Calvinism, which is also mine, just like my roommates arguments are from a Catholic disdain, which is also mine.

            Calvinism is a toxic religion. Julie Anne’s blog started because her former pastor is a Calvinist…albeit a run amuck Calvinist who does not have any authority above him.

            Calvinism is the most dangerous religion besides ISIS that I have ever seen. And Bruce came from Calvinism.

            Ed

          5. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Ed,

            You are wearing out your welcome. Why? Because you refuse to let me state my own beliefs and my own reasons for deconverting. Instead, you have some lamebrain theory that the fact that I was a Calvinist is a problem. I will tell you for the last time, it is not.

            Part of the problem is that you have not bothered to read all of my story. Instead, you focus on one aspect of it and this results in you coming to an errant conclusion. By all means, come to any conclusion you want, but I am quite tired of reading it here.

            As far as God hating “fags.” I gave you two examples from the Bible that could be used to justify such a belief, yet you think if you wave the God loves the world wand over the discussion then it makes the arguments go away. It doesn’t. If you are going to come on my blog and discuss, debate, argue using the Bible, then I expect you to engage the arguments I give. Not that I believe these things. I am engaging you to show that all Christians are quite hypocritical and inconsistent when it comes to their use of the Bible. IF you’d rather talk about the “love” of God, as found in the Bible, I’m game for that too.

            So, we just bullshitting here or do you really want to talk about what the Bible does and does not say? I have given you far more space than I do most Christians so I hope you will use it wisely.

            Bruce

          6. Ed Chapman

            Bruce,

            If you are going to make statements about the Bible, in regards, for example, “God hates fags”, then by all means cite Bible books, Chapters, Verses.

            I stand by what I said about your non-beliefs. It’s the only conclusion that I can come up with, since you don’t like the Western Jesus, that tells me that you like the Eastern Jesus.

            You state in your “About” that you are agnostic, yet you make a firm statement that there is no heaven and no hell. I read that from you.

            Ed Chapman

          7. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Best I can tell, based on the server logs, you have read two posts on this site, this page and the about page. You are in no position to make any judgement about what I do or don’t believe.

            You also show that you don’t have a good understanding of atheism either. If you did you would know why I am an agnostic and an atheist. (As is Richard Dawkins)

            You’re done here, Ed. I appreciate your comments, but I will not approve any further comments.

            Bruce

          8. Dale

            That’s like saying since I hate the wicked witch of the west that I will automagically love the good witch of the north. What if I don’t believe in witches?

          9. kittybrat

            “The atheist group seems to only see the carnal, negating out the spiritual.

            I’m still going to say that Bruce’s arguments are based on his disdain for Calvinism, which is also mine, just like my roommates arguments are from a Catholic disdain, which is also mine.”

            Ed, you see that you are making up your own narrative, right? The narrative that makes sense to you, rather than what is factual, is what you have just set out here.

            Atheists like me do appreciate the spiritual, as we have experienced it in all its glory. It is the religion, the Bible, the whole “belief” that we have found flawed.
            The spiritual aspect, in all its glory, can be scientifically explained, leaving aside the need for cognitive dissonance.

            It is absolutely the open, inquisitive minds of the atheist that negates the whole of Christianity, or any other mythology.

          10. Michael

            Why do you think the Bible is better than what the reformers stuck with? The Bible was put together in a few centuries by “people” who chose what to include and what not to include. And even within the Bible itself there is not one common form of “doing Christianity”. The Jewish way was 100 miles away from the converted gentile way. If you think that there once was the true one and only original way you are terribly mistaken. There never was. You say that only baptism in the name of Jesus is correct. Okay, let’s go further. Can it be a still water or does it have to be a river? What about the temperature of the water? I’m sure that if you don’t get +/- 5 degrees of the first century baptisms your baptism doesn’t count 🙂 (just joking). What is the most fundamental part of the baptism? Is it what is said, done, or is it something more and the former things are just a way to express it?

  45. Ed Chapman

    Carmen, Carmen,

    Jesus said that to a rich man, testing him. That was not a commandment to Christians. It was just a test to see where that rich man’s heart was. Besides, I don’t own much to begin with. I’m in the poor house, so to speak. My income is below the poverty level. I get food stamps, and ObamaCare.

    So, if we are to give to the poor, I am the poor.

    But, you can give me your money, if you want. Washington State does accept Canadian money!! LOL.

    Reply
  46. Carmen

    Well, Ed. ‘Poor’ is a relative term, isn’t it? Besides, I have come to know that you are a good person. And Ed, let’s be clear – I realize that one can be good without (a) god, although that realization has escaped you thus far. But I think you’ll come ’round. 🙂

    Reply
  47. Ed Chapman

    Call it what you want…I am poor. Free is my favorite four letter “F” word.

    But, I am gonna up one on ya. You only call me good. I am gonna call you great. How do you like them apples?

    However, I agree with you that you can be a good person without God.

    I know that Bruce isn’t too keen on me quoting bible, but even the Bible states that we are supposed to have a great report among the people who do not believe. Our conduct is supposed to be a light, not a deterrent.

    Remember the Patrick Swayze movie Roadhouse?

    His number 1 rule was to “BE NICE”, until it’s time to not be nice.

    Ed

    Reply
  48. Carmen

    Ed – ha, ha! You don’t know me very well if you refer to me as ‘great’, that’s all I can say!
    Besides, Bruce and I have a mutual friend, Julie Anne, who also says good things about you. Her opinion is gold, also. (even if she believes in the holy spook. . 😉 )

    I’m here trying to keep track of my two little grandchildren (Bruce, I used the proper word, there!) who are under four. Can you say, “Distracting!” ??

    There’s a mantra I’ve read on many non-believers’ sites – “Don’t be an arsehole” . It works for me!

    Reply
  49. Kittybrat

    Bruce,

    My favorite comment from you, to date!

    “Bruce Gerencser(Post author)September 6, 2015 at 9:59 pm
    I’ve concluded that there are as many Christianities as there are Christians. Each Christian has their own version of God, Jesus, and what constitutes salvation. Every Christian appeals to the Bible, yet none of them believe and practice all of it. Every Christian picks and chooses what to believe and practice.

    Which one is right? Why they all are. Each can prove their peculiar version of truth by the Bible. Each appeal to history, distinguishing themselves from the “bad” behavior of the other Christians. As I have said many times, the Ed’s of the world distance themselves from the Phelps clan, but they have far more in common than the Ed’s are willing to admit.

    At least the Phelps’ are honest. God does hate fags. He created them, gave them sexual desire, and then condemns them to hell for acting on the sexual desire he gave them. (Never mind the fact that Jesus could have been gay) Reject this argument? Fine. Let’s go with God hates sin and those who do it. Reject this argument? Fine. Let’s go with the Romans 1,2 argument…that homosexual sex is a sign of reprobation. God not only hates the reprobate, they also can’t be saved. There are kinds of people and behaviors God hates. Shouldn’t a devoted true Christian put on a placard who and what God hates? Full disclosure, right?

    And underneath all of this is the notion of hell. Is there a heaven and hell? What determines who goes to hell? What happens to those in hell? Orthodoxy teaches that God will punish/torture non-Christians night and day for eternity in a place of fire and brimstone. For this to happen God must equip the non-Christian with a body that can withstand an eternity of torture. Awesome, right?

    None of this should surprise us. From Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 we see a violent, capricious God who kills all who dare to get in his way or disobey him. God even went so far as to kill a devoted follower for daring to keep the ark of the Covenant from falling over.

    Here’s the good news. Most Christians are far better people than their God.”

    Reply
  50. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

    Way back yonder in the comments, a man by the name of Timothy Potter left a lengthy comment, along with another lengthy response to several readers,including myself, who responded to him. Potter has also sent me several emails.

    Potter is offended that I misrepresented him by suggesting he had some sort of vision or dream from God. I based this conclusion on his bio on his blog where he says he is “a restless dreamer at heart” and “I can only boast in Jesus and my dreams”. Evidently, he meant something different by these statements than how I took them. Fair enough. I withdraw my statement about Potter having a vision or dream. Everything else I said stands, including my conclusion that Potter is someone who likes/needs to theologically/intellectually masturbate in public. He could have chosen to restate his argument or opinion in a succinct manner so readers could better understand his viewpoint, but he chose not to. That’s fine. I granted him the same freedom I grant all Evangelicals….one comment, say whatever you want. Feel better? Great, now move on down the road.

    Reply
  51. Becky Wiren

    Why is it that so many Christians come on here, and start telling Bruce he is wrong about what he experienced? Why can’t they just accept him where he is, and THEN talk about the Bible or theology? No, I see lots of arrogance from them. BTW, I’m not an agnostic or atheist. But I am NOT impressed.

    Reply
    1. Ed Chapman

      I originally came here NOT to accept or reject Bruce. I came here because I liked his article in regards to Hagee and Mark Biltz. I never imagined that Bruce was NOT a Christian. Bruce has the same kind of sarcasm about him that I have myself, and I liked his sarcasm. Little did I know that Bruce was sarcastic due to his atheistic beliefs. I supposed I should have just bowed out after I learned that, but, I can’t figure out for the life of me why anyone does not believe in God. I can’t fathom that.

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        And you might have found out if you had bothered to read a bit of my autobiographical posts.

        Reply
    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Ed, like many Christians, refuses to allow me to tell my own story and give the reasons for my deconversion. I simply have no time for such people. I gave him some space because he knew Carmen. He got the benefit of the doubt because if someone is friends with Carmen…well they must be a-ok. 🙂 Lesson learned.

      Reply
      1. Becky Wiren

        He might be a great guy, but as a visiting commenter, he’s a bit of a bust.

        Reply
  52. Terry Stevens

    It’s probably a waste of time, but I will still make the suggestion to Bruce that he do a little research on Simon Greenleaf, who was an atheist and then he was not. Bruce wants evidence as to the existence of a real Jesus, and when one of Greenleaf’s students challenged him to apply his research techniques to that task, well, you can read the book for yourself. As for your stand on evolution versus creation I would direct you to Anthony Flew, prolific writer of dozens of books on evolution, who came to believe in a creator God a few years ago, only to be shunned and ostracized by his peers. Go figure.

    As for me, I let the locusts eat on me for nearly 46 years before coming out of the darkness and into the light. Yes, false religion is truly the playground of demons.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I already believe in a real Jesus; one who lived, died, end of story.

      Anthony Flew? At best he was a deist. According to Wikipedia, he denied the resurrection of Jesus, the afterlife, and God as the source of good.

      Reply
    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I will offer you the same challenge I have offered others who have come before you. If you have some new argument for the existence of the Christian God by all means present it. I will gladly give you the space to do so. If all you have are old arguments in new clothing, don’t waste my time.

      Reply
      1. Dale

        WAIT A SECOND…THAT’S THE PLOT OF “BIG DADDY?”!!!!!
        https://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0055/0055_01.asp?Store=True

        Reply
      2. Michael

        I am just interested in the properties of the argument you would be willing to accept. If you do not state them then you can turn down literally any argument given. Most of them by saying that “the person’s bodily/mental senses didn’t work” or “science will find explanation for that later on”.

        I personally believe that you do much more for Christ by doing what you do and believing what you believe and finding out He actually is real would diminish the amazing healing impact of everything you do [I used the word do four times 🙂 ]. So my personal preference would be that you would remain an atheist on paper.

        Sorry that I literally flooded this article with comments! I’m just so blessed by everything that is going on here.

        Michael

        Reply
    3. sgl

      re: “… Simon Greenleaf, who was an atheist and then he was not.”

      DagoodS investigated the claim that greenleaf was an atheist, and there is no indication that this is true.

      http://sandwichesforsale.blogspot.com/2010/10/simon-greenleaf.html

      “Nothing contemporary indicates he ever was an atheist, or even a theist who disbelieved the resurrection. All the evidence we have demonstrates Simon Greenleaf was a lifelong Episcopalian! He is reached the position of being on the Standing Committee for the Episcopalian diocese of Maine as of 1927. He was at the Maine Episcopalian Convention of 1831 And at the Maine Episcopalian Convention of 1832

      Remember, this was all before he became a professor, let alone write his treatise on evidence. ”

      and another oft-claimed atheist-to-theist conversion:
      http://sandwichesforsale.blogspot.com/2010/10/sir-william-mitchell-ramsay.html

      of course, i’m sure that as a promoter of TRUTH, you’ll be sure to amend your own thinking, and also correct anyone in the future who happens to regurgitate these lies. because we all know who the author of lies is, right?!

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Thank you for sharing this information. DagoodS is a lawyer and a meticulous researcher and I trust his research on this subject. I knew about Anthony Flew’s supposed conversion, but I was not familiar with Greenleaf.

        Reply
  53. Prof. Humez

    But do we not need myths, every one of us? Myths (including the mythologiozed Christ) are “lies that tell the deeper truth” — they may be absurd on their literal face but speak to fundamental questions we all have (Where did I/my people come from? How did the world begin and how will it end? How do I get along with my brother because you’re supposed to but he’s a total schmuck? Is there a life after this one, and if so what happens in it? Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea are mighty in power? and so on). While it is possible in theory to live a rational life wholly, without basing any action on imaginary considerations, I think it is extremely difficult even for the most intelligent and cerebral of us, and just to take one example makes for a rather prosaic love life. Aristotle posits a category of sins against the intellect and perhaps an unquestioning belief in divinities is one of them; yet I wonder if (as Murray Code points out in his excellent book )we may not be committing a serious error in the reductionism of a rationality that excludes any other sort of knowing but the positivist-empiricist model. Are we the weaker because we go to church and come away feeling more at one with a god who may not exist and our fellow human beings who most certainly do? Is this simply epistemic cheating? Or is there a place for myth in a reasonable person’s mental life? I do not pretend to know the answer to this, but I think my students may have been helped to search for one by being exposed to the variety of beliefs about imaginaries at the core of various western mythologies. A waking life without myths seems to me a lot like sleep without dreams; my intuitive feeling is that we need both, though I cannot prove this.

    Reply
    1. Michael Mock

      Could you repeat that again in English? I think it almost made sense.

      Writing does horrible things to tone and inflection, but what I’m saying here is that I would be fine with a religion that was explicitly metaphorical and focused only on who we are as a people, and what we value most.

      I’ve written several myself. However, I have to say that if I were going to try to define myself by way of a story, it wouldn’t be one of mine. It would be Clive Barker’s _Cabal_.

      Most religions, though, insist on making empirical claims, e.g. “If we allow Gay Marriage to become the law of the land, God will smite our country!” And I won’t do that about my personal mythology. I won’t tell you about how you once could actually find Midian north of Athabasca, east of Peace River, near Shere Neck and north of Dwyer, how you could meet with the monsters who would accept your secret face. It’s not, in any sort of empirical sense, true.

      And that matters.

      Reply
  54. Michael

    You are an utterly amazing man, Bruce. I am so proud of your honesty and kindness.
    Every new comment I read convinced me there’s no fake in you whatsoever.
    There’s so much genuine love in you.

    Cheers from Slovakia! The autumn is beautiful here.

    Michael

    Reply
  55. Rachel

    Wow, this is the first time I have seen your website. I got saved myself back in 1980. Changed my life for good. Unfortunately, what I read didn’t jive with what I saw. My husband and I got saved and started attending an IFB church. The pastor called black folks niggers from the pulpit. When I talked to the pastor about it because I didn’t agree with him, I was told I had put my hand to the plow and was looking back – a total misuse of scripture. I might have been a new believer, but I knew that was wrong. Needless to say, we didn’t stay there long, perhaps a few months. But we went from the fire to another frying pan: we attend another IBF church. We didn’t survive. Our marriage fell apart due to the wrong teaching of submission. The “good ole boy” environment which taught men to control their wives and children ruin my marriage. Since my husband had full control of our lives which marginalized my place in his life, I fell out of love for him. I don’t blame my ex as we were young christians and still learning. I couldn’t fight the influence of the church in our lives, though I tried. We got divorced. I suffered terrible emotional pain that took me down a dark road for a while. I do believe in God, in Jesus and the Holy Spirit and they have not failed me, the church did. The church today is full of all kinds of a different Jesus, something I am seeing now. I think perhaps that is why I stop many years ago watching tv preachers as they drove me nuts. It is embarrassing to me and it breaks my heart to hear those millionaire preachers ask for money. Throw in scandals of all sorts and it becomes too much! I wandered without a church home for years, though I tried to find a church that truly address the real issues that are ruining the church and bringing shame to the name of Christ. Today, I content with my life, and I finally found a church that does see and believes in accountability to the greater community around us, and most of all, toward God. I really do understand why people hate Christ because many believers are mean, unkind and have no compassion. I cringe when so-called believers go to gay celebrations holding signs calling them faggots, queers and worst. I could cry. How can they possibly think their actions are holy? I do ponder about the events/horrors/sin happening in the church. Even so, I still believe in God, and my own personal experiences with the transforming power of the gospel keeps me believing. Mr. Gerencser, your blog is illuminating and I will continue to visit from time to time. The state of the church burdens me and honestly, I feel like putting on sackcloth and ashes……

    Reply
    1. Brian

      Oh brother, Rachel, would you relax and have a popsicle please? It is not up to you to work out the conundrum of the universe. Unburden yourself and breathe in slowly and deeply. Try not thinking and just breathe, for Gawd’s sake, if you need that… Just stop! Gay folks do not need you to save them from Christians; and you are one, after all… One that has apparently found the right tea mix now and knows that they are all wrong….. sheesh. You have a heart and compassion worth believing in and caring for.. why do you attribute it to something at church or elsewhere?

      Reply
  56. Rachel

    My compassion and heart comes from the gospel, but not necessarily from the “church”. And as far as working out the “conundrum of the universe”. Gee whiz, give me a break! This site opinions the views of enlightenment many feel they have attained because of the erring church, mine is in the gospel. There is a lot of assessment going on in this website which is quite passionate and much more intense than my own. Nor do I see that anyone should stop, breathe slowly and deeply. Why should anyone do that? This blog is all about passion. Which is why I felt I could contribute in the manner I did.

    Reply
    1. Brian

      Well, as long as you promise not to dress up in sackcloth and ashes, then… I am sorry that you lost your spouse to patriarchal Christianity and still recommend the the slow, deep breaths sometimes, for good health and contemplation. Churches fail because Christianity fails. It tells people to believe in the invisible, to enocurage their own delusions in talking to nobody and nothing. Your compassion and heart come from the gospel? Well, if you say so but I would hazard that your compassion comes from your humanity. Seriously though, the sackcloth and ashes thing just has to go…..;-)

      Reply
  57. Sonya

    I hate the Jesus that makes animals suffer. What sort of God creates animals that would tear each other to bits, just so they can survive? This is one of the many reasons that made me dislike God and no longer believe in a “loving” God at all. If the God of the Bible exists, he is a monster.
    What about the millions of suffering animals in factory farms? Where is the commandment in the Bible telling humanity to treat animals better? It isn’t there, like those lives don’t even matter.
    What about all the animals that died in the flood? They didn’t sin, yet they suffered. It’s not fair one bit.
    The whole concept of the Bible ( humans being sinners since Adam and Eve, God forever punishing humans, and then if you believe in Jesus, you go to heaven etc) is so unfair. If the Bible was true, it would make God VERY unjust and unkind. A monster…like I already said. Animals don’t even go to heaven either , it never says anywhere they do.

    And then all the billions of people born in the wrong place and at the wrong time, they all go to hell to suffer for all eternity? WTF? Really? So God creates, and it is all part of his plan, and the only way you are “saved” is by faith in Jesus? Yet, billions of people are not saved by that definition! I would say either God didn’t make a good plan, OR he is…a monster…most likely he does not exist!

    Prayer and the Bible: It says our prayers will be answered in several places, yet, even when I used to be a very faithful fundamentalist Christian, like you used to be, they were NOT! I kept a list and kept track. Some prayers were always answered ( the easy ones) , some almost never ( the harder ones) and some never ( the hard ones).
    Prayers do nothing

    Reply
    1. Brian

      Sonya, prayers do nothing you might desire them to do…. but they do allow one to cry out for help or mercy or retribution! They do allow a certain expression of feelings from the biped that might otherwise be buried! It is bullshit of course with regard to the fact that there is no God to answer prayer but the entreaty is worthwhile in human terms, if you ask me. To be able to openly feel and express is not ‘nothing’….
      Because God does not answer is no reason to not desire an answer in things and to cry out for it, The cry is being human…

      Reply
  58. Harmony

    Wow. Just wow. I tend to avoid these types of sites as I am very vulnerable to feeling bad when I get around other hurting and regretful people, but I found my way here and read this and it is fabulous. Exactly how I found myself separated from ‘the church’

    Reply
  59. Pingback: An Atheist Perspective on Jesus | Flee from Christian Fundamentalism

  60. larisa domodedova

    i understand that you hate jesus. okay. go ahead. why do you have to tell the world about it? i hate peanuts. i keep it to myself, as it is nobody else’s business. good luck

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      You missed the point of this post.

      I also find it quite funny that you tell me to keep it to myself using a public comment on a public forum.

      Reply
    2. John Arthur

      Hi Larisa,

      Don’t you hate the American Fundamentalist Jesus who supports wealth, privilege and power? Don’t you hate the Jesus of right wing capitalism who supports only the Republican Party? Don’t you hate the Jesus of wrath and judgement who tortures people in hell forever? Don’t you hate the Jesus who supports Yaweh’s command to the Israelites to put whole populations to the sword, including defenceless women, little children and babies, then to make sure that they do a thorough job, Yahweh commands them to burn the cities to the ground? Or do you love these Jesuses?

      What about a “Jesus” of mercy, compassion and loving-kindness? Do you love or hate him? What about a “Jesus” of peace and non violence? Do you love or hate him? Of course, whether such a person in real or mythical, is your life based on peace and compassion?

      Shalom,

      John Arthur

      Reply
      1. peter

        Well said John. It has always puzzled me why so many politically active Christians seem to espouse policies that are the opposite of the practices of the early Church (pacifism and socialism) and the opposite of the teaching of the sermon on the mount.

        Indeed I go further and suggest such folk seem very much like the ‘goats’ in Matthew 25. Well lucky for them I don’t think any of it is true.

        Reply
      2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Larry and Larisa are likely the same person. Same IP address.

        Reply
    3. J.D. Matthews

      You hated this article. Okay. Go ahead. Why do you have to tell the world about it? Fuck off.

      Reply
    4. Geoff

      Big difference between peanuts and Jesus.

      I know that peanuts really exist.

      Reply
  61. Ron A. Zajac

    I’ve been saying for a long, long time that if I really wanted to be a truly amazing blasphemer, I’d need to become an evangelical. Until that day comes, I’ll just have to limp along, I guess….

    Loved this writing. I’m reminded of reading the Jennifer Hecht book _Doubt_, and she talks about an interesting philosophical strain that sprang up in Judaism: The view of their school was that a truly pious person would act in a manner indistinguishable from an atheist.

    Reply
  62. Bill

    Bruce, I scorn you. For over 25 years, you were a Christian leader. You loved your Rolexes, Lear Jets, and expensive suits. By your own definition of yourself, you either enjoyed these things or joined in the pursuit of them and weren’t clever enough to attain them. SHAME on you! My own father, a humble pastor, has NEVER owned a new car in his life. He gave up his career in early life to pursue what you NEVER did–the Jesus of the Bible. The jesus you described is not the American Jesus. Nope. He was the Bruce-Gerencse-Jesus. And, unarguably, there are many of your type out there to be sure. In fact, the pastors that I’ve sat under have continually warned me all my life about your type of pastor that you were. Now you’ve made your pile of money and decided to get out of the American-Bruce-Gerencse-Jesus business, and mock those still in it.

    By your own admission, you spent at least 25 years as a horrible fiend. You served a personal version of jesus that a normal, decent Christian would have abhorred. You claim that you saw the multitudes and turned your back on them, and you were only concerned with those who said and believed “the right things.” Buddy, you are to be scorned.

    You looked at Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, Deists, Universalists, Secularists, Humanists, and Skeptics, and believed that they would burn forever in the Lake of Fire, yet you settled yourself down in cushy Ohio, Texas, Michigan–places where you could enjoy the praise of your fellow Gerencserites who, according to your own testimony, subjugated women, told widows it was their fault, and ignored the cries of orphans. You were one sick man.

    You never left your comfy home and go to Africa or Asia or South America where you truly believed people had no access to what you believed was the only remedy that could spare them from eternal damnation. You and other “Christians” of your type disgust me. You were so heartless. Of course, you would one day cash out of enjoy your hard earned payoff and walk away from you “jesus,” now you gloat in the life you lived and lump everyone else in with you nasty old self. Your guilt and self-loathing has filled you with hate for the jesus got you your car

    How could you repeatedly threaten to abandon your wife and children if they didn’t kowtow to you and your jesus? What an awful life you shoved their faces into! I couldn’t image my dad doing something to us like you did to your family. You were a monster!

    Many of the ways you describe the jesus you served for over 25 years–TWENTY-FIVE YEARS!–is worthy of derision, mockery, and hate.

    At your request, I shower on you the DERISION and MOCKERY you so richly deserve. Be a man, pal, and return all that money your bilked from all those widows and poor families.

    Who am I? I am a little man who has spent the past decade living in a third-world country spreading the message that you refused to spread while claiming to believe that your negligence was damning precious souls to eternal fire. While you admittedly made a full career of lusting after fancy cars, palaces and cathedrals and of oppressing women, immigrants, orphans, homosexuals, and atheists, I have made a simple career of reading my Bible and trying–quite poorly–to emulate the Jesus who I found there. I have never asked anyone or any church for a penny. I work an honest job. More importantly, I am acquainted with many, many more folks who are the opposite of what you described yourself to have shamefully been for over a quarter of a century.

    I hate the Gerencser jesus far more than you now claim to. Now your lifelong disingenuousness has morphed into a sly insistence that the Gerencser jesus represents all of us. You. Are. A. Liar.

    Reply
    1. Steven ransom

      great post bill, keep on keeping on in His Mighty Name. there comes a point when people must be allowed to fall into the manure heap of their own making.

      Reply
      1. John Arthur

        Why are you lauding a post written by a complete nut cake? He accuses Bruce of lying, but tell me who really is the one lying. It’s Bill. He doesn’t mind lying for Jesus. He’s a Fundamentalist fruitcake. He’s off his rocker. You Fundamentalists need to fall into the manure heap of your own making. You nutters believe in your make believe Jesus.

        This guy Bill accuses Bruce of being a prosperity theology preacher (rolex’s, private jets etc.) which is totally false. Perhaps you and he ought to join Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis and the other prosperity shysters where you belong. Jesus is dead, so he can’t set you free. You need atheism to liberate you from religious oppression, but you need to give up your fantasy world of make believe religion. Read Bart Ehrman’s books and may both you and Bill regain your sanity.

        Reply
  63. Brian

    Hey Bill, I am the son of and IFB preacher. Was your dad in that club or another? You express yourself with a rabid love that smells of delusional Christianity and, possibly, drug use? Care to come clean? Let’s talk! What is your honest job, ESL?

    Reply
  64. Samuel Buick

    Hi. I read this with interest, and sharing the common pain which you speak of. The Jesus I know is not like any of it. Mind you the “many Jesuses” you speak of I have encountered over my entire 58 years. Being the son of a missionary/church planter/preacher, and an ordained preacher myself for over 20 year, I walked away from “institutional Christianity” for many of the same reasons you espouse. Unlike you I am not an agnostic or atheist. I have known God to intervene in my life far too many times to dismiss him. I cannot and will not forsake the Jesus I have come to know. I am sorry for the pain and the abuse you have suffered at the hands of those who have pimped their versions of Jesus as being authentic. Most of these Jesuses have no resemblance to the Jesus that lived and walked among us. Again, I am sorry for what has happened to you. I know of that kind of spiritual abuse and the rejection that comes along when you resist these fundamentalist views. I am so sorry. Keep writing and sharing your heart. Peace. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. J.D. Matthews

      It’s interesting how so many like you say that God has intervened so many times in their lives, and that they absolutely know it was him, and not just random dumb luck… but then they never bother to elaborate or spell out specifically what it was that God did.

      I wonder why that is.

      I would ask you, kindly, to please detail these interventions that God has made “too many times.” Tell us what happened, how it could be none other than God, and give us proof, please. It would benefit my life immensely to become a believer again, so I’d humbly request if you have any evidence, share it here, in detail. Please don’t cop out with “you’d have to see it to believe it” or the idea that I’m so set in my ways that I’d deny it anyway. Don’t be coy or vague. Let’s hear your evidence.

      Reply
  65. Kel

    Yeah man jesus sucks,its crazy how you suffer for him but he would not anssee your prayers, you can ask him the perfect request but somehow He makes even that difficult

    Reply
  66. steve

    bruce says: I don’t hate the flesh and blood Jesus who walked the dusty roads of Palestine, nor do I hate the Jesus found in the pages of the Bible.

    but you go on to say how you hate the God who condemns homosexuality and supports incestuous relationships because a woman cannot have an abortion who has been raped by her family member (or some very similar scenario you have painted). you’re pathetic bruce, you’re whipping up an emotive nave-lgaze fest in your mind. do you actually believe your own hype? you’re actually a cult leader whose followers love your every utterance. you are completely deluded and you’ve fallen in love with your own blind alley logic. i am so glad you have not caught me up in your web of self-serving nonsense. ooooohhhhh say bruce’s adoring fans, how bitter and twisted is this man, how very shrill, how very clearly does he prove our point. no bruce, youve been left too long to ruminate on your own wisdom and youve fooled youreslf into believing youve got something insightful to say. you havent , youre just another bitter boring athesit

    Reply
    1. Geoff

      Steve, I’ve found from bitter experience that it’s best not to post after you’ve been drinking. Your comments here when you stopped by sometime ago were illogical and incoherent, but at least they were grammatically not bad.

      Now you’ve lost it completely. It’s also deeply, personally, embarrassing that you are from the UK and so a countryman of mine.

      Reply
      1. Brian

        I beg to differ, Geoff. The closer the drivel approaches a complete collapse of communication, the better (as I see it from the mountains of B.C.) By the way, isn’t an athesit somebody who has finally settled into a comfy lack of belief, probably in his own athesit lounge?

        Reply
  67. steve

    just as darwin suffered from the most extreme nervous conditions, triggered and fed largely as a result of the weight of guilt he felt over the evo-fallacy he regurgitated (and i say regurgitated for of course evolution has a long history of being regurgitated every so often before it dies again) i would define an atheist as somebody who on the outside smiles from time to time but on the inside, cannot escape the reality that God has written His Name on each of our hearts. Bruce, you’re a master in the art of ‘framing the language and thus the argument’ but to those who understand and recognise this style (emotive appeal to conscience bla bla bla) your atheistic arsenal is but damp cat litter

    Reply
    1. Michael Mock

      Ah, yes. The old “God has written his name on our hearts, therefore you must know that I’m right” approach. Designed to… do what, exactly? Prick our consciences? Make us wonder what color the sky is in your world?

      It’s a stupid thing to assert, as even a brief glance around the world we live in shows that it cannot possibly be true.

      http://nagamakironin.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-not-to-talk-to-unbelievers-part-ii.html

      Reply
      1. steve

        ah yes just as patriotism is the favourite retreat of the politician cornered, likewise the old ‘even a brief glance around this cruel, capricious world bla bla bla’ – is the same favourite philosophical retreat for the atheist (i would say godless but that’s not true of course)

        Reply
        1. Michael Mock

          Heh. Of course you’d say that.

          But walk this through with me.

          According to you, I know that God exists.

          According to you, I know that God is all-knowing and all-powerful.

          Therefore, I claim he doesn’t exist because it benefits me by… No, wait. Under those conditions, that changes absolutely nothing. It makes no sense for me to claim that. No, if that really is the case, and I really know that, then the only sensible response is for me to do the best I can to please Him.

          Yet I don’t.

          Which only makes sense if I genuinely don’t believe He’s out there. Likewise, the simple existence of the vast number of other religions — in the world around us — immediately and irrefutably contradicts the idea that the existence of the Christian God is clearly evidenced by the world we live in.

          The problem of pain is a valid objection to any concept of a monotheistic deity who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good. But that’s not the objection I’m making. The problem of variety of beliefs is what I’m pointing out, and that’s a massive objection to Paul’s idea that God’s presence and nature is so clear that nobody should be able to argue about it.

          And that’s not to mention that maybe someone who had to be struck down by a bolt of divine light before he could recognize his Lord and Savior shouldn’t be giving advice on just how clear and obvious God’s presence and nature should be to everyone else…

          Reply
          1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            I must remember this one:

            “And that’s not to mention that maybe someone who had to be struck down by a bolt of divine light before he could recognize his Lord and Savior shouldn’t be giving advice on just how clear and obvious God’s presence and nature should be to everyone else..”

            Paul even admitted that he had strange visions. What if he was describing some sort of psychosis? Wouldn’t it be funny if the entire foundation of Western/Pauline Christianity is built on a 1st century man’s dreams? ?

          2. steve

            why should i walk anything through with anybody who ends up telling those who oppose him to FUCK OFF! ? you don’t deserve any walkthrough, you poured your offal over me the last time around, why bother, your saccharine entreaties might paint you in a good light in some people’s eyes but not mine

          3. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            You have an interesting take on our previous interactions. Your comments (and mine) are there for all to read. I’ll leave it to others to decide whether your behavior warranted a “fuck off” from me. I gave you a lot of space, Steve and you squandered it. Yet, here you come…..seven months later ranting like a drunk man, throwing feces at me and others. And then you wonder why people tell you to “fuck off.”

            And let’s not forget that Michael Mock graciously offered to engage you in a discussion on his blog seven months ago. No nicer guy around than Michael. Much less temperamental than I am. ?He’s not a “fuck off” kind of guy. At least so far, anyway.?

            Any hoo….unless you have something meaningful to say, Steve, it’s time for me to open the door to your cell in Gerencser Hell. So far, there’s only one other person in Gerencser Hell. I hope he enjoys your company.

          4. Michael Mock

            I “poured my offal over” you? I listened to your evidence, watched your video, weighed it all in the balance, and found it wanting. I said at the time that I didn’t think you were stupid or uneducated, just that the evidence you’d offered didn’t support the assertions you were making. I even offered you the chance to continue, though I did note that it probably wouldn’t make any difference.

  68. steven

    no bruce, master of the passive aggressive, you evidently dont read your posts, like i said it was michael mock who told somebody to do just that – to F off. so why should i waste any time on the man? anyway, this is the last post goodbye everybody. you all win, well done, i am the loser, hip hip hooray

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I doubt Michael did so, but if you have evidence to the contrary, please post the relevant link. I checked the hundreds of comments on the two posts you have commented on, and I found no ” fuck offs” from Michael.

      Reply
      1. Geoff

        Am I allowed to tell him to fuck off?

        Reply
  69. steven

    and you are right bruce, and i apologise unreservedly to michael it was jd matthews, so michael, i am truly sorry for misrepresenting you. but, either way, i really cant be bothered to go through this all again with people who believe they are spotless compared to the christians they love to mock. my understanding of this site remains the same and i will no longer be posting

    Reply
  70. Jim Martel

    Bruce,

    Today, May 10, 2017, I burned every piece of Christian literature I have. A slew of bible resource books including five bibles. My deconversion is complete. You didn’t inspire me to do this. The slanderous demonizing, self-righteous, condemner of people, JOHN MACARTHUR inspired me to do this. What a relief!

    Another person instrumental in my de-conversion is my messed up AOG cousin, Dr. Gary ****. I hadn’t seen him in 40 years and he had NOTHING good to say about me. Another thing that was instrumental was the constant condemnation I was getting from ‘christians’ that I’m going to hell for NOT believing in a trinity.

    Now I can move on with my life and NOT be pissed off at the followers of the dysfunctional religion of christianity. I’m disconnected!

    NOW. I’m either taking down my web site or selling it.

    Reply
  71. Kendel

    I have only this to say about “Why I Hate Jesus”. I’m sorry. I’m sorry this is the Jesus you have been shown. I’m sorry for all of the pain you have been through on this journey. I’m sorry the church failed you so deeply. I’m just sorry.

    Reply
  72. Ryan

    Here’s my 2 cents for what its worth…Let me start off by saying, I was raised a hindu but since I started on a journey to find god or even some semblance of quantifiable evidence for the existence of god. I came up with absolutely nothing. Through the process I have read many religious texts and sat in on many church sermons and the likes and now when someone questions my skepticism. I simply ask them if they have read the bible and how they justify all the atrocities ordered by their god(Only christians have a problem with my apparent non-believer status)…On a final note to you Bruce, Thank you for an excellent read and my personal opinion is that your reasoning can be applied to any modern day religion and have the same results(For humanity to move forward, Religion must first loosen its grip)

    Reply
  73. Keith McKenzie

    Wow! What pain you’ve been through. Thank you for publishing your “Journey”. I’m working on my own blog, so this is double education for me.

    Who wouldn’t hate the “Jesus” you described! The Jesus I know saved my physical life in two automobile accidents, saved my sight and confounded the Doctors, and teaches me how to love the unloveable. However, I understand that not enough people have met this Jesus. The Evangelicals churches so misrepresent Him, that its no wonder that so few people have met Him!

    I should mention that I have two Degrees (including a Masters) in Engineering. I spent 35 years in a satellite ground system based Aerospace Engineering career. Much of it surrounded by Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. Many good people, a few not so good.

    My faith is intact because it is not reliant on the church, which is increasingly becoming an embarrassment and a failure in the West. Thus my desire to establish a video blog and web site to begin expressing my extreme displeasure with the state of the church.

    Most biggest issue that in most churches, it is IMPOSSIBLE to express displeasure WITH ANYTHING, without being “labeled” rebellious.

    Someone needs to show some courage and confront these arrogant Pastors and Bishops, the way Martin Luther did!

    Of course, you Pastored churches that were financially struggling. And they let you do it, perhaps pressured you to do it, without thought for your personal security, or that of your family.

    Excuse me while I vomit.

    Praying for you Bruce. There is a real Jesus worthy of worship out there. But don’t try to find Him in one of your local churches. You might have to travel a long way to get there.

    BTW: I have read a little of Dawkins. Love his writing on Memes. Also watch some of Hutchins. Interesting views on economics.

    Reply
  74. Geoff

    Keith you said

    “Who wouldn’t hate the “Jesus” you described! The Jesus I know saved my physical life in two automobile accidents, saved my sight and confounded the Doctors, and teaches me how to love the unloveable.”

    How can you possibly know that Jesus was responsible for these things? If you credit him with saving you in two car accidents then why not blame him for letting them happen in the first place? How many perfectly decent people, including Christians, die in such accidents, so why are you so favoured? And your sight seems to have been saved by doctors who, whilst surprised perhaps, were not confounded. Unexpected, but perfectly natural, happens all the time.

    I’m not looking for debate or argument, just pointing out that something you see as personal revelation is nothing of the sort to others. For the sake of completeness I might say that I’m not convinced as to the historicity of Jesus, whatever attributes you may think he had.

    Reply
    1. Keith McKenzie

      Actually Bruce, the Doctor’s were confounded. Twice. In fact, we were told that such things don’t happen. But they did.

      I remember years ago seeing the movie “Close Encounters” with Richard Dreyfuss. The Dreyfuss character of course had an encounter with an alien craft, and it turned his world upside down. He began to behave in what his family believed was a bizarre fashion, but made sense to him. When you have such an encounter, you are never the same again.

      The Western Church, and Evangelicalism has mistaken religiosity and churchianity for Christianity. And people hating their version of Jesus is the inevitable result.

      If there is still a part of you that wants to believe, you might benefit from looking outside of Evangelicalism. God is performing miracles, even today.

      https://youtu.be/m1est65LcdI

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Geoff is who responded to you. As far as God/Jesus/Christianity/Salvation/Heaven? That ship has already sailed. I have zero interest in Christianity, regardless of the flavor.

        Reply
      2. Michael Mock

        You make a mistake in assuming that Bruce (and the rest of us) have never sought for God/Jesus/anything outside of Evangelicalism.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Correct. It is a common problem I face when people assume my life of faith was static; that I was always a Fundamentalist Baptist; that I was always an Evangelical. When I first started blogging, I was still a Christian — quite progressive in my theological and political views. Andrew Hackman and I met when I first started blogging,and he can give testimony to the fact that even then there were certain types of Christians who didn’t think I was saved. At the time, I said that the emerging/emergent church would become the new Christian liberalism, and it has. In time, they will likely, as some of them already have, adopt some form of universalism.

          Reply
  75. Walter Johnson

    Bruce,
    Isn’t a historically resurrected Jesus the primary ‘proof’ for God’s existence that you are saying doesn’t exist? (I sometimes wonder what acceptable level of ‘proof’ one would expect a God to furnish to discerning people in order for us to confidently believe He exists).

    I want to be careful how I word this, but I think it is not intellectually honest for you to say that God hasn’t furnished ‘proof’ as being the reason you are an atheist. His resurrection, in part, was intended to authenticate that, right? (Unless you can intellectually refute Christ’s historical resurrection in a non-prejudiced way that I’m not able to).

    Do you think that the real basis for your atheism isn’t actually a lack of ‘proof’, but rather you simply hate the God that He has revealed Himself to be through Jesus? Or, do you possibly see hypocrisy in some followers of Jesus as the basis for denying God’s very existence and thereby affirming your atheism?

    It seems that for you atheism is NOT an intellectual conclusion from a lack of ‘proof/evidence’. Rather, It seems to ultimately be a philosophical conclusion because you have disdain for the God he ‘would’ be if the resurrected Christ was indeed God. Therefore, it would be better if He did NOT exist….therefore you are an atheist who would rather deny His existence out of a hatred for Him than contend with His reality, or willingly subject yourself to Him. That, to me, just seems to be the ultimate reasoning for your ‘atheism’ (as evidenced by your Why I Hate Jesus article). That is ok, but I just wish that is what you would make very clear. But, to me, that isn’t really atheism…..it just seem you have a disdain for God/Jesus of the Bible…..and that somehow gets labeled as atheism. It is understandable if you say that you hate God, but your reasoning for saying God doesn’t exist seems from the heart….not the brain. It seems to be a philosophy, not an intellectual conclusion.

    I think it would be more intellectually honest for you to say that reasonable historical inquiry would show that Christ likely DID raise from the dead…and I hate him anyway…even if He gave substantial evidence as being divine.

    And yes, I (me) am fully assuming that if Jesus be resurrected, then it is safe to conclude He is the God He claimed to be. Whether we love or hate that god is irrelevant really, for the purposes of defining atheism.
    And if he was NOT resurrected, then that intellectual conclusion should be the primary basis for your atheism…..as well as my own….not some philosophical hatred of Jesus because he doesn’t line up with our political or moral ideology.

    I just feel there is a confusion here between EXISTENCE of GOD vs. a HATRED of GOD (Jesus) in your blogs that I have read thus far. Could you confirm for me if I’m off in evaluating your true reasons for your ‘atheism’.

    I’m not looking to convert you whatsoever. But ultimately, in your analysis, did Jesus raise from the dead? That is the fork in the intellectual road that would help me understand the root of your ‘atheism’ a bit better. As I would define atheism, a TRUE atheist would need to have intellectually concluded Jesus did NOT raise from the dead, and be able to intellectually and historically defend that position. How one feels about Jesus’ teachings, His morality, His politics, or His followers is wholly irrelevant to the EXISTENCE of God. His resurrection is wholly relevant to the EXISTENCE of God, however.

    I contend it is possible for someone to believe God exists (because of the resurrection)….and hate Him anyway. Is that you?

    Respectfully,

    Walter

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      *sigh*

      Nowhere on this blog have I stated that Jesus resurrected from the dead. In fact, I have on numerous occasions said the exact opposite. Boom! Another mountain of Christian bullshit comes crashing down.

      In the future, try to understand my viewpoint before preaching and showing your ignorance.

      Jesus lived, died, end of story. Dead people stay dead.

      You might want to “think” about the purpose and meaning of this post. When the little light in your head comes on, let me know.

      Bruce

      Reply
    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Forgive me, if I seem short with you. Years of dealing with Christians, answering the same questions over and over, tries my patience.

      The intellectual basis for my rejection of Christianity is my rejection of the central claims of Christians concerning the Bible, God, Jesus, sin, man’s need for redemption, eternal life, etc. The Bible is central to Christian belief. If it is not what Christians claim it is, then Christianity as now practiced is false. All arguments about Christianity ultimately lead back to the Bible. It is for this reason I encourage people to read Bart Ehrman’s books about the history and nature of the Biblical text.

      Reply
    3. Michael Mock

      Hi, Walter.

      I realize you were addressing Bruce, but I’d like to have a go at this. It covers a number of misconceptions and failures of perception/understanding that come up very commonly when Christians try to examine why atheists don’t share their faith.

      I’m going to put your essay in quotes and italics; my responses will be in plain text.

      “Isn’t a historically resurrected Jesus the primary ‘proof’ for God’s existence that you are saying doesn’t exist? (I sometimes wonder what acceptable level of ‘proof’ one would expect a God to furnish to discerning people in order for us to confidently believe He exists).

      I want to be careful how I word this, but I think it is not intellectually honest for you to say that God hasn’t furnished ‘proof’ as being the reason you are an atheist. His resurrection, in part, was intended to authenticate that, right? (Unless you can intellectually refute Christ’s historical resurrection in a non-prejudiced way that I’m not able to).”

      A historically resurrected Jesus would be a very good argument, if we had proof that such a thing actually happened – but even then, it would be really hard to rule out the possibility that first-century medicine was simply mistaken about what had happened. Did he come back to life after three days? Or was he just in a coma?

      It seems to me that you take it for granted that both Jesus’ life and His resurrection are clear historical facts. From where I’m sitting, that’s a very large assumption to build your argument from.

      You seem to be asking Bruce to provide some kind of proof that Jesus wasn’t resurrected — “Unless you can intellectually refute Christ’s historical resurrection in a non-prejudiced way that I’m not able to” — but that’s missing the point. As far as I’m concerned, the question isn’t, “How do you know Jesus wasn’t resurrected?” The actual question is, “Why should we believe that He was?”

      We have secondhand accounts, written years or even decades after the events they purport to describe — and not just that, but written by people who were involved in creating a new religion at the time. Yes, some of those people were willing to “die for their beliefs”, but that doesn’t require that their claims were true. (Indeed, the same could be said of several early figures in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.) We have Josephus’ account, of course, but even if we assume that wasn’t a later interpolation (arguable), Josephus was writing well after the fact and atheists tend to assume the he was simply recording what he had been told (whereas Christians tend to assume that he was confirming what he had been told).

      Taken together, that seems like a fairly flimsy foundation for believing that someone who was somehow both God and the Son of God walked this Earth, was put to death, and returned to life three days later — a idea that, if you pull back and look at it, seems unlikely to the point of absurdity.

      Admittedly, absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence, but in this case taking it for granted that the Resurrection was a historical event requires — pardon me — a huge leap of faith.

      Bruce and I disagree on the historicity of Jesus, by the way. Bruce thinks He actually existed, but didn’t perform miracles or return from the dead. I’m not at all convinced that Jesus was anything more than a character in a story.

      (You wondered what might constitute an “acceptable” level of proof. I would suggest that a deity who was still around, active, and accessible would be a very good start. Unfortunately, Jesus isn’t the sort of entity that you could introduce me to, where we could all go out to eat and maybe order margaritas while I touched the wounds.)

      “Do you think that the real basis for your atheism isn’t actually a lack of ‘proof’, but rather you simply hate the God that He has revealed Himself to be through Jesus? Or, do you possibly see hypocrisy in some followers of Jesus as the basis for denying God’s very existence and thereby affirming your atheism?”

      Simple answers: No, and no.

      Those are the sorts of things that can cause people to start questioning, but that’s only the beginning of the process.

      “It seems that for you atheism is NOT an intellectual conclusion from a lack of ‘proof/evidence’. Rather, It seems to ultimately be a philosophical conclusion because you have disdain for the God he ‘would’ be if the resurrected Christ was indeed God. Therefore, it would be better if He did NOT exist….therefore you are an atheist who would rather deny His existence out of a hatred for Him than contend with His reality, or willingly subject yourself to Him. That, to me, just seems to be the ultimate reasoning for your ‘atheism’ (as evidenced by your Why I Hate Jesus article). That is ok, but I just wish that is what you would make very clear. But, to me, that isn’t really atheism…..it just seem you have a disdain for God/Jesus of the Bible…..and that somehow gets labeled as atheism. It is understandable if you say that you hate God, but your reasoning for saying God doesn’t exist seems from the heart….not the brain. It seems to be a philosophy, not an intellectual conclusion.”

      You’re mistaking a single (and somewhat ironic) article for a definitive description of Bruce’s philosophical worldview, and in the process both missing and confirming the point of the article.

      The word you’re looking for, by the way, is antitheist. It is possible to be both atheist and antitheist, though Bruce is actually a pretty soft antitheist (and is sometimes criticized by other atheists because of it). Here’s a piece I wrote on terminology, if you’re interested.

      “I think it would be more intellectually honest for you to say that reasonable historical inquiry would show that Christ likely DID raise from the dead…and I hate him anyway…even if He gave substantial evidence as being divine.”

      That would indeed be more intellectually honest, if it were the case that reasonable historical inquire showed that Jesus did rise from the dead. However, as I outlined earlier, it is not.

      “And yes, I (me) am fully assuming that if Jesus be resurrected, then it is safe to conclude He is the God He claimed to be. Whether we love or hate that god is irrelevant really, for the purposes of defining atheism.
      And if he was NOT resurrected, then that intellectual conclusion should be the primary basis for your atheism…..as well as my own….not some philosophical hatred of Jesus because he doesn’t line up with our political or moral ideology.”

      True, but very much missing the point (and misunderstanding the origins) of this article.

      “I just feel there is a confusion here between EXISTENCE of GOD vs. a HATRED of GOD (Jesus) in your blogs that I have read thus far. Could you confirm for me if I’m off in evaluating your true reasons for your ‘atheism’.”

      That’s a fair question. Bear in mind, though, that this particular article wasn’t written as a defense of atheism or even a comprehensive outline of Bruce’s philosophy. (I realize I’m kind of speaking for Bruce here, but we’ve been friends online for a number of years; he’ll correct me if I’m off target.) It’s probably also worth remembering that people almost never act (or react) from pure philosophical/intellectual evaluation; emotions and experiences are always, always a part of it. One of the things that I enjoy about Bruce’s writing is that he really doesn’t try to keep everything separate — and that some of his essays are written with tongue partly (or firmly) in cheek.

      “I’m not looking to convert you whatsoever. But ultimately, in your analysis, did Jesus raise from the dead? That is the fork in the intellectual road that would help me understand the root of your ‘atheism’ a bit better.”

      If you’re asking an atheist, the answer is that we don’t think Jesus rose from the dead. Some of us aren’t sure He ever existed in the first place. But, again, I feel safe in saying that this piece wasn’t written to explain what atheists in general and Bruce in particular mean by “insufficient historical evidence” and “lack of adequate proof” and suchlike.

      “As I would define atheism, a TRUE atheist would need to have intellectually concluded Jesus did NOT raise from the dead, and be able to intellectually and historically defend that position. How one feels about Jesus’ teachings, His morality, His politics, or His followers is wholly irrelevant to the EXISTENCE of God. His resurrection is wholly relevant to the EXISTENCE of God, however.”

      I think pretty much everyone here would agree with you on that.

      “I contend it is possible for someone to believe God exists (because of the resurrection)….and hate Him anyway. Is that you?”

      I suppose it’s possible for someone to be the sort of pure antitheist that you’re describing, but I’ve never met one. But atheists? Atheists are atheists because we don’t believe there are any such beings out there. We may hate the idea of God — what I’d call the social construct of God — as Bruce has described in this article, but God Himself? Nothing there to hate.

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Thanks, Michael.

        Reply
      2. Geoff

        That’s a great response Michael, well done.

        I’ll add only that I dislike the conflation of the words ‘proof’ and ‘evidence’. Proof is almost impossible outside of the realms of pure mathematics and, in reality, when we refer to proof in every day speech, for example in courts of law, we really mean a preponderance of evidence. Which leads me to a second comment. I agree with you that the evidence for the existence of Jesus as a historical character of any kind is weak. Yes, bible scholars seem intent on dismissing as foolish anyone challenging historicity, but they do rather have ‘a horse in the race’. I’m not even sure where I sit in the debate, but what I can be sure of is that if the very existence of Jesus is in doubt, then there can be no convincing evidence whatsoever of the more exotic stories surrounding him.

        Reply
  76. James

    I’ve read only a few of your writings so far. What I think as I’m reading, so far, is what an indictment of the Evangelical church & thank God I didn’t grow up in it. The opinions you express as beliefs of that church & the feelings that it evokes from you are screwed up. Although I am a part of an organized religion, a Christian one, we are taught to never ever believe what we hear from the pulpit or from anyone else but to study it for ourselves. And, that we never have the answers but to keep studying. And that life is complicated, messy, unfair, as well as good. Don’t know what sanitized version of the Bible you guys read but it’s not the same one I do it seems. The other thing I think as I read is that you didn’t lose your belief… you lost your feeling. Too many in this country, Christian & Atheist alike, mistake feeling for belief even the act of thinking. I’ll end this by saying, one day, if you’re honest, you’ll not only see Atheism for the nothingness that it is, but how much more murderous it is as well. The Bible, the non-sanitized one, teaches there are many roads, and we can be happy on them, but I would never choose one that advocated murder as a way of life. Maybe I’m biased since I actually experienced communism as well. You Americans are very spoiled. But your day is coming, unfortunately. Good luck with your murderous ideals. And no, I won’t be commenting any further, but I will read more. The Evangelical church sounds quite trippy.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Every Christian thinks their reading of the Bible is the “right” one. Why should anyone accept your interpretation or your sect’s interpretation as the “right” one ?

      As far as my “honesty” is concerned. There was no greater honest moment for me than when I realized and admitted that the claims of Christianity are not true: that the Bible is not what Christians say it is; that true freedom can only be had by unshackling one’s mind from religious dogma that binds, controls, and kills.

      As far as your comment about feelings. All I can say is *sigh*

      Reply
  77. Terry Lee Miller

    Bruce I can fully understand why you ‘hate Jesus.’ I have been in the independent/Southern Baptist camps for over 50 years. Was ordained by Dr. Tom Malone, knew him well in the sixties. I now after about 5 years studying the doctrine of damnationism or endless torment in the Lake of Fire for eternity, clearly see that the ‘Jesus’ you hate does not exist, except as a ‘created Jesus’ created by Augustine as a perversion of Biblical Christianity. The true Jesus of the Bible never taught ‘endless’ (aidios, Gk) punishment but rather temporary indefinite duration punishment (aionios). So breaking news as follows: The KJV when studied in the light of the original languages, teaches that all men will be saved, eventually. Jews, Gentiles, Hindus, Buddhists, drug dealers, whoremongers, atheists, agnostics, the worst (and best) of society, all will be eventually saved. Jesus loves all men of all ages and will eventually win all to himself and eternal everlasting salvation. Jesus loves you, Bruce, though you are, as the majority of the Christian churches today are, really ignorant of just who He really is. The real Jesus is full of love, compassion, and is not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance. This Jesus will love woo and win the hardest and most wicked heart ever to Himself and to endless eternal salvation. If you will notice after the Lake of Fire, reserved as a final place of punishment for the unsaved, in Revelaion 21, that the old heavens and earth and ALL THAT IS THEREIN PASSES AWAY WHICH INCLUDES THE LAKE OF FIRE. The final enemy Jesus destroys is DEATH. No more death for anyone, anyone at all since at the end of the punishment in the Lake of Fire, Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess to Jesus, embracing Him and becoming born again through His precious blood. Yes if someone dies unsaved, yes he or she will go to hell, the temporary holding place awaiting the final judgement of the Lake of Fire, where men will be punished not eternally, but ‘according to their (temporal) works. Terrible pain and suffering, but at the end of that universal salvation for all. [book plug removed]

    Reply
    1. Michael Mock

      http://i.imgur.com/B7R9t.jpg
      Not sure if that image will show; if it doesn’t appear in thread, please click on the link – because it summarizes one of the two primary reasons why I’m sitting here shaking my head at everything you’ve just said.

      The other reason, of course, is that I don’t see any reason to believe that any of this works that way: the eternal, all-powerful creator and savior; the nature of human fallibility and frailty; judgement, torment, and redemption; any of it.

      And yes, I realize you were responding to Bruce, but I know he’s heard this sort of thing at least as often as I have, and I’m pretty sure that it makes him at least as tired as it makes me. Lend an ear, if you would, and pay heed: the New Good News that we don’t have to be atheists because it turns out that God isn’t quite the Asshole that some Christians have made Him out to be? That kind of message is pretty much wasted on those of us who see no reason to believe that He’s out there in the first place.

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Graphics won’t show. I wish WordPress would add this functionality to its self-hosted software. There are plugins that give this functionality, but I don’t like how they work.

        You are spot-on about Terry’s version of the Evangelical God. His God is a “nice” serial killer who smiles as he tortures you. Woo! Hoo! Sign me up. *sigh*

        Reply
        1. Michael Mock

          Demon: “Well, yes, it is a lake of fire, but I’m happy to say it’s only temporary…”

          Human: “Only temporary? You want me to step into a lake of fire because it’s only temporary?”

          Demon: “Not at all. We have many options. You could parachute in. There’s a diving board, so you could do a flip, or a cannonball!”

          Human: “Are there options that don’t involve burning forever?”

          Demon: “But I just told you, it’s not forever!”

          Human: “Okay, fine, it’s not forever. How long is it?”

          Demon: “Well, at the rate you humans are going, I can’t imagine that we won’t get to Armageddon and the Final Judgement within the next thousand years.”

          Human: “Strangely, this is not making me feel any better about the prospect of perpetual torment.”

          Demon: “Nevertheless…”

          Human: “Could I spend that time in, maybe, a tub of luke-warm whiskey?”

          Demon: {looks vaguely guilty}

          Human: {raises eyebrows} “You actually have a tub of lukewarm whiskey?”

          Demon: “Well, it’s more of an olympic-sized pool, but it’s usually reserved for demons…”

          Human: “But there’s lukewarm whiskey, and I could just sit in that until the final judgement?”

          Demon: “It… it is lukewarm whiskey. But the demons really would prefer to–”

          Human: “Sign me up for the lukewarm whiskey pool, please.”

          Demon: “You’ll have to do laps until the final judgement.”

          Human: “Deal.”

          Demon: {sighing deeply} “Very well.”

          Reply
          1. anotherami

            Looks like the old-fashioned side-stroke is going to be making a comeback…

          2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Thanks for this, Michael. It’s so good I’m going to use it in a post about hell. ?

          3. Michael Mock

            My pleasure. Steal away!

  78. JulieBarks

    A speech worthy off our Winstone Churchill well said.

    Reply
  79. Kimmy

    I’m reposting after moderation hopefully you’ll read:
    As to your atheism, I can actually understand it, and I genuinely have so much more respect for that than for the shallow mystical /liberal/therapeutic/legalistic spoof that has flooded the visible church. Really how different is it from New age or Buddhism or Islam? Not too much currently.

    The problem is that the religion you preached for 25 years and then left was not Christianity at all. I too, was right at the cusp of leaving the ‘christianity’ that i had followed all my life to be an atheist, back in 2010. I visited apostasy websites and found hundreds of former pastors, sunday school teachers, deacons, priests etc who also left and their lives are soo much happier, successful and meaningful as atheist or agnostic. Why? Because Christ did not come to the earth to give us these things, but only came to save us from our sin and God’s just wrath, and give us eternal life.

    The thing that bothered me most in that religion though was within, was that I found no peace, no way of overcoming my deep habitual sins, no assurance of salvation; I still felt fearful of death, always wondered if I was ‘sincere enough’ in my sinner’s prayer and my devotion. I saw all the failures in my life and concluded God must be false or if He exists He must have condemned me, clearly he wasn’t blessing my life. When I went to church I’d force myself into a ‘mood of worship’ or to feel close to God, even several times I spoke gibberish ‘tongues’ under the guise of Holy Spirit. It surely felt fake and my heart gradually hardened. It was like a drug that was losing even its temporary weak effects altogether. How did the apostles and generations of Christians gladly give their very lives for this BS? Was I missing something?

    In fact, yes. After a lifetime in church I had never even heard any true preaching of the law of God, man’s total sinful depravity imputed from Adam and what the Christ-centered God-glorifying Gospel of grace really is. I set out to learn about these strange ideas…It was shocking. The scriptures I’ve read in blindness began to make sense. I found myself led online to sites (e.g. CIC ministry, Fighting for the faith, SO4J) that explain the simple Gospel from Genesis to Revelation, not as a means to teach us how to live or what manipulative steps to take to obtain advantage or success in our selfish lives with a religious veneer (As I’d been doing all these years). But simply what IS:

    How man was created, how he fell into sin and how deeply fallen he remains and the various manifestations of this innate sin throughout man’s history. But simultaneously and intertwined, how God began His plan of redemption, right from the promise in Eden & covering Adam and Eve’s nakedness, how it unfolds all through history, from Abraham’s story foreshadowing Calvary, to Moses leading Israel across the Red Sea (baptism) and through the wilderness (our life) and Joshua (Jesus) leading them into the promised land with the sound of Trumpet’s (His 2nd coming), to David the shepherd King who was anointed but not yet crowned (hello, Christ!) and all his messianic psalms, and all the prophecies from Isaiah – Daniel – Micah et al, and how amazingly they culminate in the coming of Christ.

    And the life of Christ, all He did and taught that clearly demonstrate His divinity while fulfilling all prophecy, to the glorification at the Cross. Which now fully explains the law and how He fulfils it perfectly as both the sacrificial Lamb whose blood fully washes away our sin, and the eternal High Priest and King. And His resurrection confirms it and sets him apart from all others. Wow is that amazing. How can we possibly begin to even touch on the layers and depths of this? This is love, not that we loved him but he loved us, and gave himself for us. This is the Christian gospel that quenches our deep spiritual thirst and gives us life.

    And when you see the deep corruption, abuse, immorality in organized religion (not to mention all of human enterprise), it truly confirms one thing, that Man is Utterly Depraved. Even our religious acts and worship are wicked and tainted to the core. We just cannot do right or be pure. That is truly a terrifying thing to contemplate. We need a perfect and infinite Savior.

    Also see Youtube: Rod Rosenbladt: Gospel for those broken by the church

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      *sigh* You found “true” Christianity, a Christianity that has evaded millions of people of faith. Woo Hoo, you won the golden ticket (America’s Got Talent reference). I hope you will pause and think for a minute about how arrogant it is to claim that you and your little band of believers, out of the billions and billions of people who have ever lived on plant earth, are the only people to “discover” or “find” the one true faith.

      I hope you will take the time to read more of my site than just a handful of pages relating to Jack Hyles. If you do, you will find that I once believed exactly as you do now. Swoosh — that’s the air going out of your apologetical balloon. Now you must square the fact that I once believed EXACTLY as you do, yet I am now an atheist. You might want to read the posts found here — https://brucegerencser.net/why/

      If you have questions, I will answer them. If you have a gospel or sermon to preach, please don’t. https://brucegerencser.net/comment-rules/

      Reply
      1. Brian

        Kimmy doesn’t seem to get it. Kimmy’s post could easily be generated by a bot because it says nothing at all new and merely betrays another biped who woke-up to scripture and discovered the real real-er real-est truth and wept for joy at the incredible depth of depth and how deep depth really is! I mock, as is my bent sometimes but the truth is very sad indeed. Kimmy was unable to be merely human and decided instead to do harm, to say wicked things about the self and others and to follow along a depraved belief that is incredibly arrogant, as you say. Please Kimmy, stop preying. And regarding your link to Rod Rosenblatt, let me tell you how true his words are: He recognizes my sadness, my madness at having left the faith. I am very sad, Kimmy, that faith reduces human beings to self-denigrating slaves of churches/preachers/authorities. It saddens me to no end that you prefer to be blamed and shamed and beg forgiveness, than to allow that you are merely human, fully human and are not perfect. Why must you harm yourself over this? Why must you hold to magic and utterly wild histories of holy men? It saddens a man to watch others do this to themselves. If it didn’t sadden me, I would not be wholly human, If it did not madden/anger me to see what religion does in this world, I would be much less human, armored with denial as I see you are in your expression, Kimmy. I admit saddness/madness in these matters, Kimmy. But I know human joy in the noticed dawn of every day I am able to witness it. I am moved by mere life lived and write poetry to allow huan expression concerning feelings that overwhelm and are portals to fuller humanity. I have both up and down and inbetween. Go endlessly among the wordmongering theologians if you will and listen to the bulldozed ideas of a Rod R. or Steven Anderson, another preacher with the real KJV truth.
        If you can be sad, Kimmy, and not hate yourself so much you have to leap into denial, if you can be mad, Kimmy, and not fear what it brings to your mind and life, then you have begun to accomplish being human…. or, you can talk about the great life awaiting you in heaven, deny your full humanity and be happy in Jesus.

        Reply
    2. Michael Mock

      “We need a perfect and infinite Savior.”

      Yes, well, if you find one I’d like to hear from him.

      Reply
  80. Barbara adams

    My darling Bruce YOU have been a victim of the middle east and their desire to produce a certain messiah to get there BRIDE Jerusalem back. We’ve all been VICTIMS my darling. They were desperate to get a messiah to help them escape their lifestyle. These people are victims of many things so they invented their promised land to escape to. My sweet heart I’m so sorry you’ve been hurt so much. The church was built to get these people back their promised land. I spent 50 years in the church so I could experience the pain this kind of religion leaves behind. They were such emotional cripples they ran away from their desert life looking for comfort. They became VICTIMS of Jesus a ego MANIAC who wanted to rule the world. The Christian religion is a group of EXTREMIST who wanted to rule the world and get rich and famous using bleeding JESUS to win the hearts of men over and all their money. JESUS actually came and exploited all of humanity while pretending to be a representative of God’s love. My beautiful person this religion is not from the real God of love at all. My God of love is not wanting to send you to hell at all. Non of these revelations came from the real God of love at all. The book of revelation came from some extreme jihadist who want to scare people into joining the church. I want to tell you the Christian religion has been used to scare and torture MEN into the church by threatening them with hell. This Angel has been sent from the real God of LOVE that does not want to destroy this world or send men to hell. The way of the CROSS does not lead home my darling. You are loved and God understands,all your confusion. I love you and God loves you. Be at peace. This is God’s most beautiful ANGEL THAT GOD SENT TO TELL YOU THESE THINGS.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      *sigh*

      Reply
      1. Zoe

        Where does one begin?

        Is Barbara the angel or is the angel channeling through Barbara?

        🙂

        Reply
  81. Barbara adams

    You need a HUG you have been hurt by the exploitive MIDDLE eastern religion called Christianity. My sweetness the bible was written to control all of mankind. It is a matrix type of religion made to take control of the world for the benefit of certain people. The Jews became famous because of the bible. They were so famous they got whatever they wanted from the United nations in 1948. These poor little people went through so much somewhere in time they had to push their way into the lime light to get the worlds attention. These people have exploited us in so many ways. They convinced us there is only one God and it was their God and him alone because they wanted control the whole world and they wanted the whole world looking to them for answers. The heavens are so big MY beautiful ones there has to be more than one God up there. This unknown God is where I come from he sent me to tell you something you are LOVED MY BEAUTIFUL ONES AND HE WANTS TO SET YOU FREE FROM BEING EXPLOITED BY THESE PEOPLE FROM THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE RELIGION THEY INVENTED TO CONTROL THE WORLD. THEY HAVE THE ATTENTION OF THE WORLD BECAUSE OF BIBLE THE GREATEST SELLER OF ALL TIME. NO WONDER MY SWEETNESS YOU HATE JESUS HE WASN’T EVER SENT FROM YOUR GOD OF LOVE. HE IS,AN INVENTION FROM THE MIDDLE EAST TO GET THEM MORE ATTENTION AND CONTROL OVER THINGS. THE REAL GOD OF LOVE CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE. HE HAD TO SENT YOU THIS MESSAGE SO YOU CAN BE FREE FROM EVERY RELIGION IN THE MIDDLE EAST. JESUS became a cruel and abusive person that hurt you even though he professed he came from the God of love. His REVELATION were about being cruel and abusive TO his saints. Forget him. He became an outright SLAVE DRIVER to his saints in the book of revelation. You are loved and you need a HUG today.

    Reply
    1. GeoffT

      Barbara, please don’t take this personally, but you are a raving loony.

      Reply
    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Bye, Barbie.

      Reply
      1. Michael Mock

        Awwww, Bruce… Do you need a hug? ‘Cause I’m here for you, my man.

        Honestly, Barbara, you sound like you could use a hug, too – and possibly a long vacation as well.

        ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Sure, but not from Barbie. ? I loathe being called sweetie, dear, hun, hunny, etc by women I don’t sleep with. ?

          Reply
      2. Zoe

        She sure seems to know a lot about her “unknown” God.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          I’m sure Barbie’s god speaks directly to her in a special language only she understands.

          She’s a perfect example of how religion can fuck up the mind.

          Reply
    3. John Arthur

      Hi Barbara,

      You mean well. If God exists, the he/she/it can only be love. But what evidence do we have for the existence of such a god?

      I think I’ll go with compassionate and peaceful humanism, and focus on this life.

      Reply
  82. Barbara adams

    Bruce I know it’s hard to believe there is another side of heaven where there is a GOD OF LOVE. THERE ARE MANY SIDES OF HEAVEN. THIS CHILD COMES FROM THE NORTWEST SIDE OF HEAVEN. THERE IS A NORTH SIDE OF HEAVEN A SOUTH SIDE OF HEAVEN. ITS PRETTY BIG UP THERE. THE ONLY SIDE OF HEAVEN SPEAKING IN THE BIBLE IS THE ONE ABOVE THE MIDDLE EAST. he was,a,jealous God and demanding. He was brutal and horrible. I wanted to comfort you Bruce because you were being BEAT UP on by so many people. I’m sorry that your path has been so bad that you that you stopped believing in God at all. I’m an Angel of mercy so I have to try to support misunstood and HURTING people. An angel of love is a mother of love and your mother of love is here and she wants to support you. JESUS was so hard on Some of his saints they couldn’t take it anymore. That was so painful to go through. Bruce YOU are loved I’ve looked beyond your faults and seen your needs. Have a nice day.

    Reply
  83. madeline

    wow this this alot to take in…Bruce, the only thing i can say is, don’t depend on us humans too much, we get it wrong most days…less we become our own gods…not unlike the evangelical pastor…: )

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I am an atheist, so the only Gods I know of are of the human variety. All in all, humans are kind and decent. I generally think well of my fellow bipeds.

      Reply
  84. deano

    Gday Bruce. Glad you are out of the box…..a box of damaged goods! Books? Yes, you must be like a child learning the world all over again, History, Science, Evolution……and other different theorys and perspectives. Admire your truth, and obvious good heart, and brave enough to realize your mistakes in life and warn others of the dangers.
    I often see comments on true Christianity etc in the timeline of 33AD > 315AD? 400AD?….early Christians. It took at least 300yrs to first assemble the texts, and then make it Roman Law? Just who were these compilers/scribes/early church fathers fascinated me. We all know the OT was compiled by the Greeks of the Septuagint, but the NT?
    In my research, these fathers /desert monks like Origen and Eusebius etc are all well known, but the term EUNECH kept appearing…….not the Ethiopian, or Babylon gaurd……..so I typed in “Eunechs in the bible” to find anything else…….
    well, low and behold, Jesus himself talks about them when queried by the disciples on marriage >>>>

    MATT 19;12 ” For some are born Eunechs, some made Eunechs by men, and some become *Eunechs* for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Accept this if you can.”

    *In modern Bibles, the last *Eunechs* has been changed to *CELIBATE* or renounces marriage.

    WHY is Jesus talking about men castrating themselves to get to heaven, when he hasnt yet died for their Salvation?
    This should be alarm bell to all good christians……but I took the historical evidence path, and asked>>>
    Was there a group of men Castrating themselves in Jesus times???????? Unfortuneately, yes >

    In 200BC, the GALLI priests of Greek Pontus Galatia, came to Rome with their cult of Attis & Cybele(great mother). They became the augers/prophets of the Emporers. In March, they had a street festival, carrying the blood stained effigy of Attis on a pine trunk, dressed in yellow frocks, long blond hair, tiaras and mitres, in a frenzy, they would castrate themselves, to become like the Eunech Attis…..transformed into Cybele.
    A Gay Mardi Gras and Transgenders in Rome? I dug deeper…..and so should ALL christians….and most of this is easily confirmed on Wikipedia…..not some conspiracy site!
    # Attis ~ castrated himself under a Pine tree to be like the Virgin Mother Cybele
    # Cybele ~ the greek great mother/mater/Demeter……Sybelline Oracles?
    #Pontus Galatia ~ modern Turkey, the home of the Seven Churches of Revelation(Greek Asia minor)
    # Philadelphia Church ~ ……is this the Oracle of Delphi?
    # Vatican ~ the Vatican is built over the old temple of Attis & Cybele
    # Pigna ~ the Vatican has a giant bronze Pine cone flanked by gallus(latin-peacocks)
    # GALLI ~ the Eunech Priests of Pontus Galatia. Elites of this area were pedophiles too….
    #DIES SANGUINIS ~ Day of Blood. The 24th March, the festival the Galli castrated themselves on
    #Galatians ~ Pauls plea to stop their immoral debauchery (+ Jew circumcision?)
    #EASTER ~ Christamss is always Dec 25th. But his death date, changes every year. The SUNday, after the Paschal Full MOON apparently. But what I have found, is it is always after the 22nd March, the day the GALLI priests sacrificed a lamb under a Pine tree to start the Attis festival……..Pine Xmas trees?
    #CASTRATO ~ until recently, last one died 1920s, the Vatican had castrated choirboys to keep their angelic voices, because women arent allowed to speak in church apparently. 1600 – 1880s. 260yrs of castrating/eunech making?
    #ORIGEN ~ the key man of the NT texts. A eunech, his self-castration is even shown on Wikipedia page.

    GALLI? Man from Galli-lee? Gallician Church? Gaelic?Gallic Wars? This Galli name keeps popping up everywhere!

    Now who do we know, that are Celibate(eunechs) for Heaven, wear yellow frocks and jewellry and mitres, have blood sacrifice rituals, especially at Easter time, love angelic choirboys and promote Jesus as the Lamb of God?

    ATTIS ? Anyone ever heard of him? A Eunech Greek God worshipped in Rome? A couple of people have hinted that Jesus could have been based on Attis, but none have made all the other connections, and the more I look, the more I find. They have kept this little deity well hidden from us…….but there is many Roman texts, statues and knowledge of the GALLI priests and their sick eunech ritual of Attis. Transfromation? Transubstanation?Transfiguration?

    I dont Hate Jesus, I find it Hilarious. Oh, how we have all been decieved. Pedophilia and Closet Gays is now being exposed on a global scale and you have to wonder why the Catholic Church really doesnt like women, Eve the reason for Sin, Sarah and Hagar, and a Virgin Mother (thats an oxymoron). Brides of Christ? But NO women allowed?

    Is it any wonder they had to invent Jesus? I think these early christian martyrs were outspoken Galli. Effeminate long haired men were outlawed in the Roman Empire, despised and frowned upon. Ever wondered why they were celibate hermit monks living in desert or mountaintop monasterys? All those little boy cherubim images, or statues with genatalia removed?……there may have been a Yeshua galli priest, son of God ,NO.

    I Hate the Catholic Church ,its Lies, and Pedophilia predators . More evidence? Look at B&W photos of Nuns in group shots………Do they look like women to you? Seriously? ……..I cant respect this “Faith”(gullibility) at all.

    Reply
  85. Julie Barks

    Hi Bruce.
    I have boldly gone were so many Christians fear to tread. As a Christian, I learned the truth that we have been lied to and deceived. But it’s not easy. It took me about Five years for the penny to drop, but when it finally did I was free. All I can say to anyone who has some nagging doubts is read, watch online documentary about the history of how and who put the bible together. Ask questions with an inquiry mind. But above all do not be afraid, don’t let another human being tell you what the truth, is look for yourself and look in places your church tells you not to i.e books by Dawkins, Hitchens, Bart Ehrman, there is so much information out there that is not one-sided. I came out of a long dark tunnel into the light of truth.” And Bruce you have helped in that journey”. Thanks.

    Reply
  86. Mary

    I think the fundies and evangelies (which I call fake Christians) are wanting to paste a picture of trump on the drawing of Jesus’s face at the beginning of this excellent post.

    Reply
  87. 7come11

    I like the Jesus who was a Buddhist monk teaching in Judea

    Reply
  88. Scott Harrison

    I enjoy your candour and humour. I tell people that if Jesus visited our little planet today the first thing that would happen is the dusty, Semitic-looking Preacher would be hounded out of the evangelical churches and (metaphorically) crucified.

    Your Jesus-hatred fascinates me – Ir parallels what I have come to see as an unmasking of a false god: picture God with a grimacing mask on his face fastened there by Christians who create the mask in the image of their own bigotry, judgemental attitudes, intolerance. I pride off the mask only to find another strange mask – this one painted by 17th century Putlritans of the kind Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote about in Their Scarlet Letter. I pull that one off and find the God of the Inquisition, or the God who inspired Luther with a visceral hatred for the Jews, the tribal war God of the Israelites who called for the extermination of the Amelikites… And so on back into the past, these horrible masks. I believe there is a face behind these masks, but it so obscured as to be almost unreachable. One senses this face in the lonely and wretched of the earth, the abused, the poor. I pass a beggar on the corner and momentarily sense the presence of something other than the nightmare-god the Church insists is the one True God. I guess I am a n “agonistic misotheist”, still wanting to give God the benefit of the doubt, and do I turned more in the direction of Bart Ehrmann, Paul Tillich and John Caputo… But frankly I think there’s more prophetic candour in a Christopher Hitchens than the most accomplished Evangelical apologist. I remain in a kind of liminel space between belief and unbelief, wary of men of faith and anti-faith.

    Anyway, bravo. Like your site, and your photography. All the best. Scott. Disquietsite.com

    Reply
  89. Henry Gilligan

    I have no idea why I am now leaving this comment. I read your article a long time ago and up to now saw no reason to make any comment. I guess I’m bored waiting for a long running program to end.

    I am also a former Evangelical and Christian Fundamentalist. Many years ago, I attended a Bible College for no other reason than to understand the Bible better. Over the course of my life as an Evangelical, I did door-to-door evangelism and “led to Christ” some number of people. But I myself was never “led to Christ” by anyone. I came to Christ on my own around the time of my 21st birthday. I was depressed and picked up a Bible and read the Gospel of John. In that Gospel, I discovered a Jesus who loved and cared about me simply because I was a person. But I soon drifted into Evangelicalism after listening to Christian radio speakers like Charles Stanley and others like him. Then I went to Bible College and became a full-fledged Fundamentalist (although, not a very good one). For the next 46 years, I thought of myself as an Evangelical and loyal Republican. But a few years ago, something happened. I began to finally realize that the Jesus that Evangelicals are pushing is not the Jesus of the New Testament. And I began drifting back to the loving and caring Jesus that I first came to almost 50 years ago. That Jesus had been gone from my life for a long time, having been replaced by a more hardline, judgmental, and political Jesus. But it really took the horrifying nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for president for me to realize that I no longer wanted to be associated with the Evangelicals who think Trump is God’s man. A Facebook friend quoted a Bible verse of me when I turned away from Evangelicalism: “they went out from us because they were not part of us”. To that, I say “amen”! I do not think in my heart that I was ever truly part of them.

    But I still believe in the Jesus of the New Testament. I still believe in the the Jesus that I came to 50 years ago. I still believe in the Jesus who loves unconditionally – the Jesus who cares about me simply because I am a person. I try hard not to blame Him for the mistakes of His so-called “followers” – the Evangelicals and Fundamentalists – but it is hard not to because Evangelicals are those who claim to be the most “spiritual” of all Christians. In fact, they believe themselves to be the only true followers of Christ. So, it has been hard turning away from the “only true followers of Christ” and turning back to the Jesus that I came to know as a young adult – the Jesus of the New Testament.

    Reply
    1. Michael Mock

      I’m not a believer myself, but I’m glad you’re finding a… more stable footing? better foundation? something like that… for your faith. It’s hard, and I’ll tell you honestly that a large part of the reason I don’t believe is that as a general thing I don’t see that people’s professed faith has any measurable effect on people’s behavior. But I also think that we’re all doing the best we can with the information we have, and if your belief is leading you back to a more loving, supportive and just way of looking at the world, then I fully support it.

      Reply
  90. Eric

    I’m sad for you

    Reply
  91. Susan

    Amen to Henry Gilligan’s comment. I’ve had dialogues with Bruce before and I’ll sum it up by this: a person cannot say the things like what come out of Bruce’s mouth if he ever was truly born of the Spirit of God. I hope the Lord truly will reveal the real truth to Bruce, and I sincerely hope it is before it is too late for him. He wants to believe he is more intelligent than what the Bible reveals, ok, that pride won’t bring you any comfort in hell.

    Reply
    1. Zoe

      Oh thanks Susan. Wow, we all haven’t heard that a kazillion times before. Awomen eh?

      Reply
    2. Brian

      Susan, what comes out of your mouth is not verifiable truth. You are a parrot. Wanna cracker?

      Reply
    3. GeoffT

      “…if he ever was truly born of the Spirit of God. I hope the Lord truly will reveal the real truth to Bruce…”

      Actually Susan nobody is truly born of the ‘Spirit of God’, it’s just that some realise it in time to enjoy this life properly.

      Reply
  92. Marisa Nordstrom

    Was just reading this Christlike advice under Black Collar Crime: “I realize that IFB churches and autonomous Evangelical churches might find it harder to have such a database. However, those churches are able to cooperate on all sorts of other issues, so appealing to their independent ecclesiology doesn’t fly with me. To preachers and church leaders I says this: doing nothing, and then blaming it on your theology, is an abdication of your responsibility to love, care, and protect your flock; especially the least of these — children. You owe it to your congregations to make sure there aren’t pedophiles, perverts, child molesters, and rapists in your midst. And you owe it to other churches to warn them when these same people move on to new hunting grounds.” Where did you get your high morals from? Atheism? Right.

    Reply
  93. bo diddley

    Jesus isn’t only love he is hate, pain, poverty, and other things.

    If you hate Christ it’s your decision you can do what you like.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Did you actually read this post? I don’t hate the flesh and blood Jesus — he’s dead.

      Thank you for granting me permission to do what I want. I was sitting around just waiting for someone to give me permission to be human. 😀

      Reply
  94. Stuart

    Dear Bruce,

    Broke my heart reading your work man, it really did….but gotta say that the Jesus you describe is NOT the Christ of Scripture.

    What you seem to despise is the the apostate “christian” church. This is NOT, nor will ever = Christ

    Also man – and i say this respectfully – you appear to anthropomorphise Christ, which is always going to lead to issues in understanding of doctrine.

    Jesus Christ was God made flesh, He was TOTALLY in control of His crucifixion. If the powers and principalities responsible for His death had of known that Jesus Christ was God made flesh they would NEVER have killed Him.

    That very act – out maneuvering Satan and dealing with the matter of sin – was the cornerstone on which His new Kingdom will be built.

    I struggle to see how anyone can look at the the geo-political and technological landscape of the last 100 years and not be convinced we are witnessing the fulfilment of prophesy right before our very eyes! And it’s happening exponentially – Our generation has seen the most striking advances in that to date as we edge towards global dictatorship. (Internet connectivityt, digital assests, wireless tech, 5G, cryptocurrency to name but a few items of the infrastructure required to enable the kingdom of antichrist)

    I have read your rules for posting and therefore will respect them, but you strike me as a man who is much more than what you are being right now. And like i said before, that’s heartbreaking to see.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Your narrative only works IF you believe the Bible is true — I don’t.

      I’m a porn star too. Does that make me much more of a man? 🙂

      Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
    2. Zoe

      I was thinking again recently (at least I can still think) 😉 how every single “Christian” who pops in to tell you “the truth” just can’t tolerate your story or mine or that of many of us. They get to tell their stories, we don’t. We do or we try, yet our story is just unacceptable and oh so wrong.

      Only theirs is the correct one. If we collected every Christian who has ever contacted you and we put them in a room together, to talk about “the truth” we’d eventually here them going at each other and claiming to one another, “You aren’t a true Christian!” Even they would not agree amongst themselves.

      I think the next time a Christian comes in to tell me, that’s not the right Jesus I’ll gently ask them to take it up with their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as well as with their God. Probably better for them to sort it out amongst themselves then bother with us.

      Reply
      1. Stuart

        Dear Zoe,

        I no longer believe in the existence of Santa, therefore i wouldn’t go to the trouble of creating a website explaining how i came to no longer believe in Santa, simply because it would attract attention from people who do believe in Santa. And frankly i have no appetite for engaging with such people.

        Bruce, by creating this space has invited interest from the vast internet audience on the matters he discusses on this site. It would be naive to think compassionate Christians would not do their duty and offer support in the only way they know how in trying to heal the wounded or help pick up the fallen. Bruce knows that, you likely know that, so really, what else do you expect?

        If i didn’t believe in something i wouldn’t waste a single moment on it. Atheists are a different breed though. They are evangelical in their denial and latent hatred of God. Personally i love engaging with intelligent people regardless of their ideology or belief. I have yet to meet ANY atheist with any meaningful grasp on theology.

        But I guess when even atheism’s poster boy Dawkins is a theological illiterate there is little hope for anyone following in his footsteps.

        There was only ever one Jesus, there is currently only one Jesus and there will always forever be only one Jesus. Anyone who tells you different is like an atheist – they simply fail to understand Scripture

        And Bruce’s story isn’t wrong, but it is clear he has been deceived. And knowing that there are many many more like Bruce is honestly heart breaking to me.

        Reply
        1. Zoe

          I expect many people who call themselves Christians who think they have “the truth” every *i* dotted and every *t* crossed to show up on sites likes Bruce’s and tell Bruce and other people they are wrong, and warn him of Hell and say their hearts are broken. People like you Stuart. That is exactly what I expect.

          Reply
        2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          I grew up in the Evangelical church, attended an Evangelical Bible College, and pastored Evangelical churches for 25 years. Yet, according to you, I have no meaningful grasp of Christian theology. I spent thousands and thousands of hours studying and reading the Bible, yet, according to you, I don’t have a fundamental understanding of Christian belief. Surely, you see how irrational and stupid such a statement sounds.

          The real issue here is that you don’t like my interpretations and conclusions. Thus, instead of meaningfully interacting with them, you rage against Bruce, the man.

          The purpose of this blog is to help people who have doubts about Christianity or who have left Christianity and are looking for support. You, my friend, are not my target audience. I let people such as yourself comment because you provide reminders to ex-Evangelicals of the arrogance, self-righteous beliefs we left behind.

          Please keep preaching your gospel, Stuart. People such as yourself win more people to atheism than I ever could.

          Bruce

          Reply
        3. John Arthur

          Just because you’ve never met an atheist that is theologically literate, doesn’t mean that there aren’t many. You should study the views of John Loftus who has graduate degrees in theology and philosophy (MA, M Div. and M. Theol.) and there are many others on the net.

          Bruce has studied theology and is far from “theologically illiterate”. You could learn much from him.

          By the way, Protestantism has spawned over 40,000 different denominations each differing in some point or points of Christian theology, ethics, church organisation and biblical hermeneutics. So if Christians disagree with one another so much, then maybe it is you guys who are theologically illiterate?

          Reply
  95. Pingback: Stuart the Evangelical Asks Bruce the Atheist a Theological Question – FairAndUNbalanced.com

  96. Dave

    Dear Bruce,

    I am a Christian, and amazingly, I have to agree with most of what your wrote.

    I haven’t been to church now for a few years because somewhere along the line somebody married Christianity and Trumpism. I can’t stomach looking at people who claim to be Christians, yet spend thousands of dollars sprucing up their homes and buying fancy cars. There’s nothing wrong with maintaining property or having reliable transportation, but there’s a point where it moves from responsibility to sinfulness.

    I claim to be pro-life, but I’m concerned about ALL life. I wish that all children could live. Do I believe that some pregnancies need to be stopped because of concern for the mother or if there is no hope for the child? Possibly, yes. But I believe that’s an impossible decision for only the parents to make, not the government. I get asked about rape and incest and similar circumstances. Should it be legal to abort? I always reply that maybe it’s not so much a matter of law, but a matter of how much we, as a society, are willing to do to support a woman who has become pregnant in that circumstance. Every statistic I’ve seen tells me that the majority of abortions are performed for some measure of convenience or life circumstance. Changing the law doesn’t change that. I look to the reason for abortions. Is it income inequality? Is it broken relationships? Is too much demanded from women? Is it simply lack of healthcare? Is it a lack of options? “Christians” spend so much time on Roe v Wade. I’ve long screamed that God doesn’t expect each individual Christian to save millions. I tell people to not spend so much time on the law and just find one, yes, just ONE, woman and help her. Help her with childcare. Help her get to appointments. Help her find a better job. Help her with whatever and maybe she just might change her mind about her pregnancy. That’s all you have to do.

    I do believe that practicing homosexuality is immoral. Note the verb. But I do not believe that homosexuality is this sin above all sins. People can have threesomes and swing and have orgies and affairs and that’s all ok, but homosexuality is an abomination? Really? I’ve asked people to their face… what’s worse? Trump banging everything he could get his hands on, or two women in a committed lifelong relationship? I don’t understand why these people are being so singled out. I saw a t-shirt once that said, “I don’t have time to pass judgement on your sin — I’m too busy dealing with my own.” So true!

    I have a young son who has very special needs. At this time, he is healthy, but that could change. People have donated so much to us and helped us so much and I’m so incredibly grateful for it! But sometimes I feel guilty about it. The hundreds of thousands of dollars that have saved my son could have saved hundreds of children around the world. That’s a guilt I really do live with. I don’t want to put down all the people that are doing good deeds for people in other countries. Certainly there is support going out. But you’re right. It’s so small compared to what it should be.

    I hear what you’re saying about people that have never really had an opportunity to choose Jesus. Are those people all really condemned? I don’t know that answer. But if I had to give one, here’s what it would be. First off, the REAL Jesus had unlimited compassion and mercy. Maybe that does extend to those people. Maybe it’s not so much about you’re saved only if you choose Jesus, but maybe it’s more that you’re condemned if you deny Jesus? And the second part would be in the age of air travel and the internet, how in the hell are there 1 billion Christians in a world of 7 billion people and there are still millions who haven’t heard the message? Get off your asses!

    I keep rereading your initial post. I’m truly sorry that you’ve found a better fit with atheism than Christianity because I read a lot of Christlike ideas in what you wrote. I’m hearing the frustrations of a man who is full of compassion, mercy, empathy, and love. I’m wondering if you’ve really left Christ or if the greater aggregate church has left Christ and you refused to follow? I sure feel homeless these days. I’ve been a lifelong Christian and Republican, but I cannot follow where that unholy marriage has gone. I’m finding more commonality with liberals and agnostics and atheists these days. And that’s scares me.

    I’m sure you’ve had readers attack you and unload on you. I’m not going to do that because I can’t find anything to challenge you on. I don’t think you’re an evil person and I honestly think you’re extremely intelligent. I just want to ask a question or two. Do you believe that Christ and the whole of the church are always the same? If you say no to that, then have you left Christ or have you left the church? These are real questions from a real person who has struggled with the same issues as you have.

    Reply
  97. Zoe

    Dave wrote: “I’m finding more commonality with liberals and agnostics and atheists these days. And that’s scares me.”

    Zoe asks? Hi Dave. I know you are talking with Bruce here. I found myself wondering what is it about those who are liberal, agnostic and atheist that scares you? If you don’t want to answer, I won’t be offended.

    Reply
  98. Dave

    Hi Zoe,

    GENERALLY and I guess you could say historically (?), liberalism has been associated with some very anti-Christian, or maybe a better word is non-Christian ideas. Please understand that I make that association loosely. As a Christian, I should not have the same worldview as atheists. That does NOT mean that atheists are bad and evil people.

    I made a good friend at work who’s an atheist. She grew up in the foster child system. We found so much commonality because what I would like to do for children in the name of Christ were the same things she wanted to do in the name of…. morality or goodness or whatever I should say there. That’s the scary part. I shouldn’t find commonality with people who reject Christ, but I do. So am I messed up or is the aggregate church messed up?

    I hate to bring up politics but I need to. It’s incredible to me that Franklin Graham would be a vocal Trump supporter. Now Billy Graham, his father, ministered to all sorts of presidents. I never felt that Billy Graham ever took a political stand. Franklin Graham certainly has and it’s appalling. I recently learned that Jerry Falwell Jr defended Roy Moore. He didn’t say he believed Moore’s word over the accusers, but rather agreed with Moore on Moore’s view of the relationships. That stuff makes me want to vomit. What in the hell has happened to these iconic Christian leaders!

    I guess what is scaring me is that one of two things are true. Either I’ve lost my way, or my church has. Either way, that’s scary to me.

    Reply
  99. Grammar Gramma

    Dave, I think perhaps it’s some of both – the church has DEFINITELY lost its way, and you feel that you are losing yours. I would suggest to you, however, that you are actually finding your way. Keep looking. Keep asking questions. Read Bart Ehrman. Keep examining the lives of people around you. As a retiree, I volunteer helping the homeless and seniors and 2nd-graders. I do these things in the name of my own morality or universal goodness or . . . I’m not sure what, but out of a desire to give back to my community and the world at large. I want to leave more than I have taken away. A Christian friend of mine tells me I am more Christian than most of her church-mates. What does this say about her church? What does it say about any church? Keep looking, keep asking questions, keep reading.

    Reply
  100. Zoe

    I don’t think you’ve lost your way at all Dave. I do understand that you are scared. I tend to think that it’s to be expected, especially when you look at the political Christian environment inside and outside the church re: U.S.A.

    I don’t see having commonality with non-Christians as something to be scared of I guess. In my situation I would never use the term “reject” Christ. I simply changed my mind about what I once believed. No hate involved. I cannot hate something I don’t believe exists. I can hate though any sort of spiritual abuse or toxic environment. In fact, that hatred could be what gets me out of a mess and to a safe place. But it has nothing to do with rejecting &/or hating Christ.

    Not so very long ago, my dad was dying and spent his last days in a palliative care ward in hospital. Almost every day for a month, Biker Dude (my husband) and I would take my mother to visit with my dad. Inevitably as often is the case with me, various people would come sit near me and some conversation about death would arise. They too were sojourning with family members as they waited for them to die. Over that month I grew to expect to greet, listen, comfort and assist with some medical knowledge about death with four different people.

    Not once over the course of my being there, waiting in the elevator foyer or in the waiting room did one person mention their religion, belief system and or ask about mine. We were humans who were on a journey of saying good-bye to loved ones. I’m an atheist. I don’t have a scary world view. I have a humanity view. In my world I care and will “minister” to those who are dying & to those who await death. I don’t mind using the term serve or minister. It simply means coming alongside a fellow human being who is suffering and easing them &/or their loved ones on their journey.

    I have a friend who died many years ago now. When I told her that I simply no longer believed the story I was once told was “the truth.” She told me I was the kind of Christian a Christian should be. 🙂 I smiled. I said, I’m the kind of human being a human being should be.

    Reply
  101. Dave

    I’ve been reading a lot of the comments here. I do hope that I do get a reply from Bruce at some point 🙂

    Has anyone here ever watched MASH? If you have, perhaps you remember two characters: Captain “Hawkeye” Pierce and Major Frank Burns. Hawkeye was an agnostic and Frank was this ultra Christian rule follower. Hawkeye had all these amazing moments of love and compassion, not just for Allied wounded soldiers, but also for enemy soldiers and the local population. Burns was just the opposite when it came to how to treat people, read his Bible religiously, and also was having an affair. Who was more Christlike in that show? I feel that most of this discussion can be reduced to looking at those two characters in that TV show.

    I feel that I can write this next paragraph because Bruce states that he does not hate the Jesus found in the New Testament and that’s who I want to talk about. (BTW — I’m trying very hard to stay within the posting rules here. If I violate them in anyway, please let me know, for it’s not my intention to do so.) I love the ministry of Jesus. In Matthew he didn’t say have “thoughts and prayers” for those who hate you, but rather “love and prayers.” There are so many stories of healing, but I don’t see any stories of Jesus asking someone if they’ve earned it or some criteria for who deserved healing and who didn’t. Most people don’t have the power to “heal,” but certainly we have the power to help another person’s physical needs! I love that Jesus went and met people where they were. Spreading the Gospel and doing God’s work was never to be done from behind a wall. I think of the woman at the well. I think of meeting Nicodemus at night. Race and religion and politics and social standing never impeded Him.

    My mother was very upset when I shared this website with her and read some content to her. My mother has advanced MS and she no longer has full mental capacity so please don’t judge her too harshly. She shares a view that I’ve read here that if you reject Christ, you must be “stupid” or “uneducated.” She didn’t want me interacting with “those people” on “that site.” Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not here trying to evangelize anyone. I’m not trying to preach. But I replied to her by saying, “As a Christian, where else should I be?” The she said, “So you think you’re going to go on there and convert all those people?” I said, “No. I’m just going to be myself.”

    Getting back to Zoe…

    First off, I’m very sorry that you had to go through such a long experience with your father’s death. It’s awesome that your husband took so much time to take your mother to see him too! I agree with your friend. It’s people like you that continue to convince me that there is a true living God.

    I know a guy who really wears two masks. When he puts on his “Christian” mask, he’s a pretty cool person. When he takes that off and puts on his other mask, he’s a total asshole. I’m not a fan of masks. I hold the door for people behind me. I don’t do that “in Jesus’ name” because I had my Christian mask on at that moment. I just do it. In the checkout line at Walmart the other night there was a mom and two young children, a boy and a girl, behind me. I fell into temptation and bought myself to candy bars along with a few other things. The boy grabbed one of them off the belt and said something about how that looked good and his mom quickly told him to put it back and then smiled at me apologetically. I waited a few moments and then asked her if she minded grabbing me another of the candy bars since she was standing in front of them at that moment. She did. I completed my transaction and then reached in the bag and pulled one of the candy bars out and gave it to the boy. I wasn’t wearing my “Christian” mask. I just did it because the opportunity was there.

    These are minor things and do not compare to your story, but I think that’s what you mean by being the kind of human being a human being should be. It’s an everyday thing. It’s routine. The acts of kindness that you did are far more powerful than holding a door or giving a candy bar to a child. Would your ministry have been different if you had a different worldview? I don’t think so. Now I’d love to go on a big Calvinist rant here, but that would get me banned big time! 🙂

    My point is that the “baseline goodness” that a Christian should display should be at least equal to that which an atheist shows. Sadly, Bruce is right. That’s not what we see in our world. Heck, I don’t even see that in the comments here! I think what you did in that circumstance is pretty amazing. You had every right to be selfish in that time of going through the passing of a parent, but you chose a different path. “It simply means coming alongside a fellow human being who is suffering.” Sounds a lot like meeting someone where they are.

    I really like the engagement here and I hope I can continue. I want to throw out a question here. It’s a true story. I’d like to hear some feedback, and then I’ll answer.

    For a second source of income, I’ve been working as a restaurant server for 18 years. About a year ago or so, I had two people get engaged at one of my tables. I’ve seen that before. However, this happened to be an engagement between two women. As a Christian, what should I have done in that situation or what would you expect a good Christian to do? I’d like to hear some suggestions and then I’ll say what I did.

    Reply
    1. Grammar Gramma

      Dave, since you are a Christian, I will ask you – what do you think Jesus would have done? Do you think he would have snubbed them? Or condemned them? Do you think that he might have even gone to their wedding, if he knew one or both of them? Or do you think, as some say, that they could never attend the wedding because that would mean showing support for homosexuality? As an atheist and a humanist, I think I would have told them “congratulations,” and possibly would have paid for their meal, or their drinks, or brought them a bottle of champagne, on me. Part of that would depend upon the cost of the meal or the drinks, of course.

      Reply
    2. Michael Mock

      MASH was a great show. Some really excellent humor, but also some very human moments. (And I’ve been know to reference the “war is war and hell is hell” bit from time to time, too.)

      “As a Christian, what should I have done in that situation or what would you expect a good Christian to do?”

      That depends on on how you’re defining a “good Christian”. I doubt it’ll surprise you when I say that in my experience, the people who are most invested in owning the identity of Good Christians display some of the worst and least Christ-like behaviors I’ve seen. On the other hand, I know plenty of good Christians who behave with empathy, courtesy, fairness, and kindness as a matter of course, and it’s a mistake to assume that there is one Christian view on homosexuality (despite how much some people, including many Christians, would like you to think there must be). There are Christians who see homosexuality as inherently sinful and any display of it as carrying the danger of infecting others with that uncleanliness. There are also Christians who affirm and uphold equal rights and equal treatment for homosexuality precisely because of their Christian beliefs: because that’s what “love your neighbor as yourself” means.

      So I don’t know how to answer the “as a Christian” part of your question. And honestly, under the circumstances I’d also consider “as a restaurant server” to be relevant too — you’re at work, and that’s another set of obligations in itself; that’s a different circumstance then if you happened to be taking a walk in the park when the proposal happened at a nearby picnic table.

      What I would say is that in a situation like this — by which I mean one in which two people are having a happy personal moment/event in a semi-public setting and not hurting anybody else, then the appropriate response is to congratulate them. If you aren’t comfortable congratulating them (for whatever reason), then the appropriate response is to mind your own business. (In this case, as a restaurant server, that includes smiling and nodding and carrying on as normal.)

      Reply
    3. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Hi Dave,

      What response would you like from me? 🙂

      The “Why I Hate Jesus” post is about the Jesus of Evangelical/Conservative Christianity, not the actual flesh and blood Jesus of the Bible. The jury is out for me as to what kind of man the historical Jesus might have been. I have an affinity for some of his teachings — if they are indeed his — but not so much with others. I also find Jesus’ treatment of his mother, parents, the Samaritan woman, etc lacking. To put it bluntly, the Jesus of the Bible was a real dick. In other words, he was human — not sinless.

      If you have questions related to this post, fire away. 🙂

      Be well.

      Bruce

      Reply
  102. Brian Vanderlip

    Believer, you must simply quiet your damaged heart and allow others to live alongside you in the world without harming them for your leader. Just be a decent human being, my friend. Do NOT love others as you love yourself because you have chosen to harm yourself with the belief that tortures you. Just be a decent biped and allow decency among us.

    Reply
  103. Dave

    Brian — I honestly don’t understand what you said.

    Grammar Gramma — “What would Jesus do?” is the cliche saying. I think about that question as much as, “What would Jesus NOT have done?” I can’t always answer the first, but I can usually answer the second.

    Michael — You are correct. I was acting in the capacity of my job, which adds another layer to everything.

    Now, just a bit of quick worldview. I do believe that PRACTICING homosexuality is a sin and it’s not a lifestyle the I, personally, morally approve of. But there are a lot of life choices that people make that I don’t exactly approve of, and I don’t see homosexuality as this ultimate sin. Most “sins” have victims. This one generally does not and that’s why it’s not something I choose to spend a lot of time and energy on. Especially when it comes to the marriage contract, I’m more concerned about people getting married that have a prior domestic assault charge or have had affairs in prior marriages.

    Back to the restaurant.

    I simply did what I would have done for anyone else. For reference, the restaurant was Olive Garden. I congratulated them. Got them a dessert. I didn’t “over do it” or “under do it.” I’ve done the “what would you do” thing with many people about this. I’ve had a wide range of answers.

    I just had two things on my mind. 1) There is no reason to treat these people any differently. I’m acting in the capacity of a restaurant server. That’s how I feel about the cake bakers and the wedding venue people. By doing your job, you’re not endorsing anything. 2) Assuming that these two women were not believers for a moment, if I ruined that moment for them with saying something about Jesus and sin and all of that, they would never forget that. There’s a warning in the Bible about causing others to sin or causing others to hate Jesus. I would have been guilty of that.

    There have only been instances that I can remember in my 18 years of serving where I spoke out at a guest. One was a man who hit his child in the restaurant. And by hit, I do not mean a hand slap or even a spanking. I politely told the man that if he did that again in my sight, my next call would be to the police. The second was a man who was brutally verbally abusive to his wife. And I got the whole “you can’t tell me what to do with my wife/family yada yada.” I chose those two moments to “force my view of right and wrong” on someone.

    Reply
  104. Zoe

    Dave: “These are minor things and do not compare to your story, but I think that’s what you mean by being the kind of human being a human being should be. It’s an everyday thing. It’s routine. The acts of kindness that you did are far more powerful than holding a door or giving a candy bar to a child. Would your ministry have been different if you had a different worldview? I don’t think so. Now I’d love to go on a big Calvinist rant here, but that would get me banned big time! ”

    Zoe: I’m careful with the term “compare” Dave. In my former Christian life, it’s all many Christians did around me. Compare amounts of tithing, compare Sunday School attendance, compare Sunday clothing, compare lifestyles, compare the music, compare the preacher’s wife’s haircut, compare the baptismal testimony . . . etc. ad nauseum. :/

    Another reason I’m careful with the word “compare” is . . . we can tend to minimize our “everyday things” and “routines” when comparing them to another. Your chocolate bar (we Canadians call them chocolate bars) 🙂 and door opening examples are not less grand than mine. They’re just different.

    Re: the “Calvinist rant.” Been there, done that, nothing gained by going there except for possibly re-traumatizing me and others who experienced spiritual abuse in toxic Calvinist environments.

    The only difference between my former Christian self and my current atheistic self is that from the view of many Christians, I still get hell. They don’t. Even if they are assholes. They’re forgiven assholes. I’m just a human being that no matter how kind and compassionate I might be, get’s hell in the end.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      “The only difference between my former Christian self and my current atheistic self is that from the view of many Christians, I still get hell. They don’t. Even if they are assholes. They’re forgiven assholes. I’m just a human being that no matter how kind and compassionate I might be, get’s hell in the end.”

      Yep. 🙂

      Reply
  105. Dave

    Zoe… I did not know you were Canadian. I have yet to meet a Canadian that isn’t nice 🙂

    Compare… I just have great respect and appreciation for the situation you talked about. I wanted to make sure that you didn’t think I was reducing your experience with your father to smaller, quick acts of kindness. I agree with your reply completely though!

    I just commented earlier on hell. Here’s what I wrote in reply to another post:

    Another thing that bugs me is laughing about hell. If you call yourself a Christian, there’s nothing funny about hell
    or someone who may be lost. “Well it’s their own fault,” doesn’t cut it. Christians are just as much to blame for
    lost souls as the lost souls themselves. If someone ends up in hell, that doesn’t vindicate a Christian. This isn’t a
    game about who’s right or wrong.

    I always say that I think we’ll be very surprised at who is “saved” and who is not. Maybe it’s a weakness of faith, but I never assume that I am, because to be honest, I am a very very terrible sinner. I also never assume that someone else is not. I just think back to the thief on the cross. All it took for him was one small sentence. You might be surprised someday 🙂

    Reply
    1. Zoe

      I read your comment on the other post Dave.

      I think there is nothing funny about a belief system that includes an eternal place of torment.

      Reply
  106. Christopher A. Harper

    WOW! I am NOT an atheist but for the past year or so I have had a crisis of faith. The article you wrote put into words what I could NOT! Thank you! I agree with you 100%! Best thing I have read all day, thanks! Peace!

    Reply
  107. Chad

    Hi Bruce,

    Well…as they say, I’m sure you’ve heard it all. I’ll tell you that while I disagree with some of your conclusions, I actually agree with much of what you are expressing here….and I say that as guy who loves Jesus. He’s just not the Jesus of most garden variety evangelicals.

    I’ve come to the painful conclusion that most evangelicals either have no idea who Jesus actually is or they have a very distorted view of his character. Having come from that place, I can tell you that even though most of them are tragically mistaken, it doesn’t mean that God’s spirit isn’t active in their lives. Nor does it mean that their faith is without meaning and purpose. But, as you know…many intending to do good, actually do a shit ton of harm. You’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. Hell…I’ve even been one of those well meaning “believers” who hit’s the nail on his thumb…more than once.

    Anyway, I won’t bore you with the details of how I got here. But I will tell you that I’m a hell of a lot happier and contented with life now that I have. In essence, (you’ll hate this expression) “God’s spirit showed me” that most Christians have almost no idea how the world actually works. They don’t really understand God’s economy. But the kicker, is that like ideologues the world over, they think they do. Is it any wonder? It’s hammered, drilled, beat (whatever) into them from the top down…and in the case of the average believer, from nut to tree. That’s the power of indoctrination. And once it’s taken root, everything we see is read through that ideological lens. That is how they continue in their prestidigitation. It’s head in the sand; ass in the air. But I don’t hate them, because I recognize that this is where I came from. I too had the blinders on…and like them, had no idea I had the blinders on. Hell…I didn’t even know there were blinders. You get the point. Yet, somehow, by the grace of God, I woke up. It wasn’t easy, since so much of what I had been taught required a dramatic course correction. I had a lot of cognitive dissonance. Some hard choices had to be made. At one point I thought I was losing my faith. But in retrospect it seems I was just losing my religion.

    I’m not bitter. Nor am I angry. I’m thankful. My “new” paradigm has changed so much of what I thought I knew. Reading the Bible, is truly a much broader revelation now and a challenge at times, since I now am able to see things that were hidden from me by my ideological bias. As you know, challenges whether they are physical, intellectual, or spiritual mean growth. And that’s a good thing. But best of all, I feel closer to God in many ways.

    I do not blame God for the failings of the church. It’s just people being people. It’s not hard to see why they sometimes leave the faith when they realize that the world works very differently from how evangelical leaders are teaching them. It’s a Peter Pan theology of sorts. And then when people realize the reality of existence, they dismiss everything, even God. I totally get it. The world is a complicated place and everything doesn’t always fit into our neat little doctrinal compartments. But most believers are oblivious, living in their black and white vacuum.

    Oh well…rambling now. I guess your post took me back a ways. Thanks for sharing man.

    All the best,

    Chad

    Reply
  108. Zoe

    Hi Chad,

    You wrote: “I’ve come to the painful conclusion that most evangelicals either have no idea who Jesus actually is or they have a very distorted view of his character. Having come from that place, I can tell you that even though most of them are tragically mistaken, it doesn’t mean that God’s spirit isn’t active in their lives. Nor does it mean that their faith is without meaning and purpose. But, as you know…many intending to do good, actually do a shit ton of harm. You’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. Hell…I’ve even been one of those well meaning “believers” who hit’s the nail on his thumb…more than once.”

    Zoe: So, since you left the “shit ton of harm” behind, so-to-speak, these “evangelicals” of whom you mention here, still saved? And Bruce, myself and others, with your “knew” understanding of Jesus, the Bible etc., do we, still get hell for eternity?

    Reply
    1. Chad

      Wow…uh…where to begin? How the hell should I know? That’s between you and God or, if you prefer, between you and you. The same applies to evangelicals or anyone else of another religious stripe. It’s not my place to sit here and pontificate about your eternal destiny. I think that’s part of the problem with this westernized version (whatever you wanna call it) of Christendom. It’s what leads to the hard, high pressure sales tactics of our modern, some would say postmodern, evangelism.

      Reply
      1. Zoe

        Thanks Chad. I was just wondering. You mentioned loving Jesus and not the garden variety Jesus of evangelicals so I wondered what Jesus you follow. Often, Christians claim they have left evangelism &/or Catholicism or perhaps Calvinism &/or other denomination/sects of Christianity, who then still hold on to “Jesus” and leave the impression that they finally got it right and are so thankful. You claim to be much happier and I know Christians who still hold on to Jesus but they let “hell” go and I wondered if it’s still a part of your belief system. I’m thinking it is as you appear to leave room for it saying it’s between God and me.

        Reply
        1. Chad

          Hi Zoe. Anyway, yes…I do leave room for it, as I believe in the existence of a cause and effect universe, which even encompasses the spiritual realm. I also believe that God respects our ability to choose and thus live with the consequences of our choices, both in the now and in the hereafter. But as with the doctrine of salvation, I am still working out Hell. Just as Jesus being the only way is a reality we’ll deal with sooner or later, so is Hell. Those two items, aren’t even a question in my mind. What’s really at stake for me is what do they mean and how do they derive. I do think that part of the issue is that we (Christians) throw these terms around, thinking we understand what they mean and how they do or don’t play out in the noumenal world. But we don’t. Like Kant, we seem to be forever stuck in the phenomenal realm of the mind. But unlike Kant, I do think that just because we’re stuck in the world of perception doesn’t mean that our perception isn’t accurate. Otherwise, I think even Kant’s own view, while helpful, collapses under the weight of its inability to satisfy its own requirements for validity, which is a another discussion altogether. I digress… I think we “believers” are sure we have a pretty good bead on what it means when we say that “Jesus is the only way,” or when we use terms like “Hell.” But actually, we have a view that is overly simplistic and imprecise. A view that fits into an idealistic (purely black and white) universe, is NOT a view that is in accordance with reality, since it leaves no room for the complexities of existence. Ironically and to our shame, it doesn’t leave any room for the God we claim created us either…since we claim that He is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and immutable. We describe Him as love itself. Yet, we deny these claims when we speak of Hell and Salvation. If God is all that we say He is, then He must have a contingency plan that covers the complexities of existence, which means that topics like Hell and Salvation are much more complex and nuanced than we pretend.

          Reply
  109. Scott

    I read your blog from time to time and always find it intriguing. The comments section especially so. The Jesus of the American evangelical is of course a fairly recent phenomenon, as you observe very much a product of modernity, well suited to our shallow, egotistical consumerist lives. We create God in our image as it were, and thus our plastic and bloodless messiah. Christianity is a broad church though: the Jesus of the medieval mystic, the Church Fathers, the Armenian christian fleeing persecution, the Jesus of the early (Jewish) believers would be unrecognisable to your average 21st century 1st world congregation on it’s folding leatherette pews. (He’d be hounded out of town as a demoniac I reckon, if he were to stand up to preach). I wonder what your thoughts are about Jesus in other traditions, the Jesus (for example) of the Eastern Orthodox tradition (I’m thinking David Bentley Hart here). Or John Caputo’s Jesus, or the Jesus of, say, Dieterich Bonhoeffer? I guess I’m saying that there may be a case for (pun) saving Jesus from the Evangelicals…

    Reply
  110. Brian Vanderlip

    It’s gently humbling to hear the ones (and to have been the ones) who have found the true path and are quite convinced that others are ignorant of the true scriptures. My favorite of these bipeds are the Mormon kids, the Elder This and Elder That, all dressed up in uniform suits and flung gung-ho over the earth to draw people into discussions about ‘eternal’ matters. These kids make my eyebrows slowly ascend as they gleefully parrot one another and the book. They are so happy in their roles because they do not have to deal with being young and human, just have to play at winning souls! Praise his holy name, Denial Jesus!
    The humbling aspect for me is human memory, (my own) and how it reminds me that I am neither saved nor condemned, neither perfectly sure or unsure, that I am human and that these young people are me too, at a place, a time. Finally, I am reminded of the great lifting of recursive weight from my being when I knew that I finally knew I did not believe at all, not at all.
    It rained hard last night, here in the North Okanagan, B.C. and this morning, low clouds are practicing ground-level TaiChi on the hill just outside my window. There’s a sheen of white dew on the fields, almost like a light snow blanket as the dawn slow-motions, reaches and dips. The sun is not yet up over the eastern hill. The TaiChi continues floating through a hundred plus gestures over the clover. You should see what is about to happen! In about thirty minutes the orb of sun will blink over the eastern hill, a hill that rises, still in darkness about halfway up the sky. My eyes have to rise up to reach the sky, already bright behind it all. It is 5:30 a.m. and when the sun finally breaks over the ridge above, the entire world here is reborn in light. It is fireworks, fireworks in utter silence, the definition of light. That is my salvation message for this Sunday morning. Wanna get saved?

    Reply
  111. Brunetto Latini

    I don’t hate Jesus. But I really don’t like the Apostle Paul. I spent years disgusted with myself because of Paul.

    Reply
  112. Brunetto Latini

    And by Paul, I mean the real man who claimed he was smitten on the Damascus road. No modern embellishments were necessary to make him a brilliant pest.

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  113. Matt feeney

    This is not meant to sound defensive as I am believer. However I have always felt like the Bruce’s in this life are just arguing their case and building up an arsenal of evidence. They know one day they will have to give an account of themselves to the Lord. They think God will see how loving they are verses the horrible people who claim to be christians and cut them slack. Like God judges on a curve. God doesn’t judge us on how we look compared to each other but on how we look compared to Christ. And no one not even Bruce can live up to that.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      What you “feel” Matt is wrong, at least in my case. Since I don’t believe in God, why would I ever think that I have to “give an account of themselves to the Lord?” And even if there is a God, if how one treats others doesn’t matter or isn’t the primary reason for whether someone is sent to Heaven or Hell, why would I want to worship such a God? Why would I want to worship a God who, according to Evangelicals, sends people to Hell for believing the wrong things, worshipping the wrong God, or being born in the wrong place to the wrong parents?

      The good news is that most Christians are better than their God. If the Bible is a true accounting of the character, nature, and behavior of the Christian God, then I can confidently saying that he is a mean, vindictive, capricious son of a bitch; a deity not worthy of worship or respect. I can humbly say that I treat people far better than your God does. Yes, I fail daily, but I do my best to be a good person, and if that’s not good enough to garner me a room in Heaven, oh well. But wait, I “believed” the right things, Matt. I repented of my sins and put my faith and trust in Jesus. Doesn’t that mean I am guaranteed a home in God’s Trump Hotel? ** this is where Christians start stammering or ‘splaining ** If you say, NO, then it is not really beliefs that get you in. Works DO matter. If that’s the case, then I’m good. I am a better man, husband, father, and Reds fan than many of the “my beliefs are oh so right” Evangelicals I know.If God’s keeping score, I am sure I will make it to Heaven — albeit my room will be in the socialist wing.

      Now, before you wade in, Matt, please make sure you have read the commenting guidelines. If you have some sort of message from God to deliver to me or the readers of this blog, please do so. Just remember, though, you only get one shot. Make the most of it.

      Reply
    2. J W

      There’s a fatal flaw with the reasoning in your comment, Matt: you’re not God.

      You don’t get to decide what God does or does not do, you don’t get to decide His criteria for judgement, nor even whether he exists. Your beliefs on the matter have no impact on these things. You even make faulty assumptions on why Bruce or other atheists and agnostics do the things that they do, and try to tell us how we think or what we know. Do you have any idea how unconvincing that is? If you can’t even get that right, what value is your opinion on God?

      Even further, suppose God does exist and is the kind of picky monster who for whatever reason condemns everyone who does not believe in the tenants of Fiver Shia Islam (for example) to the fiery pits of Hell. And what would happen should I decide to listen to you? All you’re offering here is the certain path to eternal damnation.

      Of course, that is only one of infinitely many possibilities. I’m sure there are plenty of others that you can think of. The thing is, neither you nor I have any control over what reality really is. We’re only guessing to the best of our knowledge. And just to make things clear, if God really did exist and decided to communicate, I’d be quite willing to listen. I wouldn’t necessarily agree, but I’d at least listen. What I am not willing to do is to blindly believe the words of other human beings on the matter, especially when they so very often demonstrate that they are not really interesting in the truth of things, preferring whatever sacred idol they’ve constructed for themselves in that brain of theirs.

      In short, it’s YOU that I don’t believe, Matt Feeney. It’s YOU that I’m arguing with, not God. Get over yourself.

      Reply
  114. Zoe

    Matt, are you saying believers aren’t defensive? If anything, your comment is offensive. And arrogant.

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  115. Matt feeney

    Hi Zoe
    Of course we get defensive
    It’s human nature. And yes I’m probably arrogant. But how is it offensive?

    Reply
    1. Grammar Gramma

      Matt – The offense lies, at least in part, in suggesting (without using the word) that we unbelievers are all going to hell. And your post smacks of satisfaction in that regard – we deserve it. We are not arguing our case. We don’t think any god will judge us on a curve, or cut us some slack. We don’t believe in any gods. Not yours, not the Catholic gods, not the Church of Christ gods, not the Baptist gods, not the Methodist gods, not the Islamic gods, nor the Hindu gods, nor the Mormon gods . . .
      One last thought – if no one can live up to your Christ, how can you know that you do? How do you know that you aren’t going to that hell you fear so much, but so smugly believe you will not have to endure?

      Reply
  116. Matt feeney

    Hi grammar grandma I do believe that there is a hell and I also believe many people will go there. And I guess you will have to take my word for it but I take no satisfaction in that. Yes you do deserve hell but so do I. Sorry that makes it offensive. But if your right and there is no God and the Bible is just a outdated book for rubes like me I don’t see how it offends you? Bruce himself says he doesn’t fear judgement any more than Mickey mouse breaking into his house and stealing his t.v. I’m not offended that you guys don’t agree with me. I’m not even offended you called me smug. L8

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  117. Mary

    People like Matt are in so deep in their need to believe in such a hateful vengeful, judgemental god, that they will never dig there way out and to the surface of reality and freedom. It is a lost cause for them, as their need to feel superior and righteous as this is what’s it’s all about for them. It’s not even about their beliefs, although they claim in their own mind that it is. It is about this need to feel superior, chosen and a desire to lord it over everyone else. It is absolutely pathetic.

    I believe in no god but were it to be like Matt believes, not only would I want no part of that god that petty, narcissistic and unbelievably cruel, but I’d think it was the devil in disguise.

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  118. Brian Vanderlip

    Commenters like Matt quickly reveal the virus that is evangelical Christianity when they carry on about hells and heavens, about having to give an accounting and so forth… Many of us here have lived long and strong in the brain-fog of belief (my dad was a Baptist preacher) and that is perhaps why there is such patience in listening to virtually the same brain-fog witness after witness. We know the drill and deeply appreciate the nuances of faith. And, as I think Zoe states above in this thread, it is offensive and arrogant. Christianity like this is designed to achieve the generic effect observed in Matt’s words. If Jesus saves, then I’m guessing it is at the Toronto Dominion Bank that he does it.

    Reply
  119. Matt feeney

    Hi Mary and Brian. I believe you Mary when you say if there was a God like the one we christians worship you wouldn’t respect him. And I believe Brian that thinks we believers are brain fogged. So if I may…this is all expected. How can Jesus who is called the prince of peace say “I didn’t come into the world to bring peace but to cause division…”? Jesus knew his words would make one choose to accept or reject his message. So why at his birth would they say peace on Earth and Goodwill toward men. Because Jesus came to bring peace only between God and man. That peace was broken when sin entered the human race. So Brian and his dad both had to choose. One choose Christ and one rejected his message. Therefore we have division. Having said that and I’m only guessing of course but Brian’s dad probably loves his son and prays for him earnestly.

    Reply
    1. GeoffT

      Matt, just a quick question. You refer to the messages that Jesus uttered and left for us to ponder or rather, as you put it, to choose or reject. Would it make a difference if Jesus never actually said these things, perhaps never having even existed? To be clear, I’m not opening the debate over the historicity of Jesus, I’m trying to establish if you think the message is important in and of itself, or whether it only matters if Jesus conveyed it.

      Reply
  120. Matt feeney

    Hey Bruce. It’s been a long time. But 5 maybe ten years ago I read your deconversion story on John loftus’ blog. I haven’t been around for that 5 or ten years. I was actually googling a story about a local pastor who is a child rapist. And your blog came up and I was like hey I remember that guy. Any ways I actually commented on Bruce droppings a couple times. I remembered you because we are both buckeyes with ties to Texas. Anyways glad to see you again. I will continue to check your site out to stay in touch with the happenings.☮️

    Reply
  121. Matt feeney

    Hi Geofft. Not sure if fully understand but yes if Jesus never said these things or never existed or even if he did exist and was not able to conquer death then my faith is meaningless. Sorry if that’s not what you were asking. L8

    Reply
    1. GeoffT

      Yes Matt, that’s what I was asking and the answer is what I expected.

      The problem is that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is precisely nil (the bad evidence provided by the gospels almost counts against it!) so the only reason you believe it is because you want to. Well belief in real life doesn’t work like that. It depends on evidence. And if the words of Jesus aren’t grounds for belief in themselves (which, given the appalling statements his script writers had him say at times, isn’t surprising) then there’s actually no reason left for people to believe.

      Reply
  122. Matt feeney

    Hi JW. Someone told me about Jesus and I was glad.

    Reply
    1. J W

      Neat. It’s great that you’re happy. Similarly, I’m glad that faith alone doesn’t make things true. There’s a lot of awful things that people have been known to believe in, after all.

      Reply
  123. Scott

    Fascinating subject, thank you. Maybe my thoughts will add something, if not, alt-delete! I’m an ex fundie, ex evangelical, writing from the distant borderlands where definitions of belief and unbelief are blurry. For me, atheism seems as doctrinaire as my abandoned beliefs. So: more questions than answers, but still looking. Anyone here read John Caputo (or listened to him)? His ideas are intriguing. He proposes all our attempts at naming “God” or seeing “God” as a “being amongst beings” are futile, in a way “God” becomes an idol or fetish in fundamentalist and evangelical usage, just one more “thing”. This seems relevant to our use of the name “Jesus” too (and by the way, let’s face it: Mary would’ve called her boy something close to “Eshu”. Sorry, evangelicals: Jesus wouldn’t even have heard the word “God” – probably using the Aramaic “Alawhaw” or something similar). Names are mere symbols and we confuse them with the referent – but what if the referent is ineffable, beyond words, in the way our experience of love and longing and suffering and hope are poorly reflected in words? Caputo suggests “God does not exist, but insists”. What if all our received wisdom about Jesus is a kind of symbolic (or shambolic) attempt to understand ultimate mystery, the riddle of life, the human condition? The pain we feel when we are rejected and abused and misrepresented or the joy we find in mercy and kindness are expressed through the gospel stories – laid bare so we can see ourselves and others through them? Not to be read in a literal way, but as symbol, sacred myth in which we can find a meaning in our own anguish? What if the birth of Jesus to a teenage girl (impregnated by who knows who – a roman soldier or a moment of weakness with a local lad perhaps) into poverty and a place of adversity is a story to teach us about acceptance and comfort in life’s precarity? The Nativity story is largely fiction – theologoumenon – but does that mean, as Bart Ehrman says, that its a falsehood? Maybe, maybe not. The Lord of the Rings is apure fiction – but is there truth exprssed through it? Perhaps it points to a truth within us, or for me as a person who may live daily with oppression, war, poverty. To read these ancient texts this way, we can liberate the gospels – and Jesus – from an oppressive literalist reading and discover meaning in the same way we do in literature, novels, paintings, dance, poetry. In the stories we tell our children at bedtime, or making sense of our grief. Stories we tell to find meaning in life’s absurdity. Then, no longer obsessing about “did Jesus really say this or that”, we can find the mythic truth in the words. The words are just words, but something happens inside me, I recognize myself in the narrative, perhaps I say, ‘shit that nasty pharisee – that’s me right there’ or Jesus’ cry of abandonment from the cross is my own experience of “no one gives a shit about me, there is no God, my life’s been in vain”. Another example is the woman caught in adultery. Most scholars acknowledge this story is a late addition and not even vaguely historical. It’s made up. But the story contains a profound message for us, about acceptance, judging others etc. And this mythical truth is true for us as men and women irrespective of the historical Jesus and what he had on his sandwiches, the Jesus who is a vague figure dimly reflected in the text. The horrible American Jesus is an idol, a monstrous projection of our own shallow and selfish society, just as the Jesus of the Inquisition reflected the Inquisitors’ cruelties and the Byzantine Jesus the authoritarianism of the time. I hate the Jesus of the US evangelcal too; we must unmask him as an imposter. Is there a logo, a Living Word, a referent behind our inadequate symbols and names? That is a question we all answer for ourselves.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Isn’t your assumption still the same as Evangelicals; that Jesus/Christian God is the one true God/essence/power? You cover this assumption with all sorts mythical/spiritual ideas, but you come to the same conclusion as Evangelicals and other Christians: Jesus.

      Why choose Jesus as the end all? If Jesus was a mere mortal, why him, and not one or more of the countless “good” men and women who have walked the face of the Earth? Or is your choice of Jesus as a reference point conditioned by geography, culture, and tribal influence; that most Americans are Christians because the United States is a “Christian” nation?

      No one would argue with you about there being “value” in the Bible. When treated like any other book, value can be derived from many of its stories. However, I suspect the Bible is more than just a book of stories/maxims to you. Am I wrong?

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

      Reply
  124. Brian Vanderlip

    The dream/delusion of a superhero is a strong one in us and magic Jesus fills the need. The belief fog is what we create to cover the harm in our lives and to further harm ourselves, admitting a fallen nature and so forth. The longer I am absent from religion/God, the more pernicious I realize the structure of evangelical Christianity is… It tells a person they are garbage and useless without magic Jesus. Bully abusers always undermine their victim’s feelings about self, call them names and then beat them down. How is Christianity any different really than an abusive family, the angry father who harms and then the magic healer who soothes, says sorry and ‘teaches’ survival in a dangerous world… Liberal Christianity has some of the sharp edges dulled and likes the cozy in belief but it is still the same viral harm at its heart. I have traveled far enough from Christianity now that when somebody tells me to Go to Hell, I wonder if they are suggesting I attend the local Baptist church…

    Reply
  125. Zoe

    Brian Vanderlip: ” I have traveled far enough from Christianity now that when somebody tells me to Go to Hell, I wonder if they are suggesting I attend the local Baptist church…”

    Zoe: This made me smile. It reminds me of the many days in the IFB church that I started rebuking Satan and his demons on the way to the church property. I should write a post about that some day.

    Reply
  126. Mary

    Is anyone watching the Family on Netflix?
    I have not started it, but hear it’s quite good. Basically about the Christian takeover of our government and ultimately all of us will pay the price in a loss of freedom and isolation from the rest of the modern world.

    Reply
  127. Scott

    I couldn’t work out how to reply to your reply, so I’m creating a new post. Thanks Bruce for your response. Like a boxer’s upper cut! Do you detect some residual evangelical blood in my theological veins? Am I an incomplete deconversion case perhaps? I think so; I’m hugely ambivalent and hugely torn. I do think at some level I am trying to recover something from the rubble left behind after the collapse of my faith, picking through the ruins for a Jesus however dismembered. (I live close to Liverpool in England; there’s a ruined church in the city, bombed in WWII, which comes to mind as a metaphor). Why do I bother? I ask myself that. It’s maybe a sort of post-faith PTSS, where one keeps returning to the scene of the trauma. Thing is I find your arguments – including your challenges to me – as convincing as any Caputo might throw my way. Perhaps more so. You ask, why Jesus? Indeed; why not all the other remarkable figures throughout history… Socrates, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Martin Buber, atheist secular humanists like Bertrand Russell? Its a good question, and I dont think we have to choose between our twachers. The Buddha fascinates me; my favourite book is not the Bible but Siddhartha. To andlswe your question I can’t say I regard Jesus (whoever he was) as more important than the Buddha or Socrates. I guess I just wonder if Jesus might be one significant but certainly not the only eexpression/symbol/myth of the “Ineffable” … so I may be more of a Quaker than an evangelical. Evangelicals represent too much hurt, bigotry, cruelty and disappointment to me; I prefer my atheist friends by and large.

    Yes, I acknowledge that because of my cultural context Jesus is the symbol I am most likely to find to articulate ‘the ineffable referent’. But I absolutely insist that what we (with our inadequate words) call God/the lifeforce/Ungrund/ is as discoverable in any man or woman, in the eyes of a dog, the expression of an animal caged in a zoo, in the Fibonacci spiral in a common garden weed, a Rothko painting.

    I do not give special place (not in the devotional sense) to the texts bound together in the so-called “Bible”. They were once scattered scrolls and codices, contradictory, mysterious, ancient, brittle, written by swarthy Semitic folk in desert lands. Bart Ehrman has a high regard for them without having to see them as somehow literal truth. I don’t much care anymore for the slick leather book the word “Bible” brings to mind. But there are myths penned in the ancient Near-East which resonate, seduce and confuse me, no less than myths in Africa (where I grew up) and in the far east (which fascinates me). These thoughts and meditations weigh on me. I find no peace in God or no-God. The writer Nikolai Berdyaev said we can feel more at home with people of an utterly different persuasion than with our co-religionists, and I continually find this to be true. Thanks for engaging.

    Reply
  128. Scott

    “Teachers”, not “twachers” although there may be few of those out there too 😂 apologies for my typo’s.

    Reply
  129. Wade

    Bruce, I really feel sorry for you. Because of your own weaknesses and failures in your own life and being let down by HUMANS you are spreading a message of HATE and atheism. Blaming God and Jesus for human faults and failures. Obviously you don’t really understand the Bible, or Jesus or God. And obviously you can’t distinguish between God and Man, so you give up because of men’s failures, and become a hater of Jesus and an atheist. WHAT A SAD THING. I know you won’t like this, but I see you in the picture and I see sadness for a man who tries to get his attention and respect and love from other haters of God and Jesus. I know you won’t like this but I love you as a brother in Christ. I see a man that longs to be loved, respected, and understood, but is looking to humans to give him those things, not to his creator God and Jesus…….. blaming the wrong one for problems in life. We live in a sin sick fallen world, and it rains on the just and the unjust. Jesus is not the cause of man’s problems, Jesus is the answer to man’s problems. But too many men expect Jesus to prevent all bad things from happening. He does, but that is in Heaven. The earth is not a perfect place, and you blaming Jesus for all bad things that happen on earth shows you completely don’t understand God and Jesus, and blame him for the things that MEN and HUMAN BEINGS, cause. If the earth was a perfect place, then there would be no need for Heaven, and Heaven would be nothing. If you really were a real believer before, not just following a whim, you are still a believer. The Lord loves you whether you love Him or hate Him. The Lord doesn’t hate homosexuals like you said above. The Lord hates the SIN of homosexuality, just like the SIN of murder, the SIN of lying, the SIN of HATE, the SIN of disbelief. But he doesn’t hate the SINNER. I hate the things that MY children do that are wrong, but NOTHING they can do will ever make me hate them. That is REAL LOVE, and that is how God and Jesus are. You can blame Jesus and God all you want, but the real problems on earth are caused by MAN. When you understand that, you can have peace and be relieved of all this misguided HATE you seem to have. I will keep you in my prayers, and as a brother in Christ, Jesus will love you no matter what poisonous hate you spew about Him. I have so much more to say, but I’ll stop here. I hope you have a blessed day, and a blessed life, and can one day have peace and love in your heart again.

    Reply
  130. J.C.

    Boy… Am I glad I got to know Jesus without any connection to a church or Christians! He just revealed himself to me one day when I didn’t want to live any longer. That was 48 years ago and I’m obviously still around, so His “intervention” certainly worked!

    Reply
    1. John Arthur

      Boy, am I glad that Zeus revealed himself to me. Sorry, you met the wrong God.

      Tell me J.C., how does any subjective experience of any god show that God exists, except perhaps in one’s mind? How do you know that you are not deluded?

      Reply
  131. J.C.

    P.S. Forgot to add… This is the only Jesus you would love. Just ask Him to reveal Himself to you like He did to me. Hey…you have absolutely nothing to lose!

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      *sigh* Why would I want to be like you?

      Of course, I don’t have anything to lose. Your God is a myth and Jesus is dead. In other words, the Jesus who revealed himself to you is a myth; the product of drinking too much booze or smoking too much dope. Enter reality, JC. What do you have to lose?

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    2. Astreja

      There is something to lose, J.C. – a part of your rational mind. If one does not believe, pretending to believe is just going to induce a state of cognitive dissonance in your brain and put you at odds with yourself.

      Unless you now have access to divine magical powers, which I rather doubt, all you’ve really done is built a “Jesus” in your imagination. I’ll pass, thank you.

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  132. Brian Vanderlip

    Well J.C., you had an experience that ‘changed you’ and you call it Jesus. I am happy you feel like surviving now but don’t ask me to play magic reveal with you. Many many of us who are long gone from Christ and all the Christianity you say is not Christ, many of us have been down that road. It’s the same old magic story. I am sorry you hated your life and had to suffer as all humans do. The merry go round you have adopted will just land you up at yourself again. I wish you well.

    Reply
  133. scott

    I know I keep returning to this site with interest (well I do get an alert from this blog that something has been posted!). It seems Bruce that the spat with JC and evangelical trolls just goes round and round in circles, as does debate with all fundamentalists. Maybe I want to attempt to inject a different perspective – and I want to return to your main theme – that “I don’t hate the flesh and blood Jesus who walked the dusty roads of Palestine, nor do I hate the Jesus found in the pages of the Bible. These Jesuses are relics of the past. I’ll leave it to historians to argue and debate whether these Jesuses were real or fiction”. I agree the fundamentalist/conservative Jesus we associate with late American culture is definitely a bizarre cultural construct, largely ignorant of its spurious origins. It shows 1) a failure to carefully investigate the very texts (‘The’ Bible) they fetishize and regard as inerrant. They should start at very least with Bart Ehrman or Elaine Pagels to mention just two scholars); 2) a failure to understand their own theology (and how relatively recent the evangelical tradition actually is, and how it is a historical aberration in the history of Christianity 3) A failure to see that the christian understanding of who Jesus Christ was – both as a historical figure and in terms of ‘High Christology” is very diverse across history, geography and culture. Most American evangelicals wouldn’t see a brother in a turn of the century Armenian Christian, a Coptic priest or a dusty old Anchorite. They’d hardly recognise their faith as expressed by the Church Fathers like Origen or Gregory of Nyssa, the German medieval mystic Jakob Boehme or the scholastic monks of 12th century England, or the believers of Reformation Geneva or Byzantium. They’d be unrecognizable both in theology and praxis. So my challenge to the evangelicals reading your blog would be the same as Bart Ehrman’s challenge to his students: THINK; deconstruct and challenge your own belief system. Extract yourself from your safe and narrow point of view. To assume you ‘know the truth’ is a sad sort of arrogance. Equally, read about other religious and non-religious traditions (Buddhism, Secular humanism, Hinduism, Taoism…). But I guess I also ask you Bruce what you think of a Christian like David Bentley Hart or Rowan Williams or John Csputo. Do you think them deluded? That the space they open up in the area of theology and philosophy has any merit? An alternative Jesus perhaps? A space for metaphor, poetry, myth (in the sense Jung used it rather than ‘falsehood’) and nuance? I guess I’m just slightly bemused by your certainty that it’s all pretty much hogwash. I mean, I understand somewhat the atheist position and keep on reading the atheists like Bertrand Russell (the New Atheism is too much like Christian fundamentalism). I find Ivan Karamazov’s rejection of God in Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov VERY poignant and convincing. But I always recoil from the absolute atheism of a Dawkins because it seems ill-informed. Hitchens is better, but over emotional. I inhabit this place of questioning both the atheist and the believer. Still not certain tho’! Thank you for giving me space for some rather rambling thoughts.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Richard Dawkins, by the way, is agnostic on the God question.

      I’m not a fan of religion, regardless of the clothing it wears. I understand the sociological, psychological, cultural, geographical, and tribal reasons people believe in God (s), but I see no need for such beliefs. It’s the twenty-first century. Time for us to leave the ancient bones of religion behind.

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  134. Brian Vanderlip

    Scogt siad: …A space for metaphor, poetry, myth…
    This is one reason why I left the black and whilte thinking of evangelicalism. It made use of poetry and song, myth and ritual and it used them to destroy their essence in human evolution, to stagnate and calcify imagination. I think it is wonderful to throw in all kinds of nuance and perspective and not simply get comfortable in one’s belief or lack of it. The Grand inquisitor assumes power and it feels good! We will always be seeking freedom in life, fighting for freedom.
    As for your comment on Bruce’s use of ‘hogwash’, I don’t think there is a better word to apply to Trumped up evangelical Christian belief on this continent. It bemuses me to think that so so many people come to this blog to point out that all of the Christianity we see is not Christianity at all and Jesus revealed himself to this individual to prove it! Hence, the fairly frequest observation around here that there are as many Christianities as there are Christians.
    One deciding that one knows the truth is a very dangerous easychair and should never be preached. When Science rules out an assumption it does not rule out all assumptions, just the one it has disproven. Atheism does this in some manner with belief, saying that there is no demostrable proof, therefore, I choose to say that rather than state how handsome the King is in his new wardrobe.

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  135. Scott

    Thanks Brian for your reply. Food for thought. I think the strength in non-dogmatic, informed atheism lies in it’s reasoned and honest disavowal of the bullshit which passes for religion, the easy answers; it’s refusal of asinine tropes and received truth. (I just find it disappointing when it becomes doctrinaire). Give me Ivan Karamazov over Dawkins any day. But given the materialism, hypocrisy and general shabbiness if much which passes for 21st century First World Christianity who can blame atheists for their exasperation. The whole language of religion is just so thickly layered with a million contradictory meanings (the words GOD and JESUS have been used to the point where they have become horrible, irritants, vacant, empty and infinitely ambiguous, ruined symbols of a lost referent (which is why I rather like Caputo). If there IS a referent that is. Who knows, mabe there isn’t, but I’m doubtful of my own doubts. I suppose I’m a modern day Pyrrhonist of the Aenesidemus ilk. To quote wiki: “The main principle of Pyrrho’s thought is expressed by the word acatalepsia, which connotes the ability to withhold assent from doctrines regarding the truth of things in their own nature; against every statement its contradiction may be advanced with equal justification. Pyrrhonists withhold assent with regard to non-evident propositions, that is, dogma. They disputed that the dogmatists had found truth regarding non-evident matters. For any non-evident matter, a Pyrrhonist tries to make the arguments for and against such that the matter cannot be concluded, thus suspending belief. According to Pyrrhonism, even the statement that nothing can be known is dogmatic…” Ho hum … So I’m in the boggy area between belief and non belief. When I hear an evangelical rattling on about Jesus I want to blow his argument apart with some Bart Ehrman before rolling out the big guns like Russell or even Žižek (when he’s not pretending to be a believer in something!). Btw there’s a great article in support of a more intelligent atheism, by an atheist, at https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/30/we-can-save-atheism-from-the-new-atheists . 😂 To your other point, sure, maybe contemporary theologians ARE just dressing up a naked god in new clothes. Trying to salvage something from ‘Death of God theology’. I wonder that too sometimes, if its not just anither mire subtle sleight of hand. Even so: many atheists seem unaware of the tenuousness of some of their own ‘certainties’ (relying on straw-man arguments with ignorant Christians, embracing a sort of 19th century scientism and refusing to acknowledge the weird similarities between mysticism and the language of quantum theory). Then again, I like your observation that “When Science rules out an assumption it does not rule out all assumptions” – good science forever questions itself, and hey we dont know if there’s a God or not but we sure know a leap from a tall building is likely to do some harm – gravity doesn’t lie like some preachers I’ve listened to. Just whether the verdict is in or out I can’t decide (there’s Pyrrho again!).

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  136. J.C.

    C’mon Bruce…you have to have a better comeback than that! I never had a drink or even so much as looked at dope in my entire life, but I know Jesus, and He is very much alive. The ironic thing is that you also know it or you wouldn’t try so hard to convince people that He’s a myth. What never ceases to amaze me is how much He still loves those who hate Him or deny Him.

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    1. Astreja

      J.C., kindly ask this “Jesus” fellow to stop by my place in person. If he can’t do that, he simply isn’t alive enough to bother with.

      And quit it with the mind-reading act, too. Telling people what they supposedly know is execrably rude.

      Reply
    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Really, JC? Look at all the claims you make in your comment. Can you prove any of these claims? Of course not. You have no evidence for the existence of your Jesus outside of what you “feel.”

      You may never have touched the Devil’s brew or been high on anything other than religion, but I’d bet my last dollar that you are not as “pure” as you say you are. Have you ever lusted after a woman? Thought so. Jesus said you are an adulterer. End of discussion.

      My comment about not wanting to be like you has to do with your religion in general and your boorish behavior on this site. I’ve seen nothing in your comments that say to me, “wow, there’s someone who really loves Jesus, and I want to be like him.” Give me a bottle of wine and a joint, JC, over you and your Jesus. Think about it. You don’t know me, yet you think it’s okay to call me a deceiver and a liar. Tell me again, JC, WHY would I want anything to with you or the God you say you worship and serve?

      It is time for you to move along. Nothing to see here but the deluded and blind followers of Bruce Almighty and his Satanic cult. I assume you said everything God laid on your heart, so per the commenting guidelines, I’ll not approve any further comments of yours.

      Thank you for commenting.

      Bruce

      Reply
  137. Brian Vanderlip

    From wiki: Acatalepsy, in philosophy, is incomprehensibleness, or the impossibility of comprehending or conceiving a thing. It is the antithesis of the Stoic doctrine of katalepsis or Apprehension.
    Scott. from your reponse, including so many references that partially elude me, I feel like you are intellectualizing regarding your feelings. Belief tends to base itself in feelings and it might be that disbelief does too. I don’t really get your question to Bruce about all this… Feelings color our expressions and sometimes Bruce hits a triple when a bunt might move the team further along but my feeling is that it is his call because this is his forum and he offers us free expression. That should include him too, as I know you would agree. So sometimes he let’s loose a bit in a very human fashion and bodychecks in baseball. I think that what you are getting at is about feelings and not about the very intellectual movements you are presenting. You are aware, ?right? that Bruce has stated he is open to any new proofs or evidence that Chritianity is valid? So I guess I don’t quite get what exactly you are asking here…. Your position is perfectly valid, that you seriously see both positions in ways. I would hazard that your position is not far from Bruce’s take on things. I am certainly aware that I could be way off. As a non-believer I acknowledge that I could be wrong, way off but I have to be honest, have to feel honest in my heart expression. Though I could be wrong, I sometimes rage against the pricks who come here to preach the evangelical truth. It pisses me off and shuts my down sometimes in terms of being sensitive to nuance. Regarding the straw man forays, I am in agreement. We are talking often about feelings in these matters and the ‘certainties’ are wishful thinking, defensive positions, not truly wholistic intellectual positions.
    My best wishes, Scott. Thank-you for sharing so openly.

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  138. Scott

    Thank you Brian. It strikes me again that what I often hope for in human encounter (even on a forum like this with such a provacative title!) is not only intellectual challenge (which is, of course, welcome and hugely valuable) but a degree of empathy, at very least openness. Not to patronise you, but your tone is open, respectful. Imagine finding that amongst fundamentalists: for all their Jesus talk, the attitude of so many of the so-called christians arguing with Bruce seems self-righteous, pharisaical, bigoted and patronising; professions of love dripping in chronic insincerity, assertions of uncritical ‘belief’ (is it belief or a kind of rote-dogma?) almost cultic. “I know because I know so there” said the bullying schoolboy. You are correct on several points in your reply: I intellectualize the feelings – as I seek to resolve my sehrnsucht/angst/general sense of alienation and bewilderment in the world😂😂😂 Also you’re not sure what I’m asking Bruce – a good point – I think I’m using this blog briefly as a sounding board. And in this respect I can thank you both for this unusual blog: seeing the sparring helps to form my own views, confirm my reasons for untangling myself to a greater or lesser degree from religion’s bigotries (if not, quite yet, it’s fictions). Thank you. If Jesus is alive, can he please write in to clarify things!😉

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  139. Scott

    Bruce sorry, the reply button doesn’t take me directly to your comment, so I’m cut and pasting: “Richard Dawkins, by the way, is agnostic on the God question.” I wasn’t quite sure, he seems so militant at times (understandably so) thanks for clarifying.

    “I’m not a fan of religion, regardless of the clothing it wears.” I guess I’m still in the clothes shop, even if it’s at the back near the exit Bruce😂

    I understand the sociological, psychological, cultural, geographical, and tribal reasons people believe in God (s), but I see no need for such beliefs. It’s the twenty-first century. Time for us to leave the ancient bones of religion behind.

    Thise damned bones. They haunt me still.

    Thanks Bruce.

    Reply
  140. J.C.

    OK If you don’t approve this. But I am anything but pure, and my Jesus LOVES homosexuals, abortionists, liars, murderers, adulterers, satanists, and I know that because God made Him become ALL of them when He sent Jesus to Hell in their place and in my place and in your place. Proof? No. God is beyond what we can prove. That’s why He’s God!

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  141. J.C.

    OK Astreja…get ready!!!

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    1. Astreja

      So what are you going to do when Jesus doesn’t show up, J.C.? Make another 2000 years of excuses? “Any daaaaay now!”

      Le sigh.

      Reply
  142. Scott

    Suffering is surely the biggest argument against the idea of a benevolent God: JC’s arguments are sadly vacuous; they would lead any self-respecting seeker after truth directly to atheism. As to God’s love for us, tell that to the family of 10 yr old Lily Mae Avant who, according to a recent CNN report, swam in a river near Waco and contracted Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating single-cell living organism commonly found in warm freshwater. Why did God put Naegleria fowleri in the water if (HE) loves Lily Mae? To teach some cosmic lesson? Because He is omnipotent and omnisciencent but would rather do nothing? No doubt the evangelical will assert her suffering and death was because of Adam’s sin. Well that certainly solves everything and we can all sleep better now! Is her tragic death because your (God) moves in mysterious ways? And this – as if it is not scandalous enough – is but one death in how many hundreds of millions from disease, calamity, famine, chance, war and criminality? Apparently in eternity past God saw every eventuality, every child thrown into the gas chambers of Auschwitz or Armenian christian child impailed on a Turkish bayonet – yet this loving God chose to pursue his flawed project nontheless? JC as a Christian you should at very least ask your God some fundamental questions about what’s going on. There are Atheists whose outrage at the condition of the world and the plight of humanity leaves fundamentalist christians looking rather like the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked.

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  143. Stephen Garland

    Hello Bruce! I see you are open to new perspectives on God! Have you considered things from this perspective? We tend to consider ourselves as independent observers of the universe and that goes for most Christians as well. But if God did become man then God is man (we have no independence at all (apart from freewill to choose God or not)). Suffering is therefore God testing himself.

    Best wishes!

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  144. Heshimu Colar

    Hi, thanks for posting my comment. I’m a sovereign grace baptist, and I know Don and Henry personally. I also listen to Rolfe Barnard regularly.

    I find it interesting that God is still using you to get the gospel out, as you have posted solid quotes and links. Unsuspecting people are being taught the gospel, and no doubt, some have been saved by coming here and beginning or furthering their journey.

    Having read why u hate Jesus, I find no surprises. This is what man does: he finds a reason – being no more righteous than the Jesus of the Bible and having no power, he distorts the message and ultimately judges God. True, we can’t reconcile hell, predestination, justice, and love, but He died on the cross, so we know He is righteous, and He receives all who come to Him. At the Judgement, no one will blame God.

    You have an honest website, and I hope u keep it up. I was struck by your bio, and then saw u are now an atheist. I really benefitted from some of the Barnard quotes, etc.

    I was in your shoes, but He brought me back. I quit preaching, but never got hardened. I tasted sin, but it was too bitter, so I turned back, and He showed me mercy. Now, it’s better than ever.

    Regarding Rom 9:22-23, I realized I had a choice to make. I could blame God and perish, or obtain mercy and rejoice forever. This is the choice u have to make, dear reader. Will u fight the Undefeatable or live forever? Will u perish and say, “I could have believed,” or will you rejoice and say, “Thank You for choosing me,” and spend ur life to help others. Our arms to too short and flimsy to box with God. Bruce, mercy will swallow u up and help u really save others. Look to Him again. Don’t let the guilt be softened with a temporary salve, but get the healing. He is rich in mercy to ALL that call upon Him.

    The Lord bless you and ur readers..

    Reply
    1. Astreja

      Heshimu, it’s nice that your religion is working for you but it isn’t working for us.

      It has -never- worked for me. I am someone who has never in my 62+ years experienced anything remotely like religious faith, for the simple reason that I find the supernatural claims (including the alleged resurrection of Jesus) to be completely unbelievable and not worth taking seriously.

      In my view, your “undefeatable” god is self-defeating by virtue of being a fictional being. I think that hell is also a fiction, the creation of people who wanted a tool to frighten others into subservience, but in any event I could not in good conscience worship a god that would allow such a place to exist. If you sincerely worship a hell-creating god, you are worshipping a being of infinite evil, not a “loving” god.

      Your chances of “saving” me are a literal zero, so don’t waste your time.

      Reply
    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I highly doubt anyone is getting “saved,” in the sense you are using the word. That said, many people ARE being “saved” from Evangelical Christianity (including members of the elect). I praise Loki for each person delivered from from the pernicious teachings of the one true faith. We need less, not more, Evangelicals in this world.

      The best decision I ever made was to walk out of the back door of the church, never to return. You make so many “judgments” in your comment — a common character flaw among Sovereign Grace/Calvinistic/Reformed Baptist preachers. I am satisfied that I have weighed Christianity in the balance and found it wanting, so I have no interest in what you are selling. I’m happily godless, and quite willing to risk” my soul, knowing that there is no life after death. If you have evidence for the existence of Heaven/Hell/Life after death, I’d love to hear it. I mean real evidence, not Bible verses and personal anecdotes.

      Bruce

      Reply
    3. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      You also might want to get to know the man you are criticizing:

      https://brucegerencser.net/why/

      https://brucegerencser.net/about/

      You might find this particular series interesting: https://brucegerencser.net/series/i-am-a-publican-and-a-heathen/ It details my involvement with Community Baptist Church in Elmendorf, Texas — a Sovereign Grace Baptist congregation.

      Reply
  145. Brian Vanderlip

    Rolfe Barnard preached this:
    …Thousands of children are being sinned against in our modern-day decision services held in the so-called revival meetings. The Sunday School teacher sits by the little child (I’m describing how it goes on in your church, sister!) —and when the preacher asks who wants to go to Heaven, the Sunday School teacher pushes the little fellow out of the pew and down the aisle. And I say to you, it is a sin against that child who has experienced no Holy Spirit conviction nor repentance, without which there is no salvation…”
    It is very important to understand the savage depravity of Christianity. It is not enough to push a child down the aisle. One must go at the child with what a little prick asshole shit he or she is until that child is utterly convinced of their useless life and breath. Then they have to experience an inner collapse and emotional break which they can express in the way they have been taught at church and call it the Holy Spirit convicting them so that they crawl, broken and tortured to sweet, gentle Jesus to be saved from their wicked selves.
    Go fuck yourself, Mr. Bully Barnard, You don’t impress me in your life or death with your hatred about bipeds.
    Heshimu, when you say, ” Will u perish and say, “I could have believed,” or will you rejoice and say, “Thank You for choosing me,” and spend ur life to help others. ” you are very offensive, as you wish to be, expressing hatred that you call love (as you wish to express) and my answer is exactly the same to you as it is to Rolfe. It so saddens me that you have access to children and would gladly, with joy terrorize and ruin them. Shallow, blind bully. And he replies, ‘Ohhh, but God demands it!’ Sickening denial reigns supreme among Baptists!

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  146. Scott

    Heshimu: “And Jesus said unto them, unkess thou repent and become a sovereign grace baptist thou shalt surely perish”. Nope. Your God appears to be neatly contained within a narrow set of received dogmas, a comfortable denominational armchair from which you join likeminded christians in saying who will and who won’t be ‘saved’. Yet Jesus said to the Pharisees (who are the Pharisees of today I wonder?) that “… the tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you’. Think about that. He doesn’t say Sovereign Grace Baptists are entering in first, but prostitutes – and collaborators with the political enemy of israel. Maybe you ARE right, and then again, maybe not. Even if we concede for a moment that the Bible is inerrant (read a little Bart Ehrman or Elaine Pagels if you think it is) – Jesus would not have recognised his own name had you greeted him: the mysterious, apocalyptic Jew we know almost nothing about was called something like “Isho” in Aramaic – his own language. (East Syriac Christian denominations use the name Isho in order to preserve the Aramaic name of Jesus). He would turn your sovereign grace baptist theology upside down. But hey I’m playing the game here too, quoting scripture for scripture as if it was an inerrant text, a magical book. Why not be challenged from within yiur own faith for a start – explore the text you fetishize, read some of the church fathers, be courageous and problematize your safe set of ‘truths’. The father of the Reformation (and the tradition to which evangelicals thus belong) Martin Luther had no time for the Book of Revelation as canon but felt it simply expedient to retain as a reproach of Catholicism. Your sacred text is not inviolable. Your Bible has very human origins. Irenaeus in the 2nd century chose 21 books that would end up as part of the New Testament, but rejected Philemon, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 3 John and Jude. By the early 3rd century the church father Origen of Alexandria may have been using the same 27 books as in the modern New Testament – and he was a Universalist mystic – but there were still disputes over the canonicity of Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation. (see also Antilegomena) [wiki]. It was Iraneus who decided on 4 gospels: there were bmany others but it was fallible human beings who took those decisions on the very canon you hold sacred. Point is: there’s a lot to discover. Have you heard David Bentley Hart? Nicholas Berdyaev? Have you chatted to an Armenian or Orthodox or Progressive or Catholic christian lately? Or a Buddhist for that matter? Oh I forgot- the way is narrow. Did you know that the early church had a high view of Apokatastasis? Are you aware christianity is more Pauline than Christian? What if your own set of beliefs is flawed? I concede mine may be – but I’m asking honest questions. Christianity has this going for it: it’s scholars and theologians – not the ‘wicked unbelievers’ – have scrutinized the text, the teachings, the theology. Bultmann found very little that waa not myth. Schweitzer could find almost nothing of the historical Jesus. The texts bound together to form the bible as we know it have a dubious and very human provenance. Be prepared to challenge yourself from outside your paradigm: maybe Jesus’ wouldn’t recognize your conceptualisation of Christ either?

    Reply

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