Questions?

Is there a question you’d like me to answer or a subject you’d like me to write about ? If so, here’s your chance. If you have a question you’d like me to answer or a subject you’d like me to write about , please leave your request in the comment section. Any subject…ask away.

Doing this from time to time helps me understand what is important to the readers of this blog. I have plenty of subjects to busy myself with, but I would love to hear from you,

Thanks in advance for helping me improve  this blog.

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86 Comments

  1. Steve

    Yes sir, I have a question!

    Do you think the many Christian prayers for your demise will succeed? (They’re praying the same thing for me, too; mostly: “oh God, help him to see the error of his ways”, mostly lol:)

    So far, it hasn’t worked!!

    Reply
  2. Charles

    You said: “Christian orthodoxy teaches that when a person dies their body goes to the grave to await the resurrection of the just and unjust and the final judgment. How then, could the rich man see and know Abraham and Lazarus and Abraham and Lazarus see the rich man?”

    I am not a fundie Bruce. However, I have heard fundies speak the following:

    “The split second a nonbeliever dies, they are carried instantly to stand before the face of God to give an account of their lives. God then judges them right then and there—and sends them immediately to Hell.”

    1) It seems to me that this theology involves two judgements rather than just one. The first is an initial judgement that comes right at the moment of death wherein the victim is sent to some sort of waiting room Hell—no doubt located just off the foyer. Then there is a second and final judgment wherein the victim who has already tasted waiting room Hell comes before God to get a final judgement wherein they go off to real Hell forever.

    Can you explain where this “Dual Judgement” theology comes from, who originated it, and why not all fundies espouse it—like you did not espouse it in your quote above.

    2) I am also fascinated by the certainty, strength, and power that fundies experience when a person they do not know personally dies. I once knew a fundie woman who would hear about a famous celebrity dying and say: “Frank Sinatra is in Hell now.” “James Arness is in Hell now.” “Billy Graham’s dog is in Hell now.”

    What special technical means do fundies use to determine that a person is certainly in Hell—even though they know absolutely nothing about that person.

    3) Could you, just as a personal favor to me, go over to the John Pavlovitz blog and do a wrecking job on an obnoxious little fundamentalist twerp commenter named “Garwilson” who needs to be cut down to size. I already washed my hands of him, but this guy is in serious need of some humble pie from someone with the full capacity to give it to him. Don’t tell him I sent you. Here is the Pavlovitz Blog URL:

    http://johnpavlovitz.com/

    I do not normally ask other people to do battle on my behalf, but this guy is a special case that I personally just do not want to mess with anymore. Thanks!!!

    Reply
  3. Geoff

    What’s the difference between superstition and religion?

    Reply
    1. sgl

      tithing? 😉

      Reply
      1. Lynn123

        lol

        Reply
  4. Suzanne

    What was the thing or moment where it all started to unravel horribly, the pulling the first thread away moment, when you said ‘screw all of this’ and walked away? Was it one thing or a gradual buildup of stuff?

    Reply
  5. Appalachian Agnostic

    When you were a pastor, did you encourage church goers to think for themselves or did you prefer that they accepted everything you preached without measuring it against their own perceptions?

    Reply
  6. Geoff downs

    Hi Bruce .. what do you think of the Marjoe story . He was a pentecostal. I’d like you opinion an the whole story.. thanks

    Reply
  7. Byroniac

    Hi Bruce, have you ever heard of Russell Earl Kelly and his book, “Should the Church teach tithing?”. And if so, do you plan to blog about it? I promoted it as much as I could, and got ZERO attention for it, probably because I was not important enough to be noticed or because wherever I go I seem to become the proverbial black sheep. Considering that I have lost every single popularity contest I have ever been in, both inside and outside the church, I suppose this is not surprising. Anyways, even as a freethinker now, I still agree with the majority of what this guy teaches about tithing, to the best of my memory. I am too lazy and apathetic concerning Christian theology to actually study this any more (and I was just barely digging into it when I was losing my faith and I had other things obviously on my mind). Anyways, for anyone interested it is on this page of e-books.

    Truth For Free e-books.

    Reply
  8. Scott

    Bruce,
    More of a philosophical/mindset question. I subject myself to the local “Christian” Radio station from time to time and I’m curious as to why pastors preach on/think that they know “everything” once they become a pastor. I’ve heard a number blather on about science when I know 8 year olds with deeper knowledge. One radio show seems unable to have A) hosts who read more than the “Drudge Report” and watch Fox “News” and B) Show absolutely no interest in wanting to learn science, even at the “Buck Rogers” level. I know that I, like you, have a voracious interest in learning new things, old things and different things. What kills the curiosity in them?

    Scott

    Reply
  9. Texas Born & Bred

    I am in my sixties. In the last 2 or 3 years, I have attended the funerals of several close relatives and friends that were younger than me. One cousin that died was very close. We were each other’s best man at our weddings. My very best friend in high school died. Several friends my age or younger are struggling with serious health problems.

    So death often captures my attention. I am a Christian (what kind? – barely Christian) and I am constantly reminded in church, Sunday school, and bible studies of the glory that await us once we die. That would be nice and does provide comfort. But my problem is that the ones I cared deeply about that have died were not the church-going type. And that is discomforting. Life is not fair.

    I took a stroll through an older cemetery one day and could not help but notice the large number of headstones of babies. Back in the 1800’s it was common for children to die in sickness outbreaks. One headstone was simple marked “Wilson babies”. What a horrible thing to go through! But the parents struggled on. They still had crops to work and cows to milk. Their faith must have provided a bit of comfort in such a gut-wrenching time.

    How do atheists handle death of loved ones? Is their grieving process the same as believers who expect to see their loved ones again some day in heaven?

    Reply
  10. Lydia

    What have you been reading lately, Bruce?

    Reply
  11. Chikirin

    Jesus said that if someone asks for your coat, to give them your cloak as well. Shouldn’t Christians therefore not only cater gay weddings, but cater gay birthdays as well? Why are Christians so stinting and stingy when Jesus said to give without thought of reward? Why are Christians always outraged when they are supposed to have peace and meekness?

    Reply
  12. Tony

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on Jesus: who exactly do you think he was? I’ve read back through your archives to see if you covered it before, and found some thoughts, but would love to hear your take on specifically what you think Jesus was about. I sat in church last week and heard the old “JESUS CHRIST WAS EITHER A LIAR, A LUNATIC, OR LORD!!” sermon. Yeah, whatever… I find those options to be extremely limiting and I don’t see what authority anyone has to demand we choose only one of those. I also realize we are confined by getting much of our historicity of Jesus from the scriptures that were written decades after his death, and surely seem to be agenda-driven. But still, would like to hear your thoughts. Thanks for your great work on this blog, Bruce! Always enjoy reading…

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)
  13. Alex

    Hi Bruce,

    What are your thoughts on the popularity of international adoption in recent years among evangelical christians? Have you heard of or read the book “The Child Catchers”by Kathryn Joyce which discusses this phenomenon or any other books or articles on the subject?

    Hope you’re having a good day. After all it is Good Friday – As long as you haven’t been nailed to a cross! Apologies if that crosses the lines of good taste.

    Alex

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Alex, I have not. I did know a few people who adopted a child from overseas, but I have no firsthand knowledge about these groups. Kathryn Joyce is an acquaintance of mine. I appreciate the good work she has done in exposing what goes on behind the scenes in Evangelical Christianity.

      Reply
  14. Van

    In one of your recent posts, you made reference to the four different plans of salvation in the NT: one each from Jesus, Paul, Peter, and James. In that post you said Paul’s was the prevalent teaching in 21st century evangelical churces, and you exponded on Jesus’. Can you summarize the Peter and James plans, and ‘compare and contrast’ the four plans?

    Reply
  15. Van

    As whacked out as the Christian fundamentalists that you write about are, every time I listed to or read the news, I can’t help but think the Muslim fundamentalists are more so. Have you considered this, and do you have any ‘compare and contrast’ thoughts about Christian fundamentalism and Muslim fundamentalism?

    Reply
    1. Brian

      Van, I was struck by your question regarding extremes; it has been on my mind for some time and my take is that the extreme belief, thought, act, the extreme in most things I can presently bring to mind, invariably points one down a road that always always shows itself to be Mediocre Road. With regard to the national attitude toward religions, it is very clear to me as a Canadian, that the USA holds every bit the horror and terror in extremes as any Islam I have been exposed to, including the latest versions called ISIS. Have a gander at the white power movement and the race hatred in America. Do you really think that these haters have some better, more humane rating than the recent beheaders? And keep in mind our blind support of our ally in Saudi who are up to the same mean actions as other Muslim extremists… only they do it by law of the land and with the blessing of Americans. When you find yourself not able to see the equality in barbarism that continues in our world, be assured that there is no comfortable black and white and that your need to see an enemy might well be the historical result of a lifelong brainwashing in religion and patriotism. And, I say this in the knowledge that I sometimes find myself feeling exactly as you say, that THEY are ‘more so’….

      Reply
  16. Friend

    Your post about polite Evangelicals mentioned some who believe in global warming but not Hell, support gay rights, and hate the behavior of their fellow Evangelicals. This surprises me, but I don’t know many Evangelicals. Do you think there’s a large number of such folks? Is there a movement within Evangelicalism to stamp out hatred, oppression, etc.? (I suppose it’s too much to hope that the movement will improve as more tolerant younger generations assume leadership positions.)

    Reply
  17. theObserver

    I heard religious folk on this side of the pond complain evangelicals and baptists who believe in sola scriptura sure put a lot of emphasis on having a personal, individual relationship with Jesus despite the complete lack of biblical support for this position. Is this a fair criticism?

    Reply
  18. Tom

    First, I would echo wanting to hear more about the different gospels in the NT of Jesus, Paul, Peter, and James. That sounds very interesting.

    Second, Thanks for alerting me to Isaiah 45:7–that is my new favorite bible verse, especially in the KJV–and I wish I had known of it recently. I am from a small town in eastern Ohio–probably not as religious as yours, but certainly without much religious diversity. In recent discussions there, I learned that believers can rationalize away any degree of suffering or evil based on the “fallen world” doctrine, that it is all our fault as the world– and our bodies, it seems–are just becoming more and more corrupt and that it won’t get better until god wipes this world away. I would agree with you that believers cannot have it both ways with their all-powerful god, but I guess I wonder if you could explain to me more fully how believers think along these lines. How did you preach or teach about suffering and evil? Using this doctrine or some other? I get that this is a variation or extension of the basic “fall of man/consequences of sin” belief that explains the whole need for the atonement, etc., but I guess I’d never really made the connection that this is why these kinds of believers won’t accept any responsibility for God for any suffering or evil. Apologetics really is just making excuses for god.

    Hope you get good health news.

    Reply
  19. Andre

    Suppose you were at a dinner party and the host puts you on the spot to pray for the meal in front of 10-20 guests. Do you be a good sport and make up a prayer or politely decline, creating an awkward situation?

    Reply
    1. Jerri

      I’ve seen certain people called on to pray in public several times in a vindictive way. My Buddhist ex-hubs was asked to pray over our Christmas dinner by his angry Christian stepfather in front of about 40 people. It was his “punishment” for leaving a horse stall door unlatched and the stud horse getting loose. My ex prayed like old country preacher while I hid my shock and stifled laughter. I asked him about it later and the stepfather was such a mean f@$#er that he appeased him lest he take his anger out on his mother. Yeah…. lovely.

      My dad was shy, had an occasional stutter, and worked 3 very hard jobs to support his family. He didn’t go to church. Mom took us 4 children every time the doors were open. It was a horrible horrible place. But Mom loved the hellfire and brimstone talk. I remember that preacher calling on my dad to pray a few times when Dad would get there to pick us up (one car). I hate that man for that. Dad was always a wreck after that.

      Reply
    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)
  20. Connie

    When I left religion (Christianity & Wicca) I did so because dogma was more important than anything. Leaving the dogma did not stop my feeling of ‘other’ – in primitive terms the feeling of a deity.

    I researched biofeedback and other energy transfer methods. At the risk of sounding like I follow woo-woo I can feel energy and am learning how to manipulate it.

    My question for you Bruce is do you still feel what was once known as God?

    I figure some humans were sensitive to such energy fields back in the day so it was put down to Deity (insert your fave name here). Now I look to science as to why I do what I can do.

    I believe my question is personal but you did ask.

    Reply
  21. Matt Martin

    Bruce

    Consider this video of a “teen meeting” at a Baptist church in TN:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hZm-vId1xM

    In your experience as a Baptist preacher, was this sort of stuff common? Is the video clip in question so out of context that it’s not an accurate representation of what may have taken place?

    I ask because this stuff is at once quite alien to me but also fascinating. I’d appreciate an insiders view.

    M

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Hate to admit it, but I have been in meetings similar to this. It’s a southern thing. Baptist camp meetings can be a wild affair. Hooting, hollering, standing on the pews, running the aisles. No speaking in tongues. 🙂

      I attended a couple of meetings in Ohio that were an attempt to replicate the southern camp meeting feeling. Miserable result.

      You should go to a meeting….just once. You’ll leave thinking you have just watched a live version of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

      Reply
      1. Matt Martin

        Back in 2011, I went to a public “tent revival” meeting organised by a mob called “Australian Bible Believers” who describe themselves as independent baptists.

        Two brothers in their early 20s, a sister, the wife of one of the lads as well as their parents.

        I was the only one who showed up. I was underwhelmed. They young bloke who did the preaching was not up to the task. Never send a boy to do a man’s job, and all that.

        We’ve got a church of the foursquare gospel, a mainline baptist church and a couple of non-denom pentecostal style operations in town. I might pop into one of those one day, just for a stickybeak.

        Reply
    2. HeIssailing

      Hey Matt, I saw this stuff a lot growing up in SE Missouri. It is a common experience there. There is nothing to put it into any context. It is an accurate representation of what goes on in a lot of Churches. True a lot of Baptists will not speak in tongues, and I noticed there was no noticable tongue speaking in this video. The Assembly of God churches do have plenty of tongue speaking, signs and miracles. They can be even wilder than this video.

      Reply
  22. Andre

    What is your response to Pascal’s Wager?

    From Wikipedia: either that God exists or not. Given the possibility that God actually does exist and assuming an infinite gain or loss associated with belief or unbelief in said God (as represented by an eternity in heaven or hell), a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.).[2]

    Reply
  23. Matilddaa

    Commented recently about a friend struggling with unhelpful comments on her upcoming chemotherapy. The most common comment seemed to be that she was ‘being so brave.’
    I’d love to know if you have a witty or sacastic reply, you’re so good with words – you must have got the comment that you are ‘so brave’ in dealing with your horrible relentless pain. Do you have a good put-down answer?

    Reply
  24. Ami

    I know you must have written about this topic, but I am not sure where to look.

    I heard so many times while I was growing up that ‘God won’t give you anything you can’t handle’. Which even as an indoctrinated child I thought was bullshit.

    Now, I have a friend who’s a Christian. And is afraid/ashamed to reach out for help. She’s overwhelmed, a lot has happened to her lately. And her church family is the type to see everything as a blessing. Which means she won’t get any support from them.

    What have you written about that? I bet it’s here somewhere….

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I think this is a good subject for me to cover in an upcoming post. Stay Tuned. 🙂

      Reply
    2. Jerri

      Excellent question!

      Reply
  25. Andre

    Bruce,

    Is there a Christian of theist scholar/thinker whom you take seriously and might be able to push you a bit in a debate?

    Reply
  26. Lynn123

    If you hadn’t become a preacher, what career do you think you would have enjoyed and been really good at?

    Reply
  27. Canadian camper

    love your stuff….. thanks for it.

    so …. how do all the Christians explain the marriage
    situations in the OT? ie. Abraham had two wives, Solomon had a whole harem, and what about those who had concubines, I know one argument would be that is just the OT …. not now. but a lot of these people still go back to the OT for other arguments. ie. being gay. how do they pick what to take and what to leave in the OT. what about all the other laws …. wearing mixed fabrics? why not argue for plural marriage then. …. it is in the bible….. nothing makes sense in how they handle it. I know the duggars sometimes use the old laws ie. no sex for 80 days after birthing a girl. there seems to be a huge disconnect in their world. why not all … why just some

    Reply
  28. Jerri

    I looooove these questions!

    I’m leaving my job at a Christian preschool and will start my own childcare center over the summer to open in August. I live in Baptist Mecca (Waco, Tx) and I want to run a secular center, which is open to families of any or no faith. I realize from working in childcare for the last 15 years that all Christian parents and even many non-Christian parents (for some reason) expect their children to say a grace of some sort before they eat. This may be a rather lame question, but do you have a suggestion for something I could say before a meal or snack that isn’t offensive to others but acceptable to those who think it’s important? I don’t pray at home but I like taking a breath before everyone digs in just to appreciate the beauty of the food and that we are fortunate to have it.

    Reply
    1. Kath

      Jerri,
      You have the makings of an affirmation in your last sentence. Using preschool appropriate language, you could come up with something like:

      Before we eat this lovely food, let us thank the farmers who grew it for us and the people who made it for us. We are lucky we have such nice food to eat.

      You will know which words to use. A secular grace before meals is a good start to getting young children thinking about others, where their food comes from, and slowing down before chewing down. Good luck. I’d like to know what you come up with.

      Reply
      1. Jerri

        Thank you. I think I should trust myself more.

        Reply
  29. Kerry

    Bruce, I have not had any question that I needed to ask you until today. I have always wondered how, in the translations from Greek or Hebrew, we can arrive at such poetic and often rhyming prose? This seems quite impossible to me. I am somewhat familiar with translations of Chinese poems and other prose which struggles mightily to retain the beautiful flowing meter after the translation. Yet, in the Bible, we often find beautiful poetry. So…how much is “lost in translation” in an attempt to preserve the flow? Thanks.

    Reply
  30. Brian
  31. Andre

    How much of John Dominic Crossan have you read and was it an atheistic influence for you?

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Hey Andre,

      I read several of his books. I wouldn’t say he was a big influence as far as atheism is concerned. Instead, his writings were helpful in showing me that there were other ways to look at Christianity and the Bible. Mainline authors like Crossan helped me broaden my thinking and envision the faith in a different way.

      Reply
  32. dale

    My question is hypothetical and involves members, like you, who belong to that elite club known as “TCP”. Though many religions have places of worship and communalism [CHURCHES, TEMPLES, MOSQUES, SYNAGOGUES and the like], we as secular people do not. And that my dear comrade, is a shame. We should have our own. I would call such a temple a secular “SANCTUARY”. Now, if one were to create such an entity to administer to our faithful, create our own funeral rites, a secular “baptism”, wedding rituals, secular youth camps and so forth, do you think that the TCP would climb right back in, with the training they have and the exquisite desire to help the needy both physically and psychologically ? I personally think it “evil” to waste such talent. My 2 cents.

    Reply
  33. Ewan

    Hi Bruce

    Do you have a philosophical view of the word ‘sin” anymore?
    eg why is homosexuality defined in your worldview? What of extramarital sexual relationships? or premarital? Are they ‘sin’?
    What is an atheistic view of sin? Does it really matter? If there is no sinful behaviour, where does guilt come from? The power of sin in a xian worldview is guilt. If I were to have an extramarital built on love, is this sinful? What the heck is ‘sin’?

    Reply
  34. Troy

    In your old blog you had an entry about making sour kraut. You inspired me to make some. Just curious how long you let yours ferment.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Around two weeks. Not an exact science. We water can the sauerkraut after it is done fermenting.

      Reply
      1. Troy

        Two weeks made a really good sauerkraut. I’m not sure if it makes less than I’m used to or if I was more enthusiastic about eating it but it is all gone. I ended up using my two caps (I bought specialty caps for mason jars with a gas relief stopper in it) for making pickles so I’ll be without sauerkraut for a while.

        My instructions said 4-6 weeks which seemed a bit long. Two weeks made it sour enough and still had some crunch. Even the separation cabbage leaf was good.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Glad things turned out well. We can ours in pint jars. There are a lot of online instructions for making sauerkraut and they vary quite a bit. We decided to let taste be the judge of how long to ferment the cabbage.

          Reply
          1. Troy

            Pickles only take 4 days, and I had mixed results. Since some were above the waterline there was some kahm yeast in the top, and also those same pickles weren’t made with garlic so not as tasty. (I now know to cut the blossom end off the cuke as well). The good jar of pickles was excellent, tasted like a clawson. It is great to experiment and you can eat your mistakes out of existence. I’ve ordered some glass weights, quite pricey but should last forever.

  35. Charles

    I know you are probably going to slam me for asking this, but it really is something I have noticed time and time and time again across my nearly 63 years of life—and I am at a bit of a loss to understand it. So, here goes:

    Why do Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals believe that the sole purpose of communications media (books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television shows, blogs, etc.) is to “teach me how I should live my life” in this world. All of my semi-fundie aunts are dead now, but they grew up in rural Tennessee in the period 1910-1930. In later years, (1930s onward), they would scrape up enough money to go to a movie, and they would go with the apparent notion that Joan Crawford will today on the movie screen “teach me how I should live my life if I move to the city.”

    Whenever a fundie wants to banish a book from the public library, ban a movie, or whatever, the excuse is always something along the lines of: “Well, I’m afraid this book (or this movie) is going to teach people wrong things about…”

    I gotta be honest with you Bruce. I think these people are just plain nuts. For example, I saw a DVD of the movie “Lucy” recently. At no time did I insert it into the DVD player, kick back in my easy chair, and say, “Scarlett is gonna teach me how I should live my life with this movie.” If I pick up the newest Superman comic book, I never say, “Superman is going to teach me a lesson on how I should live my life.”

    I am a professional anthropologist. Human culture and society are my business, but this one is a little hard to understand. On occasion, I have wondered if this is a uniquely American disease of the mind with religious roots. For example, when the first pioneers pushed westward across the Appalachian Mountains into Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, the Bible was often the only book they owned. It was viewed as a book whose primary purpose was to “teach them how they should live their lives.” Historically, is it possible that they uncritically transferred this notion to every form of communications media that arrived on the scene?

    Even nowadays, you can here fundies say, “I don’t like that short story because it does not teach a good moral lesson.” I just want to say back, “Well, maybe the author did not want to teach you a good moral lesson because he was just writing a story that he wanted to tell.”

    What goes on in the minds of these people?

    Reply
  36. wefo

    Hi Bruce

    What do you make of 1 Corinthians 15, which is an early christian creed held by majority of biblical scholars (with a few exceptions like Robert Price) to be written no more than five years after Jesus’ death and it being held as proof of a belief in the resurrection?

    Also what changed your mind on the resurrection?

    Regards
    wefo

    Reply
  37. Marja

    Hi Bruce,
    Here’s my question: why do Fundies and Evangelicals seem to hate Obama so much? Is it simply racism? Or a pathological fear of Islam triggered by his middle name? Or his cerebral demeanor? It seems like his presidency has been perfectly ordinary, his family life is flawless and devoted by all accounts, he captured Bin Ladin by authorizing a daring military raid in another sovereign nation, the CIA is still torturing prisoners (I think). Don’t they approve of all that? What puts them over the edge about this particular president? Or is it that they are just getting more and more worked up as the Democratic presidents go by — first Clinton, now Obama?

    Reply
    1. Marja

      Hi Bruce,

      In the week since I submitted my question above, I have spent many hours reading your blog entries on Evangelism, which has been very educational, and I think you have answered my question through those various posts. I also (at your recommendation in one of your posts) watched Steve Anderson’s sermons and read his website. I had not fully grasped that IFB culture and much of right-leaning American Evangelism essentially made a godly virtue of hating and that they teach hating as a righteous response to so many things, ideas and people. I get it now. Your list of things you taught your own IFB congregations to hate when you were a pastor was eye-opening. I knew that many conservative Christians eschewed much of modern life — music, dancing, drinking Democrats, etc. — but I didn’t connect that dynamic of disapproval with the active cultivation of virulent hatred. Wrapping my head around the fact that hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — of Americans seriously believe Obama is Satan’s representative on earth and that their obligatory response is to actively hate him is sobering. It sounds very Taliban.

      I will not longer seek a rational explanation for Christian-fueled hatred.
      Thank you, M

      Reply
      1. sgl

        re: “I had not fully grasped that IFB culture and much of right-leaning American Evangelism essentially made a godly virtue of hating and that they teach hating as a righteous response to so many things, ideas and people. I get it now.”

        ya know, i’ve been reading bruce’s blog for several years, and i could never quite put my finger on exactly why. (he’s certainly a nice person, and an entertaining writer, but there was always some other reason i couldn’t quite articulate.) i think your comment sums up quite succinctly and explicitly exactly why i read bruce’s blog: an attempt to understand this strange group that’s invaded the american political system via the religious right.

        and re: “I will not longer seek a rational explanation for Christian-fueled hatred.”

        agree. it exists, but doesn’t respond to logic or rationality.

        Reply
  38. Kerry

    Bruce, I would love to hear y0ur comments on the raging Planned Parenthood controversy in the States. I hate that I find my self in much more agreement with the righteous fundamentalists on this issue then with some of my atheist friends, but I cannot square in my mind the outpouring of sympathy Cecil the Lion and the vitriol at the hunter, with a casual nonchalant and dismissive attitude toward abortion anytime, anywhere. I gave up trying to have any sensible conversation with others on line. But, I know, or at least I believe you are balanced on this question given previous discussions and I would love your thoughts. Thanks

    Reply
  39. Matt Martin

    Hey Bruce

    When you were a preacher what was your view of the deuterocanonical books of the Bible (aka the Apocrypha)?

    Reply
  40. Marja

    Hi Bruce —

    In a number of your posts you mention the opposition between Baptist/IFB and Calvinist Christianity. What’s the beef between them?

    Thanks, M

    Reply
  41. Anon

    My parents sent me a book called “Cold Case Christianity” by J. Warner Wallace. A brief scan gives me the impression it’s the same old apologetics wrapped up in new packaging. Have you heard of this guy? I love the passive aggressive pleas to read stuff they send me because “God loves me so much”.

    Reply
    1. Brian

      Hey Anon, I get ‘gifts’ too. I went to visit my mom to help her do some work for an impending move and after a long day she pushed a bag into my hand and said, There’s a book in here I really want you to read and don’t look at it now! Just take it and keep an open mind.”
      Well, it was the same old same shite about how God just had to make the the glorious universe because GOD! I just trash this stuff or use it for kindling in my woodstove. Don’t trouble yourself about it. God does not really love you so much because there is no God I can garner. And if this so-called God loved you, then why would you need to be exposed to stupidity between covers? You and me, we have to burn eternally because we don’t believe in woo-woo and God likes to hurt people who are honest.

      Reply
    2. Michael Mock

      Yes, it’s basically Apologetic Approach #47: the Apostles As Eye-Witnesses. And if you’ve been around long enough to know the argument, then you know the problems with it as well.

      Reply
    3. Bruce Gerencser

      I have not heard of this guy. I do know that it is unlikely that any book will contain a new argument or some sort of exciting, fresh revelation. When it comes to theology and arguments for Christianity, there truly isn’t anything new under the sun.

      Unfortunately, living with well intentioned people who want to help you see the light, comes with the territory. ?

      Reply
  42. Lydia

    What did you think of the first episode of Fear the Walking Dead?

    I’d love to discuss it with you! If you don’t blog about it, I will. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser

      I don’t know if I will write on it, but I did find the show interesting. A little slow at first, but I think they needed to build the groundwork for what will come next. I look forward to seeing where the show goes. I usually give a show 3 or 4 episodes before I decide to stick with it.

      I think we are in a golden age of TV drama..so many great shows. I love the 8-13 episode format. Too many of the network shows are drawn out and often get boring. With a shorter number of episodes, writers seem to stay focused. Personally, I think AMC is putting out some of the best dramas on TV.,

      So, what,was your opinion of the first episode?

      Reply
      1. Lydia

        I actually liked how slow it was. You really got a chance to see who the characters were as people before their world fell apart. That’s one thing that is sorely lacking in The Walking Dead. The flashbacks have been pretty sparse, and they haven’t included a lot of details about who the characters were before they went on the run or how they became their new selves.

        I have all kinds of theories, of course, but it’s almost all pure speculation. So far this show has done a good job at giving the viewers a lot of chances to see it for ourselves.

        I won’t say anything about episode 2 in case you haven’t seen it yet, but it was better than the first episode.

        Reply
  43. Geoff downd

    Hi Bruce. What’s your take on tithing? Are people more blessed when they tithe? What was your experience. Do you have any tithing gone bad stories?.Thanks

    Reply
  44. Kenneth

    I am currently married to a Southern Baptist woman who is likely never going to change her mind about her beliefs. I deconverted late last year and am now an atheist. I’m curious as to how your wife ended up an atheist seemingly around the same time as you? I guess deep down I want her to see my views as an atheist but if anyone knows how hard it is to talk to a Christian as an atheist, it is you. My question is, can you tell us more about how Polly came to the same conclusions as you during the time of your deconversion? Maybe she can give us some input too 😉 In a lot of scenarios, one spouse is still stuck as a believer while both the atheist and theist struggle with now being in a “mixed” marriage — I’m in one of them now. Thanks!

    Reply

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