Randy, the Atheist-Turned-Evangelical Talks Smack About Bruce Gerencser

peanut gallery

Some of you might remember Randy the atheist-turned-Evangelical…

Recently, Randy left a comment on the Fundamentalist Christian blog Spiritual Minefield (The True Darkness of Atheism Part Two) about his commenting experiences on this site. Here’s what Randy had to say:

My name is Randy and I lived as an atheist for 32 years of my life. I’m a pastor [Randy’s church. He is not listed on the staff roster] (been a follower of Christ since 2002). I hung around Bruce’s blog for awhile until he finally asked me not to come back. I questioned him about having a personal vendetta against Christianity and never attacking Islam. I also accused him of being just as intolerant and judgmental towards Christians as he claimed they were to him. Boom – he asked me to hit the virtual highway.

Bruce stands beside the works of Ehrman like they are Scripture. I love Bart Ehrman and have read most of his books. He’s a great New Testament scholar but has some serious flaws in his conclusions. He is an agnostic but still has a personal vendetta against Christianity like Bruce. His goal is to undermine the Bible’s authenticity.

Atheism has changed since I claimed that name. I was a live and let live guy. Now, the radical, militant atheists, like Bruce, have become the majority. They are not happy just to choose unbelief, they actively try to draw others to their beliefs (atheist evangelism?) and want to strip all freedom from Christianity in the public area of life. They will tell you they don’t hate God because they don’t believe in him. This may be true to some extent, not being conscious hate, but their actions clearly express hate towards God and his people.

I appreciate your blogging. Keep up the good work.
First comment

Randy left a total of forty-two comments on this site. While Evangelicals are generally given one opportunity to comment — as is made clear in the commenting rules — but Randy seemed nice enough of a guy that I allowed him to continue to comment.

Randy first commented on September 24, 2015. Here is what he had to say:

Bruce let me say first, I am still in the Christian camp and I’m glad I didn’t let your warning prevent me from reading this post. But then again, I’m not in the “easily offended evangelical” section of the camp. I think more Christians need to hear and heed your words. The greatest deficiency I see in Christianity is a lack of authenticity. Most can put on the mask, play the part, buy the book, the t-shirt, the poster, and all the accessories just enough to fool others.
The honest truth is this: the non-Christians I know are generally much nicer than the Christians I know. They aren’t pretending to be something besides who and what they are. They are my friends for the same reason anybody should be your friend: because I thoroughly enjoy their company. I do not maintain the relationship to convert them. We may talk about spirituality from time to time, but my goal is not to debate them to a profession of faith. I stand by my faith but I don’t bludgeon them with it.

I’m an introvert at heart, so I don’t open my house up to many people. The ones I do truly know me. Yes you’ll find some Christian pictures and such here and there. I do have a shelf full of Bibles and theological books, but you’ll also find some Louis L’Amour Westerns and (gasp) swords & sorcery and vampire fiction, along with plenty of non-fiction and a few biographies. Yes I have some Christian movies, but I have a ton of sci-fi and Westerns and yes (gasp again) some are rated R! I have an Xbox one and a stack of video games that have nothing to do with Jesus. My music collection has a scattered collection of Christian artists but is primarily composed of the likes of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and other heavy metal and honky tonk artists.

Now you better sit down for this one. I smoke cigars. I like bourbon. These are the two funniest because I know Christians who do them in secret. I’ve been asked not to post pictures of me doing either on social media by church leadership. It’s so funny man. My primary ministry is in the local county jail and I love it. I’m real with those guys about who and what I am. We are just a bunch of messed up guys who like to have a genuine good time but want to get our lives straightened out. For us, our faith is a guide.

Anyway, I make a lot of Christians uncomfortable for all the above reasons. Sometimes they think I am too “worldly” or “backsliding.” I used to make sure I never slipped up and cursed. Not a big deal now. I try to be mindful of offending people with my language and the fact I have children who I want to make a good impression on for how they speak, but every once in awhile, I just let those accursed words roll off my tongue.

Most of all I just want to be me. If Jesus is real, and he doesn’t love me for who I am, if he insists that I be something I am not, then it’s not real love anyway is it?

On March 16,2016, Randy left the following comment:

I am a Christian and a former atheist (I’m not going to argue that again here. I know what I believed and how I lived.) One of my absolute favorite authors is Bart Ehrman. He is one of the foremost scholars on the New Testament and quite brilliant. At this point I have read 5 of his books and own 2 of them (“Forged” and “Did Jesus Exist”).

The biggest problem I see in Christian apologetics to day is the use of circular logic. “How do I know the Bible is true? Because the Bible says so.” That is an epic failure. I am sure every holy text testifies to it’s own veracity. These same apologists will quickly call out circular logic when used by other faiths or evolutionists. You cannot change the rules in your favor.

To complicate things, the majority of Christians are unwilling to read anything outside of the Christian realm of apologetics. They won’t read Ehrman and his questions concerning the reliability of the biblical text. They won’t read what evolutionists have to say. They won’t read what prominent atheists have to say. They stick their head in the sand and shout, “But the Bible says so!”

I cannot live that way. I walk in doubt many days. I don’t find the answers of men like James satisfying at all. In fact, it makes me disappointed in Christianity in general. Do I have irrefutable evidence for the existence of the Christian God? Unfortunately, no. Do I believe the Bible is the best defense of the Christian faith? Nope. Do I believe there are compelling arguments against the existence of the Christian God? Sure.

My faith is what it is: faith. I have seen things, experienced things that leads me to the conclusion that a supreme being of some type exists. I best view him through the paradigm of Christianity. I am reluctant to label myself “evangelical” because at this point in my life, it is a personal journey seeking truth. I do not regularly share or impose my beliefs on others. I feel like I am beyond that. I do respond to those who come seeking knowledge of Christianity, and I always encourage those I work with to keep their brains turned on, to focus on their spiritual journey and not some manmade institution that is more interested with your butt filling a seat and your money filling the offering bucket.

I enjoy reading you Bruce because you challenge my thoughts and faith. I believe you were a sincere Christian once as I was a sincere atheist. Maybe one day our paths will cross somewhere on your side, my side or in the middle.

In December 2016, Randy finally showed his true colors. Objecting to something I had written about Donald Trump and Evangelicals, Randy vehemently stated:

I like you and respect you Bruce, despite us being on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to our spiritual beliefs. I think you normally do a fair job with your posts and your responses. However, I have several issues with what you’ve said here.

First is the ad hominem attack on Evangelicals who voted for Trump. Do you honestly think that people who voted for Trump condone this man’s behavior or behave like him? If so, then Christianity is in much worse shape than we think. Why have his actions not been condemned on Evangelical blogs? I think for one thing this guy has flown under the radar and many have not noticed. Just check out his Facebook pages. He only has a few hundred followers. I think that speaks greatly to the number of Evangelicals that support his methods. I believe others do not want to give him any more attention than he is already receiving for his ignorant actions in the media.

Secondly I fail to understand why people in liberal circles feel it’s okay to judge all Evangelical Christians by the actions of a fractional minority yet insist that Islam should not be judged by the actions of a small group of radical fundamentalists. Let’s be honest, people like Grisham, as disgusting as they are, are only doing things like protesting Santa, soldiers funerals or LGBT events. Compared to flying airplanes into buildings, chopping off peoples heads and destroying historic works of art and architecture it’s not hard to see who poses the greater danger. However, I’m not sure I’ve seen you one time denounce or address the danger of the other big monotheistic system in the world: Islam. I greatly respect atheists like Sam Harris who dare to challenge Islam, but he is one of only a handful who do.

Third I question the validity of your statement that the Bible can be used to justify almost any behavior. Certainly people throughout history have used it to promote or defend their own dismal behavior but they have done so by ignoring or twisting the core tenants of Jesus’ teaching. Again, the seeming hypocrisy in liberal circles on this versus Islam and the Koran stand in stark contrast. In the case of radical Islam it is said that a marginal group is twisting the meaning of the Koran’s teachings and because of that all other Muslims are exonerated of any guilt for these terroristic actions. However, statements like yours are used to vilify all Christians. Let’s play fair or at least admit a personal vendetta against Christianity may be at work here.

Ultimately David Grisham is a far cry from the mainstream Evangelical. I think his actions are inexcusable. If I had been in line with my children and he pulled a stunt like that, I would have reacted much quicker and more harshly than these parents did. He is lucky that the only “assault” he experienced was someone simply touching him. I’m just asking for fairness in how you judge Evangelicals, or at least some equal time looking at other faith systems making inroads in America such as Islam.

In response to Randy, I stated:

Evangelicals who voted for Trump betrayed their beliefs and values. They are, in my opinion, hypocrites. Don’t come to me preaching Christ and moral superiority and then vote for the Devil. Evangelicals knew what Donald Trump was when they voted for him. He did not fly under the radar, he rolled over the top of America with a tank. That Evangelical blogs and websites were silent during the election (Unless they were condemning Clinton or explaining how Trump was a baby Christian) is proof that they desire political and social power more than they do righteousness. By electing Trump, Evangelicals have forever ceded their place of moral and cultural influence

I stand by my statement concerning the Bible. Thousands and thousands of Christian sects are all the evidence I need to prove my contention. Each appeal to the Bible as justification for their beliefs and behaviors. I’ve heard scores of people use the Bible to justify their behavior — you know, like voting for misogynistic, pussy-grabbing, immigrant hating, war-mongering Donald Trump.

Your comment does come off as passive-aggressive. You’ve presented yourself in the past as some sort of Christian moderate, but today you are a defender of Evangelical honor.

Everyone who reads this blog knows that when I use the word Evangelical I don’t mean all Evangelicals, everywhere. To expect me to use a modifier every time I use the word is silly. If the shoe fits wear it, if not….I wasn’t talking about you.

If you think Grisham is some sort of aberration, you need to get out more. Go to any moderate to large city and you’ll find people preaching on the streets and attempting to evangelize passersby. These zealots for Jesus all have one thing in common– they are Evangelicals. I get it, you want to pretend that your crazy uncles aren’t really related to you. They are, so deal with it. I’m not the problem here, they are, as are those who tacitly support them by not publicly condemning their behavior. Over the years I have had numerous pastors write to tell me than they appreciate my honest assessment of Evangelicalism. They are embarrassed by the crazy uncles. When I ask them to take a public stand against extremism, they refuse, saying that taking such a stand would cause a church split or loss of job.

I’ve given you a lot of space, Randy, but it now sounds like you have had your fill of Bruce Gerencser. Go in peace.

I then added the following:

And as far as other faiths, I write about American Christianity, particularly Evangelicalism. It is silly for you to expect me to write about Islam when they are not my focus. There are plenty of writers who focus on Islam, so there’s no need for me to do so. Besides, the greatest threat to America is not Islam, it’s Evangelicalism. Again, who is it that put Trump in the White House? Who is it that just passed an law in Ohio that outlawed abortions after six weeks? Who is it that wants to put God, prayer, and the Bible back in the public schools? Who is it that supports capital punishment and supports the American war effort? Who is it that wants to criminalize certain sexual behaviors? Who is it that denies the existence of the separation of church and state? Who is it that clamors for theocratic governance? Evangelicals.

Randy responded:

I’ll respect your invitation to leave and not trouble you anymore in your personal corner of the blogosphere after this.

You say you have changed much since your days of IFB Fundamentalism. What I see is you have merely traded jerseys. You’ve adapted the same attitudes, tropes and tactics from your IFB / conservative days and simply clothed them in atheism / liberalism. You are still an extremist with little tolerance for those who do not believe the same way you do. We’ve had some good conversations but apparently I’ve crossed the line. I honestly did not expect such a virulent response from you.

Since I left atheism and went through my own zealous phase of Evangelicalism I’ve tried to walk a more moderate path. Unfortunately what I’ve found is that on both the Evangelical and Atheism fronts, people are equally dogmatic, rigid, intolerant and close minded. That’s unfortunate.

I wish you and Polly the best and Happy Holidays.

To which I replied:

Ah, now the true Randy comes out. I have zero problem with rational, thoughtful disagreement. We’ve had plenty of them on this blog over the past eight years. So far, Ive yet to meet an Evangelical who is capable of such discussion. No matter how much line I let out for them to run, sooner or later they will do exactly what you have done with your latest comments. It’s in the nature of Evangelicals to behave this way. Until you get away from Evangelicalism you will not see this. That you cannot see the Evangelicals voting for Donald Trump is a denial of EVERYTHING Evangelicals SAY they hold dear, is case in point.

I wish you well.

I’ll leave it to readers to decide if Randy’s comment on the Spiritual Minefield blog is a fair assessment of his interaction with me and my fellow atheists on this site.

[signoff]

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64 Comments

  1. Karen the rock whisperer

    Randy has drunk the “we’re persecuted!’ Kool-Aid. I’m not sure he’s only lately showing true colors, or if his colors have been changing. Maybe he was more moderate earlier on. He presented himself as a seeker, which suggests someone in the midst of change.

    As regards his potshot against you for looking favorably on Bart Ehrman’s work, he’s partly right. You need to read more Price and Carrier. 🙂 (I’m a mythicist.) Snark aside, really Randy? Ehrman covers the problems with the Bible really well, and he’s a good author–so he’s an excellent reference for those with questions. He’s not just a good scholar who came to the wrong conclusions.

    The business of “why don’t you hate Islam as much as you hate Christianity” gets really, really tiresome after awhile. It’s the old “but, but, never mind that I’m a jerk, that guy over there is a much bigger jerk!” Sorry, that fact that someone else behaves worse than you doesn’t excuse your bad behavior. As a force for evil against our species and our planet, it isn’t clear to me that Radical Islam is much more dangerous than Conservative Uber-Capitalist Christianity; both religious variants have shown that when they get power, they behave really, really badly. The Islamists might be more into killing violently, but the Christianists seem happy to kill people with poverty, illness, and neglect.

    And finally, it isn’t reasonable to interpret your writing as a vendetta against Christianity as a whole, You make it awfully clear that your target is the excesses of Evangelicalism, and how those excesses negatively affect the people inside and outside of the religion who are exposed to them. Hardly a mindless vendetta.

    Reply
  2. Brian

    Well, Randy, you are showing the truth of Christianity, as I see it. You say one thing, do another, ask forgiveness or assume it and repeat. If you read your posts on this blog from the beginning and are able to claim any objective distance, you will have to look long and hard in the mirror and wait patiently for insight regarding your flip-flopping. Just as the Bible is true because the Bible states it is true, you found your perspectives on air. The difference between you and Bruce is significant but one particular thing impresses me. Bruce does not change his story. He tells it, retells it the same way, sighs and retells it again, not changing his tune. Bruce believed and then he realized he was in error in continuing to believe and so being an honest man, he stated the fact.
    That he finds meaning in revealing the failings of American Christianity is not “vendetta”. The bitterness inherent in vendetta is nowhere to be found in Gerencser. He still has his caring abilities and uses them all the time here as I see it, with you too, Randy. You might want to consider why you use the term, vendetta. You might also consider how your tone changes from one blog to another and how you do not lead but follow. You try to fit in. Is that working for you?
    If you want to have an imaginary friend, then go ahead, Randy, but leave the rest of us out of it. Do not try to force others! And let Bruce and the rest of us who care to, continue to speak our minds as we see fit. The threat you feel uncomfortable about has to do with something far closer to home than Bruce’s blog. Sit and think on it.
    By the way, the minefield blog that whoops and yips about false doctrine being everywhere seems very shallow in vision. It is on about the same wavelength as Steven Anderson, or very close. Do you really want to be associated with that kind of Christianity, Randy, really?

    Reply
  3. spaniardviii

    Wow, some of the things Randy said are very disturbing. He sounds more like a confuse atheist if those quotes are truly from him. As a Christian, I will never compromise the Bible or the Lord Jesus Christ. For Randy to say this, “Besides, the greatest threat to America is not Islam, it’s Evangelicalism.” and “Do I have irrefutable evidence for the existence of the Christian God? Unfortunately, no. Do I believe the Bible is the best defense of the Christian faith? Nope. Do I believe there are compelling arguments against the existence of the Christian God? Sure.”

    If all these quotes came from Randy then he is not a Christian. No true born again man who has the Holy Spirit will say such words, those words are a rejection of the Living God Jesus Christ.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Time for a MMA Who is the Real Christian fight! My favorite blood sport. May the most like Jesus person win! 🙂

      Reply
      1. Karen the rock whisperer

        Since Randy got his rear booted, I’ll have to take up his mantle… even though I’m a solid atheist. Sorry, spaniardviii, but as far as I’m concerned, anybody who calls themselves a Christian is a Christian. If you can’t, for even a moment, accept that you might not have an exclusive lock on what it means to follow Christ and accept him as Savior; if you can’t accept that honest Christians have doubts that don’t result in them giving up the faith; if you maintain that you can tell who is and who is not a Christian because YOUR understanding both of the Bible and of that person is perfect–I suggest you need to think about what arrogance is and what it really means. In the Christianity of my youth, arrogance was considered a sin.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Randy is not banned. I clear the banned list at the start of every new year — more like Catholic purgatory than Baptist hell. ?He was banned last year, so he has a new opportunity to show us whether he can play nice with others.

          As you will see from Spaniard viii’s comment, he is the definition of the word arrogant.

          Reply
      2. Brian

        Stilll getting over a bad flu and it hurts so much when I laugh, Gerencser. Just stop!

        Reply
    2. Geoff

      Spaniard, you imply that you have irrefutable evidence for the existence of God. Firstly, I’ve never seen any such evidence. Secondly, if it’s irrefutable then why do so many not accept it?

      I look forward to being enlightened.

      Reply
    3. John Arthur

      Hi Spaniard,

      Why not try assessing Randy’s words through the prism of compassion, healing mercy and loving kindness? Would not this prism be one way of being tolerant towards those who disagree? Isn’t tolerance towards others sometimes a desirable quality? And, since Randy professes to be a Christian, why not be more generous in your assessment of him?

      After all, there are over 40, 000 Christian denominations in existence today. And among evangelicals, there are several basic paradigms (e.g. Calvinist Covenant theology and other Calvinist theologies, Arminianism of various kinds, different types of Dispensationalism, Open theism, various kinds of Anabaptist theology etc.), so it behoves Evangelicals to be more open to each other and to show compassion and kindness, including kindness towards those they consider “enemies”.

      I think that Randy might be onto something when he considers Evangelicalism as more of a threat within the USA than Islam. That subset of Muslims that are adherents to the ISIS agenda are indeed a major problem, but so is that subset of Evangelicals who are theocrats and hold to Dominion Theology. Evangelicals represent a much higher proportion of the population than Islamists and so, I guess, they are a greater threat to the USA within the USA (However, I am not sure what proportion of Evangelicals hold to theocracy and whether this proportion is growing or not, or if it is not growing whether it is growing in influence upon other Evangelicals).

      My hope, but I think it is a forlorn hope, is that the majority of Evangelicals would be kind and compassionate towards those with whom they disagree.

      Peace and well-being,

      John Arthur

      Reply
  4. spaniardviii

    I think you have me confuse, I have no purpose to debate with “formeratheist.” Unless he asks me a question on a spiritual matter and I will answer. This is what makes a Christian:
    John 15:9-10
    9 “As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. 10 If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.

    Whoever claims to be a Christian and doesn’t love God’s Word has not been converted. Love for Jesus is seen through obeying God’s Word and living according to it. You cannot claim to be a Christian and don’t look like one, it is like a person who puts a insignia with the name Porsche on a Pinto. Just because one says that he is a Christian doesn’t make him one, he has to live it according to scripture.

    Anyways Bruce, this is my last comment, have a good night.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      In other words, salvation is by works. IF I keep Christ’s commands then, and only then am I a Christian.

      What commands is Jesus speaking of? OT? NT? Just the words in red? Since Jesus didn’t write anything (he was probably illiterate) , how can we possibly know what are his commands? The commands in the gospels were written by unknown authors long after the death of Jesus. The passage you quote from John was written 40-80 years after Jesus’ demise.

      So many questions….

      Reply
      1. Spaniard

        Works is a by-product of having saving faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is based solely through faith in Jesus. After conversion, your heart changes and you don’t delight in a sinful lifestyle but you want to live a life according to the Word of God. No one is perfect but after a believer falls he/she repents and tries not to fall in that area again. Jesus came to fufill the old testament Laws, for an example He was our sacrifice once and food all. The commands was broken down in two, to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. If you love your neighbor then you would want to tell him the good news and help him when he is in need of.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Not according to the verses you quoted. You are reading your peculiar theology into the text.

          Reply
          1. Spaniard

            Those who keep His commands are the one’s who are truly born again. A false covert never had the Holy Spirit in the first place that’s why they fall away. The one’s that have the Holy Spirit who have been saved will show God in their lives by reflecting Jesus in their lifestyle.

          2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Then I was born again, as were many of the people that frequent this blog. You are digging a hole for yourself, trying to hold on to salvation by grace while at the same time maintaining that one must keep the commands of Jesus/God/Moses/Paul/Peter to be born again. Good luck with that.

        2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          I am glad Jesus was “food” for you. ?

          Reply
          1. spaniard

            Bruce you were never born again, you were a false convert, that’s why you abandon Jesus Christ as seen in 1 John 2:19 which says, “19 They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us. But they went out, revealing that none of them were of us.
            Bruce you went out revealing that you never belonged to Jesus Christ

            A true Christian well never fall away according to John 10:28-30 which says, “28 I give them eternal life. They shall never perish, nor shall anyone snatch them from My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them from My Father’s hand. 30 My Father and I are one.”

            The Holy Spirit never took root in your heart Bruce.

          2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            I’m sure God is glad he’s got you on earth making sure who is and isn’t “saved.” Your ignorance of the Bible is astounding, yet, as is common with Fundamentalists, you are absolutely, that infallibly certain that your peculiar interpretation of the Bible is synonymous with God’s.

            Nothing I can say here will change your mind, so I won’t try. This will be the last comment of yours I will approve.

        3. Geoff

          No you’ve got to be a good person then you’ll be saved. Jesus definitely said that and that it wasn’t important whether you believed in him or not.

          Reply
          1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Just pick a salvation and go with it. The Bible is a salvation buffet.

      2. Spaniard

        The word food was a typo, Bruce can you change it for the word: for, thank you

        Reply
        1. Geoff

          “Just pick a salvation and go with it. The Bible is a salvation buffet.”

          Bruce, I’ll never be knowledgeable regarding the bible in the way that you are, nor even many of your regular commenters, but this salvation thing seems to have believers in all sorts of confused states. People like Spaniard are obsessed with saying that the only way to salvation is through belief in Jesus, not what you do. Yet when challenged with something like ‘what if I do good deeds but sincerely don’t believe’, I’m told ‘that’s okay, god sees into your heart’.

          Reply
          1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            The problem, of course, (despite Randy’s and Spaniard viii’s protestations) is that the Bible can be made to say almost anything. There is no such thing as a cohesive, singular belief about salvation. Christians can’t even agree on the basics: salvation, baptism, and communion. The Bible says, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Where can such a Christianity be found? It would give critics pause IF Christians had a common narrative, but they don’t. What they do have is 2,000 years of internecine warfare. Thousands of sects later, what is clear to me is that Christianity is of purely human origin. Who else but humans could cook up suck a contradictory hodgepodge of beliefs and practices. Sadly, people such as Spaniard viii sincerely believe their beliefs are absolutely true — from God’s mouth to their ear. I remember being just like them…so arrogant, so filled self righteous certainty.

    2. John Arthur

      Hi Spaniard,

      You keep deleting my comments over on your blog or refuse to answer many of my questions. You charge me with pride because I ask questions you seem unable to answer, but you dogmatically assert that Christians are Fundamentalists as it is these are the only Christians.

      You haven’t kept your word to answer me about different points of view within the OT and between the Testaments.

      You deleted my questions about the Jesus of peace and compassion in much of the Gospels and the Jihadi Jesus of the book of Revelation. I gave you background on my position which you refused to publish. I told you that on rational and empirical grounds that I am an agnostic, but that I choose to believe in a God of compassion, healing-mercy and loving-kindness, but of course, this is not consistent with Fundamentalism. I told you that if God is a Fundamentalist, then I think that a compassionate atheist humanism is much to be preferred, which I doubt that you will publish.

      You can keep your views about Fundamentalism, but all you are doing is a good job for your Lord, “Satan”. Repugnant views of God are not likely to attract many people. Even if God probably doesn’t exist, at least compassionate views of God and treating others with compassion is preferable to the oppression of Fundamentalism. The PROBLEM is the BIBLE.

      John Arthur

      Reply
      1. John Arthur

        Hi Spaniard,

        I see that you have left no further reply to Randy, since you entered your comments on Bruce’s blog. Yes, I don’t agree with Randy’s comments with respect to Bruce.

        But you have continued your attack on atheism and now you are also including agnosticism in your attack (the True Darkness of Atheism/Agnosticism (3)). By the way, I am honoured by your attack on me, but all you do is to show the shallowness and silliness of Fundamentalism.

        I feel sorry for you and your incapacity to analyse the bible in a critical way. Despite this, I wish you well and note that you are doing a great job to promote atheism.

        Shalom,

        John Arthur

        Reply
  5. Geoff

    I remember Randy quite well, and thought he made some good points, but I was never very sure why he was a Christian. His support for Trump was slightly muted compared with some of the full on evangelical stuff, but I was surprised to see it. He always appeared too reasonable ever to be able to support Trump.

    What I could never quite figure was why he wasn’t an atheist. He often decried the bible, seemed to like Bart Ehrman, and was appalled by the behaviour of many evangelicals. He once or twice made the comment, one I’ve picked up on a couple of times, that he was an atheist until he had some ‘vision’, certainly a Damascene conversion of some kind. This I think is what distinguishes ‘firm’ atheists; they realise that there are lots of experiences in life that appear ‘odd’, coincidences and the like. I mention a name and a light bulb explodes (I heard someone actually say they became a Christian because of this). Randy never achieved this level of scepticism. He allowed what is almost certainly delusion to outweigh all his clear reason and stay with, or turn to, belief.

    Still he always seemed pretty reasonable so hopefully he’ll start commenting again.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      He was reasonable until his last few comments. I suspect he voted for Trump. If so, my observations about Evangelicals and Trump pushed him over the edge.

      Reply
  6. Trenton

    Since we are on the subject of trump this should be played outside the white house until the day he leaves

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dZlFBSRrSR0

    I think its very fitting despite being from the 40s and it will probably piss him off?. It may need to be tweaked maybe say his hair instead of his face.

    Reply
  7. Sam

    Haha poor Randy, he tried to use big words and sound all edumakated but he forgot to make sure he was using the correct big word. Plus his victimisation sob story was pure gold, perfect down to every monotonous locution.
    Is it demented of me to sorta want him to come back and play? Lol

    Reply
  8. Lynn 123

    Bruce, was Randy temporarily banned or just encouraged to leave? What was it he did wrong, exactly?

    Reply
    1. Sam

      Besides being a passive aggressive hypocritical cry-baby, who had a temper tanty coz Bruce wouldn’t play his only Christianity is good all else evil game or pander to his false victimisation claims you mean? Maybe he just needed a time out in the naughty corner.
      Hey Bruce maybe you should have a “sin bin” or “naughty corner” where normally respectful and reasonable believers get sent for say a week or so when they say stupid shit or have a tantrum. I know you clear the block list every year but this could be for minor infractions.

      Reply
      1. Lynn 123

        What a demeaning way to speak to other adults.

        Reply
        1. Sam

          Other adults should be adult enough not to get offended over posts by someone they don’t know or knows them and move on with life. If you mean I was demeaning to Randy then good he acted like a wanker and therefore must deal with the consequences of being a wanker, if you think I was demeaning to you then you need to go back and read the Bruce’s post better because he says why then you need to HTFU or get a sense of humour coz if I wanted to demean you it would demean you properly not just because you might be a bit precious..

          Bruce, do I get a timeout for being a bitch to people who get overly offended? If so it was worth it, hehehe…

          Reply
          1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            I would hope that you would respect the general tenor of the site. I recognize each commenter has a unique personality and backstory. I try to take these things into account when dealing with people.

          2. Sam

            On a serious note, I understand what you’re saying. I absolutely have respect for the site and the subject matter. Not so much with all the comments or some of the evangelistical commenters.

          3. Lynn 123

            I should have said “of other adults.” I was referring to your description of Randy. I’m still trying to figure out what Randy said wrong. He asked Bruce if Bruce truly thot that all the Christians that voted for Trump approved of what Trump had said on that tape. To me, the obvious answer is that I doubt any of them or anybody in the country approved.

            It seems to me that there are many factors involved in who people vote for. I think politics always, always, always trumps religion.

            To me, it looked like he was just discussing, and I couldn’t figure out what awful thing he had said to upset Bruce. But, it’s Bruce’s blog, and he can certainly do whatever he wants for whatever reason.

            I don’t see where Randy said Christianity is all good and all else is evil.

          4. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Not Christians, Evangelicals. There’s a difference. 81% of voting white Evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. Without their votes Trump would have lost in a landslide. Thus, I hold Evangelicals responsible for what they have done to our democracy. They foisted on America a man who is a narcissistic psychopath. Why? Political power. And now Trump is rewarding them by giving unqualified Evangelicals prominent positions of power.

            The bigger issue here is that Randy went to another blog and spoke half truths. I felt it important to make sure that everyone understood my perspective on the issue.

            And with that, I’m done defending my past banning of Randy. I weary of having to explain myself every time someone is banned.

            He is, by the way,not banned now,so he is free to comment at any time.

          5. Sam

            I apologise as sometimes my snarkiness tends to get away from me, but Randy was showing his hypocrisy but saying that it was wrong for Bruce to say all evangelical Christians voted for trump and support him when Bruce never said all he said 81%, then did the exact thing about Islam. He also had a sook about how atheists only pick on Christians never Muslims, which isn’t true but if he wants to be disrespectful to other beliefs we will call him out for his hypocrisy, he equates that to being picked on. And he just pissed me off, it takes 2 minutes to find out if you are using the appropriate Latin (or scientific, medical, etc) term or word. He threw around big words in an attempt to prove his point and got it wrong. He is not outwardly toxic or cra-cra but it is in the subtle undertones of his comments. Therefore I stand by my comment about him, you are free to disagree with me, but he is a wanker.

        2. J.D. Matthews

          Some adults deserve to be demeaned.

          Reply
          1. Lynn 123

            I thot Randy came across as a decent person.

            Who are these adults who deserve to be demeaned?

        3. Jada

          It would behoove any ‘adult’ to perhaps develop a thicker skin if that ‘adult’ expects to survive the internet. Sometimes it’s not a friendly place.

          Reply
          1. Lynn 123

            Jada, for some reason the rest of your comment is not showing up here. As you said, no one is holding a gun to my head to make me read Bruce’s blog. I read it because it interests me, and I’ve been on here for several years. Since the blog is for former fundies, I qualify. But it doesn’t feel very friendly lately, and I don’t like that. I can see where not all former fundies would feel safe commenting here.

    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      The rule is the same for all Evangelical commenters. Once they become hostile, that’s it. Some people don’t like that I do this, but after 10 years of dealing with nasty, arrogant Evangelicals, banning is a way for me to maintain my sanity. BTW, I rarely ban people. I am all for thoughtful dissent or disagreement, but when someone makes it personal as Randy did that’s the end of the road for them. Randy’s comment on the Spiritual Mindfield site tells me that he is still upset over last year’s ban. Nothing I can do about it other than make sure readers understand the why of his banning.

      Sam does raise a good point. I could adopt some sort of Evangelical pokey. Depending on the crime, offenders lose x number of days of commenting privileges.

      Reply
      1. Sam

        I think it should apply to everyone, coz everyone is capable of being stupid or telling people they need to HTFU.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          I rarely have problems with anyone but Fundamentalists. IFB type Evangelicals are the worst. That said, I have banned a few atheists over the years. These commenters were every bit as Fundamentalist as the Baptists. Banning is never about cutting off discussion or dissent. It is me recognizing that nothing good will come from further discussion. In Randy’s case, my view on the culpability of Evangelicals in the election of Donald Trump set him off. The last three weeks have only strengthened my view. People are certainly free to disagree, and if they want to rail against my viewpoint, well, get a blog. I’ve worked too hard at making this blog a safe haven for doubters to let Fundamentalists verbally assault people.

          Certainly on a 1-10 scale, Randy is a 2. If it had not been for his less than truthful comment on another website, I likely would have considered letting him.

          Reply
          1. Sam

            I have said my piece I will behave now lol. *trying to look innocent and sweet*

      2. Angiep

        I, for one, get tired of people mucking up the comment section of this site with their one-sided arguments. It wastes time. I would prefer to read meaningful discussion that atheists/agnostics/humanists can relate to. It’s not so much the nastiness, but rather the narrow-minded attitudes, that I find very annoying. If they were sincere about their questions it would be one thing, but they just want to pick a fight and prove everyone wrong.

        Reply
        1. Lynn 123

          Ya’ll have helped me see that I actually have no desire to HTFU and get a thicker skin. I don’t consider name-calling to be a “discussion.” I haven’t been called any names, but for those who have-why the heck would they even want to come here and comment? I think the tenor here has changed.

          I can understand Bruce not tolerating someone coming here to quote the Bible to him or insult him. But I can’t be the only one out here who’s come from an IFB background, appreciates Bruce’s support for several years, but is still pretty conservative, doesn’t consider Trump to be the devil, and has no desire to discuss sending sanitary napkins to governors, for example. When pretty much every single commenter disagrees with you, it’s simply not much fun.

          Bruce has said I’m always welcome, and I believe him. But I’m not a liberal, and I no longer care what some extreme IFB-type pastor is proclaiming. In other words, I don’t fit in with the politics here, and I’ve been out of the IFB for many, many years. Anyway, a way-too-long exit speech to try to explain where I’m coming from and why I’ve decided to no longer “muck up the comment section.”

          Sorry, one more thing-Bruce, I know you’ve said your purpose is to help those leaving fundamentalism. I think “former fundies” would certainly include many who are politically conservative still. Or somewhere in the middle. It would also include people who don’t like name-calling and bad language. I’m not telling you to change yourself or your commenters to change themselves; but there are bound to be others like me who no longer feel comfortable commenting because all the commenters seem to all be on one side. Not everyone has a thick-enough skin to handle jumping into that, even though they are also former fundies who’d enjoy discussing how fundamentalism affected their lives in a bad way-or even discussing how some fundies also have many good attributes. Anyway, my point is maybe you’re losing a part of your audience, and that’s a shame-because we all have the “former fundie” part in common.

          Reply
          1. Geoff

            Lyn, I’m a pretty fervent atheist but I have no problem with reasonable believers, and on other forums I have very interesting exchanges with them. The problem is that Bruce’s blog seems naturally to attract some of the more ridiculous fundamentalists, and I have no problem with such people being put in their place. I’ve never been religious throughout my life, other than as a child being taken to Methodist church by my grandfather (which, incidentally I enjoyed.)
            I’m often not very sure what beliefs regular commenters here have, and it’s only recently I’ve become aware of yours. Yes, you hold different beliefs to me, but I’ve always thought your comments were very sound, not something (as far as I recall) I ever felt the need to take issue with. I do get fairly direct with what I see as absurd comments (such as claims of miracle cures), or factually untrue ones (for example, those that challenge evolution). Bruce gets a bit exasperated at times but, given his history, it’s not really surprising and it is, after all, his blog.

            In short I hope you’ll hang around. It’s all very well having cheerleaders for everything we say but, as with any forum, dissent always leads to the need to take proper consideration of ones own views.

          2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            As I said before, most people who leave Fundamentalism tend to move towards more liberal social and political beliefs. In my case, the move leftward began while I was still a Christian.

            I can’t be all things to all people. If people find my politics off putting, there’s nothing I can do about it. I rarely write about political issues unless they are related to religion.

            Out of almost 1,600 posts, 67 of them mention Donald Trump.

            All I can do is write. People will either read it or they won’t. I’m not sure what more any writer can do.

            Bruce

          3. J.D. Matthews

            Another Trump supporter being a snowflake. Ugh. Sorry that the rest of us have left the Fox News hugbox. We put up with your kind of people all the time, and did before we left the church. It won’t kill you to put up with us and stop yelping every time someone says something that’s slightly to the left of Reagan. Sorry that you feel “uncomfortable” with people who don’t cotton to your tyrant.

  9. Lynn 123

    To Bruce-thanks for explaining.

    To Sam-I’m trying to imagine, given the nature of our discussions on this blog, what an Evangelical could possibly say that wouldn’t be considered hostile or having subtle undertones.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      They could start by following the commenting rules, something most Evangelicals refuse to do. Just take a look a Spaniard viii’s comments. He ignores questions and instead preaches and quotes Bible verses. He shows no respect for me or those who frequent this blog. Is he hostile? No, he’s an asshole.

      Reply
      1. Lynn 123

        I totally agree! Someone who comes here to explain to you how you were never saved and were mistaken for 40 years is quite disrespectful and insulting. I can understand banning them-they aren’t here to discuss, learn, understand, anything other than instruct. I have no doubt you’ve had your fill of that.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Sadly, the list of respectful Evangelicals who sincerely just want to understand my story is quite small. I enjoy telling my story and I gladly answer any questions people might have. But, far too many Evangelical commenters have an agenda or ulterior motives. After years of dealing with such people, I have little patience with them. Especially IFB zealots.

          I fear that Americans in general are losing their ability to have discussions with those they disagree with. I read the comments on social media and some news sites and I wonder if I am an alien stranded on a strange planet inhabited by prehistoric creatures with brains the size of walnuts. ? it’s discouraging, to say the least.

          Reply
  10. Geoff

    Bruce said

    “Not Christians, Evangelicals. There’s a difference. 81% of voting white Evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. Without their votes Trump would have lost in a landslide. Thus, I hold Evangelicals responsible for what they have done to our democracy. They foisted on America a man who is a narcissistic psychopath. Why? Political power. And now Trump is rewarding them by giving unqualified Evangelicals prominent positions of power.”

    And for this reason alone I would argue that evangelicalism is a greater threat to the security of the world than Islam.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Yep. It is Evangelicals who are pushing Trump to move the American embassy to Jerusalem — the eternal home of the Jews. This will certainly result in war and bloodshed, fulfilling what many Evangelicals believe is prophesied in the Bible. Armageddon is welcomed because that means Jesus is coming again. People who think this way should never be allowed anywhere near Congress or the White House. Their beliefs, in my opinion, disqualify them from office.

      Reply
      1. anotherami

        Amen!! The issue of what Evangelicals have done to our political discourse is what brought me to this blog in the first place. As a resident of Indiana, I can tell you that Pence is a die-hard Evangelical through and through as well as being a Dominionist, though he keeps that a bit on the DL. He signed a law stating that all “fetal remains” had to be cremated or buried as part of a highly restrictive abortion law. If/when Trump is impeached, I fear Pence will be harder to fight. Pence will try to push things through quickly and quietly while being able to maintain the veneer of respectability. He is a sneaky little piece of work whom I trust just a bit less than a pit vipers. I know a few American Muslims (though not well), and I feel no threat from any of them; either the ones I know or the ones I see at the grocery store. Pence, on the other hand, scares the hell out of me.

        Reply
        1. Trenton

          Agreed, trump may be a monster but pence is like a wolf in sheeps clothing.

          Reply
        2. Jada

          But, but . . . how does any woman really know if there are infinitesimal ‘fetal remains’ (snork) on menstrual products? Guess ovulating women should start sending all their used products to Pence’s office. He can dispose of all the ‘fetal remains’ he wishes; but of course what that really means is that he isn’t the least concerned about fetal remains or full-term babies. He’s just a fascist.

          Reply
          1. Becky Wiren

            I agree that’s he’s not doing it for good, but for evil.

            I would be more inclined to send such items to governors like that, except I don’t have periods anymore! I suppose clean tampons and clean pads would work. 😉

          2. anotherami

            You will be pleased to know that we did send tampons, pads and panty-liners to Pence, though it was requested that we only send unused ones for the sake of innocent postal workers and state house staff.

            Pence was facing re-election and it was questionable if he would win, even here, a traditional Republican stronghold. Many in the state see Pence’s selection as VP as being imposed by the RNC, to rescue the Indiana governorship and to try to control Trump. It succeeded in the former, but current events don’t speak well for the latter.

  11. Pingback: Atheist-Turned-Evangelical Talks Smack About Bruce – FairAndUNbalanced.com

  12. Randy

    Wow, imagine my surprise when I decided I might drop by again to see what Bruce has to say on the Trump train wreck and I see my name in a headline. I’m not sure if I should feel famous or infamous. I’m a pretty small fish compared to the big ones Bruce normally fries up. I’m going to try and address some of the issues here:

    1) Let’s call a truce Bruce. I don’t think I’m your enemy and I’m fairly sure you are not mine. Honestly, I’ve missed your blog as much as it can incense me at times. I like having my thoughts, beliefs and ideas challenged.

    2) I’m sure if all of you that are vilifying me in the comments could meet me, if we could sit down over a cup of coffee or a cold beer, you’d find I’m a fairly rational guy especially compared to most Evangelicals you know or have known. I invited the criticism by my comments and I have thick skin.

    3) My greatest regret here is that some of you think I have a persecution complex. I in no way feel persecuted by Bruce or any atheist / agnostic I know. In fact, I think many Christians in America overuse the “persecution” line. Persecution is not having public prayer banned. Persecution is being executed or imprisoned for your beliefs. Honestly I think atheists probably come closer to persecution than Christians in America. When I was an atheist in the 90s I felt extremely marginalized living in the good old Bible belt, and that I could not openly share my beliefs without a great deal of prejudice leveled against me.

    4) I went through a tremendous faith crisis the first quarter of last year and you can definitely see it in some of the posts I made. It all culminated when I lost my father and things started to change in June or so of 2016 as I began to regain my faith. I was on hiatus at my church for awhile as I worked through all of that and that’s when they did our new website and they have not updated it with my information since I came back on around July of last year. You can go to the Connect tab, then Media and pull up the live stream from February 5th if you doubt my role as pastor. That was the last message I preached there. Maybe one day they’ll get my picture on the website lol.

    5) I did vote for Trump. I got upset with Bruce’s attacks on Trump and lashed back. I felt and still feel it was an impossible choice for the election. I am deeply concerned about the leadership of our country under Trump right now, and I hope things take a positive turn. It’s just every time he opens his mouth I ask myself, “Did you really vote for the right person?”

    6) I love apologetics. However, I believe the case for Christianity is not as solid as many want others to believe. Yes I believe in Jesus as the resurrected Savior. Yes I believe the Bible is literally God’s truth passed onto man. However, a good part of my belief is rooted in faith and I cannot definitively prove the existence of God with empirical evidence. I can offer arguments and theories, but if God could be proved to be 100% real then I’m sure Bruce would not be an atheist.

    7) Yes I was a real atheist. I didn’t grow up in a home where we went to church. I was always a fairly free thinker but by 11th grade I became a full fledged atheist. I did have what I would call a supernatural experience in 2001 that led me to Christianity. Can I prove it? All I have is my word and my experience. Maybe I am crazy but I am perfectly content in my insanity if so.

    I hope that covers all the issues that have been brought up. If you’ve read this far then thank you. I admit I attacked Bruce and certainly overstepped the boundaries for his blog. Would I go back and change what I did? Probably not. However, I have no plan to do it in the future either. Did I talk smack about Bruce on another blog? Yes. I probably should have just left well enough alone. I apologize for stabbing you in the back at a place where you could not properly defend yourself Bruce.

    It just seems surreal after all the articles I’ve read on your blog Bruce to find myself the subject of one. I’m not sure how much I’ll come around or comment but I appreciate your openness to my return. I’ll try to keep an eye on this thread in case somebody has a question or comment for me.

    Reply

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