Bible Thumpers: Dealing With Evangelical Bible Bullies

Most churchgoing Evangelicals are nice enough people. They may have irrational beliefs and, by their attendance and financial support, lend their names to social policies we progressives find offensive and harmful, but meet Evangelicals at local football games or restaurants and they will act very much like the rest of us. A small percentage of Evangelicals are Bible thumpers — people who live and breathe the Bible, Christian doctrine, and evangelization. Many of the Evangelicals-turned-atheists/agnostics who read this blog were, during their Christian days, Bible thumpers. Evangelicals who stumble upon this blog and comment are usually members of the Bible thumper club. Bible thumpers might be a minority within the broader context of Evangelicalism, but they have a larger-than-life presence on the internet, television, and radio. Most Evangelicals are Sunday-go-to-meeting Christians — people who love Jesus and their fellow man.  Bible thumpers, on the other hand, love doctrine and hearing themselves talk far more than they do other people. Bible thumpers are quite willing to psychologically eviscerate those deemed enemies — liberal Christians, Catholics, non-Christians, atheists, agnostics, and even Evangelicals who aren’t as “committed” as they are.

Earlier this week, I tried to engage a Bible thumper in a thoughtful discussion on the Rational Doubt blog. I should have known better. I ALWAYS should know better. It’s been years since I have had a lengthy discussion with an Evangelical that turned out well. By the time I figured out I had made a huge mistake, this Bible thumper, sensing emotional blood in the water, turned to attacking me personally, suggesting that I was intellectually inferior and a whiner. This man’s words cut to the quick, opening up wounds that lie buried deep in my being. It’s been almost three years now since I have returned to blogging. People who have been following my writing for years know that I quit blogging several times in the past because of vicious assholes for Jesus. A little voice in my head kept telling me to tell this Bible thumper exactly what I thought of him and move on, but since I was a guest on Rational Doubt (which periodically publishes my writing to their site, as does No Longer Quivering) I decided to refrain from giving the Bible thumper the Bruce Almighty treatment. I finally threw in the towel, much to the delight of the Bible-thumper. According to him, his superior “Biblical” arguments caused me to flee. He even suggested that deep-down I knew that his arguments were correct.

Readers who frequent this blog know the kind of man I am. They also know of my physical struggles and my decades-long battle with depression. Had they been following the Rational Doubt debacle, I am sure I would have gotten emails, instant messages, and texts asking me if I was okay. When a major depressive state sets in — as it now has — life gets quite dark for me. It is easy for me to lose sight of what matters. What doesn’t matter is a piss-ant Evangelical who uses the Bible to bully people. This particular man is just one more of the thousands of Bible thumpers who have come before him. I knew what kind of awful man he was, so why did I engage him anyway? I knew he described himself on his website as:

T.C. Howitt writes at the gospel crossroads of truth and reality, using the Bible to illuminate our benighted culture. He considers no subject sacred in this fallen world, relying on the power of God’s word alone to boldly declaim the shocking wickedness surrounding us in the forms of secular humanism, scientism and technological idolatry.

I knew that his Facebook page said: “I’m on Facebook to preach God’s word. Don’t be surprised when you hear it.” I knew his Medium profile said: “Writer, preacher of God’s word, destroyer of idols, giver of fair warning.” These three statements set off a warning in my mind that said, WARNING, BRUCE! BIBLE THUMPER AHEAD. Yet, despite knowing all I needed to know about what kind of man Todd Howitt is, I decided to engage him anyway. The fault, then, is mine, not his. Rabid dogs act like rabid dogs. I shouldn’t expect them to act like lovable puppies. Bible thumpers act the way they do because they believe the Bible is the answer to every question, and that they know everything. Every morning, these zealots arise and sing:

The B-I-B-L-E,
Yes that’s the book for me,
I stand alone on the Word of God,
The B-I-B-L-E.
BIBLE!

bible thumper 4

They have read countless books that reinforce their educated ignorance. Bible thumpers believe they have life figured out, and that if everyone would believe as they do, all would be well. Many of these Bible thumpers are Calvinists, adding another layer of arrogance and certainty to their behavior. I KNOW all of these things, so why, then, did I bother to engage Howitt? My counselor tells me that I wrongly think that if I just share with people my story and explain my journey from Evangelicalism to atheism, that Bible thumpers will understand. Dr. Deal had told me several times, Bruce, you think these people care about what you think. They don’t! They don’t give a shit about you or what you think.

Doc, of course, is right. I KNOW he is right. I have known for years that he is right. I know, I know, I know, yet every so often the “just explain yourself” Bruce nags me, demanding to speak, and so I let him. And as sure as the sun comes up in the morning, the moment I do, I realize I have made a big mistake. (I am not talking here about explaining myself to the regular readers of this blog. I owe it to readers who have invested their time (and money) in reading my writing to explain things that aren’t clear. Fortunately, regular readers rarely need an explanation. They understand my writing methodology and usually know what I mean when I say this or that.)

Earlier today, I read a Washington Post article about the turmoil in Spain over Catalonia’s attempt to secede from Spain. Speaking of the supposed dialog between the parties, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said:

The word dialogue is a lovely word. It creates good feelings. But dialogue has two enemies: those who abuse, ignore and forget the laws, and those who only want to listen to themselves, who do not want to understand the other party.”

I thought as I read it, Rajoy’s statement fits well with my recent “dialog” with Todd Howitt. Howitt is an enemy to open and honest dialog because his Fundamentalist religious beliefs have turned him into an abusive bully. He may smile and say Praise Jesus! while he is doing it, but Howitt and other Bible thumpers can and do cause psychological harm to people with sensitive sensibilities (which Bible thumpers view as weakness). Howitt had no interest in understanding where I was coming from. He stated from the get-go that he was a former atheist (doubtful) and he was there not to dialog or converse — already knowing how atheists think — but to preach the Word. In other words, he was only interested in hearing himself talk. Those of us who are former Evangelicals are quite familiar with people who only want to listen to themselves talk. Our pastors were people who believed they were men supernaturally chosen by a supernatural God to preach the inspired, inerrant supernatural Word of God. Our duty as hearers was to submit to the pastor’s — I mean God’s — authority and explicitly follow the laws, precepts, commands, and examples found within the pages of the one book that is different from all the books ever written — the Protestant Bible. As an Evangelical pastor, I did the same. Since I had been called by God to preach and teach at whatever church I was currently pastoring, I expected congregants to listen and obey. (Hebrews 13:17)

Bible thumpers believe they are plugged into God 24/7 — that is, except when they, under the cover of darkness, behave in ways that make them entries for the Black Collar Crime series. Bible thumpers believe that their knowledge of the Bible is superior to that of the vast majority of people on earth. Some of them think that they are so right that no church is good enough for them. They are infected with what I call A.W. Pink disease. Pink was a famous early twentieth-century Calvinistic writer who secluded himself on an island because he couldn’t find a pure enough church to attend.

Having risen to the level of being worthy to enter the inner temple of Biblical truth, Bible thumpers, girded with self-righteousness , fan out across the internet seeking forums to dispense their Trumpian-level knowledge. Scores of such people over the years have made their way to The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser. These days, Bible thumpers are rarely permitted to sell their faux-gold plated turds on this site. A decade spent dealing with Bible thumpers has taught me that engagement is futile. While I, at times, forget this maxim, I am getting better at just letting Bible thumpers tilt at windmills. I took a big step backward this week. All I know to do is make an appointment with my therapist, rest my mind, hope Ohio State beats the shit out of Penn State on Saturday, and hopefully, most of all, learn from my mistake.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

print

Subscribe to the Daily Post Digest!

Sign up now and receive an email every day containing the new posts for that day.

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Powered by Optin Forms

30 Comments

  1. Trenton

    T.C. Howitt writes at the gospel crossroads of truth and reality, using the Bible to illuminate our benighted culture. He considers no subject sacred in this fallen world, relying on the power of God’s word alone to boldly declaim the shocking wickedness surrounding us in the forms of secular humanism, scientism and technological idolatry.

    Science and technology are what allows him to post his crap for the whole world to see and secular humanism allows him to be free to be an asshole. If he really wants to, he should practice what he preaches and go live out of a mud dwelling in the middle of nowhere and only use his voice to shout his ignorance to whatever defenseless animals will be unfortunate to hear it. Really, if he doesnt like any of those things he should remove himself any conveniences that they provide.

    Reply
    1. TLC

      You read my mind. If scientism is so wicked, then why is this jerk using it in multiple forms to promote his message and engage in battles?

      Reply
  2. Becky Wiren

    Sorry to hear about this jerk, Bruce. Hopefully talking to your counselor will give you the help you believe you need. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Mike in Montana

    I’m sorry that this jerk’s insults opened up old wounds, Bruce. From my experience, and it’s only my experience, so please don’t think I’m giving you advice, my ceasing of engaging in debates/arguments with rabid fundamentalists significantly helped me overcome the bitterness and anger I had towards my evangelical Christian past. It helped me so much that I have come to recognize and appreciate the many good things I learned while at the same time I am more thankful than ever that I am no longer of the Evangelical/fundamentalist Christian mindset. Do I miss the fellowship opportunities and the opportunities to make new friends that life in Evangelicalism gave me? Sure. But I definitely do not miss that mental slavery and having to suspend my intellect that is so necessary to adhere to the evangelical/fundamentalist gospel.

    It’s obvious that this guy who you got in a confrontation with uses his version of Christianity as a weapon to beat others down and boost his own ego. Him and guys like him aren’t worth your time

    Reply
  4. Geoff

    Oh dear. I’ve just been across to Rational Doubt to take a look at the discussion (I follow Patheos non-religious but missed your post for some reason) and Howitt comes across as the pompous fool I expected. I even started a reply to him, then thought better of it. He assumes that because he’s not illiterate, in the sense he has a reasonable vocabulary and is grammatically capable, that what he thinks naturally flows to those who read his prose.

    Yet what he writes is nonsense, is illogical, and is the main reason I can almost guarantee he wasn’t ever actually an atheist. In that sense he resembles Lee Strobel, who claims formerly to have been an atheist, but who through desperately poor reasoning shows he couldn’t possibly have been. Reason is a one way street; having it means you can’t back down it. You can reason yourself round even fundamentalist belief, as you did once Bruce, but once you’ve reasoned away from it there’s no going back. These people, like CS Lewis, claim to have been atheists simply for the seeming authority they think it lends. I never buy it.

    Reply
  5. Karen the rock whisperer

    So sorry you fell into the bully trap. It is sometimes difficult to accept that someone trying to engage you doesn’t give a fat rat’s patootie about what you have to say, they simply want you to give them the opportunity to hear their own voice. That behavior simply makes no sense at gut level to you or the rest of us who don’t do that.

    Reply
  6. Zoe

    Thank you for sharing this. I do read at Rational Doubt but as you know have taken my own break from blogging and my reading is very limited right now, because I too have been depressed. So I didn’t see your exchange with this person.

    I agree with Dr. D. and it took me years to realize people didn’t give a shit about me. I think for me that is why I hurt easily. I also think that’s why I’m so vulnerable to falling for the lie (again) that they do care about me and fall for bully tactics all over again. Then I get mad at myself and it’s not a good cycle at all. 🙁

    You matter Bruce. Polly matters. Your family matters. Your writing matters. Right here right now, you matter. We matter right now here in this present moment. (A little pep talk for myself there too.) <3

    Reply
  7. John Arthur

    Hi Bruce,

    Your article on the Rational Doubt blog was very well written and the arguments were very good. This TC Howitt, a fundamentalist on steroids, kept making false assumptions about you and your motives for leaving the Christian faith. This is pretty hard to take.

    In my experience, some Fundamentalist bible thumpers or bible bashers just make up things about atheists which have no foundation in fact. Most of them don’t know any atheists and assume that some of the passages in the bible written by ancient savages are true and apply to all non Christians and those they consider to be apostate Christians.

    I hope this crackpot doesn’t cause you to give up your writing which is very helpful in leading to a deconversion from the barbaric bullybull.

    Reply
  8. Michelle Fitzgerald

    Read a few of TC Howitts exchanges with you on the blog..and the guy is a plain and simple arsehole! Not much more to be said than that Bruce. Although it is hard to contemplate that there are such people in this world..and there sure are plenty of them..I am thankful that there are kind and generous souls like you to provide some balance and reassure me that perhaps this world isn’t so bad after all.

    Reply
  9. Rebecca

    Bruce, I’m sorry that you are having a bad time.

    I think anyone interested in finding truth, and increasing insight does not regard those who disagree with them as automatically having malevolent motives. There is nothing wrong with spirited dialogue, but I think people who become abusive and personally attack others during a conversation have insecurities and problems of their own.

    I want to say that through the years even though we have sharply disagreed at times, I’ve always found your writing interesting. It has driven me to dig deeper into my own faith and thinking which is always a good thing.

    I also can have a tendency to want to pull people to where I’m at in my faith and reasoning. This is all the more true with people, I care deeply about, such as my own children. I’m learning that it is even more important to attempt to understand what impacts and motivates the thinking of others, and then to find common ground. From there, it is sometimes possible to move closer together. But, of course, this requires a dialogue partner who is reasonably secure in themselves, and actually open to this.

    Don’t give up blogging. You have some good things to share.

    Reply
    1. Charles

      I appreciate Bruce for his keen intellect and amazing memory. One of my favorite on-line bloggers is Rebecca Trotter. She says that atheists function as “quality control” on the Christian faith. Have you ever visited her “Upside Down World” blog. She writes some really interesting stuff. I think Bruce would enjoy reading some of it.

      Reply
  10. JulieBarks

    Hi, Bruce, I was in a similar situation. I made the huge mistake of posting comments on premier Christian radio in the UK. I posted polite comments on all sorts of subjects. But from my very first comment, I was bombarded by a 100% bible believing fundamentalist Christian. He insulted me personally from the start and carried on for about a month goading my every post trying to get me to respond in a way that would get me banned from the site. Hellfire and brimstone and quoting scripture were his particular favorites. I did try my best to keep my cool for a while and I even got support from other Christians but he followed my every comment and rubbished it. A more humane Christian warned me the first week to get out. He said, “Atheists don’t hang around long here, in fact most atheists posting here are more Christian in their outlook than the Christians who attack them”. I Got band in the end because the Christian version of a great white shark threatened to withdraw his financial support to them if I was not band. Please if you read this and contemplate having a go with P.C.R Don’t !!! it’s a bit like swimming of Amity island in 1974.

    Reply
  11. Marja

    You are not intellectually inferior. For what it is worth, I have a PhD from UC Berkeley, a BA from the University of Michigan, and was fortunate to have two rigorously educated and secularly oriented liberal parents growing up. At church, my mother sat in the pew with a legal pad and outlined the sermons. If they didn’t pass basic critical thinking muster or if the pastor said anything blatantly sexist. we switched churches. One Mother’s Day Sunday the pastor praised his own mother for being a “doormat to the world” in her service to the men in her life, including Jesus. We switched churches. Here’s my point: I had the benefit of all of that training and role modeling of independent thinking and all of that highly competitive secular education. You didn’t have that and yet you are a very well read, thoughtful, articulate, rigorous critical thinker with a deep and wide understanding of your field of expertise. You had to fight for that. Nobody handed it to you. That is an intellectual accomplishment to be incredibly proud of – and it is rare. Believe me, I have spent many years with professors and graduate students at the top of the educational food chain in this country. There is nothing intellectually inferior about you. I know that insecurity and fear of inferiority come from within and not from without. I just wish I could slay that dragon for you. You really do not deserve to have it breathing down on you.

    Reply
    1. Zoe

      I love this comment Marja. Thank you so much for leaving it here for Bruce.

      Reply
  12. Brian

    Sorry to hear about the Howitt-harm, Bruce. For me, the Howitt’s are triggers. They cleverly uncover deeper pain in me and hack away at the wounds. If there is anyone more capable than an evangelical of making a person feel so utterly abandoned, I have never come across them. I have spoken in the past about my feeling that evangelical parents abandon their progeny in favor of God and that they call this real Love. So too do evangelical witnesses for Jesus. They make one feel utterly abandoned, so very alone. This is the whole point of course, part of the divine program.

    Reply
  13. Neil

    Sorry to hear this, Bruce. I’ve made the same mistake myself many times and it always gets me down too. This guy and others like him are the ones that know nothing, not you. They are, as I often end up telling them before retreating from their arrogant noise, no more than clanging cymbals.

    We’re here to support you.

    Reply
    1. JulieBarks

      Well said, Neil.

      Reply
  14. ObstacleChick

    Bruce, it’s great that you have a trusted therapist to help you through the dark times. Bible thumpers are a tough group, ready to show off their knowledge of scripture and sure of their savvy in all things Jesus. They are not about discussion, they are about monologue, showing others their sheer volume of dedication to study of God’s word. They feel confident in the authority bestowed on them by God and could not care less about the feelings of others. Indeed, in their world the atheist is fallen and thus not worthy of respect outside the saving atonement of Christ’s blood. Another bully for Jesus…..

    Reply
  15. anotherami

    I can only add my voice to the chorus (I promise not to sing loud enough for anyone to actually hear– torture is always wrong).

    Your courage in speaking out about Evangelical fundamentalism has helped me begin to find my own voice, to find those parts of my past where religion/spiritual abuse was the source of the core harms that allowed so many other harms to proceed uncontested. As a result, I’ve begun to try to unravel that particular part of the knot inside. I’m not done yet, but I am making progress. Your writings have helped tremendously in pointing the way. I cannot thank you enough for that clarity, late in life as it may be. Better late than never, right?

    Towards the end of my time in therapy, one thing my therapist stressed was that I would have bad days; everyone does. But I shouldn’t let one bad day determine the next one; the bad day doesn’t mean my battle against the monster of depression has been futile. It was “just” a bad day, not the complete unraveling of my therapy. There have been days when I had to cling to that knowledge rather desperately, but it’s worked for over a decade now. Make that appointment, rest your mind as best you can and hopefully find some comfort in our words of support.

    Reply
  16. Ami

    I thought about writing a comment similar to the ones above… ‘That guy’s an asshole, who cares what he thinks, Dude, you rock…’

    Then I realized I had written something else that might be relevant. So I’m c/p and happy for the science that allows me to do so. 🙂

    Hang in there, Bruce.

    From about 8 years ago, after an encounter with a woman I’d still like to kick in the taco…

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We’re all proctologists.
    At first, you’ll probably go, ” I am not!!” but hear me out.

    You all remember why some people end up in that line of work, right?
    You don’t?

    Okay, I’ll explain it again.

    Proctologists are really outgoing people. They miss the interpersonal relationships they had in school, and once they’re out on their own, feel sad that those people are in their past.

    So they specialize in Proctology as a way to look up old friends.

    With that being said, I think that if you have to deal with a bunch of assholes in your day to day existence, (and who doesn’t??) you may as well call yourself a proctologist. It probably pays better than what you’re doing anyway.

    Don’t ask me what prompted this.
    Just keep it as more words of wisdom, and good luck with the assholes.

    You’re welcome.

    Reply
  17. Cheezits99

    I want you to know I used to be a Bible Thumper. I started reading here, and guess what happened? I am no longer a fundamentalist Christian and now question Christianity in total. I don’t think I was a very abusive one, I was always defending the poor and warning about the evil religious politics, but I drank the Kool-Aid in some areas and definitely was wrong about some things. I regret some of that now. I understand my intentions now, I wanted there to be a loving God who cared after many personal traumas, and it led me down a dead-end religious road. I also sought after the truth and had honest intentions as a seeker. I am sorry this person was abusive to you, but realize some fall into the Bible Thumper trap thinking they are doing good. This one sounds like he was a mean jerk. Sigh…..

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I agree. I may have been a Bible thumper, but I was not mean and nasty, nor did I use my words to insult, belittle, or attack. I believed I had the truth, but I genuinely loved the people I pastored. I enjoyed sharing life with them. That said, my beliefs were harmful.

      Reply
  18. Matilda

    Adding my voice, so sorry this odious man was such a bully to you. I’ve probably said before, others certainly have, why do these arrogant bible-thumpers think gratuitous personal insults are a good advertisement for their faith and make it seem appealing to anyone? I mean, who goes back to a shop, or a service-provider whose representative has been rude to them? Why do the raft of bible verses they quote, never include Gal:5.22-3?

    Reply
  19. Charles

    Hi Bruce. I was a little disappointed with your main post above. However, I am sorry you feel bad emotionally as a result of your encounter with this fundie A-hole. As you noted in your post, we Mainline Christians are often just as much of a target of these Bible thumpers as the atheists, agnostics, and “nones” are. We fall under the rubric of what they define as “apostates.” I used to get clinically depressed as a result of encounters with them too. The main thing I learned from all of those encounters is that it is impossible to win an argument with one because of two main factors:

    (1) They come into every argument or debate with an a priori decision that they will not change their position as a result of anything their opponent has to say. No one can win a debate under circumstances like that—and they know that. It is like arguing with a tree stump—meaning a waste of time and energy.

    (2) They do not engage in these debates to win converts—although they might say that—but not really. They go into every argument or debate with one paramount thing in mind—bully, wound, maim, destroy, and kill the other person. They enjoy wreaking devastation on anyone who is willing to be their victim.

    (3) Why do they do No. 1 and No.2? Well, for one thing, I would say that a lot of these people have severe personality disorders that run in the direction of sociopathology and psychopathology. In other words, if they had never even “met Jesus,” or the Bible, they would probably be finding other excuses to bully and mistreat people. The Bible and Jesus are just their current most handy tools to abuse people with. Eight years from now, it might be chaining kidnapped girls to the stone walls of the abandoned water well in their basement and torturing them before a ritual killing.

    (4) When thumping the Bible, they are often really not so much interested in you as they are in putting on a big production show for nearby onlookers and innocent bystanders. That is the main purpose of the a priori decision to never be moved no matter what you have to say. If they can be seen to never lose an argument, no matter what, it makes their position look strong to bystanders—because that is what Americans like to see culturally—whichever guy is most successful in beating up another guy wins the prize—and must be truthful in what he is saying. Americans culturally think that “might makes right” (or at least the appearance of it).

    (5) I have found that the best way to deal with these thumpers—if you do engage them—is to do exactly what they do. You enter the argument with an a priori decision that you will not change your position no matter what they say—and you really do not care what they have to say. You abandon all hope of winning—because you know ahead of time that it is impossible to reason with someone who refuses to listen to reason. Instead, you attack the fundie system and everything that is wrong with it relentlessly—and you treat them every bit as badly and sadistically as they plan to treat you—and you do it for the people watching nearby and the bystanders—not him. You just refuse to give a shit about anything he has to say—and lay into him with a buzz saw. When the bystanders see that, his position does not look strong and you deny him a win with them simply because you kept a battle going head-to-head. You can never win against him. But you can win with the bystanders—or at least prevent him from winning with them—but you have to be a real A-hole with him to pull this off. You have to do things and say things they are not used to hearing—like calling them sons of Satan—in other words—you give them the same treatment they give other people using their on lingo. It shocks the crap out of them. Tell them they are counterfeit Christians who have denied the ways of Jesus—that they give him lip service—but their hearts are far from him. You have to know the faults and holes in the fundie system to do this—but I suspect you would be a master at it if you ever tried it—because you know what those holes and faults are better than most people.

    Why was I disappointed with your main post? I had hoped it would be a short tutorial in how to better do what I just described—-how to better use the faults and foibles of the fundie system to brutalize a fundie bully in front of bystanders. You do not have to be “right” to be brutal. You just be BRUTAL with them like Jesus was in Matthew 23.

    (3)

    Reply
    1. Rebecca

      What are our motives, though, Charles? I realize that Jesus used some pretty strong language at times, and I’m not saying that for us this is never inappropriate. But, I also feel that there is a problem jumping to the conclusion that these folks are all sons of Satan. I’m really not that concerned if people think I’m apostate. That is their problem and issue. We can’t change where people are coming from in this. But, we are called to love even our enemies. Shouldn’t we have as much compassion for these fundamentalist bullies? What if they can’t help it, and truly need spiritual healing?

      Reply
      1. Charles

        They are hurting people with their bullying. I care for those people who are being bullied, and I want to stand up for them. It is a matter of raising public awareness about fundie bullying so they can eventually feel enough weight of general public social sanction that they will cease from doing it because it makes the “Fundie System” look bad—and it does. As far as I am concerned, finding spiritual healing for a fundie is akin to giving a bath to a house cat. They will bolt for cover at first sight of the healing waters. They will also run from facts and truth like rats fleeing a burning ship.

        HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

        Reply
        1. Rebecca

          Charles, I totally share and appreciate your concern. But, I’m not certain that these folks as a whole are going to be that worried about public social sanction. In my experience, it can lead them to feel they are actually on the right track, and are now truly being persecuted for the sake of Jesus.

          We may differ in this, but I think it’s good to try to understand what leads people to think and respond in certain ways, and then address what may be the root cause. What has happened to cause the fundamentalist bully to miss the grace and compassion of our Lord? Why are they so insecure when other points of views are presented to them, and then feel the need to personally attack and retaliate?

          I don’t want to judge that they are not true Christian believers, because I know faith in Christ does not mean people, myself included, are free from deep problems and issues. .But, obviously reading TC’s comments to Bruce show that something is terribly distorted and wrong.

          Lastly, I think we should never give up on anyone. People can change, Charles, even the worse fundamentalist bully.

          Happy Halloween to you, too. I’m going out with my grandkids tonight, and hope to confiscate all the dark chocolate. 🙂

          Reply
  20. Troy

    It always pains me when I read something like this. Especially since I want you to keep blogging. Regrettably, deconversion can’t occur with a few well worded comments. I notice some other comments from people who read the blog that they ended up coming on board. That’s how you do it.
    (A recent post recalls the time when you were confronted with zingers back in the day, that atheist ended up in a garbage can.) Human psychology is very resistant to change, look up “schema theory”
    Religion becomes part of the psyche at a young age. Next time you’re debating tell them to get back with you after they’ve read some Bart Ehrman.

    Reply
  21. cy

    I went back to read the comments and want to say that although T.C. might have caused you to lose your cool, he doesn’t make the least bit of a persuasive case about anything.

    Ridiculously, he starts arguing with you by arguing over the use of the word “argument”! He says he’s “not making an argument” he’s just “described” his “experience”. So he contradicts what you’ve written, than argues it’s not an “argument”? He’s not just driving you crazy, he’s driving everyone who reads him crazy.

    The only thing he managed to convince me of is that he’s talking gibberish.
    Every sentence is a tangle of ideas that is painful to try to understand. Only one thing comes through clearly: he is a terrible communicator.

    He argues things like telling you not to use the word evangelical because “evangelical” is “meaningless today”, and proceeds to label himself a “biblical Christian”—a completely meaningless term that can mean anything at all!

    Anyhow, as always, I admire your willingness to answer people on the level they are at, in this case because it exposes some pretty idiotic ideas.

    I think when you engage a person like this, it is for the good of the audience.

    I do hope that you keep writing despite people like this. I, as always, get a lot from reading your opinion.
    But mostly, I hope that life feels good to you again.

    Reply
  22. Laine

    I recently saw an interview with a reformed, former member of the Westboro Baptist Church. She said something that really stuck with me — that the members of that church (her entire family) are religious extremists. That got me to thinking that all Fundagelicals are religious extremists.
    Having been kicked out of my Southern Baptist church because I have the audacity to believe that gay people are worthy of love and respect, I know what it means to be hurt by these extremists. The same people who had for 10 years been telling me they loved me and my family and that I was their “Sister in Christ” couldn’t wait to thump me with the Bible when I strayed from their path, the only correct path. My husband and I were actually told, “I can’t believe you don’t believe the whole Bible.” Meaning, of course, a few hand-picked scriptures, mostly from the Old Testament, about homosexuality being an abomination.
    It took me 2 long years to get over being kicked out of this “family.” Some days, I am still not over it. I live in a very small town, and have to see these assholes everywhere I go, grocery store, ballgame, post office, restaurant. They, of course, don’t think they did anything wrong by kicking me, my husband, and my 2 children out of their church. We were obviously in need of correcting, and they did so by thumping us hard with the love of Jesus. They acted just like any other religious extremist would, i.e., putting their beliefs above all others, and spreading that belief by any means necessary, regardless of who gets hurt in the process.
    For the longest time, I thought they really were the loving people they still claim to be. That they felt bad about how they treated me, that one day I would receive an apology, an admission that they treated us badly. But, I was deluding myself. Extremists don’t love, they don’t apologize, they don’t accept. They march ever onward, trampling hearts and minds indiscriminately.
    So, Bruce, know that your blog, your perspective, your logical mind are needed out here. There is love and respect for you and your viewpoint aplenty. Know these people for who they are and call them what they are – religious extremists – and give them as much consideration and time as they are worth – zero.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

You have to agree to the comment policy.