Evangelicals use all sorts of words to describe various aspects of their religion; words such as saved, faith, salvation, grace, redemption, and spirit, to name a few. When unbelievers use these words in other than Evangelical ways, Christians object, saying that these words are theirs; that they have specific meanings and no other meanings are permitted. Never mind what the dictionary says. These words must always be defined according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
Blessed, thankful, and grateful are three words that Evangelicals think belong only to them. However, I refuse to surrender these words to Fundamentalists. Every day, I am blessed, thankful, and grateful to be alive. I am blessed to be married to Polly, and I am double-blessed to have six wonderful children and eleven grandchildren. I am grateful my car started today, despite below-zero temperatures. I am thankful that I can still coherently and thoughtfully write for this blog. Every day I am above ground, I have much to be thankful for, all without the need of mentioning the name of the Christian God.
Therein lies the problem for Evangelicals. They cannot conceive a life of thankfulness and gratefulness without God. Why does the use of these words require a deity? Unlike the Alabama and Georgia football players last night who repeatedly gave God credit for their wins, I choose to express thankfulness and gratefulness to the people who actually do the work. When I sat down today to each a lunch of pork chops, roasted red potatoes, and Brussel sprouts, I didn’t bow my head and thank Jesus for the food. I thanked Polly, the person who labored in the kitchen to prepare this scrumptious meal. The car Polly takes to work wouldn’t start today, resulting in me doing a fair bit of cussing and complaining. Once I got that out of my system, Polly contacted our mechanic son and asked if he could get a battery and install it for us. He gladly said yes, even though at that moment he had four cars up on lifts at the shop and had been installing new batteries all day long. After working ten hours, our son came to our house and by flashlight installed a new battery. I am grateful that he had the skill and time to do it. Who did I thank for our son’s labor? The Christian God? Of course not. He’s never fixed a car for me — ever. I thanked Jaime for taking care of the old folks. He did the work and he alone deserves the praise.
When I use the word blessed, I don’t mean it the same way Evangelicals do. Christians wrongly think that all blessing comes from God. Countless Evangelicals grew up singing The Doxology:
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Told over and over that all blessings come from the God who supposedly has the whole world and itty, bitty babies in his hands, Evangelicals become confused when atheists such as myself tell them to have a blessed day or a blessed New Year. They often ask me blessed by whom. I reply that I used the word “blessed” to mean good or happy and that goodness and happiness do not require a God. Billions of good people walk the face of this earth who don’t know or worship the Evangelical God. Billions more live lives filled with love, joy, peace, and happiness, all without giving a tip of the cap to God.
Of course, Evangelicals turn to the Bible for proof that everything we have in life comes from the hands of the Christian God. Verse after verse tells them that it is God who gives the strength and ability to do what they do in life, and that without God they can do n-o-t-h-i-n-g. Of course, when a snarky atheist such as myself says, fine and asks does this mean that God is also responsible for all the bad that happens in the world? Evangelicals are quick to say, oh no, it is we humans who are totally responsible for bad behaviors — thus showing the inconsistency of their worldview.
We humans are responsible for most of what happens on planet earth. Good things and bad things alike flow from our minds and hands. Sure, there’s not much we can do about the weather, but outside of that we (or other humans) are pretty much in control of what happens in our lives. There’s no need for any of us to invoke the name of God. Give credit to whom credit is due, and do the same with blame. My children will tell you that one of the things I drilled into their heads was personal responsibility. YOU are responsible for your behavior. It is YOU who are in control of your actions. My grandchildren are now “blessed” to get this same instruction from their grandfather. When one of them says, I can’t find my shoe/sock/coat/barrette/toy, they know I am going to say, who had it last?
I hope you have been blessed by what I have written in this post. If you have, please express gratitude or thankfulness to whomever wrote it. If you think God typed this post, by all means, thank him. If, however, you are a person of reason and common sense, feel to thank the author and finisher of this awesome piece of prose — yours truly, the Pope of Ney, Ohio.
I hope each of you have a blessed day. Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am grateful for your continued support. And just think, I wrote those three sentences sans God. I can’t think of one thing I have done today that required God. Blasphemy? Yep! My New Year’s resolution? Blaspheme more, giving all praise, honor, and glory to the gods of skepticism and reason.
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.
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