Your Questions, Please

i have a question

Greetings, Earthlings.

It’s been three or so years since I asked readers to submit questions for me to answer, so I thought I would open the call lines and ask you to submit your questions, along with $100 donations to help me reach Evangelicals throughout the world. Reason — praise be to Reason — has called me to evangelize Evangelicals, and your donations will help me take the gospel of critical thinking to the ends of the earth. Just kidding. While donations are always appreciated, what I really want is questions; your pithy, erudite questions.

If you have a question you would like me to answer, please ask it in the comment section. I will answer questions in the order they are received. You can also email your questions to me via the contact form.

This post will remain pinned to the top of the front page until July 15th, after which time it will disappear into the bowels of this blog never to be seen again

Let the games begin.

Bruce

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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.

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17 Comments

  1. Tony

    When looking back at the events when you revealed to your family and friends your loss of faith (the letter you wrote, interactions with family, close friends, etc), would you change any of the way you navigated that? If so, what and why?

    Thanks for your blog, always appreciate your writing!

    Reply
  2. ObstacleChick

    Bruce, when you were in college, I can’t remember whether you mentioned learning about the origins or canonization process of the Bible. I understand that you would have learned exegesis, but were the students taught about the process of canonization and the existence of other texts that were not included? Was there an explanation why the canonized books of the Apocrypha were excluded from protestant bible? And did you ever share any of this info with your congregations?

    Was evolution taught in your high school? If not, how did your science teachers handle questions about origins?

    Did you or your congregants ever question of why an omnipotent and benevolent deity would require blood sacrifices to atone for sins?

    I apologize if you have covered these topics before – I have read a lot of older posts but may have missed some things.

    Reply
  3. GeoffT

    What are your views on objective morality? I might say that I get a little turned off by the ‘heavy’ philosophical approaches, and like to discuss it in everyday terms. For example, ‘don’t kill’ is a pretty good starting point, but does the fact that killing is allowed in some circumstances (for example, in wartime) mean it can’t be objective?

    Reply
  4. dave

    How do evangelicals cope with the tremendous difference between the god of the old testament (e.g., (1 Samuel) telling Saul to destroy Amelek — everyone, men, women, children, goats, sheep, cattle, and other similar requests by god for mayhem) and the god of the new testament (peace, love, turn the other check, etc.). This would seem to indicate that their god is fallible in that it has apparently done a complete 180 with respect to genocide, and overall philosophy. Was god wrong then? Or wrong now? Either way, their book indicates that their god is capable of being wrong. How do they square this with inerrancy?

    Reply
  5. Geoff

    Hi Bruce. I was reading some stuff on Bill Hybles and one of the new leaders at the church addressed the congergation and told them that Bill had made some inappropriate decisions that made some women to feel as if they had been wronged. I know nobody wants to fess up to their sins and wrongdoings , it’s human nature , but come on.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I’ve seen a statement of late that suggests they now believe the women and regret saying they were lying.

      People have a hard time believing revered pastors can do bad things or have affairs. Remove religion from the equation and it is not hard to understand and accept that pastors can and do have consensual sexual affairs. I wouldn’t even write about such stories if it wasn’t for the moralizing and cover-ups.

      I had a pastor friend who had an affair with his secretary. He later left the ministry, divorced his wife, and married the secretary. I later found out that his wife was a lesbian and hadn’t had sex with him in 20 years. I fully “understood” the affair, as most of us would. Humans and sex makes for interesting theater. 😀

      Evangelicalism, in particular, is an exercise in denying human nature. Imagine how different it would be if Evangelicals admitted their humanness. Instead, they continue to ride the high moral plain, thinking no one will ever find out what goes on behind closed doors.

      Reply
  6. Konnie Ellis

    I’m just curious as to whether you’ve heard of the Clergy Project, and if you have taken advantage of its resources? I just thought that since you were a former pastor, and probably have several ex-pastors following your blog, this might be a good resource for you to promote from time to time. Begun by Dan Barker of FFRF, and is for anyone in ministry, not just pastors. I’m also curious to know if you listen to any atheist podcasts, or how closely you follow atheist blogs? I’m a new reader, so I apologize if you’ve addressed some of this before.

    Reply
  7. Jonathan Reed

    Sorry if you found this on another post. I had posted this else where, but I don’t think it worked.

    Hello Mr. Gerencser,

    I am writing to you after reading about a dozen of your posts. I’ve found them to be extremely interesting with a splattering of good insight. I’ll be upfront about the fact that I am a Christian. But your writing is extraordinarily clear and you have a gift of communication, so I’ve been mesmerized by your posts. I do have a bone to pick though, because personally I’ve found the claims of Christianity to be the MOST reasonable and rational world view and so I would challenge your implication that the Christian world view relies on faith while an atheistic world view relies on reason. First of all, it is interesting that the definition that you chose of atheism frames the world view in the passive; an absence of belief in God. Truly atheism is the active belief that there is no God. While you try to back out and say that you are more agnostic, the problem remains that you must define yourself by what you believe. It is simply unfeasible that someone only does not believe something. They must actively believe something. So by saying that you act as if there is no God, you admit to believe that there is no God.

    However, your problem seems worse than that, because in my estimation your own life does not agree with what you say that you believe. Let me try to prove that to you:
    As an atheist you must adhere to some core beliefs, like the catechism of atheism. If I misrepresent you here, please correct me.
    1. The world, life, and existence came to be in some other way than by a creator.
    2. The “laws” of nature are grounded in nothing, or maybe at best chance.
    3. There is no plan, no purpose, no end goal for anything.

    If you say that you believe these things, your lifestyle betrays your inconsistency. You wake up every morning believing that the way the world works today is how it worked yesterday. You live your life as if there is purpose. You make plans and delay gratification on a regular basis. All of these things would make sense if you believed that God sustains creation, that life has a purpose, but if chaos is the rule and chance is the foundation of all things, than your lifestyle is utterly inconsistent.

    I am curious how you would respond to these charges.

    Thanks for your time,
    Jonathan Reed

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      This post is about asking questions, not giving bloviating sermons that do little more than expose that you know nothing about atheism (or that many atheists are humanists). Every atheist I know — without exception — would reject the ignorant assertions you’ve made in your comment.

      If you have a specific question you would like to ask, please do so. If not, keep on moving down the road. Or better yet, spend some serious time reading my writing and that of other ex-Evangelicals-turned-atheists, then we can talk.

      I do want to answer what questions you might have — you know sentences that end in a ?

      Bruce

      Reply
      1. Jonathan

        I don’t know if you genuinely missed the question there. I can reword it to make it more clear,

        How would you respond to these charges?

        The charges being that humanism lacks the grounding for purpose. For example Friedrich Nietzsche wrote about how with secularism nihilism will inevitably follow.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          You didn’t ask any questions, and you barely did here. Bald assertions are not questions, Jonathan. That said, I will in a future post take up the question of grounding. Or you might read my recent post on objective morality.

          Reply
  8. Charles

    Has Polly ever sung the words “polly wally doodle all day”? Heck, I thought you should have at least one easy question. You can go ask her.

    I am feeling much better. Thanks to everyone who suggested ways to pull out of my depressive episode.

    Reply
    1. Zoe

      Sounds positive Charles. <3

      Reply
    2. Brian

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge-cNfosrMU

      Thanks for the fun song reminder, Charles!

      Reply
    3. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I am glad things are better, Charles. I have little to offer because I can barely keep my own head above water. The best I can do is say, I understand and support you.

      I have not sung that song to Polly. 😀 She has heard, Polly want a cracker? a time or two.

      Reply
  9. Emma

    How hard was it to change the authoritarian thought patterns that you had as a pastor? Did they affect your family? How have your relationships with your family changed since you became an atheist?

    Reply
  10. Emma

    How hard was it to change the authoritarian thought patterns that you had as a pastor? Did they affect your family? How have your relationships with your family changed since you became an atheist?

    (I may have double-posted, apologies if so)

    Reply

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