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Two Out of Two Christian Fundamentalists Agree, Bruce Gerencser is Headed for Hell

no atheists in hellMy life continues to be of prurient interest to many Evangelical Christians. Countless Evangelicals, lurking in the shadows, read this blog on a regular basis. Whether they have questions and doubts about Christianity or they see me as a colossal train wreck in the making, many Evangelicals frequent this site, wondering what I will write next. Other Evangelicals consider me a threat to the continued existence of Evangelicalism. In their minds, I am angry, bitter Evangelical-turned-atheist who hates God. I am an ex-preacher who is being used by Satan to lead Evangelicals astray, and they must do everything they can to negate my influence. So they pray (to no avail), write blog posts about me (to no avail), preach sermons about me (to no avail), and gossip about me in private forums. Believing that I am a reprobate who is beyond the reach of God’s saving grace, these Evangelicals see nothing wrong with attacking my character, lying about my past and present beliefs, and even going so far as to attack my wife and children. Revealing their true nature, these zealots rail against me, damning me to Hell and condemning anyone who turns a sympathetic ear towards my words. In behaving this way, they remind Evangelicals-turned-atheists of one the reasons why they walked (ran) away from Christianity.

Recently, a Fundamentalist woman by the name of Vicki stopped by this blog to share a message with me that God had given her. Evangelical commenters are ALWAYS given one opportunity to say whatever it is they believe God had laid upon their blessed little hearts. I have never in ten years of blogging preempted someone from commenting. Got something to say, Evangelicals? By all means, speak your mind. In fact, I will even let you write a guest post. Say whatever you want (need) to say, but just remember, you only get ONE opportunity to do so. I will, in some instances, grant Evangelicals continued commenting privileges IF they demonstrate they can be kind, thoughtful, and play well with others. Most Evangelicals, once given additional opportunities to put in a good word in for Jesus, will eventually either give up or become frustrated and angry, giving yours truly and the readers of this blog a double barrel shot of Bible as they back their way out of the saloon door.

Take Vicki. Starting a month ago, she left a total of seven comments.  On October 6, Vicki wrote:

Well bottom line, I believe the Bible is the word of God and atheists do not so guess I’m done here. Have a nice day.

And with that, she was done until November 3 when she posted the following, using a different name (IP addresses are a bitch):

Interesting that he and Bruce had things in common but each came to different conclusions. Sounds like some similarities they shared. It seems Mr. Breeden recognized something many do not.

I responded:

You will find few Tony Breeden fans here. He started his blog as an attempt to deconstruct my life. In doing so, he puts words in my mouth, judges my motives, and denies me control of my own narrative.

In the end, he concludes that I never was a Christian; an absurdity to be sure. I have little respect for people who refuse to let me tell my story on my own terms (and accept it at face value).

Five hours later, Vicki tried to post her previous comment again on a post I had written about Breeden: Fundamentalist Tony Breeden Returns to Deconstructing My Life After a Four-Year Absence.  Here’s the text of that post:

On February 12, 2012, a man calling himself Preacher started an anonymous blog, How to Fall Down, so he could methodically deconstruct my past and present life. I did a bit of digital snooping, hoping to find out who this Preacher guy was, and it took me all of a few days to discover that it was the one and the only Reverend Tony Breeden. Breeden used to comment on a previous iteration of this blog until I banned him. Breeden’s deconstruction of my life lasted all of one month and thirteen posts.

Four years later, unable to get visions of me naked out of his mind, Breeden has decided to continue his voyeuristic peeking into my closet. While I don’t like his doing so, I know, as a public figure, that I must endure such inquiries into my life, beliefs, and motives. The difference between four years ago and now is that I no longer feel the need to correct those who view my life as a pornographic centerfold while they play with their Bible tool. Readers who have followed along with me over the years know the kind of man I am, as do my friends and family. That’s all that matters.

You can check out Breeden’s latest post here. I hope you will read it.

After Vicki’s last comment, I banned her for violating the comment policy.

Evidently, Vicki did a web search on my name, finding Breeden’s blog and a Christian apologetic blog operated by a man using the moniker SpaniardVIII. Much like Breeden, SpaniardVIII is preoccupied with my writing (and atheism in general).  On a post titled, (Part Two) The True Darkness of Atheism, Vicki and Spaniard VIII have a “discussion” about the atheist Bruce Gerencser. I have reproduced their discussion below, adding my comments as warranted. Enjoy!

Vicki  Scroll down and you’ll see where he quotes me and there’s a place at the top where you can click on comments for responses. Well, you’ve been to his blog. I wasn’t about to use his blank checklist form to say what I felt I should because that, to me, is just a mockery of Christians. So basically if a Christian goes there and says anything, we’re rude and inconsiderate because we’ve been basically asked not to speak. After all, he knows it all and has heard it all. Sad.

Bruce: The blank checklist Vicki speaks of can be found here: Dear Evangelical.

Here’s the text of the form:

Here’s the form that should make things simple for you:

Name: (Put in fake name because you are so fearless)

Email Address: (Put in fake email address because God knows who you are)

Reason for Contacting Bruce Gerencser (Check all that apply)

_____To tell him he is wrong

_____To preach to him

_____To quote Bible verses to him

_____To evangelize him

_____To tell him he doesn’t know anything about the Bible

_____To let him know God still loves him

_____To let him know I am praying for him

_____To tell him he never was a Christian

_____To tell him he is going to hell

_____To tell him he is still saved and can never be un-saved

_____To tell him he was/is a false prophet

_____To tell him he was/is a wolf in sheep’s clothing

_____To tell him he is angry

_____To tell him he is bitter

_____To tell him his writing shows he has been hurt

_____To tell him he is fat

_____To tell him I hope he burns in hell

_____To tell him that I am praying God will kill him

_____To tell him that he has a meaningless, empty life

_____To tell him he is going to die soon and then he will find out THE TRUTH!

_____To tell him that I know THE TRUTH about him!

Once you have completed the form, cut and paste it into your email or comment.

This form pretty well covers everything Evangelical zealots have said to me over the past decade. That Vicki thinks it makes a mockery of Christians says more about her faith than it does me. She might like to know that NO Evangelical has ever used this form. Oh no, their messages from the Lord can’t be reduced to single sentences on a form letter. What they have to say to me (and to my godless readers) is far too important for them to just put a check-mark on a form. They demand access and pulpit time, as if this blog is some sort of public space where anyone and everyone is free to say whatever the Hell they want to say.

SpaniardVIII: I just read it, so so sad what he said. he is for a rude awakening when he dies.

Bruce: Subtle threat number one: Bruce is in for a rude awakening (Greek for Hell) when he dies.

Vicki: Yes and telling him that is useless……even tho I’ve read on his blog that he admits that he could end up in hell.

Bruce: And yet, much like habitual masturbators, they continue to tell me that I am a servant of Satan, an evil man, a reprobate, and headed for Hell. I have never admitted that I could end up in Hell. Evidently, Vicki doesn’t understand sarcasm. Neither does she understand probabilities. Thus, she conflates possibility with probability. Let me be clear, I have no doubts about where I will end up after I die: the crematorium, with my ashes spread along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Thus will end the life of Bruce Gerencser, save for the writing he leaves behind and the memories of him held by family and friends.

SpaniardVIII: Wow, how can someone take a chance like that? That is insane.

Bruce: Subtle threat number two: Bruce is insane to risk his eternal soul burning forever in the Lake of Fire. Always nice when an Evangelical trots out Pascal’s Wager. I have only heard it ten gazillion times.

Vicki: Yeah, he doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Vicki: Notice in comments how they put words in your mouth and twist what you say? Like I’m really gleeful about what will happen to Bruce when he takes his last breath. You know I’m am not any such thing. I just know the truth of the future of those who die outside of Christ. It’s tragic but atheists will make fun of any concern you say you have for them.

Bruce: Vicki, much like other Evangelical zealots, believes she has been commissioned by Jesus to share the “truth” with atheists; “truth” meaning her peculiar interpretation and understanding of the Protestant Bible. I don’t doubt that she is sincere, but so was the Evangelical lady who drowned her children because God told her to do so.

Vicki wrongly thinks that Christians have the right to say whatever they want to say on atheist blogs. How dare I stop her from putting in a word for the man, the myth, the legend, Jesus H. Christ. What Vicki fails to understand is that this blog is not a public forum. I am the owner, the God of this blog. I have a particular audience I have targeted with my writing: people who have doubts/questions about their Christian faith or people who have already left Christianity. This blog has never been open to Fundamentalist apologists wanting an open forum to attack atheists, agnostics, and non-Evangelical people of faith. There are plenty of places where such debates are welcome, but not here. This is all spelled out in the comment policy, yet Evangelical zealots think I am not talking about them. Memo: I’m talking about YOU!

I wonder if Vicki would be okay with me coming to her church and, from the pulpit, preaching atheism/humanism? I wonder if she would be okay with me coming back week after week, preaching the good news of godlessness? Of course not. She wants access that she would never grant on her own turf.

This blog is and will remain a safe place for Evangelicals to work through their questions and doubts about Christianity. It will remain a close-knit community of atheists, agnostics, humanists, pagans, stray Evangelicals, liberal/progressive Christians, and other non-believers. I make no apologies for what I have built here.

Let me give Vicki the same advice I give to other zealots: Don’t like what I write? Want to set me straight? Want to pummel me with “truth?” Start a blog. It takes all of five minutes to do so. And then you can rage against the atheist to your heart’s content.

SpaniardVIII: Sometimes when a person is determined to stop their ears to God’s Word, they must be left alone to their own destruction.

Bruce: Subtle threat number three: Bruce is an apostate headed for eternal damnation.

Vicki: Sadly true

Vicki: I’d forgotten that I also participated in the comments/response section so you may want to definitely look at that. It really doesn’t seem to matter what you say to them…… Do you recall what they said to you or do you have a link to your comments?

SpaniardVIII: Yes, I have a link, here it is:

Vicki: Thanks, I’ll check that out.

Vicki: Sorry to keep posting but found an atheist blog of someone influenced by Bruce Gerencser.

Seems to be a nice guy but read those Ehrman books which destroyed his belief. I will never read those books. Of course, I don’t believe this man was ever Christian, just as I believe Bruce never was. He is definitely influencing some into full blown atheism.

Bruce: Vicki, after doing a web search comes upon Gary’s blog. Gary, a medical doctor, was a one-time zealot for Evangelical Lutheranism. He stopped by this blog years ago to set me straight about my past and present beliefs. He was quite the evangelist. I pointedly and politely challenged some of his beliefs, asking him to read several of Bart Ehman’s books. After that, I didn’t hear anything from Gary until he sent me the following email:

Dear Bruce and Bruce’s readers:

I am the obnoxious, self-righteous, judgmental jerk mentioned in Bruce’s article above.

I came across Bruce’s website by pure chance one day. I think I had googled “ex Baptist fundamentalists” out of curiosity as I was a former Baptist fundamentalist. I was very surprised to find an ex-fundamentalist Baptist pastor turned atheist! As I read Bruce’s blog I realized Bruce’s “problem”: Bruce had not been exposed to the RIGHT form of Christianity…MY form of Christianity…orthodox Lutheranism!

So I tried to “help” Bruce. I tried to share the “truth” with Bruce. But Bruce simply told me that my “truth” was just another form of Christian fundamentalism, not really any different from Baptist fundamentalism.

I was insulted.

As I tried to “share the truth”, Bruce continued to shoot down my assertions…and my assumptions. He told me to go read Bart Ehrman and once done, come back and then he would talk to me.

So I did.

And I was blown away! I was taught as a fundamentalist/evangelical Christian that God would preserve “every word” of his Word. Therefore, the existing manuscripts of the Bible, in the original languages, MUST be inerrant. Well, I found out quickly that they are not. And then, more and more beliefs that I had never questioned were shown to be false assumptions. I finally had to admit that the Bible is full of errors: the Resurrection stories in the Gospels, Acts, and I Corinthians are completely irreconcilable to any thinking human being (who has not been brainwashed by fundamentalist Christianity). Hades (Hell) and the Lake of Fire were ancient Egyptian and Greek concepts long before the Jews picked up these beliefs under the Greek occupation of Palestine just prior to the Roman occupation. And finally, the realization that there is not ONE shred of archaeological evidence of the two million Hebrew slaves living in ancient Egypt for 400 years, nor their wandering, and all but TWO of those 2,000,000 dying, in the Sinai. There was no Exodus, no conquest of Canaan, no great David and Solomon empires. They are all just Jewish fables.

Fundamentalist/evangelical/orthodox/catholic Christianity is one big “house of cards”. It is based on so many ignorant assumptions that it is baffling how educated, civilized people living in the 21st century still believe it.

So, first, I owe Bruce a HUGE apology. And I should have come back to his blog to apologize a lot sooner than today. I’m really sorry, Bruce! I’m sorry for behaving like the stereotypical hateful, self-righteous, judgmental fundamentalist Christian. I was an ass. I was a jerk. Please forgive me!

I have deconverted from Christianity. I have deconverted from the superstitious, ignorant, bigoted belief system of fundamentalist/orthodox Christianity. And I owe a lot of that to Bruce for opening my eyes to the TRUTH. There may be a God…but it’s not the Christian god, because the Christian god does not exist.

If it means anything Bruce, despite all the hate mail you receive from Christians, know this: You have rescued one man and his family from this false, ancient, fear-invoking, middle-eastern cult.

Thank you, Bruce!

Gary later posted the letter to his blog.

As Gary will tell anyone who asks, I didn’t try to evangelize him. I am not, nor have I ever been, an evangelist for atheism. I have corresponded and interacted with countless Evangelicals over the years. I never try destroy their faith. I ask questions, share my thoughts, and suggest books they might find helpful. It is true that this approach has led to more than a few people — including pastors, pastor’s wives, missionaries, and evangelists — losing their faith. Their deconversions are on them, not me. Unlike Evangelical evangelists, I am not counting souls saved. In fact, I have encouraged more than a few people to stay in church, be it for their family’s sake or personal emotional wellness. Any move away from the cultic tendencies of Evangelicalism is good in my book. To quote a worn-out cliché: it’s the journey that matters, not the destination. I believe this to be true. If I can help someone on their journey, great. Wherever she ends up is right where she needs to be.

That Vicki is afraid of Bart Ehrman’s books is troubling. Surely Evangelicalism can withstand careful examination. Vicki says she is a “truth” seeker, so why not follow the “truth” path wherever it leads? Ehrman is not the enemy, ignorance is.

Let me make this offer to Vicki: I will purchase and mail to you any two of Bart Ehrman’s books. All I ask is that you read them and honestly engage and wrestle with what he writes. Follow the path wherever it leads you! Surely, if God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is all you claim they are, they will protect you from harm, right?

Books by Bart Ehrman

The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

How Jesus Became God : the Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior

Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them)

Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth

Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question — Why We Suffer

Subtle threat number three: Bruce, you never were a Christian and are headed for Hell.

SpaniardVIII: Just read his post, very sad indeed. I grow up in a home where my family did Santeria. It is like Voodo [sic]. I used to see demons walking in my house. I am previlaged [sic] to have seen the spiritual war that we as Christians face. No Atheist can ever say that the super natural [sic] doesn’t exist because my own eyes has seen it. God’s Word is the truth and everything written in it.

Bruce: SpaniardVIII says “No Atheist can ever say that the super natural [sic] doesn’t exist.” Bruce says, “Dear SpaniardVIII, the supernatural does not exist.” There, an atheist said it. There are countless explanations for miracles and supposed supernatural events. And the few that can’t be logically explained don’t prove the existence of the Evangelical God. All they prove is that we “don’t know.”

As far as SpaniardVIII’s claim that “God’s Word is the truth and everything written in it.” I have two words for him: Bart Ehrman. No honest reader of Ehrman’s books can come away believing that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. His books are death to the notion that the Bible is a supernatural text written by the Christian God. Now, this doesn’t mean loss of faith. It does mean, however, that the Bible must be approached differently from the manner in which Evangelicals approach the text.

Vicki: Tried to share a link with Mr. Gerencser from a blog where the person had things in common with Mr. G and similarities yet came to a different conclusion that Mr. G and all he could say was I broke the comment policy rules. The Christian blogger recognized something that many don’t, that you can live a Christian lifestyle and not be Christian. I guess we’re supposed to take the word of those who claim they were once Christian over what God says about it. I don’t know why I keep attempting to reason with atheists except I sometimes feel compelled. I have doubts as to whether Mr. G even read the testimony.

Bruce: Tony Breeden’s post was an attempt to paint me as always being an unbeliever. In other words, he attempted to control my storyline. When I rebuff such attempts, Evangelicals get upset. How dare I not let them change my story or put words in my mouth.

Vicki asks, “I guess we’re supposed to take the word of those who claim they were once Christian over what God says about it.” Yes, I expect you act like a decent human being and accept at face value what I write about my own life. I do the same for Christians. When someone says, “I am a Christian,” I never “doubt” their profession of faith. Who better to know whether one is a Christian than the person professing to be one.

I hope Vicki knows by now that I read Breeden’s post. I read everything the Reverend writes about me, including the post he published today: Are Children Born Atheists? Science Suggests Otherwise.

SpaniardVIII: Just continue to walk in the path that the Holy Spirit takes you.

Vicki: Yes….I’m just sad for atheists plus have a desire that God’s truth be vindicated before them…..but won’t happen in this life for many of them.

Vicki: …..let God be true, but every man a liar…Romans 3:4

Bruce: Vicki gives her motive away when she says, “[I] have a desire that God’s truth be vindicated before them [atheists].” And therein lies the real reason many Evangelicals comment on this blog. They want to be vindicated, proven “right.” I have long argued that Evangelicals don’t give a shit about me as a person or what I have to say. All that matters is the orgiastic feeling they get when “defending” Biblical “truth.” In slaying the atheist Bruce Gerencser, they are showing the heathen world that their beliefs are oh-so-right. Little do they know that the only people buying their “truth” are those who have already slurped the Kool-Aid.

Subtle threat number four: Bruce is a liar who will die in his sins and go straight to hell. Booyah, told ya!

Still with me? Wasn’t that fun?

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.

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  1. Avatar

    Great post, Bruce!

    Just an update: I am so happy to have “met” you! Due to your efforts here on this blog, my life has changed for the better. I no longer believe in or fear invisible ghouls, ghosts, devils, and gods. My little children no longer attend Christian school or church. Since my deconversion from Christianity, I have never told them that God does not exist. I simply tell them not to believe any claim for which there is insufficient good evidence. My children will grow up to be free-thinkers. They will make their own decision on the existence of “God” on their own, using critical thinking skills.

    Keep up the good work, Bruce! You are changing the world. You are involved in one of the greatest movements in human history: the debunking of human superstitions.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Gary, thank you for the kind words.

      You are doing well by your children. I’ve long supported parents NOT having their children choose a religion or choose one for them when they are young. By all means expose them to a wide spectrum of beliefs. I actually support high school students being required to take a world religions class, along with philosophy and logic. (Of course, the only religion Evangelicals wasn’t in schools is theirs.) Choosing a religion can wait until children of an age they have developed critical thinking skills — say late teenage years. Let them enjoy the journey without being coerced into choosing a religion.

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    “SpaniardVIII: Wow, how can someone take a chance like that? That is insane.“

    ‘No it’s not insane, it’s impossible to do otherwise. I don’t believe your story about hell, or about eternal damnation, or salvation. I don’t necessarily believe for a certainty that the person you refer to as Jesus ever existed, never mind performed miracles, rose from the dead, and is somehow still alive now. I don’t believe it. No matter how hard I tried, or how many times I were to mutter it to myself, my belief could never change.

    Given that I can never be the agency of coming to your belief then the only way I can ever believe is if somehow an external agent were to interfere with my mind and change that belief but then, of course, it wouldn’t be ‘my’ free will any longer.’

    There is no logic to any sort of ‘justice’ system, which is what heaven and hell are, that is founded solely on the basis of belief. In short, it is inconceivable that you will ever be judged on what you believe.

  3. Avatar

    Bruce, thanks for posting this. I was seeing comments flying fast and furiously and wondered what prompted Vicki to come back to tell you again that you and all your followers are going to hell. Yes, Vicki, we all know that you and your compatriots think we are going to hell. Next?

    Gary, the courage to pursue knowledge wherever it takes you is priceless. Like you, I raised my kids without religious indoctrination. They have learned comparative religions and religious myths (Jewish and Christian stories are taught as mythology at their school). I taught the kids to question and research everything. My older one is a freshman in college, the younger is a junior in high school. They converse with their friends about belief and unbelief, and their friends are all over the spectrum of belief and unbelief (they don’t have evangelical friends though).

    It makes me sad, though I am not surprised, that Vicki is afraid to read Bart Ehrman’s books. Exposure to knowledge is scary as it forces one to examine one’s beliefs. Either science, history, and archaeology are wrong (and some say they are deceptions of Satan) or the fundamentalist religious beliefs are wrong. I remember the fear I felt when I picked up Richard Dawkins’ ” The God Delusion”. I was terrified about what it would reveal, but my doubts were so strong I needed to know more. When I started educating myself about evolution (which had not been taught at my Christian school) I was terrified. There is a song my kids listen to in which the 1st line is, “the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off”.

    • Avatar

      ObstacleChick, if you’re interested in truth and have the time I highly recommend Zillmer’s book Darwin’s Irrtrum – I find these raging emotional wars of evolution vs. creationism extremely dogmatic and emotional. As if Darwin’s stuff had no problems at all. First of all, it is a complex thing and has many flaws. The impression that almost always occurs in debates like this that the thinking rational and scientific people have no problem with anything within evolutionary theories is simply wrong. Zillmer is an extraordinary person (much like Ehrman) and has no religious cause whatsoever. What he concludes pisses a lot of people off, but the evidence convinced me of loads of interesting facts.

  4. Avatar

    Let me please add my thanks for your writing here, Bruce. It saddens me to see folks lost in woo and so far gone they do not recognize the glaring lack in Belief. Breedon makes a weak presentation of Pascal’s Wager and bases it on a feeling he has called ‘intuitive theism’ or something like that…. He laughingly says Science supports this idea but the unfortunate reality is that he wishes it did and that is about it. Children are born into a family that is their universe, their entirety, as the womb was beofre they were born. These children look to their parentals as all and everything, somewhat Godlike, one might surmise, because the child’s universe is the nuclear family or whatever beginnings they find themselves inside. The Science of human bonding (or lack of it) does not prove God or lack of God. It merely demonstrates the evolutionary development in survival, an offspring clinging to the lifegiver. Breedon says then, GOD! God says… the scripture says! But the reality is that his religion is merely a shadow of the human love that bonds a mother to a child, a fantasy of love that crawled out in the darkness from the caves of our beginnings as bipeds, the superstitions of the ages. Thankfully, we can be free of the horrors of extremist religions. We can say no thank-you to sick ideas like God giving his only son to die for us. The truth will not set you free if you are a slave to God(s) and hate yourself because you are human (imperfect). Atheism, standing apart from the flock and asking for some reasonable proof, is a much more rewarding ‘heaven’ than any given out by belief in God(s). In disbelief one need not wait for the reward of the next life! One can live today. Christians, you need not gather together to celebrate your wicked selves being handled by Jesus. Let the poor fellow be and care for yourself for a change. I too have loved my children toward adulthood by allowing them to choose in life and not instructing them about Gods who destroy, about Satans and Angels. I trust them to occupy and fill their own lives in their own unique ways. How wonderful it is to be free of superstitions and the edicts of IFB’s, of ISIS, of all the wild ravings out there…

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    I like this post, but this statement of Gary’s is in my opinion extremely fundamentalist – “There was no Exodus, no conquest of Canaan, no great David and Solomon empires. They are all just Jewish fables.” It’s fine if someone doesn’t believe so, but I think it’s quite too similar to how people try to deny the existence of the man Jesus Christ (Even Bart Ehrman is a huge defender of Jesus being a real historical person, despite of many zealots and mythicists who would like him not to be). History is about probabilities. There is evidence, even archaeological evidence that supports those events at least to some extent (I’ve done my research, I’m not defending any religious claim here). I, personally, do not need to deny that to be free of all the horrible stuff and false claims that surely are part of Christianity. I am interested in the truth; I never want to be dogmatic again, no matter the topic of interest.

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      Hi Henriette,

      You mentioned that you have done your research. I was around when Gary came to Bruce’s blog. He himself could claim that he has also done his research. I think Bruce would agree as he assisted in leading Gary in that direction.

      There’s a hint here in your comment that seems to lean to your idea/opinion that maybe Gary or others who might tend towards mythicism (that would be me) haven’t done their research. Gary can speak for himself, but I can tell you I’d never be identified as a zealot and I barely ever mention my mythicist leanings. After years of identifying as an agnostic atheist &/or a comfortable humanist, I have found it easier to identify by those labels than that of a mythicist leaning former Christian. 🙂

      I also don’t want to be dogmatic again.

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        Zoe, by saying “I’ve done my research” I didn’t mean “You’re all idiots who have nothing to back your claims with.” 😉 I simply meant that I’ve invested time and effort to find sources etc. – I’m not saying what I’m saying because “It’s in the Bible!” or any other similar statement. So there was absolutely nothing arrogant or prideful in that statement at all.

        I, too, believe that the Bible is a very human book (as Bart often says), it contains errors and mistakes, but I think it certainly contains more historical information than Bruce thinks it does. The OT has one spectacular feature – it mentions mistakes and failures of Jewish leaders a lot, and I mean a LOT. This is quite unheard of in for example contemporary Christianity, or in Christianity in general. You’re rarely hear a Christian start a conversation on history with, “Listen, institutional Christianity has f.cked up so many things in its history it makes me sick!” Contrary to that, the OT is full of criticism of Jewish kings and leaders – even of Solomon and David. That’s very interesting and gives it some credit in my opinion (there’s no uncritical glorification). Plus there is archaeological evidence even for some of the Egypt-Moses stuff that seems pretty convincing to me, but I do not want to force anyone to believe the same. Certainly not people who need to throw Christianity away to get healed emotionally. Facts like these would only throw them back into the neurotic “What if” circles and bunch of history is not as important as their inner healing, I think. So it’s not that important, but it was mentioned in Gary’s part of this blog, so it inspired me to comment.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      I suspect he means evidence to support the Biblical narrative. Like Ehrman, I agree that there was a historical Jesus; a Jewish man who lived and died 2,000 years ago. However, most of what the Bible says about him is either embellished or a lie. The same can be said of many of the people and the events in the Old Testament. There are nuggets of historical facts here and there, but most of what is written is either embellished or a lie — that is if you treat the text as history. If it meant to be viewed as wisdom literature or fictional stories, well that changes everything.

      If someone is going to say that millions of Jews wandered in circles for 40 years in the space of a Walmart parking lot, well he is going to have to provide evidence for their claim — especially since even my map challenged wife could have made it Egypt to Canaan in less than a month. ?

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      Henriette, I don’t deny that there is some evidence supporting the existence of the person we now refer to as Jesus though, at best, all we know is that he was crucified. Having said which, there are serious scholars who now deny his existence entirely, and they aren’t necessarily regarded as cranks, for example Robert Price.

      The events of the Old Testament, however, are entirely different, in that they are now regarded as having no historical basis. Obviously we can fairly easily reject the Genesis creation myths, and similarly the Noah’s Ark flood story, as they are contrary to both science and reason. The trouble is that archaeology has fairly clearly dismissed pretty well every other story as well; for example there is no archaeological, or historically documented, evidence for the existence of the Hebrews in Egypt, nor for the suggestion that there were hundreds of thousands of people trudging aimlessly round the desert for forty years. If this had happened then there would be evidence, and there isn’t. Scholars, in fact, now regard the entire Old Testament as contrived, largely based on stories from other cultures, with no basis in fact (check out Francesca Stavrakapolou for further information). This isn’t a matter of belief, simply one of fact.

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    Just love to read these exchanges, like the Peanut Gallery ones. Why is it fundies think they have the absolute right to put the rest of us straight? I like tennis, so read tennis stuff online but I can’t ever imagine commenting on a golf website that everyone there should switch to tennis immediately. Or post meat recipes on a veggie blog and then be surprised and affronted when asked to cease and be blocked. The arrogant assurance of these people, their sense of entitlement and their superior manner which demeans us as ignorant pathetic fools who’ll one day get our come uppance at the hands of their cruel and vindictive god, always amazes me.

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    Hi Henriette, Zillmer is a proponent of ancient aliens theories, which though are every bit as entertaining as Bible mythology aren’t really what I am looking for. While I understand that scientists cannot answer every question at this time, and things change as new discoveries are made, I trust the process of the scientific method of replicating and verifying information.

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      “I trust the process of the scientific method of replicating and verifying information” – this is exactly what Zillmer does , I’ve read his book. It’s about evidence, research and science (he focuses on chemistry a lot). I’ve no idea what he thinks about aliens, but reducing him to a “proponent of ancient aliens theories” is like saying “Bruce hates Christians.” The problem is that creationists are often viewed as the unscientific morons while evolutionists the honest ones. And this is not true. They also ignore evidence they can’t explain and does not fit, which is exactly what Zillmer points out. Bart Ehrman is a pretty lonely rock in an ocean of (possibly) agenda driven religious scholars and I guess many people dismiss him for that. Scientific communities are not homogeneous – people within the same field can differ a lot. I decided I wouldn’t reject a person until I see what s/he has to say myself and take a look at the evidence.

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    Becky Wiren

    I noticed Zillmer’s degree didn’t have anything to do with with biology or any other science involving the progression of life on earth. I prefer to go with experts in the fields impacted by the theory of evolution.

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      I think this is generally a great and safe idea, but I believe sometimes it does not work. In a Christian congregation the experts are the leaders, deacons, pastors. They know the Bible and ministry much much better than probably any member of their church. The problem is when someone asks a question they can’t explain. Bruce’s blog is full of empirical examples of what can happen after that – manipulation, silencing, public humiliation. I think even the most lay of the lay persons can ask a good question. If the expert’s answer is manipulation, silencing and humiliation something is wrong. I’m sorry to mention him a millionth time, but Bart Ehrman answers every single question his blog readers ask him (he answered my 20-30 questions already and this is one of the leading experts in the field!). What I love about him is the fact that he has no problem with saying he does not know something – he did it countless times. This is what some experts lack. If I see they have no explanation and don’t have enough humility to say they don’t know I don’t care how many degrees they have, they’re trying to hide something. So is it with Zillmer – if he proposes a simple question and no-one can give an honest answer, nor give a reasonable explanation something is stinking somewhere. I hate conspiracy theories and the way emotional manipulation is used within these contexts, but it has happen before that one person was right and everybody else wrong. I just don’t want to miss the next one who discovers and exposes lies, be it Ehrman, Gerencser, Zillmer or whoever else. But I also try to be extremely careful not to idolize people and automatically agree with everything they say (this is true for Ehrman, Gerencser, Zillmer and everybody else).

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    re: “I like tennis, so read tennis stuff online but I can’t ever imagine commenting on a golf website that everyone there should switch to tennis immediately. ”

    Welcome to r/nongolfers, the web’s largest ateeist forum.All topics related to ateeism, anti-teeism and non golf living are welcome here.
    (a rather humorous reddit forum with people making fun of golfers, and treating them as if golf was a religion.) 😉

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      Oh thanks! My only connection with golf is a BIL who is President of a rather prestigious club here in the UK. It was supposed to be a one-term appointment, but he’s so good at the job, they changed the rules and he’s in his 3rd term. He comes in for a lot of family teasing, he’s the nicest, kindest, gentlest of guys, but he’s been referred to as ‘Mr Trump’ for the last 2yrs!

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    John Arthur

    Hi Bruce,

    This Spaniard VIII is obsessed with telling everyone who reads his website that you, and all other atheists, are headed for hell. He tells lies for Jesus about atheists and imagines that we are hotbeds of sexual immorality. This lieutenant of his called Vicki is just as smug in her outlook as he is.

    If they are going to continue their ultra-Fundamentalism, they may as well use their bibles as toilet paper for all the good it is doing them and those who are their captive audience.

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    Yulya Sevelova

    Yeah,Arthur, I second that emotion. Those two must be fun to live with,lol. I feel bad for their respective captive audiences. The Over the years past, I often witnessed abusive Christian types encourage each other in various extremist behaviors. And being laughed at or rejected made them feel vindicated,as Vicki herself stayed. But,we have the Pilgrims/Puritans for the above. Remember,they often knowingly accused others in their community of witchcraft, so they could get them locked up,and seize their land for themselves. As well as sending soldiers to people’s homes to forcibly escort them to Sunday services, if they refused to go. I read about what the Natoves of New England were put through,at the hands of these people. My mistake was thinking they died out years ago,not realizing,like among the Trump camp, that such kinds of people are still around. Blechhh. Yuck.

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Bruce Gerencser