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I Give Up!

Do you find yourself explaining the same things over and over to people who cannot or will not comprehend or understand your point of view/opinion/worldview? I know I do. Every day, my writing is read by thousands of people, and no matter how often I explain myself, some people — looking at you Evangelicals, Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, Fundamentalist Catholics, Right-wing Christians, Diehard Republicans — have heads filled with cement, leaving them unable to entertain any point of view/opinion/worldview but their own. The more certain people are of their rightness, the harder it is to reach them. Christian Fundamentalists, in particular, are absolutely certain that their peculiar beliefs came straight from God, and their practices are exactly how Jesus and the first-century church practiced New Testament Christianity. Some people are so obtuse that it is nigh impossible to meaningfully engage them intellectually. Talking to them is like beating your head up against a brick wall. You are bloodied and in pain, but you’ve not made a dent in their ignorance. And so today, I officially give up.

I give up trying to explain that I didn’t become an atheist because I was hurt by the church.

I give up trying to explain that I am not bitter over my past.

I give up trying to explain that I am not angry at the Christian God.

I give up trying to explain that I don’t hate the Christian God.

I give up trying to explain that I didn’t leave Christianity because I secretly desire to “sin.”

I give up trying to explain that I am not a worshiper of Satan.

I give up trying to explain I really was a committed follower of Jesus who believed the Bible from cover to cover.

I give up trying to explain that I really did wholeheartedly devote the first fifty years of my life to Jesus.

I give up trying to explain that I devoted most of my adult life to preaching the gospel and evangelizing sinners.

I give up trying to explain that atheism is not a religion.

I give up trying to explain that people can be moral and ethical without God.

I give up trying to explain that all morality is subjective.

I give up trying to explain that Evangelicalism is inherently Fundamentalist.

I give up trying to explain that atheists don’t want to make Christianity illegal.

I give up trying to explain why I blog.

I give up trying to explain why I publish the Black Collar Crime series.

I give up trying to explain to creationists that the universe is not 6,024 years old.

I give up trying to explain to creationists that Adam and Eve were not the first humans.

I give up trying to explain to creationists that the world was never destroyed by a flood.

I give up trying to explain to literalists that they are not as literal as they think they are.

I give up trying to explain that the Bible is not an inerrant, infallible book written by the Christian God.

I give up trying to explain that Moses did not lead millions of Israelites from Egypt to Canaan.

I give up trying to explain that abortion is not murder.

I give up trying to explain that democratic socialism is not the same as Venezuelan socialism.

I give up trying to explain that communism and socialism are not the same.

I give up trying to explain that democratic socialists are not anti-capitalists.

I give up trying to explain the moral bankruptcy of Donald Trump.

I give up trying to explain that Donald Trump is a racist.

I give up trying to explain that Donald Trump is a sexual predator.

I give up trying to explain that I am not overweight because I eat too much or eat the “wrong” foods.

I give up trying to explain that my pain and debility are caused by actual diseases and medical disorders.

I give up trying to explain why I am depressed.

I give up trying to explain why auto racing on dirt is better than auto racing in asphalt.

I give up trying to explain why I don’t recycle.

And finally, I am too tired to continue with this list, so I give up …

Tomorrow, Loki willing, is another day. Who knows how long or short my “I Give Up” list might be.

What would you like to add to this list? Please share your “I give ups” in the comment section.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 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.

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  1. Avatar

    I give up trying to live up to standards that no human could possibly meet.

    I give up thinking reading the right book and playing the right music over and over and over again are the answer to every problem on Earth.

    I give up listening to Christians tell me not to yoke myself to unbelievers, then watch them yoke themselves to the most despicable non-Christian president this country has ever seen.

  2. Avatar
    Melissa A Montana

    I give up attempting to reason with Trump supporters.
    I give up attempting to be friends with Trump supports.
    I give up people’s passive-aggressive racism explained as “another point of view.”
    I give up enablers who say “Both sides need to be more civil.”
    I give up explaining why Trump bigots are not just “white working class people worried about the economy.”
    I give up explaining that white people are not the only ones who work.
    I give up explaining why, at age 52, I love Heavy Metal and Punk Rock music.
    I give up explaining why many of my Twitter and Instagram followers (and followed back) are drag queens or LGBTQI.
    I give up explaining why I am in poor health when I look much younger than I am.
    And finally, I give up arguing with Christian bigots who “love” me.

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    I give up on relatives/friends who just know for certain that my departure from decades of fervent x-tianity is ”just a phase”. They think it happened after I had and then recovered from a very serious illness and in due course, mainly through their shrieking at the ceiling (as the wonderful Captain Cassidy calls prayer), I will see that It Was All Part Of His Wonderful Plan For My Life….and of course they’ll accrue a few thousand brownie points before the throne…as it was THEIR prayers that achieved that outcome for me.

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    I give up trying to point out to gun nuts that guns don’t make you safer.

    I give up telling anti-vaxxers that they are akin to urban terrorists.

    Fun, isn’t it! Your list, if you take the ‘I give up’ away from the beginning of your sentence makes a pretty good summary of your blog posts. Essentially, it’s pointless arguing with those who don’t base their belief on reason (actually if it’s based on reason then it probably isn’t a ‘belief); if they were susceptible to reason then they wouldn’t hold their beliefs. Of course, there are exceptions, as you yourself prove!

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    I give up trying to prove to them the errors of their beliefs by debunking the way they debate me. Calling them out on the Logical Fallacies they use, seem to work better. Calling them out for “speaking for me” (what I was/wasn’t). Xians are quick to blame the atheist but never themselves. I give up giving them that opportunity. I call them out on it. I give up going into details with them and go right for the way they are explaining something (eg Metaphors are written by the author for the reader, not the interpreter). Make it about them and what they are doing.

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    I give up trying to explain to people that USA Constitution did not create a Christian nation.
    I give up trying to explain the vast diversity of people in some parts of the US.
    I give up explaining that on my employment experience most of the hardest workers are immigrants or 1st generation.
    I give up debating anyone who sincerely believes there’s an invisible war going on around us between good spirits and bad spirits.
    I give up debating with those who fear and distrust scientific research and discovery.
    I give up discussing diets.
    I give up being afraid to run in public without a shirt on a hot day because of body image issues.
    I give up hoping for an afterlife.

    • Avatar

      Yes give up! Don’t waste time teaching pigs to whistle. Pick your battles carefully. It reminds me of in public school, there were certain students whose disinterest in the compulsory nature of school that they fronted resistance like toddlers being dressed by their parents. Such students not only made it hard for them to learn, but others as well.
      So who should you grace your wisdom upon? The genuinely and sincerely curious and always remain an example to other disillusioned clergy who may well be trapped in a lie.

      Zingers, memes, and one liners will never change someone’s mind. They’ll merely annoy and disgust those that disagree leading to mutual antagonism.

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    I give up meeting with a group of old friends from jr high school. They recently started meeting weekly for supper out, to reconnect and talk over past times, but every time we sit down, the conversations begin with how bad everything thing is, and it’s all Obama’s and Hillary’s fault!
    As the only liberal in a group of a dozen conservatives (racists), I feel extremely threatened…as for the “love it or leave it “ sentiment of this week, they wholeheartedly agree!!!
    And the ironic point is that that’s exactly what our parents told us hippies to do back when we spoke against the Vietnam war…
    I give up!

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    Reverend Greg

    I’ll take you at your word, Bruce. People need to stop analyzing others and accept their reasons, whether they agree with them or not.

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    I give up feeling bad because I am not meeting some standard or living a “godly” lifestyle. I give up judging others-though I do not always succeed. Plus some of the other things on your list too, Bruce. thanks for continuing to share and write for all the rest of us. you are appreciated more than you know.

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    I came to pretty much the same conclusion decades ago. There’s no point in trying to debate people who won’t listen, can’t think, and are “stuck in broadcast mode” — focused only on transmitting their own points and uninterested in hearing anyone else’s. I figured out that arguing with people leads to a lot of stress and no benefit, so I stopped doing it. Who cares if deleting their comments instead of debating them makes them angry, so long as it makes them go away.

Want to Respond to Bruce? Fire Away!

Bruce Gerencser