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Is Liberal Christianity the Answer for Disaffected Evangelicals?

slide into modernism

An increasing number of Evangelicals find themselves emotionally, theologically, and politically at odds with Evangelical Christianity. And it’s not just people in the pews either. Evangelical pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and college professors also find themselves in opposition to Evangelical beliefs and practice. Skewered by keepers of the book of life (discernment ministries and Fundamentalist zealots) as Christ-denying apostates who likely never were Christians, these servants of God find themselves increasingly attacked and discredited over their willingness to verbalize and share their doubts and questions about the “faith once delivered to the saints.” I know firsthand the savagery of those who believe God has called them to seek out disloyal Evangelicals. I know firsthand their attacks on your character and family. I know firsthand the lengths to which they will go to discredit your story — even saying that you were never a pastor and or your story is a complete fabrication. Yet, despite the increasing violence against doubters who dare to go public with their doubts, questioning congregants and clergymen continue to tell their stories.

Many of these doubters eventually turn to atheism or agnosticism. My journey from Evangelicalism to atheism was one of a slow slide down the proverbial slippery slope. (Please see the From Evangelicalism to Atheism series) I knew that Evangelicalism was a charade, a religious house built on a faulty foundation, but I desperately wanted to keep believing in Jesus. It was all I knew. So, for a time I tried to make intellectual peace with liberal Christianity, but in the end, I found its arguments intellectually lacking. From there, I thought, maybe Unitarian-Universalism (UU) is the answer. While I met a number of wonderful UU people, I came to the conclusion that UU was just a religion of sorts for atheists and agnostics; a religion for people who loved liturgy and spirituality, but rejected dogma. I found myself asking, why bother?

I have noticed in recent years that supposedly non-judgmental, loving liberal Christians have taken to attacking atheists, suggesting that atheists are no different from Fundamentalists who say that if you can find one error in the Bible then Christianity is false. Atheists are accused of attacking a straw man Christianity, instead of engaging “real” Christianity. While I certainly agree that some atheists are every bit as Fundamentalist as Christian zealots, most of them are not. In fact, many of the atheists I know, myself included, have given Christianity a fair shake. We have weighed Christianity — including its liberal flavor — in the balance and found it wanting.

Liberal Christians rightly condemn Evangelicals for their rigid literalism and commitment to Bible inerrancy. To liberals, only country hicks and intellectually challenged people believe the Bible is literally true, without error, and infallible in all that it teaches. Who in their right mind thinks the earth was created by the Christian God 6,024 years ago? Who in their right mind believes in Noah’s worldwide flood? Who in their right mind believes all those Old Testament stories are true? Who in their right mind believes Jesus actually worked all the miracles attributed to him in the Gospel? Who in their right mind believes in a literal Hell where non-Christians are tormented day and night forever? Who in their right mind believes that Jesus was the virgin-born son of God who came to earth to die for sinners and resurrected from the dead three days later? Uh, wait a minute Bruce, I agree with you on everything except what you said about Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, liberal Christians say. Jesus is real! Jesus died for my sins! Jesus resurrected from the dead! Jesus promised me a home in Heaven when I die! (This is best said jumping up and down.) And therein is the fundamental problem I have with liberal Christianity. While the Evangelical holds on to rigid literalism and inerrancy, the liberal Christian jettisons virtually everything except the Jesus of the gospels. Liberal Christians believe most of the stories and teachings in the Bible are allegorical or metaphorical, yet when they read the Bible verses about Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, all of a sudden they become rigid literalists and can be every bit as Fundamentalist as Evangelicals. All of a sudden, the words of the Bible matter and are to be taken literally, thus proving at some point along the inerrancy spectrum, Evangelicals and liberals alike believe these Bible verses really, really, I mean R-E-A-L-L-Y are true!

Over the past decade, I’ve engaged in heated discussions with countless Evangelical apologists. Years ago, these discussions (and personal attacks) became so emotionally draining that I quit blogging, vowing never to write again. Yet, months later I would arise from the ashes and try again. All told, I went through this process at least three times. Long-time readers sensed a pattern, knowing that, yes, Bruce will crash and burn, but eventually he will rise again from the dead. June 2014 was one of those times. I thought, at the time, I am really done with this! Time to move on! However, in December 2014, I opened up shop again, calling my venture The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser. Come December, I will have been successfully open and serving up either bullshit or gourmet meals depending on your view of Evangelical Christianity, for five years. What changed? Why have I been able to keep writing week after week, year after year?

Four things stand out, and yes, I am going to bring this post back around to its subject.

First, I began seeing a secular counselor on a regular basis. He literally saved my life. I still see him every few weeks.

Second, I developed close relationships with a handful of readers who knew the warning signs of an impending Bruce crash and burn. They took on the burden of engaging Evangelicals in the comment section, and were willing to warn me when they saw me getting wound up and ready to explode.

Third, Loki brought a woman by the name of Carolyn into my life. When Carolyn first contacted me, she told that she loved my writing, but my grammar really needed some work. At first, I was offended, but I can tell you today, she was absolutely right. Carolyn not only edits my writing, but she has also become a dear friend. She knows me well enough to sense when I am deep in the valley of depression and despair, and sometimes all I need from her is a text that says, Are you okay? And, after 50 texts back and forth, I start feeling better! Don’t let anyone tell you that online friendships are of little value. I know better.

Fourth, I learned that it was okay to NOT engage Christian zealots in discussions; that my target audience was Christians who had doubts or questions about their faith or people who had already left Christianity. I decided to let Evangelical apologists have their say in the comment section and then send them packing. I wanted this blog to be a haven safe and free from Evangelical bullies and trolls — a la Jim Wright’s recent comments. All in all, I think I have succeeded.

Every year, scores of commenters end up banned from commenting. Banning works this way. Run afoul of the commenting guidelines or act like an asshole, and your commenting privileges are revoked. Come the start of each year, however, I clear the ban list, giving everyone banned a fresh start, an opportunity to show me and the readers of this blog that they can play well with others. Sadly, many un-banned commenters quickly find themselves banned again — thus proving that a leopard can’t change its spots.

What might be surprising to readers is this: only one commenter is permanently banned. Wow, she must have really been a Fundamentalist! Actually, she is a liberal Christian, one of the most irritating commenters I have ever known. Why, you ask, does she irritate me? When pressed on what it is that she actually believes, she always dodges my questions or attempts to muddy the waters. When asked to give me a list of what were her non-negotiable beliefs — silence. When asked to state her cardinal, must-believe theological beliefs — silence. When asked if she believed atheists such as myself go to Hell when they die — silence. I found her obfuscation to be akin to attempting to nail Jell-O to a wall. One time, we got into a discussion about her belief that God is Love. While certainly, the Bible teaches God is love, it also teaches that God is angry with the wicked every day, hates sinners, and can and does act in vindictive, capricious, violent ways. This woman wanted the God of love, but not the God of wrath. She made much of all the places in the Bible that spoke of God’s wonderful grace and love. I replied, “let’s talk about Genesis 6-9; you know Noah’s flood; you know where God killed every man, woman, child, infant, and unborn fetus save eight people. By all means, from this passage of Scripture, show me the God of Love.” Of course, she had no answer for me.

A lot of liberal Christians read this blog. They love my frontal assaults on Evangelical Christianity. They love my liberal politics and progressive social values. And I love them too. I am all for ANY religious belief — including worshipping Bruce Almighty — that moves people away from religious fundamentalism — especially Christian Fundamentalism. That said, I truly don’t understand, from a belief perspective, liberal Christians. What beliefs really matter? How can one dismiss, reinterpret, or spiritualize most of the Bible, yet believe in a literal born of a virgin, crucified, resurrected from the dead Jesus? How does someone determine what’s to be taken literal, and what’s not? Liberals accuse Evangelicals of having wooden literalism only when it suits them or when it validates their theology, but how is this any different from what Liberal Christians do? Isn’t this buffet approach to faith just a matter of degree? Why is it laughable when Evangelicals say they believe every word of the Bible, yet dismiss certain verses when it’s convenient or expedient to do so, but when Liberal Christians do the same, it’s somehow different? Different how? Aren’t both groups picking and choosing what it is they really believe and ignoring the rest?

I also wonder if Liberal Christians are, deep-down in their heart-of-hearts, universalists; people of faith who believe all roads lead to Heaven. If this is so, then why try to rescue disaffected Evangelicals from the jaws of atheism and agnosticism? Shouldn’t freeing people from the Evangelical cult be all that matters? If there’s no Hell, no final judgment, no accounts to be settled between God and man, why bother? Or at the very least, why not just admit that you go to church for social and cultural reasons, and your faith gives you a sense of purpose and meaning? You see, I suspect there are more than a few atheists and agnostics hiding in plain sight in liberal Christian churches. I also suspect that a number of liberal Christians are closer theologically to their Evangelical brethren than they are willing to publicly admit; that in the end Christians are going to win the grand prize of eternal life, and atheists are going to be annihilated by God, snuffed out of existence for all eternity — as if somehow that’s loving.

Liberal Christianity remains a conundrum to me. I have asked before for Liberal Christians to explain to me their view of the Bible and how and why they determine which parts of the Bible to believe and which parts, in Thomas Jefferson-style, to excise. So far, I have yet to hear a cogent explanation and defense of liberal Christianity. I can see its effect on the world through its good works and love for others, but intellectually, at least for me, Liberal Christianity remains Jell-O nailed to a wall.

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
    Bob Felton

    I’m with you, Bruce: liberal Christianity avoids the worst, but obviously not all, of fundamentalism’s irrationality and bad ethics — but it still is just watered-down nonsense. Stoicism and pragmatism — as philosophical movements, not cliches — offer much more, and with none of the endless offenses against intelligence and ordinary decency.

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    I agree with the points made in this post, but I still am perfectly fine with any liberal/progressive religion that doesn’t try to control how people live, believe, think, vote, or love. I don’t worry about mainstream traditional religions that just have their weekly meetings, sing a few songs and listen to a nice talk, then go about their lives without bothering people. Their reasons for following these traditions are theirs alone, and I respect them. They can believe in fairies and unicorns as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t need to understand. But when religions violate or even threaten to violate my private life and beliefs — my FREEDOM — that is when they are dangerous.

  3. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    Interesting. I am writing a novel about an atheist man abruptly disconnected from his reasonably comfortable life, who must rebuild it with much growth on his part. One of the subthreads of the novel is the growth of his daughter. Raised atheist, she moves far away with her mother after the latter divorces this man. When they meet again two years later (mother had been shutting down communication between them), the newly adult young woman who joins his household is an Evangelical Christian, and as enthusiastic as most converts are. There is friction, but both of them try not to push each other too much, and over four years of college she gives up on Evangelicalism and begins attending the Episcopal church.

    So, how do I get in the head of a liberal Christian? Well, I was raised Catholic and taught my theology by liberal nuns, who were big on the loving your neighbor and determined to see the impossible parts of the Bible as metaphor, at least in the Old Testament. My best friend was raised Episcopal, and we were trained to see our theologies in much the same way. Both of us are atheists now, partly because we thought too much about Christian beliefs. So my daughter character deals by simply not thinking about it.

    Several years after graduation, the daughter character is married to a lapsed Catholic with three kids. She gets challenged by a staunch Fundagelical guest at an extended family party. He wants to know if she’s a Godly woman. When she inquires what he means by that, and he says, a submissive wife. She replies with something to the effect of look, we’ve got three kids, we both work, I have a youth group at church I help lead, and I’m on a social justice committee. [Husband] and I operate best with different spheres of influence, except where parenting is concerned, because we get more done that way. The Evangelical asks, isn’t she afraid of going to hell? She replies that she does as much as she can, and if God wants more, he can be more specific in his instructions. Note that she does not address his theology at all.

    I don’t think the daughter character would be comfortable with Bruce challenging her theology, but she’s a basically honest person and would go off and think hard after a conversation with him. But she truly manages by not thinking too hard about it. She wants God in her life, and she feels close to her deity when she is kind, thoughtful, generous, patient, looking out for others…you get the idea. She will not break that connection by thinking about theology.

  4. Avatar

    As a UU who is not Christian, I have to say I also find it puzzling that some of my equally socially liberal friends hold onto the idea of Christ’s literal resurrection and the idea of salvation, which seems to me wholly unimportant. But also as a UU, I feel like it’s not for me to be critical of the strategies that help other people make sense of their world in a spiritual context. Doesn’t make sense to ME, but their path isn’t mine; if it’s important to them to think that Jesus was some kind of supernatural being instead of just a guy who said some good, thought-provoking and worthwhile stuff 2000 years ago, then that’s important to them for a reason and I accept that, weird as it seems. It’s not even about all roads leading to “heaven,” it’s about your own personal road leading you where you’ve decided you need to go. But I suppose that kind of spiritual agency is exactly why Evangelicals think Universalists go straight to hell… 🙂

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    I have a couple of friends who are liberal Christians. One was raised Episcopalian and exposed to a sect of Mennonites on his father’s side. He switched to the Greek Orthodox church for awhile until they took a negative stance on gay marriage (he is gay). He lives studying the history of christianity and is very active in a social justice brand of Christianity. He is one of the few friends who knows I am an atheist. He said he knows he should become an atheist too but isn’t willing to give up being a part of a 2000 year old faith tradition, and as much as some Christians hate gay people, some do not and he hopes to effect change from within. He likes the notion if Jesus even if he wasn’t literally real in all aspects.

    Another friend who is a former evangelical is also a social justice liberal Christian. She is into the promise of heaven and of healing as she is very ill at times when her lupus flares up. She also knows I am an atheist.

    I suppose I understand wanting to believe in a deity that performs miracles more than I understand wanting to be part of a 2000 year old club.

    For me, once I figured out the stories were all mythology, I didn’t see the point in staying in a church, liberal and social-justice oriented or not.

  6. Avatar
    Brunetto Latini

    I visited a gay-friendly (and in fact, mostly gay) church when I was first trying to break away from evangelicalism. They advertised a Sunday school series on the “clobber passages” in the Bible.

    So being eager to listen to plausible reinterpretations of passages I knew were explicitly homophobic, I visited the class. The game was given away when I entered the discussion, treating the passage under consideration as scripture. Some guy chimed in and said, “I don’t think this is about giving us ways to accept these scriptures. It’s about giving us ways to counter fundamentalists when they use these scriptures.”

    He was entirely correct. And I’ve never had much use for gay Christianity since.

  7. Avatar

    I really enjoy your blog and feel exactly the same way. I’ve always been an atheist.

    Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism are dangerous destructive forces at odds with peace, love and including and caring about all the wonder and beauty of the Earth and all of her creatures, not just humans. But being a liberal Christian is still being a Christian and still promotes a fantasy that is often cruel and totally illogical.

    Why people would want to worship or even like a god like this is mind boggling.
    It’s like the devil has been fooling these people for a long long time.

  8. Avatar

    When I finally deconverted I decided that was it. No more religion at all. Realizing what I had believed was nonsense it made no sense to move to another type of nonsense. As an evangelical I had already rejected all other beliefs so there was only one more belief system to reject. I guess for a lot of people it’s hard to completely walk away from religion but it takes a lot of mental gymnastics to hang on to any religion when deep down you really don’t believe it

  9. Avatar
    glenn wood

    This is a very timely post, Bruce, in that I am currently exploring Liberal Christianity intellectually even though I’ve been atheist for over 30 years. I’m reading Peter Enns , Rob Bell, and Mike McHargue and listening to their podcasts. They have not moved me from my atheist beliefs but I do appreciate their honesty, intellectuality, and liberal approach to biblical understanding. That said, they come close to saying (even outright saying?) things like, the resurrection of Jesus is not a historical fact yet I serve a risen Savior. That bugs me. Like you say, Bruce, What’s the point? Thanks for a well-written essay, with Caroline’s excellent help.

  10. Avatar
    Amie Bee

    I never tried liberal Christianity. If I hadn’t stayed tethered to a conservative church (because my friends were there) I might have tried it and stayed a Christian. No problem, I’m happier being an atheist. I just bought the Kindle edition of a book by reporter (and ordained minister) Chris Hedges from 2007 called _American Fascists_ about how a the Bible has been co-opted by militant right-wingers to bring fascism to America, and he quite openly states that Christians need to jettison objectionable parts of the Bible outright. I’ve only read a couple of chapters, so I don’t know if he’s mentioned things like the virgin birth, but he does also note that the Bible contradicts itself many times and was written by people who had little knowledge of what are now considered basic scientific principles.

  11. Avatar
    Melissa A Montana

    I told a Twitter friend: Liberal Christianity is like Vegans for Prime Rib. You cannot be vegan if you have “the occasional burger.” Likewise, I don’t understand how people can reject most of the Bible as just stories, but then believe the story of Jesus is literaly true. And, the hateful parts? They are still hateful even if you try and ignore them. The whole book is foolish, and they know it.

  12. Avatar
    Matt feeney

    Watering down scripture to make it more palatable is silly. Everyone has rules. YouTube and facebook have rules. Schools have rules. Costco has rules. Even Bruce has rules if you wanna post something here. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I guess God who created the world is the only one who can’t have rules. I don’t want to take us down the road of arguing about how God hates gays or women or he likes slavery…blah blah. You say he does and I say he don’t. I’m just saying we can all have rules. Even God

  13. Avatar
    Brunetto Latini

    Matt, you’re absolutely right. And liberal Christians, who pride themselves on their tolerance and open-mindedness, do every unbeliever and convert to liberalism a disservice by portraying the Christian God as something the totality of Christian scripture doesn’t support.

  14. Avatar
    Drew Costen

    I’m a little behind on my RSS feed so just came across this post now and figured I should answer your question since I am a liberal Christian.

    My view of Scripture is that it is inspired by God, and I’m actually an inerrantist and literalist as well (inasmuch as it should be interpreted literally; there are obviously figures of speech and parables and such in there as well). However, my interpretations of Scripture are very different from those of conservative Christians.

    I will admit that I do have problems with the book of Genesis, and I haven’t reconciled it with what we know of science and history yet, but for now I’m taking it on faith while I work that out (although I’m not a Young Earth Creationist; I lean more towards Gap Theory when it comes to creation, and I’m fine with evolution being how God originally put life on Earth if that’s how it happened).

    As far as how I’m a liberal, I do believe that everyone will be reconciled to God eventually because of what Christ did, but I do also believe that there will still be a judgement (which is why I don’t just sit back completely and never preach the Gospel). However, I also believe “free will” is a logical and scientific impossibility, so those who will be saved in this lifetime are chosen by God ahead of time, and while I do preach the Gospel when I can (although mostly to Christians, since 99% of them haven’t been saved yet [relatively speaking; everyone is saved from an absolute perspective because of what Christ did] because nearly every Christian believes a false Gospel), I don’t stress out about it because I know that I can’t convince anyone who isn’t among the elect.

    I’m also more liberal because I don’t believe that properly translated Scripture forbids many of the things that conservatives think it does, things such as lust, premarital sex, and homosexuality, to name just a few.

    And, of course, I’m more liberal in my politics, although I do tend to think the body of Christ shouldn’t get too involved in politics (although I fail at that, as I suspect you already know since I believe you follow me on Twitter).

    So yeah, that’s my really short, non-exhaustive summary of this particular liberal Christian’s take on your question. 🙂

    • Avatar
      Grammar Gramma

      Oh, gawd, another Calvinist! He believes that he is among the elite 1% of so-called Christians who are actually saved. He and his few, out of all the people in the whole world, understand and have availed themselves of the “correct” Christian philosophy. Such arrogance!

      You said “I know that I can’t convince anyone who isn’t among the elect.” What is the point in preaching the gospel and convincing people of its message if your god has chosen ahead of time who will be saved? And if you are one of the chosen elite, theoretically what keeps you from robbing banks or killing people? If you are chosen, it doesn’t matter. If you aren’t chosen, it doesn’t matter. And exactly what is “properly translated scripture”? Proper by whose standards?

      You’re an inerrantist and literalist until you’re not. And a god-of-the-gaps Christian as well. Funny how the gaps were enormous when the bible was written, but they have shrunk as scientific knowledge has grown.

      • Avatar
        Drew Costen

        I’m not a Calvinist. No Calvinist would agree with most of the things I believe. 🙂 As for thinking only a few Christians actually believe the Gospel, since I believe the Gospel is that everyone will be reconciled to God, wouldn’t you also agree that, if that is indeed the Gospel, that 99% of Christians don’t believe it?

        The point of preaching the Good News (Gospel) is because one hopes that they’ll be used to help free some minds from slavery to religion, same reason many atheists do their thing, I suspect. As for what keeps me from robbing banks and killing people, I get asked that by many conservative Christians too, and I’ll say the same thing to you that I say to them, I already rob as many banks and kill as many people as I want to, the number of banks I want to rob and people I want to kill being zero. But that question really shows the heart of the person asking it more than it does the person being asked. As far as what properly translated Scripture is, it’s Scripture that’s translated properly. That should be pretty self evident, though, I’d think. 🙂

        Finally, Gap Theory has nothing to do with the god-of-the-gaps idea. It has to do with there being two (actually three, but one is still future) creations.

        • Avatar
          Brunetto Latini

          I believed in the gap theory back in the late 70’s or early 80’s, when I was in high school. Maybe I first heard it from J. Vernon Magee or read it in Unger’s Bible Handbook or a Scofield Reference Bible or saw it illustrated in some panoramic dispensational chart. I’m not sure. It seemed a convenient way to disregard evolution without disregarding modern science. Then I encountered Young Earth Creationism, and I never believed the gap theory again. Never even considered it an alternative. It was either evolution or YEC, unbelief or belief, atheism or Christianity. I took to heart the logic of the YEC argument: Christianity cannot be true if either the gap theory or theistic evolution is true. Either of those theories plays havoc with Christian theology as explained in the book of Romans. Death cannot precede the sin of man (Adam). And I still agree with that premise, even though I’m on the other side of it now. The only reasonable position for a Bible-believing Christian is young earth creationism.

    • Avatar

      I love it when an apologist comes along and says they’re a literalist regarding the bible, that it’s inerrant. Of course, it’s only literal and inerrant after said apologist has rewritten it, sorry interpreted it, so that it reads to give the desired result. I’m assuming, incidentally, that you are expert in ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic (at least) so as to be able to obtain an understanding of what is in the earliest (not original, as they don’t exist) documents available, and are sufficiently expert to make an assessment of all the countless texts that didn’t make it into the vast array of books we now refer to under the banner of ‘bible’.

      As for the idea that god created certain people that he’d already chosen (in whatever way, even if not specifically Calvinist) I find absolutely ridiculous. It makes no logical sense. To have beliefs like this and then claim to be a ‘liberal’ Christian…well maybe it’s just me, but it doesn’t really add up.

      • Avatar
        Drew Costen

        I’m not an apologist. I’m an old friend (or at least acquaintance) of Bruce from back in the day who follows his site and decided to answer his question about how some liberal Christians view the Bible. I’m not trying to convert any of you (nor am I under the impression that I could) or convince you that God exists or that the Bible is true or anything else like that. And I’ll just leave it at that.

  15. Avatar
    Brunetto Latini

    I always loved it on Christian discussion forums when someone “properly” translated the Bible with a Strong’s Concordance to prove a fringe viewpoint. I know liberals do it, too. I have a bookshelf of “gay theology” books that practice it by other means.

    Me — I just use standard translations produced by scholars in Biblical languages. Comparing several such English translations should be good enough for any English-speaking person.

  16. Avatar

    I my earlier reply I talked about the mental gymnastics people have to perform to hang onto their religion. With all due respect to Drew his response is a perfect example of this and I’m not sure he stuck the landing

  17. Avatar
    Matt feeney

    Hi Drew I wonder if you could help me out. I know all liberal christians don’t think alike. But you seem like a guy who I could ask this. How do you personally feel about gay pride parades? I’m not asking if gays shouldn’t be proud. I’m asking how you feel about the costumes the speech the signs they hold up as they protest whatever it is…that they have the right to do. Thanks

    • Avatar
      Drew Costen

      I have no problem with gay pride parades or anything that goes on in them. Not sure why they should bother me, or why I’d think they don’t have the right to do so. I generally watch at least part of the one that goes right in front of my apartment here in Toronto every summer (it goes for hours in the hot sun, and is way too crowded, so I can’t watch the whole thing).

  18. Avatar
    Brunetto Latini

    The problem with interim positions (heresies) between belief and unbelief is that you’re trying to convince yourself while convincing others, and that’s not honest or fair. Spoken from personal experience.

  19. Avatar
    Drew Costen

    I actually went to unbelief first (from about 2011 to 2017 I was basically an agnostic theist [I never went full atheist, but I quit Christianity]). I then discovered Concordant Christianity, which is what I describe in my aforementioned eBook, which made Scripture finally make sense to me.

  20. Avatar
    davey crockett

    Why is so much time wasted on the evolution versus the creation version from the inerrant sometimes illogical Bible? There is only one window of creation in that book and it is over. Period. Won’t happen again according to the inerrant infallible book. Perhaps both camps are right. Either way it would be so much better to focus on how to help and preserve all inhabitants of this world, which is indeed one precious jewel in what seems to be a very barren universe. How can a species be so smart and yet so stupid??

    • Avatar
      Bob Felton

      Because Christianity’s fundamental, indispensable metaphysical claim, is that we are all corrupted by — dum-da-dum-dum — The Fall. No Creation story –> no Fall –> no Original Sin –> no need of salvation –> Christianity has nothing on offer –> no need of preachers.

      All of Christian teaching, and all the money, hangs on you accepting that you’re no damn good.

  21. Avatar
    davey crockett

    Bob that sure is true. I would add to that, that their version is the only right one. That one must believe the correct version of the holy book and the correct stuff gleaned from the book and live the stuff correctly by dotting all the i’s in the right way, at the right time, and in the right place. I think the latter seems to be a universal trait – obsession – of the human race. The false belief that if one gets it all right then God will magically make everything rosy okay. The IFB people make me laugh when they go on and on how God cannot use you unless this… and this… and this… and…. are done. Rubbish!! Those that did the most good for me were never of that tribe.

  22. Avatar
    Matt feeney

    Hi Bob. I’m not sure if your the same guy I’m thinking of but do you remember a blog guy calling himself feeno? If so I’m feeno and how cool. If not oh well. So ok Bob and Davey here goes. Maybe the only difference between a Christian and atheist is simple as christians realize we are sinners. It sounds to me like you guys put to much pressure on yourselves to live up to some others christians values. Yes we as christians realize we are scoundrels but live free from guilt and shame because of God’s grace.
    Btw Bob if you are my ole buddy don’t you have a wife or girlfriend who is a believer?

  23. Avatar
    Brunetto Latini

    I hate to tell you this, but the “we realize we are scoundrels” mentality is pop theology. The New Testament sets forth a supernatural Christian experience that very few, if any, people who call themselves Christians exhibit. Christian theology has therefore been dumbed-down to accommodate reality.

    You are correct in observing that there’s no significant difference in the daily life of an atheist and a Christian. Because there’s no power behind the Christian message.

    I encountered the same phenomenon in Buddhism. Buddhist scripture is filled with stories of people suddenly attaining enlightenment. Modern Buddhists believe enlightenment is rare and attained after many lifetimes of advancement. Because it isn’t real.

  24. Avatar
    Matt feeney

    Chow Brunetto. In cliff notes how was the 1st century Christian different from today’s? I know bumper stickers and Christian radio does not make one a Christian. That’s why I listen to Merle and have a circleville pumpkin show sticker on the back of my mini van. But I certainly can relate to Peter, Thomas, Mary and Martha etc. They seem pretty normal? I look forward to your response. I’ve enjoyed reading your other comments. Thank you

  25. Avatar
    dale m.

    Why is it so hard for folk to leave Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism or others ?!? I think the answer is in fact “atheism”. For those of us who are atheists, it’s usually been quite a struggle. It means taking a stand against the nonsense spewed out by iron-age belief systems. And you go it alone. But looking back, I realized that it could have been much, much more easy, had atheism just adopted the traditions of those religions and converted them into “atheist speak”. Traditional atheism does not do this. It has to do NOT with any sense of logic, but total laziness or inability to understand human Nature. We don’t EVER make it easy for religious folk to reconvert and slide into atheism. All traditional atheism has EVER brought us was more “talking heads”. Myself included. The “new atheism” has still not made its appearance yet. It is not still-born but it is having its birth pangs.

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Bruce Gerencser