Seven Reasons People Get Saved

what must I do to be saved

Evangelicals believe all humans are born sinners, alienated from God, and in need of salvation through the merit and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus died on a Roman cross and rose from the dead three days later to save sinners from their sin. Evangelicals believe in the exclusivity of the Christian gospel; that there is one true God; that there is one true path of salvation/redemption/conversion; that it is only through Jesus Christ that sinners can have their sins forgiven; that sinners must repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Jesus alone to be saved/converted/born again. (I recognize that what I have written above trips over all sorts of beliefs Evangelicals are fond of arguing over. My goal was to provide a general definition of what it means to bet saved without dealing with the doctrines Arminians and Calvinists have been fighting about for centuries.)

Evangelicals believe that getting saving requires a supernatural act by the Christian God. No one can get saved when he or she want wants to or on their own terms. It is God alone who does the saving. Granted, if you listen to Evangelical preachers long enough, you will likely conclude that your salvation is up to you; that all you need to do is walk the aisle/pray the sinner’s prayer/sign a card or one of the numerous other acts of volition these men of God say is necessary for your conversion. Quite frankly, what Evangelical preachers call the “simple gospel” is, in fact, quite confusing and contradictory. (Please see Can Anyone Really Know They Are Saved?) Every sect believes its soteriology is right; that following its plan of salvation is the only way to get saved and gain entrance into Heaven after death. Instead of spending thousands of words parsing the alleged supernatural aspects of Christian salvation, I want to spend my time in this post delineating seven visible, verifiable reasons people get saved.

Geography

One of the most enlightening things for me as I restudied the claims of Christians was to look at a map of the world’s religions and realize that geography plays a big part in why a person worships a particular deity. I grew up in a culture where the world’s religions were neatly and precisely divided into two groups: True Christianity® and false religions. The same went for all the inhabitants of earth. Either they were saved or lost. Either they were Christians headed for Heaven or unbelievers/heathens headed for Hell. I was taught from my youth up that only a small percentage of people were True Christians®; that American Evangelicals were duty-bound to send gospel-preaching missionaries to every non-Christian people group on earth. Jesus commanded his disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Billions of people did not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Saving the world required sending missionaries to the ends of the earth. I later learned that the “ends of the earth” primarily meant cultures that spoke English and would provide missionaries a decent standard of living. Most missionaries end up going to countries where Christianity is already firmly established. Of course, these countries didn’t have the right kind of Christianity, so it was up to Evangelical churches and their missionaries to bring to True Christianity® to unsaved Christians.

Viewing a map of the world’s religions was one of those moments for me that caused me to reconsider what I thought about religion itself. The map showed me that the world’s countries had predominant religions. It also revealed to me that states and regions can have predominant religions too. I came to the conclusion that one of the reasons that most people get saved is because of where they live. The United States is a Christian nation. Is it any surprise that most of its inhabitants are Christians? It’s all about geography.

Family

Another reason people get saved is family. I became a Christian because I was born in a Christian nation to Evangelical parents who indoctrinated me at an early age in the one true faith. I attended Evangelical churches for the first fifty years of my life. I studied for the ministry at an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) college. While there, I married the daughter of an IFB pastor. We left college and spent the next twenty-five years pastoring Evangelical churches. Much like our parents did, my wife and I indoctrinated our six children in the one true faith, passing on to them the family deity. It seems to me, then, that where I was born and who my family was were largely the reasons I became an Evangelical Christian and spent much of my adult life trying to evangelize people I deemed “lost.”

Personal Crisis 

Another reason people get saved is having a personal crisis. There’s nothing that can get your attention like a crisis. Countless Evangelicals trace their salvation back to a divorce, serious illness or debility, loss of employment, death of a spouse, death of a child, loss of their home due to fire or flood, or countless other tragedies we humans face. It should not be surprising that preachers use such crises to evangelize people. People are emotionally vulnerable and sensitive during times of loss. What they need, Evangelical preachers say, is Jesus. Jesus becomes the cure for whatever ails people. That why many Evangelical preachers evangelize hurting people during funeral services. What better time to preach the gospel than when people are weeping and wailing over the death of a loved one. Strike while the proverbial iron is hot, right?

Addiction

Yet another reason people get saved is addiction. Drug and alcohol addiction cause all sorts of heartache and damage. Evangelical preachers tell addicts that Jesus is the only “fix” for their addictions. And sure enough, scores of addicts end up finding victory over drugs and/or alcohol through getting saved. A religion need not be true for it to provide help and value to people. (Please see Never Underestimate the Power of Jesus.) I know numerous Evangelicals who were, at one time, drunks and drug addicts. These people reached a crisis point, and, having nowhere else to turn, they turned to Jesus. I know some atheists have a hard time understanding this, but the fact remains that the dead Jesus has helped lots of people kick their habits. People really, really, really believe Jesus delivered them, and from a psychological perspective, it’s clear he has. Whatever works, right?

Fear

Dr. Larry Dixon, an Evangelical professor of theology at Columbia International University Seminary and School of Missions in Columbia, South Carolina, recently said that one of the reasons he got saved was fear. In a multipart review of Dr. David Bentley Hart’s article titled, Why Do People Believe in Hell? Dixon wrote:

This is a very personal issue for me, mostly because I got saved as a result of being afraid of going to hell. If hell doesn’t exist, or if it is something quite different than Christians have believed (like, the purging flames of God universally applied), then I got saved under false pretenses.

Dixon is not alone in his admission that one of the reasons he got saved was fear. For those of us who grew up in Evangelical churches hearing sermons about God’s judgment, Hell, the Lake of Fire, and the soon return of Jesus to destroy the earth, fear was a common motivator for salvation. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:31: It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. On July 8, 1741, famed revivalist Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon titled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Edwards stated:

O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.

….

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you were suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up.

….

How dreadful is the state of those that are daily and hourly in the danger of this great wrath and infinite misery! But this is the dismal case of every soul in this congregation that has not been born again, however moral and strict, sober and religious, they may otherwise be. Oh that you would consider it, whether you be young or old! There is reason to think, that there are many in this congregation now hearing this discourse, that will actually be the subjects of this very misery to all eternity. We know not who they are, or in what seats they sit, or what thoughts they now have. It may be they are now at ease, and hear all these things without much disturbance, and are now flattering themselves that they are not the persons, promising themselves that they shall escape. If we knew that there was one person, and but one, in the whole congregation, that was to be the subject of this misery, what an awful thing would it be to think of! If we knew who it was, what an awful sight would it be to see such a person! How might all the rest of the congregation lift up a lamentable and bitter cry over him! But, alas! Instead of one, how many is it likely will remember this discourse in hell? And it would be a wonder, if some that are now present should not be in hell in a very short time, even before this year is out. And it would be no wonder if some persons, that now sit here, in some seats of this meeting-house, in health, quiet and secure, should be there before tomorrow morning.

You spend years hearing this kind of preaching, you will fear God too. Thus, it should come as no surprise that fear motivates people to repent of their sins and ask Jesus to save them.

Seeking Forgiveness

Some people get saved because they feel burdened and want/need forgiveness. Evangelicals believe that this burden is the Holy Spirit convicting people of their sins. Preachers will preach against this or that sin, causing guilty hearers to seek forgiveness. We humans are capable of causing all sorts of harm. Making things right requires us to seek the forgiveness of those we have harmed. Christians and humanists alike know the importance of forgiveness. Where they differ is from whom should they seek forgiveness. For Evangelicals, all “sinful” behavior is ultimately an affront to God, and it is his forgiveness they need. I know numerous Evangelical preachers who got caught up in all sorts of scandals. When caught, did these men of God seek to make restitution and seek the forgiveness of the people they harmed? Sadly, no. They sought God’s forgiveness, and in their minds, that’s all they needed. (See Is All Forgiven for David Hyles? and David Hyles Says, My Bad, Jesus.) The Bible says in 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Need forgiveness? Shoot a prayer to Jesus, and viola! you are forgiven. No sin is beyond God’s forgiveness. And once God forgives you:

For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 113:11,12)

The Bible speaks of our sins being cast into the depths of the seas, never to be remembered again. Go to any Evangelical church and you likely find guilty unbelievers in need of forgiveness. They have committed this or that sin, and now their lives are weighed down by guilt. The solution? Jesus. He alone can forgive them of their sins. He alone can restore their lives and give them peace. Or so Evangelical preachers say, anyway.

Searching for Meaning

Most of us desire lives that have meaning and purpose. Evangelicals believe that non-Christians have empty lives lacking meaning, purpose, and direction. No matter how many times I suggest otherwise, Evangelical zealots insist that my life is shit without Jesus. Evangelicals believe that it is Jesus and his saving grace alone that gives them lives worth living. Why, without Jesus they would kill themselves, Evangelicals have said to me. It is certainly true that we humans want lives that matter. However, meaning can be found in countless different ways. Not so, say Evangelicals. Wisdom and knowledge begin with Jesus.

Imagine then, that you are an unbeliever seeking meaning and purpose and you are invited to visit a local Evangelical church on Sunday. You have never been to church before. As you sit in the pew, you notice how committed, loving, and friendly everyone seems to be. “These people have what I am looking for,” you say to yourself. The preacher preaches a powerful sermon about grounding one’s life in Jesus. “That’s exactly what I need,” and come invitation time you walk down the well-worn aisle and get saved. According to the Bible, you have a new life in Jesus. Your old life is passed away and everything has become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

My wife’s parents have been Evangelical Christians for seven-plus decades. Jesus, the Bible, and the church are EVERYTHING to them. There is no argument I can make that would convince them otherwise. Nor would I. Believing that the dead Jesus saved them and has given them a good life, a happy life, and is someone they can turn to now that they only have a few months or years to live is what helps them get up in the morning.

Did I miss any of the visible reasons people get saved? Please share them 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.

Are you on Social Media? Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

45 Comments

  1. ObstacleChick

    For me, it was family pressure and fear of hell, period. I was 12 years old, and frankly, I was pissed off about being told constantly, “You’re a piece of crap sinner who needs to enslave themselves to a deity to prevent eternal torture in hell.” It felt like a trap.

    I think for my mom, the 1st time was the circumstances of being an 11-year-old born into an evangelical family who went to a Billy Graham crusade, and she got caught up in the event. The 2nd time, it was after she returned to her parents’ house after her 2nd divorce and with a small child in tow. She was deeply depressed and traumatized.

    I think for my brother it was to find meaning in life after our mother died. Now he follows the meanest, ugliest, most bigoted parts of the culture wars. Fighting against LBGTQ rights and women’s rights and the rights of non evangelical Christians to be free of mandatory participation in evangelical Christianity, pleases his deity and makes him feel important.

    I have a cousin who makes several trips to a mission in Haiti every year. Their focus is on children – they provide meals and activities for children in a very poor area. Of course these children are heavily proselytized. This is part of the White Savior mentality – give these heathen kids some beans and rice and some Jesus.

    Reply
  2. Toni Humber

    I like your rant…….
    Something is missing…….
    It’s still something you maybe never had…..
    Faith……
    Truth being told your faith in knowledge is active and alive……
    Your faith in others opinion is alive and active,
    Sharper than a two edge sword, dividing between the soul in the spirit, the thoughts and intentions of the heart
    You said you were Bruce Almighty I can see that🙃

    Reply
  3. Toni Humber

    Here is the eight reason……
    Faith……
    That is something you can’t grab a hold of someone’s faith…..

    Reply
    1. Caroline

      Lots of people of the type of faith Bruce writes about (Evangelical Christianity) don’t even try to appreciate and understand that others might have a different expression of faith (or not) than what they believe is ‘true’ because it differs from their beliefs, and they are positive that they’re right about everything.

      Reply
    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Faith is subjective. The focus of this post is on objective, visible reasons people get saved.

      Reply
  4. Caroline

    I have only met the types of Evangelical Christians who were saved after they had hit rock bottom because of having lived very badly (drugs, promiscuity, crime). When I remark that I’ve never done these things, so what’s my reward, they always reply that I’m proud and that’s a sin too. Yikes! Pride in not screwing up the life I was given vs. Committing crimes against others or ruining other people’s lives with your addictions ?(I know that addiction is a disease) Makes perfect sense to me. (No offense intended towards anyone who has struggled with addiction or who has committed a crime. Congrats if you’re living a better life. I’m just saying that religion doesn’t always have to be part of the cure. If it is, that’s cool too as long as you don’t turn into a judgmental zealot.) Hope this all make sense.

    Reply
    1. Karen the rock whisperer

      Caroline, OT, but modern psychology doesn’t consider addiction a disease but a substance abuse disorder. Like SOME other mental health disorders, it can often be overcome by retraining your brain, though learning how to do that and actually doing it involves hard work and commitment that can be difficult to sustain. Some therapists are teaching these skills now, and some support groups (like SMART Recovery, but there are others) work with the latest science to help people overcome their substance abuse.

      My issue with the disease model of substance abuse is that chronic diseases must be endured, and at best can be managed. As someone in recovery from alcohol abuse, were my problem a disease (like, say, type 1 diabetes or arthritis) I would have to constantly be managing it for the rest of my life, or be drinking myself to death; those are the only two options in that model. But as I build new neural pathways and learn coping skills for life, I become less and less inclined to reach for the bottle, and need to work less and less hard to stay sober. I will probably never be able to drink socially, because my body’s response to alcohol is forever changed, but that’s just fine. What is important is that I will not have to keep focusing on not drinking, that it will become a non-issue in my life.

      BTW, I mean no criticism of anyone with a substance abuse disorder who isn’t in recovery. or has recovered. In the US, at least (I hope the rest of the West is better!) our culture demonizes the disorders so thoroughly that it is very hard to get help, people tend to have made a wreck of their own lives and those of their loved ones by the time they come to face their disorder, and the old standards of “help” still pushed by the media, the courts, and far too many health professionals really don’t help too many people. On top of that, real recovery requires bitchin’ hard emotional work and extreme persistence in learning new behaviors. Finally (again, I really hope this is only in the US!) mental health therapy of any kind, let alone that from the still too few therapists trained in modern recovery science, is too expensive for many, many people. Stare hard at that wall of obstacles, and the inclination to go back to the bottle/needle/joint/whatever is very strong indeed

      Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now. Bruce, if you don’t approve this comment, I understand.

      Reply
  5. Toni Humber

    And there’s the rub, friction, or belief system. Where is the grace, to allow others to have their own belief system. We all put our faith in something. And we are speaking about Evangelical Christian….Thank God not all Christians are evangelical Christians

    Reply
    1. John Arthur

      “Where is grace, to allow others to have their own belief system.”

      So are Buddhists saved in your view? Do Buddhists have grace in your view, or is it only Christians? Can we thank God for the Buddhists, Hindus and others of faith, in your view? Can these others have a “relationship with God” in your view?

      Reply
  6. Toni Humber

    Oh… I didn’t realize that faith is subjective.
    If people get saved because of objectivity then why get saved?
    God is spirit and non-tangible. Faith is non-tangible.
    So I agree with you Bruce…….
    We can poke fun at, dissect, put under a microscope people’s choices for what they do. But there’s no way in hell I would ever choose God based on your type of theology. Thank God you’re clarifying your objectivity of Christianity thank you

    Reply
  7. Skylar

    With me the “salvation” experience happened because of the fear of hell.. Bible doctrine can be scary enough, but, a preacher with a microphone makes it all the more scarier. Of course there were moments when I felt I was “right ” with God (like just after getting someone to say the sinners prayer) and at those times I didn’t fear death ,but, rather looked forward to any future reward laid up in Heaven. However most of the time when in the clutches of the IFB it was the fear of God, the Devil, and fear of the unknown mysteries of death, that brought on the complexities.

    Reply
    1. Brian Vanderlip

      My first experience of being saved was as a kid at church. Learned about hellfire, had vicious nightmares of it and begged to be saved. Fundagelical belief is abusive to people and especially so for children.

      Reply
  8. Toni Humber

    Salvation should not be fire insurance,
    Salvation is meant for relationship with God
    Either you have a relationship with God or you don’t
    Saying a prayer because someone Coerced you to pray Because of their stupid theology doesn’t give your relationship with God. It’s all about relationship with God if you believe in god if you don’t and you pray the prayer you didn’t get saved

    Reply
    1. John Arthur

      To have a relationship with God presupposes the existence of God. If God doesn’t exist, then you are having an imaginary relationship with a supposed person. How do you know that God exists and that you have a relationship with him.

      Is this based on the bible or on a subjective experience? A subjective experience of God is not ‘objective’ evidence for God’s existence. God might exist but then what is happening in your experience might be something internal to you without the existence of any being. If your belief in God is based on a subjective experience, then what do you say to others, in the present or the past, who have claimed subjective experiences of their gods? How do you know that they are wrong and you are right?

      If it is based on the bible, then are you assuming that the bible is somehow God’s Word or a witness to the supposed revelation of God in Jesus Christ?

      Reply
  9. Toni Humber

    In my family it’s all about the love of God. I love the creator who made me. I’m wanting a relationship with you. It’s not based on theology or eschatology( in time prophecy)
    In my family run educated. I hate other peoples knowledge. I hate what people do to the Bible, years of education what did you do twist peoples lines. Made people afraid, Baptist or notorious for hellfire and brimstone. What a way for them to get to know a loving God.
    God is love, that’s what I’ve always learned, that’s what I stand on, and that’s why I prayed to make it my answers from my loving father in heaven

    Reply
    1. Grammar Gramma

      Toni,
      “God is love.” This is the same god who despaired of his creation of man and killed off all of them except for 8 humans in the ark, right? This is the same god who killed everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah, where there were surely living pregnant women and children, right? This is the same god who, in 2 Chronicles 14, smote “a thousand thousand” Ethiopans at the request of Asa, King of Judah, right? This is the same god who, also in 2 Chronicles, smote 500,000 of his own men, simply because other Israelites ask him to, right? And the same god who sent two bears to tear apart 42 boys for making fun of prophet Elisha, right? And the same god who, in 1 Kings 20, dispatches 27,000 Syrians by making a wall fall on them. That’s after he assists in killing 100,000 Syrians after they call him a “god of the hills.
      I could go on and on and on. This is your god of love? Hmmm . . . .

      Reply
    2. John Arthur

      If God exists, then God is love as you say. But this is not the bible god, is it?. This god commanded the genocide of all the Amalekites, including little children and babies for what Is the Amalekites did to Israel about 400 years before. Please tell me how little children and babies were responsible for any of this and why they were hacked to pieces?

      Reply
  10. Toni Humber

    Ok you are a parent of five beautiful children, you poured your heart into these children, but the other kids in the neighborhood want to destroy your children. You have this many who for 80 years who went to school so she could care for your kids. Now the nanny is caring for your children but the other children who love to rape, by sodomizing boys are after your sons. What do you do. I know let the sodmites rape and destroy your children. And now you have none.
    So what do you do? Have more children for things like this to happen to them too?
    So the tapestry , murders etc have a right to live….
    God has the answer
    It’s the rapture
    And after that you all people who don’t want God or His love can most certainly love and sodomize each other because Gods children are safe with Him
    Now that is a win win if you ask me🙂

    Reply
    1. missimontana

      Yes, mass murder is always a great answer to a problem. Maybe humanity should try it more often. Oh, wait, never mind… Let me put it this way: if all an all-knowing, loving, intelligent god can do to solve problems is to kill people, then that god is a homicidal, hateful monster and I refuse to worship it. I was traumatized by images of your loving god committing mass murder, and I say, no thank you!

      Reply
    2. GeoffT

      Toni, we have a saying that I’m sure you’re familiar with ‘when you reach the bottom of a hole stop digging’.

      I don’t approve of kids committing sodomy, though if they are old enough and consent is involved I have no issue. But just think about what you are saying and what the bible pretends is a tale of morality. Somehow every single person in a town is evil, raping, stealing, and murdering (though sodomy’s actually okay with consent), yet one family miraculously stays out of this den of iniquity, and is whiter than white. What’s the odds? I’ll tell you. Nil! There are always one or two rotten eggs everywhere you go, but it’s inconceivable that the majority of people weren’t decent, hardworking, folk. In any event, if the whole town had been so wicked why on earth would Lot want to stay there? And offering his daughters to the masses makes him far worse than any of the behaviours you describe.

      I think that there are lessons to be learnt from the mythical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, but they are not the ones you think they are.

      Reply
    3. John Arthur

      Hi Tony,

      When you say “God has the answer, It’s the rapture. And after that you all people who don’t want God or his love can most certainly sodomize each other because God’s children are safe with him”

      You say that you are not an Evangelical but seem to be teaching “the rapture” which Evangelicals hold to, whether they are pretribulational, mid-tribulational or post-tribulational in their view of the rapture. You do know that most non Evangelicals do not believe in any literal rapture of the saints. Many take the rapture to be mythical biblical language, So how does your concept of the rapture differ from Evangelicals?

      Reply
    4. Brian Vanderlip

      This kind of Toni ‘Christian’ reasoning leads delusion believers to kill their children to protect them. If they are not quite that delusional, they abuse them with frightful stories of anal rapists and so forth. Thanks are getting strange in your expression, Toni. You seem to admire a raging and murderous God.

      Reply
  11. missimontana

    I would add one more, Bruce: peer pressure. When I was twelve, many of the pre-teens at my church were getting baptized. I was leaned on hard to join them. I still believed then, but I wasn’t ready for that choice any more than I was ready to get married. Both adults and teens pushed me to the point that I rebelled and refused to attend church anymore. I stayed away until my sick and dying mom nagged me into becoming religious again. She couldn’t stand me not being a Christian. I was going through a bad time and caved in; it was the biggest mistake of my life. I can understand why vulnerable people are preyed upon by churches. Strong, confident people don’t fall for the bull. No amount of arm-twisting, guilt trips, or nagging will ever get me back into a church. I don’t have all the answers, but I am learning and I am confident with the knowledge I have. I do not fear death. And, I never did get baptized.

    Reply
  12. Toni Humber

    Let me explain it this way…
    God set it up for His people the Hebrews to have a beautiful life with Him
    The Exodus happened….the Hebrews were chased and God closed acceded to His Children from Egypt

    In Noah’s time God had Noah building an ark anyone could have been with Noah and his family if they wanted God created the world He has a right to flood it and He did.

    People question the creator,
    The point is God let’s people choose what they have going on in their lives
    Why judge God for what He does or does not do?
    I like hearing others opinions, in what I hear is lack of things, knowledge, understanding,

    Reply
    1. ... Zoe ~

      Toni Humber: “I like hearing others opinions, in what I hear is lack of things, knowledge, understanding,”

      Zoe: Hi Toni. I’ve been reading Bruce’s blogs for a long time. I’ve never thought he or for that matter many of his readers lacked knowledge and understanding. What specifically do you think is lacking among the “other opinions” you like hearing about?

      Reply
  13. Toni Humber

    I really like your questions. They are thought-provoking.
    When I was a little girl I would look at the sky and I would start talking.
    I talk to somebody, not myself, I felt understood, loved, cared for. I didn’t have a lot of these conversations but when I did I knew somebody was listening and it was the same person. I guess you could say this is a supernatural experience because it’s not one With a human being. Now creation to me speaks of a creator. I don’t believe human beings just happened. The intricacy of a human being the way we love, the way we think, the way we have relationships with one another comes from somewhere other than ourselves. The fact that we can ask these questions tells me I have the freedom to be a free thinker. If I have the freedom to be a free thinker, then you and every other person has that freedom.
    A good question to ask me yes what is it like to have a relationship with my God.
    Other people have relationships in their lives I do. My relationship with God is very real.
    But that something I’m not trying to convince you are but I’d like you to understand, my experience with God does not negate your experience without Him.
    I did this I don’t judge you, nor feel superior over you. Nor do I feel sorry for you. We are just two people who happen to believe differently and experience differently. Perspective is subjective and it can be objective.I learned this in therapy. Which gave me freedom to Continue to believe as I do. Thank you for asking and letting me explain my perspective

    Reply
  14. Toni Humber

    I’m not want to speak Christianese🙂
    So I really don’t know what you mean by grace.
    But I do have a friend who’s gonna do, and I make her religious garments. She loves God and insert the privilege to serve him in the way she deserves it. I believe those will know God you really want to.
    My family is from Hawaii, and they have Buddhists in the family. I love your God, who has a comical Buddha belly but of course I wouldn’t tell them that. Their faith serves them well. Do I have to convert people the answer is now.
    I would not disrespect anybody in their religion. I’m sorry I really don’t understand your word Grace and how you applied it.
    The beautiful thing about faith, religion, and just being a person who is agnostic Is we all have rights. And for me respect is most important.

    Reply
    1. John Arthur

      I was quoting you when you used the word “grace”. I mistakenly thought that you were an Evangelical when you seemed to take the Flood and the Exodus as historical events. Hence I thought that you might be using “grace” as an Evangelical concept. So I asked you what your view of Buddhist and those of other religions was about receiving grace. But you later clarified that your position was not Evangelical. So now I think that you might have been using the word”grace” to mean gracious.

      Reply
  15. Julie

    Yep Fear. I still remember the cut out flannel graph flames!

    Reply
  16. Toni Humber

    Everyone has their own opinions, and everyone is limited to their own knowledge and understanding. Experience in something adds to your knowledge.
    Bruce has years of experience being a Baptist preacher, I think it was baptist.
    That perspective is limited to his knowledge and 25 years experience.
    Bruce lost faith and went looking for it in other churches before he walked away from his faith entirely.
    Now he writes about it.
    I really enjoy his perspective, and his readers perspective, I not one of Bruce’s normal reader’s. I’m not an evangelical. Not all Christians are. I don’t come from a bible background like Bruce does, not do I have bible college or seminary as Bruce does.
    What caught my attention was that Bruce had everything I always wanted, bible college, seminary and pastoral experience of 25 years and the community’s he served are thy type I would love to have served.
    I want to know why?
    Why did Bruce walk away from his faith in God?
    I hope this explains my perspective, and I realize my perspective is just one persons.
    I’m uneducated, bible illiterate com paired to Bruce.
    And yet I have an opinion.

    Reply
    1. ... Zoe ~

      I thought you were implying that Bruce and others here don’t have enough knowledge and understanding and that you do and perhaps if we just had your understanding and knowledge we’d be a Christian like you. My apologies if that isn’t what you were trying to say.

      Reply
    2. Brian Vanderlip

      “Why did Bruce walk away from his faith in God?” Tonii, there are lots of blog entries to read regarding this question you ask…. many of us have asked the question and he has written many blogs about his deconversion. The real question for you might have to do with why you choose to believe even though you do not educate yourself about the Bible and what it says. Maybe you just feel it is for you and so the facts do not matter. The facts do matter to Gerencser, I assure you. If you want to believe because you know it feels right for you, then perhaps all the rest is not so important. On the other had, your interest in Bruce’s writing does attract your interest and there is a reason for that…. Your wish to perhaps be a preacher like Bruce was? Your second-sense that tells you the whole thing is a sham?
      You say you wanted the Bible school that Bruce had… did you want have all your life controlled, be told what to wear and how long you skirt could be? Did you dream of being told what your role was in life as a woman and dream about bowing down to the men who ran the school? What fantasy do you have about pastoral life? If you read the blogs that Bruce has written you will discover that his life as a pastor serving others was not a dream come true but a wake-up over time to the reality that there is probably no God, no comfy path that you missed and might have followed.
      The truth is, Toni Humber, that you believe because you had a conversion experience that felt good and right. It fit a need and you have carried it on because it felt good. The fact that it does not work is not important to you. It does not matter. You are happy with your fantasy. I hope that you will one day be able to face the fact that you are not such a wicked and useless soul who needs a magic path out of being you. You sound like a very nice person. I wish you well.

      Reply
  17. Toni Humber

    Thank you for your communication, I start following Bruce’s Blog because he achieved something I always longed. I wanted to hear his Why and explains a beautifully.
    Me I’m truly uneducated, lack experience in every way. But one thing I do have, is relationship with the one I believe in.
    The subject matter is in reference to God. That always causes me to be interested without judgment on the opinion and experience of others. I believe we are all on journeys each one and I like hearing about others. Thank you for sharing your heart, I appreciate it

    Reply
  18. Toni Humber

    When I express Grace to someone, to me it means, I respect you and your views and I thank you for respecting me and mine.
    I really am an educated, so my definitions and yours will be different and even my expressions and yours will be different.
    I really am enjoying learning your perspective. And you are give me grace, I guess you’re right graciousness to understand where I’m coming from.
    I think Witty comments are good, but I am really not good at that without offending I do apologize.

    Reply
  19. Toni Humber

    All your assumptions about me are wrong.
    At 17 I chose God, my family became Jehovah witnesses and so I chose God and became a Jehovah witness, I did this for 24 years.
    When I was 41 I walked away from Jehovah witness religion, very fearful of picking up a Bible, I felt I could be duped again by somebody else’s theology. The life I lead as Jehovah witness is extremely restrictive, tell you how to dress how to talk how to walk who can be in your life who can’t be in your life at all with the threat of kicking you out as an apostate. Which would mean they would kick me out and I would have God any more,
    This was a cult mentality that I don’t ascribe to.
    Now I’m 66 years old, and I have been in school and will get A theology degree I’m working towards that in but haven’t got to theology yet. I’m working at a masters degree in psychology. Next will be a masters degree in theology. So I find all of this very interesting. So I might be Ignorant and uneducated as a evangelical but there are many Christians in this world and an evangelical is just one denomination.
    So I hope this helps you understand my perspective. For me God is real, when I talk to Him he talks back, A lot of Christians have my experience. He’s a real person. God has feelings thoughts emotions and he is love.
    So my relationship with God is just as tangible as any one of my children or even grandchildren.

    Reply
  20. Toni Humber

    Actually I don’t edit my responses….Our Pithy responses can end with this.
    You all don’t believe in God so the Bible is a book of mythology and stories

    Don’t use the Bible as fifer for your arguments
    Bless you in your believes as I am

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      You have said your piece, Toni. Time to move on. Not sure what you hope to accomplish here, but I have given you ample opportunity to “share” whatever “God” had laid upon your heart.

      Reply
    2. John Arthur

      “Don’t use the bible to fifer your arguments”

      Well, if you are referring to me, It was you who used the word “rapture”, which means the snatching away of the saints. I merely responded to you. You were the one using the bible like an Evangelical, but claiming not to be one. The phrase “God is love” is found in 1 John, so were using allusions to the bible, even if you did not quote it directly. My use of the bible, in 1 Samuel 15, was to show you that the God of the bible is not always loving in that he commanded the slaughter of little children and babies.

      You say that we all believe that the bible is myth. I didn’t say that the whole bible is myth, though there are myths in it, along with other stories that are not mythical. So please don’t put words in my mouth. I suspect that you have really come to Bruce’s blog to convert us to your viewpoint, though I hope that I am wrong.

      I am sorry for the religious abuse that you received in the Jehovah Witness denomination and their shunning of you once you left. You deserved to be treated with dignity and respect as a human being, not matter what your views were. But Jehovah witnesses are an Evangelical cult, though other Evangelicals would not consider them to be Christian. Yet many other Evangelicals are as bad as the Jehovah Witnesses in the way they treat others who leave their churches.

      Reply
  21. Toni Humber

    You kind of people you know the kind like you. I’m not happy until you find some little flaw to pick out. What is a Christian after all, not a fool no but a person of faith. Now you all are not people of faith, you’re not people of understanding, not people of knowledge. You people like to pick Christians apart because you don’t have the courage to look at yourself in the face with you’re really afraid of.

    So go ahead and mock, me scorn me ,make fun of me…..
    For one day the truth will be evident and then one, the end

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      There’s the “real” Toni I knew was there.

      Reply
    2. John Arthur

      No-one is mocking, scorning or making fun of you. We are not picking Christians apart as you claim. It was you who made claims to be a non-evangelical Christian. Bruce is an atheist and humanist who critiques Evangelical Christianity. Some of the followers of Bruce’s blog are non-evangelical Christians like Progressive and Liberal Christians. Others belong to non Christian religions and still others are agnostics and atheists.

      It was you who claimed a subjective experience of God, but offered no evidence for this existence of this God. It was you who made references to events in the bible and also allusions to passages. Given that Bruce’s blog is by an atheist and many of his followers (but not all) are atheists, don’t we have a right to analyse your statements or are we to bow down before you and accept your unproven statements by faith? How is critiquing your statements making mockery of you, scorning you or making fun of you?

      You claim to be doing a masters degree in psychology so you are used to presenting arguments and writing papers. So when people present arguments against your statements, they are not attacking you as a persons but analysing your arguments like you analyse arguments in your psychology papers.

      Reply
    3. John Arthur

      What am I afraid of, as you allege? You don’t know me and you don’t know whether I am afraid of something or not.

      “For one day the truth will be evident and then one, the end.” What are you really referring to here, Toni? Is this a veiled threat of eternal punishment in hell? If God doesn’t exist, why should I worry? Why would any loving person ever burn anyone in hell forever for finite “sins”, committed by finite persons, in finite time? So if God exists, and is compassionate, kind, loving and tender hearted, then there can be no eternal punishment. So I have nothing to fear. Neither have you.

      Reply
    4. John Arthur

      “Now you all are not people of faith, you’re not people of understanding, not people of knowledge.”

      Many of us who are now agnostics or atheists were once people of faith. We had a subjective experience of God which seemed real to us, at the time. But this did not mean that God exists, only that we thought that God existed at the time we had the so-called experience. Some people claim to experience angels and fairies. This does not mean that angels or fairies exist just because someone claims to have had a subjective internal experience of them.

      The existence of invisible beings exists is impossible to substantiate. If someone claims to have had an experience of leprechauns, goblins, unicorns would you believe in their existence without them offering any external evidence?

      You say that we lack knowledge. What knowledge do we lack? If it is a lack of biblical knowledge many of us have read the bible through many times and have read many academic articles on the bible and theology that are on the internet? Some of us have been through a Seminary, so do what knowledge do we lack?

      Reply
  22. ... Zoe ~

    Toni: You wrote above: on January 29, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    “[…] I hate other peoples knowledge. […]

    Zoe: Toni, it is difficult to understand your statement here in light of the fact that you say you are studying and getting a masters.

    Reply
    1. Brian Vanderlip

      The only Master degree that Toni is perhaps seeking is like my ordination from the The Church of the Latter Day Dude. I requested ordination and was granted it so I am an ordained minister of Dudeism. Please watch The Big Lebowski for more study of the Truth.

      Reply

Please Leave a Pithy Reply

%d bloggers like this: