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Evangelical Man Tells Me I Have Committed the Unpardonable Sin

unpardonable sin

Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Many Christian sects teach that a person can commit what is commonly called the unpardonable sin. An unpardonable sin is an act or behavior so heinous that God will never forgive the person who commits it. Where does this teaching come from?

The Bible says in Matthew 12:31-32:

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Many Christians believe the unpardonable is ascribing to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit. The context of Matthew 12 is Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath day and the Pharisee’s accusing Jesus of working by the power of Satan.

Several years ago, I received the following email from a blog reader in Canada:

Mr. Agnostic…

I will not take much of your time sir, except to say it’s people like you who nail down the authenticity of HELL. You are to be pitied, for you have spent the greater part of your life pretending to be something you never were…a CHRISTIAN. To be a Christian means to have Christ in you (via the Holy Spirit). Obviously, the spirit that fills you is a vile, demonic presence. My concern should be for your soul, but somehow I tend to believe you have committed the “unpardonable sin”, simply by your contemptible re-assessment of Christianity in general. For you, sir…my prayers may be in vain, but for all the precious souls you profess to have led to Christ, I must pray that their “salvation” is a credible one and they have not followed the abominable trail of demonic lies you have set before them in the aftermath of your own life.

Let’s see if I can sum up his argument:

  • People like me prove the authenticity of Hell.
  • I am to be pitied because I spent the greater part of my life pretending to be a Christian.
  • I am filled with a vile, demonic presence.
  • I have committed the unpardonable sin.
  • He is not concerned for me since it is too late for me to be redeemed, but he is concerned for the people I pastored. He hopes that their salvation is credible (Greek for they have the real deal like me) and that they have not followed the “abominable trail of demonic lies [I] have set before them.

The gist of the matter is this: I never was a Christian, and I am an unredeemable agent of Satan.

There is only one problem with this line of thinking . . . I don’t believe in God, and since Satan is a creation of the mythical Christian God and the Christian Bible (and Dante), I don’t believe in Satan either. So threatening me with Hell has no effect, thus proving, of course, that I am a reprobate, a man with a hardened heart, a man beyond the reach of even God himself.

Here’s my message to the reader in Canada:

Let this man’s words be a warning to all. This is what happens when you drink deeply at the well of religious certainty. He is so certain that he is right, that he thinks he has the correct, true, infallible truth; that anyone who does not follow after his God’s truth and his interpretation of the Protestant Bible is deceived and will burn forever in the Lake of Fire.

This man shall someday learn the truth, except he won’t know it because dead men learn nothing. 

Thus saith Bruce Almighty

Yes, I am mocking and ridiculing this man. He deserves it. I have no respect for people such as he; people filled with arrogance and certainty; people who live in a world so narrow and confined that I doubt Jesus himself would want to spend time with them.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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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16 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Ahab

    The “unforgivable sin” always puzzled me. God’s worst wrath is reserved not for genocide or torture, but for trash-talking the Holy Spirit!? That says volumes about the deity’s ego.

  2. Avatar
    Carmen

    Ami –

    Bwahahahahahah!! Good one – hope Bruce spewed his coffee on that one!

    Bruce, I’m so sorry that you had to meet a Canadian religious nut. Rest assured I’m just a plain, old, ordinary nut. 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Brian

    My preacher dad used to offer a wry smile regarding folks who did not properly respect the triune God. He was not happy that they were doomed to burn but what the heck can you do with the whole truth when it is so clearly laid out in the book? He cared for them but finally, you simply do not mock God. (the flavor of definition depended on the church of course, and particularly the pastor’s interpretation from God.)
    In the punitive world of belief, Bruce, you have misbehaved and when dad comes home, you are going to get-it. By golly, Mister Agnosty-Atheist you are in for a thrashing…

  4. Avatar
    Connie

    Ami, Carmen, & Steve –

    Really – your first thought when thinking of an unforgivable sin is to equate it with being gay?

    I’m floored by your lack of empathy.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Yeah, I took their comments as tongue in cheek coming from the perspective of the letter writer. In the Evangelical church, coming out gay is the unpardonable sin. But, as everyone knows, there are no gays in the Evangelical church. 🙂

  5. Avatar
    Ami

    Connie, it was sarcasm. Since so many Christians believe that gay is a choice.
    With more than one gay family member, and my own belief that love is love, and the world could use more of it, I am not lacking in empathy.

    Obviously you don’t know that, since you don’t know me.

    Have a nice day.

  6. Avatar
    Brian

    Hey Connie, an understandable and incorrect response and one that I started to write before rereading the post and getting what was really the intent of the snark. The most interesting thing from Bruce’s post here, I mean for me, in the sense that it got me wondering again, was the pointing out of unforgivable sins.
    The Bible is set up to undermine autonomy, to slowly or quickly remove the autonomous self in us so that another can take over… most often that other is the church collective whose speaker is the preacher. Once you agree to have faith in something insupportable, then it is not far to stretch to being told that stuff a person does is sometimes unforgivable…. forget love your neighbor as yourself! First, be willing to kill your own child for God if God happens to decide that for you…. be ready to give your child to the cause, to turn away from your family and follow a figure in the clouds.
    Homosexuals are simply people who have an orientation towards same sex with regard to attraction or mating. Why is that of such interest to the evangelicals, such intense interest? It is not because of some reference in scripture because there are countless others they are comfortable to totally ignore! But not this one little matter of homosexuality…. They live out-of-balance and cherry-pick to make life bearable. They speak of the horror of life before being faithful. But the horror lives on in how they treat others, in how they include/exclude, in how they pour over words to prove their belief in the sky-god. Why is the church so interested in sex partners? Why must they try to remove all freedoms from each of us…. because the best and most dependable soldiers just obey orders, any orders.
    Earthquakes level a city and take thousands of lives and a preacher says, thank-you Jesus for leveling those pagan temples…..
    How can somebody say Religion is good and not simply a dangerous tool?

  7. Avatar
    Ian

    My mother in law confronted me over this one day. She said she had been praying for me and my salvation. Once I told her I didn’t believe in the Holy Spirit, she said she couldn’t pray for me because there was no more hope for me.

    I would prefer people didn’t pray for me. Then, I wouldn’t have to hear that they were praying for me.

    • Avatar
      brbr2424

      Neil Carter wrote about how to deal with people who try to evanglize you. Who knew it was so simple to get people to leave you alone. Just commit the unpardonable sin. It only takes a couple of seconds and a few words.

  8. Avatar
    Jo

    As a nine-year-old, I weighed the choices given and decided it was better to get saved, just in case hell was real. When I informed my mother of my plans, she blurted out, “J O…. ANNA (not my name) that is blasphemy!” I had no idea what she meant but decided to keep future plans to myself. Regularly, when I questioned any theology, Mom accused me committing blasphemy or hypocrisy, neither of which I understood.

    IFB just really know how to build up that inner child and turn them into a mush-brain. It’s really hurtful shit to live in. Life is so much better with the freedom to think about and question everything.

  9. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    So you can trash talk Jesus or God, but not the Holy Spirit. But wait – I thought they were a trinity? I am so effing confused.

    Bruce, congratulations, you received the No True Scotsman argument, yay!

  10. Avatar
    MAURA HART

    so you dissed caspar? here i thought it was wanking…..but they got so damn many sins they’re hard to avoid. any way a ghost that is holy is wholly ridiculous

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