Repost from 2015-2016. Edited, updated, and corrected.
Well-intentioned Evangelical Christians read this blog and come to the conclusion that what I lack is love from compassionate, caring Christians.
They assume that there is no love in Fundamentalist Baptist Christianity. They assume Fundamentalist Baptist Christianity is all hate and law, and no grace.
Their assumption is quite wrong. I met many loving people in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement, and Evangelicalism at large. Their love may have been conditioned on my fidelity to their brand of truth, but they loved me nonetheless (and I loved them too).
My wife’s parents are Fundamentalist Baptist Christians, yet they love me still.
So a lack of love is not the problem.
I tend to distrust people who tell me up front about how loving they are. Such people are similar to a car dealer who tells you how honest he is or a doctor who tells you how proficient he is. Why do these people NEED to tell me this?
Often, those loving Christians prove to be anything but loving.
Many people think my defection from Christianity was an emotional decision. Certainly, there was an emotional component, but my decision was primarily and ultimately an intellectual one.
The compassionate, caring, loving Christians want me to try their flavor of ice cream. Their flavor is different. It’s not like all those other flavors.
After all, THEY are special, and they want me to be special too.
So, let me ask the compassionate, caring, loving Christians a few questions.
- Can I deny the Bible is the Word of God and still be a part of your church?
- Can I question if God even exists and still be a part of your church?
- Can I deny the Trinity and still be a part of your church?
- Can I tell everyone at church that hell is a medieval fable and still be a part of your church?
- Can I pass out books at church by Bart Ehrman and Richard Dawkins and still be a part of your church?
- Can I espouse universalist beliefs and still be a part of your church?
- Can I openly affirm pro-LGBTQ, pro-abortion, pro-drug, pro-sex worker views and still be a part of your church?
The compassionate, caring, loving Christians want to convince me that their church is different, that it is special.
But it isn’t.
They know it, and so do I.
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.
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