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Don’t Cast Your Candy Bars Before Swine

clark bar
My Favorite Candy Bar

Recently, my wife’s cousin, and an Evangelical pastor in Newark, Ohio, posted the following on Facebook:

Do not be fooled! Class warfare, rioting, racism, defunding police, expansive government programs…these are the building blocks to socialism. These are reasons so many flee to America!!

I have known Polly’s cousin for over forty-four years. He was the ring-bearer in our wedding in 1978. Andy is an affable guy, the only preacher in Polly’s family that I get along with. We have had numerous conversations over the years. Never an angry word, though we have disagreed many, many times.

After reading Andy’s anti-socialism comment, I decided to respond, hoping that I could educate him about socialism, specifically democratic socialism. I suspect that I am the only atheist socialist Andy knows. The conversation quickly deteriorated when a friend of Andy’s named Tim — an Evangelical know-it-all, if there ever was one — decided to hijack the discussion and attack my atheism. He quickly started talking about evolution and morality, and even went so far as to tell me that I was an agnostic, not an atheist.

Long time readers likely know what I told this man: fuck off! In fact, I told him to fuck off twice. The discussion was about socialism, but he wanted to make it about me and my atheism. I refused to play, and here’s his final comment to me (paragraphs added for readability. Grammar and spelling as written).

Last comment, then tomorrow when i get up I will just block you; since you do not want to debate.

you are angry because evangelicals make truth claims. yet you are making truth claims also. there is a saying. everyone has a right to their opinion, but only those who are correct have a right for their opinion to be true.

socalism is the start of communism and nazism. socalism has always harmed the poor and middle class, and makes politicians rich royal leaders. socalism always worships government, as everyone has to worship something. you know it. thus why you attack me, for pointing out truth.

Last, there is truth. there is a creator. there is a God, and that God is the one true God of the Bible. I pray that you meet him one day, before you die; as that will be too late. if you truly seek truth there are hundreads of books taht not only show the truth of what I am saying, but gives all the evidence inside and outside of the Bible for what I am saying. the best, for someone that truthly seeks truth, is evidence that demands a verdict.

I pray one day you seek the truth and realize that it is not what you claim it to be.

Just another day in the alternate universe called Evangelicalism. That this man thinks Josh McDowell’s book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, is the best book for someone like me shows that he doesn’t really know much about agnosticism and atheism, nor does he know anything about my background. McDowell’s arguments have been debunked numerous times. Had I thought this man had a rational, skeptical bone in his body, I might have engaged him, but since he doesn’t, I chose not to cast my candy bars before pigs.

The only thing that offended me was his claim that I am an agnostic, not an atheist. He refused to let me self-identify as an atheist. In his mind, agnostic and atheist are two different things. Had he been open to thoughtful, rational discussion, I would have educated him about why many professed atheists are agnostics and atheists. I have talked about this issued numerous times on this site. Some strong atheists disagree with me on the matter, but claiming to be an agnostic and an atheist is certainly within the orthodox pale of the most holy atheist religion. Yes, this knucklehead thinks atheism is a religion. Whatcha gonna do when faced with someone who thinks he knows everything, yet knows very little? At this point in my quickly fading life, “fuck you” seems to be an appropriate response.

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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12 Comments

  1. Avatar
    GeoffT

    “ you are angry because evangelicals make truth claims. yet you are making truth claims also. there is a saying. everyone has a right to their opinion, but only those who are correct have a right for their opinion to be true.”

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more meaningless, humbug, assertion. It is arrogant in the extreme, something I do encounter in other forms from time to time. Essentially it appears to be a way of dismissing the opinion of others in claiming the righteousness of your own. In any event, it depends on the type of opinion. In my opinion raspberries are nicer than strawberries, and that is both an opinion and a statement of fact. Or an opinion may depend on some level of expertise, as perhaps a plumber advising on the best arrangement for a bathroom, based on the existing plumbing. This interlocutor, however, strays into yet another type of opinion, one which blurs the margins between legitimate, informed, opinion and prejudice based on perception. He’s been inculcated in a culture that decries the word ‘socialism’ without ever properly considering its meaning. A statement that attempts to conflate communism with nazism is just plain ignorant, nazism being a form of fascism, which is an extreme right wing ideology. Socialism, properly understood, administered, and implemented is a system that benefits all, and still allows for capitalism, albeit within a strongly regulated society. Your friend does not want this discussion, however, he wants only to bathe in his own bigoted ignorance, and he does this by the nonsensical wording of ‘only those who are correct have a right for their opinion to be true’. Ugh! I feel almost sick typing this grammatically ridiculous and tautologous phrase.

    • Avatar
      Brian Vanderlip

      It is a crying shame that the brain-addled nationalism and flag worship of the USA has hurt the basic ability to appreciate what socialism offers. Everybody deserves health care and education and a society that attempts to offer that to the greatest degree possible is a socialist one. Here in Canada, we sometimes have to wait for a time to get procedures done because our ‘social system’ mandates that the procedures be available to everyone, including those unable to pay from their own pocket. The American medical system is criminal in its withholding of help unless one has the cash or insurance.
      So, aim for a more socialistic, caring method of providing care or be criminal and shout hateful nonsense about socialism!
      The blind patriotism of USA is a pathetic insult. Even many Chinese who live under Communism and threat of incarceration for speaking out, have more insight than Americans like Andy. Sad and especially so with Trump in office and Justice Ginsburg now gone. What a disaster. 2020 sucks.

  2. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    I wouldn’t cast perfectly good candy bars before swine either. This fellow obviously doesn’t understand what socialism, communism, Nazism, or fascism are, nor does he understand what agnosticism and atheism are. Trying to educate people in a social media exchange is nigh unto impossible, especially when those people believe they have the undeniable TRUTH and are unwilling to listen to those they prefer to label negatively.

    And for the record, I am an agnostic atheist, meaning that I do not assert that deities definitively do or do not exist, but I believe that the evidence weighs heavily in the direction that they don’t. I acknowledge the possibility that one day, there may be evidence in the affirmative, and I will examine that evidence.

    Also, I do not worship anyone or anything. I find it offensive when believers assert that everyone worships someone or something – I do not.

    • Avatar
      GeoffT

      Obstacle Chick, the difference between agnosticism and atheism is something I’m always bleating about, probably to an annoying degree, and I agree entirely with what you say. I think it’s easier to demonstrate the difference using less emotive subjects than those of religion.

      In the UK there is still a great deal of interest in the last Plantagenet king Richard 111. He’s most famous by virtue of the Shakespeare play of the same name, in which he’s cast as a hunchbacked villain who murdered his two nephews. In actual fact, the Shakespearean play was nothing more than a propaganda piece, intended to legitimise the first Tudor King, Henry V11, who in reality had almost no claim to the throne. The evidence of what really happened is steeped in doubt, and there are many who think Richard was a good king, who didn’t murder the two boys, and that they were actually murdered by Henry, or the Duke of Marlborough, or perhaps they survived. The evidence can be read in different ways, new evidence continues to be found (Richard’s burial place and body were discovered very recently), but it’s likely the truth will never be known for certain. The continuing search for that evidence is the work of agnosticism. In the meantime, some believe firmly that Richard was largely as depicted by Shakespeare, whilst others believe he was entirely innocent of the murders, and a good king (I’m in the middle, as I think he probably caused the murders to happen, but wasn’t entirely evil). Having a belief one way or the other doesn’t render irrelevant the search for evidence.

    • Avatar
      Karen the rock whisperer

      Also, I do not worship anyone or anything. I find it offensive when believers assert that everyone worships someone or something – I do not.

      I’m sooo with you on this. I have yet to find anything or anyone which/who is both real and worthy of worship. The deity that Christians worship, were he real, doesn’t meet the worthy test. And I suppose he might be real; can’t rule it out completely. However, I’m trained as a scientist and I go with the evidence; there isn’t any for him or any other deity.

      Oh, they say, well, you worship yourself! Um, no, I’m CERTAINLY not worthy of worship. My goal is to live the rest of my life making it the best life possible within my physical, psychological, and financial limitations. Figuring out what that best life is, it itself a journey, and one that intrigues and motivates me. So far I have figured out that it involves working on my relationships with others to make them better for both of us and to do what I can as a US and planetary citizen to help those that need it most and use my vote and my keyboard to help nudge US policy in the direction of meeting those needs. It also involves thinking about things that fascinate me. There’s no worship in there at all.

  3. Avatar
    Infidel753

    Socialism isn’t a gateway to communism. It’s more like a vaccine against communism. Socialism of the kind they have in western Europe, Canada, and so forth keep the conditions of life tolerable for ordinary people, and stops them from getting so ground down that they eventually erupt in revolution. In the US, institutions like Social Security, unemployment insurance, and the minimum wage have done the same, but in a far more threadbare way. Conservatives and libertarians who want to destroy even those things should be careful what they wish for. People with nothing left to lose are dangerous. If they push us as far as the French masses in 1789 or the Russian masses in 1917, they might not like the result. I’d rather have us be like Denmark.

    • Avatar
      Brian Vanderlip

      People with nothing left to lose are dangerous.

      With Justice Ginsburg’s death, Trump will now attempt to solidify his Right Christian base by installing a throwback. What has America fallen into now… Get ready. I suspect tougher times quickly approach.

  4. Avatar
    Yulya. Sevelova

    Yeah,Brian. It’s so true,especially now. The Scandinavian countries are far happier than we are, and though taxes are high, they get a quality safety net for those taxes, whereas we too, pay high taxes, have a crumbling infrastructure, medical system is a broken,expensive joke, and the stress of 40 years of these policies is now coming home to roost. Tim, the in- law’s friend, has no experience dealing with Nazis OR Communists, because the conditions those systems took root in were already in great distress. The Scandinavians are smart to keep their citizens content, to where they are NOT at war with each other, or their leaders, for the most part. If poor Russia or China had what the Scandinavians have, they would be great places and threats to no one. We must avoid the path to dictatorship, including theocracies in that vein. America is considered a failed state, Tim.

  5. Avatar
    Forestdweller

    This is my very first visit to your blog; I’m happy to find myself in good company. I am deconverted (+/- 8 years now) after a lifetime in Evangelicalism, Anglicanism and Eastern Orthodoxy; thinking each one would give me the answers I never found as a 12 year old, asking God to reveal Himself if He was real. At 66 years old, I am fortunate to have an immediate family that still loves and embraces me with no demands. They are comfortable enough to even jest about atheism! I have lost at least one lifetime friend as a result of my “coming out”; I am currently corresponding with a former pastor friend, one of whose questions was whether I had had a moral failure that caused me to change. I simply don’t find religion believable! At age 16 I pondered the mutual exclusivity of the world religions claims on Truth and found it unsupportable; I finally have returned to the good instincts I had so many years ago. I look forward to following this blog.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Welcome, and thank you for commenting. I appreciate you sharing a bit of your story.

      I hope you will comment when you feel “led” to do so. 🙂 You will find that the regulars on this site a great bunch of people.

      Bruce

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