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Your Questions, Please

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Greetings, earthlings and residents of other galaxies.

It’s been a year since I asked readers to submit questions for me to answer, so I thought I would, once again, open the call lines and ask readers to submit their questions, along with $66.66 donations to help me reach Evangelicals throughout the universe. Reason — praise be to Reason! — has called me to evangelize Evangelicals, and your donations will help me take the gospel of critical thinking and skepticism to infinity and beyond. Just kidding. While donations are always appreciated, what I really want are questions; your pithy, erudite questions. Please try to ask questions that you think I haven’t answered before.

If you have a question you would like me to answer, please ask it in the comment section of this post. I will answer questions in the order they are received; that is, unless you are a bigly donor. Readers who shower me with cash, checks, gold bullion (ouch), Bitcoins, and restaurant gift cards just might be moved to the front of the line, or be sent a 20×30 glossy photo of me pole dancing at the Big Bear Strip Club — “might” being the operative word. (Long-time readers who know and understand my humor, sarcasm, and snark know whether I am speaking factually. Everyone else? Keep on dreaming of Bruce Almighty swinging on a brass pole wearing only his shorts, suspenders, and wing tips.)

You can also email your questions to me via the contact form.

This post will remain pinned to the top of the front page until Halloween, after which time it will disappear into the bowels of this blog never to be seen again. Or at least until next year at this time.

Let the fun begin.

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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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21 Comments

  1. Avatar
    dale M

    My brand of atheism informs me that the future is wide open. I have a strong FAITH in the concept of GOD and an AFTERLIFE. I see the concept of GOD in the same way that folk see our 8 billion humanity represented as MANKIND. GOD as an individual may not exist, but an inter-galactic consortium just might collectively represent the concept GOD. My question : Where do you draw the line at which MANKIND cannot pass ? Planetary, Interplanetary, galactic, intergalactic level ? I know this is based solely on FAITH in the advancements within Science and Technology. But do you draw a line and where do you draw it ?

  2. Avatar
    Dave

    Fundies believe you can bring anything to god in prayer and he will answer it. They also believe in eternal torture as this god’s punishment for most of the human race. As a pastor did you ever pray that god would not allow such a monstrosity as hell? Why do you think that this plea is not made continuously by people who hold this belief? Is it because they don’t really believe they can change the mind of god or is it because they relish the idea that non believers will get what they deserve?

  3. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    Where you live in evangelical conservative land, are you seeing younger people leaving religion as polls seem to indicate in the US?

    When you were an evangelical, did you have the obsession with Israel as part of God’s plan for eschatology? How did you view the Jews? Did you believe that the Jews prior to Jesus were “saved” by belief in a savior to come, but Jews after Jesus are condemned to hell if they didn’t accept Jesus as the messiah? Did you believe Christians were “adopted” as God’s chosen people?

    You have described your authoritarian tendencies at home and as a pastor in that you were the top dog in both places. Did you consider another authority over you, other than God?

  4. Avatar
    Charles S. Oaxpatu

    Hi Bruce. I have a question for you—on my part as a Christian—and it is a real conundrum for me. President Trump has a case of COVID-19 right now. Should I pray for his recovery? My Christian faith tells me that I should love and pray for my enemies, and I feel sure that President Trump and I would mutually define each other as political enemies.

    On the other hand, President Trump has clearly and unequivocally—-and knowingly and willfully—–contributed to the deaths of 210,000 of my fellow American citizens—-and he is completely unrepentant in the matter. If President Trump recovers from COVID-19, I strongly suspect he will continue his dangerous rhetoric and policies with regard to COVID-19, deceive more Americans about the true dangers of COVID-19, and thereby contribute directly to the deaths of many more of my fellow Americans. If President Trump were to die from COVID-19, many of those people would most likely continue living. If I love all of those people who are so deceived by Trump, how then can I pray for Trump’s recovery?

    This is not a trick question Bruce. I am really, honestly, and truly concerned about it. I operate two different blogs where I announced that Trump had contracted COVID-19 in the objective and indifferent way of a normal newspaper story. I did not say anything about being happy about it or sad about it. Nonetheless, in just 24 hours, I have lost nearly all of my blog readers on both blogs. I suspect that is because I have not posted a long and syrupy blog article wherein I openly pray for President Trump’s recovery from COVID-19 and call upon the whole country to “cum together” as well and pray for Trump’s recovery.

    I think you and your readers, many formerly Christians themselves, see the conundrum here. I guess it is sort of like the old Hitler question: “If you lived in Germany in World War II and had the power to eliminate Hitler before he could start the war and kill all of those people, would it have been the right thing to do?”

  5. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    I admire the personal work that you have done to be able to garner perspective about your directions in life. It sometimes seems that the vast majority of folks are not able to seek professional help in dealing with trauma in their lives. Very often, when listening to someone tell some personal history, I will use the word ‘trauma’ in expressing sympathy, in acknowledging the tale but so often I am rebuffed with something like: “No, it wasn’t traumatic. So many people have terrible things they have to deal with and mine wasn’t like that at all…” The vast majority, once again, seem pre-therapy and not really ready to make that step to include real feeling, real self-care in their lives. They distance themselves from the heart. Christianity, particularly evangelical sorts encourages people to look to God for cures, for help, for everything! And unless a therapist is in the bubble, they are of-the-world and thereby suspect in the work they do.
    I wonder if you would speak some more to how and why you started to see a counsellor. You have spoken to this issue before in passing but could you share with us some of the feelings that allowed/suggested counselling was a direction to go. You have mentioned being ostracized and alone in your search. You were a hardliner IFB preacher who studied how to become a hardliner’s hardliner. Yet, eventually, your direction brought you to an exit sign. Perhaps you have said all you wish to regarding this matter but I think in these times of trouble, it might be helpful to share some more about your way of healing, the coping with God’s army at your door, the struggle with lonely choices. It’s a lot to ask, I know and feel free to set it aside if that is necessary. (I’ve got this on my mind because my wife has been taking part in the Collective Trauma Summit, an amazing collection of people participating. There are some free talks available for another day or so at
    https://collectivetraumasummit.com/speaker-talks/?inf_contact_key=9367497433caf5f5862f527c53c177ec09c74070ac2bf3cfa7869e3cfd4ff832
    I heartily recommend the talk by Gabor Maté but they are all quite a journey. )
    Thank-you for keeping up the writing, Bruce.

  6. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    My apologies to the readers here if you have tried to access the Collective Trauma Summit and been unable. It might have been necessary to sign-on to the summit at the outset. 🙁
    Gabor Maté has a website and I am sure many of the other presenters can be accessed via the web as well.
    Would it be excessive to suggest that there might be link between colective trauma in our lives and our choices to submerge our pain in fundamentaism? (The window glass was once as clear as could be. It has been stained now and the etchings of saints and crucified men forever mask our view.)

    • Avatar
      ... Zoe ~

      Hi Brian,

      I believe you had to sign-up.

      Gabor Mate’s book: When The Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress was and continues to be a helpful resource to me for understanding what the cost was for me.

      Here’s a link for those who may need help/resources for religious trauma. https://www.religioustraumainstitute.com/

      It’s my opinion that it is not “excessive to suggest.”

  7. Avatar
    dale M

    Question : How difficult would it be for the Trump’s to FAKE CoVid-19 sickness along with a Pro-Right personal physician, just to get out of these debates, get Pro-Right sympathy, and later claim that the election was “stolen” because he was just too sick to defend the Right ?? Trump doesn’t want this election. Odd …. don’t you think ?!? Right after his first debate both he and Melania become “sick” ?!? Then Jared and Ivanka (s.i.c.) are next. Trump is coasting on empty but never say you’re wrong ! But only a “political snake” would do that ! I’m sure Trump would never stoop that low. It would be sooooo out of character for his family.

  8. Avatar
    Quinn P

    Bruce, I assume at one point you were afraid of Hell. My question for you is what convinced you that Hell did not exist, and how long after your deconversion the fears and “what if’s” surrounding Hell specifically subsided. I know there’s no physical evidence of such a place, but I find out of all the Biblical doctrines, that one can reoccurringly haunt and make life miserable like nothing else. Do you have any practical advice to shake those thoughts once and for all?

  9. Avatar
    steven m

    My question is why is religion taken much more seriously in America than in the other Anglo countries. As an Australian, I look on with horror and amazement, especially when I see your politicians constantly talk about their religion.

    Do you think it will follow the other Anglo countries with a collapse in Christianity and rising secularism. Christian affiliation has collapsed in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. The last Australian census, in 2016, showed just 52% of Australians identify as Christian (it was 88% in 1966) while 30% report no religion. The collapse of religion is even greater in New Zealand, where 48% reported “no religion” in the last census and only 37% reported being Christian.

    In the UK, 70% of 16 to 29 year olds report having no religion while only 22% report being Christian.

    Figs from: ***www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/21/christianity-non-christian-europe-young-people-survey-religion
    ***www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/mediareleasesbyReleaseDate/7E65A144540551D7CA258148000E2B85
    ***www.stats.govt.nz/news/losing-our-religion

  10. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Hi, Bruce. I realized I had a question about the Dead Sea Scrolls. Is there any way to debunk them as fraudulent, for sure ?

  11. Avatar
    dale M

    WOW !!! Good for you Bruce ! An open invitation to continue to preach WITH A QUESTION PERIOD at any evangelical church ! Commendable ! Walking directly into the lair of the Christian lion ! You’ll be seen as the Dragon. Still, whether you achieve a negative response or otherwise, any future criticism from any of those preachers can be met with “May I preach a sermon at your church then ?”

    Now you’ve put them on the defensive and will be able to write that evangelicals are terrified to take you on ! You’re about to face down the biggest of the school yard bullies ! And you’ve got the weight to shove them around (forgive the pun)

    Even Richard Dawkins couldn’t achieve that ! You should have been doing that bloody years ago ! How more exciting your blogs will become ! Even if you don’t get a response …. You should send a quick note to Dawkin’s staff. They’ll most likely follow on that one closely.

  12. Avatar
    amy b

    I’m curious—are there any liberal televangelists? My mother and I live together and she’s pretty religious and always watching televangelists on TV. I don’t mind Bobby Schuller but I’m not crazy about anyone else. I was wondering if you knew a nationally broadcast program that doesn’t suck so I don’t always have to leave the room.

    • Avatar
      Brian Vanderlip

      Greetings Amy B, Considering that TV was considered such an evil development among the no-fun-gelicals, it surprises me that it has not done the devil’s work and liberalized/liberated some TV preachers… but no, to my knowledge none have become less loathsome as far as I know. What TV has done is given them the kind of tax-free dollars that buy jets and luxurious homes.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      There are some centrist Bible teachers, but 99% of TV preachers are Evangelical: Charismatic/Word of Faith/Pentecostal/Baptist/Non-Denominational. Hear one, you’ve heard them all.

  13. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Ha- ha ! So true, Brian . I wish there was a way to get all the money I sent to those ding- dongs on TV. Would it be great if a law were passed that people could do this, without a statute of limitations restricting how far back you could go ? I could sure use that money right now, lol.

  14. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Hello, Bruce and family. I hope you are relaxing today and taking a break from the craziness of these times. I hate Columbus with a purple passion, Galileo would have been a better choice when it comes to discoveries by Italians–that in mind, though you’re not Indigenous– Happy Indigenous Day !

  15. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    One more thing, have you noticed if small black mosquitos with white stripes have made it into Ohio at all ? I ask about this because SoCal has two versions, the Tiger Mosquito and Aedes Egypti. Egypti carries heartworm, both carry at least four diseases. DEET, Picaridin, and lemon eucalyptus oil work best, and ask your doctor before putting these repellents on babies and kids. Hot, painful bites that itch like mad, and odd places for biting, like elbows, ankles, fingers, just weird. Local vector agencies can help with info updates. Just thought to give a heads-up. We’re getting another heat wave this week.

  16. Avatar
    steven m

    Bruce, in your opinion, does the New Testament clearly indicate what Old Testament rules Christians are obliged to follow?

  17. Avatar
    Sage

    Allegedly Jesus did not start his teaching until he was 30, what was he doing in the prior years? Assuming he did exist and teach as we are told, where did he learn and develop the beliefs he taught? There are also rumors he spent time studying Buddhism?

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