Offering plates full of snark and cursing ahead! You have been warned. Not that this warning matters. You are going to read this post anyway, aren’t you? All praise to the one true God, Loki, for your faithful support. May you receive many rewards in Hell.
Today, I received the following comment from an Evangelical man named Terry. My response is indented and italicized.
Bruuuuuce! Dont leave the faaaaaaith! 🙂
Really? Shouldn’t matters of faith and eternal destiny be grave and serious? It hardly seems appropriate to use a smiley face when warning me that I am on the wrong path, and if I continue on this path, I will one day eternally pay for my sins.
God is so much bigger than all of this!!
Which God? And what evidence do you have for the claim that God is bigger than all of “this?” This being, I assume, the internecine wars Christians endlessly fight over who has the right beliefs. The Bible teaches that Christians will be known by their love and unity. How is that working out? Hint . . . not well, as the Facebook group you mention below makes clear.
Don’t let the calvinists win!
Win what, exactly? I took a look at the search logs for this site and found out you read all of one post, Calvinists and Their Love of Theological Porn. You made no effort to read anything else. Had you done so, you would have learned that I was in the Christian church for fifty years; that I was an Evangelical pastor for twenty-five years; that I spent thousands and thousands of hours reading and studying the Bible; that I had a library of over one-thousand theological and biographical books; that I wasn’t a Calvinist when I entered the ministry, and I wasn’t a Calvinist when I left the ministry. Had you bothered to read a bit of my biographical writing, you would have found out that I preached a works-based social gospel towards the end of my time in the ministry. Instead, you sent me a masturbatory email. I am sure doing so made you feel good (as jacking off does), but what, exactly, did it accomplish (no new birth for me)?
And even if NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE (not u, not me, not Hawking, not Piper, not anyone), i think it would be a good idea to try and have a relationship with FATHER GOD.
I am an atheist, so I don’t believe your Father God exists. I am CERTAIN of this fact. (I am also an agnostic, but I will leave that discussion for another day. You do know the difference, right?) You provide no evidence to the contrary, yet you expect me to bow in fealty to your Daddy all because you said it’s a good idea. Not a chance, dude. Just because your invisible Father abused you doesn’t mean I should let him do the same to me.
THE PERFECT FATHER.
Surely you jest. Terry, take a look around at the world. What do you see? The works of a PERFECT FATHER? I see no evidence for the existence of your Father. And if he does exist, it is clear that your Daddy is a deadbeat, abusive parent. My Gawd, man, open your fucking eyes.
And join with others who are really trying to love God (a god who SEEMS often clueless and downright horrible) and love people. …. There is SO MUCH we do not know.
Had you bothered to read more than one post, you might have learned that I have no interest in God, Jesus, or Christianity. Been there, done that. Now that you know my background, what could you possibly say that I have not heard before? I spent most of my life devotedly following the Lamb of God. I sacrificed everything in pursuit of the kingdom of God. Can you say that you have done the same? If you really want to have a Christian dick measuring contest, I am confident that I would win. I can’t think of one thing you could say that would lead me to drop on my knees, repent of my sins, and say to Jesus, “I am yours, Big Boy!”
There has to be more to all of this than what we see….. There has to be!
Why does there have to be more than what we see? Do you have any evidence that suggests otherwise, outside of the words written in an ancient religious text? Based on the extant evidence, our lives are but a blip on the timeline of existence.
I give the following advice on my ABOUT page:
You have one life. There is no heaven or hell. There is no afterlife. You have one life, it’s yours, and what you do with it is what matters most. Love and forgive those who matter to you and ignore those who add nothing to your life. Life is too short to spend time trying to make nice with those who will never make nice with you. Determine who are the people in your life that matter and give your time and devotion to them. Live each and every day to its fullest. You never know when death might come calling. Don’t waste time trying to be a jack of all trades, master of none. Find one or two things you like to do and do them well. Too many people spend way too much time doing things they will never be good at.
Here’s the conclusion of the matter. It’s your life and you best get to living it. Someday, sooner than you think, it will be over. Don’t let your dying days be ones of regret over what might have been.
(And if there’s not, what harm has been done believing that God loves EVERYONE and has a plan??) What if universalism is true? Or conditional immortality? What if evolution is true and that’s just the way God decided to do it?
This is the second time in your comment that you have appealed to what is commonly called Pascal’s Wager.
“Pascal’s wager is an argument in philosophy presented by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, theologian, mathematician, and physicist, Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). It posits that human beings bet with their lives that God either exists or does not.
Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though (the Christian) God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas if God does exist, he stands to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell).”
Let me ask you a question. Are you a Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, and Mormon? Surely, you would want to hedge your bets and put your faith in these Gods, and in fact, every other deity. Shouldn’t you cover all your bases? Of course, you haven’t done this. You have found the “right” God, your peculiar version of the Christian deity. You want me to do what you are unwilling to do. This is the definition of the word hypocrite.
Further, you want me to “fake it until I make it.” You want me to deny reality to myself and others. You want me to ignore what I KNOW about your God and worship it anyway. Not going to happen, Terry. I have more character and integrity than that. Either your God exists, or it doesn’t. I am convinced that it doesn’t. Surely, that fact can’t be too hard to understand.
Life is CRAZY. The idea that we are alive on this planet, living our lives, making amazing decisions every day. SOOOOOOOO unlike animals. Sure, we share some of the characteristics as animals, but we are different mentally. So different!!!
How do you know we even have free will — the ability to make “amazing” decisions? Sure, we have higher cognitive skills than other animals. However, we eat, drink, have sex, shit, and sleep, just like all other living creatures. One need only look at how we are destroying our planet to conclude that maybe, just maybe, having bigger brains is not such a good idea.
The bible says (i know, i know) that we are made in the image of God. I think there’s something to that.
Good for you. Why should I base my life on what you think or believe about a contradictory ancient religious text? There are thousands of Christian sects, each with their own interpretations of the Bible, each believing that they have the “faith once delivered to the saints.”
Have you ever read any of Dr. Bart Ehrman’s books about the history and nature of the Bible? Something tells me you haven’t. Bart is a professor of New Testament studies at the University of North Carolina. I encourage you to read several of his books. After you do, get back to me, and we can talk about the Bible. I want to be kind, but you really are out of your element here. So, please read Ehrman’s books, and then we’ll talk.
And i believe in John 3:16. And that perish means perish, not burn forever.
*Sigh* (This is a code word for a certain emotion. Only followers of Satan know what it means.) I know the Bible (and Christian theology) inside and out. But, I’m sure glad that you stopped by to straighten me out. Damn, Skippy, I was wrong for fifty years, but bless Loki, thanks to you, I have seen the light! (That’s sarcasm, by the way.)
You might want to join Soteriology101 on facebook (people more intelligent than I, railing back against calvinism). We don’t have many atheists, but I’m pretty sure there are some. It might give you a different perspective, just to sit back and see what people are saying. (And of course there are some who are callous or judgmental, but also universalists and ones who believe in conditional immortality).
I am not on social media. That said, I did check out the Soteriology 101 Facebook group. Again, you insult my intelligence, ignoring the decades I spent reading and studying the Bible. What possibly am I going to learn about the various soteriological schemes from a fucking Facebook group — one dominated by Fundamentalist Christians? I know every system inside and out. Sorry, Terry, but you really should have investigated my background before sending me this email.
Let me be clear, I don’t believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. The Bible is an errant, fallible, contradictory book written by mostly unknown men. I reject its claims about God, human nature, Jesus, and the afterlife. In other words, I reject the central claims of Christianity. Jesus was a mere mortal who lived and died, end of story. He wasn’t born of a virgin, he didn’t work miracles, and he didn’t resurrect from the dead. You believe all these things to be true, but what evidence do you have for your bald assertions? As I mentioned above, I am not going to take your word for it. Did you really think emailing me would lead to my renunciation of atheism? Or, is your email more about hearing yourself talk or reinforcing your own doubts? I have received thousands of emails and comments such as yours over the past thirteen years. I have often wondered if Evangelicals who try to evangelize me are more worried about their own souls than mine; that my story is a threat to their beliefs.
Anyway, i hope u get this!
I got it! Aren’t you glad I did? 🙂
Your article was from long ago! I want u to know that i care, and Jesus cares MORE! … Have an amazing day!
Sorry, Terry, but Jesus doesn’t care. He’s d-e-a-d. My parents and grandparents are dead too. And guess what? They don’t care either.
I know that you THINK you care, but I have interacted with thousands of “caring” and “loving” Christians since 2007. Based on my experiences with them, I have concluded that words such as “care” and “love” are just lingo Evangelicals use when they run into people they don’t understand or who believe differently from them.
If you want to show that you “care,” please send me a couple hundred bucks. It IS what Jesus wants you to do. Had you bothered to read my backstory, you would have learned that I am gravely ill, that I have battled chronic illness and pain for twenty-five years; that I was recently diagnosed with an incurable disease called gastroparesis; that I am disabled and walk with a cane (and at times use a wheelchair.) Feel guilty? Send me money, dude! I am still a preacher.
Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day. 🙂
Bruce, a Sinner Saved by Reason
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.
Connect with me on social media:
You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.
Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.