Earlier today, I received an email from an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) zealot named Noah Zielke. Zielke ignored my requests on the Contact Page and emailed me anyway. What follows is my response to him. Best I can tell, Zielke is a computer science major at the University of Alabama. I do give him credit for reading some of my autobiographical material, along with a few posts about the IFB church movement.
My response is indented and italicized.
A smattering of thoughts I had while reading your blog:
I believe that you probably did believe and are therefore my brother in Christ,
Well, I am sure glad you stopped by my blog to let me know that I was and still am a Christian. You need to get together with your fellow believers and hold a meeting to decide whether I am really a Christian. You see, Christians can’t agree on this matter. One group says I once was saved and now I am lost. Another group says that I never was saved. And yet another group, the one you are part of, says that I am still a Christian. I consider your position the most absurd of them of all. While morally and ethically my life is likely as good as or better than yours, there’s nothing in my life that remotely suggests that I am in any way, shape, or form a Christian. I reject the central claims of Christianity, believing that Jesus was human, not divine; that he lived and died, end of story. I reject the claim that the Bible is in any way an authoritative, supernatural text. I would be glad to interact with you on the nature and history of the Bible. I assume you believe the Bible is inspired, inerrant, and infallible — claims which cannot be rationally sustained. (If you have not read any of Dr. Bart Ehrman’s books on the text of the Bible, I encourage you to do so. I will even buy one of Ehrman’s books for you to read and have it shipped to you free of charge.)
You and I are most certainly not “brothers.” I have one brother and two half-brothers. Last I knew, you weren’t on my genealogy tree. Though . . . my biological father did get around a bit, so we could be related. Please submit your DNA to ancestry.com and let me know if we are a match.
though I’m surprised God hasn’t killed you yet (Hebrews 12:6).
God hasn’t killed me for one reason and one reason alone: he doesn’t exist. The fact that I can write the things I do without your God saying anything suggests that she either agrees with me, is on vacation, taking a shit (1 Kings 18 — I can do Bible proof texts too), or is dead. Since, according to you, Jesus is God, and we know he is very much dead, lying buried somewhere on the Judean hillside, I am going with God is dead.
I have no doubt that I will one day die, likely sooner than later. My death certificate will not say: cause of death — God. I am sure it will likely say: cause of death — gastroparesis or heart attack or diabetes or blow to head with cast iron skillet wielded by my wife. Granted, whenever I die, IFB zealots will claim that God killed me, judging me for my sins and unbelief. Too bad I won’t be around to read what they have to say. By then I will have been reduced to ashes and spread along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. I shall end up in the same place as you will, Noah. There is no Heaven, no Hell, no afterlife. Just the here and now, as Solomon so wisely and eloquently stated.
Let me give you a piece of advice that can be found 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.
Maybe you’re God’s punishment on stupid people.
It’s evident your momma didn’t raise you right, that you lack basic decency and respect for other people. This is a common trait among IFB Christians. What kind of person goes around calling people he disagrees with “stupid”?
This blog is read by lots of people, many of whom have college educations. Doctors, lawyers, dentists, psychologists, managers, preachers, evangelists, missionaries, teachers, engineers, professors, along with all sorts of “smart” people, regardless of their education level. That said, my focus has never been on the intellectual acumen of the readers of this blog. When people comment on this blog, I don’t check their education levels first. “Smart” and “stupid” are subjective terms, most often used in a pejorative sense.
Personally, I prefer that people just show me how “smart” or “stupid’ they are, you know, like you did in your email to me.
You should understand (and I know you probably do) that the reason the IFB hates you is because they believe that you are contributing to people burning in Hell forever. How, logically, is someone supposed to treat such an one.
No, IFB Christians “hate” me because it is in their DNA to do so. They have been indoctrinated and conditioned to “hate” anyone who thinks, believes, or lives differently from them. (Please see IFB “Love”.)
Please stop using the words “logic” and “logically.” It’s evident you don’t know what these words mean. Is it “logical” to believe virgins have babies, ghosts impregnate women, humans walk on water, turn water into wine, or teleport (sorry Star Trek isn’t real in case you didn’t know), or come back to life after they have been dead for three days? Is it “logical” to believe that an ancient religious text is some sort of supernatural book written by a supernatural God whom no one has ever seen or talked to; that humans are expected to obey and practice every word found in its pages? (Please see The Michael Mock Rule: It Just Doesn’t Make Sense.)
Heaven and Hell, along with sin, judgment, and salvation, are religious constructs used by sects, churches, and clerics to keep asses in the seats and money in the plates. Preachers use fear and guilt to coerce people into getting saved. “Saved” from what, exactly? Humans aren’t sinful, broken, or depraved. Such thinking is a 2,000 year long con used to feed the voracious power and control appetites of Christian sects and churches.
There’s a better way, Noah. Seek and ye shall find . . .
How did Jesus say Christians are to treat their enemies? (Sermon on the Mount.) Can you not see that you have been taught a warped understanding of “love”? Having been raised in the IFB church movement and pastoring IFB churches for years, I know people are taught a warped, perverse sense of “love.” It’s a love that hates. If the goal is to win me back to Jesus, what is the best way to do so? Surely, hurling hateful invectives my way will only drive me farther away from Jesus. Whatever happened, Noah, to following in the steps of Jesus? You know, WWJD?
I have been attacked, savaged, and abused by countless Evangelical Christians over the years. IFB Christians are the worst, by far. Nasty, arrogant, self-righteous, showing little to no love for their fellow man. I have concluded that getting “saved” makes no appreciable difference in people’s lives; that Christian Fundamentalism breeds people who have little evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith (Galatians 5).
Sure, I have met a handful of loving, kind, thoughtful Christians. However, they are the exceptions to the rule. After fourteen years and thousands and thousands of emails, social media messages, and blog comments from the followers of Jesus, I can safely conclude that, for the most part, Christianity is bankrupt, that it doesn’t deliver what it promises.
Abiogenesis is anti-science, anti-common sense, and illogical.
I have not written one post on abiogenesis — not one. I am not a scientist, neither are you — reading Ken Ham’s blog doesn’t make you a scientist. I do have readers, however, who have science training. If they are so inclined, perhaps one or more of them will respond to your assertions.
Jesus was either God, or a lunatic. You seem to now think he was just a good man and the bad bits are embellishments? If even 10% of what he said was true, and he wasn’t God, then he was a quack and liar (ex – Mark 14:7 – spend the money on me, not the poor).
Sigh, CS Lewis. You seem to leave out the position that Jesus could have been a well-intentioned apocalyptic preacher; a “mere human” who ran afoul of the Roman government and got himself killed. We have no idea about who or what Jesus actually was. Jesus wrote no books of the Bible, left behind no writings, and the words attributed to him were written down by unknown authors 30-90 years after his death. If you have actual evidence that anything attributed to Jesus in the Bible actually happened or was said, I would love to see it. I’m confident that no evidence will be forthcoming. Once again, I encourage you to read several of Dr. Bart Ehrman’s books. His books will disabuse you of your Fundamentalist beliefs about the Bible.
Believing that life can arise from purely naturalistic processes isn’t just intellectually dishonest, it’s insane, absurd, stupidity.I realize 3 & 5 are basically the same.
Please see my response to your third statement. Why did you feel the need to repeat this statement twice?
Are you a creationist? Do you believe Genesis 1-3 is literal history; that the universe was created in six 24 hour days; that the universe is 6,024 years old; that Adam and Eve were the first humans; that dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time as humans? I assume the answer to these questions is yes. If so, I will refrain from saying such beliefs are intellectually dishonest, insane, absurd, and stupid. I wouldn’t want to offend you by saying you are intellectually dishonest, insane, absurd, and stupid. My momma taught me not to call people names, but some of the readers of this blog might say creationism (young, old, or theistic) is intellectually dishonest, insane, absurd, and stupid. With fingers crossed behind my back, I apologize for their rudeness . . . though their conclusions are based on scientific observation.
I enourage you to get a sound science education. Then you will be in a position to intellegently talk about these things. It’s important, Noah, to know what we don’t know.
From 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.
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