A Fundamentalist Christian woman by the name of Lucinda Palestrant sent me the above email several years ago. Palestrant came to this site via a Google search for Darwin Fish. In 2015, I wrote a post about Fish titled, Darwin Fish, A True Prophet of God. I described Fish this way: Darwin Fish, the truest Christian on earth, a Fundamentalist on steroids. Evidently, Palestrant is also a member of that elite, super-sanctified, elect remnant of Christians who supposedly will someday be rewarded by Jesus for their mind-numbing. devotion to what they believe are the TRUE teachings of the Bible. Heaven awaits them, their reward for stoutly standing for true Christianity®, while the illimitable sea of humans, past, present, and future, will be cast into outer darkness, facing eternal torture and suffering because they were born in the wrong country, raised in the wrong home, or had the wrong beliefs. (See Why Most Americans are Christian.) And for people such as myself, those who have full knowledge of the truth, yet reject it and lead others astray? Hell, fueled by God’s hatred of sin, awaits.
Palestrant warns me: The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. (Psalm 94:11) Evidently, this verse is supposed to scare me. God knows what you are thinking, Bruce, Palestrant admonishes, thinking that I will quake in my Sketchers over the very thought of her God reading my mind. Here’s what Palestrant fails to understand: I think her God is a myth, no more able to read my mind than Leonard Nimoy — of Star Trek fame — is able to do a mind-meld and read my innermost thoughts.
As a writer, public figure, and a well-known atheist, I understand that my written and spoken words matter. Virtually every day that I am physically able, I send out my words to be read by thousands of people. For almost six years now, my editor, Carolyn, has edited my writing, helping me to hone my writing skills, saving me from countless careless, imprecise errors. My goal has always been the same: to passionately and effectively tell my story in such a way that it infuriates Fundamentalists, helps those who have been harmed by Fundamentalism, and provides a voice for those who have been psychologically savaged by Evangelical Christianity. (See Are Evangelicals Fundamentalists? )I consider it a great honor to have the Lucinda Palestrants of the world tell me that I am leading people to Hell. Since the Biblical Hell is about as real as Donald Trump’s Christianity, the only “hell” I am leading readers to is the one filled with reason and freedom. It is in this “hell” people find that they are free to follow the path of life wherever it leads. No longer shackled by Fundamentalist dogma, former Evangelicals are free to embrace the wild, wonderful (and dangerous) world on their own terms. I can only hope that Lucinda Palestrant will someday experience the wonders of a mind liberated from the bondage of the Christian Bible.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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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