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My Story — A Guest Post By David

guest post

My story is somewhat different from others I read on Bruce’s blog.

I was born in England, and raised in the Church of England, where it has been jokingly said that
“belief in God is optional.” My father died when I was young and was, I understand, quite active in the church. My Mother was fairly active but never imposed her views on us.

I went to boarding school, where church attendance was mandatory or you were punished; a quick way to turn one against attendance.

I married into a Catholic family, so I had to be indoctrinated before I was deemed fit to marry a Catholic. At some time, I must have mentioned something about the evil in the world and was then provided with much discussion about God giving mankind freedom of thought and action.

I married a girl who attended a convent school. She was indoctrinated in the one true faith (sarcasm) and we agreed to raise the children as Catholics, though subsequently the children have very little interest in Catholicism. In the words of George Carlin “they were raised as Catholics until they learnt to think for themselves.”

I have always had a great interest in European history, particularly the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Reading about the horrors of the twentieth century, I started to have doubts about my beliefs. I started to question, how much horrific behaviour god would allow before saying okay people, that’s enough.

English history is full of the most appalling Catholic versus Protestant behavior. I read with interest the pieces about the Northern Ireland nitwit (Susan-Ann White), she is quite mild, (sane?) compared to some in that country.

My shift away from religious belief has been very gradual, probably over 30 years. I live in a part
of Wisconsin that is mostly Catholic or Lutheran, with very few extremists, though I am aware of several Creationist and anti-evolutionists. I see them as just people to avoid. I have a very good friend who is a Baha’i. She knows my views and doesn’t really accept them, but we don’t discuss them in detail; now as a single man, I really value her friendship.

I follow Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. I don’t agree with everything they say,
and quite by chance stumbled onto Bruce’s website. I think I was searching for Atheist Pig cartoons. I have read and appreciate many items on the website, and many of the comments.

So I’m an Englishman, a great believer in science, and I just cannot accept much of the biblical nonsense: virgin birth, original sin, the resurrection, the vile vindictive god of the old testament. Come on, people!

I don’t believe in Heaven and Hell, but if there were such places, I would choose the latter — far more interesting people there. I sometimes feel that, having attended a 1950s English boarding school, I have already been to hell.

Although I am an atheist, I’m somewhat reluctant to call myself one; it seems pointless to give a name to something that occupies so little of my thoughts.

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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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3 Comments

  1. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    David—It’s been a while since I’ve been to England, so my perceptions might be out of date. I’ve been under the impression that there isn’t the sort of extremism, at least among Christians, that one finds here in the US. I wonder what you thought when you found Evangelicals and Fundamentalists here—or even the kind of conservative Catholics who’ve become less common in countries like France and even Ireland.

    (I also find it interesting that Northern Ireland is more religiously conservative than the rest of the UK or Ireland. As an example, same-sex marriage is legal in the rest of the UK and Ireland, but not Northern Ireland.)

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