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Short Stories: The Day I Stuffed an Atheist in a Trash Can

devil in trash can

I attended Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan in the 1970s. Midwestern was an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) institution noted for its training of preachers. Midwestern was an unaccredited college. As a result, no student loans were available, and students had to work secular jobs to pay for room and board and tuition. During my sophomore year and part of my junior year, I worked full-time for a large grocery company called Felice’s Market. The Felice brothers were great people to work for. They gave Polly and me $200 as a wedding gift, and when I needed to buy a car one of the Felice brothers loaned me the money. I have worked for over fifty companies/businesses in my lifetime. I consider Felice’s Market one of the best places I’ve ever worked.

I worked in the dairy department. Prior to enrolling at Midwestern, I was the dairy manager at Foodland in Bryan, Ohio. It made sense, then, for me to continue in this line of work. I also worked in the meat department at Kroger’s in Rochester Hills and stocked shelves for La Rosa’s Market in Orchard Lake. Next to managing restaurants, working in grocery stores was my favorite job.

As was common among Midwestern preacher boys, I was quite outspoken about my faith. When given an opportunity to do so, I would share the gospel with my fellow employees. I also made sure I read my Bible during breaks and prayed over my lunch. Having a good testimony before the world was very important. I wanted everyone I worked with to be saved. I am sure more than a few of them wanted to be saved too — from me!

One particular evangelistic target was an atheistic high school boy who worked part-time in the frozen food department. This boy was a science geek, knowing far more than I did about biology, geology, and cosmology. I took two science classes in high school — biology and earth science — and one class in college — biology. I was, to put it mildly, quite ignorant about science. As a high school student, I would take tests in biology class, giving the required answers, but then I would add Bible verses and comments meant to show the teacher that what he was teaching was wrong. I was quite proud of myself — taking a stand for God and his inspired, inerrant Word. My college biology class was a joke. Midwestern didn’t have a lab, so class time was devoted to lectures on creationism and why people should only marry their “kind.”

This high school boy and I would go around and around about how the universe came into existence. He would pepper me with science questions I couldn’t answer, and I would trump his questions — or so I thought — with Bible verses. One day, we got into a heated discussion about creationism. The boy, seizing on the weaknesses of my Biblical answers, asked me, if everything has a creator, who created God? We went back and forth for a few more minutes, me quoting the Bible and the boy repeatedly asking, who created God?  I reached a point where I had enough of his impertinent dissing of God. I told him he was ignorant, and he replied, who created God? Suddenly, I grabbed a hold of the boy and stuffed him — butt first — in a nearby trash can. I then walked away, quite proud of myself, thinking I sure showed that atheist!

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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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9 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Geoff

    The question ‘who created God?’, or even just ‘where did God come from?’, is dismissed by serious (purportedly) theologians and apologists as naïve. They metaphorically huddle together, chortling to themselves in the corner at the inane foolishness of such a question. Edward Feser is one such. Yet when you analyse their responses, such as they ever do reply, there is never, ever, an answer that survives the slightest scrutiny. They know they have a problem, which is one reason they feign arrogance, and invent little, meaningless, catchphrases like ‘God exists outside of time’, whatever that means, and about which they have not the least clue. It’s rather like listening to a debate between astrologers as to which star sign gives the best protection against disease, or alchemists arguing the most efficient way of converting lead to gold.

  2. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    That poor atheist, he probably never thought he would be stuffed into a trash can for defending his beliefs!

    Vocal witnessing adherents of any religion are so annoying. Actually, it this type of behavior occurs not just in religion, but in beliefs about food, health, politics, products, etc…… But with religion, at least in evangelical Christianity, I felt like the push to “witness” was driven more by fear than anything else – fear of going to hell, fear of not reaching enough people who go to hell, being judged by God one day for not reaching enough people who went to hell…… In church we were instructed to keep witnessing to the same person because you didn’t know if you were reaching them at the right moment – maybe you would catch them on a specific day where they were really open and would convert.

    As for the “who created God” question – that was one of the questions I would get in trouble for in church as a child. Other questions included, how did Jonah breathe while he was in the belly of the whale? How did Noah fit enough food onto the ark in the version of the story in which they were on the ark for so long? And what did they do with all the excrement while the storm was going on? And how did plants grow fast enough for the bird to find an actual leaf/branch?

    I used to get in trouble in Sunday school a lot. Too bad I was sent to a fundamentalist evangelical Christian school where I was so indoctrinated that I stopped asking the questions and just bided my time until I could leave……

    • Avatar
      kittybrat

      Exactly!
      We were taught that other’s souls were in our very hands! If they did not convert and we did not tell them about it when they might have been receptive, their blood would be dripping from our hands as they were rejected by God and dragged into hell.
      As for the questions, get told enough that God is beyond space and time, so our questions are simply mortal inability to understand. Good grief!

      • Avatar
        ObstacleChick

        Yeah, right? Being responsible for the immortal souls of all the people in the world, on every continent, was a hugely terrifying concept.

        True, our mortal minds aren’t able to understand all the inconsistencies in scriptures, so it’s a mystery of God!

  3. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Bruce, you really showed him the wrath of God! LOL.

    As to the question of where God came from…Well, I guess if you can believe that his only begooten son was born of a virgin, it’s not too much of a stretch to believe that God wasn’t born or created of anything.

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Bruce Gerencser