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My Response to an Old Friend of My Wife’s on My YouTube Channel

Recently, Bev Babcock Gunter, an ex-friend of my wife, Polly, left a comment on my YouTube channel. Bev and Polly became friends back in the 1960s when they attended Kawkalin River Baptist Church in Bay City, Michigan, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church pastored by Bev’s father, Bob Babcock. (The church later changed its name to Emmanuel Baptist Church. It is now defunct.) Over the years, Bev, a graduate of Tennessee Temple, and Polly stayed in contact, trading letters, emails, and phone calls. Bev was one of Polly’s bride’s maids. Their relationship waned over the years. After we deconverted, Polly received a Facebook message from Bev that basically said, “tell me it isn’t true!” Polly did not respond, as is her custom. We hadn’t heard anything from Bev for several years until her comment on my YouTube channel over the weekend.

Bev commented on the video of my speech I have to the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie.

Video Link

What follows is Bev’s comment and my brief response:

bev gunter youtube (2)
bev gunter youtube (1)

I suspect Bev thinks I have led Polly astray. Given no credit for thinking for herself, Polly often finds that others suspect that it is big, bad Bruce who led her to walk away from Jesus. They couldn’t be more wrong.

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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    Polly’s “friend” couldn’t be bothered to be empathetic. Instead, her Christian POV makes her bend everything she hears so she can fit it inside her theology.

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    The most frightening thing for someone in a cult, must be when someone else leaves the cult. I actually feel sympathy for Bev, her world is limited by her experience and as such is incapable of understanding why her friend who shared a viewpoint could turn her back on sincere and revered beliefs. There is also the peep of doubt every believer must feel when confronted by someone who not only doesn’t believe, but once did.

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    It always comes down to fear and threats of hell, doesn’t it? I have more respect for Christians who are followers of Jesus who DON’T believe in hell/afterlife punishment. Why? Because they’re followers not because they want Eternal Fire Insurance but because they want to be good to others.

    Polly is an adult who makes her own decisions. It’s offensive for people to suggest otherwise.

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      To the best of my knowledge, quite a large number of Christians believe in some eternally bad place (the exceptions to this, IIRC, being the universal reconciliationists), but disagree on the specifics of said bad place. Some say it is the outer dark where the lost would gnash their teeth and cry, some say that bad place would be like the valley of burning trash in 1st-century Palestine, and so on.
      Hell might also be a mental coping mechanism of believers who see unbelievers receive no consequences in this life. It is rather vexing even for unbelievers to see those Karma Houdinis of criminals walk away scot-free, imagine what the world looks like for believers who see sin in everything from burkas to bikinis yet no divine lightning or brimstone ending it all.

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      No Amimental, I disagree…we need to respect the Christian demand for god based truth and not be reductive. 😁😁🙄

      The Bible is the inspired word of god given to men, who eventually wrote it down as best as they could recall, then modified and edited it to support their particular requirements.

      However, you may want to disregard my thoughts since, in keeping with the Christian need for god based truth, I do not exist. 🌈🌈

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    MJ Lisbeth

    At least since Adam and Eve, religious leaders have blamed women for leading men astray.

    Now Bev is accusing Bruce, the former preacher man of leading poor Polly into perdition.

    You don’t have to be a transgender woman to appreciate the irony. But I must say that being one makes it a bit richer for me!

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      MJ, as a thought experiment, if Polly had married one of the other fine bachelor preachers-in-training at Midwestern Baptist College would she have the same beliefs as she does now? Probably not…but couples either grow apart or grow together. I know my journey would be different if I hadn’t met a friend in high school from an atheist family. Is it proper to “blame” a catalyst for change? Of course blame has a negative connotation (maybe credit instead?), when in fact I find leaving fundamentalist Christianity a net positive.

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    Evening Bruce – at least it is here.

    First, thank you for the Bible verse you mentioned to your wife’s friend ; it’s come in handy already. I used it in a response to someone.

    Second, I hope you’re feeling as well as you can feel soon.

    Third, Would you please discuss, or please point me to where you discuss, how you dealt/deal with your emotions and conflicts as you were deconverting? My life has been much tamer than yours, yet it’s revolved in a HUGE part around church and faith and belief, and so on.

    I’ve been questioning for awhile, but 2019 was an especially bad year, including three huge shakeups in my life, greatly impacting my Christian relationships. It’s all a really long story, one I’m not comfortable sharing with strangers.

    I feel sometimes like I’m walking a tightrope, trying to balance or wondering if I should do something now to prepare for the future. For example, I am expected to take over my Mom’s special needs adults class when she passes – not for years yet, hopefully. I love the members, we’re all family – but it will be my chance to cut ties with the church and run.

    So much of life now is like this. I don’t have clarity or guidance; and everyone I know wants me to remain as I am. I’ve been a Christian for 45 years +, and taught in one capacity or another for most of that, up until 2019, one of the blindsiding betrayals I went through. I have felt pulls elsewhere as I was growing up, but squashed them, and sometimes I wonder …

    I just don’t know how to handle things sometimes. I’ve been in limbo for quite awhile, spiritually and otherwise, and it doesn’t feel good or right to feel this way this much anymore.

    Thanks – sorry for babbling.


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    I want to note something that didn’t really register the first time I listened to Bruce talking: you sound so young! If I hadn’t read your other posts, I probably would believe you are at most in your early forties judging by voice alone.

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Bruce Gerencser