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Bruce, You Are a Fool, Says a Fundamentalist Christian Woman

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Today, a Fundamentalist Christian woman named Brenda Moorfield left the following comment on the post titled How Dare I Badmouth IFB Evangelist CT Townsend! Says Fundamentalist Christian. My response is indented and italicized.

Both Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1 read, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

Brenda, what’s your objective? Surely you know that the Bible carries no weight with me; that I grant it no authority in my life. I am more than happy to discuss the nature and history of the Bible with you. I think you will find that I am quite conversant in all things Bible.

So, to the Bible, as interpreted by you, saying “Bruce Gerencser is a fool,” I say, so what? Just because the Bible says something doesn’t mean it’s true. The Bible is not evidence; it is a collection of books written by primarily unknown authors that make all sorts of claims. It is up to you, Brenda, to provide evidence for these claims.

You will find that presuppositionalist arguments carry no weight with me or most of the readers of this blog — many of whom are Christians. You presuppose that your peculiar version of the Christian God is the one, true God who created the universe; that nature, conscience, and divine revelation (the Bible) reveals to everyone, without exception, this God; that all humans intuitively know this God exists; that anyone who denies these “truths” is deliberately suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. You also believe that the Bible, as divine revelation from your God, is inerrant and infallible.

I reject these presuppositions out of hand. Let me be blunt, just because you say something doesn’t make it so. As a rationalist and skeptic, I expect actual evidence for your claims; not proof texts or regurgitated Fundamentalist talking points.

Some take these verses to mean that atheists are stupid, i.e., lacking intelligence. However, that is not the only meaning of the Hebrew word translated “fool.” In this text, the Hebrew word is nabal, which often refers to an impious person who has no perception of ethical or religious truth. The meaning of the text is not “unintelligent people do not believe in God.” Rather, the meaning of the text is “sinful people do not believe in God.”

Awesome, you know how to use Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. I find it interesting that you chose the third possible meaning of the word to make your point. The first meaning says that atheists are “stupid.” This claim — and it is a claim — is not factually supported. In general, atheists are more educated than Evangelical Christians. The more education one has, the less likely they are to believe in God; especially the Evangelical God. You commented on a post about Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) evangelist C.T. Townsend. If you are IFB or familiar with the movement, then you know IFB adherents are not known for being overly educated. The more Fundamentalist one is, the less likely they are to have a post-high school education. I don’t say this to say that Fundamentalists are “stupid.” I am saying that any suggestion that atheists, as a class of people, are stupid is a foolish and unwise claim. Are there stupid atheists? Absolutely. That said, most of the atheists I know are educated and well-read. Their atheism is rooted in knowledge and facts and a rationalist, humanistic understanding of religion and the world. That’s why we expect Evangelical zealots to interact with us on a rational, evidentiary basis. If you can do that, Brenda, I am more than happy to discuss with you anything you want. However, if you are here to quote Bible verses and preach, then I am not interested in hearing what you have to say. Yeah, I know, I have a hardened heart; I’m an apostate; I’m a reprobate.

In other words, it is a wicked thing to deny God, and a denial of God is often accompanied by a wicked lifestyle. The verse goes on to list some other characteristics of the irreligious: “They are corrupt; their deeds are vile; / there is no one who does good.” Psalm 14 is a study on the universal depravity of mankind.

Many atheists are very intelligent. It is not intelligence, or a lack thereof, that leads a person to reject belief in God. It is a lack of righteousness that leads a person to reject belief in God. Many people do not object to the idea of a Creator, as long as that Creator minds His own business and leaves them alone. What people reject is the idea of a Creator who demands morality from His creation. Rather than struggle against a guilty conscience, some people reject the idea of God altogether. Psalm 14:1 calls this type of person a “fool.”

Psalm 14:1 says that denying God’s existence is commonly based on a desire to lead a wicked life. Several prominent atheists have admitted the truth of this. Some, such as author Aldous Huxley, have openly admitted that a desire to avoid moral restraints was a motivation for their disbelief:

(Huxley quote deleted. It is irrelevant and an attempt to poison the well. I could just as easily say that Jeffrey Dahmer, Donald Trump, and David Hyles are Christians.)

Let’s see if I understand what you are saying here: atheists are corrupt, atheists are vile; atheists desire to lead a wicked life. Do you have any evidence for these claims? How many atheists do you know? How many of them have you actually talked to about their worldviews and how they live their day-to-day lives?

What you are saying to me directly is that the reasons I left Christianity and embraced atheism are because I am vile, corrupt, and have the desire to live a wicked life. (You could have quoted the “sins” in Romans 1 as well.) Evangelicals routinely accuse me of being a closeted homosexual. Their evidence? I have LGBTQ friends and I wear rainbow-colored suspenders.) Ask yourself this, Brenda. Did I immediately stop being a moral, ethical man the moment I said I was no longer a Christian? Did I stop being a loving, thoughtful husband, father, grandfather, neighbor, and friend? Did I have secret sins in my life, and becoming an atheist gave me to the freedom to lie, steal, cheat, and fuck whomever I want? Do you realize how silly this sounds?

Here’s what I know. Christianity has no corner on the morality market. You seem to forget that I was a pastor for twenty-five years. I counseled scores of church members and heard the deep, dark secrets of colleagues in the ministry. I can tell you this: Jesus is not vaccine against immoral and unethical behavior. Bible-believing Christians, who are filled with the Holy Ghost, can and do commit crimes and cause harm to others. I pastored people who committed all sorts of heinous crimes, everything from murder to sexual abuse to adultery to domestic violence, and numerous other crimes and lesser “sinful behaviors,” while not criminal, caused untold harm to their spouses and children. As far as preachers are concerned, please peruse the Black Collar Crime Series. You will find almost 1,000 stories about criminal misconduct by pastors, evangelists, missionaries, youth pastors, worship leaders, and other church leaders — mainly sex crimes. So any claim that Christians are moral or that Christianity provides morality that atheists don’t have is laughable and not supported by facts.

Further, I have been blogging since 2007. Thousands of Evangelicals have commented on my posts, sent me emails, or sent me messages on social media. By and large, their interactions with me have been caustic and argumentative. Many of these so-called followers of the Prince of Peace were hateful, vile, and nasty, threatening me with judgment, Hell, and death. Several have threatened to murder me; another threatened to assault my daughter with Down Syndrome. Others have visited other blogs and tried to attack my character. A new tactic is to seek out my family and acquaintances and try to evangelize them or play mind games. So, don’t tell me about the supposed moral superiority of Christianity. Thousands of former Evangelicals read my writing. Many of them will tell you, myself included, that we have met and know many fine people whom are Evangelical Christians. They will also tell you that Evangelicalism — especially the IFB church movement — is a poisonous tree that produces poisonous fruit. How about actually interacting with and learning from Evangelicals-turned-atheists/agnostics instead of pompously and arrogantly preaching AT them? Do better, Brenda, do better.

Belief in a divine Being is accompanied by a sense of accountability to that Being. So, to escape the condemnation of conscience, which itself was created by God, some simply deny the existence of God. They tell themselves, “There is no overseer of the world. There is no Judgment Day. I can live as I please.” The moral pull of the conscience is thus more easily ignored.

Belief in God has never stopped anyone from doing what they want to do. People do what they do — good, bad, and indifferent. All of us are as moral and ethical as we choose to be. I have murdered and raped as many people as I want. I have robbed as many banks as I want. I have sexually assaulted as many people as I want. I don’t want to, so I don’t — no God needed. If the only reason, Brenda, you are not a murderer, rapist, child molester, or thief is that you believe in God, then by all means keep believing in God. However, I suspect you know as I do that if you became an atheist today that you would be as moral and ethical today as you were when you were a Christian. People don’t suddenly become serial killers the moment they stop believing in God.

As far as accountability is concerned, I am accountable to my spouse, children, and close friends. I don’t need a magical being to keep me moral. I love my wife. I love my family. I love my friends and neighbors. And because I do, I want to be a good man; a loving man; a kind man. I am sure I frequently fail. but the bent of my life is toward love for those that matter to me.

Trying to convince oneself there is no God is unwise. The point of “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” is that it is an impious, sinful heart that will deny God. The atheist’s denial flies in the face of much evidence to the contrary, including his own conscience and the universe he lives in.

Most atheists don’t convince themselves against extant evidence that there is no God. Have you actually had a serious, lengthy discussion with an Evangelical-turned-atheist; a discussion where they explained to you their reasons for deconverting? I doubt it. Your comment reveals a total lack of understanding about what it is atheists actually believe and why they left Christianity.

What evidence can you provide, Brenda, for the existence of your peculiar version of the Christian God? Not A GOD, not a generic God, THE GOD, the one, true, everlasting God you worship. Since God commands you to give an answer to the hope that lies within you, please provide evidence — outside of Bible prooftexts and generic appeals to the natural world (creation) and morality (conscience), both of which can be adequately explained by science — for the existence of your particular deity.

A lack of evidence of God’s existence is not the true reason atheists reject a belief in God. Their rejection is due to a desire to live free of the moral constraints God requires and to escape the guilt that accompanies the violation of those constraints.

Sigh. (Please see Why I Use the Word “Sigh.”) You are just preaching now. I suspect that was your goal. You really don’t have any interest in reaching me with the gospel. You are more concerned with being right; more concerned with putting an atheist in his place with God’s inerrant, infallible Word; more concerned about telling fellow Fundamentalists that you sure told that critic of C.T. Townsend. There’s no compassion, concern, love, or understanding in your comment from someone who invested little to no time in understanding my story or interacting me as an equal.

I deleted your lengthy quote of Romans 1:18-25. Did you think I have never read this passage of Scripture, or that countless zealots before you haven’t quoted these verses to me? As a pastor, I preached from this text numerous times. I know what it says inside and out. I spent over 20,000 hours reading and studying the Bible during the twenty-five years I spent in the ministry. If you comment further, please refrain from prooftexts. If you have not done so, please read the comment policy — which you violated numerous times. The only reason I approved your comment is that I thought my response to you would be helpful to both Christians and unbelievers alike.

You ending your comment with Romans 1:18-25 is you saying that what you said in your comment is God speaking, not you; that if I have a problem with what you said, I have a problem with God. No, Brenda, I have a problem with you. My goal in this post is to both chastise and correct you. You could have had a thoughtful discussion with me. Instead, you wasted it.

Be well.

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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    Most of the time, when someone dumps a gigantic pile of shit like Brenda did here, I just hold my nose and laugh at them. But you know, I raised two kids outside of religion. I don’t know anyone, regardless of religious belief, who is more moral, has a kinder heart or more integrity than my now-adult kids.

    The idea that the only thing making people be ‘moral’ is fear of some god or another is one of the dumbest fucking things I can imagine. And Brenda is a sanctimonious, stuffy, self-righteous asshole.

    Brenda, if you’re reading this, your belief in a deity has turned you into a nasty piece of work.
    What a crappy human you are.

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    sigh Another self-righteous busybody playing Tone Police for her do-nothing deity. Must be a day that ends in “Y.”

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    Yulya Sevelova

    Evolution never was a threat to my faith. I wasn’t affected by it. The only threat to my faith can be described as ” Americanism.”. It’s infected the Christian community for a very long time. Causing incredible damage. It makes most churches unsafe places. Fascism is quite compatible with Americanism, it turns out. The best thing one can do for their faith is to flee those places.

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    Jesus Christ, what is the deal with the pompous, sanctimonious, judgmental, know-it-alls blabbering everywhere lately.

    Brenda, you could have just said “ The point of ‘The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” is that it is an impious, sinful heart that will deny God.” And just stopped there. Seriously, repeating the same thing 85 times is pointless.

    Amazing how Christians can take a small verse and turn it into a never ending, repetitive, meaningless void of non.communication, then stand there all proud as if they did something.

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    Brian Vanderlip

    Is it remotely possible that a first fool might suggest somebody else is a fool because the original fool is fooled into tomfoolery?
    When I sit and read a verse such as the one Brenda wields, I am not impressed by the statement because it is not given further context to pursue understanding. It is merely used to ‘gang up’ on a different perspective. It imposes ‘sin’ as the source of the statement in the heart rather than some other experience of human life. It reduces humankind to evil intent, a very common sick attitude within Christianity, especially in this neck of the woods.
    It is very much like looking at Bruce and not liking what you see, saying “I don’t like looking at you, so you are an evil fool and look at that cane: Very likely that cane you carry is really a weapon. Furthermore, I suspect you have thought something that this book says is wrong…. so there! By the way, I love you and so does Jesus.”

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    ... Zoe ~

    Brenda: “Their rejection is due to a desire to live free of the moral constraints God requires and to escape the guilt that accompanies the violation of those constraints.”

    Zoe: Perhaps comments like this are more about gaining one’s own relief from the weight of their own constraints regarding their belief system.

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    Once she waded into the pool using words like “sin”, “righteous”, “vile” she waded into certain loaded language whose meanings are contingent on a tribal/specific religious point of view. “Sin” is meaningless to anyone outside specific religious sects – what is sin to an evangelical Christian is different from what is sin to a Sunni Muslim. And many sects of Islam or Judaism would consider eating pork as”sin” where most sects of Christian would not. Whose rules are we playing by? If I am playing baseball, I will not be following basketball rules – both sports have fouls which mean very different things.

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    “Psalm 14:1 says that denying God’s existence is commonly based on a desire to lead a wicked life. Several prominent atheists have admitted the truth of this.”

    What percentage of prominent atheists make up several? Do these individuals speak for all atheists? Several prominent evangelical Christians have advocated for women to be ordained as pastors. Does that mean all evangelical Christians are in agreement?

    Personally, since Christian love personal testimony, I became agnostic after finally giving up on trying to reconcile the Bible with history, science, and observation and admitting that God did respond to my prayers or be personal in any way that could not be explained by coincidence and my own inner thought processes. It was only afterwards that I stopped being hung up on certain harmless behaviors that I long condemned as sin, not before. I still operate with a moral code, but now it’s much simpler. If an action, behavior or attitude harms someone else, it is immoral (acknowledging that there exists the odd not-so-black-and-white scenario that demands finer judgement).

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      ..and obviously my 5th sentence was supposed to read “..admitting that God did not respond to my prayer….”

      Way to undermine your own testimony JW.

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    Well, I’m imperfect, but I’m leading a kinder life than when I was a conservative Christian. And Christians who cry about how non-Christians want to do evil, like rape, steal or the like: keep them away from me. They are projecting their own desires to do wrong.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    “Trying to convince oneself there is no God is unwise.”

    Which is why, to my knowledge, no one has tried to do it. Every atheist and agnostic I know–myself included–actually tried to convince ourselves of the existence of whatever we believed (God, Allah, Yahweh or any other), if for no other reason to hold on to something that had been part of our lives. And the reason why we stopped believing, or say “I’m not sure,” is that the evidence, or lack thereof, led us to such a conclusion.

    Trying to convince one’s self there is no God is indeed unwise because it’s a waste of time and effort: One doesn’t need to convince one’s self; one needs only evidence and critical thinking skills.

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      Well put, MJ!

      Many of us tried very hard to hang on to our beliefs. I dare say harder than many of the so-called “heros of the faith’ recorded in scripture. According to the Bible – which is wielded so enthusiastically by these evangelicals – when Abraham, Jacob, multiple prophets, priests, Jesus’ apostles, etc, doubted or struggled with their faith, God provided them with proof. They were given physical proof or unambiguous communication from God himself. It seems that God (or these evangelicals who advocate for him) demands more faith from all humans post-first century than was required of the people who got to have one-on-one interaction with God/Jesus himself.

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      MJ, exactly! The beginning of the end for me was a time where I was going back through the Bible, cover to cover, studying the history of the Bible and the church, all in an attempt to strengthen my faith and answer the nagging questions that kept me up at night. It turned out to have the opposite effect. I basically fall into the, “the Bible made me an atheist”, category.

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    When I read comments like Brenda’s, I often think that the “cure” if you will, to evangelicalism is education and exposure. Like Bruce said, often the more educated someone is, the less likely they are to believe in God. When I was in Bible college, and for several years after, I didn’t have any atheist friends that I can remember. I had never read any books by atheist authors and I had never seen any videos of discussions or debates. I only had what I was told in school, and the Bible, about atheists. But once I started reading, watching videos, and meeting some atheists, my views began to slowly change. It’s often said that once you get to know an atheist (or LGBTQ+, or agnostic, or any other type of person the church disapproves of), it becomes harder to demonize them. It’s so true! Education and exposure are two things that helped me get to the point where I just couldn’t believe any more. Unfortunately, I think those things can only come to people who are open to them. I was to a point where I was looking for truth, no matter where it led me. I don’t know what causes or influences a person to get to that point, but I’m very glad it happened to me.

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    Ben Berwick

    [quote]A lack of evidence of God’s existence is not the true reason atheists reject a belief in God. Their rejection is due to a desire to live free of the moral constraints God requires and to escape the guilt that accompanies the violation of those constraints. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them . . . so that people are without excuse…Their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts…They exchanged the truth about God for a lie” (Romans 1:18–25).[/quote]

    The ‘morality’ on display in the Old Testament is of a being unrestrained by what we would consider moral today. Namely, this being orders wholesale destruction and murder, and performs a few acts of said destruction as well, in actions that would horrify any decent person today.

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      Exactly, Ben! Why should we seek to emulate a being as vile as the “kill everything and start over” OT god? Sorry blighter wouldn’t know morality if it bit ‘im in the ass.

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Bruce Gerencser