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Evolution Played No Part in My Loss of Faith, Despite What Evangelicals Say

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An Evangelical man name David sent me a message today via my Facebook Page. Here’s what he had to say (all spelling and grammar in the original):

That’s interesting. I know in my mind I wondered about my faith for a long time. I’ve seen some miraculous stuff in my lifetime as I’m sure you have too. I saw the shekinah glory move through the church isles when I was about 22 which was 32 years ago and walked away from God for along time but I always felt God tugging on me trying to bring me back. Have you every studied the evidence on both sides of evolution vs creation? There’s a lot of scientific evidence for creation and a lot of scientists who believe that God created it all and that’s how I believe also after looking at all the evidence. I’m not one of those who would say well you just really was never saved because I believe you are. The one thing that stood out to me in your conversation between the two of you that have renounced Christianity was that there’s been a lot of people that are calling themselves Christians did not do the Christian thing to either one of y’all and I get the impression that y’all are both bitter with God because of it. I hope you realize that and don’t take what broken people do and turn it on God. My hope is that one day you’ll come back to God and I will definitely pray that you do. Sorry that wife never got to experience some of the stuff you did as I’m sure sooner or later she would have. I had always had a little bit of faith even when I was running from God and it all started with offense from other people but now my faith is strong and I have no doubt God put us here and the Bible is his word due to the the underlying mathematics in the Greek and Hebrew text and just from studying the Bible in general. Bruce I will be praying for you brother as I believe you still are a Christian. You got a wonderful looking family and good luck to you sir.

I want to give David the benefit of the doubt, but I find emails, comments, and messages such as his increasingly irritating, frustrating, and condescending. While David says I have a “wonderful looking family” and wishes me luck, his email also ignores what I have publicly said and written about my journey from Evangelicalism to atheism, and essentially calls me a liar (a point which I shall press in a moment).

David, as many Evangelicals do, conflates atheism with acceptance of evolution as the best explanation of the natural world. Atheism is one thing, and one thing alone: the lack of belief in the existence of gods. I wish Evangelicals would write this down on a post-it note and attach it to their computer screens; a reminder of what atheism actually is. Atheists have all sorts of beliefs — crazy beliefs, promoters of woo. Jesus, some atheists even voted for Donald Trump. Sure, atheists generally accept what science says about our biological world and the universe, but that does not mean such beliefs require atheism. Scores of Christians believe in theistic evolution or are old earth creationists. Are these followers of Jesus actually atheists too?

I am not a scientist and neither is David. Neither of us is qualified to speak authoritatively on evolution. As a former Evangelical pastor for twenty-five years, I understand creationism inside and inside. I don’t need a science education to understand creationism. Why? Creationism (and its gussied-up step-sister intelligent design) is a theological claim, not a scientific claim. Science, in fact, has repeatedly repudiated creationist claims. Sure a handful of scientists, operating from the presuppositions that the Christian God exists and the Bible is true, are creationists, but the vast majority of scientists believe evolution best explains our natural world, and that cosmology and other sciences best explain the universe.

Let me say this one more time, evolution played no part in my deconversion from Christianity. None, nada, zip. I read my first book on evolution in 2012 — Why Evolution is True by Dr. Jerry Coyne — four years after I deconverted. I have read several books about evolution since then and continue to watch YouTube videos about evolution. I have found Forrest Valkai’s video series on evolution to be quite helpful. Here’s episode one:

Video Link

I generally accept scientific consensus. Since I am not a trained scientist, I am in no position to judge the work of people who have dedicated their lives to understanding our biological world. I try to educate myself and be informed as possible, but I will always be a novice. Thus, as I do with many things, I trust experts. Want to talk theology, Evangelicalism, or sex, I’m your man. Okay, maybe not that last one. No one knows everything. My late brother-in-law was a cardiologist, yet he couldn’t fix his computer or palm pilot if his life depended on it. That was my job. He trusted my expertise about computers and I trusted his expertise about medicine. That’s the way the world works. Sadly, within Evangelicalism, there are countless people who think if they read books published by Answers in Genesis and other creationist parachurch ministries, they are somehow experts on evolution. They are not, but don’t bother trying to tell them that.

Typically, when I interact with creationists, I try to get them to discuss the foundation of their creationist beliefs — the Bible. Not science, the Bible. If I can disabuse them of the notion that the Bible is in any way inerrant and infallible, then perhaps they will see that believing God created the universe in six literal twenty-four hours days, 6,026 years ago is rationally and intellectually unsustainable.

Let me conclude by answering David’s statements about my life and that of my wife, Polly. David believes that Polly and I are still Christians; that we are just bitter over harm caused to us by other Christians. David supposedly watched my video interview with the Harmonic Atheist.

Video Link

Did he hear me say that I am bitter about what Christians did to me? Of course not. This is a straw man that David has built of me (and Polly) in his mind. There’s nothing in my story that suggests I was bitter towards God or Christians. I am not, by nature, a bitter person, so any claim that I am is false. If anything would make me bitter, it would be constant attacks on my character by God’s chosen ones.

David says he is a Christian. I believe him. I accept his story (testimony) at face value. Who am I to say that he is not, right? Why can’t David extend the same respect to me? Rarely does a day go by without an Evangelical Christian telling me what I really believe, what’s wrong with me, why I am not a Christian, etc. They daily dig through my story, looking for things that don’t fit their peculiar worldview. Others psychoanalyze me. Some attack, harass, call names, and threaten me with judgment, Hell, and death.

The Bible says you will know a tree by the fruit it produces. From my corner in the orchard, Evangelicalism is a poisonous tree that produces poisonous fruit. Even if I were inclined to return to Christianity, it sure as Hell wouldn’t be Evangelicalism. Of course, that ain’t going to happen. I have weighed Christianity in the balance and found it wanting. Unless new evidence is presented to me, I see no reason to reconsider my decision to divorce Jesus.

This brings me to my last objection to David’s message: the idea that I am still a Christian. This is, by far, the silliest thing Evangelicals say to me. What, in my life, remotely suggests that I am a Christian? Nothing. The God of the Bible is a myth. The Jesus of the Bible is forever dead, and did not perform the miracles recorded in the Bible. The Bible is an errant, fallible manmade book. I reject EVERY central claim of Christianity including the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth of Christ, and the resurrection of Christ. Can I fully, and without reservation, reject these claims and others? In what universe am I still a Christian?

No, the problem here is that David can’t square my story with his peculiar theology, so he claims I am still a Christian. Once saved, always saved, right? If David wants me to accept his claim that he is a Christian, then he must mine. That’s respect. I AM AN ATHEIST. Proudly so. I am, according to the Bible, an apostate and a reprobate.

I am not David’s brother. I am a stranger on the Internet. As is common among Evangelicals, they cheapen words such as love and brother. Becoming my brother is reserved for my three biological brothers — two of whom I became aware of two years ago — and men who are close, intimate friends. And trust me, I have very few male friends. I am not promiscuous with my love and friendship as Evangelicals are.

Well, enough. I am sure David got more than he bargained for. I suspect all I did with this post is prove to him I am bitter. 🙂

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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  1. Avatar

    To make a comment that includes the phrase ‘the evidence on both sides in the creation vs evolution debate’ immediately reveals that the commenter really doesn’t understand the word ‘evidence’. Only a creationist could ever utter this phrase and that means that the evidence for evolution has not actually been considered.

    The point about evolution isn’t that it’s factually true (to all intents and purposes it is), it’s that it is the only comprehensive explanation of life on earth as we observe it. Creationism may have worked long ago, before we developed an understanding of science and empiricism, but it cannot withstand the evidential scrutiny in the way that evolution does. Creation ‘science’ (I had to wince as I wrote that phrase) is entirely negative, the opposite of how science actually works. It depends entirely on asking how such and such can be accounted for by evolution, with a knowing look, assuming a gotcha, then refusing to listen to the reply. This is the basis of the Behe version of Intelligent Design, irreducible complexity, whereby there comes a point below which a particular function couldn’t have existed so as to evolve (the old favourite, the eye, is strongly invoked). Evolutionary scientists pointed out immediately that this was fallacious reasoning, as organs can change their purpose, and many debunking papers have been produced, all ignored by creationists. Debate? There needs to be two sides to a debate.

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      There are so many creation or origin stories across many cultures. It is interesting how so many people across the globe who follow Christianity have appropriated an origin myth from a small middle eastern area. Humans are storytellers – we evolved to create and use stories to teach lessons. Most people understand that the Star Wars stories, Harry Potter stories, or any other fictional books, movies, or plays are just that – fiction to convey lessons.

      One of my great-grandmothers wasn’t very educated – I think she could read but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. We never could get her to understand that the shows she saw on TV were scripted and acted by professionals. Someone like her I could understand believing that myths were literally historically true. But thousands of people who grew up in the US and attending public school believing that myths are historically factual? It’s baffling. Yet if you showed them someone else’s mythology, they’d know right away it’s just mythology.

      To be fair, understanding evolution is difficult. I am not capable of grasping the magnitude of millions or billions of years. But evidence points to evolution.

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    Barbara L. Jackson

    Both Geoftt and Obstaclechick sre correct. The problem with evangelicals is they want to push their myth on everyone else including scientists.

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    ... Zoe ~

    David: ” I’m not one of those who would say well you just really was never saved because I believe you are.”

    Zoe: I recall these sentiments when I first revealed that I no longer believed.

    At the core, I think these comments are about soothing their own “souls” so to speak. It is a heavy burden lugged around every moment of every day and night, to see people leave the faith or “their” faith. To wrap their heads and hearts around yet another soul headed to hell. It’s too much.

    The brain lays hold of the “once saved always saved” rhetoric, in essence, to save their own souls. Evangelists spend a lifetime claiming to save others but I think really, though unaware, they just keep trying to save themselves. Blessed assurance.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    Bruce, I am writing to say that evolution indeed played a part in your deconversion: You evolved away from your old beliefs!

    I couldn’t resist that one. That said, I think one of history’s great ironies is that Charles Darwin had trained to become an Anglican priest. Now, some Evangelicals and other Christians might say that Anglicans aren’t Christians. But as far as anyone knows, he never completely disowned his belief in a deity but stressed that what he said about the origins of the species did not include the work of an omnipotent being. I would infer that he would have come to a conclusion I’ve come to: You can’t answer a science question with faith any more than you can answer a question of belief with science.

    About atheists: It’s true that some–though, in my experience, relatively few– espouse ideas that are every bit as loopy as those embraced by the most fervent Evangelical Christians or ultra-orthodox members of other religions. (Ayn Rand was an atheist!) But there are belief systems that include the supernatural but some would consider atheistic. One example is Buddhism: Its followers don’t believe in a supreme being or in any galaxy of deities, or in a “creator” or “eternal” being, but they do believe in beings who exist beyond the human realm and can help or hinder humans on their path to enlightenment, which, rather than an eternal reward or punishment, is the point of living. (I actually did consider following Buddhism as I was leaving Christianity.)

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    Ditto on the comments about evolution…but this:

    “ I have no doubt God put us here and the Bible is his word due to the the underlying mathematics in the Greek and Hebrew text and just from studying the Bible in general.”

    As a Math teacher, I would love to hear the explanation for this…(never mind, no I wouldn’t)

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        I believe that equation involves, some mice, a dolphin, a few million years, some truly deep thought, and a journey to the restaurant at the end of the universe. But yes Sage, you are correct about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. More importantly do you know the question?

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    True science doesn’t start with a conclusion. Biblical literalists start with the presupposition of: the Bible is true. Then they take all “evidence” and bend it to make that conclusion. That’s not science of any kind. Scientists start with hypotheses and then test to see if they bear fruit.

    45 years ago, I took some psychology classes. And one thing I learned was that scientific studies can be unconsciously influenced by the scientist(s) running said studies. Which is why we shouldn’t take even one double-blind study as gospel (heheh), but rely on many studies. Any time you read a news article that says “study suggests such and so,” then you aren’t actually reading the conclusion of said story. Science experiments are not about “trends,” but cold hard facts.

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Bruce Gerencser