Over the weekend, I received several emails from an Evangelical women named Annelie. All spelling, grammar, and punctuation in the original.
Hello there.. I just read your story Blog. I have one question only… And it’s one word…. WHY. ?
Did you walk away from God. Help me understand you.
Thank you for your kindness.
It’s funny that you should use the word WHY. There is a whole series of posts under the word WHY on Bruce’s home page. Here’s the link: https://brucegerencser.net/why/. Read those posts, then come back and ask questions if you wish more information. The short of it is that Bruce is a voracious reader, and the more he read, the more he realized that the bible was neither inerrant nor infallible. Once he discovered this, he realized that fundamentalist Christianity no longer made sense.
Carolyn Patrick, editor for Bruce Gerencser
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. Your question is one that has been asked countless times. I actually have a page that lists articles I have written that hopefully answer the “Why?” question. I believe my editor sent you a link to this page: https://brucegerencser.net/why/
My short answer to the Why? question is this: I no longer believe the central claims of Christianity are true. Please read The Michael Mock Rule: It Just Doesn’t Make Sense.
If you have any further questions, please let me know, and I will do my best to answer them.
I think you answered your own question…..
When you said that you once believed that Christianity was true…
And I hate to tell you that it STILL is… whether you choose to believe it or not.
Eternity is a L-o-n-g Time without GOD.
My heart breaks for you.
Just to let you know that I will not give up on you !
I will not stop praying for YOU. !
A song that come to mind for you is…
“ Set my spirit free , that I may worship Thee,
Set my spirit free, that I may praise Thy Name,
Let all bondage go, and let deliverance flow,
Set my spirit free, to worship Thee.”
Some day when I get to heaven,
I want to see ….. BRUCE : the mighty man of God there,
Singing with all his might…
“ Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Greater than all my sin,
How can my tongue describe it ?
Where can my praise begin ?
Taking away my burden,
Setting my spirit free,
Oh the wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaches me. !!! “
It is evident from Annelie’s emails that she spent very little time reading my autobiographical material, especially the articles found on the WHY? page. I have come to expect such behavior from Evangelicals. Rare is the Evangelical who actually tries to understand my story before emailing me. (Please see Curiosity, A Missing Evangelical Trait.)
Further, Annelie disregarded what is stated on the CONTACT page:
If you are an Evangelical Christian, please read Dear Evangelical before sending me an email. If you have a pathological need to evangelize, spread the love of Jesus, or put a good word in for the man, the myth, the legend named Jesus, please don’t. The same goes for telling me your church/pastor/Jesus is awesome. I am also not interested in reading sermonettes, testimonials, Bible verses, or your deconstruction/psychological evaluation of my life. By all means, if you feel the need to set me straight, start your own blog.
If you email me anyway — and I know you will, since scores of Evangelicals have done just that, showing me no regard or respect — I reserve the right to make your message and name public. This blog is read by thousands of people every day, so keep that in mind when you email me whatever it is you think “God/Jesus/Holy Spirit” has laid upon your heart. Do you really want your ignorance put on display for thousands of people to see? Pause before hitting send. Ask yourself, “how will my email reflect on Jesus, Christianity, and my church?”
It seems to me that when you comment on a blog or email its owner, the very least you can do is respect their wishes. Sadly, Evangelicals are not a respectful lot. Putting a word in for Jesus, evangelizing the lost, or exposing heresy is more important to them than being decent, respectful human beings.
Annelie asked a question, one that was answered by both Carolyn and myself. Her response should have been, “Thank you. I will read the posts you mentioned, and if I have further questions I will let you know.” Instead, she went into preaching mode.
Annelie seems to think that assertions or claims are the same as “truth.” Saying Christianity is true whether I believe it or not is a claim, not a fact. I provided ample evidence for my claim that Christianity is not true, yet Annalie chose not to read those posts. Instead, as many Evangelicals do, Annalie stomped her feet and loudly proclaimed CHRISTIANITY IS TRUE! She provides no evidence for this claim. She expects me and other unbelievers to just believe her. Christianity, in her mind, is true, because she believes it is. End of discussion. Such thinking might work at countless Evangelical churches, but the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world such as myself require more than bald assertions and faith claims. If Annelie wants to discuss whether the central claims of Christianity are true — I’m game.
As Evangelicals often do, Annelie couldn’t help but threaten me with Hell. Oh, she didn’t come right out and use the word Hell, but it is implied when she said “Eternity is a L-o-n-g Time without GOD.” For Evangelicals, eternity is comprised of Heaven (the eternal kingdom of God) and Hell (Lake of Fire). Everyone goes to one of these places after they die. I have no doubt Annelie thinks I am headed for Hell.
What did Annelie hope to accomplish by emailing me? Surely she knows I was part of the Evangelical church for fifty years; that I have an Evangelical Bible college education; that I pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years; and that I have spent the past sixteen years writing about my journey from Evangelicalism to atheism. What did Annelie hope to achieve by quoting the lyrics to the song “Wonderful Grace of Jesus?” I know all I need to know about Christianity. With my mind wide open, I have weighed Christianity in the balance and found it wanting. Did Annelie really think that by quoting Christian song lyrics I would suddenly fall on my knees, repent, and get saved?
In her first email, Annelie said, “Help me understand you,” yet subsequent emails suggest she is more interested in preaching at me than understanding me. Understanding me requires reading my autobiographical material. I make it easy for Evangelicals to “understand” me, but many of them are so damn lazy that they can’t be bothered to do their homework.
Annelie says she’s not going to give up on me. What, exactly, does that even mean? Is she going to kidnap me and beat Jesus into me? I am not low-hanging fruit, someone who can be easily evangelized. Thousands of Evangelicals have tried to evangelize me, without success. Does Annelie believe, with song lyrics in hand, that she is going to accomplish what thousands before her have been unable to do? “With God all things are possible,” Annelie might say. Yelp, everyone who has tried to “save” me allegedly had God on their side too. Yet, I remain an outspoken, unrepentant atheist. It seems, at least to me, that not only are Evangelicals powerless to “save” me, but so is their God.
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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