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Questions: Bruce, Did You Deconvert Because You Wanted to Drink Alcohol?


Every year or two, I ask readers to submit questions they want me to answer. That time has arrived once again. Any question. Any subject. Please leave your questions in the comment section or send them to me via email. I will try to answer them in the order received.

I look forward to reading and answering your questions. Spelling, grammar, and structure corrected and edited for readability.

Revival “I Lie for Jesus Fires,” asked the following question:

I have noticed on more than one post here that you talk about whiskey and beer drinking.

Sadly, a lot of people raised in church, and who have truly accepted Jesus, sometimes get it in their head that they “missed out” on partying and drinking from their teens and 20s and will want to do it in their 50s and 60s — such is the case with my mother-in-law.

Did you betray Jesus because you wanted to drink alcohol and get drunk?

I was in my forties before I drank the Devil’s brew for the first time. As an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB), I was a teetotaler — as were my fellow church members. As an atheist and a humanist, I am free to drink alcohol any time I want. We have a well-stocked liquor cabinet and beer in the refrigerator. Typically, I drink whiskey, mixed drinks, or wine three or four times a month. Polly is primarily a beer and wine drinker. Neither of us has been drunk. I take narcotic pain meds, so I must limit my alcohol intake. Polly will drink a couple of beers and glasses of wine on the weekends, as will our oldest daughter Bethany.

My desire to drink alcohol played no part in my deconversion. That would be a silly reason to deconvert, wouldn’t it? Hey Jesus, I want my sins forgiven and I want to go to Heaven after I die, but I want to drink whiskey, beer, and wine more, so no thanks on salvation. Of course, the Bible does not condemn alcohol drinking. Jesus drank alcoholic wine, as did most people alive during his time. The Bible calls drunkenness a sin, but not social drinking.

Revival Fires asks if I am trying to live my youthful years now; if I am trying to do things I missed out on as a young adult. Christian Fundamentalism robbed me of many normal experiences, so, yes, I am trying to do some of the things that were forbidden years ago. I only wish I had a young man’s body. Alas, I make do with what I got. 🙂

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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    I get a kick out of how my evangelical family handled the question of alcohol. Alcohol was forbidden by the Southern Baptist church and my grandma. My grandfather admitted he liked the taste of beer, but he gave up drinking because his dad was a nasty alcoholic, two of his brothers were alcoholics, and he was afraid it ran in the family. Plus, he’d get in big trouble with Grandma, which no one wanted to be on her bad side! My mom liked wine, so she’d have it from time to time and let me taste it as a child, but NEVER when Grandma was around. My stepdad grew up Lutheran, so no alcohol prohibition, but his dad was a mean alcoholic, so my stepdad would have wine from time to time with my mom. I thought the Baptist prohibition against alcohol was stupid – Jesus drank wine, clearly – so I had no qualms about consuming alcohol. It seemed that among people I knew from Baptist church and school, a lot of people drank alcohol but didn’t discuss it with certain church people – like, you knew who was and wasn’t ok with it. It was a big hypocrisy.

    I doubt if anyone deconverts just to drink alcohol……I could name lots of reasons for my deconversion, and alcohol wasn’t one.

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    Alcohol and non-alcohol became part of last week’s holiday in Europe with my g/kids. Their parents drink occasionally, but their other fundy g/parents preach against the demon drink. 8yo was delighted to be judged old enough to go to the hotel buffet to choose his own food. Off he went the first night to get his starter, only to return to ask us, ‘Are the Prawn Cocktails non-alcoholic? I want one’. At breakfast, 5yo said he was now tall enough to operate the drinks machine levers, so went to get juice. he returned with a mixture of Sprite and juice and said ‘Granny, I made my first Prawn Cocktail.’ I said it was an excellent choice to accompany his bowl of Cheerios. It’s a passing fancy, fundie g/parents have obviously been on an anti-alcohol indoctrination purge, which will pass the g/kids by soon. Oh, and dozing by the pool, we adults had Pina Coladas and, taking our eyes off 18m old for just a second, we found her happily sucking the ice cubes left in the bottom of our 3 cocktail glasses…..a happy boozy holiday was had by us all!! (I used to be a tee-total fundy too who thought alcohol led one straight to hell!)

  3. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    Normalizing alcohol consumption in families is great if you also teach the unwisdom of misusing the stuff, and DEMONSTRATE MODERATION. I have issues with the stuff (and am in treatment for that) at least partly because alcohol abuse by a parent was part of my growing-up “normal”, which set me up to self-medicate the same way.

    Having been raised Catholic, though, I never understood the Fundagelical stance on alcohol consumption. Most of the adults I knew, parents of kids who I sometimes had overnights with, might have a beer in the evening but that was it. Sacramental wine was real wine. The general attitude was, encourage others not to go overboard with anything in life, alcohol being only one of the many things that can trip people up.

    (This atheist raises the middle finger to Protestants who insist that Catholics aren’t real Christians. The wise adults I knew growing up were as Christian as they come. While I might not believe in any deities, those people taught me a whole lot about what loving one’s neighbor means in action.)

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