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Don’t Cast Your Candy Bars Before Swine

clark bar
My Favorite Candy Bar

Several years ago, my wife’s cousin, and an Evangelical pastor in Newark, Ohio, posted the following on Facebook:

Do not be fooled! Class warfare, rioting, racism, defunding police, expansive government programs…these are the building blocks to socialism. These are reasons so many flee to America!!

I have known Polly’s cousin for over forty-four years. He was the ring-bearer in our wedding in 1978. Andy is an affable guy, the only preacher in Polly’s family that I get along with. We have had numerous conversations over the years. Never an angry word, though we have disagreed many, many times.

After reading Andy’s anti-socialism comment, I decided to respond, hoping that I could educate him about socialism, specifically democratic socialism. I suspect that I am the only atheist socialist Andy knows. The conversation quickly deteriorated when a friend of Andy’s named Tim — an Evangelical know-it-all, if there ever was one — decided to hijack the discussion and attack my atheism. He quickly started talking about evolution and morality, and even went so far as to tell me that I was an agnostic, not an atheist.

Long-time readers likely know what I told this man: fuck off! In fact, I told him to fuck off twice. The discussion was about socialism, but he wanted to make it about me and my atheism. I refused to play, and here’s his final comment to me (paragraphs added for readability. Grammar and spelling as written).

Last comment, then tomorrow when i get up I will just block you; since you do not want to debate.

you are angry because evangelicals make truth claims. yet you are making truth claims also. there is a saying. everyone has a right to their opinion, but only those who are correct have a right for their opinion to be true.

socalism is the start of communism and nazism. socalism has always harmed the poor and middle class, and makes politicians rich royal leaders. socalism always worships government, as everyone has to worship something. you know it. thus why you attack me, for pointing out truth.

Last, there is truth. there is a creator. there is a God, and that God is the one true God of the Bible. I pray that you meet him one day, before you die; as that will be too late. if you truly seek truth there are hundreads of books taht not only show the truth of what I am saying, but gives all the evidence inside and outside of the Bible for what I am saying. the best, for someone that truthly seeks truth, is evidence that demands a verdict.

I pray one day you seek the truth and realize that it is not what you claim it to be.

Just another day in the alternate universe called Evangelicalism. That this man thinks Josh McDowell’s book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, is the best book for someone like me shows that he doesn’t really know much about agnosticism and atheism, nor does he know anything about my background. McDowell’s arguments have been debunked numerous times. Had I thought this man had a rational, skeptical bone in his body, I might have engaged him, but since he doesn’t, I chose not to cast my candy bars before pigs.

The only thing that offended me was his claim that I am an agnostic, not an atheist. He refused to let me self-identify as an atheist. In his mind, agnostic and atheist are two different things. Had he been open to thoughtful, rational discussion, I would have educated him about why many professed atheists are agnostics and atheists. I have talked about this issue numerous times on this site. Some strong atheists disagree with me on the matter, but claiming to be an agnostic and an atheist is certainly within the orthodox pale of the most holy atheist religion. Yet, this knucklehead thinks atheism is a religion. Whatcha gonna do when faced with someone who thinks he knows everything, yet knows very little? At this point in my quickly fading life, “fuck you” seems to be an appropriate response.

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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  1. Avatar

    “you are angry because evangelicals make truth claims”. They do say the funniest things. You sure can’t debate someone who knows everything. You lost before you say a word. I read a study showing the best informed people are the least certain of what they think they know while those least informed tend to be the most certain of what they think they know. An angry aggressive evangelical is a prime example of that phenomenon.

  2. Avatar

    “…. there is a saying. everyone has a right to their opinion, but only those who are correct have a right for their opinion to be true.”

    What a totally stupid phrase. Of course everyone has a right to an opinion because an opinion is something formed in the mind, and is unknowable to others. To be known to others it must first be expressed, and that is where the problems begin. The expressing of one’s opinion must be a considered action. Is it an informed opinion? Is it intended simply to offend, or is it meant to educate? Ultimately, very few opinions are of equal merit. If my doctor or lawyer gives me advice on their respective fields of knowledge then I’ll regard that as better than my loudmouth friend from the pub. If I’m discussing politics with my friend and he offers an opinion with which I disagree I’ll ask him follow up questions to test his credibility. If an evangelical offers an opinion then I’ll do exactly the same.

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    I wouldn’t waste any candy bars on this guy either. He’s only concerned with being correct, not in engaging in rational discourse. He came to TELL you, Bruce, not to converse WITH you. He threw around a lot of his evangelical scare words, though!

    • Avatar

      Picky I know, but this personality type grated on me my entire life and being correct is not his motivation. What drives him and his type is his need to prevail, to win, even in sheer spite of being wrong.

  4. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    “…. there is a saying. everyone has a right to their opinion, but only those who are correct have a right for their opinion to be true.”

    Maybe I don’t get out enough, or I hang out with the wrong people: I’d never heard that saying before. And Geoff is right: It’s one of the stupidest, most illogical, things I’ve ever heard.

    The other commenters make some good observations. Folks like Andy are interested only in winning, and winning, to them, “proves” that they’re right.

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    Heidi in Montana

    There is nothing more grating to me than the trope that says “they’ve made (environmentalism, science, etc.) into their religion.” This guy’s comment to Bruce that “everyone has to worship something” is just another inane and meaningless catchphrase. I admire certain people who’ve made the world a better place and am deeply interested in certain subjects, but I “worship” nothing and no one. I’m guessing the readers of this blog are the same. I don’t know why religious people can’t understand that some of us go through life exploring our curiosities and passions and don’t need to have one all-consuming “religion” to give us meaning.

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      Me too Heidi. It’s an intellectually lazy, insulting, meaningless, nonsensical, and utterly dishonest thing to say. My observation is that a substantial subset of humanity does want to worship something. or is at least vulnerable to whatever addicts people to religion. They even want others to share their affliction. Perhaps it’s the “misery loves company” thing? I had a revealing experience with an acquaintance, a devout Muslim, who showed noticeable discomfort when I told him I don’t do religion. He assured me it would be better for me if I had some religion whatever it may be.

  6. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Andy doesn’t have the first clue about how the kind of ” Socialism” he’s referring to comes about. It was grinding poverty and unrelieved suffering that led to Communism and the Nazis. There was no social safety net, and people were tricked into trusting the two above movements because it sounded like the solution to fixing one’s country – at the time before they seized power. Hitler was laughed at, spent some time in jail. Look what happened later down the road. The Commies made all these promises for a better life, while confiscating food, weapons before they sprung the trap. Most don’t know that after 1917, people began to wise up and a civil war raged for a couple of years after those Bolsheviks took over. If Weimar Germany and Tsarist Russia had good social safety nets in place, the horrors of the 20th Century probably wouldn’t have happened. Misery opens the door to crazy movements and coups. I bet Andy has no experience with escaping dictatorship. But he likes to ” hold court” as they say.

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