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Category: Atheism

Devout IFB Christian Struggles with Understanding My Story

somerset baptist church 1985
Somerset Baptist Church, Mt Perry, Ohio, Bruce and Polly Gerencser and kids, 1985

Jack: Hey Bruce, I just read a little about your life and your description of how IFB preachers are treated like Demigods. I was saved in 1981 and God changed my life and Christ is my Saviour. I went to Hyles Anderson College for a little bit. I’m back with the Lord. The Lord seems to have restored me and I’m happier and have more peace and am winning souls consistently. Are you saying that none of this is real to you anymore? What about God, and Heaven and Hell and Judgement? I’m just asking I’m not trying to argue. I’m curious about your response.

Bruce: I’m an atheist, so no, I don’t think there is a God, Heaven, Hell, judgment, etc. You might find these posts helpful: Why?

Jack: Are you familiar with Dr. Jack Hyles?

Bruce: Yes, I’ve written extensively about Hyles and his son.

Jack: So what about getting saved, you never believed in that?

Bruce: Yes, I was saved, and now I’m not.

Jack: You really believe you were saved? How can you lose your salvation when the Lord comes into your heart?

Bruce: Don’t let your theology get in the way of reality. Countless people faithfully follow Jesus for years and then deconvert.

Jack: You don’t believe in being born again, and the Lord coming into your heart, and you becoming a new creature?

Bruce: Of course I did, but now I don’t.

Jack: So you don’t think that really happens?

Bruce: I “believe” it happened. All religious experiences are psychological in nature. We can believe all sorts of things that aren’t true or convince ourselves that certain experiences are real.

Jack: I believe the Lord really did come into my heart; there has been an internal change that cannot be denied! IT IS REAL! My desires changed, and my outlook, and I’m in the Light now, I see things differently! By faith!

Bruce: It’s “real” because you think it is. You want or need it to be real, so it is. And that’s fine.

Jack: You don’t think peace and comfort and joy and God’s love is real. I experience it!

Bruce: You “experience” what you believe those things to be. Again, all religious experiences are psychological in nature. Devout believers in other religions have similar “experiences.”

Usually, when an IFB Christian contacts me, I roll up my sleeves and ready myself for a bloody fight. Either that or I just say fuck off and turn on Sports Center. I sensed that Jack really wanted to understand my story, so I decided to briefly engage him in a discussion. I thought, “maybe, just maybe, I can get Jack to look beyond his narrow Fundamentalist theology.” I am not sure I accomplished that, but I hope that I planted a few seeds of doubt that might germinate and cause Jack to rethink his worldview. Not every online discussion has to end in hostility and conflict. I am content to put in a good word for reason, skepticism, and intellectual inquiry and move on.

Trained by the late Jack Hyles and his acolytes at First Baptist Church in Hammond and Hyles-Anderson College, Jack believes that once a person prays the sinner’s prayer and asks Jesus into his heart, he is a Christian; and once saved, always saved. In Jack’s mind, there’s nothing I can say or do to separate myself from God (Romans 8:35-39). Because I prayed the sinner’s prayer at Trinity Baptist Church in Findlay, Ohio, at the age of fifteen, I am forever a child of God, and Heaven awaits me after I die. No matter what I have said or done in the intervening fifty-two years, nothing can undo what took place one fall night years ago. I could become a Muslim, commit mass murder, or sexually molest children — it matters not — once saved, always saved.

IFB Christians such as Jack are left with two possibilities after reading my story:

  • I never was a Christian
  • I am a backslidden Christian

The first possibility is absurd. There’s nothing in my past that suggests that I was anything but a devoted, committed, sincere follower of Jesus. The fact that I am now an atheist does not magically erase my past (or the knowledge I have about Christianity and the Bible). The only honest explanation for my past is this: I once was a Christian, and now I am not.

The second possibility is equally absurd. There is nothing in my present life that remotely suggests that I am a Christian. Anyone who reads my blog surely knows that I am not, in any way, a Christian. Not an Evangelical; not an IFB Christian; not a liberal Christian; not a progressive Christian; not a Christian humanist; not a Christian universalist; not a Christian, period. I am a card-carrying atheist, a member in good standing of the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world.

When someone tells me that they are a Christian, I accept their “testimony” at face value. Jack says he has been an IFB Christian for thirty-eight years. I believe him. It’s his storyline. Who better to tell his story than Jack? I just wish that Christians would do the same for Evangelicals-turned-atheists. “But Bruce,” Christians say, “the Bible says yada yada yada yada.” What the Bible purportedly says is not my problem. I get it. Jack can’t square my story with his peculiar theology. Countless Evangelicals have the same problem when they read my story. Again, that’s not my problem. I know what I know. Ask anyone who knew me when I was a Christian: Was Bruce a “real” follower of Jesus; a True Christian®? To a person, they will say, absolutely! Either I deceived my wife, children, in-laws, extended family, friends, college roommates, professors, ministerial colleagues, and congregants, or I really was a Christian. What’s more likely? Trust me, I am not a very good liar. Me not having been a Christian is akin to the moon landing being a hoax.

Stories such as mine will continue to cause cognitive dissonance for IFB Christians such as Jack. All I can hope for is that by reading my story, they will have doubts and questions that will lead to further investigation and inquiry. Fundamentalist Christians can and do change. I once believed as Jack did, and so did many of the readers of this blog. Yet, we are now unbelievers. Deconversion is a slow, agonizing, painful process. Some people cannot bear the questions and doubts, so they retreat into the safety of their houses of faith. Others, however, are willing to suffer through the process, believing that truth and freedom await them on the other side. There’s a gospel song that says, we’ve come this far by faith, we can’t turn back now. For people such as myself, we’ve come this far by reason, we can’t turn back now.

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.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Is “Israel” Evidence for the Existence of God?

israel palestine

Guest Post by Neil Robinson

As for evidence, you might be aware of Israel. That nation has been in the news much of late. So, without being flippant at all, I present Israel as evidence. Think about it. They are living the script written thousands of years ago. Not by chance.

— Don, A Christian Apologist

Israel as evidence for the existence of God. I’m thinking about it as Don suggests.

Where did it all begin, this bizarre notion that one tribe in the Middle East was chosen by God to be his special people? According to the Genesis myth, it was when YHWH promised Abraham he’d be his best buddy forever and ever, so long as he mutilated his body and those of his sons in perpetuity. They would also have to keep every one of this bullying god’s 365 rules and regulations, including the petty and piffling ones. So far so good, apart from the fact it was all very one-sided, and the mutilation of course. You’d think this would’ve been a sign that things weren’t quite kosher, but no; Abraham and his descendants buy into it and almost straight away, YHWH begins to let them down.

God’s Chosen Ones soon find themselves slaves in Egypt. A second mythical character is needed – up pops Moses – to get them out of this scrape. Unfortunately, after Moses has finished chatting with YHWH, who identifies as a burning bush on the top of a mountain, the sulky deity feels slighted by something the Israelites are doing. As is his way, he has many of them slaughtered and the rest he forces to troop around the same small plot of land for 40 years. This is how best buddies treat each other!

Later, the Jews find themselves defeated by the Babylonians and are carted off into exile. This exile, which YHWH does nothing to prevent, lasts 70 years. Still, it leads to a pleasant song made famous by Boney M in 1978 so I suppose it was worth it.

For the next few hundred years, Israel fell under the rule of other nations more powerful than itself. Not to worry though, YHWH is still ‘looking after them’, particularly those who are slaughtered in the rebellions that ensue. As Robert Conner says in a recent comment on Debunking Christianity, ‘If Yahweh ever threatens to bless you and your children, just kill yourself and get it over with.’

Fast forward to the Roman occupation of Israel. YHWH, having undergone a makeover, reneges on his promise to take care of his Chosen Nation forever and ever and comes up with a different plan to save people from his own cussedness. Now, if they want to continue as his friend, they have to believe a supernatural being has returned from the dead.

Abandoned by God, as he now wants to be called, Jews who haven’t defected to the new faith see their sacred, eternal temple destroyed by the Romans in AD70. Thousands of them are massacred and the Jewish nation ceases to exist.

This sets the pattern for the next two millennia in which God’s new friends organise pogroms, massacres, and vicious persecution of Jews. This culminates in the Final Solution of the Third Reich which seeks to eliminate the Jewish people entirely. While awaiting extermination in a concentration camp, Andrew Eames scrawls on the wall of his prison: ‘If there is a God, He will have to beg for my forgiveness.’ God allows six million of his Chosen People to die at the hands of the Nazis.

Following the Second World War, Israel took possession of the area surrounding Jerusalem, then occupied by Palestinian Muslims who are themselves descended from earlier immigrants. Thousands on both sides are slaughtered in the conflict that follows. In 1948, after almost 2,000 years, Israel became a nation once again; not through any miracle of God but as a result of human endeavour and bloodshed.

Tension and further skirmishes followed, leading to the present day when Israel finds itself under attack by Hamas terrorists. Thousands of innocents – women, children, and babies – have been slaughtered without mercy. Israel is, as I write, retaliating and intends to enact further vengeance. And where is God in all this? You guessed it: nowhere to be seen.

According to some – including the naive writer at the top of this post – all of this serves as evidence of God’s existence. That Israel has persevered for so long, despite opposition, persecution and the holocaust is not, however, evidence of God, any more than the great cathedrals of the world are. It is instead testimony to the resilience, resolve, and sheer bloody-mindedness of the people themselves. Perhaps their belief in YHWH (they don’t, of course, recognise his Christian counterpart) has fuelled their persistence, as it has their territorial claims.

Jewish beliefs and history are not evidence that YHWH exists. If anything, his apparent abandonment* during their many trials and tribulations is evidence to the contrary.

*Of course a non-existent entity can’t actually abandon anything, any more than it can lend its support or favour one group of people over another.

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.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce’s Ten Hot Takes for September 26, 2023

hot takes

Republicans want to cut food, heating, and housing subsidies for poor children and families. This tells me everything I need to know about the Republican Party.

Senator Bob Menendez should be forced to resign from office by his fellow Democratic senators.

It looks like Trump not only inflated his dick size, he also grossly inflated the value of his real estate and business assets.

Some Democrats are calling for candidates to run against Joe Biden. I support this call in the primary. However, come November 2024, the only thing that matters is keeping Trump out of the White House.

Upwards of twenty-three raccoons frequented our backyard this spring and summer. And now that fall has arrived, the raccoons have disappeared, making occasional raids on the food we put out for feral/stray cats.

Chronic illness and pain affects every aspect of my life. Telling me to “put mind over matter” is never the right thing to say. When you say this, I say to myself, “Go fuck yourself.” Continue in your insensitive behavior, I might say this to your face.

“Looks like you are feeling better today,” well-wishers often say. They wrongly judge the quality and level of my suffering by what I do, failing to understand that looks can be deceiving. Just because I’m smiling, doesn’t mean I don’t want to cry. I often smile for others, hiding my pain from them.

Hey, Joe Namath. You had a lifetime 50% pass completion rate, worse than embattled New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. STFU. Give the kid the break. Nobody wants to hear from ancient old ex-players. Different era, different game.

Travis Kelce, a Taylor Swift dating, Bud Light drinking promoter of COVID vaccines is upsetting right-wingers with his “woke” behavior. OMG, the meltdowns are fun to watch.

Kevin McCarthy says Biden is to blame for the threatened government shutdown. Sure, Kevin, sure. I bet the hemorrhoid in your arse you affectionately call Matt Gaetz is telling you to say this lest you lose your speakership.

Bonus: I’m increasingly disillusioned with what I see and hear in the larger atheist community. Maybe this is on me. I’ve moved on from the “angry atheist” phase of my life. I’m not that interested anymore in debates about the existence of God.

Bruce, I Want to Be Your Friend — Part One

cant we be friends
Cartoon by Paco

Several times a month I receive emails from Evangelicals wanting to be “friends” with me. These emails invariably say that the writer is Evangelical, but not like the Evangelicals I focus on in my writing. Often, these writers attempt to “hook” me by saying that they “totally” understand why, based on reading about my past experiences, I would walk away from the ministry and Christianity. They too, I am told, would have done the same. Usually, these emails are filled with compliments about my transparency, openness, and honesty. These Evangelicals promise me that their motives are pure, and that they have no desire to try to win me back to Jesus. All they want is an opportunity to show me “true” Christian love and friendship.

I also get Facebook friend requests from Evangelicals who, again, promise that they have no ulterior motive for friending me. Years ago, one such person friended me on Facebook. He knew “everything” about me, having read my blog and talked to his sister who was, at one time, a member of one of the churches I pastored. So, I friended him, thinking that maybe, just maybe, he was different from other Evangelicals. And for a while he was, but one day he became inflamed with righteous indignation over something I had written about Christianity. Our discussion quickly spun out of control, and the man unfriended me. He warned his sister about me, saying that I was satanic and Christians should avoid me lest I influence them with my demonic words.

These days, I simply do not respond to Evangelical friendship requests, be they via email or on social media. Several years ago, the president of a Christian college attempted to goad me into having lunch with him by appealing to my desire for openness and understanding. This man told me that he just wanted to share a meal and hear my story. I told him, as I do anyone else who takes this approach, Look, I have written more than four thousand blog posts. I have written extensively about my past and present life. If you really want to know about my life, READ!  If, after reading my writing, you have questions, email them to me and I will either answer them in an email or a blog post. Of course, this is not what these “friendly” Evangelicals want. They want a face-to-face meeting with me so they can probe my life, hoping to find that wrong beliefs led to my deconversion. Never mind that I have written numerous posts about my past beliefs. Everything someone could ever want to know about my life and beliefs can be found on this blog.

Perhaps the question these Evangelicals should ask is this: why would I want to be friends with you? What would a friendship with you bring to my life that I don’t already have? It’s not like I don’t have any friends. I do, and I am quite happy with the number of friends I have, both in the flesh and through the digital world. Not only that, but my partner of forty-five years is my best friend, and I am close with my six children and their families. I have all I need when it comes to human interaction. Why, then, would I want to be friends with Evangelicals who, as sure as I am sitting here, want to evangelize me? Friendship Evangelism remains a tool churches and parachurch ministries use in their evangelistic efforts. Friendship becomes a pretext. The real goal is to see sinners saved. Promoters of “Friendship Evangelism” know that befriending people disarms them, making them more sensitive and receptive to whatever version of the Christian gospel they are promoting.

As long-time readers of this blog know, I am pretty good at stalking people on the internet and social media. I have learned that you can tell a lot about people just by looking at their Facebook wall, along with the groups they are a part of and the pages they like. Recently, a local man contacted me, offering to buy me dinner with no strings attached. What, no expectations of sex after the date? Consider me a doubter. I decided to check out the man’s Facebook profile. I found out that he voted for Donald Trump and supports most of the Evangelical hot-button issues. He opposes same-sex marriage and abortion. We have nothing in common socially or politically. Why, then, would I want to be friends with him?

Friendships are generally built around shared beliefs. I don’t have any interest in being friends with people who voted for Donald Trump or support political views I consider anti-human, racist, bigoted, and misogynistic. And I sure as hell don’t befriend people who root for Michigan. I have standards, you know? Seriously, most of us have friends who hold to beliefs similar to our own. We might have a handful of friends who differ from us, but we find ways to forge meaningful relationships with such people. I am friends with several Evangelicals, but the main reason I am is that our friendships date back to the days when we were walking the halls of Lincoln Elementary. We’ve agreed not to talk about religion or politics. We share many common connections that make such discussions unnecessary. I am sure they fear for my “soul” and pray that I would return to the fold, but these things are never voiced to me. If they did attempt to evangelize me, it would most certainly put an end to our friendship.

To the man, these friendly Evangelicals believe that my life is missing something — Jesus — and is empty, lacking meaning, purpose, and direction. In their minds, only Jesus can meet my needs. Without him, what is the point of living another day, right? In their minds, Jesus is the end-all. Why would I want to trade the life I now have for Jesus? What can Jesus — a dead man — possibly offer me? Well, Bruce, these Evangelicals say, Jesus offers you forgiveness of sins, escape from Hell, and eternal bliss in Heaven. Surely, you want to go to Heaven when you die? Actually, I am content with life in the present. Threats of Hell or promises of Heaven have no effect on me. Both are empty promises.

Why would I ever want to be friends with someone who believes that, unless I believe as they do, their God is going to torture me in a lake filled with fire and brimstone for eternity? This same God — knowing that my present body would, in hell, sizzle like a hog on a spit — lovingly plans to fit me with a special fireproof body that will be able to feel the pain of being roasted alive without being turned into a puddle of grease. What an awesome God! No thanks. I have no interest in being friends with anyone who thinks that this is what lies in the future for me. I can’t stop (nor do I want to) such people from reading my writing, but I sure as hell don’t want to “fellowship” with them over dinner at the local Applebee’s.

I would like to make one offer to Evangelicals who want to be friends with Atheist Bruce. Fine, let’s go to the strip club and have drinks, and let’s do it on All Male Revue Night. I’m not all that interested in seeing males strip, but I thought taking these Evangelicals to such a place would help them see how I feel when they view my life as lacking (naked) and in need of clothing (Jesus).

My life is what it is. True friends accept me as I am, no strings attached. Evangelicals, of course, have a tough time doing that. In their minds, Jesus is the end-all, the answer to all that ails the human race. Life is empty without the awesome threesome — Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I spent fifty years in the Christian church. For half of those years, I was preaching the Evangelical gospel. I was, according to all who knew me, a devoted, zealous follower of Jesus. Whatever my faults may have been (and they were many), I loved Jesus with all my heart, soul, and mind. Deciding to walk away from the ministry and Christianity were the two hardest decisions I have ever made. Yet, my life, in virtually every way, is better today than it was when I was a Christian. Quite frankly, Christianity has nothing to offer me. I am content (well, as content as a perfectionist with OCPD can be, anyway) with life as it now is. Sure, life isn’t perfect, but all in all, I can say I am blessed. Yes, blessed. I am grateful for my partner, six children, and thirteen grandchildren. I am grateful that I can, with all the health problems I have, still enjoy their company. The advice I offer up to people on my ABOUT page sums up my view of life:

You have one life. There is no heaven or hell. There is no afterlife. You have one life, it’s yours, and what you do with it is what matters most. Love and forgive those who matter to you and ignore those who add nothing to your life. Life is too short to spend time trying to make nice with those who will never make nice with you. Determine who are the people in your life that matter and give your time and devotion to them. Live each and every day to its fullest. You never know when death might come calling. Don’t waste time trying to be a jack of all trades, master of none. Find one or two things you like to do and do them well. Too many people spend way too much time doing things they will never be good at.

Here’s the conclusion of the matter. It’s your life and you’d best get to living it. Someday, sooner than you think, it will be over. Don’t let your dying days be ones of regret over what might have been.

For me, the game of life is late in the fourth quarter. Time is literally running out. I must focus my attention and energy on relationships that are mutually beneficial, relationships that offer love, kindness, and acceptance. No Evangelical worth his or her salt can offer me such a relationship. Lurking below the surface will be thoughts about how much better my life could be with Jesus and thoughts of what will happen to me if I die without repenting of my sins. Evangelicals who really believe what the Bible says can’t leave me alone. They dare not stand before God to give an account of their lives, only to be reminded that, when given the opportunity to evangelize the atheist ex-preacher Bruce Gerencser, they said and did nothing. And it is for these reasons that I cannot and will not befriend Evangelicals.

Read Part Two here.

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.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce, I Want to Be Your Friend — Part Two

cant we be friends
Cartoon by Paco

If you have not done so, please read the previous post on this subject here.

After posting Bruce, I Want to be Your Friend — Part One, I read a perfect illustration of what I was talking about in this post.

Writing for A Clear Lens — an Evangelical apologetics blog — Nate Sala wrote:

A lot of people in the Church seem to be asking the same question more and more these days: How do I talk to people about my faith in Christ? This is an excellent question to ask! Particularly considering the current climate of tribalism, whataboutism, and the outrage culture, how are Christians supposed to navigate often difficult conversations in order to get to the Gospel in the 21st century?

I’ve spent the last nine years formulating an effective method of communicating why Christianity is true; and a lot of this has been through trial and error. And I do mean, a lot of error! But now I see that the difficulty in sharing our faith with folks is not rooted in whatever is happening in the news or academia or political correctness or even atheist websites. I am convinced that the difficulty in sharing our faith stems from our having forgotten how to be in relationship with each other.


We need to stop making speeches and start making friends. Evangelism and apologetics is only as effective as the authentic relationship you have with folks. Let speeches be for political venues or TED Talks or even the pulpit. But for us, when we want to communicate to people about our faith, we need to begin with real relationship. That means asking questions to get to know people. In other words, treat your interactions with folks like you would a first date.

We all know (at least I hope we all do) the dos and donts of dating. Don’t dominate the conversation with long-winded speeches about yourself or your views. If you do that there won’t be a second date! Instead ask questions about your date in order to discover who they are and show them that you are genuinely interested in them. And then just listen carefully to what they say. This is no different when it comes to evangelistic or apologetic conversations. Don’t begin with an agenda where three steps later you’re asking someone to say the sinner’s prayer with you. Just start off by getting to know the person you’re talking to. Treat your interactions like a first date with an important person. And, when the person you’re speaking to feels comfortable, ask them about their faith. Let me say that again: When the person you’re speaking to feels comfortable, then ask them about their faith. As a matter of fact, J Warner Wallace has a great question you can ask them: What do you think happens after we die?

Friends, if you try to treat people like a checkmark on your agenda, you will come across as an inauthentic used-car salesman. Instead, if you treat your conversations like a first date with an important person, you will find the path to evangelism and apologetics so much easier!

Read carefully what Sala says: friendship is a tool to be used in evangelizing non-Christians. In other words, it’s friendship based on deception, not honesty. Imagine if Evangelical zealots were honest and said, look I want to be your friend, but I only want to do so because I see you as a hell-bound, sin-laden, enemy of the Evangelical God, who is headed for Hell unless you buy what I am selling. Why, I suspect most people would say fuck off. Few of us want friends who can’t love and accept us as we are, where we are. And don’t tell me Evangelicals love everyone, loving them so much that they just have to tell them the truth — JESUS SAVES! Who wants friends who see them as defective in some way; friends who view them as broken; friends who see them as purposeless and empty; friends who cannot and will not love them as is, without conditions?

Evangelicals feign friendship so they can evangelize. True friends, on the other hand, enjoy your company and accept that differences are what make each of us special. Evangelicals look to convert, adding more minds to the Borg collective. Conformity, not diversity, is the goal. Doubt that this is so? Ask your new Evangelical “friend” if, after you get saved, you can continue having gay sex and continue working for Planned Parenthood. Ask him or her if you and your significant other can have your same-sex wedding at their church.  Ask if you, as a gay man, can teach Sunday school or work in the nursery. Absurd, right?

I have no doubt Sala and other Evangelicals will object to my characterizations of their intent. However, I spent a lifetime in Evangelicalism. I know how Evangelicals operate. I know what lurks behind their “friendliness.” I know that they use friendship as a means to an end, much like foreplay before sexual intercourse. Evangelicals fondle and caress your emotions, hoping that you will spread your legs wide so they can penetrate you with their slick gospel presentations. No thanks.

For all I know, Nate Sala is a nice guy, as are many Evangelicals. I just wish they would all be honest about their intent when they lurk in the shadows hoping to befriend unwary “sinners.” While this might not generate as many club members, there will be no regrets come morning.

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.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce’s Ten Hot Takes for September 18, 2023

hot takes

Eighty-nine percent of convicted drug traffickers are U.S. citizens. Wait a minute, I thought “illegals” were driving drug trafficking at the U.S. – Mexico border. You mean Republicans are lying about the drug crisis? How can these things be? 🤣

Never begrudge a worker for receiving a wage increase. The goal should be to raise everyone’s wages.

American autoworkers are not overpaid. For the past decade and a half, auto manufacturers have extracted wage and benefit cuts from their workers, saying without these cuts they would go bankrupt. Workers did their part, and now it’s time for the auto industry to do theirs.

I am not a Joe Biden fan. I’ve never been a fan. I wish Biden wouldn’t run for re-election, but I’m left wondering who would run in his stead? Name one Democrat who is a viable candidate, one who can beat Trump? I don’t know any, so we are left with Grandpa Joe. Another election where I’m forced to hold my nose.

I attended a local high school band extravaganza on Saturday night. The event began with the emcee giving praise, honor, and glory to the Christian deity for the good weather and opportunity to attend the six marching band concert. The event ended with the bands playing Lee Greenwood’s song, “God Bless the U.S.A.” Both of these things are violations of Federal law. Or, just another day in rural northwest Ohio.

Books sitting on the end table by my chair: A Blessed Life by Laura Hardman; God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou; Genghis Khan by Jim Weatherford; The Icarus Syndrome by Peter Beinhart; Double Crossed by Matthew Sutton; The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow; War Made Easy by Norman Solomon; War Made Invisible by Norman Solomon; A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn; Armageddon by Bart Ehrman; How it Went by Wendell Berry; The Need to be Whole by Wendell Berry; Black Snow by James Scott; The Face of War by Martha Gellhorn; Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver; The Dawn of a Mindful Universe by Marcelo Gleiser; Meditations by Marcus Aurelius; Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh; Not the Bible

Likelihood that I will read all of these books before I die? Zero.

Fifteen months to the 2024 presidential election. I’m already sick of campaign ads — especially yours, Matt Dolan. Time to mute and fast forward.

I want to own and drive an orange 1970 Nova SS before I die. Should only set me back $40,000. Maybe my kids can buy me this car for my next birthday. I had to say “next” birthday lest my children say “Sure Dad. How about for your eightieth birthday? 🤣 Safe bet, because it is unlikely I will make it to seventy, let alone my eightieth birthday.

While I generally tell the truth, there are times when lying is warranted. Absolute morality always causes harm.

Bonus: One of my critics recently said he wishes I would become a Christian so we could be “friends.” To quote the Prophetess Polly, “ Is he fucking kidding?” Not a chance. Lie about me, attack my character, misrepresent my beliefs , and steal my content, and all possibility of friendship goes out the window. My friendships are based on mutual love, compassion, and concern, along with common beliefs and interests. Even if I became a Christian again, I wouldn’t embrace his hateful, Fundamentalist flavor of the Christianity. No thanks. I left the cult, and I have no intention of going back.

Jacob Crouch “Thinks” He Knows Why Former Evangelicals Use the Terms Deconversion and Deconstruction

How Evangelical Preachers View Deconstruction

Recently, Jacob Crouch, a nursing professor at Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, and a music coordinator at Grace Community Church in Jackson, Mississippi, wrote a post titled Deconversion is Apostasy. Here’s some of what he had to say:

The word “deconversion”, defined simply as the loss of faith in one’s religion, seems to have become popular recently. People have become weirdly comfortable, almost boasting, in the fact that they have deconverted from Christianity. I think part of the comfort with deconversion is that the word is new enough to lack the sober connotations its meaning should convey. We often do this: we soften language to appease our consciences. So I want to say it out loud for those who might be dodging the seriousness of what deconverting from Christianity really means: Deconversion is apostasy.

When someone says, “I’ve deconverted” or “I’m an exvangelical” or “I’ve deconstructed”, I’m convinced that they choose this heady, pseudo-intellectual language because it allows the conscience to miss what they’ve actually done. Those who deconvert are leaving Christ. They are those whom the Spirit says, “will depart from the faith” (1 Tim 4:1). They are the ones who have, “an evil, unbelieving heart, leading [them] to fall away from the living God” (Heb 3:12). This is a serious and dangerous decision.


May we be faithful to expose the serious nature of deconversion, and let us be encouraged to pray and love our deconverting neighbors and family members.

Rarely does a week go by that I don’t read a blog post or article written by an Evangelical about those who are leaving Christianity. The numbers speak for themselves. Evangelicalism is hemorrhaging believers left and right. Led by the Holy Ghost to opine on deconversion/deconstruction, Crouch concludes that ex-Evangelicals are, by using terms such as deconversion, deconstruction, and exevangelical to describe themselves, “dodging the seriousness of what deconverting from Christianity really means: Deconversion is apostasy.”

Ex-Evangelicals are some of the most honest people I know; people who are willing to be brutally honest about their past and present lives. Hiding shit is not in the DNA. So, to suggest former Christians hide behind terms such as deconversion, deconstruction, and exevangelical to avoid accountability for their apostasy (and heresy) is absurd. In fact, most ex-Evangelicals I know — and I know lots of them — have no problem with the apostate label.

Of course we are apostates — proudly so. The difference between ex-Evangelicals’ use of the word apostasy and Crouch’s is that the word has no power for unbelievers. For Crouch and others like him, apostasy leads to God’s judgment and eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire. Such a fearful thing, right? Not for ex-Evangelicals. To them, Crouch’s beliefs are myths. We are not worried in the least that “God is gonna get us.” While deconversion has many components, fundamentally, those who deconvert from a system of belief no longer “believe” the central tenets of that system. Many ex-Evangelicals still “believe” in some sense or the other. Many ex-Evangelicals still believe in Jesus or have some sense that a deity of some sort exists. Their objections are to Evangelical beliefs and practices. Sure, some ex-Evangelicals are agnostics or atheists, but that cannot be said of all of them.

I wonder if Crouch has talked to many ex-Evangelicals? I doubt it. If he had, I seriously doubt he would say that their choice of self-identifiers is due to trying to “appease our consciences.” Does he even know what ex-Evangelicals think about the human conscience, to start with? Crouch assumes facts that are not in evidence. How does he know that ex-Evangelicals use these labels to appease their consciences; that we use “pseudo-intellectual” terms because it allows our “consciences” to miss what we have really done: leaving Christ?

Is Crouch serious? Does he really think ex-Evangelicals are not self-aware of what they have done? Child, please. We blew up our lives when we deconverted. We lost almost everything we held dear. We lost family, friends, and colleagues. I lost ALL of my Evangelical friends and colleagues in the ministry. A-l-l of them. Fifty years of my life went up in smoke the moment I said I was no longer a Christian. (Please see Dear Family, Friends, and Former Parishioners.) I am quite self-aware of the price I have paid for divorcing Jesus, as are most deconverts.

Crouch calls on his fellow Evangelicals (true Christians) to pray for “deconverting neighbors and family members.” Pray if you must — it won’t make a difference — but I suggest a better approach might be to actually get to know people who have deconverted, who are no longer Evangelical Christians. If Crouch had done so, he never would have written his post.

Do better, Jacob, do better.

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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Bruce Gerencser