Evangelicalism

Shemitah: Those Crazy Charismatics and their False Gloom and Doom Prophecies

shemitah

Michael Snyder recently wrote an article for CHARISMA titled 10 Things That Are Going to Happen Within 15 Days of the End of the Shemitah.  Snyder thinks that bad times are coming soon:

Is a great shaking coming to America? An amazing convergence of events is going to take place during the last several weeks of September 2015.

Many are suggesting that this could indicate that something really big is about to happen. In fact, some vendors of emergency food are reporting shortages because so many people are stocking up on food and supplies in anticipation of what is coming…

…It all starts with the end of the Shemitah year on Sept. 13. During the last two cycles, we witnessed historic stock market crashes on the very last day of the Shemitah year (Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar)…

…On Sept. 29, 2008 (which was also Elul 29 on the biblical calendar), the Dow plummeted 777 points, which still today remains the greatest one-day stock market crash of all time in the United States.

Now we are in another Shemitah year. It began in the fall 2014, and it ends on Sept. 13, 2015.

So will we see a stock market crash in the United States on Sept. 13, 2015?

No we will not, because that day is a Sunday. So I can guarantee there will not be a stock market crash in the U.S. on that day. But as author Jonathan Cahn has pointed out in his book on the Shemitah, we have witnessed major stock market crashes happen just before the end of the Shemitah year and we have also witnessed major stock market crashes happen within just a few weeks after the end of the Shemitah year. So we are not necessarily looking at one particular date.

And this time around, a whole bunch of critical events just happen to fall in the period of time immediately following the end of the Shemitah year.

The following are 10 things that are going to happen within 15 days of the end of the Shemitah:

Sept. 14: Rosh Hashanah

Sept. 15: The Jade Helm military exercises are scheduled to end.

Sept. 15: The 70th session of the U.N. General Assembly begins on this date. It has been widely reported that France plans to introduce a resolution that will give formal U.N. Security Council recognition to a Palestinian state shortly after the new session begins…

Sept. 20 to Sept. 26: The “World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel” sponsored by the World Council of Churches.

Sept. 21: The U.N. International Day Of Peace. Could this be the day when the U.N. Security Council resolution establishing a Palestinian state is actually adopted?

Sept. 23: Yom Kippur

Sept. 23: Pope Francis arrives at the White House to meet with Barack Obama….Francis is the 266th pope, and he will be meeting with President Obama on the 266th day of the year, leading one Internet preacher to wonder if “something is being birthed” on that day, since 266 days is the typical human gestation period from conception to birth.

Sept. 24: The Pope addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

Sept. 25 to Sept. 27: The United Nations is going to launch a brand-new sustainable development agenda called “The 2030 Agenda.” …

…”Unlike Agenda 21, which primarily focused on the environment, the 2030 Agenda is truly a template for governing the entire planet. In addition to addressing climate change, it also sets ambitious goals for areas such as economics, health, energy, education, agriculture, gender equality and a whole host of other issues. As you will see below, this global initiative is being billed as a ‘new universal Agenda’ for humanity. If you are anything like me, alarm bells are going off in your head right about now.”

Sept. 28: This is the date when the Feast of Tabernacles begins. It is also the date for the last of the four blood moons that fall on biblical festival dates during 2014 and 2015…

…Many have also suggested that the Large Hadron Collider “is scheduled to perform a controversial experiment in September,” but so far I have been unable to find any solid confirmation of this.

Just recently, author Jonathan Cahn released a new video in which he expressed his belief that a “great shaking is coming to America and the world.” He points to the biblical pattern of desecration preceding judgment, and he is convinced that we recently witnessed a historic act of desecration here in the United States…

Snyder makes sure he covers his prophetical ass by saying:

I am fully convinced that the months ahead are going to dramatically change life in America, but whether it happens right now or not, I am 100-percent convinced that a great shaking is coming to this nation at some point.

Snyder operates The Economic Collapse website, a site with dozens of affiliate and advertising links. While Snyder dispenses all sorts of financial advice, the real purpose of his site is to make money for Michael Snyder. While the world collapses into to chaos, Snyder wants to make sure that he has a pile of gold and silver so he can continue to live the good life. Wait a minute, I thought the rapture was imminent? No worries, Jesus is delaying his return so people like Snyder, John Hagee, Jim Bakker, and the numerous charismatic TV preachers can gather up enough wealth to make them quite comfortable in God’s new heaven and earth. Either that or these preachers of doom and gloom are the descendants of Elmer Gantry, out to fleece the flock. My money is on the latter.

Thewhoopass charismatic landscape is littered with false prophecies, yet spirit-inspired prophets continue to utter prophecies, hoping that the gullible will forget the past, fear the future and keep sending them money. Driven by fear of the unknown, well-meaning Christians buy into the what people like Snyder are selling. Sadly, for many Christians, they’ve spent their whole life fearing things that never happen.  Could the U.S. stock market collapse? Sure. Could the U.S. economy collapse resulting in massive unemployment, inflation, and poverty? Sure.  But, if these things happen, is it because of God?

Uncounted Evangelical prognosticators are certain that God is going to judge the United States because of abortion, homosexuality, the legalization of same-sex marriage, or any of a number of Sodom and Gomorrah like sins. But, here’s what I don’t understand. If God judges wicked, vile, sinful America, won’t his judgment fall on devout, sincere Christians, the very people who are watchman on the wall and standing in the gap, two of the popular descriptions for those who love what God loves and hate what God hates?  What kind of God punishes people for doing what he commanded them to do? Shouldn’t God open a can of whoopass on people like me and give the faith the keys to a Mercedes? Why punish Team Jesus?

The U.S. stock market could collapse and the global economy could slide into a worldwide recession or depression, but the reasons for this will be greed, consumption, and market manipulation. No God needed. Humanity is quite capable of plunging the world into financial chaos all on its own.

Why Doesn’t God Hear and Answer the Prayers of Pro-Life Christians?

pray to end abortion

Millions of Christians, Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons are praying for the end of the murderous practice of abortion, yet fetuses continue to be aborted. Surely, millions of prayers from millions of Christians would get God’s attention, yes? Why is God ignoring these prayers? If God is pro-life, why doesn’t he do anything to stop abortion? If he is all-knowing, he knows who is going to have an abortion. If he is all-powerful, he has the capability to stop abortion. Millions of prayers prayed by millions of Christians each day to an all-knowing, all-powerful God, yet abortion doctors continue to perform abortion procedures. Why?

It’s been forty years since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion and despite non-stop attempts to force Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics out of business, women continue to have abortions. Billions upon billions of prayers have been uttered, yet abortion continues unabated. Pro-life yard signs. Pro-life billboards. Pro-life newspaper ads. Pro-life websites. Pro-life videos. Pro-life pickets. Pro-life marches. Pro-life sermons. Pro-life laws. Pro-life politicians. Yet, women continue to have abortions.

Based on the evidence at hand, God is either dead, not listening, or is pro-choice. Christians claim that the one true God is the Christian God and that they are God’s chosen people, yet he has turned a deaf ear to their prayers. If abortion is the abomination Christians say it is and God does nothing about it, doesn’t this mean that he is either dead, powerless, or indifferent?  Perhaps it is time for Christians to accept the fact that their God is like Baal in 1 Kings 18. Elijah, when challenging the prophets of Baal to a God-duel, had this to say about Baal:

 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

Perhaps the reason the Christian God hasn’t answered the earnest pleadings of pro-life Christians is that he is on vacation, sleeping, or using the toilet. Or perhaps the Christian God is a fiction, and that the only way to put an end to abortion is to work to make abortion safe, legal, and rare. Instead of waiting for God to do something, perhaps pro-lifers should embrace policies that drastically reduce the need for abortion. Instead of demonizing those of us who are pro-choice, how about working with us to make sure that teenagers and young adults have a comprehensive sex education and access to free birth control?  How about making sure every woman in the United States has access to birth control, thus eliminating the need for abortion? Or, you could just keep uttering prayers that make absolutely no difference.

pray to end abortion-001

I Am a Committee of One

godless atheist

I am one man.

I do not represent any group or any other person but myself.

I alone am responsible for what I do, say, or write.

I don’t represent my wife, children, extended family, or the family dog.

In the Gerencser family we don’t practice group-think and everyone is free to be whoever and whatever they want to be.

Yes, I am an atheist, but that doesn’t mean my wife or children are.

Yes, I am a liberal, but that doesn’t mean my wife or children are.

Freethought applies to everyone in the Gerencser family, not just me.

It offends me when local Christians judge my wife or children based on what I do, say, or write.

They ask, in whispered voices, isn’t Bruce Gerencser their father or isn’t she married to Bruce Gerencser?

Evidently, being related to an atheist is an awful, dreadful thing. What drives such thinking? What makes Christians so judgmental that they refuse to treat people different from them with respect?

My wife and children are not me.

I am a committee of one.

I own what I do, say, and write.

I am not ashamed of what I do, say, and write.

I never been one to hide in shadows or use a pseudonym.

If you want to attack someone, attack me.

If you want to gossip about someone, gossip about me.

If you want to judge someone as worthy of the wrath of God, the judgment of God, and hell, judge me.

I don’t hide what I am, and I am not ashamed to say that I am an atheist.

I am not afraid to say that I think Christianity is a man-made religion and the Bible is a man-made book.

If you want to go after someone, if you want to attack someone, here I am.

Come out of the shadows.

Quit being the kind of gossips the Bible condemns.

Man up, woman up, and stand up for your God and your Bible.

Quit hurling anonymous, veiled invectives towards my family.

I am not hiding from you.

I am right here.

No need to question people with the last name of Gerencser as to their affiliation with me.

No need to demand answers from them when you read a newspaper article or blog post you don’t like.

No need to corner them at their place of employment or college classroom and demand they defend their father or husband.

I am right here. Leave a comment, send me an email, or contact me on Twitter or Facebook.

Only a coward goes after a man’s wife and children.  What’s next, going after my grandchildren.

While they are all related to me, they are not responsible for what I do, say, or write.

I alone am responsible.

I am a committee of one.

As an Unbeliever, Is it Possible to Have Christian Family and Friends?

problem of evil

Many of the readers of this blog are former Evangelical Christians. Some readers find themselves somewhere between faith and faithless, while others label themselves as spiritual, pagan, agnostic, or atheist. One thing is for certain, many of us are far away from the Evangelical church we once called home.

As we move away from Evangelical Christianity, we leave behind family and friends who are still Christian. One of the most difficult things we face is how to deal with Christian family and friends now that we are no longer a part of the Christian faith. Is it possible to have Christian friends? Is it possible to maintain a good, mutually satisfying relationship with family members who are Christian?

Many of us remember the exuberance we had when we first trusted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. New converts often have a spiritual high that lasts for a long time. New converts are much more likely to witness to non-Christians than people who have been Christians for a long time. So it is when a person leaves the Christian faith.  Often they are angry, filled with regret. Many times they have been spiritually abused by a pastor or a church. Sometimes, after careful study of the Bible, they come to the conclusion that they have been lied to, that the Bible is, at best a work of fiction, and at worst a book that has been used to manipulate and destroy.  To some degree, the new non-Christian has had a born-again experience. I tell people that I have been born again into humanity.  Often, people are excited about their new found non-faith faith. And just like the new Christian they want to share their new-found beliefs with others.

Granted there are some differences between the new Christian and the new non-Christian. The new Christian believes in heaven and hell. The new Christian believes there is one God, one book, and one salvation and unless a person embraces the new convert’s faith hell awaits them. The new non-Christian has a broad worldview. It is a live and let live worldview. While the new non-Christian is excited about what they have come to believe, they don’t think someone is going to heaven or hell if they don’t embrace the new non-Christian’s beliefs.

The Christian, young or old is duty bound to share their faith with others. Jesus told his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to EVERYONE, and everyone includes those who used to be practicing Christians. The non-Christian is not under any compulsion to evangelize. The non-Christian is often quite content to live out their life without ever sharing what they believe.  The Christian often shares their faith whether asked or not,  but as long as Christians do not force their beliefs on the non-Christian they often are not likely to say a word.  Each to their own, the non-Christian says.

Unfortunately, Christians are often not content to live and let live. Believing they have a mandate from God, they push their religious beliefs into every sphere of life, public and private. Many Christians are theocrats. They believe America is a Christian nation and that the Bible should be the divine law-book for all.

Thanks to the U.S. Constitution, we have a strict  separation of church and state.  The non-Christian usually demands that Christian beliefs should play no part in government. This is why non-Christians find the refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on the government official’s religion so maddening. They are a public servant, the non-Christian says. Do your damn job!  While many Christians, in public, support the separation of church and state, in private they espouse a no king but Jesus worldview. While they dare not expose their theocrat intent, behind the scenes they work to dethrone the God of this world and establish the Kingdom of God on earth. As one who follows the Evangelical church scene closely, I find the abandonment of the separation of church and state by Evangelicals and the rise of dominion theology to be quite troubling and dangerous.

It is in the arena of church and state issues that non-Christians and Evangelicals butt heads. Non-Christians are determined to keep the Christian church out of  government, while many Christians think that there is not enough Christianity in government. The non-Christian desires a secular state where everyone is free to worship any god they wish, or worship no god at all. Many Christians believe a secular state is an abomination and an affront to God. So the battle lines are drawn. As much as the non-Christian just wants to live and let live, they are forced into a battle with some Christians. They cannot idly sit by while Christians attempt to turn the United States into a Christian Taliban oriented theocracy. And for this reason, it is very hard to maintain productive relationships with Christian family and friends once we leave the Christian faith.

I am pro-choice.  I support gay rights. I oppose the teaching of creationism in schools. I oppose prayer in school and I oppose the recitation of the pledge of allegiance. I oppose Presidents and government officials being sworn in with their hand on the Bible. I am a  democratic socialist and I oppose consumer driven capitalism.  I support stripping churches and pastors of their tax exemption. I oppose the posting of the Ten Commandments in schools or government buildings and I oppose any and all attempts to make the Bible the law of the land.

I am a liberal and a progressive. I support the ACLU. I regularly read magazines like Mother Jones,Harpers, The Progressive and Rolling Stone. I am so far to the  left that I often meet the ghost of Jerry Falwell coming around the corner. Yet, I support religious freedom.  I want every person to be free to worship or not worship according to their conscience.

As you can see, my life is an affront to the Evangelical. No matter how they look at me, my life is in direct contradiction and opposition to what they believe and practice. This is why it is very hard for a non-Christian to have meaningful relationships with Evangelical family and friends.

Several years ago, a friend of mine from many years ago found my blog. I met this man in the 1990’s when he became a member of a Christian Discussion mailing list, CHARIS,  I sponsored and moderated. I  had not heard from him in a long time. He left a comment for me. He didn’t try and be nice. He didn’t try to find out how I was. There was no attempt to catch up. Nope, he just left me two questions:

  • Is Jesus Christ the Son of God?
  • Is there any other way to God?

And so it goes…

Personally, I have given up any hope of trying to maintain relationships with Evangelical Christian friends and family.  The constant stress and battling wears on me. You who read this blog see the comments that are left by Christian family and friends of mine. Their comments are but the tip of the iceberg. Add the private emails, letters, tracts, and books that sent to me and the oppression of God’s chosen ones can be quite overwhelming

It seems that many of my Christian family and friends can not or will not leave me alone.  They think they can win me back to Jesus. They think if they argue with me long enough I will see the light.  They seem to think that after 25 years in the ministry that I am still lacking some sort of knowledge about the Christian faith, and that if they share that with me I will come running back to Jesus.

Several years ago, I  had one friend try to bully and badger me back to Jesus. Those who read my blog at the time likely remember what I call the Iggy Meltdown. This  so-called friend  bullied and badgered me until I finally had an epic emotional meltdown. I proceeded to launch a f-word laced tirade that left the air quite blue. (some readers might remember that Iggy was the man who repeatedly told me that he knew me better than I knew myself) It never dawns on some Christians that their bullying and badgering is anything BUT Christ-like. They are trying to win me back to Jesus using methods that Jesus would not approve of. And even if Jesus did approve of these methods, most thoughtful, decent people don’t. Badgering and bullying someone is never appropriate and it often drives people away.

I am very pessimistic about being able to maintain relationships with Christian family and friends, especially those who are Evangelical or part of Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement. Over the past eight years, I have lost every Christian friend and ministerial colleague. I didn’t leave them, but they sure left me. Some abandoned me right away, others have hung on for years. Recently, I lost the friendship of people I have known for over 40 years. The pressure from other Christians over still being friends with the evil atheist Bruce Gerencser became too much. While I understand, it is disheartening to lose friends that hail back to the days when you attended elementary school together.

From time to time, former parishioners will look me, wondering what Polly and I are up to. When they find out we are no longer Christians and I am an outspoken public atheist with a blog dedicated to exposing and critiquing Evangelicalism, they often are so traumatized by this that they unfriend us on Facebook or never talk to us again. One former church member told me that she couldn’t be friends with me because she found my story too disconcerting. Another former church member, spent days telling me how sad he was over me being an atheist. Eventually, I unfriend him because I thought his constant God posts were directed at me. Out of the thousands of people I pastored, I am Facebook friends with six. All of them are from one church and were part of the youth group. Two are now gay, several of them no longer believe in God, and the rest are marginal church attenders or attend liberal churches.

Earlier this year, I scanned a large number of old photographs from several of the churches I pastored. I put them up on Facebook and tried to let those who were in the photos know that I had posted them. Only once person bothered to respond to me.  The rest ignored my email and I suspect some of them didn’t even view the photos. These were people I often had a very close relationship with. With some of them, I had relationships that went beyond the professional pastor/parishioner relationship. Why didn’t they respond? While I can’t say for certain, it is well-known now that the one time Evangelical pastor named Bruce Gerencser is now an atheist, an enemy of God, and I suspect many of them have done a web search on my name and found this site or the other sites I have written guest posts for. I can only imagine their shock when they find out I am an atheist.

Having said all of this, it is p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e to have a meaningful relationship with Christian family and friends. The only way such relationships work is if there is mutual respect and there are no attempts to evangelize.  Honest, open discussion is one thing.  I am quite open about my non-faith faith. I enjoy talking about the Bible, God, Jesus, theology, atheism, agnosticism and politics.  But, when the discussion turns to an attempt to convert me or reclaim me for Jesus, I quickly lose any interest in talking to the person. Time to get the check and go home.

I am quite willing to accept the Christian where they are and as they are. Rarely can a Christian do the same for me. As I have said before, I want friends who are willing to let me go to hell in peace. I want relationships based on honesty, openness and mutual respect and if I can’t have that I really don’t want to someone’s friend. While family relationships are a bit more dicey, OK A LOT more dicey, I am at a place in life where I am quite willing to distance myself from family who can’t go five minutes without putting a good word on for Jesus.

Life is too short, and since this is the only life I will ever have, I want to spend it doing things that matter and doing things that I enjoy. Arguing with Christians is not on my list of things I enjoy. I realize, at times, my blog provokes and angers Christians, and I know my words can be sharp and to the point. That’s the how I write, It’s who I am. That said, I am not looking for an argument. This blog is my attempt at sharing with others my journey.  Those who find my blog most helpful are those who are on a similar journey.

To my Christian family and friends I say this:

If you want to be my friend, if you want me to be a part of the family, then you are going to have to take me as I am.  Just as I am, without one plea from you. And If you can’t do that? It’s been good knowing you.

Sin is What Sinners Do: A Few Thoughts on the Christian Concept of Sin

gluttony is a sin

Sin.

According to the Bible, sin is transgression of the law.

Let the debate begin

Which law?

Old Testament?

New Testament?

Both?

Christianity teaches that sin separates us from God.

Sin is what sent Jesus to the cross.

We are all sinners.

Born that way.

We sin because we are sinners.

Sin will ultimately land us in hell unless we trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins.

Sin is the problem and Jesus is the solution.

Our hearts are black, but Jesus can make them white as snow through the blood he shed on the cross.

Without sin I wonder if Christianity would exist?

For those of us who are not Christians sin takes on a different meaning.

Since there is no God to offend and no God to give an account to, sin does not carry the force that it does with the Christian.

The list of sins, according to the Bible, according to the pastor, and according to each Christian, is quite long.

Every person has their own sin list and no list is the same.

As an unbeliever my sin list is quite short.

And it gets shorter every day.

Since I reject the Bible as an objective standard of right and wrong how do I determine my morals and ethics?

Do I need a God, religion, church, or pastor to tell me what my morals and ethics should be?

Do I need a supposedly supernatural text, the Bible, to tell me what my morals and ethics should be?

According to the Bible the entirety of the law can be summed up in two commands:

  • Love God
  • Love your fellow human beings

My morals and ethics are based on the premise that I should love my neighbor as myself.

I should treat people like I would want to be treated.

I should not do things that would harm other people.

I should value my relationships with my family and my fellow human beings to such a degree that  I live in such a way that my actions cause them no harm.

God does not enter the picture. My only concern is the relationships I have with others. When I live in a selfish, unloving, unkind, unjust manner then I am “sinning” against my fellow human beings.

My sin does not bring the judgment of God, but It does hurt the relationships I have with others. My sin causes personal loss and pain.

If what I do does not hurt others, if it does not damage my relationships with others then it is not “sin.”

This makes life much simpler for me.

I am still a “sinner”, but I am much less a “sinner” since I abandoned the Christian faith.

Losing God, the Bible, and the complex, never ending, sin list has allowed to realize, for the first time in many many years, that it is OK to be human.

After living a lifetime of denying who I am I can now be free to be Bruce. I am still finding out who I really am.

So much of my life was labeled as sin. Every thought, every word, every deed, every day, sin.

I suspect I will always have a Christian sin hangover. A lifetime of being beat over the head with an angry God, a dying Savior, and a divine rule book has left a lot of deep wounds.

Notes

I use the word sin is this post because I think Christians who read this blog with better understand what I am talking about. Please see Let’s Talk About Sin, Guilt, and Human Behavior for a better explanation of my view on “sin”.

Jesus Said Love Your Enemies, Yet God ‘Jesus’ Tortures His Enemies in Hell

Here’s a graphic a friend of mine used for a post titled, Being A “Nicer, Friendlier” Fundy Doesn’t Change The Message:

bruce gerencser quote

I hope you will read

Windows 10: Is Microsoft’s Latest Operating System a Tool of Satan?

windows 10

I read and monitor a large number of Christian, Evangelical, right-wing, and bat-shit crazy blogs and news sites. Since the main focus of this blog is Evangelicalism, I do my best to be informed about what is happening in the world of God’s chosen people. Some days, it is isn’t easy and I find myself either wanting to take a long, hot mental shower or I find myself shaking my head or laughing hysterically.

This post is about a head shaking and laughing post written by Bible Believer, a fundamentalist Christian who blogs at the Galatians 4 website. He has written about me several times in the past, The IFB Pastor Turned Atheist: Those Who Fall Away and Ex-IFB Pastor Still Rejects the Word of God.  While he refuses to mention me by name in his posts, he did let his readers know that he doesn’t “post there (this blog) anymore, there are biblical precepts about preaching the gospel and getting out of Dodge and leaving the dust of your sandals when someone refuses to hear.”

Yesterday, Bible Believer wrote a post titled Watch Out for Windows 10:

Windows 8 is bad enough, I have to search for everything even to shut the computer off. Whose brain works with this nonsense? If I had time I’d strip Windows 8 off this computer and go back to 7. I shut off updates too as much as is possible but it seems some sneaks in anyway. The trojans sent to my computer never end too. This one almost got destroyed by two last week. I actually have to strip my computer completely clean at least once a year. I agree with the blogger of the link below since this commercial gave me the creeps too.

My first thought was to let Bible Believer know that the best way to not have a problem with Trojans is to stop surfing porn sites. You know, the 40th page of Google search results for porn will most likely have a few sites that will infect a computer with a virus of some sort. To all those Evangelicals who wink-wink, God be their witness, never look an internet porn, I suggest sticking to safe, reputable porn sites like youporn.

I don’t know if Bible Believer is surfing porn sites in his spare time, that five minutes a day when he is not cooking up yet another conspiratorial story about Satan, false Christians, the New World Order,  and atheists. Probably not, but what I  want to focus on is the website Bible Believer mentioned in his post, Another Voice: Revelation 18:4. Like Bible Believer, the writer behind Another Voice is a fundamentalist Christian McCarthyite who see Satan and the New World Order under every bed.

In 2012, Another Voice featured an article that alerted readers to the evils of Window 8. Of particular worry was a Microsoft Windows 8 promotional video. While the video is no longer available, here’s a screen shot of what Another Voice was so concerned about:

windows 8 eye

Most of us likely see an 8, but not Another Voice:

…The message in this second image from the same video could not be any clearer either. It is a hand-formation of a figure ‘8’ – for Windows ‘8’ of course, with, it just so happens, the infamous all-seeing-eye peering through, aka the ‘eye of Horus’.

Understanding that such obvious occult symbolism is never random but always intentional, are the ‘hidden’ messages in this Windows 8 “The World Is Ready” promo video a statement that the world is considered now ready for Horus, i.e. the Antichrist – along with the global system to monitor and control everything and everybody that comes with him – and that Windows 8 (and beyond) is going to make it happen?…

…Windows 8 is going to be shifting the masses to the cloud, and putting control of the software into the hands of Big Brother, aka ‘Horus’. The world is ready they say. Do you want your life in the ‘hands of horus’?

Windows 8 has now been replaced by Windows 10, and like Bible Believer, Another Voice sees a mysterious, hidden Satanic agenda behind the latest incarnation of Microsoft’s operating system.  This time, it’s the Windows 10 promotional video that’s the problem. (video removed from YouTube)

Are you scratching your head over this one, desperately trying to “see” the mysterious, hidden Satanic, New World Order agenda? Well, scratch no more. I’ll let Another Voice help you “see”. Look carefully at this screen shot from the video:

windows 10 phoenix

Still don’t see it? Come on, it is right in front of you! OK, take it away Another Voice:

“The future starts now…for all of us” say the would-be overlords of the would-be novus ordo seclorum (New order of the ages, often mistranslated New World Order by conspiracy theorists) …and sure enough there it is: the Phoenix – hidden-in-plain sight

For you who haven’t been part of Christian fundamentalism, I am sure the paranoia of Bible Believer and Another Voice is bewildering and hysterical. However, I understand exactly where they are coming from. When you grow up being taught that unseen forces are manipulating people and governments in order to usher in a New World Order and advance the kingdom of Satan, it’s easy to “see” conspiracies everywhere you look. Couple this with literalistic eschatological beliefs and it’s not hard to “see” Satan and evil everywhere.

The thinking goes something like this…Jesus is coming soon, and before he comes again, the world is going to become as it was in the days of Noah and the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Just look at the recent U.S. Supreme Court legalizing sodomite marriage and the recently released videos that clearly show the Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts. Look at all the lawsuits and court rulings, almost on a daily basis, that go against the Word of God and result in Christians being p-e-r-s-e-c-u-t-e-d.  Everywhere sincere Christians like Bible Believer and Another Voice look they see the advancing kingdom of Satan and spiritual and moral darkness.  Surely,  it won’t be long before the trump of God sounds and Jesus splits the eastern sky!

While I think Microsoft and a host of other companies have taken over the world, I don’t see a nefarious plot to usher in some sort of New World Order that will enslave the masses and turn the book of Revelation into a play acted out on the world stage. What I see is the march of technology to beat of the drum of capitalism. Whether this is good or bad remains to be seen, but I do not fear Windows 10 or any other software program. They are just tools we use to work, play, and communicate.

How NOT to Deal with a 16 Year Old Gay Daughter

teenage rebellion

From Matt Wolf’s documentary film “Teenage”

Today, The Christian Post published an article with the headline, What to Do with Teen Caught Texting Same-sex Partner. The article, written by Evangelical family guru’s Marina and Gregory Slayton, purports to answer a question a reader asked about their rebellious 16-year-old daughter:

My wife just read to me an article you wrote providing advice to a parent of a 16 year old girl caught lying, with the discovery having been through reading her text messages. My wife and I are trying to work through a similar problem with our daughter. The issue is more complicated in that:

(A) our daughter was caught once before, about – months ago, conducting an inappropriate relationship by text message. Months earlier she had embarked on another inappropriate relationship by email.

(B) in both cases the inappropriate relationships were with other girls.

(C) the conversations were filled with fantastic lies about our home life. Everything in her descriptions were completely “over the top.”

So far we’ve ended outside communication for her and restricted her freedom outside the house. Her learner’s permit has been put on indefinite hold. Most importantly, my wife and I have had three significant, God-centered and scripture centered discussions with her. These have been wonderful opportunities to see her grow dramatically in faith.

We are working with a Christian counsellor and our Pastor to try to get through this. Our level of oversight and conversation have increased dramatically. And we are looking at issues like her appearance (between androgynous and masculine), and memberships in (name withheld).

By way of background, she was adopted from (info withheld) by me and my first wife. My daughter suffered emotional and physical abuse as a result of (info withheld). When my daughter was (info withheld) we separated and she and her brother lived with me full time. Over the course of the following four years, we divorced, my ex-wife was in and out of mental hospitals and ultimately committed suicide. I remarried – to a wonderful Christian woman (who helped bring me to the Lord!). My daughter and my wife get along very well, but there are still wounds that need healing. Your advice on our next steps would be greatly appreciated – but also our anonymity.

Thank you and bless you,

Parents of troubled daughter

Evidently, the parents took a look at their daughter’s smartphone and found inappropriate text messages; inappropriate being exaggerations and lies about them and sexually oriented texts and emails between two fellow students of the same sex. The parents confronted their daughter and did the following:

  1. Took away her phone and access to the outside world
  2. Restricted her freedom outside of the house, also known as being grounded
  3. Took her to a Christian counselor
  4. Had their pastor talk to her
  5. Took a look at their daughter’s  appearance specifically her androgynous and masculine appearance
  6. Took a look at what groups their daughter is a part of

Most important, the parents sat her down three times with Bible in hand and had “God-centered and scripture centered discussions” with her.

What is clear to me and I suspect is clear to you is that what we have here is a teenager who is either gay, bisexual, or questioning her sexuality and this is conflicting with the religious beliefs of the parents.  I think it is safe to assume that the parents are part of a heterosexual only Evangelical sect and that the thought of their daughter being gay is viewed as a horrible sin and an attack from Satan.

Marina Slayton, author of Be the Best Mom You Can Be: A Practical Guide to Raising Whole Children in a Broken Generation,  had this to say:

…We wholeheartedly support your efforts to seek outside counseling with your pastor and a professional Christian counselor. Hopefully both will bring wisdom, perspective and guidance. As it is written in the Scriptures, there is victory in the counsel of many.

Here are a few thoughts for you, humbly recognizing that in this limited venue I can only skim the surface:

Perhaps your daughter does not understand who she is or whose she is for a very good reason: rejection. Rejected by her birth parents, rejected from her country and then (effectively) rejected by the mother who adopted her. As a result she probably feels she is “different” and “unacceptable.” She is not alone. In a generation that worships tolerance many modern teens are actually intolerant of each other because they themselves do not feel they belong. They cannot show love in a healthy manner because they don’t feel loved. Teen suicide is at record levels in part because so many don’t have a sense of belonging and they don’t feel loved.

So remember: Love your daughter! Her spirit of rejection is most likely daring you to reject her. You and your wife have been chosen by God to be His minister of love to her. We realize this will not be easy given the circumstances. Years of feeling rejected and alone cannot be overcome in a few months. It will take years. And that is OK.

Ask our Heavenly Father to be working in her heart too. That is critical. He can help from the inside out: building vision and love and forgiveness in her heart…

Not one word about her sexuality. Not one word about what is likely the REAL issue driving their daughter’s parent described rebellious behavior. Remember, rebellion in Evangelical circles is a catch-all for every teenage behavior the parents don’t like or approve of. As some of the regular readers of this blog will testify, Evangelicals have sent their children off to Evangelical behavioral modification camps, AKA Christian group homes, for things as trivial as smoking, listening to rock music, or fooling around with their boyfriend.  What non-Evangelical parents would consider typical behavior from a 16-year-old is viewed as rebellion against not only parental authority and the church’s beliefs, but also rebellion against God, the very God who said, for rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

At the end of the article, Gregory Slayton, a Harvard graduate and author of Be A Better Day Today , added:

  • Enlist close friends to join you in praying for her…
  • Fast for her as God leads. Jesus tells us that fasting is very powerful and He is right. I try to fast for my family once a week. A great Christian brother taught me a lot of fasting…and I’m still learning. But there is power there – God’s power.
  • Most importantly, please know that our Heavenly Father loves your daughter very, very much. He has entrusted her to you and your wife. So you can expect (and should ask for) God’s help in these challenges. The Holy Spirit is powerful. Super powerful. So ask God’s Spirit to be at work in your daughter’s heart for healing, repentance, and restoration…

Ah yes, pray, fast, know that God loves their daughter very, very, very much, and rely on the super-duper power of the Holy Spirit to change her life, which is Greek for deliver her the sin of homosexuality.

Like his wife, Gregory Slayton makes no mention of the rainbow-colored elephant in the room. And therein lies the biggest problem for this girl. The behaviors the parents are calling rebellion are likely a result of their daughter’s blossoming sexuality. She feels and thinks one way and her parents, church, and pastor think another way. Not skilled in the art of hiding one’s feelings, I suspect her honesty is being misinterpreted as rebellion. What the girl really needs is to see a counselor who is able to separate her sexuality from the guilt and anger generated by her parent’s beliefs about homosexuality. Put yourself in her shoes. She thinks she is gay, but her parents, church, pastor, and church friends are telling her that her same-sex desire is evil and a sin against God and nature. How would you respond?

Why I am Not Interested in a Nicer, Friendlier Christianity

truth in love

Drawing by David Hayward

I often write about the extreme right of  Evangelicalism, the end of the Evangelical spectrum inhabited by churches and sects that nice, friendly Evangelicals like to call fundamentalist nut jobs. However, as I clearly show in my post titled Are Evangelicals Fundamentalists, ALL Evangelicals are fundamentalists. Evangelical belief requires theological fundamentalism, a core set of beliefs that one must adhere to be a Christian and considered an Evangelical in good standing. Some who deny this fact are really liberal/progressive Christians living in denial. Raised in the Evangelical church and familiar with its worship and practice, these liberal/progressive Christians don’t want to abandon the only church they have ever known. Their theology puts them squarely outside of Evangelicalism, but they refuse to accept this and they dig their heels in when attempts are made to drag them into the liberal/progressive church. There’s not much anyone can do for these folks. In time, the keepers of Evangelical truth will expose and embarrass them and they will be forced to leave. For now, they play pretend Evangelical.

There’s another subset within Evangelicalism that thinks they are what I call a nicer, friendlier version of Evangelicalism. They are convinced that legalism, rules, moralizing, and the like are the problem, so they attempt to advertise their churches as places that are judgment free, places where sinners can come to find healing and deliverance. However, these nicer, friendlier Evangelicals hang on to theological fundamentalism. While their lifestyle or what they consider a sin might be different from their legalistic brethren, theologically there is very little difference between the two.

Here’s how you force a nicer, friendlier Evangelical to show their true colors. Forget this or that doctrine. Forget everything except what I share next:

Evangelical: The church I go to, First Church of the Most Awesome People in Town, is the nicest, friendliest church in town. We love everyone and I am sure if you come to our church you would feel right at home!!

Bruce: Let me ask you several questions. First, do you believe in a literal hell?

Evangelical: Yes, that’s what the Bible teaches.

Bruce: Who ends up in hell?

Evangelical: Well, I am not the judge, only God is, but the Bible does say that a person must know Jesus as their Lord and Savior to go to heaven when they die.

Bruce: So, since I am not a Christian and I refuse to acknowledge Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I will go to hell when I die, right?

Evangelical: (looks down to ground) Uh, well, um, yeah, if you don’t repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ you will go to hell when you die.

Bruce: How long will I be in hell? Is it like Catholic purgatory where I’ll suffer for a time and then be taken to heaven?

Evangelical: Well,uh….(long pause) if you die without knowing Jesus as your Lord and Savior you will spend eternity in the torments of hell.

Bruce: Fire and brimstone and where the worm dieth not?

Evangelical: Yes.

Bruce: Since this body I currently have would burn up if I was thrown into a pit of fire and brimstone, does this mean God gives me a new body that will withstand the torments of hell?

Evangelical: (silently praying the Rapture would happen)

Bruce: And doesn’t this mean that your God created me, killed me, and sent me to hell with a new body fashioned by him to withstand day and night torture for eternity?

Bruce: Is this the God you worship? Why would anyone want to worship such a horrible deity?

Forget all the other doctrines, this is the only one that matters. I don’t care how nice or friendly a church thinks they are, if they believe in hell then they are party to the savage, endless torture of billions of people. They might smile more or practice friendship evangelism, but the result is still the same; those who don’t repent of their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ go to hell when they die. (please see We Love People and Are the Friendliest Church in Town)

The next time you run into a nicer, friendlier Evangelical, go for their jugular. Ask them point-blank if they believe in hell. Their answer (s) to this questions will tell you all you need to know. Personally, I have no interest in be a part of a group or being friends with anyone who thinks that I will burn in hell for eternity because I am not like them. This kind of thinking is no different from the thinking of the demented killers portrayed on Criminal Minds. Our God is an awesome God, the Evangelical says, and He loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. And if you refuse to accept this, our God will some day torture you for all eternity.

John Oliver Starts a New Church, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption

john oliver

Pastor John Oliver, Lady of Perpetual Exemption Church

John Oliver, host of  Last Week Tonight, has started a new church, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption:

Video Link

See Should Church Donations be Tax Deductible? and What is a Church According to the IRS?

Is the Bible the Answer to Everything?

joshua 1 8

According to Joseph Parker, director of outreach and intercession for the American Family Association and host of the Hour of Intercession radio program, the Bible is the answer to E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Not just questions about God, Christianity, or faith, but E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.  Parker, like every fundamentalist who spouts such nonsense, doesn’t really believe this, but it is a great slogan to rally the troops around. In Parker’s Bible-saturated mind, secularists, atheists, humanists, evolutionists, homosexuals, abortionists, socialists, communists, Democrats, liberals, and Barack Obama work day and night to destroy Christian America, and the only way to combat this onslaught is to return to a steadfast, ignorant belief that the Bible is some sort of divine answer book. All we need to do is check page 34 or some other page and we will know exactly how the Christian God wants us to live.

Parker writes:

Who decides what is right and what is wrong?  The Government?  Men? Women? White people? Black people?  Hispanic people?  Asian people?  Wise people?  Rich people?  The majority?  The minority?  Who?

Who decides what is true and what is not true?  Would it be any of the above mentioned people?  What do you think?  Well, does truth vary from one person to another?  Does it vary from one group of people to another?  Is it relative to the situation and the group involved?

Truth is not relative.  Truth is God.  Truth is Jesus Christ.  Truth flows from the mind and heart of God.  And truth does not change.  Truth is what it is.  Truth is right and good and fruitful.  Truth is good for us. Truth sets people free.

The Word of God is truth.  It teaches us what is right and what is wrong.  It teaches us what is good and what is evil.  It teaches us about reality.   It teaches us about life, people, and human nature.   The Word  of God teaches us and helps us understand the laws of nature, the laws of the universe, what is correct and what is false.   The Word of God is our instruction manual for life.

When people or governments or societies try to ignore God and the Word of God, they get in trouble.  When men and governments avoid the wisdom of God’s Word and try to make up their own rules, it will lead to disaster one hundred percent of the time.  We as human beings, often think we know what is good for us, what is in our best interest, and what will “make us happy”.   Often, we think that behavior that we want to carry out, though it may go against the Word of God and the wisdom of God, should be okay.  Behavior that goes against and violates God’s Word is sin.    And, the truth is that sin, sooner or later, will lead to death.

The Word of God is good for you.  The Word of God is good for your marriage, and it is good for your family.  It’s good for your children’.   It’s good for you physically, mentally, spiritually, etc.  The Word of God is full of grace and truth.   The Word of God is anointed.  God’s Word is PREGNANT with the ability to bless.

So, because God’s Word is all of this, we must be very serious about reading and meditating on and studying God’s Word.   God’s Word has wisdom, counsel and insight, in direct statement or in principle, about everything, every situation and every matter…

…there are many other topics and issues anyone could look at and find out what the Word of God has to say about them.  But , basically, there is simply a great need for us to read the Word of God and listen to its wisdom and counsel.   Once, again, we should be mindful that in direct statement or principle, God’s Word speaks to every issue, every topic, and every concern in life.

We are wise to make a habit of reading the Word of God daily.  Reading at least three or more chapters a day is a good spiritual “diet” to help us grow in our understanding of God’s Word consistently.    And the fact is, we NEED to be faithful students of God’s Word.  It is a guide book for life and it is a source of spiritual nourishment that we desperately need  every day of our lives.

Equip yourself daily by spending time reading the Word of God.  Parents, help to equip your children daily by having them to read the Word aloud to you every day.   Encourage others you know to make it a habit to spend time reading God’s Word every day.   Nothing will prepare and equip you better for the challenges and issues of life than – the Word of God.

fred flintsone and barney rubble

Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, authors of Genesis and Exodus?

There is absolutely no way to reach people who think like this. Their minds are walled off from reason and reality, in bondage to the ancient ramblings of unknown authors from the era of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. If this belief is taken to its logical conclusion, it can result in emotional and mental harm, and in some cases child abuse, spousal abuse, rape, and murder. Thinking I am being hyperbolic? Consider the recent news report about Rob and Marie Johnson:

21-year-old Indiana woman has accused a couple who she lived with in Port St. Lucie, FL of physically and sexually abusing her for five years and using scripture from the Christian Bible’s Old Testament to justify it.

WPTV News reported that the accuser says that she was sent to live with Rob and Marie Johnson after the death of her mother nine years ago. The then-13-year-old was sexually abused by Rob Johnson virtually from the day she arrived in the home.

Detective Daniel Herrington of the Port St. Lucie Police Department told WPTV that the woman first went to the police in Indiana where she lives now.

“She ended up hearing stories of other women who had come forward, hearing also the stories of women who did not come forward, to tell about their abuse,” said Herrington.

Rob and Marie Johnson reportedly believe in Old Testament law regarding marriage, under which a man can have many wives who are ultimately his property. The girl was ordered to call Jeff “Master” and to submit to his and Marie’s sexual advances whenever they ordered her to.

The Johnsons reportedly preyed on the young girl’s fear of being abandoned by telling her that if she wanted to be part of their family, she had to have sex with them…

While I certainly think the Bible can provide spiritual value and moral instruction, it is filled with behaviors and practices most of us consider barbaric and immoral, and when in the hands of a literalist it can be deadly. While many Christians do their best to perfume the manure pile, a shovel and five minutes quickly reveals God-approved immorality and abuse. From incest to polygamy and from rape to genocide, God’s answer book rightly deserves every bit of the scorn we skeptics heap upon its God-inspired, inerrant pages.

bible literalism

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Songs of Sacrilege: Opiate by Tool

This is the fiftieth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Opiate by Tool.

Video Link

Lyrics

Choices always were a problem for you.
What you need is someone strong to guide you.
Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow,
what you need is someone strong to guide you..
like me, like me, like me, like me

If you want to get your soul to heaven, trust in me.
Now don’t judge or question.
You are broken now, but faith can heal you.
Just do everything I tell you to do.

Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow.
What you need is someone strong to guide you.
Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow.
Let me lay my holy hand upon you.

My Gods will becomes me.
When he speaks out, he speaks through me.
He has needs like I do.
We both want to rape you.

[x2]
Jesus Christ, why don’t you come save my life now
Open my eyes and blind me with your light

If you want to get your soul to heaven, trust in me.
Now don’t you judge or question.
You are broken now, but faith can heal you.
Just do everything I tell you to do.

[x2]
Jesus Christ, why don’t you come save my life now.
Open my eyes, blind me with your light now.

Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow,
Let me lay my holy hand upon you.

My Gods will becomes me.
When he speaks, he speaks through me.
He has needs like I do.
We both want to rape you

 

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