Evangelicalism

Overheard in the Break Room: How Some Local Evangelicals View the Josh Duggar Story

josh duggar

Josh, I Barely Touched My Sisters Genitals, Duggar

Overheard at work by Polly, two God fearing Christians discussing Nineteen and Counting and the Josh Duggar scandal:

  1. Josh Duggar was set up
  2. Someone is out to destroy this w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l Christian family
  3. The cops leaked the story
  4. He was ONLY fourteen

Yep, pretty well sums things up. *sigh*

Medical Marijuana and Relieving Pain and Suffering

letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent-News, submitted on June 14, 2015

Dear Editor,

Rarely a week goes by when there is not a letter to the Editor from a fundamentalist Christian demanding their moral code and peculiar interpretation of the Bible be accepted by all.  Even when they aren’t quoting the Bible or reminding local unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of their impending doom, their letters reflect an addled worldview, one shaped by an ancient book they think offers them unchanging truth. If their beliefs were kept in the church house, non-Christians would care little and hope that one day they would see the light. However, their beliefs are not kept in the church house, and because of this people of science, reason, and common sense must continue to push back as Christian fundamentalists try by legal and political means to force people to live by a worldview that is better suited for the dustbin of human history.

Take a recent letter writer who vehemently opposes legalizing the use of medical marijuana in Ohio. Even though they didn’t mention one Bible verse, their letter dripped with the fundamentalist presupposition that suffering and pain are in some way noble and good for us. Numerous Bible verses would certainly lead one to conclude that suffering and pain have probative value and makes us closer to God and keeps us from clinging too closely to this life. If we buy into this kind of thinking and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, a life after death that is free of suffering and pain awaits us.

Sounds sublime, right? But, what if there is no life after death, no divine payoff for trudging through life suffering for Jesus and enduring pain because it will make us stronger?  What if the only life we have is this one? Well, that changes everything. If this life is it, and I think it is, then we should try to relieve not only our own pain and suffering, but that of others. As a committed humanist, I would never want to withhold from anyone that which would relieve or end their suffering and pain. Whether it is narcotic pain medications, medical marijuana, or physician assisted suicide, I want every human to have at their disposal the means to lessen their suffering and pain.

Any religion that values suffering and pain is one that should be roundly criticized and rejected. And if Jesus were alive today, I suspect he’d agree with me.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

Yes, I Know Almost Everything

know it all

Yes, I know almost everything  about…

Christianity

Protestantism

Catholicism, West and East

Western Christianity

American Christianity

Evangelical Christianity

Calvinism

Arminianism

Soteriology

Eschatology

Ecclesiology

Pneumatology

Hermeneutics

Inspiration

Infallibility

Inerrancy

Errors

Contradictions

Variants

How many times do I need to read a book until I know its contents?

I know the Bible from cover to cover

50 years in the Christian church

25 years as a pastor

Thousands of sermons

Thousands of hours spent reading and studying the Bible

What are you going to tell me that I do not already know?

I am not an atheist because of ignorance, I am an atheist because of knowledge

You believe

I don’t

You have faith

I don’t

Call me a fool

An apostate

A false prophet

But don’t insult me by suggesting that there is something I don’t know about Christianity, God, Jesus, or the Bible, and if I just had THIS knowledge, I would then see the light, repent, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Will you “hear” what I have written here?

Of course not

I wish I could test out of this class you think I need to take

Then maybe you will stop…

Forget it

You will never stop

Life Without God is Empty: How One Christian Describes the Life of an Atheist

empty life

I saw the following on Facebook:

Life without God is empty. Eventually life without God comes to a very lonely and unfulfilled end – after you die. But life with God – after you die and are raised to life again – goes on forever, in indescribable joy!

The gist of this person’s comment is this…Atheists live empty lives that will come to a lonely, unfulfilled end.

I have given up trying to educate Christians concerning their ignorance about atheists. I have come to the conclusion that they simply do not want to know the truth.

Christians need to think that their lives matter, that their worship and devotion to God will result in a divine payoff in the sweet by and by. They need to think that going to church on Sunday matters, that giving 10% of their income to the church matters, and that doing all the things the Christians do matters. To admit that atheists can have fulfilling lives that matter is to say that a person can have a good life without God. Christians will have none of that. No! No! No! GOD makes life worthwhile. GOD gives life purpose and meaning.

Here’s what I know. People are people, regardless of what they think about God. Purpose and fulfillment are not dependent on God. There are atheists who live unfulfilled, meaningless lives, but there are plenty of Christians who do the same. In fact, since Christianity is the dominate world religion, I suspect there are far more Christians living unfulfilled, meaningless lives than there are atheists.

The atheist is often more focused on this life than the Christian. The Christian tends to focus on the hereafter. Living and enjoying life is offloaded to eternal life beyond the grave. The present life is to be endured, with the result being God gives the Christian indescribable love, joy, and peace that goes on forever. The atheist only has this life.They only have one opportunity to live life and live it well. The atheist is highly motivated to make what they can of this life, to enjoy this life, and to make the future a better place for their progeny.

Most Christians can’t accept this. They are too invested in their interpretation of the Bible, their worship of God, and the mansion that awaits them after they die, to admit that an atheist can have a life that is, in every way, as happy as theirs.

Focusing on What Really Matters

focus on what matters

As a Christian, I viewed life this way:

  1. Life is given to us by God.
  2. Life is a preparatory time for life after death.
  3. Troubles, trials, and adversity will certainly come our way but these things are part of God plan for us. He is testing us, trying us, and developing a longing in us for Heaven.
  4. While pleasure and happiness have their place in the human experience, it is far more important to know the joy of the Lord, and if need be deny oneself pleasure and happiness for the sake of God’s Kingdom and the eternal reward that awaits those who run the race God has set before them.
  5. While there is nothing wrong with material things, they do have the power to corrupt and distract us from that which really matters. As the Westminster Catechism says : What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
  6. Life is to be lived with God, his will, and eternity always in the foreground.
  7. Death is a promotion from this life to the next. While we will leave our loved ones behind for a time, we know that if they are followers of Jesus we will see them again in Heaven.

As an atheist, I view life this way:

  1. Life is given to us by our parents.
  2. This life is all we have. There is no life after death, no second chances, no do-overs. This is it.
  3. Troubles, trials, and adversity will certainly come our way. These things happen to most everyone, and it is the price we pay for being among the living.  Sometimes these things happen due to our bad choices or rash, foolish decisions. However, many things befall us simply due to luck. Wrong place. Wrong time. Wrong circumstance. Bad genetics.
  4. Pleasure and happiness are to be sought after since this life is all we have. In seeking pleasure and happiness, we should consider how seeking these things affects others,  but we should not allow others to stand in the way of our pursuit of pleasure and happiness. Life is too short to allow others to dictate the parameters by which we live our lives.
  5. We should seek after those things which give our life meaning and purpose. While there is a place in the human experience for living for the sake of others, this should not be at the expense of our own meaning and purpose. While narcissism is not a trait most humans value, neither is living a life that belongs to everyone but the person living it.
  6. Since life is defined by the space between birth and death, it is important for us to live each day to its fullest. Every day we live means we are one day closer to death. While death may provide a release from pain and sickness, it is bittersweet. Bittersweet because we are leaving behind those things which mattered to us. Above all, we are leaving behind those we love.

A year or so ago, I watched the final show of the acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under. (created by True Blood creator, Alan Ball)  The show is about the Fisher Family and their funeral home business. For five seasons viewers are taken on a journey with the Fisher family and death. I found Six Feet Under to be one of the best dramas I have ever viewed. In the final show the writers tried to tie together all the loose ends. A few episodes back Nate Fisher had a brain aneurism and died at age 40. He left a wife, two children, and a complicated life. The last several shows focused on Nate, his contradictory life, and its effect on everyone his life touched.

The last few moments of the show were the most powerful moments I have ever experienced while watching TV. I wept as the show moved through the lives of all the Fisher family as they aged and one by one died. All of them dead. No one escaped. While it would be easy to say “how sad”, I found it to a reminder of how important it is to value and cherish the life we have. We spend so much time doing things that are meaningless or add nothing to our life. I know it is very easy to get sucked into normalcy, to just go with the flow. We tell ourselves, Tomorrow. Perhaps a Bible verse is appropriate here:

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. (Proverbs 27:1)

Perhaps each of us need to ask ourselves:

  • Am I happy?
  • What is it I want to do with my life?
  • What brings me pleasure and happiness?
  • What do I want to do that I have not yet done?

What are your answers telling you? What are your thoughts on what I have shared here?

There Are No Flowers in Hell, a Local Man Tells Me

tulips 2015

Tulips, yard of Bruce and Polly Gerencser, 2015

In response to a letter I wrote to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News, an elderly local Christian sent me the following letter:

Bruce,

Please reconsider. Even if we choose to believe there is no hell, doesn’t make it so. I saw the pictures of flowers you posted and it showed how you enjoyed them. In Hell, you will never be able to enjoy anything. There will only be torment forever and ever. I don’t want anyone to go to that place and certainly God does not want that for you either. When you truly come to know Jesus, you will gladly and willingly surrender your all to Him and following His commands will not be burdensome to you. It will just flow out of your heart of love for Him.

Perhaps you were a religious person who never truly had a relationship with Him. I beg you – please reconsider before it is too late for you. He loves you so much. The precious blood of Jesus was shed for you, don’t let it be in vain. What about your wife, children, and grandchildren? If you die and go to hell, you will regret that you had a part in taking them there with you, and you will want someone to go and tell them the truth.

Please reconsider. Count the cost. This life is so short, but eternity is forever. Wouldn’t it be better to endure this life and all it’s problems with Jesus, than to be in hell for eternity and have to bow down to the authority of God anyway? I pray God give revelation to you and your family regarding heaven and hell. I say all this in the love of Jesus. I know this will be considered as evangelism, but please read it. I pray you make the right decision.

Let me summarize. Why should I become a Christian?

  • I love flowers and there are no flowers in hell.
  • Because I was a religious person who never really knew Jesus.
  • So I don’t have to be accountable for my wife, children, and grandchildren going to hell.

Is this the best that Christianity offers theses days? As the writer said:

Wouldn’t it be better to endure this life and all it’s problems with Jesus, than to be in hell for eternity and have to bow down to the authority of God anyway?

My answer is no. I would rather endure this life and all its problems without a deity, knowing that when I draw my last breath I have lived my life well and that I can, with peaceful assurance say, this is enough.

I have no doubt that the person who sent me this is sincerely concerned for my spiritual welfare. Been there, done that. Christians need to understand that I am an intractable atheist. Arguments like those found in this letter are shallow, contradictory, and easily refuted.  Better for this man to seek after those who have some interest in the Christian message . There is nothing a Christian can say to me that is going to make me suddenly see the error of my way and cause me to repent. Experts have tried, but here I am, wallowing in my depravity, enjoying my last few moments on earth before I step out into eternity and join Hitch in hell.

One Millions Moms Upset Over FOX Making the Devil Likeable and Human

lucifer morningstar

Actor Tom Ellis will portray Lucifer Morningstar on FOX’s TV Show Lucifer

Snark and sarcasm

Another day, another faux outrage by Monica Cole and the sexually frustrated, batteries in the vibrator are dead, women of One Million Moms. Later this year, FOX plans on debuting a TV show titled Lucifer. FOX describes the show this way:

The Devil has come to Los Angeles…

Based upon the characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg for DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint, LUCIFER is the story of the original fallen angel. Bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, LUCIFER MORNINGSTAR (Tom Ellis, “Merlin”) has abandoned his throne and retired to L.A., where he owns Lux, an upscale nightclub.

Charming, charismatic and devilishly handsome, Lucifer is enjoying his retirement, indulging in a few of his favorite things – wine, women and song – when a beautiful pop star is brutally murdered outside of Lux. For the first time in roughly 10 billion years, he feels something awaken deep within him as a result of this murder. Compassion? Sympathy? The very thought disturbs him – as well as his best friend and confidante, MAZIKEEN aka MAZE (Lesley-Ann Brandt, “The Librarians”), a fierce demon in the form of a beautiful young woman.

The murder attracts the attention of LAPD homicide detective CHLOE DANCER (Lauren German, “Chicago Fire”), who initially is dismissive of Lucifer. But she becomes intrigued by his talent for drawing out people’s secrets and his desire to dispense justice, doling out punishment to those who deserve it. As they work together to solve the pop star’s murder, Lucifer is struck by Chloe’s inherent goodness. Accustomed to dealing with the absolute worst of humanity, Lucifer is intrigued by Chloe’s apparent purity and begins to wonder if there’s hope for his own soul yet.

At the same time, God’s emissary, the angel AMENADIEL (DB Woodside, “Suits,” “24”), has been sent to Los Angeles to convince Lucifer to return to the underworld…can the Devil incarnate be tempted toward the side of Good, or will his original calling pull him back toward Evil?

One Million Moms is outraged over FOX’s unbiblical, humanizing presentation of Lucifer. In a May 2015 post urging Mommies to sign a petition demanding FOX drop the program, Cole wrote:

FOX has plans in 2016 to air “Lucifer,” a new series which will glorify Satan as a caring, likable person in human flesh.

The series will focus on Lucifer portrayed as a good guy, “who is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell.” He resigns his throne, abandons his kingdom and retires to Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping the LAPD punish criminals.

At the same time, God’s emissary, the angel Amenadiel, has been sent to Los Angeles to convince Lucifer to return to the underworld.

Previews of the pilot episode depict graphic acts of violence, a nightclub featuring scantily-clad women and a demon…

Today, I got an email from Monica Cole and One Million Moms with the subject line “We are missing your name on the ‘Lucifer’ petition.” I thought, I bet you are. Here’s what Cole had to say in her email:

Very soon, One Million Moms will deliver a petition to FOX television network, urging them to cancel plans to air a new series which will glorify Satan as a caring, likable person in human flesh.

We want to include your name, letting FOX know that Christians are standing together!

The previews for “Lucifer” misrepresent Satan, depart from true biblical teachings about him, and inaccurately portray the beliefs of the Christian faith. In airing this show, FOX will be disrespecting Christianity and mocking the Bible.

Add your signature today! 1MM and our children are counting on you!

It’s a pretty slow news day when the biggest thing on your outrage radar is a TV program that “misrepresents Satan.”

Cole whines that FOX’s show disrespects Christianity and mocks the Bible. Aww…so sorry.

Here’s my take. Tom Ellis is an attractive actor and we can’t have fundamentalist Christian women getting all hot and bothered over an attractive Lucifer. If this happened, fundamentalist women would be forced be dig deep into their underwear drawer and find their vibrator so they can satisfy their “need.” But, Bruce, they have a husband who will dutifully perform the missionary service. What  self-respecting fundamentalist Christian woman would want to have sex with Billy Bob when they can fantasize about having sex with Lucifer and turn their Passion Rabbit or Ladygasm vibrator on H-I-G-H.

Proving my point, as of today, the Lucifer petition has 19,048 signatures. If you want to add your name, or better yet a fake name, please go here.

lucifer petition

Here’s my petition submission. I encourage you to be creative and let Monica Cole know you support her attempt to defend Lucifer.

petition submission

I have written about One Million Moms before: One Million Moms Offended Over Old Woman Flashing Her Husband in Taco Bell Commercial, One Million Moms Outraged Over Women Not Wearing Underwear, One Millions Moms Says a Boy is a Boy Even if She is a Girl, The Bankruptcy of the Evangelical Gospel, and Follow the Money: The American Family Association and their Support of the Gay Agenda.

Dear Peter LaBarbara, If Gays Aren’t Born That Way Neither are Heterosexuals

peter labarbera

Peter LaBarbera

One of Dennis Hastert’s alleged victims was a gay man who died of AIDS in 1995.  Peter La Barbara, the homophobic director of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, wrote a post about this man, suggesting that Hastert “made” the man into a homosexual. Here’s what LaBarbara had to say:

“The is a gripping aspect to this story that most media would dare not cover or investigate: the sad reality that there are many “gay” “Steve Reinboldts” out there: victims of adult homosexual predators–victims whose “gayness” was effectively chosen for them by alleged abusers like Hastert. The media and the powerful LGBT Lobby want us to believe that men and women are “born gay,” or at least that this is a “natural” sexual identity. Yet the many testimonies of homosexual men and women who recall being sexual abused as a child–they might not call it ‘abuse’–by an adult or an an older teen or a sibling, suggests otherwise. Common sense tells us that such predatory abuse scars and confuses the victim and influences his choice to embrace a deviant and immoral sexual lifestyle. And common sense also tells us that homosexuals who acknowledge childhood sexual abuse in their past yet assert that it has nothing to do with their out-and-proud “gay” identity are in deep, deep denial.”

Now, let me change a few words:

“The is a gripping aspect to this story that most media would dare not cover or investigate: the sad reality that there are many “heterosexual ” “Steve Reinboldts” out there: victims of adult heterosexual predators–victims whose “heterosexuality ” was effectively chosen for them by alleged abusers like Hastert. The media and the powerful Heterosexual Lobby want us to believe that men and women are “born heterosexual ,” or at least that this is a “natural” sexual identity. Yet the many testimonies of heterosexual men and women who recall being sexual abused as a child–they might not call it ‘abuse’–by an adult or an an older teen or a sibling, suggests otherwise. Common sense tells us that such predatory abuse scars and confuses the victim and influences his choice to embrace a deviant and immoral sexual lifestyle. And common sense also tells us that heterosexuals who acknowledge childhood sexual abuse in their past yet assert that it has nothing to do with their out-and-proud “heterosexual ” identity are in deep, deep denial.”

See how easy that was, Peter LaBarbera?

Pastor Steven Anderson Hates Bruce

steven anderson bruce jenner

Snark/sarcasm ahead

Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe Arizona, has a huge hard-on for Caitlyn Jenner. Well, I shouldn’t  say huge hard-on because Anderson is a small-minded, small dick narcissist who loves to say outlandish things so he can continue his five minutes of media fame. While I would love to say that Anderson is an outlier, his type can be found in every Evangelical sect. Anderson happens to hail from the Jack Hyles wing of  the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church movement. He prides himself in being uneducated, as does his wife Zsuzsanna. If you have not read my post Understanding Steven Anderson, Pastor Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, Arizona, I encourage you to do.

When I first read Anderson’s quote, I thought to myself, Anderson is upset at me. After all, when you do I Google Search for Pastor Steven Anderson, my post about him is usually in the top five to fifteen search results. The ranking varies depending on if the news media has done any reporting on Anderson.  Sadly, Anderson had BRUCE JENNER in mind, not Bruce Gerencser, even though, as one Facebook commenter said, “Don’t feel bad, Bruce. I’m sure he hates you, too!

The Homophobia of Focus on the Family, Samaritan’s Purse, and Franklin Graham

wells fargo

When Wells Fargo hosed and took advantage of the poor by giving them sub prime mortgages they couldn’t afford, Focus on the Family, Samaritan’s Purse, and Franklin Graham said nothing. When a judge fined Wells Fargo for overdraft practices and charges that gouged and took advantage of poor customers, Focus on the Family, Samaritan’s Purse, and Franklin Graham said nothing. When Wells Fargo was fined for repeated mortgage irregularities and fraud, Focus on the Family, Samaritan’s Purse, and Franklin Graham said nothing. When Wells Fargo:

…settled a suit with 24,000 Florida homeowners alongside insurer QBE, in which they were accused of inflating premiums on forced-place insurance. In May 2013, Wells Fargo paid $203 million to settle class-action litigation accusing the bank of imposing excessive overdraft fees on checking-account customers. Also in May, the New York attorney-general, Eric Scheidermann, announced a lawsuit against Wells Fargo over alleged violations of the national mortgage settlement, a $25 billion deal struck between 49 state attorneys and the five-largest mortgage servicers in the US. Schneidermann claimed Wells Fargo had violated rules over giving fair and timely serving…

Focus on the Family, Samaritan’s Purse, and Franklin Graham said nothing.

No matter how  Wells Fargo treated poor and minority customers, Focus on the Family, Samaritan’s Purse, and Franklin Graham said nothing. Yet, when Wells Fargo runs a one minute ad featuring a lesbian couple, THEN Focus on the Family, Samaritan’s Purse, and Franklin Graham decided to say something.  Here’s the ad:

Video Link

Outside of the fact that the couple is two women, is there anything in this video that is remotely offensive?

Here’s what is offensive; the homophobia and bigotry of Focus on the Family, James Dobson, Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham, Tim Wildmon, and the American Family Association.

According to Buddy Smith, vice president of the American Family Association:

Wells Fargo’s history follows a pattern from which it has not wavered. Over the past few years, Wells Fargo has marched in scores of “Gay Pride Parades,” advertised monthly in gay magazines and websites, and has endorsed “Gay Pride Month.”

Wells Fargo has earned Human Rights Campaign’s highest “gay” award 13 years in a row, including paying for employee sex-change operations and associated mental therapy.

Again, where’s the offense? All I see is a major banking concern treating their employees fairly and providing for them necessary medical care. As far as Wells Fargo courting gay money, last I knew gay money spends and earns interest just like heterosexual and fundamentalist Christian money.

Who would you want to do business with?

Franklin Graham:

“This is one way we as Christians can speak out – we have the power of choice. Let’s just stop doing business with those who promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards. Maybe if enough of us do this, it will get their attention.”

…“that use shareholders’ advertising dollars to promote homosexuality. … It’s promoting a godless lifestyle. … A bank should be promoting the best interest rates they’re going to give me and what they can do for me as a business. But they should not be trying to get into a moral debate and take sides.”…

Wells Fargo:

“At Wells Fargo, serving every customer is core to our vision and values. Diversity and inclusion are foundational to who we are as a company. Our advertising content reflects our company’s values and represents the diversity of the communities we serve.”

Graham, knowing that his actions make him look like a homophobic bigot, let it be known that he was not targeting companies that hire or serve gay and lesbian customers. Sure, Franklin, sure. This is exactly what you are doing.

I expect more Evangelical temper tantrums once the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage. On the day this is announced, if you listen closely you will hear the air being sucked out of Focus on the Family, James Dobson, Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham, Tim Wildmon, the American Family Association, and other extremist fundamentalist Christian groups. WE can only hope so much air is sucked out that these groups die, never to be heard from again.

Perhaps it is time for Christians who value justice and fairness to stop supporting Franklin Graham. Perhaps it is time for Christians of good will to stop putting shoe boxes together for Samaritan’s Purse.  Perhaps it is time for Christians to ask why Franklin Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Samaritan’s Purse is sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars? Shouldn’t the money be going out as fast as it comes in? Surely, there are still plenty of the “right” kind of disenfranchised, homeless, and poor people to help?

Here’s what I think of Franklin Graham. He is an educated Fred Phelps and Steven Anderson. He represents everything that is reprehensible and wrong with Evangelical Christianity. Here’s the good news and the bad news:

franklin graham

On Monday June 5th Graham took to Facebook to express his outrage over Wells Fargo’s offense against almighty God. Since then, his screed has attracted 98,235 likes and 44,517 shares. Bad news? There are 98,325 people who think like Franklin Graham. Good news? There are ONLY 98,325 who clicked LIKE on his childish tantrum.  Graham is getting a lot of press now, but remember that his media presence is much larger than his actual influence. He is just another Evangelical hack demanding everyone live by his interpretations of an ancient, outdated, contradictory, and, at times offensive, religious text. Justice and fairness continue to march forward, trampling over the dead corpses of people like James Dobson, Tim Wildmon, and Franklin Graham. Perhaps, one day, justice will prevail.

Notes

I am starting to wonder if Franklin Graham is a closeted gay. He sure spends a lot of time talking about things being rammed/crammed down his throat.

Beecher Proch Blames Girls for Boys Being Visually Attracted to Girls

beecher proch

Beecher Proch

Snark ahead. Girl and woman used interchangeably.

The shaming of the fairer sex by a Christian fundamentalist is on public display at Girl Defined: Getting Back to God’s Design. Today’s shaman is Beecher Proch.  Part of a family singing group, 4 Proches, Proch has a blog and is part of Broch Productions, a Christian film company. You can also find Proch on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. He is a 2014 graduate of Pat Robertson’s Regents University and has written articles for several websites that cater to primarily a young female Evangelical Christian clientele, including Lies Young Women Believe and  A Lovely Calling.  I could find no articles by Proust on male focused sites, so it makes me wonder, with all the writing on female focused sites,  if Proch is trolling for a covered up, hot Christian woman. Or, perhaps he is, oh, I don’t dare go there.

Proch views American culture this way:

In today’s culture modesty is totally out of style. The phrase that I’d say best describes the current trend would be “less is more – show your skin.” Skin is everywhere: billboards, magazines, social media – everyone everywhere seems to be attempting to show off as much skin as possible and draw as much attention to themselves as they can.

The American culture is constantly putting the *wrong* message into girls’ heads. “If you don’t flaunt what you’ve got, guys are going to pass you over and move on to the skin-revealing, midriff-baring, hottie.”

Right away, Proch uses the word “modesty, a word he never defines other than to suggest immodest is showing too much flesh. How much flesh showing is too much? A little leg, a little cleavage, a little shapely form?

Proch assumes to know why women dress the way they do. In his mind, any woman who exceeds his modesty standard is trying to attract attention to themselves or is out to get a man. I will leave it to the women who read this blog to educate the young, unmarried, and I assume virginal Master Proch.

Proch buys into the notion that men are visual and women are not. While men certainly demonstrate their desire through a gaze, a look, or a creepy look, women are also visually attracted to men and other women. After Polly and I deconverted, we talked about this subject many times. I wanted to know what type of men, beside the stud muffin she is married to, Polly was attracted to. At first, fearing it would offend me, she didn’t want to say. Now, she freely gives her opinion on the male form. She really liked the movie Magic Mike, a psychological  thriller about a man who does magic shows for children. I am always surprised at the type and look of men she likes. I’ll see an attractive actor on TV and I’ll ask, do you find him attractive? The man I think she will think is hot is rarely right.

Each of us process the visual world differently. Do men view the world differently from women? Sure. But, is this a genetic difference or the result of social conditioning, parental training, religious influence, education, and personal likes and dislikes? Again, I will leave it to female readers to educate Proch.

Before Proch launches into his version of slut shaming, he makes it clear that:

…men are 100% accountable for where they put their eyes, and what they do with what they see once it enters their mind…

And then he says BUT,

…But I also know this: it sure is a blessing and encouragement when a woman makes the effort to dress modestly.

A woman who doesn’t reveal as much skin as she can shows love and consideration for the men around her striving to pursue godliness…

In other words, if women really love and care for weak, pathetic, helpless, sex-crazed, vagina seeking Evangelical men, they will make sure they watch Little House on the Prairie and Little Women to learn how to dress.  Either that or let Proch educate them on exactly what the Bible says about modesty. According to Prouch:

Modesty is Biblical! It shows that a woman understands who she is in Christ and that she knows she’s valued by God. A woman’s body is beautiful and amazing. There’s no embarrassment in how different the shape of a woman’s body is from a man’s.

Modesty doesn’t hide the difference, it clearly acknowledges it with the correct attitude and focus on God’s creative differences in body shape. Immodesty focuses on the body with the wrong attitudes of lust, pride, and self-focus.

Proch demands that Evangelical women and women everywhere adhere to his understanding of modesty. He even gives some rules he wishes women would abide by. Remember, these rules are derived from his interpretation of the Bible, so this means that these rules were given to Proch by God on Mount Sinai:

  • Dress modestly! Cover up the cleavage, ditch the short shorts, and go for some fashionable, but modest, clothing. Convictions in this area will differ, but I think we can all agree that clothing which blatantly draws attention to certain parts of your body isn’t modest. Do the mirror check before heading out the door.
  • Think twice before posting that photo to social media. Are you holding your photos on Facebook and Instagram to the same standards you yourself hold in real life? Could the photos you post cause others to stumble? Here’s a great post by Kristen about seductive selfies that will challenge your posting standards.
  • Ask yourself this catchy little phrase: “Is it too high at the bottom, too low at the top, or too tight around the curves?” Then respond appropriately.

Proch goes even further by suggesting that a woman can cover herself up and still have an immodest spirit and attitude. This spirit and attitude is shown in how the woman carries herself, whatever that means. I suppose he can look in a woman’s eyes or watch her walk and discern that she has an immodest spirit and attitude?

Here’s the bottom line for Proch; women need to get right with God. According to him, immodest dress is a sign of a heart problem:

I Corinthians 6:20 tells us to “…glorify God in your body.” The next time you go to put on those shorts with the 2 inch inseam, or the shirt that reveals cleavage, ask yourself, “Is this really glorifying to God? Will it direct people’s thoughts towards God, or will it lead them somewhere else with their thoughts (and eyes)?” Remember your ultimate end is to honor God with every single thing you do.

I know, nothing new here. Just another screed by an Evangelical man who blames women for the moral (using the word moral as Evangelicals do) failing of weak, pathetic, sex-crazed, visually stimulated Evangelical men. Out here in the evil world of unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines, men are generally required to own their sexuality. It is up to me to choose how I sexually respond to others. I am a married man in a committed, monogamous relationship. This fact determines the parameters of my sexuality. That said, my wife doesn’t scold or chide me when I enjoy female beauty or comment on the female shape. She gives me a boys will be boys look and is quite glad I still look at her the same way.  Beecher Proch needs to grow up and spend some time in a world that is not dominated by Christian fundamentalism. Perhaps then he can learn to not blame women for the sexual ills of males. His post is little more than another example of the slut shaming that is all too common in Evangelicalism. (please see my recent post Dear Kristen Welch, How to Make Sure Your Teen Age Son Can’t Handle His Sexuality and Rebecca Davis Worried About Her Lustful Four Year Old Ogling A Woman Wearing a Bikini and other post on human sexuality)

 

Bruce, the Pornographer: Why I Really Left the Christian Faith

this was your life

Evangelical Christian apologist William Lane Craig writes, in response to a question about doubt (link no longer active);

…..Be on guard for Satan’s deceptions. Never lose sight of the fact that you are involved in a spiritual warfare and that there is an enemy of your soul who hates you intensely, whose goal is your destruction, and who will stop at nothing to destroy you. Which leads me to ask: why are you reading those infidel websites anyway, when you know how destructive they are to your faith? These sites are literally pornographic (evil writing) and so ought in general to be shunned. Sure, somebody has to read them and refute them; but why does it have to be you? Let somebody else, who can handle it, do it. Remember: Doubt is not just a matter of academic debate or disinterested intellectual discussion; it involves a battle for your very soul, and if Satan can use doubt to immobilize you or destroy you, then he will.

I firmly believe, and I think the Bizarro-testimonies of those who have lost their faith and apostatized bears out, that moral and spiritual lapses are the principal cause for failure to persevere rather than intellectual doubts. But intellectual doubts become a convenient and self-flattering excuse for spiritual failure because we thereby portray ourselves as such intelligent persons rather than as moral and spiritual failures. I think that the key to victorious Christian living is not to have all your questions answered — which is probably impossible in a finite lifetime — but to learn to live successfully with unanswered questions. The key is to prevent unanswered questions from becoming destructive doubts. I believe that can be done by keeping in mind the proper ground of our knowledge of Christianity’s truth and by cultivating the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives….

First, Craig describes infidel websites like mine as:

  • A tool of Satan used to destroy the souls of Christians
  • Pornographic (evil writing)
  • Something that, in general, should be shunned

Craig readily admits that websites like mine can cause a Christian to doubt their faith. While I have no interest in converting any Christian to atheism, I do think the tenets of Christianity and the teachings of the Bible should be carefully investigated. If my writing causes a Christian to question and have doubts…good!

If Christianity is worth believing it will withstand any questions or doubts a believer might have. If Christianity is what it claims to be, then websites like this one will do little to no harm. Of course, I am think that Christianity is NOT what it claims to be and that is one the reasons people are leaving the faith in droves.

Second, Craig attempts to dismiss people like me by calling our testimony of loss of faith a Bizarro-testimony. (not to be believed) Craig contends we lost our faith, not for intellectual reasons, but because of spiritual or moral failure.  Craig believes former Christians use intellectual doubts as a cover for moral or spiritual failure. In doing this, Craig moves the focus from Christianity and the Bible to the individual. According to Craig, I am no longer a Christian because of some moral lapse or spiritual deficiency in my life.

I will leave it to Detectives for Jesus to ferret out my moral or spiritual failures. I doubt they will find much to hang me by, but I will readily admit that I, like every other Christian and pastor, had moral and spiritual failures. After all, since I STILL had a sin nature, moral and spiritual failure was sure to happen, right? That said, I have no affairs lurking in my closet, just in case someone thinks moral failure=screwing a church member.

Craig lives in a world of willing delusion. He refuses to accept the fact that many of us, especially those of us who were pastors, left the ministry and the Christian faith for intellectual reasons. I have written many times about this subject. The primary reason I left the Christianity was because I no longer believed the Bible was the Word of God. I no longer believed the Bible was “truth.” I no longer believed that the central character of the Bible, Jesus, was who the Bible says he was. (and I use the word “was” because I don’t believe Jesus “is”)

I didn’t have a moral or spiritual collapse that led to me leaving the Christianity. Instead, I decided to investigate again the claims of Christianity and its divine Holy Book. Conclusion? I weighed Christianity and the Bible in the balances and found it wanting. (Daniel 5:27)

At the end of the day, it really is all about the Bible.

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