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Category: Science

How I Answered Science Questions When I Was an IFB Pastor

As a Baptist pastor, how did I answer science questions? The short answer is . . . I didn’t.

I was five years old when my parents joined Tim LaHaye’s church, Scott Memorial Baptist Church in San Diego, California. I would remain associated with the Evangelical church for the next forty-five years, pastoring churches in Texas, Ohio, and Michigan. Whether as a church member or as a pastor, I and the world I was a part of were insulated from secular science. As a pastor, I rarely had someone ask me a science question, and the reason for this is quite simple. I believed and taught others to believe:

  • The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible, Word of God.
  • The Bible, in most instances, is meant to be read literally.
  • Genesis 1-3 accurately and literally records HOW God made the universe and everything in it in six 24-hour days, 6,027 years ago
  • If science conflicts with what the Bible says, science is wrong and the Bible is right. Always, without exception.
  • Questions and doubts are the works of Satan.
  • Certainty of belief is a sign of faith and maturity.

Besides the Bible, we Fundamentalists had our own science books and scientists. My favorite Evangelical “scientists” were Henry Morris and John Whitcomb. Morris had a degree in engineering, Whitcomb a degree in theology. Even though their books contradicted accepted scientific facts, they had a high view of Scripture and accepted the Bible as the final answer to every question, so their books carried great weight in Evangelical circles. I do not doubt that if I were still a pastor I would have taken church groups to the Creation Museum — Ken Ham’s monument to ignorance — so we could see the “proof” of our creationist beliefs.

The children in the churches I pastored were largely insulated from the world. Many of the children were homeschooled or attended private Christian schools. Children were not encouraged to go to college, especially wicked secular colleges. The highest calling for a woman was to marry a godly man and bear children, and the highest calling for a man was to become a preacher or a missionary. All other vocations were considered inferior.

From 1983-1994, I pastored Somerset Baptist Church in Mt. Perry, Ohio. For five years, we operated a tuition-free, church-member-only, Christian school. We used Rod and Staff science textbooks — books that emphasized the young earth creationist point of view. Rod and Staff is a Mennonite/Amish book publisher. My wife and I also homeschooled our children. We used Rod and Staff textbooks to teach science to our children.

I have very little science training. I took a general science class in 9th grade, biology in 10th grade, and biology in college. My college biology class was an absolute waste of time. No lab. No experimentation. The teacher, a local pastor, read to us from a biology book published by a Christian book publisher. The only thing I remember from my college biology class (the same class my wife took) was the teacher’s lecture on not marrying outside of your class, religion, or race. He was quite bigoted and racist.

As a pastor, the few times I was asked a science question that challenged my creationist beliefs I replied:

The BIBLE says . . .

This was the answer I gave for almost every challenge to what I taught.

The BIBLE says . . .

THE BIBLE SAYS really meant:

This is my interpretation of the Bible, my interpretation comes straight from God, my interpretation is final, so shut up and get back to serving Jesus.

There are thousands and thousands of American churches and pastors who hold similar views. The United States is one of the most scientifically advanced nations on earth, yet, at the same time, we are quite ignorant about basic scientific facts. We can thank religion for our collective ignorance.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce, Science Can’t Tell Us [Fill in the Blank], Yet You Are Certain There Is No God?

questions

A reader named Ron Lawson recently commented on the post The Scandalous Life of Jack Hyles and Why it Still Matters. That post is about Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) megachurch pastor Jack Hyles, yet Lawson’s comment says nothing about Hyles or what I wrote about him. Instead, Lawson wrote (all spelling and grammar in the original):

I am amazed at the incredible intelligence on this post. Science cant even tell how a single cell developed from non-life to life or where the book of our DNA came from or how it teaches cells to differentiate themselves into various organs, eyes etc. and yet we are certain there is no god.

I pray there is a God or we are cursed to be the highest intelligence and we have nothing to hate for all of the inhumanity to man that is caused by evil people… if evil is even a thing… that very concept presupposes there is a standard outside of ourselves that pre-dates our birth that has somehow come to the awareness that there is such a thing.

Lawson begins his comment by sarcastically saying “I am amazed at the incredible intelligence on this post.” Lawson makes no effort to respond to or address what I wrote about Jack Hyles. Instead, he wants to insult me personally — suggesting I am lacking in intelligence when it comes to biology. Granted, I am not a scientist, and I assume neither is Lawson, but he once spent the night at a Holiday Inn Express, so that means he is qualified to speak on scientific matters.

I will soon turn sixty-seven years old. I have made a lot of mistakes in life. As a young IFB preacher, I was certain that I was right. Arrogantly, I thought I could opine on every aspect of life even if I lacked knowledge, training, and education on a particular subject. This was especially so with matters of science. In high school, I took biology and earth science. In college, I took biology — which was a colossal waste of time. That’s it. While I have tried my best to advance my understanding of science over the years, I am in no way qualified to speak on such issues. I rely on experts in their relevant scientific fields to educate me when I have questions. When people raise science-related questions in the comment section, I typically defer to readers who actually know what they are talking about. I know what I know, but more importantly, I know what I don’t know.

Maybe Lawson has a science education. I doubt it, but maybe. Most Evangelicals who leave comments such as his lack actual science training. Their scientific knowledge comes from apologetics books, websites, and podcasts. Scores of Evangelicals have commented on this site, pontificating on biology, cosmology, or archeology. Yet, when pressed on their educational background or how they came to “know” what they know, you quickly find out that they have no knowledge beyond their literalist interpretations of the Bible, what their pastors say on Sundays, or what they read or watched on sites such as Answers in Genesis, Dr. Dino (Kent Hovind), or the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — to name a few.

If Lawson comments again, perhaps he will let us know why we should listen to anything he has to say; what qualifications does he have to speak authoritatively about biology? If Lawson wants to discuss Evangelicalism or the IFB church movement, I am more than happy to do so. Why? Because I am an expert in these subjects, and I am conversant on religion in general. However, I try not to expose my ignorance when it comes to science. I am more than happy to have general conversations about science, but an expert I am not. So, anything I say about science should be understood from that perspective.

Science does not have all the answers about anything. We know more than we did yesterday, but there is much we still do not know, and it is certain that we will never know everything. Evangelicals wrongly think that just because they can read the Bible, all of a sudden, they are an authority on what it says. Thus when they read Genesis 1-3, Evangelicals think they know how the universe and the biological world came into being. God did it. And since science can’t answer everything — cue up the God of the gaps argument — God did it. Just because science can’t answer a particular question doesn’t mean God is the answer. Most Evangelicals can’t even explain why there are two hopelessly contradictory creation accounts in the first three chapters of Genesis.

The Bible is a dead, antiquated religious text. When it comes to science, the Bible has nothing to offer. We know the universe was not created in six literal twenty-four-hour days. We know the earth is not 6,027 years old. We know Adam and Eve weren’t the first hominids. We know that many of the stories in the Old Testament, such as Noah and the Ark, Moses and the Jewish exodus, the tower of Babel, etc. are myths. Science tells us these things. The Bible? It is a product of its time, not meant to be used for scientific inquiry.

Lawson says that because science can’t answer certain questions — and I have no idea whether it can answer his challenges or not — we cannot say “there is no God.” I have never said that there is no God. I am an agnostic atheist. Unlike many theists, I know the limitations of my knowledge. I cannot know for certain whether a deity of some sort exists. A God of some sort may exist that has not yet made itself known to us. Is this likely or probable? No, but possible. Thus, I am agnostic on the God question. However, when it comes to the extant deities (all gods and religions are of human origin), I am an atheist, confident that these gods are myths. When it comes to the Abrahamic deities, I am confident that these gods and religions are the products of human minds. I am convinced that the central claims of Christianity are false.

As far as morality is concerned, I am persuaded that moral and ethical values come from our DNA and personal experiences and beliefs. If there was some sort of objective moral standard outside of ourselves, we would all have the same moral and ethical beliefs, at all times, throughout human history. Of course, we don’t. Even Christians can’t agree on morality. Morals change with time, and from person to person. Thus, morality is inherently subjective. It is when we gather into families, tribes, communities, and countries that we begin to develop moral codes and standards (which, again, vary from family to family, tribe to tribe, community to community, and country to country). We, collectively, agree that certain behaviors are moral (good) and others are immoral (bad). Because our highest goals are happiness and well-being, we often punish behaviors that negatively affect these goals. Ultimately, WE decide what is moral and ethical. (So, you think we are God? Yes.) 🙂 There is no God, who else decides besides us? Unless you think all morals are hardwired, you must believe morality is subjective. A separate issue, which I will not address at this time, is whether humans have free will. Even without free will, if happiness and well-being — both individually and corporately — are our goals, we can (must) govern human behavior through expectations and laws. While religions can and do play a part in the formation of our moral values, this doesn’t mean that a particular religion (and its deity and divine text) is the source, the grounding of human morality.

As far as evil, is concerned, evil is what humans do, based on what I stated above. We don’t need religion or a deity to declare a certain behavior or action is evil. I don’t need Jesus in my heart or knowledge of Lawson’s deity to know that slaughtering children and innocent civilians in war — as Israel is currently doing — is morally wrong. I make moral judgments every day, without God or appeals to a religious text (though I will readily admit my moral framework is informed by the five decades I spent as a follower of Jesus).

Lawson prays there is a God. Why? Isn’t it time we grew up and put off childish things, the vestiges of a pre-scientific age? Simply put, we don’t need the God of classical theism. He is a crutch people hang on to instead of doing the hard work necessary to determine how to morally and ethically live their lives. This path is messy, laden with challenges and contradictions, but more honest and fulfilling than appealing to mythical deities and ancient religious texts.

I appreciate Lawson taking the time to comment.

Saved by Reason,

signature

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce’s Ten Hot Takes for April 10, 2024

hot takes

Almost 200 aid workers have been killed in Gaza since October 7, 2023. This is unconscionable.

If Donald Trump was not on the 2024 ballot, Joe Biden would not get my vote. His immoral inaction over Israel’s war against the Palestinian people is a bridge too far for me.

Biden plans to give Israel $18 billion more in weapons of mass destruction. Bernie Sanders is right, Israel should not receive a nickel more in U.S. aid as long as they are waging indiscriminate war against defenseless Palestinians and withholding/hindering humanitarian aid.

Studies show increased DNA tests reveal incest more prevalent than thought. Is anyone really surprised by this? I suspect the same can be said for an increase in people finding out that their biological father is not the man who says he is.

Hillary Clinton tells voters who are upset over Biden-Trump rematch to “get over yourself.” Sorry, Hillary I’m still pissed over your feckless 2016 presidential campaign. Taking pot shots at Democrats who want better candidates and principled policies is driving people away from the Party. You’ve been warned.

Major League Baseball ⚾️ has started. Hope springs eternal. Will this be the year my Cincinnati Reds make a deep playoff run? Please God . . . 🤣

Arizona Republicans said they wanted a total ban on abortion, and the Supreme Court gave them one. Now they are distancing themselves from the very thing they wanted. Why? They fear being voted out of office by angry women who are tired of men controlling their reproductive rights.

Don’t believe one word Trump says about abortion. He will literally say anything to get elected. I guarantee you, once elected he will give forced birthers exactly what they want.

Our kitten, Petey, the Ferret, is six months old. We are currently living through the cat equivalent of the terrible twos. Last night, Polly put leftover garlic bread in a bag and left it on the kitchen counter. Come morning, garlic bread was spread all over the kitchen/living room floor. The bag? Petey took it upstairs. Never a dull moment.

Wonder and awe for this atheist was seeing and experiencing the total eclipse on Monday. God is nothing compared to this.

Bonus: Polly started her new job last week at Sauder Manufacturing in Stryker, Ohio. She is working first shift in their sewing department. This was an inter-company move, so she kept all her benefits, albeit with a $160 a week play cut since she is no longer a manager. We survive, to live another day.

Luck, Fate, or Providence?

god is in control

As an Evangelical Christian, I believed that God was the sovereign ruler of the universe. I believed God held my life in the palms of his hands. I believed God controlled every aspect of my life, and that life and death were determined by God alone. I believed I wouldn’t die one moment before it was my time to go; that God penciled a death date next to the name of every person ever born. I believed that God had a purpose and plan for my life. I thought this way for almost 50 years.

I have faced numerous circumstances where I could have easily been killed. Accidents, stupid mistakes, exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals, bad decisions by myself or others, serious sickness, and being at the wrong place at the wrong time . . . I could have and should have died long before today.

But here I am, and until 2008, I gave the Christian God all the credit for my continued existence. God wasn’t finished with me, I told myself, wiping my brow after surviving yet another near brush with death. As disease and pain continued to ravage my body, I lived with the calm assurance that God still had plans for me. In some ways, this is a great way to live. No worries . . . God’s on the job and nothing will happen unless God wills it.  The Apostle Paul had the same view:

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39

I willingly subjected myself to a life of poverty because I thought if God wanted me to have more money or a better house and car, he would give them to me. When I began to have health problems in the early 1990s, I saw them as a test from God. God wanted to make me more holy or stronger. God wanted to root out the deep and secret sins that no one but him could see. And no matter how painful the process was, I knew that God loved me and was in charge of everything.

God’s providence: the belief that God knows what’s best for us and doesn’t give us more than we can bear, is actually fatalism. While Christians convince themselves that they are free moral agents, their belief system says differently. Proverbs 16:9 states:

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.

Proverbs 20:24 states:

Man’s goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?

Consider these verses:

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115:3

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20

That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Isaiah 40:23

This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6

O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. II Chronicles 20:6

Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. I Chronicles 29:11-12

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Job 42:2

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Isaiah 46:9-10

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?  Romans 9:21

Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? Lamentations 3:37

Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places. Psalm 135:6

But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. Job 23:13

See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. Deuteronomy 32:39

For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? Isaiah 14:27

The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: Isaiah 14:24

These verses are but a small sampling of the Bible verses that declare that God is the boss. He is in control of everything. Of course, this opens up a huge problem for Christians. If God is in control of everything, if nothing happens that God does not decree, purpose, and plan, what about sin and evil? At this point, most Christians run from their beliefs, denying that God has anything to do with evil and sin. However, the Bible says:

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. Isaiah 45:7

That’s right, the Bible says God creates evil. No matter how Christians might object, if they believe in a God who is in control, then they must also believe that he is culpable for evil and sin. Dance any theological or philosophical jig one might, there is no escaping God being the creator of evil. But, but, but . . . no buts. Either God is the CEO of the universe or he’s not. Either he is the first cause, the beginning, and the end, or he is not. Either he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, or he is not.

Believing this way had a profound effect on my life. Instead of realizing that much of what happens in a person’s life is due to good or bad luck, I saw God behind every action, event, and circumstance. Like King David, I said:

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. Psalm 139:11-12

God was omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. For those not schooled in the omnis, God was all-powerful, all-knowing, and present everywhere.

In 2008, God lost control of my life as I began to reclaim it along with the personal responsibility that came with it. No more trusting God’s providence or letting go and letting God. No more puppet strings or “trusting” God to work out everything in my life according to his purpose and plan. As I began to reorient my life according to fact and reason, I was forced to reinvestigate past claims of miracles, moments when God reached down and supernaturally kept me from harm or death. I concluded that every God sighting in my life but one could be explained through natural means. All the supposed answered prayers were really Bruce or some other Christian answering the prayer.

None of us knows how our life will be beyond the next breath. For all I know, this could be the last blog post I write. The Bible is right when it says:

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

No one knows what tomorrow will be like. We can plan for the future, but we have no promise that things will work out for us. Life is a crapshoot. Live to your 60s and you will realize you are lucky to have made it to old age. The best any of us can do is make responsible decisions based on reason and probabilities and hope things work out for us.

Several years ago, Polly and I took a road trip to Ottoville, Fort Jennings, and Delphos. Like most of our trips, I took my camera equipment with me. As we were wandering around Delphos, we stumbled upon a lock from the era of the Miami and Erie canal. Getting down to the lock was a bit treacherous for me. I wanted to get as close as possible, so I gingerly walked down the concrete abutment to the lock. I didn’t fall, slip, or trip. Lucky me, I thought.

After ten minutes or so, I was ready to return to the car. I had two paths I could take. I could retrace my steps or make a big step and little jump to ground level, Polly said she would give me a hand, so I chose the latter. Polly reached down, took my hand, and began to help me up. And then, our world went crazy. Polly couldn’t pull me up completely, and I violently fell forward, knocking both of us to the ground. If my weight had been balanced slightly the other way, I would have no doubt gone careening down the concrete abutment into the canal. The fall would have likely killed me.

The good news? My cameras escaped damage, though one body had a slight scrape. The hood on the lens kept it from being smashed. Polly ended up with bruised knees and I suffered a twisted ankle and hip and a nasty, bloody contusion on my left leg. 

I know I was lucky. I should have retraced my steps. This was the safe and prudent choice. However, Polly was standing right there and she said she would help. Why not, right? She helps me out of the recliner and car all the time. What neither of us counted on was how difficult it was to pull up a 350-pound man. When Polly pulls me out of the car or the recliner, I help her. This time? I was a dead weight and I almost literally became so.

Lesson learned.

Several years ago, as we were eating lunch, our daughter with Down Syndrome began choking. Due to her disability, she has a thick tongue and can easily choke. This day was different. For the first time, she couldn’t clear her throat. Polly administered the Heimlich maneuver three times before the food was dislodged. I was one second away from calling 911.

This scary circumstance reminded us that we need to pay careful attention to how our daughter eats her food. I talked to her about chewing her food, taking small bites, and not eating hurriedly. She was scared, we were scared, but we all lived to face another day. Our daughter could just as easily have died on our living room floor. Living in the rural area we do, we know that sometimes it is impossible to get quick emergency help. We were lucky, and we know it.

Every brush with death should cause us to reflect on why it happened. Were we culpable? Could we have made a better or different decision? Sometimes, shit happens.

Living is a dangerous proposition. Smart is the person who understands this and acts accordingly. Thinking that God has the whole world in his hands only leads to delusion and discouragement. God isn’t coming to save the day. In 2015, a German airline pilot flew a plane into the ground, killing everyone on board. I am sure, mixed in with the screams, were pleas to God to stop the plane from hitting the ground. Prayer lost out to physics and everyone died.

How about you? How do you live your life? How do you determine risk? Have you ever escaped death after making a decision that should have ended your life? If you once believed in the sovereignty of God, how does a world without a God affect your decision-making process? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Twenty-Five Questions for Christians who say Abortion is Murder

abortion is murder al shannon

I have some questions for those who believe that abortion is murder.

  1. Does life begin at conception?  How do you know it does? Is your view based on science or is it based on a religious belief?
  2. If life begins at conception, why are you supporting an Ohio bill that makes it illegal to have an abortion once a heartbeat is detected? Does life begin at conception or at first heartbeat?
  3. Do you support the use of emergency contraception (morning after) drugs? Why or why not?
  4. Should a pro-life pharmacist have the right to not dispense emergency contraception drugs? Should I be allowed to opt out of anything that goes against my moral or ethical beliefs, regardless of their foundation?
  5. Is abortion murder?
  6. Do you believe murderers should be prosecuted?
  7. Do you believe that driving the get-away car makes a person just as guilty as the person who robbed the bank?
  8. Do you believe a woman who has an abortion should be prosecuted for murder? How about the doctor who performs the procedure? How about the nurse that assisted in the procedure? How about the person who drove the woman to the clinic? If you believe in the death penalty, do you support the execution of murderers?
  9. Do you use birth control pills?
  10. Should you be prosecuted for murder since birth control pills can, and do, cause spontaneous abortion?
  11. Should abortion be allowed for reasons of rape, incest, or saving the life of the mother?
  12. If you answered yes to question eleven, do you support murdering the fetus if it is the product of rape or incest?
  13. Should a fetus be aborted if the mother’s life is at risk?
  14. Do you support murdering the unborn if it saves the life of the mother?
  15. Is your viewpoint on abortion a religious belief?
  16. What passage in the Bible prohibits abortion? Does this passage define life beginning at conception?
  17. Has God ever killed the unborn?
  18. In Genesis, God destroyed every human save eight by drowning them in a flood. Were any of the women who drowned pregnant? Did God kill the fetuses they were carrying? (Kill the mother, kill the fetus.)
  19. Do you support the death penalty? Do you support war? Should women who survive self-induced abortions be charged with attempted murder?
  20. If you answered yes to question nineteen, why do you oppose the killing of the unborn but support the killing of those already born?
  21. Why do you believe that killing the unborn is murder but consider an American bomb killing a baby 3 hours old a tragic result of war, collateral damage, but not murder?
  22. Do you support birth control being readily available in every school? If your objective is to reduce or eliminate the need for an abortion, wouldn’t easily available, free access to birth control reduce the abortion rate?
  23. Do you believe it is better for a severely deformed child to live for a day and die than for the fetus to be aborted? If so, explain why it is better for the child to suffer needlessly?
  24. Do you believe that God is in control of everything? Does everything include children being born deformed or with serious defects that will result in a life of extreme suffering and pain?
  25. Is someone a Christian if he or she supports abortion?

My view on abortion

3 day old human embyro
Three Day Old Human Embryo.

I do not think that life begins at conception, nor do I think it begins at first heartbeat. That said, I do not support abortion on demand. Approximately 65% of abortions occur in the first eight weeks, and 88% of abortions occur in the first trimester. I do not support any law that restricts access to an abortion in the first trimester. Once fetus viability (the ability to live outside the womb) is established, I do not support the right to an abortion except when the life of the mother is at stake or there’s a severe fetal abnormality.

I support women having full access to reproductive services (including access to birth control), as well as school-aged girls and young women. For women who have at-risk pregnancies, I support government-sponsored access to genetic testing and amniocentesis that will reveal severe birth defects. Better to have an abortion earlier in a pregnancy than to have a child born without a brain who will die a few moments or days after birth.

I support comprehensive sex education for junior high and high school students, and health education for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. Since girls often reach menses at ages as young as ten, waiting until they are sixteen to educate them about reproduction is irresponsible and leads to unintended pregnancies. I do not support “Just say No” programs that take the “aspirin between the knees” approach and ignore the reality that most teenagers will, at some point, be sexually active. Yes, teens should perhaps wait, but they don’t, and everyone should agree that teenagers having babies is not a good idea. If we agree that this is not a good idea, then making sure they can’t get pregnant should be a top priority.

I support radical changes to adoption laws in this country. The government should make it easy and affordable for people to adopt children (after being thoroughly vetted). By changing the law, it is more likely that women with unplanned pregnancies will carry their fetuses to term. This would also put out of business adoption agencies — many of them Christian — that charge extortion-level fees for adoptions.

abortions when

Neither God, the Bible, papal decrees, nor religious rhetoric have sway over me. Showing me bloody pictures of dismembered late-term aborted fetuses also has no effect on me. I know that only 1.3% of abortions occur after the twenty-first week. In 2017, 862,000 abortions were performed in the United States. That means, roughly 11,000 abortions were performed from the 21st week to term. Why don’t pro-lifers wave around pictures of zygotes or other pictures from the chronological time period when most abortions take place? Simple: such pictures wouldn’t excite, inflame, and manipulate the passions of zygote worshipers like a bloody, gory picture of a dismembered fetus does.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Frozen Embryos: If Life Begins at Conception . . .

3 day old human embyro
Three-Day Old Human Embryo. Why He Looks Just Like his Father.

According to anti-abortionists/forced birthers, life begins at conception. At the very moment the sperm and egg unite, a new life is created. Anti-abortionists are intractable when it comes to their position. Life begins at conception . . . end of debate.

Let me tell you a story . . .

This story takes place at the We Make Life Possible Fertility Clinic, owned by Dr. David Tee, a renowned gynecologist, fertility expert, and archeologist.

Sue gave birth to a beautiful baby girl through in vitro fertilization. Her baby girl is one month old. Sue stopped by the Fertility Clinic to show off her newborn to the clinic staff.

While Sue was there, a huge explosion rocked the place and the clinic was engulfed in flames. Later speculation on World Net Daily, Charisma, Protestia, and TheologyGynocology, suggested a supporter of Barack Obama/Joe Biden/Nancy Pelosi/Kamala Harris/AOC was behind the attack.

John, named after John the Baptist, a forced birth activist, happened to be passing by the clinic when the explosion took place. John went running into the clinic hoping to perhaps save someone from the fire.

John had been to the We Make Possible Life Fertility Clinic before. His wife Purity had problems conceiving, and not wanting to wait on God to open her womb, she went to the clinic for non-vaginal-sex fertilization. While the treatment was successful, Purity miscarried a few months into the pregnancy.

John knew the clinic stored hundreds of fertilized eggs (embryos) in a freezer. As he rushed into the clinic, John saw Sue huddled in a corner with her newborn daughter trying to get away from the fire. John thought, “Surely I should save these two.”

John thought for a moment, asking himself What Would Jesus Do? Suddenly, he realized the fire was going to destroy all the frozen embryos. John told Sue and her baby Sorry, maybe Jesus will come to rescue you, and he rushed to the freezer where the frozen embryos were stored. Through John’s heroic effort, hundreds of frozen embryos were saved. Sadly, Sue and her newborn daughter were burnt to death.

Who among us would fault John? After all, he acted according to the greater good. Who wouldn’t save two hundred lives at the expense of two lives?

The above story follows the logic of the life-begins-at-conception viewpoint to its illogical conclusion. There is no difference between two hundred embryos and Sue and her baby. Life is life. It makes perfect sense for John to save the frozen embryos and not Sue and her little one. Surely John would be praised for saving the two hundred embryos, right? If the clinic is unable to reopen, perhaps the frozen embryos can be put up for adoption. After all, EVERY embryo is a life.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: The Bible is God’s Science Textbook

dr david tee's library
Dr. David Tee’s Massive Library

By Dr. David Tee, Whose Name is Real Derrick Thomas Thiessen, We Already Know How, January 10, 2024

God has power that we do not have nor can comprehend. Yet we do understand that this power is greater than anything else in the universe. We do not need science to tell us what God did. God has already told us and our origins are not a mystery.

Why should we go to unbelieving, blind, deceived, and lost people to get our answers about our origins when God has already told us what he did in the Bible

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There is the truth and then there is false teaching. Biblical creation is the truth and you either accept it or you don’t. The other so-called option is a fantasy made up by those who rejected the truth yet needed something to fill the void left by that rejection.

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There is no need to debate this topic. You either preach the truth or you proclaim false teaching.

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The how is not only explained in Genesis 1 but it is also explained in other verses speaking on this topic throughout the Bible. God took only 6 days to create everything. If you cannot accept that, then you are left with false teaching.

There is no debate because there is only one truth and the Bible has the truth, not science. So there are no muddy waters to wade through and there are no old earth facts to worry about. That is because the facts support a young earth and the biblical account.

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We know how God created everything because he told us and God cannot lie.

Quote of the Day: Beating Children in School: Good or Bad?

spanking
Man spanking his son

By Dr. Clay Jones, Science-Based Medicine, Hitting Children in School: Bad or Good?

A quick public service announcement from Science-Based Medicine, or at least from me: hitting children is fundamentally wrong. It’s also not effective when done in an attempt to improve their behavior. Back in 2014, I wrote about the use of corporal punishment to discipline children, mostly focusing on its use by caregivers in the home. Sadly, not much has changed since I wrote this opening paragraph:

One of the most commonly practiced strategies used by parents to alter the long-term behavior of their children is corporal punishment, commonly referred to as spanking. But the use of the term spanking is problematic in that how caregivers interpret it varies widely, and there is frequent overlap with what pediatricians consider to be abuse. Despite a great deal of evidence showing that spanking is ineffective, is a risk factor for greater forms of physical abuse, and can negatively impact the behavioral and cognitive development of children in a variety of ways, it remains a controversial issue in the United States. The American Academy of Pediatrics and numerous other professional organizations have come down firmly against the use of physical punishment by parents, but unlike 34 other developed nations, there are no federal laws banning spanking.

There are still no federal laws banning spanking, either in the home or in schools, which is what today’s post will focus on. Pediatricians, though not all of us, unfortunately, are generally united in their stance that this is a problem. The American Academy of Pediatrics is naturally opposed to the practice of physical violence against children in all forms and recently issued a policy statement to specifically address when it is used as a form of discipline in schools.

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Why is beating children in schools allowed? Great question. In 1977, the Supreme Court had an opportunity to protect children but failed. A 5-4 decision in Ingraham v Wright provided constitutional cover for school-based physical punishment, saying that 8th Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment don’t apply to students. They left it up to the states, many of which are seemingly incapable of thinking about the (born) children in any meaningful capacity.

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The majority of children being hit at school in the United States live in the South, with the majority (nearly 3 out of every 4) living in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas. Mississippi and Texas are the worst offenders, with a third of all kids being attacked by teachers or other school administrators living in those two states. It gets worse.

When a school allows faculty to hit students, which students tend to get hit? Another great question, and one that requires a thoughtful and nuance re..black kids. It’s black kids. Children with disabilities have it the worst, however, with national data showing that 16.5% of kids who are hit at school being served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The tragic reality is that the more marginalized a child is, for example, a black child with autism, the more likely they are to be physically attacked at school by someone charged with their education and safety.

You can read the entire article here.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Quote of the Day: You Won’t Die from Touching Fentanyl

touching fentanyl

By Jonathan Jarry, McGill Office for Science and Society

On the fictional cop show Blue Bloods, in the appropriately titled episode “Pain Killers,” detective Maria Baez picks up a tray containing drug paraphernalia and a white powder and is soon seen on a gurney, fighting for her life, as a healthcare worker proclaims, “Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. The slightest exposure can trigger an overdose.” As reported by Lindsey Ellefson for BuzzFeed News, the night the episode premiered, over eight million people watched it.

The belief that simply coming into contact with fentanyl can kill you is widespread within law enforcement. But is it true?

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Given the clear hazard posed by potent opioids like fentanyl, it’s no wonder that many first responders are afraid to be anywhere near them. This fear, though, is misplaced and can have dire consequences for the people in need of medical attention.

It started in Montreal. In April 2013, police conducted seven raids around Montreal and seized drug-making equipment and synthetic drugs, including a fentanyl derivative called desmethyl fentanyl. The clandestine labs making these drugs contained many chemicals, and the Montreal Gazette reported at the time that four police officers became ill from handling some of these drugs. One was hospitalized with heart problems, while three other cops, who were wearing masks and gloves, developed rashes on their arms. The link between touching fentanyl and getting sick was born.

But what really cemented the fear that merely touching fentanyl or one of its analogs causes instant harm was a case in Ohio four years later. A man who had just been released from jail on bond was driving and was pulled over by a police officer, who was joined by Chris Green, a local off-duty cop who happened to be nearby. The two officers found drugs in the car and the man admitted that the powder in his vehicle might include fentanyl. Green noticed some powder on his shirt and brushed it off with his naked hand.

An hour or so later, Green was sweaty, barely coherent, and not feeling well. He was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for an overdose. The man he had arrested was charged with drug trafficking and possession, yes, but also with assault on a peace officer because he had exposed Green to fentanyl. The attorney general for Ohio released a statement to the press during sentencing which would echo for years to come: “Fentanyl is so dangerous,” he said, “that even the slightest exposure can be deadly.” The news media was quick to repeat this memorable quote.

The belief that simply touching fentanyl will cause physical harm is very common among law enforcement officers. It is reinforced by media coverage, which often repeats this presumption with no pushback. Cops who survive their encounter with unknown white powders will tell journalists that “something as simple as the wind could expose you” or “I almost died.”

So, are there any reported cases of harm caused by touching fentanyl?

“No.” The man who gave me this unambiguous answer is Dr. Ryan Marino. He is a medical toxicologist and an associate professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also one of a handful of experts frequently pushing back against opioid myths through the website WTFentanyl. His stance on this issue is backed up by the American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT), which deems the risk to emergency responders as “extremely low,” and is echoed in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, in which rescue specialist Simon Taxel reminds us that this position is unanimously agreed upon by physicians and toxicologists. “If there was a real hazard,” Taxel writes, “it would stand to reason that the people who produce fentanyl, distribute it, or use it would suffer similar exposures. This is simply not happening.” Same with carfentanyl, the extremely potent synthetic opioid. “It’s more potent,” told Dr. Joshua Radke, an ER doctor, to Emergency Medicine News, “but it’s not magically more dangerous.”

ou may be skeptical if you know that fentanyl patches exist, in which the opioid is allowed to seep through the skin and provide relief to patients dealing with chronic pain. But these transdermal patches were the fruit of significant investments to devise a technology that would allow fentanyl to be absorbed through the skin. Even with this patented delivery system, a patient will start to benefit from the fentanyl only three to 13 hours later. The effect is far from instantaneous. In fact, you can witness Chad Sabora on Facebook showing that a heroin powder tests positive for fentanyl and then holding it in his left hand for an extended period of time. “I’m experiencing no signs of toxicity, no overdose symptoms, nothing whatsoever,” he calmly states. “I don’t know what else to do.”

But what about the danger of accidentally inhaling fentanyl while conducting a drug bust? Reassuringly, the drug and its analogs are not easily airborne, with the ACMT referring to this hypothetical situation as “exceptional circumstances.” There would need to be large quantities aerosolized and breathed in for hours to get a meaningful amount in the bloodstream. The closest thing might have been the Moscow theatre hostage crisis of 2022, in which Chechen terrorists occupied a theatre. The Russian Federation responded by pumping in a gas that killed 129 of the more than 800 hostages, as well as at least 33 terrorists. The Russian government did not initially reveal the composition of the gas. An analysis by a British laboratory of the clothing worn by two British survivors and the urine from a third revealed the presence of carfentanyl and remifentanil. Even if those were indeed the gases used to subdue the terrorists, it is clear that this situation bears little resemblance to first responders arriving at the scene of a fentanyl overdose, or even to police officers raiding a fentanyl laboratory.

First responders who believe they are overdosing on fentanyl from simply touching it in fact exhibit the exact opposite of the symptoms we would expect. While fentanyl makes you euphoric and slows down your breathing, cops start breathing faster, sweat a lot, and become anxious. “I don’t want to discredit anyone or say they’re faking,” says Dr. Marino. “I do think people are having a true medical emergency when this happens. The symptoms seem most consistent with a panic attack or anxiety or a fear reaction.”

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This panic over accidentally touching fentanyl is causing actual harm. “I have seen this play out,” Dr. Marino tells me, “People are scared to resuscitate an overdosing person, because they’re worried about getting close to them.” Police departments spend unnecessary money on hazmat suits and special “fentanyl-resistant gloves.” Regular disposable nitrile gloves have been tested and are more than suitable; in fact, the human skin is already a pretty good barrier. But because of this dread, people are being charged with imaginary crimes for exposing a cop’s bare skin to fentanyl, and a coalition of attorneys general urged President Joe Biden to classify fentanyl, one of the most frequently used drugs in medicine, as a “weapon of mass destruction.” Fear spreads while science crawls.

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Blue Bloods may have fueled the fear over accidental fentanyl poisoning, but another cop show took a different approach. On an episode of Will Trent, a law enforcement officer starts panicking after believing he’s touched fentanyl. The show’s protagonist, Will Trent, replies, unphased: “Pretty sure that’s laundry detergent. Just wash your hands. Either way, you’ll be fine.” We need more scientifically accurate representations like this one.

Jonathan Jarry Bio:

Jonathan Jarry is a science communicator with the McGill Office for Science and Society, dedicated to separating sense from nonsense on the scientific stage. He has a Master’s degree in molecular biology and he brings his experience in cancer research, human genetics, rehabilitation research, and forensic biology to the work he does for the public. He was the creator, writer, and host of the YouTube show Cracked Science, which used a late-night deep-dive format to debunk pseudoscience and denounce bad science. With cardiologist Dr. Christopher Labos, he co-hosts the award-winning medical podcast The Body of Evidence, which aims to contextualize findings in the realm of health research and answer the public’s most pressing questions about the biomedical sciences while also being funny and entertaining.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Scientists Must Consult the Bible First if They Want the Right Answers

teaching creationism

As you can see, science is powerless to discover any alternative source for the origin of the universe. There is no evidence, no hope of replication or observation, in all of their theories. They are left with creating several fairy tales that they know they have no hope of proving true.

But the Bible knows all about our origins and provides the only answer.

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The universe’s and our origins are not a mystery as science claims. We have a source that tells us exactly what happened. The Bible also tells us the force that created everything and that knowing this information is not impossible.

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We know where energy and matter came from and we know that something was not made out of nothing. Our origin and the universe’s all came from God and to know this takes just a little step of faith.

Everything was made by the word of God so he would be worshipped and given the glory for what he did. This does not mean that we Christians cannot do science. It means that science cannot and should not be wasting time and money investigating our origins. It has been revealed and science needs to focus on more important things that are within its realm to investigate.

All it takes is a little faith in God and believing that he is capable and has the power to create exactly as he said. Many secular scientists will demand evidence to prove the Bible true. The biggest piece of evidence that can be shown to them is the fact that science cannot create any explanation for a natural cause or provide evidence that their alternative is true.

The unbelieving world has been shown physical pieces of evidence after physical pieces of evidence year in and year out for thousands of years. Yet they never accept that evidence because they do not want to do one thing– believe by faith.

It is a simple step to take yet so many people in the scientific communities refuse to do it.

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To those of us who believe the answers to our origins are very clear. The Bible knows and it is telling all those who listen to it when they read its pages. Even the problems science cannot solve, mentioned earlier, are solved by the Bible.

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Trying to go over answered ground is not science. It is an act of unbelief and sin. The Bible does what science cannot do- provide the right answers.

The Bible vs. Science

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser