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Why I’m Still an Atheist

On the last Sunday in November 2007, my wife and I walked out of the Ney United Methodist Church for the last time. We decided that we were done with Christianity, that whatever we were, we weren’t Christians. Initially, I claimed the agnostic label. Several months later, I abandoned this label, choosing instead to self-identify as an atheist. Thirteen years later, I am still an atheist.

While my beliefs have become more nuanced over time, I remain unconvinced that the central claims of Christianity are true. (Please see The Michael Mock Rule: It Just Doesn’t Make Sense.) Thousands of Evangelical/Roman Catholic/Greek Orthodox/Muslim apologists have emailed me or left comments on this site. Their objective? To evangelize me or reclaim me for Jesus. Whether the goal is salvation or restoration, they hope I will see the “light” and abandon atheism. That hasn’t happened, and it is unlikely to happen in the future. There remains no new argument for apologists to make for Christianity. I have heard their best (and worst) arguments. What could they possibly say that would change my mind?

I am a confirmed apostate, a heretic, and a reprobate. I am NOT a prospect for Heaven. With all the low-hanging fruit in the world, why do zealots bother with me? Is it that they really care for my “soul”? Or is it that they have a pathological need to hear themselves talk? Maybe they think that there is a .00000001 percent chance that their words will strike pay dirt; that I will repent and rejoin Jesus’s blood-washed band. Trust me when I say . . . that ain’t going to happen! Winning the lottery has better odds than me becoming a Christian again.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Atheists Lack Self-Awareness, Says Christian Man

peanut gallery

Recently, a Christian man by the name of Roger sent me the following email:

Interesting story. I think you’re right on that fundamentalism is idiotic. You’ve spelled that out quite well. Pastors are mostly egomaniacs as you rightly point out. But you could just ask them to find this pastor in the Bible (along with their whole church edifice and all its trappings) and you expose their empty hypocrisy. You don’t need to pick apart the Bible to destroy fundamentalism. They don’t even apply the Bible they claim to preach.

The problem you fail to see is that atheism is equally if not more stupid than fundamentalism. Why do these annoying atheists keep making moral claims? Why do they whine all day about how unjust hell is or how evil the biblical God is? Who are you, you evolved rodent, to make such an appeal to what is evil or unjust? Good and evil are just socially evolved constructs, right? So stop the whining. But atheists never stop whining. Atheists in my experience are actually highly moral people and constantly appeal to moral / ethical claims. The fact is the notion of morality and ethics is simply hard-wired into the human mind whether you like or it not. But atheists’ lack of self awareness about this is more annoying than fundamentalists telling me the earth is 6000 years old. It’s just theft. They’re stealing from the theists that they mock in this regard. They live in their own bubble, just like you accuse the fundamentalists of.

According to Roger, atheists are worse than Christian Fundamentalists. Atheists lack self-awareness, and have no morality or ethics of their own. Atheists are just stupid people who spend their waking hours whining about harmful Christian beliefs. Good to know, right?

I suspect that while Roger distances himself from Christian Fundamentalism, underneath his liberated self lies Fundamentalist beliefs. He sees himself as an “enlightened” Christian, yet it is likely that his core theological beliefs are not much different from those who proudly wear the Fundamentalist label.

Roger later sent me another email. Here’s what he had to say:

I wanted to reach out again and hope you didn’t take offense at the last message I sent. I read it again after I sent it and realized I probably came across as antagonistic and rude. Tone is absent in email. I was just laying out my general thoughts on fundamentalism / atheism, nothing personal about you or your story. Please forgive me if that was offensive to you and if so, please just disregard the message. I don’t mean you any disrespect or unkindness. I wish you the best on your journey.

warmly,
Roger

Take offense? Of course not. Roger is just another self-righteous, arrogant Christian asshole. I have received thousands of emails and comments from the Rogers of this world. I am of the opinion that people tend to say what they mean the first time. Roger meant for his email to be personal, and I took it as such. It is too late for me to “disregard” his message.

I wish Christians would “think” before emailing me. I wish they would ask themselves what they hope to accomplish by contacting me. I am NOT a prospect for Heaven. There’s nothing Roger could possibly say that I haven’t read/heard before or said in one of the 4,000+ sermons I preached. Wouldn’t it be better to refrain from hitting “send”? Yet, most of the Rogers of the world can’t seem to help themselves. Whatever their motivations, they are driven to set me straight, put in a word for Jesus, or evangelize.

Roger closed his last email with “warmly”. Yep. His email made me feel warm all over. As in wearing dark blue khakis and pissing your pants.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Bruce, Your Site Deserves an “R” Rating

After publishing on Twitter the post, Defiance City Schools Blocks Student Access to This Site, I received the following response (not from the school):

r rating

I responded:

the f word

While I do use curse words on this site (and allow commenters to do so), I am not a profuse swearer. There’s nothing said by me in my writing that is “harmful” to young children. Certainly, parents should monitor and control what their youngsters read on the Internet, but I doubt reading the word fuck will cause harm. Besides, the focus of the aforementioned post was middle school and high school students. I have grandchildren who are in this age bracket. I guarantee you that they have already heard the F word, and I have no doubt that they have even used the word. “Fuck” has become my generation’s shit, hell, damn. Culturally, the word has been disconnected from its sexual connotation.

I get it. Some readers wish I wouldn’t swear. They wish I would have an atheist heart with an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist mouth. That’s not going to happen. As the stats above show, I don’t use curse words in my writing very often. And when I do, I typically mean to do so.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

God’s “Plan” for the Human Race

god loves you

Progressive Christians are fond of saying, “God is LOVE” — cue summer of love pop song. Finding the Old Testament God of judgment and wrath distasteful or offensive to their sensibilities, Progressive Christians excise the “bad” God from the Bible, choosing instead to focus on Jesus, the God of love. While I understand why Progressive Christians take this approach, it does do great violence to the teachings of the Bible and what Christians have historically believed about God. American Christianity is going through seismic changes and transformation. Beliefs once held dear by Christians are either revised or abandoned altogether. This is especially true with how Christians visualize God.

I wish every Christian held progressive beliefs and values. However, that doesn’t mean I find progressive hermenuetics and interpretations intellectually satisfying. While progressive beliefs make for a kinder, gentler world (and maybe that’s all that should matter), the Bible seems to be the odd man out. While Progressive Christians generally believe in the centrality of Jesus and his gospel, they are often sketchy on the details. Wanting to distance themselves from Evangelicalism, Progressive Christians jettison vast swaths of the Bible. No need to believe those things, Progressive Christians say. God is Love!

How do Progressive Christians know anything about Jesus or whether God is, in fact, love? What evidence do they have for these claims? Don’t they have to appeal to the Bible, much like their Evangelical brothers and sisters? Christianity is inherently a text-based religion. I have long argued: no Bible, no Christianity (not in any meaningful sense, anyway). If the Bible tells us that God is Love, should we not also accept what else it says about God?

Richard Dawkins had this to say about the God of the Old Testament:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

THAT God is in the Bible too. Why do Progressive Christians ignore this God? His works are found throughout the Bible, including the New Testament. As we do with each other, we must accept God’s goodness and badness — the sum of his nature and character. None of us is pure goodness. All of us can do bad things. All of us can be assholes. We are neither as good nor as bad as we think we are. We are . . . as God is . . . human.

Most Christians believe God created everything. As Creator, God is in control of his creation. He gives life, takes life, and nothing happens apart from his purpose and plan. And if God is not in charge, who is? If the creator doesn’t control his creation, who does?

If God is Creator and the Bible is an accurate account of God’s works and character, can we not know his future plans for the human race? Press the “God is Love” crowd with questions about the future, and few answers are given. I have often wondered if Progressive Christians are, at heart, universalists; that, in the end, everyone makes it to Heaven. While such a belief is appealing, one must ignore much of the Bible to reach such a conclusion.

Both the Old Testament and New Testament teach that there is coming a day when God will judge the living and the dead; that God will separate the saved from the lost; that only those who worshiped Jesus will spend eternity in Heaven (Eternal Kingdom of God). Those who didn’t worship Jesus — whatever the reason — will spend eternity in Hell (Lake of Fire).

If the Bible is an accurate record of the character and nature of God, then it is clear that those who are not Christians will one day face his judgment and wrath. On that day, the God of Love will be nowhere to be found. I know Progressive Christians want to believe otherwise, but as long as they appeal to the Bible for their beliefs, they must accept that their God of Love is also one mean son-of-a-bitch.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

The Voices of Atheism: Is Belief in the Resurrection Reasonable?

matt dillahunty

This is the latest installment in The Voices of Atheism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. Know of a good video that espouses atheism/agnosticism or challenges the claims of the Abrahamic religions? Please email me the name of the video or a link to it. I believe this series will be an excellent addition to The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser.

Thank you in advance for your help.

What follows is a debate between Roman Catholic Trent Horn and atheist Matt Dillahunty.

Video Link

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Bruce Gerencser