Most Evangelicals are decent enough people, despite their religious beliefs. I live in an area where Evangelicalism dominates the religious and political scenes. Corner most local born-again Christians and they will tell you what they believe. Don’t corner them, and you will likely never hear a peep from them about Jesus. This is the nature and substance of cultural American Christianity. That said, a small, rabidly vocal number of locals are Fundamentalist zealots. These in-your-face Christians are not afraid to unzip their pants and expose their beliefs for everyone to see. They love being spokesmen for God. Armed with certainty, they believe that they are the arbiters of morality and the holders of absolute truth. Cultural Evangelicals I can live with. Live and let live, right? Zealots, however, are another matter. They are rabble rousers, defenders of anti-human, anti-progress religious beliefs. These theocratic zealots will not rest until King Jesus rules and reigns over the United States of Jesus.
Cultural Evangelicals rarely comment on this blog. Most of the vocal Christian commenters are Evangelical zealots. Commenters who shit all over the comment section are almost always Evangelical Christians (or conservative Catholics). I started blogging in 2007, a year or so before I divorced Jesus. During the past eleven years, thousands of Evangelicals have stopped by to let me know what they think of my writing and me personally. I have been accused, threatened, and attacked to no end. If these Evangelicals had their way, God would rain fire down from Heaven and turn me into a charred marshmallow. Frustrated over God not hearing their imprecatory prayers, these zealots turn to sending me angry, judgmental emails.
Years ago, my email inbox was daily filled with letters from outraged Evangelicals. Not so much these days. I suspect one reason for this is that I warn Evangelicals that if they email me that I reserve the right to make their missives public. The Contact Form states:
If you are an Evangelical Christian, please read Dear Evangelical before sending me an email. If you have a pathological need to evangelize, spread the love of Jesus, or put a good word in for the man, the myth, the legend, please don’t. The same goes for telling me your church/pastor/Jesus is wonderful. I’m also not interested in reading sermonettes, testimonials, Bible verses, or your deconstruction my life. If you email me anyway, I reserve the right to make your message and name public. This blog is read by thousands of people, so keep that in mind when you email me whatever it is you think “God” has laid upon your heart. Do you really want your ignorance put on display for thousands of people to see?
More than a few zealots have rued they day they ignored these words and emailed me anyway, especially letter writers who have atrocious grammar or use language they wouldn’t want their Christian friends to know about. Personally, I find it quite satisfying when I can eviscerate such people. More than a few of them have tucked their tails and run whimpering into the night, never to be heard from again.
I don’t mind Evangelicals disagreeing with me as long as they do so respectfully and politely. Unfortunately, far too many Christians wear boorish — ill-mannered, coarse, contemptible — behavior as a badge of honor. If I politely ask Evangelicals to NOT send me emails and they do so anyway, what am I to make of their behavior? I would NEVER go to Christian websites and email them anti-Christian quotes or excerpts from Christopher Hitchens’ or Bart Ehrman’s books. Why can’t Evangelicals do the same here? I suspect the answer is that many Christians have a sense of entitlement. Thinking that God speaks to them and he wants them to be his mouthpieces, these believers spread their dogma far and wide, regardless of whether it is welcome.
Yesterday, an Evangelical woman by the name of Vicki Frazier emailed me the following:
I just want to say that by rejecting anyone from sharing Scriptire [sic] with you, you have determined to close yourself off from the truth. Regardless, not just for you, but those who you listen to you, there’s no such thing as “I used to be a Christian” according to the word of God. This Scripture is about those like you.
1 John 2:18-20 King James Version (KJV)
18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things
It clearly deals with those who, like you, go out from us. I must go with God on this, you haven’t ever been a Christian. If you were, you would have stayed.. It’s not my personal opinion, it’s right there in the word of God. Do I believe God or the claims of a man. I hope you repent and come to Christ and believe on Him. The Bible is the absolute truth, sir, as you’ll find out after you take your last breath.
Vicki read all of three pages:
and then sent me the aforementioned email. No need to know anything more about my story. The Holy Spirit revealed to her that I was a man who had lived a lie for fifty years; that I had everyone fooled; that I never was a Christian. How could Vicki know for certain her judgment of me was correct? Why, the Bible says _________ and this lines up with what she thinks of me, so her judgment is infallibly and authoritatively correct.
Zealots such as Vicki would make great Vulcan characters in a Star Trek movie. Vulcans (Spock) practiced mind-melding: becoming one with a person. The Vickis of the world think they are so connected to the Christian God that they are one with him. Believing the Bible to be the very words of God, when people such as Vicki read/agree with the what the Bible says, they see themselves as mere spokesmen for the Big Kahuna. Take issue with what Vicki says? Hey, your argument is with God. This kind of thinking, of course, allows her to ignore common conventions of respect, decency, and propriety. When God — the EF Hutton of the universe — speaks, everyone must listen, even if they don’t want to. In Vicki’s mind, God said it, I didn’t. Don’t like it? Tough shit.
As Evangelical zealots are wont to do, Vicki concluded her sermon with a threat: The Bible is the absolute truth, sir, as you’ll find out after you take your last breath. Either I believe what she is saying or I am going to burn in the Lake of Fire for eternity. Here’s the thing, if Heaven is where the Vickis of Christianity will be, why would I want to go to there? Why would I want to spend eternity with people who have such loutish, swinish behavior? No thanks. Of course, there is no Heaven or Hell; there is no afterlife; there is no judgment to come. Too bad when the day comes for Vicki to die that she will not be given a glimpse of the horrible reality that she lived her entire life according to a lie. Instead, she will draw her last breath believing that a mythical God will usher her from this life to the next one, giving her a paid-for room in Heaven’s Trump Tower, complete with room service.
I now there’s nothing I can say that will cause Vicki to reconsider her ways. She’s certain that she is right — end of story. The only hope for her is that something happens in her life that causes her to question her certainty; to ponder that she might be wrong. Until the door of her life becomes cracked a bit, she will remain safe within the Evangelical bubble.
About Bruce Gerencser
Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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.
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