Tag Archive: Atheism

One Man’s Journey from Faith to Unbelief

guest-post

What follows is a guest post by a regular reader of this blog. He is writing this anonymously, and after you read his post you will understand why. If you have a story you would like to share in a guest post, please let me know. It is important that Christians who are struggling with their faith or who have lost their faith know that they are not alone. Telling your story, like the one below, will encourage and help many people.

This is the story of my spiritual migration so far.  Like my ancestors who immigrated from Europe to ________ a century and a half ago, I feel like I have crossed the ocean, and don’t know yet where I will settle on this vast continent.

I was raised Southern Baptist. Until about 15 months ago, I would have said we were pretty fundamentalist, but then I started reading The Way Forward (the previous name of this blog) and many other websites.  Now I would call all the churches I have belonged to throughout my life as only moderately conservative.  My time in the church has been a positive experience, and I’ve seen little of the pettiness, jealousy, domineering, and other bad traits so many others have experienced and written about.  I’m not saying it does not exist, just that I have not observed it.

I have especially fond memories of the church I grew up in from the age of 5 until I left for the military at 22.  This church wrapped its arms around me and my mother when she became a single mother after my father died when I was 9.  Many of the men there filled a void and were positive role models to me. The church gave me my first job, as the church janitor, when I was 15.  I made life-long friends there, and if I went back and visited there next Sunday I would still get hugs and handshakes even though I have been gone 30 years.  Because of the positive influence the people in that church had on me as a child and young adult, I have always been drawn to working with children in the church.  I have been a children’s Sunday school teacher, VBS worker, Awana leader, and led Royal Ambassadors (the Southern Baptists’ version of Boy Scouts).

At my first military assignment, on the west coast, I joined a church and made many friends.  One was a girl who was on staff at the church part-time and going to seminary part-time.  One of my roommates also went to seminary at this time.  Our church called a brand new seminary graduate as pastor, although he was older and was starting a second career.  I also read the Bible all the way through for the first time in my life.  With many questions and access to those who were studying at seminary, we had many deep conversations as I asked my questions.  Many of their answers weren’t particularly satisfying, but I suppressed the dissonance and soldiered on in the faith.

Fast forward 10 years and I was married and living on the other side of the country.  After a severe accident, my father-in-law lingered comatose in intensive care for 24 days before finally dying in spite of a coast-to-coast prayer vigil.  The fact that my wife never got to have a last conversation with her dad about his salvation motivated her to get intentional about spreading the gospel, so we took the Evangelism Explosion course and went out knocking on doors every week. At the next assignment and church, the evangelism program was called FAITH, and we did that. That church asked me to be a deacon.  The ‘examination’ was an open book essay test of my personal beliefs.  The military moved me a year later, so my active deacon service was short-lived.

About six years ago my wife amped up her passion and embarked on a master’s degree in Christian apologetics.  I thought it was useless to spend money on an actual degree, although the subject interested me too.

In the spring of 2012 I was driving home one day when I heard the PBS segment on Teresa McBain’s coming out as an atheist.  It sent chills down my spine.  Here was a person raised like me, a Southern Baptist, who had gone on to become a minister, who was renouncing her faith.  A few months later, by myself at home, I found a link to the broadcast and listened again.  This time I caught the reference to the Clergy Project.  I googled it, and found their website.  There I found links to former ministers who had left their faith behind.  That is where I went over the edge of the waterfall.

Over the next few weeks I read and listened to everything I could find from Dan Barker, John Compere, Ken Daniels, Bruce Gerencser, and Rich Lyons.  Bart Ehrman’s Jesus Misquoted was one of the textbooks my wife read for her master’s degree, so I pulled it off the shelf and read it.  One day, looking out the window at the sky it all came together and I told myself “it’s just not true.”  I didn’t get mad at God.  No one at church did me wrong.  I just concluded there was not enough evidence for me to continue to believe.

I don’t know when or how I will ever come out to either my family or church.  I don’t see bringing up the subject with my wife any time soon.  I know she has noticed I don’t insist on saying a blessing before a meal anymore, and that I don’t pull out the checkbook to write a check every Sunday morning, and that I find reasons to not go to the adult Sunday School class (she still teaches a children’s class), and sometimes even admit to just skipping.  If she ever directly challenges me I will probably come clean, since I am a terrible liar.

I have two sons who, for better or worse, think their dad can do no wrong, and I don’t want to damage my relationship with them. My teenage son made a profession of faith as a younger child.  He enjoys going to the youth camps and retreats, but shows little inclination to be there every time the door is open.  He is smarter than his engineer dad and accountant mother put together, so I am hopeful he will reason his way out of Christianity, perhaps with some subtle nudging from me, as he grows older.  For now, whenever he says something outrageous I challenge him to examine the evidence and ensure his beliefs and opinions are well founded.

My younger son has been totally brainwashed by his mom, and made his profession of faith and was baptized last summer, about a month after my ah-ha moment.  Interestingly, he still holds on to a belief in Santa Claus at an age when all the other kids have figured it out.  In fact, we were so frustrated that he wasn’t figuring it out, Christmas before last we told him flat-out that mom and dad were Santa, not some guy who literally comes from the North Pole in a sleigh with reindeer.  Nevertheless, a few days ago he asked me how Santa got around to all the houses he had to go to on Christmas Eve.  I said “well, let’s do the math.  How many houses does he have to go to?  How long does it take to go to each house?  How many hours are there in the night?”  We did not do all the calculations, but hopefully I planted another seed to use reason and evidence.  Maybe once he figures out Santa then he’ll apply the same logic to Christianity.

I’ve never talked about spiritual matters with my older siblings, but all the evidence points to me being the last one to get where they have been for about 40 years, so there is no issue there.  Both our parents are gone now, so that is also not a problem.  Most of our extended family is still Christian, but they live far enough away and we see them rarely enough that there is no need to come out to them.

At church, I had already started working to extract myself even before my epiphany.  I had informed our Sunday School director a few months before that I would not continue as a teacher after the current Sunday School year ended in August 2012.  My term on the one committee I am on will end this year, and I declined to be chairman of the committee this year.  I guess I was too subtle however, since I was surprised to be pulled aside one Sunday morning this past spring and told I had been nominated to be a deacon again.  I was given another examination questionnaire to fill out, and asked to pray about it.  I thought about using the questionnaire to express my new beliefs as a way of coming out, but decided there was nothing to be gained by that approach.  Instead, when they followed up a few weeks later I just said I didn’t think it would be appropriate to go through the process at this time.

I go to the adult Sunday School class about half the time now.  Sometimes I find a good reason to not go; sometimes I just skip out. I can do this and admit it to my wife without fear of condemnation because she has always hated adult Sunday School for its lack of depth of discussion and study (remember she went and got a seminary degree just for her own edification), and teaching children is her escape. I agreed with her that there was little value in the Bible study, but always enjoyed the social aspect. When I go now I usually stay quiet unless someone says something so outrageous I can’t stand not to comment.  One day the teacher opened the lesson by asking what would cause someone to doubt the existence of God.  I suppressed a smile, but did say that when a child is born with massive birth defects I think that would cause someone to doubt God.  Nobody else said anything, but heads nodded up and down.  Another time the topic was love between husband and wife, and the supporting text came from Song of Solomon 6:3 (I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.)  Everyone oohed and aahed about how poetic that was and how wise Solomon was until I spoke up said to keep reading to verse 8 (There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and maidens without number).  Silence.

We sit together as a family in the service.  Once the sermon starts and the scripture has been read and we sit back down, I use the time reading other parts of the Bible to research and document inconsistencies and fallacies I’ve heard.  I do this to bolster my case for the day when I eventually do come out.

I’ll probably continue like this indefinitely, short of someone at the church making one of us mad enough to leave.  That would actually be a good cover story to use.  If I was still in the military it would be easy…we would eventually move and then just not make an effort to find another church.  But for now I am unwilling to perturb the relationship with my wife and sons.

So here I am in _________.  I’m standing firmly on dry land, but who knows where I will go from here, how I will get there, when I will go, or who might go with me.

Should a Christian Preacher Turned Atheist Stop Using His Public Speaking Skills?

preacherShould a Christian-preacher-turned atheist-stop using his public speaking skills? Before this question can be answered, perhaps we should ascertain whether the person in question actually has public speaking skills. I’ve heard more than a few preachers over the years who were horrible public speakers. Their sermons were poorly crafted and their speaking skills ranged from incoherent to monotonous. Personally, I don’t know how some people listen to this kind of preaching year after year. Perhaps this is their purgatory.

I always prided myself in preaching well-crafted sermons. I worked hard in the study to produce the best sermon possible. I spent hours and days preparing my sermons. My goal was to preach in such a way that people would not only hear me but be moved to make a decision. The goal of every sermon was to force people to choose. Neutrality was never an option. Choose YOU this day whom YOU will serve, the Bible says. Even now, the most powerful speeches are the ones that demand something of listeners.

When I preached I was animated and passionate. In my early years, I moved around a good bit, but as I got older my movement lessened. Over time, I developed a style, a methodology of preaching. Generally, people found my style pleasing and my voice easy to listen to. I wasn’t a raging, fire-breathing, pulpit pounding, aisle running Pentecostal, but neither was I a droning, lifeless Methodist. (sorry for the stereotypes)

Words are powerful tools. Coupled with the methodology of preaching, words have the ability to move people and motivate them to do great things. However, words also have the power to manipulate and control. Numerous readers of this blog can testify to how the words of their pastor were used to sway, exploit, shame and abuse.

Any preacher worth his salt knows the power his words have over others Preachers know that the right word at the right time can elicit a certain response. They know what words can trigger an emotional response. Yes, preaching is supposed to be about knowledge and instruction, but mere knowledge will never cause a people to rise to the occasion and go to  war with Satan, the world, Democrats, secularism, and atheists. Great orators know how to stir people to do that which they might not normally do. Therein lies their power, and that power, when used wrongly, can hurt people or cause them to do things that are harmful, not only to themselves, but to others.

So what is a person such as myself to do? I preached my first sermon at age 15 and my last sermon at age 48 I spent 34 years telling people, thus saith the Lord. I have given thousands of sermons, having preached through most of the books in the Bible. Preaching is very much a part of who and what I am.

As a preacher-turned-atheist, I find myself in uncharted waters. I still have a passion for public speaking. I know I could be good at teaching most anything. I suspect, knowing my skill-set, that people would find me engaging and easy to listen to. As most any former parishioner of mine will attest, my ability to hold a crowd’s attention was never a problem. Oh, I had plenty of problems and shortcomings, but when in the pulpit I was at my best.

I miss preaching. I miss the personal interaction with people. I miss seeing my words move, challenge, and motivate people. As most ex-preachers will tell you, preaching was not the reason they left the ministry or deconverted. It was the stuff outside the pulpit; endless meetings, personal squabbles, or financial struggles that caused the most stress and angst.

In 2012, Pentecostal-preacher-turned-atheist, Jerry DeWitt, delivered a powerful speech at the American Atheist Convention. His speech, dare I say sermon, was given using the preaching skills that had served him well as a Pentecostal preacher.

Dan Fincke, a friend of mine who blogs at Camels with Hammers, wrote a lengthy post  about Dewitt’s message and his speaking skills and style. Dan thoughtfully raised some issues that former preachers like Dewitt and I need to consider carefully:

So, as Richard Wade watched this former evangelical go so far as to present the narrative of his turn to atheism in the precise idiom of a Pentecostal preacher, he turned to me and said, “You were right!” It made the dynamic so clear.

So—is this a good thing? I think in most ways it is, but I have a reservation. There is nothing wrong with a narrative in which “once I was blind but now I see”. This has always been a part of secularism. The Enlightenment’s emphasis on the “light of reason” was coopted, for example, by Descartes from St. Augustine. We need to reclaim some of the emotionally resonant metaphorical terrain that is part of our linguistic and cultural means of expressing certain kinds of experiences. Just because a certain emotionally powerful form of personal narrative was cultivated in evangelical circles does not mean it cannot have genuine parallels among apostates. We are not just ripping them off or somehow remaining Christians. But sometimes we do remain evangelicals, only now atheistic kinds. The apostate’s narrative often just has some basic formal similarities that make it true to co-opt similar categories to evangelicals when conceiving of and narrating what is happening within oneself.

But what about the Pentecostal delivery? I can imagine some atheists with what I like to call “religious PTSD” rejecting it out of hand for its “triggering” connotations that remind them of the shameless charlatans who pioneered, and up through today still, exploit those techniques to manipulate people into falsehoods and religiously based moral corruption. But the vast majority of the auditorium seemed happy to play along with DeWitt and to really enjoy the experiment. He got a hearty standing ovation from a good portion of the room when he was done and was one of the day’s leaders for applause lines for sure.

But the Pentecostal style might also simply look so well practiced and formulaic and manipulative that it is the equivalent of a shameless Hallmark card or a schmaltzy movie providing cheap emotional triggers using the easiest and least respectable methods in the book for pushing people’s buttons.

I think that if the emotional button pushing is a way to make an end-run around reason, that is corrupt and despicable. But if it is to package and deliver rational truths and moral ideals of rationalism to people in a way that will properly align their emotions to what is actually true and ethical, then ultimately I am not convinced there’s anything dishonest or manipulative about that. I am open to arguments though….

…As I also explained to Richard the morning before seeing DeWitt, I have preachers’ rhetorical skills and yet for the most part I assiduously avoid them in my classrooms, and instead work with my students dialectically and put the stress on the development of their own reasoning skills. Occasionally, I will get on a roll about something I’m passionate about and reach back to make a rhetorically boosted little speech. But even then I hold back on going quite to preacher levels. And if I do, it’s tempered and not exploitative.

There are two reasons for my hesitation. One is purely technical. I once picked up the interesting advice that if you can do something exceptionally well you should do it only selectively, so as not to diminish its impact. In general you should only put as much rhetorical push into an idea as it needs and save your force for when it’s really needed, always calibrating force applied precisely to what is necessary at every level.

But the more morally serious and germane reason I hesitate to go into preacher mode is that it can be downright anti-dialectical and counter-productive to cultivating an atmosphere of rationalism and habits of careful reasoning. Preaching, rather than just teaching or guiding through questions, runs the risk of inherently training and reinforcing the audience’s infamous preexisting susceptibilities to falling for passions and pretty words at the expense of rational thought. Even if you convince them of your point with your bluster and poetry, you do not train them in careful critical thinking in the process, and so you have not guaranteed they have learned to think for themselves, so much as to simply think like you. And you may have just contributed to their ever ongoing habituation throughout the culture in being led by irrationalistic appeals rather than rational ones. This is not just a pitfall of the parts of our movement that dance with religious forms but also the ones which dance with dubious political rhetorical tactics too.

I’m not sure if it is the case that the preacher’s style is always mutually exclusive with training in critical thinking. Clearly a major part of why it’s so dangerous in actual religions is because it is explicitly coupled with injunctions to just have faith and with countless dubious appeals to unjustified authorities. Can a rationalism which explicitly denounces such things be compatible with some fiery preaching? Can one preach successfully against authoritarianism and faith or is there an implicit bogus appeal to faith in the ungrounded authority of the speaker that is structurally there every time a teacher takes recourse to the tactics of the preacher?

Dan waves the red flag of warning and rightly so. Preaching, particularly certain styles of preaching, can be used to manipulate and control. Dan wisely warns about making an end-run around reason. Far too often preaching is nothing more than the reinforcing of this we believe and we shall not be moved from this we believe.

As a preacher turned atheist, I cannot turn off the speaking skills I used to ply my trade for 34 years. They are very much a part of who I am. The best I can do is be mindful of the power of the skills I have and make sure I use them in such a way that people are not only moved but instructed. I need to be aware of the power I have to manipulate people with my words. Self-awareness of this fact will keep me from falling back into using the tricks of the preaching trade to elicit the desired response from those listening to me.

That said, I want to put in a plug for passionate, pointed, challenging public speaking. Quite frankly, the atheist and humanist movement needs a bit of life pumped into it. I have listened to many speeches, lectures, seminars, and debates that people told me were wonderful. Well-known atheists and humanists, aren’t they great? Uh, no. B-o-r-i-n-g. Dry. Monotonous. Some  atheist and humanist speakers would be better off if they stuck to doing  what they do best: writing books and magazine articles. Leave the public speaking to those who do it well. If they are unwilling to do so, then they need to go back to school and take a few speech classes.

The atheist and humanist movement needs people who have the ability to passionately move people to action. I would rather suffer a bit with Jerry Dewitt’s preaching style (and I am not a fan of the Pentecostal style of preaching), than listen to a well-educated, boring man WOW me right into an afternoon nap. We are in a battle against religious zealots and theocrats, and we need speakers who can stir and motivate people to action.

Some atheists and humanists naïvely believe that knowledge is all that matters. Like Joe Friday, they think if they just give people the facts they will see the error of their way. Don’t get me wrong, knowledge is important; it’s essential. Way too many people becomeatheists out of anger or disappointment with the Christian church. Just like the Christian zealot, the atheist should know why he believes what he does. Or as the Bible says, the atheist should be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within them. But, at the same time, we should not divorce our beliefs from our emotions. Some things matter, and if they matter, our emotions should be stirred, motivating us to act accordingly.

Paul, in 1 Corinthians, wrote about being a voice heard above all others. There is so much clamoring for truth these days. Who do people turn to? Those who stir them; those who speak to them. As atheists and humanists we must not disconnect our intellect from our emotions. If we believe we have the answer to what ails our universe, then we must be passionate about it, and that passion ought to come out in our public speaking. Yes, people need to hear what we have to say, but they also need to feel it.

An Evangelical Christian Asks: What Happens When We Die?

louis ck life after death

An Evangelical Christian asked me, what happens when we die?  Here’s my answer.

The power of religion rests in the hope it gives people concerning life after death. Remove this from religion and churches would be shuttered overnight. Hope, along with fear, is the glue that holds most religions together. What would religion be without the fear of hell and the hope of heaven?

The problem though is that there is no proof for the existence of heaven,hell, or life beyond the grave.  All we have to go on is the various religious texts that clerics use to “prove” that there is a hell and a heaven. No one has ever gone to heaven or hell and returned to tell us about it. The same goes for any life  after death, whether it be reincarnation or Christian resurrection. There is no evidence for life after death. Any belief to the contrary requires faith.

As a skeptic,I rarely appeal to faith. I try to judge matters according to what I can know. What does reason tell me about life after death? What do my observations tell me about reality? What do my experiences tell me about the prospects of eternal life beyond my last breath?

When we die we are dead. That’s it. End of story.  When my heart stops pumping and my lungs stop breathing, I am dead. Every one of us will come to this end. No one escapes death. I know of no one who has come back from the dead. I know of no one who is not right where they were planted or scattered after they died. As with God, there is no empirical evidence for hell, heaven, or life after death. Since there is no evidence, I must conclude that these things do not exist.

Now, this does not mean I don’t wish it could be different. Heaven, eternal life, a pain-free body, being reunited with my father and mother; all these things appeal to me. But then, so does having magical Harry Potter-like powers. Both are fantasies that have no foundation in fact.

Some day, sooner rather than later, I am going to die. It is unlikely that I will be alive 20 years from now. I hope I am, but my body and its slow, gradual, painful decline tells me that death is lurking in the shadows and some day it will come and claim me. Believe me, I want to live. I have no death wish like many Christians do. Take me Jesus, I am ready to go, many a Christian says. Not me. I have no desire to leave on the next boat or any other boat.  I hope the long black train that’s a-comin’ gets derailed in Hell, Michigan.  I want to live as long as I can. I want to be married for 50 years, see my grandchildren get married, and hold my great-grandchildren.

You see, we skeptics value life because this is all we have. We know, based on what the evidence tells us, that there is no hell, heaven, or life after death. This is it, and because this is it we want to wring as much as we can out of life. We are not content to off-load life to a mythical Sweet-By-and-By. Every day matters because every day lived is one less day we have to live.

I have lived about 21,288 days/510,912 hours. What is most important to me is how I spent my past, and how I will spend what days I have left. Have I lived life to its fullest? Have I made a difference? Am I a better person today than I was yesterday? This is enough for me; a well-live life. What more can anyone ask ?

Sadly, many Evangelicals view life as something to be endured so that the can get a divine payoff after death. I know this description sounds crude, but it is the essence of the Christian belief concerning life after death. Endure! Suffer! Be Patient! As the Christian song says, Some day it will be worth it all. Some day you will cross the finish line and receive the prize that awaits you, the Apostle Paul says.

I don’t fault the Evangelical for believing in hell, heaven, and the afterlife. The Christian Bible certainly says these things are real. The Bible clearly says who will be going to hell and heaven. However, as a skeptic, I see no evidence that these beliefs are true. I do not have the requisite faith necessary to suspend reason on these matters. I am unwilling to waste my life in the pursuit of that which, as best I can tell, does not exist.

 

Ken Ham Warns Atheists Are Out to Steal Children and Eat Them Too

Ken Ham

Eat them, metaphorically speaking, with BBQ sauce.

In 2012,  Ken Ham, a young earth creationist, snake oil salesman, and the CEO of Answers in Genesis, warned his followers about the dangers of secularism and atheism:

… Christians today are hungry to be equipped with the resources to fight the battle before us in this increasingly secular culture, where God’s Word is being attacked on nearly every front.

I love teaching children. Once again, as we’ve seen across the country at similar conferences, we were able to reach hundreds of children and young people who attended the special school assembly programs in Florida.

I want to remind you that our theme at AiG for the next two years is “Standing Our Ground, Rescuing Our Kids” as we focus on rescuing them from this present evil age.

Recently, I coauthored an article for the AiG website about Arizona State University Professor Lawrence Krauss. He has now posted videos accusing Christians who teach their children about creation of committing “child abuse.” He even accuses those who teach their children about hell of committing “child abuse.”

Lawrence Krauss is an atheist, and he is an atheist on a mission right now to capture your kids for the anti-God religion of atheism. Think about it—he wants you to hand your kids over to him so he can try to brainwash children into believing they are just animals and that they are not made in the image of God. He wants them to be taught when you die, you rot—and that’s it! In essence, he wants your kids to be captured for the devil.

You know, I often think about why people such as Krauss are so aggressive in preaching their anti-God message of meaninglessness, purposelessness, and hopelessness. We we know that in Romans 1 we are told such people know that God is real, so they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” And it’s even more than that. They want the focus on them—it is a self-centeredness. They want you to think they are a god! They have succumbed to the devil’s temptation in Genesis 3:5—they want to be like God—they want to be a god!

Such God-haters like Lawrence Krauss and others usually go ballistic when they hear of AiG teaching kids about Genesis. And they just hate me teaching children the truth about science, origins, and how to think correctly about such matters.

This past Monday in Florida, I taught young children for an hour and a half, covering topics like dinosaurs, fossils, the Flood, creation, evolution, the gospel and much more. I showed them how the history recorded in the Bible explains dinosaurs and that observational science confirms the Bible’s history. Secularists hate me teaching children to think correctly about origins as I help them understand what God taught Job in Job 38:4. God asked Job if he was there when God made the earth. But of course, he wasn’t—and that’s the point. When it comes to origins, no human was there to see the earth come into existence! But God has always been there. Evolutionists were not there to see the supposed millions of years of evolution. So I love to teach the kids to ask the question, “Were you there?” when someone talks about millions of years. The kids get it! The atheists don’t want to get it because they don’t want to give up the starting point for their worldview—i.e., that fallible man determines truth.

I taught the high school students how to understand science in relation to the origins issue by showing them the difference between beliefs about the past and knowledge gained by observation, which enables us to build technology.

Recently, Dr. Krauss made the false statement that evolution is the basis of biology and the basis of technology. Absurd nonsense! I made sure I taught the students how to think correctly about such issues. Then I gave them answers to many of the questions skeptics will use to try to make them doubt God’s Word—questions like these: Who made God? How did Noah fit the animals on the Ark? Isn’t natural selection evolution? What about Carbon dating?…

Evangelicals like Ham love a good conspiracy theory. They believe we are living in the last days and Jesus could return to earth at any moment.  (Though I suspect Ham secretly hopes Jesus doesn’t return before he open his Noah’s Ark Amusement Park.) They also believe the world will become increasingly more sinful the closer we get to the return of Jesus. The rise of secularism and atheism is proof to people like Ham that we are living in the last days.

Ken Ham, and millions of other Evangelicals, believe they are called by God to stand against Satan and his lies. In their eyes, secularism, atheism, humanism, evolution, acceptance of homosexuality, and legalized abortion are Satanic lies that must be exposed and defeated.

Ham is right about one thing; America is becoming more secular. He is also right that the battle for the future of America will be fought in our public schools and universities. Make no mistake about it, secularists, humanists, and atheists believe the kind of Christianity Ham peddles is intellectually harmful and retards the thinking of young people.

And so we fight. No longer do secularists, humanists, and atheists hide in the shadows, fearing the wrath of Christian America. We can sense the tide is turning, and so does Ken Ham.

Secularists, humanists, and atheists use reason and facts to show  young people a better way. They show that there is no need to appeal to myth or religious superstition to explain and understand the world. Science is revealing a universe to us that is amazing and wondrous, but it is also showing that the religious narratives of the past 1,800 years are no longer credible explanations for the world we live in.

Ham does his best to disparage secularists, humanists, and atheists. According to Ham:

  • We preach a message of hopelessness
  • We preach a message of meaninglessness
  • We preach a message of purposelessness
  • We know God exists but suppress it
  • We are self-centered, it is all about us

Only with his last point does Ham get it right. Secularists, humanists, and atheists plead guilty to being human-centered (though that is not the ONLY focus we have).  We know that focusing on prayer, God, or pronouncements from ancient religious texts will do little to improve the world. In fact, such beliefs might actually cause great harm (Many of the people who deny global climate change do so for religious reasons.)

Ham and his devoted disciples are infuriated that people like Lawrence Krauss say teaching children creationism is child abuse. However, let’s consider for a moment whether Krauss’s claim is true. If creationism is religious fiction, then teaching children it is true is a lie. From the time they can walk and talk, Evangelical Christian children are taught all sorts of lies from the Bible. How can this not have a negative effect on children? (Especially since belief in the creation myth is carried into adult life.)

Teaching children the earth is 6,020 years old, that God killed with a flood every human being save eight a few thousand years ago, and that anyone who does not accept the Evangelical version of the Christian God will be tortured by  God in hell for eternity, is quite harmful to the intellectual development of children.

The waiting rooms of mental health professionals are filled with people who have had their sense of self-worth damaged or destroyed by Christian teachings like original sin. Being told you are wicked, that you can be oppressed or possessed by Satan, and that God holds absolute power of your life, does not make for a healthy mind.

So, to Ken Ham, I say this: Yes we are coming for your children.  We don’t actually want to dine on fat Christian sucklings, but we do hope to expose them as they get older to the wide, wondrous universe we live in. We hope to teach them to think critically and not to accept something as fact just because a preacher declares from the pulpit  God says __________________.

I am not anti-Christian or anti-religion. I am, however, anti-ignorance. I think parents hurt their children when they keep them from ALL the knowledge available about the universe and their place in it.

Why I Have a Man Crush on Neil deGrasse Tyson

neil-degrasse-tyson-scientifically-literate

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is my favorite scientist. He’s an affable man with a unique ability to communicate complex science in a way that the non-science trained person (me) can understand what he is talking about. I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of COSMOS, especially the part where deGrasse Tyson uses the calendar year to explain the history of the universe. I thought, what a wonderful, easy way to explain the history of the universe.

In March 2014, Neil deGrasse Tyson (NDT) sat down for an interview with Bill Moyers (BM), another man I greatly admire.  The interview is quite long. The complete interview transcript can be found on Alternet. What piqued my interest is what deGrasse Tyson said about science, myth, and religious faith:

BM: So when a child sings, or used to sing, I don’t think they do anymore, “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are,” it’s not twinkling. Something powerful, dramatic, and dynamic is happening to it. Right?

NDT: Well, yes, and we call that twinkling. So yeah, there’s starlight coming billions of, or millions of light years, well it depends on if it’s a galaxy, well, hundreds of thousands of light years across space, and it’s a perfect point of light as it hits our atmosphere, turbulence in the atmosphere jiggled the image, and it renders the star twinkling.

And by the way, planets are brighter than stars typically, like Jupiter and Venus. Venus has been in the evening skies lately. And if you go, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are,” and you, I want, you want to wish upon the star, most people are wishing on planets. That’s why their wishes don’t come true. Because the planets are the first stars to come out at night.

BM: Don’t you sometimes feel sad about breaking all these myths apart?

NDT: No, no, because I think it’s, some myths are, deserve to be broken apart. The, out of respect for the human intellect. That, no, when you’re writhing on the ground and froth is coming out of your mouth, you’re having an epileptic seizure. You have not been invaded by the devil. We got this one figured out, okay? I mean, discovery moves on. So, I don’t mind the power of myth and magic. But take it to the next frontier and apply it there. Don’t apply it in places where we’ve long passed what we already know is going on.

BM: Do you give people who make this case, that that was the beginning and that there had to be something that provoked the beginning, do you give them an A at least for trying to reconcile faith and reason?

NDT: I don’t think they’re reconcilable.

BM: What do you mean?

NDT: Well, so let me say that differently. All efforts that have been invested by brilliant people of the past have failed at that exercise. They just fail. And so I don’t, the track record is so poor that going forward, I have essentially zero confidence, near zero confidence, that there will be fruitful things to emerge from the effort to reconcile them. So, for example, if you knew nothing about science, and you read, say, the Bible, the Old Testament, which in Genesis, is an account of nature, that’s what that is, and I said to you, give me your description of the natural world based only on this, you would say the world was created in six days, and that stars are just little points of light much lesser than the sun. And that in fact, they can fall out of the sky, right, because that’s what happens during the Revelation.

You know, one of the signs that the second coming, is that the stars will fall out of the sky and land on Earth. To even write that means you don’t know what those things are. You have no concept of what the actual universe is. So everybody who tried to make proclamations about the physical universe based on Bible passages got the wrong answer.

So what happened was, when science discovers things, and you want to stay religious, or you want to continue to believe that the Bible is unerring, what you would do is you would say, “Well, let me go back to the Bible and reinterpret it.” Then you’d say things like, “Oh, well they didn’t really mean that literally. They meant that figuratively.”

So, this whole sort of reinterpretation of the, how figurative the poetic passages of the Bible are came after science showed that this is not how things unfolded. And so the educated religious people are perfectly fine with that. It’s the fundamentalists who want to say that the Bible is the literally, literal truth of God, that and want to see the Bible as a science textbook, who are knocking on the science doors of the schools, trying to put that content in the science room. Enlightened religious people are not behaving that way. So saying that science is cool, we’re good with that, and use the Bible for, to get your spiritual enlightenment and your emotional fulfillment.

BM: I have known serious religious people, not fundamentalists, who were scared when Carl Sagan opened his series with the words—Carl Sagan, from “Cosmos”: The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. I mean, that scared them, because they interpret that to mean, then if this is it, there’s nothing else. No God and no life after.

NDT: For religious people, many people say, “Well, God is within you,” or God, the, there are ways that people have shaped this, rather than, God is an old, grey-bearded man in the clouds. So if God is within you, what, I’m sure Carl would say, in you in your mind. In your mind, and we can measure the neurosynaptic firings when you have a religious experience.

We can tell you where that’s happening, when it’s happening, what you’re feeling like at the time. So your mind of course is still within the cosmos.

BM: But do you have any sympathy for people who seem to feel, only feel safe in the vastness of the universe you describe in your show if they can infer a personal God who makes it more hospitable to them, cares for them?

NDT: In this, what we tell ourselves is a free country, which means you should have freedom of thought, I don’t care what you think. I just don’t. Go think whatever you want. Go ahead. Think that there’s one God, two Gods, ten Gods, or no Gods. That is what it means to live in a free country. The problem arises is if you have a religious philosophy that is not based on objective realities that you then want to put in a science classroom. Then I’m going to stand there and say, “No, I’m not going to allow you in the science classroom.” I’m not telling you what to think, I’m just telling you in the science class, “You’re not doing science. This is not science. Keep it out.” That’s where I, that’s when I stand up. Otherwise, go ahead. I’m not telling you how to think.

BM: I think you must realize that some people are going to go to your show at the planetarium and they’re going to say, “Ah-hah! Those scientists have discovered God. Because God,” dark matter, “is what holds this universe together.”

NDT: So is that a question?

BM: It’s a statement. You know, you know they’re going to say that—

NDT: So the history of discovery, particularly cosmic discovery, but discovery in general, scientific discovery, is one where at any given moment, there’s a frontier. And there tends to be an urge for people, especially religious people, to assert that across that boundary, into the unknown lies the handiwork of God. This shows up a lot. Newton even said it. He had his laws of gravity and motion and he was explaining the moon and the planets, he was there. He doesn’t mention God for any of that. And then he gets to the limits of what his equations can calculate. So, I don’t, can’t quite figure this out. Maybe God steps in and makes it right every now and then. That’s where he invoked God.

And Ptolemy, he bet on the wrong horse, but he was a brilliant guy. He formulated the geocentric universe, with Earth in the middle. This is where we got epicycles and all this machinations of the heavens. But it was still a mystery to him. He looked up and uttered the following words, “when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies,” these are the planets going through retrograde and back, the mysteries of the Earth, “when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies, I no longer touch Earth with my feet. I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia.”

What he did was invoke, he didn’t invoke Zeus to account for the rock that he’s standing on or the air he’s breathing. It was this point of mystery. And in gets invoked God. This, over time, has been described by philosophers as the God of the gaps. If that’s how you, if that’s where you’re going to put your God in this world, then God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance.

If that’s how you’re going to invoke God. If God is the mystery of the universe, these mysteries, we’re tackling these mysteries one by one. If you’re going to stay religious at the end of the conversation, God has to mean more to you than just where science has yet to tread. So to the person who says, “Maybe dark matter is God,” if the only reason why you’re saying it is because it’s a mystery, then get ready to have that undone.

You’re the man, Neil!

Susan-Anne White Thinks I’m a Despicable, Obnoxious, Militant, Hateful Atheist

Susan-Anne White, a True Christian, So True She Can't Find Any Church Pure Enough For Her

Susan-Anne White, a True Christian, So True She Can’t Find Any Church Pure Enough For Her

Susan-Anne White, a resident of Northern Ireland and a fundamentalist Christian who believes homosexuality, adultery, divorce, abortion, and rock music should be outlawed, thinks I am a despicable, obnoxious, militant, hateful atheist. She’s taken to her blog to denounce me. Here’s what she had to say:

I have already mentioned the Ex-Pastor Bruce Gerencser in a previous post, and since then, I have continued to read some of the posts on his blog and posted comments when I felt it was necessary and, indeed, my duty to do so.

This man Gerencser, is one of the most despicable, obnoxious individuals I have ever encountered. He is militant, hateful atheism writ large.

He refers to himself at times as Bruce Almighty and when he does so, he adds blasphemy to his many sins. He has now made it impossible for me to post comments on his blog, so obviously, he could not handle the truth contained in my many comments. I also think it likely that I was influencing (for good) some of his regular readers and commenters so he had to silence me. He cannot silence me on our own blog however.

Before he banned me from commenting, I confronted him about his use of the designation “Ms” in reference to me, a designation I abhor. He admitted that he did this to annoy me! I asked him about his wife’s designation i.e is she referred to as “Mrs.” Gerencser or “Ms.” Gerencser. I had to force the issue to get an answer from him and what do you think he said?  “Her name is Polly.”

So there we have it. That being the case, we must assume that on their wedding day, they were pronounced “Mr. and Polly Gerencser” and that, ever since, when they receive any official letters etc, they are addressed to “Mr. and Polly Gerencser.” I think not.

Methinks the EX-Pastor is telling a fib.

Please read all the comments I posted on his blog post (link below) because some of the things he says to me and about me are violent, shocking and slanderous.

By the way, White is not banned. Her comments are moderated. She is free to pontificate and excoriate, but I must approve each comment.  As far as her latest blog post is concerned, I think it speaks for itself.

You can read White’s comments on the following posts Blog News: I Need Your Help, Why Do Fundamentalist Men and Women Dress Differently?, and An Email From a Fundamentalist Christian.

In an October 2015 blog post, White had this to say:

I have been commenting on the blog of a former Pastor turned atheist called Bruce Gerencser for a few days. He also has a Facebook page and he posted my Manifesto on it. You will notice that he made three points about my Manifesto and, taken in order, they are as follows,

1. I am a “fundamentalist crazy”
2. I live in England
3. I’m running for political office

 He is WRONG on all three!

1. I am not crazy
2. I do not live in England (I live in Northern Ireland)
3. I’m not running for political office as the election took place last May.

He also posts a comment from someone calling himself Marc Ewt who states that Northern Ireland is his home country and then proceeds to utter nonsense about NI (some of his assertions are hilarious.)

 Ex-Pastor Bruce Gerencser is gullible enough to believe that every word Marc Ewt utters is the truth and tells him that reading his comment about the state of things in Northern Ireland helps put people like “White” in context. (Note how the former Pastor refers to me as “White” not “Mrs.White” and I don’t like it.) Read the ex-Pastor’s facebook comment below, followed by the comment by Marc Ewt, followed by the ex-Pastor’s response to ignoramus Ewt…

White mentions her Manifesto. Here’s a copy of it:

susan-anne-white-manifesto

According to an April 2015 article in the Belfast Telegraph:

…Susan Anne White, who caused a stir when she stood in last year’s council elections, is now aiming to become MP for West Tyrone.

The devout Christian says her campaign will focus on moral issues including society’s “dangerous” homosexual agenda.

She also wants to outlaw rock music, saying it fuels sexual anarchy and drug use.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mrs White, who is standing as an Independent, denied that her views were extreme.

“I don’t consider myself extreme – not at all,” she said. “It is society that has moved. Not so far in the past, most people would have shared my views.

“My views only seem extreme because society has moved away from God’s principles.”

Mrs White, who is from Trillick in Co Tyrone, is one of nine candidates standing in West Tyrone on May 7.

The outgoing Sinn Fein MP, Pat Doherty, has a comfortable 10,000-plus majority. Last May, Mrs White stood for the new Fermanagh and Omagh Council, receiving just 67 first preference votes.

Mrs White said she opposes feminism “with all her might”, and says it is to blame for the recession.

“Feminism is responsible for many of the social ills we see all around us,” she added.

“They [feminists] are responsible for the economy – they destroyed the whole concept of a family wage with the father as the bread-winner and the stay-at-home mother. They make women feel they have to be out in the workforce.”

Mrs White is also “absolutely opposed to the homosexual agenda” in today’s society. If I had the power, I would certainly re-criminalise homosexuality, along with adultery,” she added.

She said anyone involved in homosexual or adulterous practices should be jailed.

“I would stop the funding of gay pride parades and other depraved art and cultural events,” she added.

Despite her strong views, Mrs White claims she is a “true friend” to the gay community.

“I tell them the truth,” she added. “The person who is not a friend, the person who is the enemy to the homosexual is the person who pats them on the back and says their lifestyle is perfectly normal and acceptable.”

While campaigning last year, Mrs White spoke out about rock music, saying acts like Iron Maiden and Kurt Cobain promoted anarchy in society. She said she remained opposed to these and other “vulgar acts”.

“A lot of rock music is dangerous for the hearing,” she added.

“That is not the only problem with it. There is an ideology which permeates rock music and it is sexual anarchy. It is also linked to drugs.” She said rock music had “a terrible effect” on young people.

Mrs White blames the EU for much of society’s “decadence”, saying she would withdraw from Europe “tomorrow”…

Here’s a video of White making inflammatory comments about homosexuals:

Video Link

Here’s a wickedly wonderful bit of satire someone at the Waterford Whispers News wrote about White:

A MONSTER five-foot long rat has been found swimming in the Irish media for the past fortnight, and it’s looking for a good home.

The vermin, a Caucasian Christian bigot, was reported to be dwelling in West Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

It is believed to be the worst of its kind found in recent years.

Nicknamed ‘Susan’ by its minders, the rat is not believed to be physically dangerous but its spine-tingling screams have begun to upset locals.

“It just slithered out from underneath a rock somewhere,” constituent Gerry Kennedy told WWN today. “The vile yoke just sits there screaming nonsense all the time. I’ve called the local animal welfare group to see if we can get rid of it.

“Hopefully they can put it out of its misery.”

The animal is presumed to have escaped or been released by a a local Christian breeder.

Witnesses say the rodent is about the size of a dog, weighs in at 60kg, has a tartan coat and white mane and is thought to feed on those it doesn’t agree with.

Locals have called on anyone that comes in contact with the creature to just ignore it.

According to Wikipedia, Susan-Anne White is in her eighties. While it would be easy to dismiss White’s vitriol towards the human race as dementia, the fact is she is a perfect example of someone who has taken her Christian fundamentalist beliefs to their logical conclusion. White, like the late Fred Phelps and his demented family, says in public what uncounted Evangelical and Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preachers and church members say in private. I’ll give her credit for being willing to display her homophobia and bigotry for all to see. I wish more of her ilk would do the same.

White’s two posts about me generated no traffic to this site. In another post, White stated her blog readership numbers were decreasing.  I wonder why?  Like Steven Anderson, the infamous pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, Arizona, Susan-Anne White has followers who think she is spot on. Not many, but a few. I hope she will continue to write and speak out about the evils of this fallen and depraved world. The more people like her talk, the easier it is for atheists like me to make a case for the bankruptcy of Evangelical Christianity.

Note

Wikipedia article about White

030816

 

A Catholic Calls on Me to Take Down This Blog and Quit Spreading Evil Disease

god in the mind

Comic by Dan Piraro

Here is an email I received from a Catholic upset over the content of this blog.

Philokalia3 wrote:

Take your blogs down, why spread your evil disease of lack of faith to others; misery loves company. Repent, call out to the Almighty with all your heart, be willing to raise the flag of surrender to God, brother you must ask God for sustained faith it is a gift, not something you conjure out of your own heart. Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, if you are eternally lost, and you asked not for faith it is no ones fault but your own: Joh 6:37  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. Most High and Sovereign Father, grant to this man renewed faith, fill him w Thy Holy Spirit to the uttermost, utterly bind the Enemy and his helpers work against Bruce’s soul, Mother Mary and all ye Holy Ones in Heaven assist me in my prayers for Bruce, St. Pio, St. Jude, St. Anthony of Padua, St Nicholas, St Seraphim  of Sarov, help pray for this man, I beg, that his soul not be lost and that he would no longer work against the Most Holy Faith of Jesus, O Lord have mercy on His soul and irresistibly draw him back to Christ, and to His Church, in Jesus’ name do I pray, Amen

I received this email a couple of years ago. Philokalia3’s prayers, like every other Christian prayer uttered against me, must have not made it to God’s voice mail box. Despite calling on God, Mary, and a host of saints, I remain unrepentant. So much for the “power” of prayer.

As Long as You Believe in God, That’s All That Matters

i am an atheist

I have heard this line many times over the past several years “as long as you believe in God, that’s all that matters.” Implied in this statement is the notion that belief in the CHRISTIAN God is all that matters. No matter what denominational flavor a person might be, as long as he or she believes in the Christian God then everything is OK. What are we to make of this generic statement of belief in God? Isn’t there more to Christianity than just saying, “I believe in God”? What about specific beliefs. Do they matter? Does it matter if I believe anything specific, about the Christian God? Or is it OK if I just have warm, fuzzy feelings about the Christian God?

Every organized religion has a formulated belief system. To be a ___________________you must believe ___________. Can one be a Christian and not believe in Jesus?  Of course not.

It seems that many Christians are uncomfortable with what they believe, especially when it comes to judgment and hell. Christians hem and haw about the future state of those who do not believe in Jesus. That’s why they like the “as long as you believe in God that’s all that matters” line of thinking. It lets them and their God off the hook.

What if I said I believe in Allah or Zeus?  Would that satisfy the “as long as you believe in God that’s all that matters” crowd? Is there any God that is not an acceptable God?

Inherent in this line of thinking is the notion that humans MUST believe in a being bigger than themselves.  Why? Why must I have any God at all? Is it not enough to live, embrace life, and die? Is it not enough to eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow I die? Is it not enough to love the wife of my youth, my children, and my grandchildren? Is it not enough to love my neighbor as myself?

I find no need for a God. Perhaps on my deathbed I will think differently, but, for now, God seems of little importance in the day to day machinations of my life.

Most Americans have a difficult time understanding atheists and agnostics, or for that matter anyone different from themselves. They are quite certain that godlessness means that a person is a Satanist, child molester, or a deviant of some kind. Never mind the fact  that most child molesters and deviants have a religious background and atheists don’t believe in Satan.

How can one live without God?, they ask themselves.

I find little difference between myself and most Christians I know. I say there is no God and live accordingly, and they say there is a God and live, for the most part, as if God doesn’t exist. It seems the only difference is what we “say” we are and where we spend Sunday  morning. Such a religion does not interest me. I much prefer the Church of the NFL or the Church of College Football (and it seems a lot of my Christians acquaintances and neighbors do too).

So, my Christian friend,let’s play a game. Let’s compare lives. After all, the only way we can know what people believe is to watch how they live their lives. We LIVE what we think is important. How is my life any different from yours?

Surely, since I don’t believe in God, don’t have the Holy Spirit in me, and don’t follow the Bible, my life should be a blazing example of what most Christians think nontheists are. Shall we compare morals? Ethics? Shall we compare our love for our respective families? Or does it really all come down to whether I “believe”, lifestyle be damned?

I see no compelling reason for embracing Christianity or any other form of theism. It seems all quite meaningless to me, though I recognize it isn’t meaningless for millions of Christians. I have Christian friends, most of whom are liberals or universalists.  They quietly live according to the teachings of Jesus. I admire them. That they are still friends with me means a lot to me. But, even their devotion to God is not enough to persuade me of the existence of the Christian God.

Anne Rice had this to say (link no longer active) about “leaving” Christianity:

For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten …years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else…

…As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of …Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.

I doubt the cohesiveness of Rice’s beliefs, but I do understand and appreciate her sentiments.

I have often been told that I am looking for God in all the wrong places. Perhaps, but at this point in life, I am going to leave it to God to find me. I am no longer interested in looking for him/her/it. There is too much life to be lived to spend it looking for God. Most days, I can’t even find the TV remote.

Ken Ham Asks His Disciples to Pray for Me

dinosaurs on the ark

Cartoon by Mike Peters

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post titled Ken Ham Warns Atheists Are Out to Steal Your Children and Eat Them Too. While this post was lost in a server crash, I was able to recover the part of the post that resulted in Ken Ham asking his devoted Facebook followers to pray for me:

…Teaching children the earth is 6,000 years old, that God killed with a flood every human being save eight a few thousand years ago, and that anyone who does not accept the Evangelical version of the Christian God will be tortured by the Evangelical God in hell for eternity, is quite harmful to the intellectual development of children.

The waiting rooms of mental health professionals are filled with people who have had their sense of self-worth damaged or destroyed by Christian teachings like original sin. Being told you are wicked, that you can be oppressed or possessed by Satan, and that God holds absolute power of your life, does not make for a healthy mind,

So, to Ken Ham, I say this: Yes we are coming for your children. We hope to expose them to the wide, wondrous universe we live in. We hope to teach them to think critically and not to accept something as fact just because a preacher said or God said __________________.

I am not anti-Christian or anti-religion. I am, however, anti-ignorance. I think parents hurt their children when they keep them from ALL the knowledge available about the universe and their place in it…

Instead of praying for me, the Hamites, a species related to the Dodo Bird, went on the offensive, and in doing so they exposed their ignorance about and hatred for atheists. Here’s what some of Ham’s disciples had to say:

Start of Quotes

The level of pure hatred in their writings are almost palpable. They are the blind, leading the blind right into Hell!

Should not their own venomous hatred be a warning to them that they are not thinking clearly and rationally? How can they possibility imagine that they are walking in truth when they are eaten up with bitterness and loathing?

And as is highly typical of skeptics, they use lots of insults and personal attacks.
In fact, insults are their personal mark and business card. Remember too – Satan is called the accuser of the brethren.

Sad for them. Their hearts are hardened.

evil is cancer…it spreads quickly everywhere…it destorys the ability to think or even reason…the worldly mind just cannot understand the wisdom of God. Praise God for grace.

So much anger and hatred. Just proves, in my mind, that this is a spiritual battle.

I really think the average Christian needs to have a better quick come back for the “God said” “God is speaking to me” and why the Bible is true… Those objections are voiced over and over again and I find the average Christian raised in our churches today simply has no good quick answer….

Jesus said we would be hated by this world because it hated Him first. Also all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

“we are coming for your children.” Over my dead body.

“We are coming for your children” … Arrogant, conceited, rude and intrusive, aren’t they?

This may be the most difficult part of being a Christian, Ken: standing in the face of uncalled-for hatred. Perhaps we should all think of Jesus being nailed to the cross as we hear this kind of nonsensical hatred. Their pride will destroy them. Repentance is the only way….

While we MUST expose the wiles of the evil one, we must also remember that apart from the Grace of God, many of us would likely be in the same position they are in. Jesus warned us that in the End Times there would be a great deception and this is obvious. It is only by the Grace of God that we do not fall for this deception. We are indeed in a war and our enemy does not play fair. Fortunately, we fight with a Commander-in-Chief who also does not fight fair. Our Commander wins…PERIOD because he overcame death, sin, the grave, deception, and every other weapon the enemy throws at us. NO WEAPON formed against us shall prosper. The lies, the hate, the slander, the fear, all the weapons these atheists throw at us shall not prosper.

These atheists are not as secure as they present themselves to be. The truth of God’s Word dispels darkness. Be encouraged Ken. “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” Romans 5:20

The claim that Bible belief and teaching retards the thinking of young people is not true. Since the Bible is true, that would be impossible! If science from the beginning had believed and searched the scriptures, there would have been more progress. For example, science once believed in bleeding people to make them feel better, a flat earth, and more. Bible knowledge would have prevented those errors of “science” along with the impossible theory of evolution – the “belief” that everything came from nothing with no influence from any power or intelligence. Now that’s retarded thinking.

And again we see the humanists’ “tolerance”!

I’m interested in reading these updates, but I’d like to follow up on something you wrote above. I have NEVER met anyone who hates God, ever. I’ve never heard anyone say that. They do hate us and our interpretation of God’s word (truth!).

Thank you for sharing. It is so sad that the lost cannot understand the truth and their deception turns their anger towards those who proclaim the truth. We need to understand those on the other side to know how to combat their influence.

Wow…such hatred. I think it is sad that the Christians use to be dogmatic, and that crowd was quiet, and now it has flipped around. They are dogmatic, and the Christians have become the quiet ones. And the gall of people like this to discredit all Creationists, and especially to discredit the credentials of scientists who are Creationists, is unjust. These scientists have payed for their education, and spent as much of their life in school, as the secular scientists, and so it is unjust to claim that these guys are dumb and stupid.

Never forget a man got up and walked out of the grave……….Atheists are such fools.

He needs to know that we don’t believe in the 7 day creation because a pastor said “God said,” but because God said! We need to stick to the word. Thanks Mr Ken.

if God is not real, why would I waste my time arguing or caring about what Christians thought….nothing meanings anything if there is no God….so I would spend my time in as much pleasure and selfishness as possible as I only have maybe 80 years of meaningless existence…I would not want to waste a second on science or Christianity…who cares?…the fact they oppose so strongly shows they are scared and insecure in their own beliefs

I asked a few Athiest once, why do you talk about God so much if God doesn’t exist? Why do you mock it? An Athiest told me its because of all the violence and wars. And I asked if that is true. Why is it a Christian God and not any other gods, for example Allah the god of Islam?.. I have personally paid attention to the media and tv shows that would make fun of religion. And also been in Philosophy classes where they would bring up a Christian God most of the time. Even they say Christianity copied other religions when it was the other way around they pic and choose things. Indeed we are living in the End times I believe. More Christians are being persecuted there was/still is being more Christians being persecuted in the last century than the 1900 years after 0A.D all together. The Lord has really told me that He is my shield. And to have full Faith in Him. As I’ve been reading Scripture lately.

End of Quotes

Here’s my favorite comment, written by Don Swaringen, a 1961 graduate of Bob Jones University :

The claim that Bible belief and teaching retards the thinking of young people is not true. Since the Bible is true, that would be impossible! If science from the beginning had believed and searched the scriptures, there would have been more progress. For example, science once believed in bleeding people to make them feel better, a flat earth, and more. Bible knowledge would have prevented those errors of “science” along with the impossible theory of evolution – the “belief” that everything came from nothing with no influence from any power or intelligence. Now that’s retarded thinking.

Let’s see:

  • “The claim that Bible belief and teaching retards the thinking of young people is not true.” Why ? The “Bible is true”, Swearingen says.  Talk about circular reasoning; the Bible is true because the Bible says it is true.
  • Bloodletting? A procedure performed on the sick for 1,900 years, long before the modern scientific era.  Numerous Christians and clergymen were bled by Christian doctors. All of them had the Bible at their disposal, yet none of them found the “truth” about bloodletting. It took scientists, not theologians, to find out that, in most cases, bloodletting does not help the sick.
  • Flat earth? Evidently, Swaringen is not aware that the flat earth belief came, in part, from the Bible. Daniel 4:10, Isaiah 11:12, Revelation 7:1, Matthew 4:8 (Excellent article (link no longer active) by Adrian Swindler on the relevant Bible passages that teach the earth is flat. Here’s another article (link no longer active) by Swindler about the one time common belief that the earth was flat)
  • There would be more progress if science believed the Bible? Really?  What about the scientists who were killed for going against the Bible and the teachings of the Christian church? What does history tells us about countries that have a religious-text based science? Look at the Muslim world and see what happens when theology trumps science.
  • Science does make errors, but it correct them. When’s the last time the Don Swaringen’s of the world have “corrected” an error in their Bible or theology? Everyone now…NEVER!

Notes

Ken Ham’s Facebook page

One Reason I Don’t Believe: The Silence of History

bart ehrman quote

According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, (link no longer active) the 2010 population of the Jerusalem district was 924,000. In 1948, the population of the Jerusalem district was 87,000. According to Wikipedia, the 1st century population of Jerusalem was around 80,000, though this population would swell during Passover and other religious observances. When I lived in Yuma, Arizona, I observed a similar swelling of the population when the snow birds arrived to spend winter in Yuma. Whatever the population of Jerusalem was during  the three-year public ministry of Jesus, there were plenty of people who observed his works. Surely, there were thousands of eyewitnesses who could have written something about Jesus’s miracles, and his death, resurrection, ascension back to heaven. Surely, there were eyewitnesses who could have written something about the acts of the Apostles and the early church. Why then, is there little or no historical record for the life and work of Jesus or the early followers of Jesus? God striking church members dead or causing the followers of Jesus to speak in unknown tongues surely were notable events, yet there is no record of them outside of the Bible. Why is this?

According to the Bible, the events leading up to the death of Jesus, his crucifixion, and his resurrection from the dead, took place during Passover.  After the post-resurrection ministry of Jesus, Jesus ascended back to heaven, and on the Day of Pentecost, while the followers of Jesus were gathered in an upper room, they were filled (baptized) with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2)

Acts 2:1-6 states:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

This miracle of speaking with other tongues caused quite a stir and, as a result, on one day:

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41)

In fact, according to according to Acts 2:47:

And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Every day people were being saved, baptized, and added to the church, or so says the author of the book of Acts.

In Acts 3,4 we find Peter and John going to the Temple to preach the gospel. While they faced great adversity from the Sadducees over their preaching that through Jesus people could be resurrected from the dead, Acts 4:4 states:

…many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

So, in a short amount of time, the Acts narrative moves from 120 followers of Jesus being gathered in an upper room to 3,000 people being saved, baptized, and added to the church, to 5,000 men believing the preaching of gospel. Yet, outside of the New Testament, which was written decades after the events recorded in Acts 1-4, there is no historical mention of a large number of people becoming followers of Jesus. There is no mention of 3,000 people being publicly baptized on one day. There is no mention of a large gathering of Jesus followers in the outer court of the Temple.

In fact, there is no non-Biblical historical record for any of the astounding events recorded in the Gospels and Acts. Suppose a well-known man died in the community you live. You saw him die. With your own eyes you saw his dead, embalmed body. Yet, three days later, this same man came back to life and was sitting with his family and friends at the local Applebee’s. Do you think such a miraculous event would make the front page of the newspaper? Do you think it would be trending on Twitter? Do you think everyone in your community would quickly know about the dead man brought back to life? Yet, when it comes to Jesus the miracle worker, a man who purportedly raised people from the dead, cast demons out of people, gave sight to the blind, restored the hearing of the deaf, walked on water, and walked through walls, there is no non-Biblical historical record of any of his works.

According to the Bible, Jesus was well-known in Jerusalem. When he came riding into Jerusalem on a colt (or an ass, you decide) people lined the streets and cheered him. This same man, a short time later, was arrested, publicly humiliated, nailed to a cross like a common thief, and buried in a borrowed grave. Three days later, however you count three days, this same well-known Jesus resurrected from the grave and appeared to over 500 people. Pretty news worthy stuff, right? Yet, outside of the Bible, there is no historical record of these events.

Even more astounding, according to Matthew 27, at the moment Jesus died:

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

At the very moment Jesus died, the veil of the Temple, a curtain that was likely 30 feet wide, 60 feet high, and four inches thick, (using 18 inches as the measurement for a cubit) was torn in half. And according to the Gospel of Mark, there was an eclipse at the moment of, or right before Jesus died. Ponder for a moment such astounding events, yet, outside of the Bible, there is no record of them ever occurring.

If that is not astounding enough, consider that the Bible says when Jesus died the graves of the saints were open and out popped resurrected followers of Jesus. These resurrected saints went into Jerusalem and appeared to many people. Yet, not only is there no non-Biblical historical report of this happening, none of the other gospel writers or Paul mention it. Surely, dead relatives and dead fellow believers resurrecting from the dead and walking about the city of Jerusalem would be important to 1st century Christians, yet outside of Matthew no one mentions it.

Yes, later Christian authors, working from the text of the Bible and stories passed down to them, speak of these events being true, but why are there no Roman or Jewish historical writings that mention these astounding events?

I am well aware of the various arguments that can be made, but I don’t buy them. It seems far more likely that these miraculous, astounding events never happened. Yes, Josephus possibly said:

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.

I say possibly because what Josephus actually said is a matter of great debate. (the oldest manuscript of Josephus’s writings is dated a thousand years after his death) Regardless of the authenticity of the aforementioned passage, Josephus does not mention, outside of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, any of the miraculous events that occurred at the time of the death of Jesus. Why is this?

This is one of the reasons that I do not believe the Christian narrative. While this is not proof for there being no God, it does call into question the narrative that many Christians proclaim is truth.

[signoff]

How Do You Get the Elephant Out of the Room?

elephant in the room

Those of us who have Christian family often refer to our unbelief as the elephant in the room. Polly and I last attended church in November 2008. For a time, Polly’s mom would ask her to attend church with her when they were here visiting, but after being rebuffed several times, she stopped asking. As long time readers know, when I decided that I was no longer a Christian, I sent a letter to some of my friends, family, and former parishioners. This letter caused quite a stir, resulting in a personal visit from a pastor friend and emails and letters from colleagues in the ministry and people who once called me pastor. Several churches held prayer meetings specifically to pray for me, hoping their concerted prayer would cause God to bring me back into the fold.  Several pastors took to the pulpit and preached sermons about Bruce Gerencser, the pastor turned atheist. (sermon by Ralph Wingate Jr. and sermons by Jose Maldonado)  What’s interesting in all of this is that our family didn’t say a word to either Polly or me. One man, an evangelist, did attempt talk to me, but he was told to stop doing so by one of the older preachers in the family. While we’ve certainly heard gossip about this or that behind-the-back discussion about us, and we were told that the family patriarch, a 75-year-old retired preacher, planned to straighten me out, not one family member has sat down and had an honest and open discussion with either of us. Our deconversion and my outspokenness concerning Evangelicalism and atheism is a huge pink elephant that everyone can see, but no one acknowledges. While I know that some family members regularly read this blog, no one has engaged in any sort of discussion with us about why we left the ministry, deconverted, and are now happy HBO-watching, wine-drinking  unbelievers.

Some seasoned atheists recommend that the recently deconverted  shine a bright light on the elephant and force people to see it. That’s what I did with my letter to family, friends, and former parishioners. While this approach worked for friends and former parishioners, family just went over to the wall switch and turned off the light. To some degree, I understand their reaction. I was their preacher brother, uncle, son-in-law, and father for as long as they could remember. From 1972 to 2008, I was the family preacher, and when Polly and I married in 1978, I married into a family of pastors, missionaries, and evangelists.  Every aspect of our lives was dominated by Christianity, the Bible, and the work of the ministry. And then, BOOM, all that was gone, and Rev. Bruce Gerencser and his wife Polly are now numbered with the godless. I suspect that the cognitive dissonance this causes for some family members is too much for them to handle, so they pretend that there is no elephant in the room. This is why some family members still think we are saved. We are just backslidden, out of the will of God, and they are certain we will one day return to the faith.

Some atheists take a different approach when discussing their deconversion with family and friends. Two weeks ago, I watched  Chicago PD, a procedural program about an élite force of detectives in the Chicago police department. One of the detectives, Erin Lindsay, played by actress Sophia Bush, is struggling with family and addiction problems. She seeks out the help of a counselor named Dr. Charles, played by actor Oliver Platt.  Dr. Charles asks Detective Lindsay, how do you get the elephant out of the room? Lindsay had no answer for the question. Dr. Charles replied, one piece at a time.  Instead of taking the approach I detailed in the previous paragraph, some atheists take Dr. Charles’s advice and begin dismantling the elephant one piece at a time. While this approach certainly results in less stress, it can take quite some time. The atheist has to be willing to leave some issues on the table to be discussed another day. Not everyone can do this, preferring to get every issue out in the open so it can discussed. Once this is done, there’s no need for any further discussion.

I’ve had uncounted new atheists and agnostics write me about how best to handle their Christian spouses, children, parents, extended family, or friends. I never tell them that they should do this or that. Every person must carefully examine his or her life and the connections each has with others before deciding how to proceed. While every atheist certainly wants the elephant out of the room, there are different ways to accomplish it. I wrote about this in the post titled, Count the Cost Before You Say I am an Atheist. Acting rashly or in a fit of anger can have catastrophic consequences. Once a person decides to talk with Christian family and friends about their deconversion, there’s no going back. Once a person utters out loud, I am an atheist, what happens next is out of their control. I know of married people whose spouses divorced them over their deconversion. Some people have had their family excommunicate them, refusing to allow them in their homes until they come to their senses. Others receive email, phone calls, and Facebook comments from family and friends about their deconversion. Often these statements are barbed with anger and hurt. More than a few atheists have been forced to unfriend Christian family and friends on Facebook. Sadly, more than a few times, something I’ve written has been posted to an atheist’s Facebook wall, and it has resulted in the newly minted atheist being attacked by offended Christians.  I know a few atheists who would love to be friends with me on Facebook, but they can’t because of how their Christian family and friends would respond to our friendship.

I’d love to hear from readers about how they handled the elephant in the room. Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Note

My sister is an exception when it comes to family. She takes a universalist, generic approach to religion, so she has no problem with me being an atheist. We’ve had numerous discussions over the years. What matters to both of us is love, kindness, and compassion, not some sort of defined religious belief. Having been brutally abused by Christians and Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preachers herself, she totally gets why I want nothing to do with Christianity.

 

 

Evangelicals Say the Darnedest Things: Being a Christian Has Always Been a Risky Choice

jon stewart christian persecution

As a child growing up in the late 1950s and 1960s, I frequently watched the daytime TV show, Art Linkletter’s House Party. One feature of House Party was a segment called Kids Say the Darnedest Things. Linkletter would interview children between the ages of five and ten, and their responses were quite funny and entertaining. According to Wikipedia, Linkletter interviewed an estimated 23,000 children.

Yesterday, Erin Davis, a writer for the Lies Women Believe website, wrote a post titled, When it is Hard to be a Christian at School. According to Davis, Evangelical students who attend public schools are facing challenges to their Christian faith and practice. It’s not easy to be a Christian, Davis says, and she is quite proud of the fact that there are Christian students who are willing to stand up for their faith. Davis, and Lies Women Believe, are starting a new website feature to help students boldly stand up for Jesus and Christianity. Called Stand for Truth Thursdays, Davis and her fellow Evangelical truth-tellers hope to “each Thursday…feature a post on how you can stand firm in your faith no matter where you go to school.”

In her article, Davis made an astounding statement that got me thinking about Art Linkletter and Kids Say the Darnedest Things. As I read Davis’s statement, I thought, I should start a TV show called, Evangelicals Says the Darnedest Things. Here’s what she had to say:

Being a Christian has always been a risky choice.

Really? In what way, in America, is being a Christian a risky choice?

Let’s see. The United States has a constitution and bill of rights that expressly grant every citizen the freedom of speech and religion. The establishment clause forbids the government from meddling in the affairs of religious organizations. There’s a wall of separation between church and state that’s meant to protect religious institutions from government encroachment and any attempt to limit the free exercise of religion. Churches are tax exempt and members of the clergy have special tax breaks that allow them to pay very little income tax. Ministers are even permitted to opt out of social security if they so desire.

Any group of U.S. citizens can start their own religion or start a church, and any individual can decide he or she wants to be a minister. I could decide today to start a new church, say First Church of Bruce Almighty, and by Sunday I could have a congregation gathered up and be holding services. Donations to my new church would be, by default, tax exempt, and here in Ohio my new church would be exempt from sales and real estate tax. There’s no government oversight about what is considered a real church, and the IRS goes out of its way to be vague about the definition of a church.

Every community in America has one or more Christian churches. There are six churches within 5 miles of the town I live in and almost 200 Christian churches within a 30 mile radius. Whatever flavor of Christian that people want to be, there’s a church for them. Groups like Youth for Christ, Child Evangelism Fellowship, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes have ready access to public school students. Churches are free to start private religious schools, often with little or no government oversight. Evangelical parents are permitted to pull their children out of the public school and educate them at home. If  parents wants to teach their child the earth is 6,020 years old and evolution is a lie, they are free to do so.  Pastors routinely open or close government meetings with a prayer.  Everywhere I look, Christianity is on display. Where’s this risky Christianity Davis talks about?

Almost eight out of ten Americans profess to be Christian. Most Evangelical children have Evangelical parents who, from their earliest years forward, take them to a nearby Evangelical church. Evangelical children are encouraged to make a public profession of faith in Jesus as soon as they can understand the notion of sin and their need of forgiveness and salvation. Evangelical children make this profession of faith surrounded by other Evangelical children.  From walking the aisle and getting saved to getting baptized by immersion, the new Christian is surrounded by like-minded Evangelicals. Many Evangelicals call getting baptized a public profession of faith, yet the crowd watching the baptism are those who have already gone through the baptism ritual themselves. Getting saved and baptized in an Evangelical church is one of the safest, most non-stressful things a person can do. Risky? Not a chance.

Evangelicalism has its own subculture with Christianized music, entertainment, clothing, toys, books, and food. Evangelicals start businesses and local Christians are encouraged to support their fellow Christian’s business endeavor. The ichthys symbol is prominently displayed on business signs and advertisements, reminding Christians that a fellow club member runs the business. If Evangelicals are so inclined, they could wall themselves completely off from the wicked world of unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines and Canaanites and only breathe in the pure, righteous, holy air of Evangelical Christianity.

So, when someone like Erin Davis says that being a Christian is a risky choice, I ask, how so? I can’t think of one way that being a Christian in the United States is risky. Evangelicals pay no price for their faith. They are free to live, work, and play without being molested by the government or those opposed to Christianity. Evangelicals are as free as a nudist running down a beach on a warm summer day. Unencumbered by law or opinion, Evangelicals are free to be whatever it is they want to be. If this is so, and certainly Davis should know it is, why would an Evangelical like Davis say being a Christian is risky?

Thanks to Madalyn Murray O’Hair, atheism and unbelief have been part of American life since the 1960’s. Numerous groups like American Atheists, American Humanist Association, Freedom From Religion Foundation, The Clergy Project, and Center for Inquiry now promote atheism, agnosticism, and humanism.  Authors like Bart Ehrman, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and the late Christopher Hitchens write bestselling books that critique and attack Christian belief.  Numerous blogs and websites are now devoted to atheism and critiquing Christian belief. Recent polls show that young adults are abandoning religion at a record pace, and there is an increasing number of disaffected Evangelicals leaving Christianity. Some leave Evangelicalism and join up with liberal or progressive Christian sects; others seek out eastern religions or abandon Christianity altogether.

It is the rise of secularism and atheism, along with the indifference of younger adults towards religion, that leads people like Erin Davis to conclude that Christianity is under attack and that it is now risky to be a Christian. Some Evangelical talking heads even say that American Christians are now be persecuted for their faith. Why, just a few months ago poor Kim Davis was thrown in jail for her faith, right? No, actually she wasn’t. She was jailed because she refused to obey the law and fulfill her duty an elected government official. While there are certainly individual cases where one could conclude that a Christian is being persecuted, most claims of persecution are really just examples of childish Christians throwing a temper tantrum over not being allowed to violate the law or get their way.  They rightly recognize that they are losing their preferred seat tat the head of the cultural table, and this frightens and upsets them. It also causes them to see persecution and hardship where there is none.

Let me end this post with Erin Davis’s own words and the words of several commenters about what they consider the risk of being a Christian. I’ll leave it to readers to judge whether they have a point. Davis wrote:

A college freshman at Duke University made national headlines for refusing to participate in a class assignment that required him to read a sexually-explicit graphic novel.

The fictional plot for the blockbuster hit movie God’s Not Dead was ripped from actual First Amendment court cases. The makers of the movie cite forty real-life court battles in which “university students, campus ministries, and clubs [were] attacked for their biblical faith.”

Being a Christian has always been a risky choice. That’s as true today as it was way back when Eve decided to fall for Satan’s lie instead of standing on God’s truth.

A group of Christian students in Pennsylvania organized a “flannel day” to show unity against increased LGBT activity at their school. Their peaceful protest involved putting Bible verses on plain pieces of paper underneath LGBT Awareness Day posters around their school. Similarly in my own home state of Missouri, more than 150 students walked out of their high school in protest of a transgender male being allowed to use the girls’ locker room.

And here’s what several commenters had to say:

…My afternoon at school today consisted to yoga in phys ed followed by a less on eveloutuon (sic)  and why they bible is wrong in biology. It was horrible and I have just been praying for guidance because apparently I’m getting yoga and eveloution (sic) every Thursday for a month but I really truly need a way to stand firm…

…I mean this same day in my Christian school I was mocked for doing the right thing and I felt sad but this encouraged me so much…

…I’m in college and we’re working on a group project, which needs a song. With regards to choosing the song, I don’t want to do something of pop culture or past pop culture because it troubles my spirit. At the same time, there’s just about no songs out there that have to do with our topic that’s not influenced by single-person center stage stars unless we do a hymn or a Christian song, which I am not sure that they will approve of. It has to do about not being good enough…

I feel very conflicted when it comes to the topic of lgbtq. I am a Christian yet I was raised in a public school system where it’s very politically correct and relativism and all that. I am confused as to how I should stand up for God in this matter especially as I am aspiring to be a nurse. Right now I believe that I cannot judge the LGBTQ community. That I should love them as myself. That if they ask if gay people can go to heaven, I don’t know. It’s a matter of your relationship with God and that relationship with cost you to surrender your life to Him. Would you be willing to surrender all to Him? Even if you find out that He does not want men to have sexual relations with men and vice versa. So reading this post I am just confused and conflicted with the protest against the transgendered male. I am not against posting verses under the posters but yeah. I just have a lot of mixed opinions about this issue and especially as I need to give equal care to those who don’t know God. I don’t know how I can evangelize in that profession and stand up for my faith properly…

 

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