Spend any amount of time on this site, and you will likely read posts detailing emails and social media messages I have received from Evangelical Christians. I left Christianity in November 2008. Since then, countless Evangelicals have attempted to evangelize me, attack my character, or threaten me with Hell. Rare is the thoughtful, polite Evangelical. I mean ivory-billed woodpecker rare. I see nothing in their behavior that commends Evangelical Christianity to unbelievers. Why would any of us ever want to willingly be in the same room with such people?
Some Evangelicals make it their personal mission to attack and harass me. What drives these people to do so? I have long pondered this question, wondering why these people repeatedly email me, send me messages on social media, and leave comments on my blog? What do they hope to accomplish? Surely they know that there is no chance that I will ever become an Evangelical Christian again. The same can be said for many of the readers of this blog. We are not low-hanging fruit. We are not prospects for Heaven. Why not go after people who might be more receptive to the gospel than Bruce Gerencser and his fellow agnostics and atheists?
I’m convinced that some Evangelical zealots have an unhealthy obsession with me. Why is that? I suspect some of them have fantasies about me. Outraged over what I write, they fantasize about me burning in Hell or being tortured by God. Others gleefully fantasize about me dying a slow, painful death (and they see my current health problems as proof they are right). And still other fantasize about God saving me and mightily using me to win souls to Jesus.
Here’s what I think. I am like porn to the Evangelicals mentioned above. They can’t quit looking at me and fantasizing about what they would like to do to me (or what God would do to me). I have thought that maybe I need to send the David Tees, David Barkers, Rev. Makerfields, and Daniel Kluvers of the world — my latest “lovers” — a naked photo of me they can put it on the ceilings above their beds. 🙂 Good idea?
Such people are not going away. As long as I continue to write, I will have to contend with people who are obsessed with me. I will continue to make public their emails, messages and blog posts, and do my best to ignore their harassment behind the scenes.
Today, I received two identical emails from an Evangelical man named Tom Barker. Evidently, his “message” from Jesus is so important that I need to read it twice. My response is indented and italicized. (All grammar and spelling in the original.)
There is a major TRUTH that needs to be addressed here. People like Bruce Gerencser and others who call themselves “atheists” are really either Anti-theists and/or Anti-Christians.
Would it matter if I said that I am not an anti-theist or anti-Christian? Would it matter that scores of Christians read my writing? Of course not. Barker has determined, without evidence, that I hate Christians. Evidently, any critique of Christianity is considered hate.
Yes a combination of Satan the world and yourself and possibly another misguided human source has convinced you that “There is no God”. “No God or gods of any kind”.
Barker seems unable to understand the difference between “there is no God (s)” and “there is no evidence for the existence of God.” I am an agnostic atheist. I have concluded, based on the evidence at hand, that the Christian deity is a work of fiction. The same goes for the God of Islam, Judaism, and Mormonism. That said, If Barker has compelling new evidence for his peculiar God’s existence, I am willing to listen. Further, since I don’t know everything, it is within the realm of possibility for me, that a god currently unknown to us might one day make itself known. Thus, I am agnostic on the God question.
I call myself an atheist because I live my life as if there is no God (not in denial, but because I see no evidence of a deity’s existence). The only time I think about God is when I write for this blog. It’s really that simple.
If Barker wants me to think differently, I suggest he convince me with good evidence that his God exists. Of course, Barker can’t do that, as this email clearly shows.
But there is a difference between “atheism and Anti-Christianity
Yes, there is. Have I ever said otherwise? As readers shall see in a moment, Barker’s g-string is tightly wedge in his ass over a meme I posted on my Facebook page.
And what the Facebook page “life and times of Bruce Gerencser” is preaching is ANTI-CHRISTIANITY! I have been on mission in parts of the United States like Seattle and NYC and I have met atheists there they have no exposure to the gospel at all 😭. One guy even said he is a 4th generation atheist. He was not going on Facebook making snide comments about the Bible and the gospel. He was not going on Facebook with snotty little memes making fun of Old Testament scriptures that he knew absolutely nothing about!
Would it be impolite of me to say that Barker sounds like a whiny little bitch? How dare I make snide comments about the Bible and the gospel! Besides, I evidently don’t know anything about the Old Testament. 🙂 While I don’t know everything about the Bible, I suspect that my knowledge exceeds that of Barker. Consider the gauntlet thrown down, Mr. Barker. Let’s have a Bible Knowledge fight. Are you up for the fight? Time to put your KJV where your mouth is.
LATOBG does that! And I have several examples of anyone wants to see them.
LATOBG. Damn, a new acronym. 🙂 For readers who may not know, I have a Facebook page. I post links to my writing there, along with memes and occasional comments about things I have read on the Internet. My page is not a secret. By all means, check it out and click LIKE while you are there.
If you and the fellow bloggers and Fb friends were true blue atheists you wouldn’t be making anti-Christian posts and comments.
If what Barker says is true, would it not also mean that if he was a true-red Christian, he wouldn’t be making anti-atheist posts and comments? Sorry, Tom, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Tone policing (also tone trolling, tone argument, and tone fallacy) is an ad hominem (personal attack) and anti-debate tactic based on criticizing a person for expressing emotion. Tone policing detracts from the validity of a statement by attacking the tone in which it was presented rather than the message itself.
Instead of engaging my writing using good arguments, Barker’s fee-fees are hurt by what I say or the memes I post. Barker might want to peruse Christian blogs, websites, and social media pages. Anti-atheist content abounds. If I was butt-hurt every time an Evangelical posted a meme or blog post about atheists, why I would need constant applications of Vaseline just to sit down.
Memo to the Tom Barkers of the world: if what atheists write really chaps your asses, don’t read it. Problem solved.
And there is no way anyone can go into the light of Jesus Christ and then turn around and embrace the satanic darkness of unbelief ! Sad that someone can preach God’s Word and still have been lost all that time. 😭
Ah, now we get to Barker’s real issue with me. He can’t square my story with his theology, so he must come up with some way to discredit me. Thus, I was never a Christian. I was a “lost” preacher. Thousands of congregants and fellow colleagues in the ministry — all allegedly filled with the Holy Spirit — heard me preach and witnessed my life, yet none of them “discerned” that I was lost; that I was a fake Christian; that I never knew Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Amazing, right? I must have been more cunning and deceptive than Satan himself.
I strongly encourage you and anyone reading this to look up men like Lee Strobel and James Warner Wallace and Howard Storm. All were atheists who came to salvation through Christ Jesus!
I read all three of these authors. Color me not impressed. I watched a video several days ago of James Warner Wallace saying that the God of the Bible never committed genocide. And if he did, he repeatedly warned them about their false worship before he killed them. And, besides, he didn’t kill everyone, so it really wasn’t a genocide. Is this the best Evangelicalism has to offer?
Howard Storm actually had a vision of hell being dragged into it by demons!
And I had a “vision” of me and Pamela Anderson having sex. It didn’t happen, and neither did Storm’s vision of being dragged to Hell by demons. Before I believe such a story, Barker (and Storm) must provide evidence for the existence of Hell and demons. Of course, Barker can’t do that. All he has is the Bible and personal testimonies. Try harder, Tom, try harder.
Jesus Christ loves you all of you! He suffered and died and rose again to give you eternal life in heaven. Admit you are a sinner Believe sincerely that Jesus Christ died and rose again Trust and receive him now.
How does Barker know Jesus loves ALL of us? What if we are apostates or reprobates? What if we are not elect? This idea that Jesus loves everyone cannot be scripturally supported. Besides, Jesus is dead. Why should any of us care if a dead man “loves” us? Imagine if I traversed the blogosphere telling people that Napoleon loves them? Who gives a fuck? Napoleon is dead.
Pray“LORD Jesus I know I am a sinner lost and I need you. Please forgive me and save me pull me from the sewers of unbelief and into your saving grace I believe you died and rose again I trust and accept you now thank you for loving me forgiving me and saving me in Jesus name Amen”
Okay, I just prayed this prayer. I am now saved and guaranteed a home in Heaven after I die. Woo! Hoo!
What a truncated, powerless gospel Baker preaches. In my Calvinistic days, we called such a gospel decisional regeneration — the belief that salvation is secured by saying and believing the right words. This is the gospel preached by most Evangelical preachers. It is a gospel of “right beliefs” instead of “right living.” Long before I became an atheist, I rejected this gospel. The Bible is clear, “without holiness no man shall see the Lord” and “faith without works is dead.” If Christianity has no power to transform, it’s worthless; it’s little more than a social club. I may be an atheist, but I might be inclined to admire a religion that took seriously practicing love, kindness, compassion, and loving your neighbor as yourself. I doubt I would become a believer, but I might say, “good job, Christians, good job.”
There is a promise that will come to pass. One day every human ever conceived will appear before Jesus Christ and will confess him as Lord. All who have trusted in him alone for eternal life and forgiveness of sins through his death and resurrection will embrace him as LORD in adoration and thanksgiving! Those who died too young to accept him including the millions murdered in the womb will also appear in a glorified body and embrace him in adoration and thanksgiving! Those who rejected him will bow and confess him as LORD in despair and regret for the decision to reject his grace and mercy and chose to pay for their own sins in the lake of fire. 😭😭 (and YES! It is very real!)
Ah yes, we can’t have an email from an Evangelical without a threat of judgment and Hell. Does this ever work with atheists? Nope, but evidently Barker never got the memo.
in short as we head into the heart of July all atheists agnostics Anti-Christians,Muslims,Jehovah witnesses , Mormons and many others who have flat rejected Christ’s grace and/or tried to earn their salvation through “religion” and good works one day will wish they were all at a water park!
In other words, everyone is going to Hell except Barker and those who believe like him. He and “Dr.” David Tee (theologyarcheology), along with Daniel Kluver will have Heaven all to themselves. Heaven will be a zoo no one wants to visit.
In other words, fuck you, Bruce. I hope you burn in Hell.
If Heaven is filled with Tom Barkers, give me Hell every time. Fortunately, Barker and I are headed to the same place — the grave. See ya there, Tom. 🙂
Saved by Reason,
Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
I recently wrote a post titled, The Horrors of the Evangelical Hell. Included in that post was a long email I received from a man named Rev. James Makerfield — likely a fake name. I typically send Evangelicals a link to the post of my response to them. I am happy to report that my post on Hell was so persuasive and devastating that it left Makerfield speechless. Almost, anyway. All Makerfield could say was this: Lost cause 😭
Rev. Makerfield has finally seen the light. Atheists and agnostics are indeed “lost causes.”
Now, go away and find someone who gives a shit. I don’t, and neither do my fellow unbelievers.
Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
Today, I received the following email from a Christian man named Wesley. It is one of the most assumption-filled emails I have ever received. Based on the server logs, I suspect Wesley is a follower of Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) evangelist and pastor C.T. Townsend. So what’s with Townsend’s followers, right?
As you shall see below, Wesley makes all sorts of assumptions about me, none of which are true. My response is indented and italicized.
My question is serious and before you reply with a long rant, I would like you to know that as stated before it is at the heart “serious” and I would appreciate a serious reply.
I can’t read Wesley’s heart, so all I can do is respond to what he has written. I am not a mind reader. I have no way of differentiating between a “serious” and not serious email/comment. Instead, I respond to what people say. Sometimes, I give people the “Bruce Gerencser Treatment.” I make no apology for doing so. One of the great things about leaving Christianity is that I no longer have to fake play-nice to people. Attack me personally or shit on my doorstep, and I will likely give you a shellacking. Ask a thoughtful, honest question, and I will respond in kind.
Not and angry and aggressive reply reflecting your hatred but with respect as I will in no way show you disrespect.
Wesley assumes I am angry and filled with hatred. He mistakes passion and directness for anger. He mistakes disagreement for hatred. How many times do I need to say that I am not, by nature, an angry, hateful man? Can I become angry? Sure, I am human. That’s said, I am generally a pleasant, happy man — even though I live with debilitating sickness and pain.
Question: If you hate God, Christianity, etc. then why do you have an overwhelming desire to disprove, attack, undermine etc if you will, something that you believe is a fallacy or fantasy? As many other atheists do the same thing I always pondered this.
Wesley wrongly assumes I hate God. I don’t. People read my post, Why I Hate Jesus, and they conclude that I “hate” God. Such people fail to understand the nuance and context of this post. If Wesley is basing his assumptions about me on that post, I hope he will re-read the article and think about what I am actually saying. Try harder, Wesley, try harder.
I am an agnostic and an atheist. As an atheist, I believe there is no God. Based on the available evidence, I have concluded that the Christian God (Wesley’s God) is a work of fiction. Further, I have weighed the central claims of Christianity in the balance and found them wanting. Thus, I don’t “hate” God. In fact, it would be silly for me to hate God or any other fictional being. Imagine me saying I hate Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Silly, right? So it is with God.
What I DO hate is Fundamentalist Christianity. Hopefully, Wesley understands what I am saying here. I hate what Fundamentalist Christianity does to people. I hate the psychological (and, at times, physical) harm it causes. Simply put, Fundamentalist Christianity hurts people. Who are the people behind the culture war? Who are the people behind attempts to turn the United States into a theocracy? Who are the people trying to ban abortion and force LGBTQ people back in the closet? Who are the people who demand prayer and Bible reading in public schools? Who are the people who want to regulate what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms? Who are the people who want preferential treatment for their religion? Need I go on? Fundamentalist Christians, that’s who.
As long as Fundamentalist Christians do these things, I intend to push back. Are Wesley and others like him willing to “live and let live”? Of course not. There’s no king but Jesus, Evangelicals say, and as long as they keep trying to make Jesus the ruler and king over all, I intend to fight back.
The stated purpose of this blog is to help those who have questions and doubts about Christianity or who have left Christianity. My target audience had NEVER been committed followers of Jesus. Therefore, I limit my interaction with such people to responding to their emails and comments.
I am just one man with a story to tell. Unfortunately, it seems that Wesley doesn’t want me to tell my story. Evangelicals have blogs, websites, churches, and parachurch ministries, all of which are used to preach the gospel, evangelize, and tell their stories. I assume Wesley thinks this is fine. Why, then, should atheists and agnostics not do the same? I think my beliefs and values are superior to Christianity. So why wouldn’t I want to share them?
Wesley thinks I have an “overwhelming desire” to attack God/Christianity/Bible. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am retired. Writing for this blog is my “job,” but it’s not the sum of my life. First, I am quite sick. Last night, I had my worst bout of pain — ever. Quite frankly, I wanted to die. I was flopping and thrashing on the bed, trying to find a way to lessen the pain. Nothing worked, including narcotics, NSAIDs, and potent muscle relaxers. I finally took my pain to the living room, hoping not to disturb Polly’s sleep further. She was, of course, worried. Today, I am tired and weak, but thanks be to Loki, my pain is not as bad. At no time last night did I think about God/Christianity/Bible/atheism. Sorry, Jesus ain’t that important to me.
However, the people who read this blog ARE important to me. I know that every day someone, maybe lots of someones, will find help through my writing. I know that what I do matters.
I have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. I am an avid Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Bengals, and Ohio State fan. I am a Lionel Trains collector. I am a photographer. I love to take road trips and eat out. And most of all, I am married to the most awesome woman in the world.
I hope Wesley understands that he has a truncated view of my life; that I don’t sit around all day raging against God. Tomorrow, my oldest son and his girlfriend are taking Polly and me to Cincinnati to watch the Reds play the Chicago Cubs. On Sunday, our youngest son and fiancée are hosting a family party. Hopefully, I get to see all of my children and grandchildren. I’m sure I will have nary a thought about God/Christianity/Bible/atheism.
If we are all going back to the dirt and there is nothing after then why bother? It seems that if Christian’s are wasting their time then would it not be, in the same sense, of equal and mutual regard concerning the plight of a zealous atheist?
Is Wesley saying that without his peculiar God that his life would not have meaning or purpose? Is he saying that non-Christians (most of the inhabitants of earth) have empty lives? Is he saying that the only reason his life matters is because the Bible says God will reward him after death?
Yes, death is the end for all of us. Yes, the afterlife is a myth. But, these facts don’t negate the fact that we DO have THIS life; that we are blessed to be among the living. Just because I will die (sooner than later) doesn’t mean that the present doesn’t matter. It does. You see, I care about others. I genuinely want what’s best for them. I want my children and their families to have better lives than I had. I want to see them prosper and live in peace. I want to help make the world a better place to live. I even want Wesley to have a good life.
I don’t believe I have ever said that Christians are wasting their time by practicing their religion. I am a proponent of free speech and freedom of (and from) religion. That said, I do think that Evangelicals are wasting their time trying to evangelize atheists. Thousands of Evangelicals have tried to win me to (or back) Jesus since 2007. I am not a prospect for Heaven, and neither are the unbelievers who read this blog. Thus, when Evangelicals continue to preach at us and attempt to use worn-out, lame apologetical methods, they are wasting their time.
If you just want to live then just live right?
Sure, but as long as Fundamentalist Christians psychologically (and, at times, physically) harm others, I can’t and won’t just sit by and do nothing. As long as Evangelical preachers sexually molest children, rape teenagers, and take sexual advantage of people, I will speak out, publicizing their abhorrent behavior for all to see. As longs as racial minorities, LGBTQ people, and non-religious people are marginalized and harmed, I will fight back.
“Live and let live” is a grand objective, but as long as we live in a world where religious zealots, bigots, and racists harm others, I can’t ignore what’s going on around me. This was true when I was a Fundamentalist Christian, and it is true now.
I hope you will reply but if you feel an overwhelming need to vent or otherwise… please refrain from doing so as I am TRULY seeking and want no part of an agenda. With warm regards and wishing you to have a wonderful day, Wesley.
For some reason, Wesley wants to control what I say or how I respond to him. Sorry, dude, the moment you hit “send,” you lost control of my response. You could have just asked a question, sans the subtle attacks on my character. Instead, you chose to do otherwise, thus my response. I believe I have answered you fairly, openly, and honestly. If you view my response as angry or hateful, that’s your problem, not mine.
I hope I have adequately responded to your assumptions and questions. If not, please let me know.
Saved by Reason,
My editor, Carolyn, often helps me out by answering emails. Unbeknownst to me, she was writing an answer to Wesley at the same time I was. Her answer appears below:
I am Bruce’s editor and I often help him stay abreast of his email, so I am answering you. No rant, no anger, no aggression, and I am taking your question seriously.
I think you read Bruce wrong. He has no hatred, except for the abuses that take place in Evangelical churches. Bruce does not hate God, nor does he hate Christianity. Let’s address the “god” thing first: Bruce does not believe in god – any god. It’s pretty hard to hate something you don’t believe exists. Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, leprechauns, gods – they all fall into the same category. They are mythical beings and Bruce neither hates nor likes, because they don’t exist.
Now to Christianity: As you probably know, Bruce was a part of Christianity for more than 50 years. When he left Christianity, and subsequently deconverted, he didn’t leave in a rage of anger, but it was probably more like with a broken heart. He searched over 100 churches looking for one that followed the tenets of Jesus. Instead he found churches that were more wrapped up in themselves and who only paid lip service to Jesus and Christianity.
Now, as to what Bruce hates: he hates the sexual and psychological (and sometimes physical) abuses that take place in IFB churches – he was a pastor of various IFB churches for 25 years, so this is where his heart was and where he has the most knowledge. He also hates abuses in other churches, but focuses his writings on IFB churches because they are the ones he knows best. He hates the pastors that engage in abusive conduct. This is why he write his Black Collar Crime series, because he believes it is important that everyone knows and understands that pastors are not “Men of God,” and are not above everyone else, nor are they above the law, but that they often engage in conduct that makes them the lowest of the low.
He also hates the “under the blood” philosophy, which allows malefactors to escape responsibility for their wrongdoings by sweeping it all under the rug, claiming that whatever they did before they were saved doesn’t matter. Indeed, they often keep on engaging in egregious conduct after they were saved, believing that all they have to do is get saved again and all is forgiven.
You asked, “If we are all going back to the dirt and there is nothing after then why bother?” Bruce takes a humanist approach to life. Among other things, he works every day to be kind to others. And when he fails, he is quick to own his failure and to apologize to the person to whom he was unkind. Indeed, here is advice that Bruce gives to readers on his About page:
You have one life. There is no heaven or hell. There is no afterlife. You have one life, it’s yours, and what you do with it is what matters most. Love and forgive those who matter to you and ignore those who add nothing to your life. Life is too short to spend time trying to make nice with those who will never make nice with you. Determine who are the people in your life that matter and give your time and devotion to them. Live each and every day to its fullest. You never know when death might come calling. Don’t waste time trying to be a jack of all trades, master of none. Find one or two things you like to do and do them well. Too many people spend way too much time doing things they will never be good at.
Here’s the conclusion of the matter. It’s your life and you best get to living it. Someday, sooner than you think, it will be over. Don’t let your dying days be ones of regret over what might have been.
She knoweth me well. Carolyn is known in our home as my “other wife.” 🙂
Several days ago, Tom, an Evangelical Christian, sent me the following email. My response is indented and italicized.
Since 2007, thousands of Evangelicals zealots have emailed me, sent me messages on social media, or left comments on this blog/Facebook/Twitter. Bloggers have deconstructed my life or exposed the errors of my way. Preachers have preached sermons exposing my apostasy and heresy. Each of them has an opinion about my writing, story, past and present life, or where I am headed after I die. I have come to accept that such treatment is the price I pay for daring to tell my story; for daring to speak about what goes on behind closed doors in Evangelical churches and parachurch ministries; for daring to publicize the criminal behavior — mainly sex crimes — of Evangelical preachers. How dare I share with readers my journey from Evangelicalism to atheism. Why can’t I just shut up and move on? some zealots say. They want to freely preach the gospel and share their conversion stories to anyone and everyone, yet atheists and agnostics are expected not to do the same. While there are increasing numbers of atheist blogs, websites, podcasts, and call-in shows, their presence pales compared to those of Evangelicals.
As long as I can figure out a way to type — which is becoming increasingly difficult for a myriad of reasons — I intend to keep writing. Since prayers — thousands of them over the years — to the Christian God asking him to stop my work have failed, Evangelicals might want to rethink how best to reach or stop me. Using the same worn-out arguments, pejorative statements, and character assassinations no longer works. There was a time when such things worked, psychologically wounding me, resulting in me shutting down my blog. That’s old history. This iteration of my blog is 6 1/2 years old. Thanks to years of counseling and support from many of you, I can see beyond verbal assaults (even death threats) by God’s chosen ones. Simply put, as long as I am breathing, I ain’t going away.
Now to Evangelical Tom’s (ET) email and my response.
Every publication in the world references the birth of Jesus Christ by placing the date at the top of the page. Have they conspired to place Jesus’ birthday on every page to make atheists look like fools? Ha ha… Even you’re forced to use Jesus’ birthday for every article you post. Why? The entire world’s calendar is based on the birth of Christ for a reason.
Tom is ignorant of the development of the calendar most of the world now uses. Currently, we use what is called the Gregorian calendar. Developed in the sixteenth century, the Gregorian calendar was based on the Julian calendar — a calendar used for 1,600 years. This calendar was adapted from the Roman calendar. Any cursory reading of history reveals that the “Christian” calendar’s foundation is non-Christian/secular/pagan. I am not an expert on this subject, but it took me all of five minutes to learn that Tom is — let me say this charitably — uninformed.
In a few sentences, I have shown that Tom’s calendar claims are not true. Besides, why does it matter what our calendar is based upon? Tom claims there is a “reason,” but he never gives it. In the future, he might start by stating on what date, exactly, Jesus was born. Was Jesus born on year zero? Nope. Historians generally believe Jesus was born between 6 BCE to 4 BCE. Surely Tom knows that the date of Jesus’ birth is NOT mentioned in the Bible. If the birth of Jesus is the monumental event Tom says it is, the Bible would tell us what day and what year the most important figure in human history was born. Yet, the Bible says nothing.
I do agree that Christians should be held to a higher degree of accountability for their wickedness, but rejecting God and his word is foolish. Your articles may serve a purpose by exposing tares who are impostors, but God is not to blame for the sins of men.
I assume Tom is referencing the Black Collar Crime series, which details the arrests and convictions of Evangelical preachers for criminal behavior (mainly sex crimes). I don’t believe I have ever said that the behavior of these miscreants played any part in my deconversion. Perhaps Tom missed the WHY? page — you know, the page that lists several posts detailing my reasons for walking away from Christianity.
Tom says that God is not to blame for human sin. However, the Bible teaches that God is the creator of everything. I wonder if Tom has ever heard about the sovereignty of God? You know, the belief that God is in control of EVERYTHING. And if the Christian deity isn’t in control of everything, he isn’t God. If God created everything, how is he not the creator of sin? If God controls every aspect of our lives, right down to knowing how many hairs are on our heads, how is he not responsible for our behavior? Evangelicals like Tom love to talk about an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful creator God, yet when it comes to bad shit Evangelical preachers do, hey, that’s on them, not God. If God is all that the Bible says he is, he could stop predator preachers from raping and molesting children; he could stop preachers from taking advantage of vulnerable women (and men). Yet, he does nothing. This is why most atheists are better people than the Bible God. If we saw someone sexually assaulting a child, we would do something about it. Silence is consent.
I actually agree with Tom. God is not culpable for vile criminal acts perpetrated by so-called men of God. The reason for this, however, is that there is no God. As an atheist and a humanist, I am a proponent of personal accountability and responsibility. But, unlike Tom, I don’t believe in a magic get-out-of-jail-free card called 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Every preacher featured in the Black Collar Crime series prayed and asked Jesus to forgive them for their sins. God forgave them, and with a loving hug told them, be a nice boy and *wink wink* sin no more. Should we just set them free? If God has forgiven them, shouldn’t we? Of course not. Justice demands that criminal behavior be punished. What God allegedly says doesn’t matter.
My perspective is that you’re likely a reprobate who is consumed with writing about other reprobates. Correct me if I’m wrong and I’ll pray for God to have mercy on you.
According to Romans 1 and 2, a reprobate is someone who has crossed a moral line of no return. Once this line is crossed, a person can’t be saved. Tom thinks I am a reprobate. Why? Because I write the Black Collar Crime series. In Tom’s mind, exposing sex crimes by Evangelical preachers is a sure sign that I am a reprobate. Figure that one out.
Romans 1:28-32 describes the behavior of reprobates:
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Is there anything in this list of reprobate behaviors that remotely reflects how I live my life? Or is Tom just making shit up? Tom needs me to be a reprobate for my story to “fit” in his Evangelical box. If I am a kind, loving, thoughtful person — and I am — that means I am not a reprobate. I am just a good person who doesn’t need God, the Bible, or threats of judgment to treat others well.
I’m sure you’ve read this one a few times:
Psalms 53:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
No, I have never heard that a “fool says in his heart there is no God.” That’s sarcasm, by the way. I have heard (and preached on) this verse countless times. The same goes for Psalm 14:1.
Here’s the problem with Psalm 53:1. The text says atheists are corrupt and do abominable acts. While this certainly can be said of some atheists, most unbelievers I know are good people. In fact, most atheists’ lives measure up with the best of Christians, albeit the sex is a lot better. Nothing like atheist sex, baby! 🙂 The Toms of the world need atheists to be bad people for their worldview to make sense. Atheists stand on the side of Satan and evil. We are an enemy that must be battled and defeated. What if we are, instead, just people with different opinions on God, Jesus, the Bible, and the afterlife? What if we are just people who have a different idea about what gives life meaning and purpose? What if Tom and others like him saw atheists and other unbelievers as they are instead of the caricature they have fabricated in their minds?
The only reason this blog exists is because of the psychological harm caused by Fundamentalist Christian interpretations of the Bible. If Evangelicals stopped trying to shove their religion down the throats of unbelievers, stopped trying to force people to follow the immoral teachings of the Bible, and stopped trying to turn the United States into a Christian nation, I would shutter this blog and never write another word. If Evangelicals stopped abusing people psychologically (and, at times, physically), I wouldn’t have anything to write about. That Evangelical beliefs and practices continue to cause harm is incontrovertible. As long as this is true, I intend to keep sharing my story and keep giving my honest critiques of the one true faith. Call me a “fool” all you want. Calling me names will not silence me. Now, you could buy my silence. Tom, please make that $1,000,000 check payable to Bruce Gerencser. After receiving your check which clears your bank, I will stop writing for this blog (and that million-dollar price for silence is available to any of my critics). Time to put your money where your mouth is.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
I have never, ever heard John 3:3 before. *sigh* Tom sure showed that Evangelical-turned-atheist Bruce Gerencser, right? The “mighty” inspired, inerrant, infallible King James Bible says:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Yep, just hearing John 3:3 has brought me to my knees. I am laughing hysterically at the notion that just quoting words from an ancient religious text will somehow magically cause me to change my mind about God/Jesus/Bible/Christianity. Besides, I thought Tom said I was a reprobate. Doesn’t that mean that quoting the Bible to me is a waste of time? Hmm … maybe, just maybe, Tom is talking to himself. Maybe he has doubts, and by preaching to me, he is trying to reinforce his beliefs and prop up his faith.
What, exactly, did Tom hope to accomplish by emailing me? I have posed this question to other Evangelical zealots more times than I can count. I am not low-hanging fruit. There’s no chance that I will return to Evangelicalism. Even God himself, the big three-in-one, can’t make me return to the leeks and garlic of Egypt. I’ve been to the Promised Land, and I ain’t coming back. I have done my homework and concluded that the central claims of Christianity are not true. I have heard every possible argument for the existence of God and the truthfulness of Christian beliefs. I can’t imagine a zealot coming up with a new (or improved) argument. Christians have had almost fourteen years to change my mind, yet I remain unconvinced, an unrepentant atheist. Will this fact keep Evangelicals from contacting me? Of course not. Why? Because it has never been about me; it’s about them and their need to be right.