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Quote of the Day: Roy Moore Spokesman Ted Crockett Says the Bible Trumps U.S. Constitution

roy moore

Witness the interview between CNN’s Jake Tapper and Moore spokesman Ted Crockett on Tuesday afternoon. Crockett responded “probably” when Tapper pressed him on whether Moore believed homosexuality should be illegal. Then came this exchange between Tapper and Crockett over Muslims serving in Congress. I’m excerpting a big chunk of it because, well, you’ll see.

TAPPER: Judge Moore has also said that he doesn’t think a Muslim member of Congress should be allowed to be in Congress. Why? Under what provision of the Constitution?

CROCKETT: Because you have to swear on the Bible — when you are before — I had to do it. I’m an elected official, three terms, I had to swear on a Bible. You have to swear on a Bible to be an elected official in the United States of America. He alleges that a Muslim cannot do that, ethically, swearing on the Bible.

TAPPER: You don’t actually have to swear on a Christian bible, you can swear on anything, really. I don’t know if you knew that. You can swear on a Jewish Bible.

CROCKETT: Oh no. I swore on the Bible. I’ve done it three times.

TAPPER: I’m sure you have, I’m sure you’ve picked a Bible but the law is not that you have to swear on a Christian Bible. That is not the law. You don’t know that? All right. Ted Crockett with the Moore —

CROCKETT: I don’t know. I know that Donald Trump did it when he — when we made him President.

TAPPER: Because he’s Christian and he picked it. That’s what he wanted to swear in on. Ted Crockett with the Moore campaign. Good luck tonight. Thank you so much for being here. My panel will react when we get back

CROCKETT: Merry Christmas, Jake.

TAPPER: Thank you, sir.

— Chris Cillizza, Jake Tapper Interview of Roy Moore Spokesman Ted Crockett, December 12, 2017

Pray for Bruce Gerencser and the Salvation of His Hell Bound Soul

heaven and hell
Heaven and Hell

Warning! Lots of snark ahead! You’ve been warned!

Several years ago, I posted an excerpt from the Spiritual Minefield website. My post was titled Christians Say the Darnedest Things: How to Shield Yourself From Porn and Sexual Excitement.  The author of the excerpt, Alex Ruiz, decided to respond to my posting of the excerpt by writing a post titled, Why Do Atheists Seem To Have The Urge To Always Attack God’s Word?  Here’s what he had to say:

Today I got pingback from an atheist who takes pleasure in maligning believers in Jesus Christ. Here is a quick bio of Bruce which he put public.

Copy and paste from his site

Bruce Gerencser, 59

Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for 25 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.

The question that enters my mind is why do atheists hate Jesus so much as to go out of their way to attack Him and try to desperately prove that He is false? I think that the answer is because deep down in their spirit/heart they know that the Word of God is true and judgment will come to them but they want to feel better about their sin and rejection of Christ so by trying to disprove Christianity, they are trying to convince themselves, listen closely, “they are trying” to convince themselves of their own lie which Satan has whispered into their ears so that they can’t get saved. When a person is not in any perceivable danger, they won’t call for help and Satan is successful at convincing these atheists that they are not in danger.

The evidence that God exists is so overwhelming that the only way to go against pure evidence is by reprogramming their thoughts to completely bypass logic and reason.

Bruce Gerencser is a sad case of what an apostate is and the reality is that those who are not grounded in the faith will get hit hard by the devil who’s [sic] eyes are constantly on the believers. Saying that, I believe according to 1 John 2:19 that Bruce was never saved but was close and those without the Holy Spirit cannot stand against the pounding of the wind and waves of the enemy according to Matthew 7:26-27 which says, “26 And every one who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them will be likened to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it fell. And its fall was great.”

Why have I mentioned this atheist by name? It is because I want all Christians to bring Bruce Gerencser’s name before the Lord for his salvation because the hell that’s waiting for him and all those who believe Satan’s lie is truly and unfathomably horrific.

Where oh where do I begin?

First, I don’t hate Jesus. Hating the DEAD Jesus would be a colossal waste of time. What I do hate is the Fundamentalist ideology advanced by this author and others of his ilk. (Please see Why I Hate Jesus) Do I hate individual Evangelicals for doing so? I’m tempted to do so, but I am not the type of person who hates people. I focus my hatred on beliefs, not believers. To use the Evangelical mantra: hate the sin, not the sinner, I hate the belief, not the believer.

Second, I don’t hate the Word of God — the Bible. I do, however, hate what is done using Biblical justification. The author appeals to the Bible to justify his judgments of my past and present life. Doing so allows him to escape responsibility for his behavior. I’m just quoting what G-O-D says! Don’t like it, take it up with Him! I would take it up with the Big Kahuna, but he is nowhere to be found. Last I heard, he was on vacation. Since God is AWOL, all I am left with is Evangelicals quoting verses from a book that is very much of human origin. The only reason I bother with such people is that they believe that the Bible is some sort of supernatural book given to them by a supernatural God and that its words must be explicitly obeyed. Again, look at what’s happening in Washington D.C. with the Supreme Court and Congress. In fox-in-the-hen-house fashion, the theocrats have breached the fence and now the future of our democracy is being threatened. The only way I know to combat such ignorance is to wage war against the notion that the Bible is in any way a divinely written book; that its words are in any way applicable to today. As long as Evangelicals continue to demand fealty to their God and the Bible, they can expect me and other outspoken atheists to marginalize, denigrate, and intellectually destroy the Bible. Until Evangelicals are freed from Bible Brain Rot®, atheists, agnostics, humanists, and progressive Christians must continue to lay an ax to the foundation of Fundamentalist Christianity.

Third, the clueless author shows he has little understanding of atheists — how they think and view the world. We don’t deep down believe or not believe anything. Can someone tell me where the hell is “deep down”? I’ve spent all day digging and I still can’t find it.  Atheists do not see any compelling evidence to warrant a belief in the existence of the Evangelical God. Suggesting that the Bible provides such evidence is laughable. (As well, suggesting that the natural world provides such overwhelming evidence that atheists are forced to deliberately ignore it is ludicrous.) Even Evangelicals don’t believe in the Bible God. Whenever I confront Evangelicals with the Bible God — actually a plurality of Bible Gods — they either try to distance themselves from said God or say that I am “misinterpreting” the Bible — misinterpreting, of course, meaning, having an interpretation different from theirs.

Fourth, the notion of “sin” is a religious construct. As an atheist, I don’t believe people are sinners, depraved, evil, or wicked. All of us have the power to do good or bad things. When I do something that hurts someone, I do my best to make things right. No need to pray to a fictitious God and ask for his forgiveness. The only person I need to talk to is the person I have harmed. The humanist system of forgiveness and restitution is much easier and more straightforward. No commands against porn or looking at women and admiring their beauty. No obsession over sex, fornication, or masturbation. Humans are sexual beings. Atheists and other non-Evangelicals are free to embrace their sexuality without fearing a voyeuristic God will judge them for loving the wrong person or using the wrong orifice for sex. Here’s hoping that the author of the post on Spiritual Minefield will one day embrace his sexuality and lustfully enjoy the pleasures that are at his disposal. Until then, let me remind him that what consenting adults do behind closed doors is none of his business. If Evangelicals want to practice “Biblical” sex, by all means do so. But, please let the rest of us masturbate and copulate in peace.

Fifth, I fear what the Republican Party might do far more than I do a nonexistent God. God has neither talked to me or laid a finger on me in almost sixty-five years. I have zero fear of him. I do, however, fear what people who believe God talks to them might do. I do fear that the Trumpist horde might usher in World War III. I fear what real flesh and blood people might do, not mythical Gods, be they Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, or any of the other Gods of human creation.

Sixth, atheists bypass logic and reason? Really? I have no words for this one. The author believes the earth is 6,026 years old; that God created the universe in six literal 24 hour days; that Adam and Eve are the father and mother of the human race; that God destroyed the world with a flood 4,000 years ago, killing every person save Noah and his family; that a Holy Ghost impregnated a virgin who gave birth to a baby who, as an adult, walked on water, healed the deaf, blind, and sick, walked through walls, made himself invisible, resurrected from the dead, and ascended into “heaven.” Anyone who believes this kind of nonsense is the one lacking logic and reason.

Seventh, I am quite happy to be an apostate, a worker of Satan, a deceiver of immature Christians. By all means, keep praying for me. Every unanswered prayer is a reminder that the heavens are devoid of Gods and that what really matters is how we make life on this planet better for all. Part of making life better is the driving of a stake through the heart of religious Fundamentalism. Fundamentalism — in all its forms — remains the biggest threat to human and planetary existence. The ascension of Trumpism and Qanon are poignant reminders that people of reason, science, and progress must continue to push back against those who desire to chain us to the Bible and its God. It’s the twenty-first century. It’s high time we remand God to the dustbin of human history; the depository of countless other failed mythical Gods and their “divine” texts. Until this happens, the Internet will be littered with ignorant posts about sex and every other human behavior deemed sinful by Fundamentalist Christians.

Now, get out there and do some sinning!

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

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Michael Kruger’s “Explanation” of Biblical Inerrancy


I am always amused when theologically educated Evangelicals attempt to defend Biblical inerrancy. Michael Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, recently posted a three-minute video that purports to answer the question, Does the Bible Have Mistakes? Strangely, the blog post Kruger wrote for the video is titled, Does the Bible Make Mistakes? I thought, isn’t the Bible an inanimate object — black ink on paper? Does Kruger believe the Bible itself is an animate object? I know there are Christians who believe that the Bible has mystical, supernatural power, but Kruger, as a Fundamentalist Reformed Christian, surely knows that, according to orthodox Christian doctrine, it is the Holy Spirit that empowers (gives life to) the Biblical text. Not that I believe such a notion is true. I am just stating what Christians have historically believed about the Bible. (I have had countless Evangelicals tell me that now I am an atheist, it is impossible for me to understand the Bible.) [The title has since been changed, As Van noted in the comments, Kruger’s post is now inerrant.]

Video Link

Kruger begins the video by asserting that the Bible is the Word of God and whatever it affirms is true. According to Kruger, there are no errors, contradictions, or mistakes in the Bible. Yet, he turns right around and says that readers of the Bible must use various literary skills to “properly” understand the text. Once these skills are put to use, the errors, contradictions, and mistakes fall away.  In other words, when confronted with obvious mistakes, crack open the approved theology books and all the discrepancies will be explained away.

If someone uninitiated in Evangelical beliefs read the Bible, would they naturally conclude that the Bible is without error; that its teaching are consistent, coherent, and infallible? Of course not. Kruger is right when he mentions that many people who say the Bible has errors haven’t really studied the text. But others have. Former pastors who are now unbelievers certainly have studied the Bible from dedication to concordance. Over the course of 50 years in the Christian church and 25 years in the pastorate, I spent tens of thousands of hours reading and studying the Bible. I read scores of Evangelical (Calvinistic) theological books. Before beginning my studies I would pray and ask God to give me eyes to see and ears to hear the truth. (Many Evangelicals think that the knowledge I gained while studying the Bible magically disappeared when I deconverted.)

What kept me from “seeing” textual errors, mistakes, and contradictions was my presuppositional commitment to the Bible being without error — the Words of God. Since God was perfect, it was impossible for the Bible to be errant. It was only when I set aside my theology-driven presuppositions that I was able to see the Biblical text for what it is — a fallible collection of contradictory texts written by men.

Kruger is an educated man, so I suspect he lives with a good bit of cognitive dissonance. Surely at some level he knows inerrancy is a façade used to portray the Bible as some sort of God-inspired, God-written, supernatural text. Once inside the house of textual criticism, inerrancy is nowhere to be found, a circus mirror meant to entertain and deceive the faithful. Of course, Kruger has a vested interest in maintaining the inerrancy illusion. He’s in the business of training men for the ministry. If these preachers-to-be were told the truth about the Bible, why their home churches would gather up pitchforks and combustible materials and burn Reformed Theological Seminary to the ground, using Kruger as a quick-start fire log.

Thanks to authors such as Bart Ehrman, it is now  impossible to intellectually defend Biblical inerrancy. While in many ways, Ehrman doesn’t say anything that hasn’t been known for centuries, his books put complex textual issues in a format laypeople can understand. (You can purchase his books through Bruce’s Little Bookstore of Atheism and Humanism.)

The best antidote for inerrancy is reading Bart Ehrman. It is intellectually impossible for anyone to read several of his books and still believe that the Bible is inerrant. Remember, most Evangelical theologians agree with Ehrman on the evidence. What they disagree with is his conclusions. Sadly, many educated Evangelicals — pastors, theologians, professors — refuse to accept what is clear for all to see: that the Bible is a fallible collection of contradictory texts written by men. In many ways, these defenders of inerrancy are similar to atheist pastors, people who have invested their lives in promoting and defending Evangelicalism. Admitting that what they teach is untrue would quickly and viciously destroy their livelihood. When men have spent their lives pastoring churches or teaching seminary classes, how will they earn a living if they suddenly lose their job? So, Evangelical and atheist pastors alike continue to promote the inerrancy myth, hoping to run out the clock before they are exposed. For some of them, the personal and ethical costs are too high, so they out themselves, causing tremendous heartache and loss.

I was fifty years old when I walked away from Christianity. I can only imagine how difficult it might have been if I had been some sort of high-profile Evangelical who spent his life publicizing far and wide the Christian myth. In my case, I never made a lot of money from pastoring churches, so it was much easier for me to walk away. I had no retirement plan or 401(k) to worry about. I could make just as much money flipping hamburgers as I did preaching. Such is not the case for many pastors, so I understand why some educated Evangelicals continue to preach what they know is not true.

There will always be some educated Evangelicals who refuse to see the facts about the nature of the Biblical text. Regardless of what the evidence says, these defenders of the faith plan to die with their boots on and hands clutched to the inspired, inerrant Holy Bible. All the books to the contrary will not move them. A Fundamentalist worldview forces pastors and professors to believe and preach only what can neatly fit within the Evangelical box. Please see The Danger of Being in a Box and Why it Makes Sense When You are in it and What I Found When I Left the Box.) This is why countless educated Evangelicals believe the earth is 6,021 years old, that Adam and Eve, Moses, and Noah were real people, and the fantastical stories found in the Bible are really, really, really true. Virgins have babies, dead people come back to life, and sick people are miraculously healed through spoken words. While some of these Evangelicals will see the light (after all, I did), most of them will go to their graves certain in their beliefs. Until they are willing to consider the possibility of being wrong, there really is no hope for them.

After watching the video, please share your thoughts in the comment section. Did Kruger adequately defend inerrancy and give plausible explanations for the mistakes, errors, and contradictions to be interpreted so as to maintain Biblical inerrancy?

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Is Man Getting Smarter? by Bodie Hodge


Our secularized culture teaches a strange history. We are told that we were once dumb brutes in an evolutionary past—no different from animals—but over the millennia we got a little smarter and came out of Africa and learned how to be farmers instead of hunters and gatherers.

Then we began building basic settlements and then civilizations and finally empires. So here we are sitting on top of the food chain because, unlike “other animals,” we have become smarter and smarter to become masters of our domain.

Okay, so this is a bunch of hogwash—man is made unique from animals and created in the image of God! But people believe these lies because this is what has been imposed upon them in secular schools, secular media, secular museums, and so on. Do you realize this alleged evolutionary history is not recorded by ancient historians in any culture? It is a modern fairly tale. It is a story that comes out of religions like secularism (including atheism and so on).

But as a result, kids of the next generation look at technology today and misunderstand it. They presume that, since we have more technology, we are “getting smarter” just like the evolutionary story says.
After the Flood, a godly worldview dominated. As cultures deviated at Babel and down through the ages, man abandoned a godly and biblical worldview (of what had been revealed from Adam down through Noah) in favor of man’s flawed ideas (i.e., forms of humanism). As they began worshipping ancestors and false gods, their general worldview deteriorated into many various paths of paganism.

This affected science and innovation in a general pattern. It caused technology to remain nearly stagnant—with a few exceptions of course. A mind and culture with little hope has little desire to grow in the knowledge of God’s world (albeit sin-cursed and broken). Many worldviews even deter science and technology because of their very nature (e.g., animism). Animism, for example, has spirit beings that help or harm human interests in the physical world. Thus causality, which is the basis for observable and repeatable science, is meaningless because aspects of nature are controlled by the spirits rather than by a God who has promised to uphold things in a consistent fashion. (For more on world religions read World Religions and Cults Volumes 1–2.)

As Christianity began to explode in Europe prior to AD 1400, people began returning to a godly, biblical worldview leading up to the early modern period. This gave them the proper understanding of the world around them. Acknowledging that our all-knowing (Psalm 147:5) and all-powerful (e.g., Jeremiah 32:27) God upholds the world (Hebrews 1:3) and that He has promised to do so in the future until the end (e.g., Genesis 8:22) gives us the basis for doing observable and repeatable science. This presupposition is vital to make science possible.

As a result Christians began systematically studying the world and how it works (operational science). Most fields of science were developed by Bible believers—even the scientific method was developed by a young-earth creationist, Sir Francis Bacon!6

As Biblically based science erupted, technology, knowledge, inventions, and innovation built one on top of the other. This brings us to the world in which we live, built on centuries of technology.
I humbly suggest that as the culture moves away from a biblical understanding of the world, so will they also miss out on certain scientific advancements—or at least delay them. Consider the unbiblical worldview of millions of years: researchers never thought oil could be produced quickly because they had been indoctrinated with the idea that oil production took vast ages. Yet oil can be made in 30 minutes from algae.12

Imagine if researchers in the 1960s had been thinking correctly (i.e., a younger age of the earth and thus rapid oil production at the time of the Flood) and had developed technology based on that truth. It could have revolutionized the oil industry in our current age! Instead, researchers only recently figured it out.

I want to encourage you to think biblically. The Bible makes sense of the world and makes sense of science and technology. Even so, we are in a world where the Bible comes under increasing attack, and secular scientists want to divorce science from the Bible (see “Is Science Secular?”). Science exists because the Bible is true. There is no reason to suppress this knowledge (Romans 1:18–21).

According to the Bible, man has always been brilliant—both in the past and in the present. The difference today is that we have more accumulated knowledge and technologies.

— Bodie Hodge, Answers in Genesis, Is Man Getting “Smarter”?, October, 2016

Looking at the Bible — Storywise

bible storiesGuest post by Melody

One way of looking at the Bible is to determine who wrote what, when, and where. This way one can place Bible books into historical context and/or genre. When the topic is the origins of the Bible, this is often what is done. In this post, I want to look at the Bible in a different way. One man’s religion is another man’s myth, and so it is with the Bible. In the end, these are stories. That’s what can be compelling and what reels you in, in the first place.

People make stories. When written stories aren’t part of a culture (yet), poems, tales and songs are. Storytelling is part of being human and like fairy tales, myths and religions do just that: tell us stories with usually some sort of moral to them. Many stories have similarities. It is as if humankind enjoys and likes the same kind of themes: stories of chosen people, redemption-stories, stories of unlikely heroes. They all exist in great measure. We remember our own lives in a narrative, and history becomes much more interesting when told in a narrative as well. The same goes for the Bible.

When you think about interesting characters and what makes them compelling, they can be eerily similar to one another. Orphans are a big theme in storytelling — think of Annie, Oliver Twist, or Harry Potter — but Moses is also portrayed as an orphan. Miraculous births did not just happen to Jesus, Isaac or Samuel, but also to Horus and Mars. Both Norse and Navajo mythology have stories about women becoming pregnant by water or rivers.

One of the things I like most about Jesus is that he was the underdog — not of high birth, just a simple carpenter’s son; although, of course, he wasn’t simply the carpenter’s son. The same goes for King David or Jesus’ disciples — ordinary, normal people becoming great over the course of their lives. This is called the Hero’s Journey and is an often used in narratives. It’s easy to identify with the underdog and root for him. If a character is already rich and powerful, what would be the aims?*

Overcoming great adversity is another important aspect of many stories. I’ve recently started watching Game of Thrones (I’m very late to the party) and without spoiling too much, at one point a character can walk into a fire and come out unscathed. Sounds like Daniel’s three friends, doesn’t it? Stories of winning battles with far fewer soldiers make for great tales too, and it doesn’t matter if the character is Gideon or someone else.

We all know that history is written by the victors. So it is with the Bible. Is it any wonder the people of Israel are the good guys in their own story? Or that the Christians are the underdog, and the good guys, in the New Testament? Of course it isn’t. It is written for them and by them. When you look at the Bible in that way, it makes much more sense. God stands on the side of his people and we’re not supposed to care about the deaths He causes. They’re the bad guys! We don’t root for them anyway.

This brings me to my final point. Whenever a disaster occurs, the Fundamentalist Evangelical leaders are quick to blame gay people and/or abortion for it. Surely God must be angry about something and therefore punish us. Because of this explanation the world (and God) can still remain just. If bad things happen to good people and the other way around, then our sense of justice screams out. I believe this is why and how disasters are described in the Bible. A disaster does not begin with an angry God who is punishing people. It is about bad things happening to people out of the blue, leaving the survivors grasping at explanations. How could so and so have drowned? How could this family have died and the other one stayed alive? There must be some sort of reason for all of this…. Cue God and his punishments.

It’s about making sense of things and about building a story where the world is and remains an understandable and just place. If we lose a war, it must be that God is angry at us, or that the other gods are somehow stronger. If God sends a storm, someone on board must be evil. Let’s see who it is…. Ah, Jonah! This is also why Satan sometimes seems very strong and sometimes not. Jesus has won, yet at the same time the Devil does do loads of evil things. It depends on the story. If something bad happens and has to be explained: Satan and his demons. If the good guys win: Jesus has made it so.

It is interesting that the Bible itself does not entirely support this view though. Jesus himself says about the blind man that it wasn’t his fault nor his parents.’ The OT states that God does give good and bad things to good and bad people. So even the people who wrote the Bible occasionally acknowledged that life isn’t that black and white nor that easily explained, nor very fair. Because if disasters are God’s punishments, why do they happen to good people sometimes? And why don’t they happen to people who are clearly bad and continue to have happy lives? Here’s where the afterlife can come in and fix everything. As in the story of Lazarus and the rich man — if justice isn’t done in this life, it will happen in the next.

Stories are a way to escape the dreariness of life. Stories may tell about history or give examples of good and bad behavior in a playful way. They can also be a means to explaining the world. Religions do precisely the same. They attempt to explain the world and in doing so, they can give us a sense that the world should be just, or is just. This is where gods, angels and demons as well as the afterlife come into play. It is about attempting to explain an unjust world, the cruelties of life, and giving some hope in hinting to a better afterlife, as well as a hell for your enemies.

When I look at the Bible as a collection of history, songs, and stories, I can enjoy it the way I can Greek or Roman mythology — stories about great heroes or traitors mixed with ideas about the afterlife and advice about the current one. It’s about people recording their history and embellishing it with their thoughts about their life, their God, and their enemies. I no longer have to see it as the one and only truth, as a guide for my own life; I can simply see it as an interesting read instead.

* Though there are plenty of opportunities there as well: Moses disregarded his wealthy and powerful Egyptian heritage in favor of his true one, which made him the underdog once more.

Sacrilegious Humor: Put the Bible Down, it Will F*uk You Up by Eddie Griffin

eddie griffin

This is the thirty-ninth installment in the Sacrilegious Humor series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a comedy bit that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please email me the name of the bit or a link to it.

Today’s bit is Put the Bible Down, it Will Fuck You Up by Eddie Griffin.

Warning, many of the comedy bits in this series will contain profanity. You have been warned.

Video Link

Sacrilegious Humor: Why Breast Implants Are Like the Bible by Mark Normand

mark normand

This is the thirty-eighth installment in the Sacrilegious Humor series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a comedy bit that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please email me the name of the bit or a link to it.

Today’s bit is Why Breast Implants Are Like the Bible by Mark Normand.

Warning, many of the comedy bits in this series will contain profanity. You have been warned.

Video Link

Evangelicals and Their Hocus Pocus Magic Book

bible magic book

Evangelicals believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. It is, in every way, a supernatural book written by a supernatural God. Its pages purportedly contain words that have magic power. While Evangelicals deny that the Bible is in any way a magical book, their recommendation of it belies their denial.

Evangelicalism is a text-based religion. The 66 books of the Protestant Bible are the foundation of every Evangelical belief. Remove the Bible, and Evangelicalism crumbles and falls to the ground. This is why scholars such as Bart Ehrman are so deadly to evangelical faith. What happens when Evangelicals learn that the Bible is not what their Christian forefathers, parents, teachers, and pastors claim it is? What happens when Evangelicals learn that the Bible is not inspired, nor is it inerrant nor infallible? What happens when Evangelicals learn that the Bible has internal contradictions and is riddled with mistakes and errors? What happens when Evangelicals learn that virtually all of their cherished beliefs are subject to debate and question? What happens when Evangelicals learn that the history found in the Bible is suspect and the creation story is a lie? What happens when Evangelicals, troubled by doubts and fearful of losing their faith, ask pastors, church leaders, and Christian friends for help?

Doubting Evangelicals naturally turn to people of faith to help them with their fears and doubts. Who better to help allay their troubles than those who have walked the Christian path before them. Surely they have struggled, having questions and doubts about the veracity of the Bible and its teachings, the doubters think. So they naïvely seek out the counsel of those they have entrusted with their spiritual welfare. Sadly, they quickly learn that questions and doubts are not welcome, and that toeing the theological line is more important than finding honest answers to sincere questions. These doubters immediately find out that fidelity to orthodoxy and resolute commitment to what is perceived to be the faith once delivered to the saints is all that matters. For all their talk about having freedom in Jesus, Evangelical pastors and church leaders demand cult-like sameness from those who are church members. People who refuse to blindly submit are most often marginalized or excommunicated. These supposed men of God, fearing that doubts and questions could wreak havoc to their churches, do all they can to make sure that dissidents have no opportunity to spread their “lies” among congregants.

A pastor friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, is going through a crisis of faith. Several years ago, he and I briefly crossed swords over the Bible and its teachings. Our discussions ended with us each going in separate directions. Several months ago, out of the blue, he contacted me about the struggle he was having with certain Evangelical theological beliefs. While some atheists might see this as an opportunity to make a convert for godlessness, I am more concerned with helping my friend continue his journey, wherever it might lead. My goal has never been to make converts. Having been exactly where my friend now is, I have first-hand knowledge of the gut-wrenching struggle he is going through. To be confronted with the notion that everything you once believed might be a lie can, and does, cause great emotional and mental distress.

My friend has shared with me some of the discussions he has had with pastors and fellow Christians. I am astounded by how often he has been told to set reason and intellect aside and just have faith. Just believe Brother Horatio — not his real name — and all will be well! But try as he might, Horatio has found it impossible to turn off his brain and just faith-it.

Recently, one man asked him if he would be willing to commit to just reading the Bible for the next 90 days. No other books, no blogs, no discussions with outside sources, just read the Bible. The thinking behind this request is that the Bible has some sort of magical power, and that if my friend will just immerse himself in its pages his doubts, fears, and questions will dissipate and he will find himself once again following after Jesus.

I walked away from Christianity in November 2008. In the initial months after my deconversion, I was inundated with emails from pastor friends and former parishioners pleading with me not to give into this temptation from Satan. Recognizing that secular books were a big part of my deconversion, my pastor friends and former parishioners asked me to stop reading these books and to commit myself to only reading the Bible. They were certain that if I just stopped reading Bart Ehrman and other non-Christian authors and start reading the book-above-all-books — the Bible — that I would soon see that Satan was using these other writers to lead me astray. Little did they know that it was the Bible itself that played a big part in my deconversion. Taking a fresh look at beliefs that I had held for five decades forced me to conclude that the Bible was not what Evangelicals say it is. While I certainly think that the Bible has some moral and ethical value, it is now very clear to me that it is in no way an inspired, inerrant, infallible book written by the Christian God.

Evangelical zealots need to understand that telling people who have spent their lifetime studying and reading the Bible to just “read the Bible” is patently offensive. Having preached through most of the books of the Bible, I think it is safe for me to say that I have a thorough understanding of the Biblical text. Unlike most Evangelicals, who never seem to have the time to read God’s love letter to humanity, I devoted myself to reading every book, every chapter, and every word of the Bible. I did this numerous times over the course of my 50 years in the Christian church — especially as a pastor. I am not ignorant of the Bible’s teachings and neither is my pastor friend. The Bible is the problem, not the solution.

Suggesting that the Bible is some sort of magic book is ludicrous. It would be quite easy for me to prove the falsity of such claim. All I would have to do is devote myself to reading the Bible every day for 90 days, or whatever faith-renewing time frame is appropriate. And when no change takes place, where will Evangelicals place the blame? On God and his magic book? Of course not. The blame will rest on me. God is above and beyond culpability. If the magic words found in the Bible fail to restore me to faith it is because of some defect in me, not in God and his supernatural book.

Over the years, numerous Evangelicals have written to tell me that I just needed to — in faith — ask God to reveal himself to me. If I would do this, they were certain that Jehovah would, in no uncertain terms, make himself known. Humoring such people, I often pray their suggested prayers. Despite praying, the heavens remain silent. God is to blame, right? Maybe I am not one of the elect or perhaps I have committed the unpardonable sin. Whatever the reason might be, the blame never rests with God. It is always my fault. I did not have enough faith when I prayed, because if I had had enough faith then God would have revealed himself to me. That he did not shows that the fault lies with me, not God.

While I certainly think that most of the people asking me to read the Bible or to pray the prayer of faith sincerely want to be a help to me, they should understand that I cannot be swayed by metaphysical claims requiring faith. Either one believes or one doesn’t. It is not that I do not want to believe as much as it is I cannot believe. I do not have the requisite faith necessary to set aside reason and rational thought and believe ancient religious stories written thousands of years ago. Since it is unlikely that any new evidentiary argument for the existence of the Christian God and the veracity of the Bible is forthcoming, I hope that Evangelicals will understand when I reject requests to read their magic book or incant magical prayers. I am no longer willing to accept such childish requests that require me to shut off my mind and just believe.

The Christian God Has an Optics Problem

richard dawkins quote on the nature of god

Stacy Long, a writer for the American Family Association, admits that when taking the Bible at face value, the Christian God comes off looking more like a murderous psychopath than the loving, doting father Evangelicals say he is. Long writes:

Often we read the Bible and have a hard time making the connection between God’s role in the Old and New Testaments. How do we reconcile Jesus’ teachings of God’s love and longsuffering, of kindness to our fellow man, of redemption and sacrifice for all people with the Old Testament instruction to pillage and conquer the Canaanites with instant death for one who so much as laid a careful hand on the Ark of the Covenant with stoning an entire family because one man went astray.

The Christian God’s optics problem is one of the reasons often given for people leaving Christianity. If the Bible is taken at face value (literally), especially the Old Testament, God is a vindictive, petty, petulant, narcissistic son-of-a-bitch deity who doesn’t deserve one second of obeisance and worship. From the Father God perspective, the Christian God is a father who neglects his children, refuses to meet their basic needs, and physically abuses them when they fail to meet his exacting, perfectionist standard of living.

Even in the New Testament God has an optics problem. What kind of father allows his son to be brutally tortured for the crimes of others? While the Christian God certainly is viewed in a better light in  much of the New Testament, he returns to his Old Testament self in the book of Revelation, a 22-chapter story of God’s slaughter of the human race and the destruction of earth. Perhaps God suffers from multiple personality disorder or is schizophrenic. Perhaps from Matthew to Jude God is well-medicated and refrains from returning to his murderous ways. In Revelation, tired of the calming effects of anti-psychotic medications, God goes off his meds and makes up for lost time by slaughtering billions of people.

While Long recognizes that God has an optics problem, she attempts to rehabilitate God’s psychopathic resume by suggesting that God operates according to a different moral and ethical standards than sinful humans. Long writes:

And so, God’s ways are not our ways. But even when His ways seem strange to us – unlike what we know of Him – His ways are still the same, and He is still good.


So, maybe it is not so much that God’s actions are inscrutable, as our understanding of them is precarious. Not that we lack some secret key to biblical exposition, but simply because we are not God. He’s looking at the picture from a whole different angle, and what He sees may be very different from what we see. What He knows and understands may be completely unknown to us. In short, what we may misunderstand and call bad, He may call good.

Over the years, as I have attempted to challenge Evangelical beliefs by pointing out God’s immoral behavior, Christians have reminded me that it is impossible for us to judge God using human reasoning. According to Evangelicals, God’s ways are not our ways. Where do they get such a notion? Right out of the Bible:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8,9)

According to Evangelicals, God’s behavior can never be questioned because his ways are beyond human reason and understanding. In other words, God can do whatever the hell the wants because he is God. The Apostle Paul, when questioned about God choosing to save some people but not others, wrote:

For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (Romans 9:17-21)

Simply put, Paul is saying, Shut up!  How dare you question God! God is God and he can do whatever he wants to do.

Long concludes her defense of the Christian God’s immoral behavior with the Biblical story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus:

Take the birth of Jesus for instance. Looking at the story from a human viewpoint, it is a completely tragic affair. A girl gets pregnant out of wedlock, her fiancée is compelled to marry her against his own inclination, they are forced into an arduous journey through unfriendly terrain, they are destitute and homeless when it comes to the time for childbirth, and the whole thing ends with a lot of innocent infants being massacred and Jesus’ parents having to flee for their lives to a foreign land not knowing if they will see their home and families again. For a sad tale of a couple who really get their lives messed up, that beats Romeo and Juliet hollow. Oh, and then that baby who came into the world through so much trouble and pain ends up being horrifically executed as a criminal and denied by His closest friends. And yet, from our retrospective understanding of God’s purpose, we celebrate His birth as the sweetest, most joyous event of all time.

Long, as every Evangelical, reads the Bible selectively. When Evangelicals read the story of the conception and birth of Jesus, all they see is the wonderful babe in the manger — God incarnate who came to earth to save sinners. While rose-colored-glasses wearing Evangelicals know that there are morally perplexing and contradictory aspects of the incarnation story, they shut their minds off from reason, believing instead that their God would never do anything that was not for their good.

So then, God raping a virgin teenage girl and making her the surrogate for Jesus is okay because these heinous behaviors led to the birth of Jesus, the savior of the world. Is this not why many Evangelicals believe that there should be no abortion exceptions?  According to Evangelicals, if a woman is violently raped and impregnated by a psychopath, she still should be forced to carry the fetus to term. Why? Well, look at how things worked out for Mary. She carried her fetus to term and that fetus became a miracle-working prophet, a God-man hybrid, who was violently tortured and executed so his blood could be used to wash away our sins. Amazing and wonderful, right?

God, who is all-knowing and all-powerful, could have chosen to impregnate Mary another way (by having Joseph impregnate her and then supernaturally turning the fetus into Jesus, the son of God).  In fact, he could have provided a different method of salvation. But, he didn’t. Evangelicals often focus on the heathen ruler who massacred all the male babies in Bethlehem and the surrounding area under the age of two. What an awful, murderous man, Evangelicals say.  Wait a minute, couldn’t God have stopped Herod’s slaughter?  Shouldn’t God, who is the creator of the universe and the divine human puppet master, be held accountable for what happens on his watch?

Evangelicals argue that God cannot do wrong, and that he is morally pure.  When confronted with Bible stories that suggest otherwise, Christians rush in to defend their God from charges of immorality. I get it–the Christian narrative must be protected at all costs. If God is shown to be culpable for his behavior, why that would mean that he is not a deity worthy of human fealty, fidelity, devotion, and worship. And this is exactly what Evangelicals-turned-atheists such as I believe. Even if the Evangelical God exists, and he doesn’t, he would not be a deity worthy of our devotion and worship. We refuse to bow in worship to a God who has spent the last 6,020 years murderously working its way through human history. We refuse to bow in worship to a God who considers sickness, disease, starvation and war “good.” We refuse to bow in worship to a God who had stood on the sidelines of human history doing nothing as blood flows in the world’s streets.

I know all the excuses Evangelicals give for their God’s behavior. I used them myself in sermon after sermon, and they were little more than defenses of the indefensible. God has the power necessary to radically change life on earth, yet he does nothing. Outside of helping Granny Louise find her car keys and helping Tim Tebow keep his virginity, God is largely AWOL.  When will Christians realize that their God is not who they claim he is? Anyone with a modicum of reason and basic observation skills can conclude that the God being peddled by Evangelicals is a work of fiction.

Evangelicals are forced to ignore or reinterpret vast portions of the Bible in order to main the Christian narrative: that God is a kind, loving, long-suffering deity who desires to save people from their sins, that he is a God personally involved in the affairs of the human race, right down to giving each of us the breath to breathe. I ask, dear Christians, where is this God of yours? Outside of your minds, where can I find this God? Better yet, based on what I read in the Bible, why should I devotedly worship the Christian God? What is there about your God that deems him worthy of my love and devotion? From my seat in the atheist pew, if I knew of someone who behaved in a fashion similar to the Christian God, I would advocate for his immediate incarceration and execution. Such a loathsome creature does not deserve life. In every way, the Christian God is worse than the most vile of humans. Why would I ever want to worship such a God?

Simple, Bruce, if you don’t, God will torture you in hell for eternity after you die.

Thank you for making my point.

Bodie Hodge: The Bible is From God Because it Says it Is

the bible says

Snark ahead. You have been duly warned!

Recently, Bodie Hodge, a writer for Answers in Genesis, decided to take a crab-fork stab at the question, Other Religious Writings: Can They Be from God, Too? According to Hodge, the son-in-law of Ken Ham, only the sixty-six books of Protestant Bible are from God. Hodge writes:

 Other alleged divine writings are not from God because they are not part of the Bible.

The answer seems too simple: other alleged divine writings are not from God because they are not among the 66 books of the Bible and, in fact, they contradict the Bible.

This is a “presuppositional” approach, which means to presuppose that God exists and that His Word, the Bible, is the truth. This is the starting point or axiom.

God never tried to prove His existence or prove that His Word is superior to other writings. God simply opens the Bible with a statement of His existence and says His Word is flawless (Genesis 1:1; Proverbs 30:5). The Bible bluntly claims to be the truth (Psalm 119:160), and Christ repeated this claim (John 17:17).

In fact, if God had tried to prove that He existed or that His Word was flawless, then any evidence or proof would be greater than God and His Word. But God knows that nothing is greater than His Word, and therefore He doesn’t stoop to our carnal desires for such proofs.

There ya have it, boys and girls. Only the 66 books of the Protestant Bible are from God. Why? Because the Bible says so. So there, take that you liberals! Hodge and his daddy-in-law Ham are presuppositionalists. They presuppose that the Christian God is the one true God and that the 66 books of Bible are this God’s words. No evidence is necessary. These truths are correct because Hodge and Ham, and by extension God, say they are.

According to Hodge, God will not contradict himself. Yes, sir he says that sober and with straight face. Here’s the quote:

In the Bible, we read that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). This is significant because it means that God’s Word will never have contradictions. Though skeptics have alleged that there are contradictions in the Bible, every such claim has been refuted. This is what we would expect if God’s Word were perfect.

Yet the world is filled with other “religious writings” that claim divine origin or that have been treated as equal to or higher than the Bible on matters of truth or guidelines for living. In other words, these writings are treated as a final authority over the Bible.

Any religious writing that claims divine inspiration or authority equal to the Bible can’t be from God if it has any contradictions: contradictions with the Bible, contradictions within itself, or contradictions with reality.

And around and around we go. These other religious writings cannot be from God because he only wrote one book, the Bible. And unlike Harper Lee of To Kill a Mockingbird fame, God is not planning to write a sequel.

At the end of article, Hodge proves “conclusively” that other religious writings such as the Qur’an and the Book of Mormon are not from God. How does he do this you ask? Why he compares these writings to the Protestant Bible and shows that they have different teachings and words. This is a ploy commonly used by people who think the King James Bible is God’s perfect Word for English-speaking people. Here’s how this works. Take Isaiah 7:14, a verse Evangelicals believe prophesies the virgin birth of Jesus. The King James version renders the verse this way:

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

However, the New Revised Standard Version renders the verse this way:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

Oh Lord, the NRSV takes away the virgin birth, says the King James onlyist. This is PROOF that the NSRV is not from God.

Let me give one more example of this kind of thinking. Take Mark 16:9-20. You know the passage that says in verses 16-18:

 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Some newer translations omit this passage or footnote it saying that verses 9-20 are not found in the oldest manuscripts. King James onlyists see this omission as proof that modern versions are removing God’s Words. If God didn’t want these verses in the Bible he would never have written them to start with. But he did, end of story.

What’s interesting here is that while King James onlyists believe Mark 16:9-20 is the very word of God, they pretty much ignore or explain away what the verses teach. Most King James onlyists are Baptists who believe that salvation is by grace. Baptism has no salvific effect. It is nothing more than a ceremonial act. Yet, this passage clearly says, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Now who is the one taking away from the Word of God? The same goes for the verses that say that the followers of Jesus will cast out devils, speak with new tongues, take up serpents, drink poison without adverse effect, and heal the sick. I don’t know of one King James onlyist church that takes these verses seriously and attempts to put them into practice. Hey Maude, pass the strychnine. It’s my turn to drink poison.

In a similar manner, Hodge thinks if he compares the teachings of Bible with the teachings of the Qur’an he will show that the Protestant Bible is from God and the Qur’an is not. I suspect readers are by now doing a face palm. It’s like a man comparing a Ford owner’s manual with a Chevrolet owner’s manual. Yep, only the Ford is an automobile. Why? The owner’s manuals are different. Of course they are different. One’s for a Ford and the other is for a Chevrolet. Both are automobiles.

So it is with religious texts. Difference is not proof of a text’s truthfulness. Perhaps the Book of Mormon is from God and not the Protestant Bible. It is impossible to know one way or the other just by playing the world-famous Hodge Religious Text Comparison Game®. And Hodge knows this. He concludes his survey of the astounding wonders of the closed Evangelical mind with this statement:

So there are two options: place our faith in the perfect, all-knowing God who has always been there, or trust in imperfect, fallible mankind and his philosophies. The Bible, God’s Holy Word, is superior to all other alleged holy books. God will never be wrong or contradict Himself. So start with the Bible and build your faith on its teachings so that you please Him.

Finally, Hodge gives the answer to every question about the Bible and its teachings: faith. Why not start with this answer? All Hodge had to say is that by faith he believes the Protestant Bible is from God. Faith cuts off any rational inquiry. Faith keeps Evangelicals from investigating Hodge’s false claim that there are no contradictions in the Bible. Hodge doesn’t want Answers in Genesis supporters to think for themselves. Just have faith, he says. How else can someone believe the universe is 6,020 years old? Such a belief, along with a plethora of other literalistic beliefs, require great faith. This is a faith that becomes blinders for the mind, keeping people from daring to rationally investigate the claims made by men such as Bodie Hodge.

Never will there be found in their possession one of Bart Ehrman’s books. Reading such books and comparing them to what the keepers of Evangelical Biblical Truth® say will certainly lead to questions and doubt. And we can’t have that. Doubt is a lack of trust in God. Doubt is sign that Satan is gaining a stronghold. We must not have questions and doubt, Evangelical preachers say. Just have faith and your doubts will go away. And if they don’t? Dammit, stop asking questions and believe what I tell you to believe!!


If you are interested in reading what Hodge thinks about atheists, please read Dear Atheists, from Bodie Hodge. Please grab a barf bag and have it nearby when you start to read. Trust me, you will need it.


Bruce Gerencser