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Tag: Clergy Salary

Do Clergymen Have “Easy” Lives?

bruce gerencser 1987
Bruce Gerencser, Somerset Baptist Church, 1987

Over the years, I have thought about starting a series titled “Dumb Shit Atheists Say.” Atheist YouTube creators and podcasters, in particular, say all sorts of nonsense about Christianity, Evangelicalism, and the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement. I have, on occasion, tried to politely correct some of their more egregious errors, to no avail. I have received no response from the offenders, and far too often, they make the same factual errors over and over again. These same people object when Christians mischaracterize atheist beliefs, yet they are blind to their own mischaracterizations.

If atheists are going to talk about Christian theology, the Bible, and church history, at the very least they should have a rudimentary understanding of these things. And if they are unwilling to do this, they should shut the hell up. They are making atheists look bad.

Recently, I heard an atheist YouTuber say that clergymen have easy lives. He implied they were grifters. This strawman assertion is categorically absurd; a distortion meant to paint clerics in a bad light.

Most atheists (or Christians, for that matter) have no idea about how preachers live their lives. Are there lazy, indolent pastors? Sure, just as there are in every profession. By the same token, there are far more hard-working clergymen who devote their days to their positions. Yet, instead of recognizing this fact, these atheists portray clergy laziness and indolence as the norm for all preachers.

Most clerics are devoted to the work they believe God called them to do. They are devoted to the work of the ministry, believing they have some sort of divine purpose and calling. How else do we explain their willingness to work for low wages, often with few benefits? Many pastors even work a second job so their churches can have a pastor.

Contrary to what the aforementioned YouTuber said, pastors work hard and do so regardless of what they are paid. For every megachurch pastor making millions of dollars, there are thousands of pastors making average, or below-average wages (even when housing allowance is taken into account). It’s one thing for atheists to attack and challenge theological beliefs. It is another thing to attack the character of clergymen, all because they don’t like what they stand for.

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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Bruce Gerencser