A Fundamentalist Christian woman by the name of Lucinda Palestrant sent me the above email earlier today. Palestrant came to this site via a Google search for Darwin Fish. Eighteen months ago I wrote a post about Fish titled, Darwin Fish, A True Prophet of God. In this post I described Fish this way: Darwin Fish, the truest Christian on earth, a fundamentalist on steroids. Evidently, Palestrant is also a member of that elite, super-sanctified, elect remnant of Christians who supposedly will someday be rewarded by Jesus for their mind-numbing devotion to what they believe are the TRUE teachings of the Bible. Heaven awaits them, their reward for stoutly standing for true Christianity®, while the illimitable sea of humans past, present, and future will be cast into outer darkness, facing eternal torture and suffering because they were born in the wrong country, raised in the wrong home, or had the wrong beliefs. (See Why Most Americans are Christian ) And for people such as myself, those who have full knowledge of the truth, yet reject it and lead others astray? Hell, fueled by God’s hatred of sin, awaits.
Palestrant warns me: The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. (Psalm 94:11) Evidently, this verse is supposed to scare me. God knows what you are thinking, Bruce, Palestrant admonishes, thinking that I will quake in my Sketchers over the very thought of her God reading my mind. Here’s what Palestrant fails to understand: I think her God is fiction, no more able to read my mind than Leonard Nimoy — of Star Trek fame — is able to do a mind meld and read my innermost thoughts.
As a writer, public figure, and a well-known atheist, I understand that my written and spoken words matter. Virtually every day that I am physically able, I send out my words to be read by thousands of people. For almost a year now, my editor — Grammar Gramma — has edited my writing, helping me to hone my writing skills, saving me from countless careless, imprecise errors. My goal has always the same: to passionately and effectively tell my story in such a way that it infuriates Fundamentalists, helps those who have been harmed by Fundamentalism, and provide a voice for those who have been psychologically savaged by Evangelical Christianity. (See Are Evangelicals Fundamentalists? )
I consider it a great honor to have the Lucinda Palestrants of the world tell me that I am leading people to hell. Since the Biblical hell is about as real as Donald Trump’s Christianity, the only “hell” I am leading readers to is the one filled with reason and freedom. It is in this “hell” people find that they are free to follow the path of life wherever it leads. No longer shackled by Fundamentalist dogma, former Evangelicals are free to embrace the wild, wonderful (and dangerous) world on their own terms. I can only hope that Lucinda Palestrant will someday experience the wonders of an intellect liberated from the bondage of the Christian Bible.
One of the arguments Evangelical Christians use to “prove” the exclusivity of Christianity is this:
“Bruce, millions of people are Christians. Surely, they can’t ALL be deluded and deceived.”
This seems to make sense, doesn’t it? The sheer number of Christians makes it highly unlikely that Christianity is untrue, right? However, history is replete with examples of people sincerely believing things that were later found to be untrue. Millions of people have been slaughtered by zealots sincerely committed to a belief that was untrue.
In the political realm we see this all the time. President Lyndon Johnson lied about the Gulf of Tonkin incident that drew us into the Vietnam War. President George Bush and his lackeys lied about weapons of mass destruction and used this lie to start a war with Iraq. Adolph Hitler, a Christian man, along with his fellow Nazis, spun a lie about the Jews and the superiority of the Aryan race. Germans embraced this lie, resulting in the death of millions of people. In each of these illustrations the lie was believed by the masses.
What does Christianity offer to people? It purports to answer the “big” questions of life, especially the question of life after death. There is no question that Christianity gives hope, meaning, and purpose to millions of people. However, just because millions of people find hope, meaning, and purpose in Christianity doesn’t necessarily mean it is true.
Christianity is an exclusive religion. Some sects within the Christian tent (i.e. Catholicism) claim exclusivity for their particular sect. Some churches take this exclusivity a step further and claim that they are one of the few true churches. (i.e. Darwin Fish, A True Prophet of God) A Christian is a follower of Jesus and his teachings. At some level the Bible must be embraced as truth. Otherwise, how can a person know they should follow Jesus or what the requirements are to be a follower?
Since Christianity is an exclusive religion, all other religions are considered false. All other gods are no gods at all. According to the Christian, their God, the God of the Bible, the God who reveals himself through creation and conscience, is the one true and ever existing God.
It is this certainty about God, the Bible, sin, salvation, and life after death that draws millions of people to Christianity. On April 5th, millions will gather together to proclaim their belief in a God-man named Jesus. In him they find the forgiveness of sin and life eternal. Surely, the sheer magnitude of the worldwide Easter gathering stands as proof that Christianity is true!
There’s just one BIG problem with this seemingly insurmountable “fact.” There are other sects that have millions of worshippers too. There are millions of Hindus, Muslims, Jews,and Buddhists who believe their God is the true God or one of the many gods in the universe. Take a look at the numbers for the major religions of the world:
Let’s play fill in the blank:
Millions of people are __________.(fill in with one of the above religions) Surely, they can’t ALL be deluded and deceived, right?”
I hope you see that the number of believers/followers doesn’t necessarily mean a religion is true. It is quite possible for a religion to be totally manmade and yet have millions of adherents. This is easily proved.
When I think of a manmade religion, I can think of no better example than Mormonism. Joseph Smith invented the Mormon religion, yet 15+ million people are practicing Mormons. There are over 29,000 Mormon congregations in the world and over 88,000 Mormon missionaries go from place to place making disciples for their God. Surely, this is proof that the Mormon religion is the one truth faith and the Mormon God is the one true God, right?
Mormonism originated in the 1820s in western New York during a period of religious excitement known as the Second Great Awakening. Founded by Joseph Smith, the faith drew its first converts while Smith was dictating the text of the Book of Mormon from golden plates he said he found buried after being directed to their location by an angel. The book described itself as a chronicle of early indigenous peoples of the Americas, portraying them as believing Israelites, who had a belief in Christ many hundred years before his birth. Smith dictated the book of 584 pages over a period of about three months saying that he translated it from an ancient language “by the gift and power of God”. During production of this work in mid-1829, Smith, his close associate Oliver Cowdery, and other early followers began baptizing new converts into a Christian primitivist church, formally organized in 1830 as the Church of Christ. Smith was seen by his followers as a modern-day prophet.
Smith later wrote that he had seen a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in spring 1820 in answer to his question of which denomination he should join. Sometimes called the “First Vision”, Smith’s vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ as two separate beings was reportedly the basis for the difference in doctrine between Mormonism’s view of the nature of God and that of orthodox Christianity. Smith further said that in answer to his prayer the Lord instructed him to join none of the existing churches because they were all wrong. During the 1820s Smith reported having several angelic visitations, and by 1830 Smith said that he had been instructed that God would use him to re-establish the true Christian church and that the Book of Mormon would be the means of establishing correct doctrine for the restored church.
Mormonism is a wonderful example of American entrepreneurship. Founded on the lies/delusions of Joseph Smith, they are now one of the largest religions in America. There is no truth to their founding story, yet millions of people believe it. This is clear evidence that it is possible for millions of people to believe something and it be totally false.
How do you know that Christianity is any different from Mormonism or any of the other religions of the world? As I have clearly shown, the number of people who believe is not proof that any particular religion is true.
Darwin Fish, yes that is his actual name. Fish is part of a church called A True Church in Oklahoma.
Recently, a man by the name of Wayne K sent me an email that contained a dare. He wrote:
Now be cautioned because there is a cultish group in America whose website called atruechurch(dot)info – they may add your name to a list of false teachers? – probably not. I dare you write about them.
I thought, who the hell is atruechurch.info? Why should I fear them? Are they an assassination squad that whacks atheists and other nonbelievers? So, trembling with consternation and fear, I typed atruechurch.info into Firefox. What did I find? Darwin Fish. Darwin Fish, the truest Christian on earth, a fundamentalist on steroids.
I’ve known about Darwin Fish for many, many years. Fish was once a disciple of John MacArthur, trained at Master’s Seminary, and then he had a falling-out with MacArthur. You can read Fish’s bio here.
All of the religions of the world (e.g. Protestantism, Evangelicalism, Catholicism, Mormonism, JW’s, Seventh Day Adventism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, etc.) lead to nowhere but hell. Those involved in them are “unbelieving, . . . idolaters” (Revelation 21:8). Every single last one of them reject the truth of the Bible (Romans 1:18-25), and thus, the Truth of the Bible, God (John 14:6), will burn them forever in the lake of fire for hating Him so (Deuteronomy 32:39-41; Revelation 20:11-15).
If you are involved with the kind of Christianity that views Protestantism, or Catholicism, or the Orthodox church, or the “church of Christ,” or Billy Graham, or Rick Warren, or Joel Osteen, or James Dobson, or Pat Robertson, or John MacArthur, or Paul Washer, or Norman Geisler, or Tony Evans, or Greg Laurie, or Charles Stanley, or Chuck Smith, or Fred Price, or J. Vernon McGee, or Charles Blake, or Chuck Swindoll, or Gene Scott, or Harold Camping (Family Radio), or John Piper, or T. D. Jakes, or David Jeremiah, or Charles Spurgeon, or Dave Hunt, or Marvin J. Rosenthal, or David W. Cloud, or Perry F Rockwood, or Neil Anderson, or Robert Schuller, or Jack Hayford, or Benny Hinn, or Miles McPherson, or Ray Comfort, or Jim Cobrae, or Ron Luce, or Chuck Colson, or C. S. Lewis, or Hank Hanegraaff, or Paul Chappell, or Steven Anderson, or any of the like (or any of the likes on “Christian” TV or radio) as godly, you are not saved. Why? Because, you are on the broad way (Matthew 7:13; 2 Peter 2:2; 2 Timothy 4:3). You have not the characteristic of Christ’s sheep (John 10:5). And, men such as these are wells without water (2 Peter 2:17).
Fish really believes he is part of the one true church. In the FAQ section of his website he answers the question, Are you the only true church/believers?
We suggest you take a look at our Statement of Faith to understand why we say, we do not know. There was a church in Murfreesboro, TN, but that has since dissolved. Other than that, we have not yet, as of this date, found another church that is in the truth (1 John 4:6), and we have been to many. Will we find one? Actually, the real question is, will Christ find one?
Fish has what I call the Elijah syndrome. In I Kings 18, Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal to a God-Off®. Maybe you remember the story from Sunday school:
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under. And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.
And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
This was one of my favorite passages to preach from. I Kings 18 is a story that illustrates God’s power when a person is willing to stand alone for God. Of course, I never preached on 1 Kings 19, you know the chapter that details Jezebel chasing Elijah into the hills threatening to kill him.
Of course, Elijah got the last laugh in 2 Kings 9 when, at the behest of Jehu, two or three eunuchs threw Jezebel out of a window, killing her as she hit the ground. Jehu then stomped on the body of Jezebel, leaving her corpse for the dogs to eat. When they came to bury her, all that was left was her skull, palms, and feet. Sounds like a hit series on HBO, yes?
People like Darwin Fish see themselves as a modern-day Elijah. They are THE remnant that God has left on earth to give testimony to the truth. Think about the Bible and its stories for a moment. Aren’t most of the big name characters in the Bible, men like Noah, Abraham, Elisha, Enoch, Joshua John the Baptist, Paul, and Jesus, loners who stood against Satan, false religion, and secular power?
In every community there is a Darwin Fish, a preacher who thinks he is God’s messenger, a prophet whose name is Frank/Harry/Waldo/Bruce. If you have read the comment section of this blog over the years, you know that there are plenty of people who think they have all the answers; that God is on their side and that their interpretation of the Bible is true. Such people are impossible to reach until they are willing to see that their foundation, the Bible, is not what they claim it is.
We believe drinking alcohol in moderation is not wrong (Deuteronomy 14:26; Psalm 104:15; John 2).
We believe those who commit suicide go to hell (John 15:1-6).
We believe gambling is not wrong, but to gamble, because you are not content and want more, is sin (Hebrews 13:5).
We believe Scripture does not condemn masturbation. Although it is typically done in wickedness (Matthew 15:19 “evil thoughts”), it can be done in godliness (Titus 1:15).
We believe the Bible does not condemn slavery (1 Timothy 6:1-5), even though it is illegal in the USA (Romans 13:1).
We believe smoking is not condemned in Scripture, but addiction is (1 Corinthians 6:12; Galatians 5:22-23).
We believe most debt is ungodly (Romans 13:8).
We believe the Bible does not condemn polygamy (Genesis 16:1-3), even though it is illegal in the USA (Romans 13:1), which illustrates America’s idea of what is moral or not is quite twisted (Isaiah 5:20).
We believe there are fire breathing dragons called Leviathan (Job 41).
We believe during the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 20), God will bring back from the dead evil Levites of the past to serve in His temple (Ezekiel 44:10-14).
We believe sexual intercourse during menstruation is an evil practice (Leviticus 18:19-30).
We believe the answer to “eternal security” is both “yes” and “no” (Romans 8:31-39; 11:19-22).
This kind of thinking is the result of taking Evangelicalism/Christian fundamentalism to its logical conclusion. Perhaps Fish should be commended for really, really, really believing all that “God” wrote in the Bible. I know more than a few Christians who think like this. They may not take things as far as Darwin Fish or Fred Phelps, but they sincerely believe they are numbered with the few faithful Christians left on earth.