Recently, yet another Evangelical zealot stopped by to let me know what he thought of me. Enjoy!
You are a disgrace to your country, family and yourself! I know that you hate too hear it but… you were NEVER, EVER, Saved! Your god is your belly!
You are the most selfish person that I never met! You desperately need to really get Saved! Fall down on your face and beg Jesus Christ for Forgiveness! Repent! Get Baptized! Join a Fundamentalist Christian Church! You are a slob, and have been your entire sad life! Get out of the wagon and help the rest of us pull it!
Give back the money that you stole: pretending to be a “pastor”! I Will be praying for you, but your family, really needs the prayers much more! How can you look your children in the face! You are SATANIC for the misery that you have caused them!
Several days ago, I received an email from a Christian man by the name of Tim Clark. Here’s a screen shot of Tim’s email:
Tim could have found the answers to his “thoughtful” questions by exercising a bit of curiosity and reading the posts found on the WHY page. Unfortunately, Tim evidently is not the curious sort, so after reading a couple of posts he decided to email me. Tim came to this site via an internet search. He landed on my post about a California pastor accused of sexual misconduct. I suspect Tim was looking for the latest dirt on this preacher, and, while reading my post, decided to email me about what he suspects is my own “immorality.”
Tim’s email subject line says, “Are you “free” now? He put the word free is scare quotes. I assume he did so because he believes that no one is truly free unless they have been saved; that non-Christians such as myself are in bondage to sin and Satan. Telling Tim, YES, I AM FREE, THANK REASON, I AM FREE, will surely fall on deaf ears. For Tim and other zealots like him, the dictates of the Bible determine who is free and who is not. Christians are free, everyone else is not. No amount of discussion will change Tim’s view of me. I walked away from Jesus, and nobody does that without having some sort of secret desire to live sinfully, especially sexual sin. (It’s always sexual sin, right? Evangelicals are voyeurs, obsessed with sex — who is doing it, when, where, how, and with whom.)
My first thought after reading Tim’s email was to tell him to go fornicate with himself. I am more than a little tired of self-righteous Evangelicals who refuse to accept my story at face value. I am beyond tired when it comes to receiving emails and Facebook comments from Christians who are certain that there is some other reason than what I have stated for my loss of faith. But, tired as I may be, I will muster up a bit of strength so I can answer Tim’s questions. Or are they accusations? Either way, here are my answers.
Did I “turn from the faith” to “justify some sin in [my] life”? No, I did not. As the posts on the WHY page make clear, the primary reason I deconverted was that I no longer believed the central claims of Christianity; I no longer believed the Bible was what Christians claimed it was; I no longer believed the Christians narrative could be intellectually and rationally sustained. Simply put, Christianity no longer made any sense to me. (Please read The Michael Mock Rule: It Just Doesn’t Make Sense.)
What Tim really wants to know is whether I turned from the faith to justify “immorality” in my life? Why would I have left Evangelicalism to live an immoral life? As The Black Collar Crime series makes clear, Evangelical preachers can commit adultery, fornication, and even be sexual predators, all while preaching the gospel and condemning sinful behaviors. If I desired to have sexual affairs, chase after prostitutes, frequent gay bars, or get massages at the local massage parlor, I could have done so and still remained an Evangelical pastor. When feeling guilt or conviction over my immorality, all I would have had to do was confess my sins (I John 1:9) and Jesus would cleanse me of my sin.
I can tell Tim this much, I have never had an affair. Thirty-nine years ago, I stood at the altar of the Newark Baptist Temple and told my bride that I would be faithful to her unto death. I can humbly say that I have kept that vow. I am far from perfect, having done things that are sure to be on Tim’s sin list, but not adultery. Have I ever looked at porn, been to a strip club, walked through the door of an adult book store, or “lusted” after a woman who is not my wife? Yes. And a survey of Christian men would show that most of them have too. In fact, I am quite sure that Tim, if he is a normal, healthy, heterosexual male, has lusted after women too. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
I have no doubt that most men, at one time or the other, have “looked on a woman to lust after her” and have “committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Evangelical zealots looking to root out the real reasons for my loss of faith will continue to poke and prod, hoping that I will someday reveal the secret sins that lie buried in the depths of my sin-darkened heart. These Geraldo Riveras of Christianity will surely be disappointed. I have been quite transparent, open, and honest about my past and the reasons I am no longer a Christian. If the Tims of the world can’t accept what I say at face value, that’s their problem, not mine. Have I aired out every corner of my life for all to see? Of course not. As all writers do, I choose what I want to tell readers, leaving buried things that are too painful to talk about. Perhaps someday I will write about the secrets that remain, but for now I have told all I need to tell to adequately relate my story. Readers can rest assured that there will be no women coming forward to tell about having adulterous liaisons with Bruce Gerencser.
Here is an email I received today from a man calling himself Rick Sones.
First, I doubt you read as much of my site as you allege. Had you done so, you might have learned a few things about me, such as the fact that I did not remain a Fundamentalist Baptist; that I left the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement in the late 1980s; that I do not continually boast about my understanding of the Biblical text.
Second, my life as a Fundamentalist Baptist was, all in all, quite happy. Again, had you done a bit more reading you might have learned that I have many good memories of my days as a pastor.
Third, I am not angry with God. You do realize I am an atheist, right? Being “angry” with God would be akin to being angry with Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Since the Christian God does not exist, it would be a colossal waste of time for me to be angry with said God.
Fourth, please put on your big boy pants and share with me the voluminous misquotations and errant interpretations you have found in my writings. Let’s mano a mano enter into a public discussion about your claims. Let’s see who is the ignorant idiot. I’m game, are you? Or are you just bullshitting, Evangelical-style?
Fifth, threatening me with judgment from the Big Kahuna has no effect on me. Again, you do know I am an atheist, right? Threatening me with judgment from a nonexistent God is similar to threatening me with judgment from Thor. I am not going to lose any sleep over your threats.
Finally, if you knew that other people had already told me what you said in your email, why write me anyway? What was your objective? Surely it couldn’t have been to witness or put in a good word for Jesus. Calling someone an idiot is a sure discussion stopper.
Rick, let me thank you for providing me yet another example of why I am so glad that I divorced Jesus. With people like you in the family, I am quite happy to be considered an Ex.
According to an email I received yesterday, my present life is NOT how I present it within the pages of this blog. A Christian man by the name Nathan Smith says I am lying when I say I am happy. He also says my life is absent of compassion, freedom, and happiness, despite me saying differently. Smith challenges my manhood, saying that if I truly was a brave man I would ask a cognitive behaviorist to render their opinion on my written work. You mean the secular psychologist I see every two weeks, the man who reads my writing and encourages me to keep telling my story?
Reading your blog doesn’t give any impression that the humanistic life is full of the kind of compassion, freedom, and happiness you say it is. If Christians serve something man-made, then they are simply doing what comes naturally to them as humans; something any true humanist would be able to understand with a lot more compassion than you seem able to demonstrate. If you were free, you would not feel compelled to continue in your devotion to Christ and His Church; albeit in hostility. Moreover, if you were happy, you would not view everything through the lens of this hostility. If humanism were true of Bruce Gerenscer [sic], the battle would have ended when he left the Church, yet here he is still playing the part with fervor.
You will be glad to hear that your new life’s work is questionable without even invoking God or scripture. If you are brave enough, let a cognitive behaviorist evaluate this blog and compare it with your stated reasons for writing it; that way you can hear from the kind of secular, educated, scientific individual you now esteem that you are completely full of it.
I will leave it to you the reader to decide if Smith’s observations ring true.
Comment: I wonder what the apostles and martyrs of the christian faith would day to you….? I feel sad that your convictions, after having “pastored” are so mushy. I do hope you get converted back someday. I feel sorry for your children and your blog followers. You Atheism is as inspiring as you “theism”. You should express yourself through a hobby rather than preaching your humanist void…I never write to people I encounter on the web, but I find your material disgusting, but I guess that ud fine with you anyway. May the void bless you.