Tag Archive: Existence of God

My Credo by Paul McLaughlin

creedoA guest post by Paul McLaughlin

I was not raised in a religious family, so my path to atheism was much smoother than the terrifying, rocky road traveled by so many others who comment and post on this site. My father was diddled by a camp counsellor and rejected religion for himself. My mother died when I was 17 after a long struggle with cancer, so I don’t know much about her religious beliefs, other than that she didn’t believe in heaven. They both thought it important to send (not take) their children to Sunday school. So, the message I got was that religion — meaning middle-of-the-road Protestant Christianity — was something I should be exposed to, but it wasn’t important enough to warrant providing me with any guidance. Thankfully, I was never inculcated with the belief that I was born sinful and depraved, and if I don’t accept the truth of the Bible, I would face eternal hell and damnation, though I was aware of Christian eschatology.

When I was nine-ish, I had a Catholic friend named Jimmie. Every Saturday morning, we would go up to the Catholic church and I would wait outside while he went in and said his confession, which, he said, was so he would be free of sin at mass the next morning. Then we would spend the rest of Saturday raising hell.

When I was 14, I took confirmation classes at the local Presbyterian church, not because we were Calvinists, but because it was the closest church to where we were living. It was a mainline church — no speaking in tongues, rapturous praise or healings, just intellectual Calvinism with a dour Scottish Canadian aftertaste. Even at that age, I could see that you can’t reconcile free will and predestination. If you’re predestined to go to heaven, why be good? And if you’re predestined to go to hell, why be good? The minister and I agreed that I wasn’t to be confirmed. I’m still not.

A couple of years later, after my mother died, I found myself sitting in a nearly empty church willing myself to believe in God, Jesus, anything. But I just couldn’t do it. So I said to myself, what will happen to me if I give up this effort to will belief? The answer, as I learned over the next 50+ years, was that good things happen and bad things happen, but believing or not believing in god has no impact on what actually happens.

Shortly after that, I went to university and studied history, comparative religion and especially existentialist philosophy. My religious beliefs crystallized into a credo that I have carried with me for the rest of my life.

  1. There is no god. That means, no Christian god, divine Jesus, Holy Spirit, archangels, angels, saints, virgin mothers, Satan, devils, demons or any other imaginary creatures in the mythical Christian heaven and hell. It also means no Jewish god, Muslim god, Hindu gods, Greek gods, Norse gods, native Great Spirits — no gods at all. None.
  2. There is no divine, spiritual or metaphysical force in the universe that is concerned about the fate of individual humans or humankind in general — no fate, karma, luck (good or bad), balance, horoscope, traditional sayings or anything else controlling or even influencing what happens to people. In other words (and this is not an original thought), the universe is completely indifferent to individual humans and the human species.
  3. Souls? Don’t believe in them. I believe people have personalities that emerge from our biology and our experiences and are remarkably persistent over time. However, when we die, we’re done. There is nothing that is me that lives on. Whatever me is beyond a bunch of organic chemicals, is no more. (Memories of me may live on in the memories of those who know me and in the records I leave, but when no one remembers me and all the records have been lost — which will be the fate of most of us — I will be nothing.)
  4. There being no afterlife, there is no need to fear death.
  5. Evolution is the best current explanation for millions upon millions of empirical observations.

Evolution is not progressive. Species do not evolve traits for a purpose, they evolve traits as a result of random mutations that fortuitously but unintentionally improve the species’ survival chances in the face of constant environmental pressure and change. Evolution does not work toward what lies ahead; it has no goals.

For example, our species didn’t develop eyes so we could see, we have eyes because billions of years ago some organisms randomly developed light sensitivity; that light sensitivity was positively associated with species survival; as time went by, organisms with light sensitivity developed more and more complex light-sensitive organs with positive survival implications. Our eyes are not the epitome of a progressive evolution toward human eyesight. They are just one of many diverse light-sensitive organs that emerged from the random mixing and mutation of DNA in the context of environmental change. We don’t even have the best eyes.

  1. Likewise, the human species is not the goal or end result or peak of evolution. The idea that humanity is the progressive end result of evolution is a theological, not a scientific position, though it has been held by many scientists. Humanity developed very recently (in geological time) and is in all likelihood a doomed branch of a branch of a branch of the evolutionary tree. It is just one species among millions, most of which are extinct, with no privileged status. The inevitable fate of humanity is extinction, though we may be one of the few species to actually bring about our own extinction. There is nothing in the nature of things to prevent it. Bacteria have better odds of survival than humans.This one took me longer to wrap my head around.
  2. I believe that living my life according to humanistic values and principles provides a better life for me as an individual and improves the society I live in. Improving my society is positively associated with survival of my species, a social species. I believe that humanistic values and principles are better for individuals and society than religious values and principles, but not because of any supernatural warrant of their superiority. I believe this to be the case because I have empirically observed that it works.

Some humanists promote the belief that there is a universal moral law that humanistic values make the world a better place. By doing so, they make humanism into a religion, where, instead of a mythical deity or universal force at the centre, the focus is on a mythical entity called “humanity.” I find it ironic that one of the oft-repeated mantras of humanism, a nontheistic belief system, is that human life is sacred. Go figure.

  1. I believe that the following modern fallacies are highly dangerous to the survival of our species:
  • God would not allow the human species to extinguish itself through nuclear war.
  • Global warming and other forms of environmental degradation are not a real threat because God favors us.
  • War is okay if God is on your side.
  • Extreme nationalism is okay if it is cloaked in evangelical fervour.
  • Racism is okay if you can find justification for it in the bible.
  • The 2,000+-year-old collection of a stone-aged tribe’s myths, legends and laws is the inerrant word of god. Same thing for the 1,300-year-old Koran and the less-than-200-year-old Book of Mormon.
  1. So, how should a person who wants to be good act? This is what has worked for me:
  • Be kind.
  • Be tolerant of other people’s beliefs, as long as the people who hold them don’t try to harm you.
  • Exercise.
  • Eat well.
  • Focus on the positive.
  • Create good memories.
  • Create a community around yourself consisting of people who want to help you when you need help by helping others when they need help.
  • Focus on the people close to you — in my case, family, friends, staff, clients — people for whom you can make a difference.
  • Don’t spend time and energy worrying about things you can’t do anything about, like earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, volcanoes, etc. in places far from home, or the moronic president of another country.
  • Be wary of people who claim they have “the answer” to a problem because it is so easy for such people to slip over into proselytization, extremism and fanaticism. Answers that affect large swathes of people always have sweeping unintended consequences that, if predicted, are usually downplayed in their proponents’ zeal to change the world. Real change is usually a lot harder than it first appears.
  • Avoid psychopaths, sociopaths, adults who are still adolescents, narcissists, excessive neurotics, maladaptive perfectionists, and people whose minds are closed due to religious and political ideologies that promote divisiveness and intolerance.
  • Avoid people who don’t think for themselves, sponges and sharks, two-faced arseholes, power-hungry social climbers, people who lack a sense of humour, champions of big ideas, liars, thieves, con artists and mental and physical abusers.
  1. So, you might ask, am I not in despair about there being no deities, no heaven or hell, no afterlife? After all, what I describe is a bleak, cold, uncaring existentially absurd world in which I have no future after I die.

Well, no, I’m not in despair. To despair, I would have to believe that things could have been different — that is, the universe could have been designed to be more accommodating to human needs, and in particular, to my needs. To me, that would be the height of hubris – to believe that I and my species are so important that everything that has happened since the big bang was about creating a world for us.

So at 72, when I look back over my life, I realize it could have been better, but it could also have been worse — a lot worse. If I were religious, I would say I have been blessed, but since I’m not, all I can say is I have been fortunate. I hope that in the years I have left, I will be able to help a few people who are close to me to feel that they too have been fortunate.

I May Burn in Hell, But Until That Day Comes. . .

homosexuality hell

I am often contacted by Evangelical zealots who purportedly are concerned over my lack of belief and my indifference towards their threats of judgment and hell. Bruce, aren’t you worried that you might be wrong? Evangelicals ask. And right after they ask this question, they follow it up with an appeal to Pascal’s Wager (the number one apologetical argument used by defenders of Christianity). Evangelicals use Pascal’s Wager to attack the agnostic aspect of atheism. Since no one can be absolutely certain that God doesn’t exist, it is better to be safe than sorry. Of course, GOD in this equation is the Christian God. Evangelicals have deemed all other Gods false, even though they themselves can’t be certain these Gods do not exist. If Evangelicals were honest with themselves, they would do what they ask of atheists: embrace ALL other Gods just in case one of them might be the one true God. Better to be safe than sorry, right?

As an agnostic atheist, I can’t be certain a deity of some sort doesn’t exist. Of course, I can’t be certain that life on planet earth isn’t some sort of alien experiment or game. Perhaps, life on planet earth is more Westworld-like than we think. How can we know otherwise? Assuming that we are not AIs in a multilevel game, how, then, should rational beings deal with the God question? All any of us can do is look at the extant evidence and decide accordingly. I am confident that the Christian God of the Bible is no God at all. I don’t worry one bit over being wrong. Now, there’s .000000001 percent chance that I might be wrong, but do I really want to spend my life chasing after a deity that is infinitesimally unlikely to be real? I think not. Now, if I am asked whether I think a deistic God of some sort exists, that’s a different question. Not one, by the way, that changes how I live my life. The deistic God is the divine creator, a being who set everything into motion and said, there ya go, do with it what you will. This deity wants nothing from us, and is quite indifferent to the plight of the human race. Whether this God exists really doesn’t matter. She is little more than a thought exercise, an attempt to answer the “first cause” question.

Is it possible that I am wrong about the God question, and that after I die I am going to land in Hell? Life is all about probabilities, so yes anything is possible. However, when governing one’s life, our focus should be on what is likely, not on what might be possible. And what is likely is that there is no God, and it is up to us to make the world a better place to live. Evangelicals look to the Eastern Sky, hoping that Jesus soon returns to earth — thus validating their beliefs. This other-worldliness makes Evangelicals indifferent to things such as suffering, war, and global climate change. Jesus is Coming Soon, Evangelicals say. Fuck everything else! As an atheist, I live in the present, doing what I can to make a better tomorrow. I dare not ignore war and global warming because the future of my children and grandchildren is at stake. I want them to have a better tomorrow, knowing that all of us have only one shot at what we call “life.” It is irresponsible to spend time pining for a mythical God to come and rescue you. First century Christians believed Jesus was returning to earth in their lifetime. They all died believing that the second coming of Jesus was nigh. And for two thousand years, the followers of Jesus Christ have continued to believe that their Savior will come in their lifetimes to rescue them from pain, suffering, and death. Listen up, Christians. Jesus is dead, and he ain’t coming back.

I may land in hell someday, but until I do I plan to enjoy life. I plan to love those that matter to me and do what I can make this world a better place to live. I have no time for mythical religions and judgmental deities. I am sure some readers are wondering how I can live this way without knowing for certain that nothing lies beyond the grave. None of us knows everything. Those who say they are certain about this or that or know the absolute “truth” are arrogant fools. What any of us actually “knows” is quite small when compared to the vast expanse of inquiry and knowledge that lies before us. I know more today than I did yesterday, but that only means I learned that McDonald’s has added new menu items and the Cincinnati Bengals aren’t as good as I thought they were. Life is winding down for me, so my focus on family and friends. Well, that and photography and writing. One day, death will come for us, one and all, and what we will find out on that day is that most of what we thought mattered, didn’t. Perhaps, we should ponder this truth while we are among the living, allowing us to then focus on the few things that really matter. For me personally, God and the afterlife doesn’t make the list.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Bruce, You Are a Self-Righteous Bitter Man Who Blogs to Boost His Pride

peanut gallery

Email From the Peanut Gallery

I received yet another email from an Evangelical man named Joseph. I mentioned him previously in the post titled, Email From the Peanut Gallery. Today’s nutty email said (all spelling/grammar in the original):

Wow! You really believe this is truth, that the universe and the world always existed. Physics, without debate points to a beginning of time. The REAL QUESTION is, what existed before time began? And let me point out, if time had a beginning then it logically has an end. Maybe God, the creator, is the eternal one, as scripture tells us, and He is the one who was there before time began! I agree that it takes faith to believe this, but everything in creation points to a creator, a master designer. And, as you know, and so conviently  avoid, is it possible that the evil and wickedness of mankind is the reason for all the wickedness in the world! If, as you say, there is no God ( and you seem to blame God for all the ills of the world), then how can you blame someone who doesn’t exist for all the ills of the world? I find this article intellectually dishonest and really a denial of reality. We, the people are responsible! And one day each of us will have to give an account of our time here on earth to the Creator of this universe, especially those who say they are christians! Those who misuse christianity  and present a false christ to this world, will be held accountable on that day. And let me say, I also hate this false christ! But, as you know, God in His mercy and love expressed to us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, has made it possible to live a godly life of love for Him and others. I have found this to be true in my own life as He has given me true peace and hope and joy as I’ve learned to live a life of service to others and to God. All I see in your posts is someone who is bitter towards God, and I sense, is belittling to my faith. I find this to be hateful and discriminating and judgemental. But I am praying for you and your beautiful family. I think one of the purposes of your blog is to convince yourself of your own self-righteousness and serves as a boost to your pride. I may be wrong, and if I am I apologize. But this is how it seems to me. May the peace and love of God be with you.

Joseph’s comment was in response to Bertrand Russell’s dismantling of Christianity in his seminal tract Why I Am Not a Christian. Joseph fails to understand both Russell’s writing style and my own. I write from the perspective of someone who believes in the Christian God. I argue from that perspective so Christians will understand what I am talking about and know that I am conversant in their “language.” It’s not that I believe in the Christian God, I don’t. My objective is to show the irrationality and inconsistency of arguments used to defend Christianity. What better way to do so than to use the words of Christians and the words of the supposedly inspired, inerrant, infallible Protestant Christian Bible. I am not a fan of esoteric or never-ending philosophical arguments, so I choose, instead to use the Bible as my weapon of choice. It is that which is most familiar to me.

Joseph seems hell-bent on defending his God’s character from all attacks. God’s not to blame for the evil in the world, man is. Yet, at the same time, Joseph says that his God is the Creator, the first cause of everything. If that is so, then God, by necessity, is culpable for EVERYTHING that follows, including sin. Joseph, yet again, fails to understand my writing style and approach. It’s not that I actually believe God is responsible for sin, I don’t. What I am saying is this: if you believe God is the first cause, then he is totally responsible for everything that follows. That’s the rational, logical conclusion one comes to when believing the Christian God is the first cause. From my perspective, Christian apologists have miserably failed in their attempts to answer the problem of evil. Theodicy remains a noose around the neck of believers who attempt to explain how God is Creator, the first cause, and sovereign over all, yet he is not, in any way, culpable for the behavior (sin) of humans. If Ford manufacturers an automobile and a customer buys it and the wheels later fall of the car, who’s to blame? The driver (human)? The salesman (pastor)? The dealership (the church)? No, Ford is responsible for the wheels falling off. As the company (God) who designed the auto, produced the parts, and assembled them, is not Ford (God) ultimately responsible for the wheels falling off the car? So it is with God. If the Christian God is the manufacturer of everything, then he, and not the church, its pastors, or humans, is responsible for any failures.

The problem for people such as Joseph is that they believe that Bible is a perfect book inspired by God and it is their duty to square all the contractions found within its pages. These internal contradictions force Christians to defend conflicting beliefs. One need only sit in the stands and watch Calvinists and Arminians fight to the death to see how these contradictions have affected Christianity over the past two thousand years. Here it is 2018, and the various Christian sects can’t even agree on the basics: salvation, baptism, communion. Yet, the Josephs of the world would have us believe they have found ways to neatly fit the square peg in the round hole. Only by shaving off (explaining away) these contradictions do Evangelical apologists make everything “fit.”

Joseph seemingly forgets that I was part of the Christian church for fifty years. I spent twenty-five of those years pastoring Evangelical churches. I spent thousands and thousands of hours reading and studying the Bible. I KNOW the Bible inside and out. I can argue multiple theological positions. Why? Because the Bible is a hopelessly contradictory book, and it can be used to “prove” every theological system from Pelagianism to hyper-Calvinism. I remember hearing John Loftus say years ago that he had come to the conclusion that ALL the various and peculiar systems of belief were right. Each and every one of them goes to the Bible to find justification for their beliefs. I agree with John. The Bible is similar to a paint-by-number picture, with each sect deciding which number corresponds to which paint. Colorful, to be sure, but what viewers of the work of art are left with is a Jackson Pollock painting. Nice colors, but what the hell is it?

Joseph fails to understand that I totally agree with him on who is culpable for human behavior. I am an atheist, a humanist, so I without question believe that each of us is responsible for what we do. Certainly there can be mitigating factors — genetics, mental illness, drug addiction, poor upbringing, to name a few — but at the end of the day each of us bears the weight of our choices and actions. I can believe these things to be true without believing in the existence of God or accepting what the Bible says about human nature and sin. Orthodox Christian teaching on human sinfulness, redemption, and the forgiveness of sin actually make humans less culpable for their behavior. After all, according to the Bible, humans are broken and in need of fixing; sinners in need of salvation and the forgiveness of sins. This leads to dependency on God for right behavior. The Bible says of humans, without me (God), you can do nothing. The Bible also says that humans are so helpless that unless God gives them the breath to breathe and the muscle strength to walk, they would all be dead.

As far as Joseph’s attack on my character; that I am bitter, self-righteous, and only write to boost my pride, I have a standard reply to such caricatures: go fornicate with yourself. I know the kind of man I am, as do those who know me well. Years ago, such judgments would drive me wild. Not any longer. Christians are going to say what whatever they want about me. I can’t stop them from doing so. All I can do is limit their access to this site and hopefully get them to STOP emailing me. Joseph seems to think that telling me that I have a beautiful family somehow ameliorates everything else he said. It doesn’t. The Josephs of the world want to shit on my doorstep while pointing out to me that there is a silver dollar buried in their offering. How about saving the shit for the outhouse, and stick to polite, reasoned comments? Leave my motivations for doing what I do to those who know and understand me. And Joseph is most certainly not part of that group.

Joseph says that he could be wrong , and if he is, he apologizes. If there is the possibility of being wrong in judgment about someone’s character and motivations, why say anything? Doesn’t the Bible command believers to defer such judgments until they know the whole story and have all the facts? Why does Joseph ignore what the Bible says about uninformed judgment? The reason is simple. Joseph doesn’t believe he is wrong, and no matter what I say, he will remain certain in his judgments of the Evangelical-pastor-turned-atheist Bruce Gerencser. And it is for this reason I no longer cast my fifty millimeter pearls before swine.

Note

After writing this post, I received yet another email from Joseph. Here was my response:

Joseph,

You wrongly thing that I am the least bit interested in receiving emails/sermonettes from you. I am not. Please stop emailing me. I have no interest in hearing from you or corresponding with you. I turned your previous email into a post. It will be live later tonight after my editor goes over it. You will have one opportunity to respond to what I have written. Please use this one opportunity wisely. After you have said what you feel God has laid upon your heart, I will approve no further comments from you. That’s the commenting rules, which I am sure you have read.

Thank you.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

A Flat Tire and the Existence of God

existence of god

While attending our family’s Fourth of July picnic, son number three — a certified mechanic — noticed that one of our car tires had a nail in its sidewall. IN THE SIDEWALL? Yes, in the sidewall. Not right at where the sidewall meets the tread either. This nail was embedded halfway between the tread and rim. I spent more time than I should have pondering how a nail ended up in the tire’s sidewall. On the tread? Sure. But, the sidewall? I concluded that it was likely someone vandalized the tire. I texted my son, thanking him for getting a new tire for us and telling him that I believed someone vandalized the tire. He replied:

No problem. I do what I can do when I can do it.  Yeah, seems a li’l fishy to me. I mean it’s possible, but highly unlikely LOL.

I replied, that’s what I say about God “Yeah, seems a li’l fishy to me. I mean it’s possible, but highly unlikely LOL.”

Jesus’s Own Words Prove God Doesn’t Exist

jesus

A guest post by Neil Robinson. You can read more of Neil’s writing on the Rejecting Jesus blog.

I often feel I’ve run out of thing to say about Christianity, or rather, I think I’ve said all I want to say about it. It’s not much of a challenge to show how insubstantial, inconsistent and spurious religious faith is. None of it actually works, even though Christians, in the face of all the evidence, continue to insist it does.

On his Theological Rationalism blog,  James Bishop smugly tells his readers how he can ‘defeat atheism’ with three questions, chief of which is asking, ‘What would you count as “actual, credible, real world evidence for God?”’ Although I’ve already responded directly on his blog, for me it would be if any of the promises Jesus made (or was made to make) actually came true in the ‘real world’.

Jesus said that Kingdom of God would descend on the Earth within the lifetime of his original followers, in Luke 21:27-28, 33-34; Matthew 24:27, 30-31, 34 and here in Matthew 16:27-28:

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels… I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.

Did this come true when he said it would?

He claimed that the judgement of the nations and their peoples would immediately follow, with the righteous going on to populate the new Earth while the wicked were sent to eternal punishment:

But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25.31-46).

Did this?

He promised that whatever his followers pray for in his name, God would grant. No ifs and buts, he would do it. Matthew 17.21, Matthew 21.21-22, John 14.12-14 and here in Mark 11:24:

…if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’

Does this ever happen?

He said that with enough faith, believers would literally be able to move mountains. (Matthew 17.20).

They literally don’t.

He guaranteed that his followers would be able to drink poison and handle serpents with impunity (Mark 16:18).

Those who are stupid enough to take him at his word find they can’t.

He said ‘very truly’ that believers would be able to do even greater miracles than he himself did:

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14.12).

Where’s the evidence of this?

The fulfillment of any of these promises would be enough to convince atheists – well, me anyway – that Jesus’ God exists. If those about the Kingdom and judgement had come to pass when Jesus said they would, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. I could still be convinced, however, if his guarantees of miracles and answered prayers regularly came about in the spectacular ways he said they would. The fact is, they never have done and they don’t; the world would be a very different place if they did.

All that the ridiculous claims Jesus makes for his God convince me of is that Jesus himself was, at best, deluded, and at worst, an utter fraud – a traveling salesman who promised the Earth and delivered absolutely nothing. His unfulfilled, empty promises are evidence enough that his God, like all the others, does not exist.

If the Evangelical God Revealed Himself to Me, Would I Believe? 

athfleaist convention

I am often asked what it would take for me to believe in the Evangelical God. Is there anything that would cause me to discard atheism and embrace the God whom Evangelicals say is the Creator of everything and the savior of everyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus Christ?  Am I so set in my atheistic/humanistic ways that there is nothing that could persuade me to return to the Christianity I abandoned eight years ago?  Simply put, what will it take for me to fall on knees and repent of my sins, professing that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior?

Many Evangelicals, of course, believe that no amount of evidence would be enough to convert someone such as myself. I am a reprobate, an apostate, a sworn enemy of the Evangelical God. I have crossed the line of no return. My destiny is already settled, with a first-class accommodation in Hell and the Lake of Fire awaiting me after I die. According to the Bible, I am the pig that has returned to the mire and the dog who has returned to his vomit. I have trampled under my feet the blood of Jesus, and there remains no further sacrifice for my sins. Christian evangelizers are told not to waste their time on the Bruce Gerencsers of the world. Let them go to the hell they so richly deserve!

Other Evangelicals think that I am still saveable. With God all things are possible, they say.  Imagine what a testimony to God’s wonderful grace it would be if the preacher-turned-atheist Bruce was brought low before the thrice-holy God and saved from his sins. Years ago, I remember being taught in evangelism class that the best way to reach a community for Christ is to find the meanest sinner in town and lead him to Christ. While I am not a mean person, I am considered the village atheist, a man who hates God and Christians. Get me saved, and r-e-v-i-v-a-l is sure to follow. Or so local Christians think, anyway.

Many Evangelicals believe that God has given me all the evidence I need in order to believe. The Evangelical God has revealed himself to me through creation, conscience, and divine revelation (the Bible). God has done all the revealing he intends to do. If this is not enough for me, I can go straight to hell.

Wait a minute, what is there in creation that proves to a rational, reasonable man that the Evangelical God is one true God, and that forgiveness of sins and salvation are through Jesus, the second God of the Trinity? When I peer into wondrous darkness of a starry night, I am filled with awe and wonder. When a harvest moon rises in the east, giving off its larger-than-life orange glow, I am reminded of the awesomeness of the universe.  All around me I see wonders to behold. As a professional photographer, I often spend time peering at the complexities and beauty of nature and wildlife. Even the feral cats resting underneath the nearby post office box cause me to pause, watch, and enjoy. Everywhere I look, I see things that cause me to stop, reach for one of my cameras, and shoot a few photographs. Not far from where the aforementioned cats hang out, there are sheep and goats who often entertain me when I have time to stop and take their pictures. And don’t get me started when it comes to my family. There are times when everyone is over for a holiday — all twenty-one of us, aged two to sixty — that I quietly sit and watch my children and grandchildren. I think to myself, man, am I blessed. With all the health problems I have, I am lucky to be alive, fortunate that I have the privilege to love and be loved. Does all of this, however, say to me, the Evangelical God is real, that Christianity is the one true religion? No, it doesn’t. At best, all that I have experienced tells me that perhaps there is some sort of divine power, a God of sorts, that has set in motion life as we know it.  Perhaps — though I doubt it — there is a deistic God who created the universe and then went on vacation, leaving the future of planet earth and its inhabitants up to us. This is the God of some of the people who read this blog, and while I don’t believe in their God, I do understand how they came to believe as they do, and I respect their viewpoint. And they are okay with my unbelief, as is their God.

existence of god

I have yet to have an Evangelical satisfactorily explain to me how anyone can rationally surmise that their God is the one true God just by looking at starry skies or biological world. I am willing to concede, as I mentioned above, that it is possible to conclude that some sort deistic creator put the world into motion and then said, there ya go, boys and girls, do with it what you will. But, pray tell, what evidence is there for this generic creator God of sorts being the Evangelical God? Well, the Bible says ___________, Evangelicals say, and therein lies a big, big problem. Evangelicals are, for the most part, literalists. When they read the creation account recorded by an unknown author in Genesis 1-3, Evangelicals conclude that their God created the universe in six twenty-four days, exactly 6,022 years ago. Yes, I am aware that some Evangelicals are NOT young earth creationists, not that this really matters. Whether young earth or old earth or any of the other creation theories espoused by Evangelicals, they believe that the foundational authority is the first three chapters of Genesis.

Using the Bible as a tool to prop up what can be viewed with human eyes only causes greater doubt and unbelief. Why? Because what the Bible says about the universe runs contrary to what science tells us. Astronomy, geology, cosmology, archeology, and biology all tell us that what the Evangelicals believe the Bible says about the universe is false. Of course, Evangelicals are taught that the Bible is the final authority on everything, including how and when the universe came into existence. When science conflicts with the Bible, the B-i-b-l-e — the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God — not science, is always right. As science continues to push creationism closer and closer to the dustbin of human history, Evangelicals are forced to defend beliefs that are no longer rationally defensible. So anyone telling someone such as myself that creation — when viewed through the lens of the Bible — proves the existence of the Evangelical God will be met with ridicule and laughter.

The Bible, despite Evangelicals believing otherwise, is no longer a credible source of proof for the existence of God. Evangelicals believe that divine revelation (the Bible) is another way that God reveals himself to us. Unfortunately, thanks to the internet and authors such as Bart Ehrman and Robert Price, the Bible can no longer be used as proof for anything. Now that there are countless blogs and websites dedicated to deconstructing the history and teachings of Christianity and the Bible, it is increasingly hard for Evangelicals to continue to promote and sell the party line. The Bible is not worthless. There are teachings, maxims, proverbs, and such that people, religious or not, find encouraging and helpful. The same, however, could be said of a plethora of religious texts, so the Christian Bible is not special in this regard.

inventing a god

Having read the Bible dozens of times from cover to cover, spending thousands of hours studying its words, books, and teachings, I see nothing that would convince someone not already initiated into the Evangelical cult that the Christian God is the one true God and all other Gods are false. The fact remains that the Bible is not what Evangelicals claim it is, and the only people who believe that the Bible is some sort of supernatural book are those raised in religious sects and tribes that embrace inerrancy. Such people believe the Bible is inspired and inerrant because they either don’t know any better or they refuse to change their beliefs — facts be damned. Extant information, available to all who can read makes one thing clear: the Bible is not what Christians say it is.

Evangelicals also believe that their God reveals himself to humans by giving all us a conscience. Supposedly, the conscience that God gives us is some sort of moral regulator. According to Evangelicals, everyone is born with an innate understanding of right and wrong. God, they say, has written his law on our hearts. If this is so, why do parents need to teach children right and wrong? Why is it that geography and tribal identification, not God, determines moral and ethical beliefs? If the Evangelical God’s law is imprinted on everyone’s hearts, shouldn’t everyone have the same moral beliefs? Of course, they don’t, and doesn’t this mean that there must be some other reason(s) for moral belief other than God? That atheists are moral and ethical without believing in God is a sure sign that these things come from something other than a deity; things such as genetics, parental training, tribal influence, education, and environment.

The fact is, for atheists such as myself, creation, conscience, and the Bible do NOT prove to us the existence of the Evangelical God. Sorry, Evangelicals, I have weighed your evidence in the balances and found it wanting. What then, Bruce would it take for you to believe in God? Is there anything that God can do that would cause to believe?  Sure, there is. Let me conclude this post with several things the Evangelical God could do to prove to me his existence. All of these are within the ability of the I can do anything Evangelical God:

  • Raise my mother from the dead so she can love and enjoy the grandchildren she never got to see.
  • Heal me. Waking up one morning — just one — without pain would certainly cause me to reconsider my view of God.
  • Striking Donald Trump dead the next time he lies would certainly be a sign of God’s existence.
  • Causing the Cincinnati Reds to go 81-0 the last half of the season, Joey Votto hitting 80 home runs, Billy Hamilton hitting .350 and stealing 140 bases, and the Reds winning the World Series would definitely make me believe in God’s existence.
  • Causing the Cincinnati Bengals to go 16-0, winning three playoff games and the Super Bowl would also make me wonder, is there a God?
  • On a more serious note, God ending violence and war, hunger, sickness and disease, would certainly get my attention. Unfortunately, I’ve been told that God is too busy helping Grandmas find their keys and Tim Tebow become a major league baseball player to be bothered with human suffering.
  • And finally, God could just send Jesus to my house. That certainly would do the trick. However, I fear once I tell Jesus what has been going on in his name for the last 2,000 years that he might say, Dude, I don’t blame you for not believing in God. I wouldn’t either, but since my Dad is God, I have to believe whether I want to or not.

Truth be told, I doubt there is anything that can be said or done that would convince me of the existence of the Evangelical God. I have carefully weighed the extant evidence and found it wanting. Since it is unlikely that any new evidence is forthcoming, I am comfortable with saying that the Evangelical God is the mythical creation of the human mind, and I need not fear or obey him.

How I Answer Theistic Arguments For the Existence of a God

monotheism

Many atheists are anti-theists — those who actively oppose theism. I have friends who are anti-theists. I fully understand why they are, and as long as they are civil in their in public interactions with theists, I have no objection. Sadly, way too many anti-theists spend their waking hours on social media engaging in shit-throwing contests with Fundamentalists affiliated with the Abrahamic religions. I do understand why atheists get into such contests. Tired of being pushed and battered by religious zealots, these angry atheists push back, if for no other reason than the good feeling they get from doing so. Religious zealots do the same, thinking that their petty, shallow attacks will put godless heathens in their place.

I walked away from Christianity in November of 2008. Since that time, I have spent a considerable amount of time telling my story and critiquing Evangelical Christianity. As long-time readers know, I have been repeatedly savaged by zealots who object to my writing. One Christian man even went so far as to threaten to slit my throat. Other “loving” Christians have called on God to judge me swiftly, hoping that I die a painful death. Some Evangelicals have even attacked my wife, children, grandchildren, and daughter with Down Syndrome. I have had enemies who, using my name, set up fake social media accounts, hoping to screw with me and my friends. It is for this reason that I am very particular about who I friend on Facebook. If I don’t know the person or they aren’t already friends with someone I know, I automatically decline their request.

As a public figure —  who just so happens to be a former Evangelical pastor and an atheist — I know that public (and private) attacks come with the territory. I am willing to bear the brunt of these attacks because of the good accomplished through my writing.

One of the troubling aspects of the past eight years is having to deal with atheists who don’t think I am the right kind of atheist. I have had atheists — who are anti-theists — demand that I stop “coddling” Christians. They don’t like the fact that I tend to be an accommodationist when it comes to religion. I firmly believe that not all religions are the same; that there are some expressions of religion and spirituality that are harmless and might even be helpful to the people who practice them. Here in America, we have so many virulent forms of religion that I think my time is best spent trying to combat the belief systems that do the most harm. Anyone who can’t tell the difference between a nominal Episcopalian and a hardcore Baptist has no  business saying anything about religion. Such people should at least educate themselves about the various religions of the world so they can understand their differences.

When I am asked about the God question, I give the following answer:

I am agnostic on the God question. It is statistically possible that a God, a creator, a divine engineer, or a higher power exists and has not yet revealed itself to us. It’s possible, but highly unlikely. Perhaps, in the future, some sort of deity will make a grand entrance into our time/space continuum.

Having sufficiently studied the various major world religions, I have concluded that the Gods these religions worship are the mythical creations of human imagination. I can say, with great confidence, that the Christian narrative is a work of fiction; that Jesus, if he existed at all, was a man (not God) who lived and died, end of story. I don’t expect any new evidence to be forthcoming that will change my mind.

Practically, I live my day to day life as an atheist. I see no evidence for the existence of any of the Gods humans currently worship. I do my best to live according to the humanist ideal, doing what I can to help others and improve the living conditions of people less fortunate than me.

Recently, someone asked me how I answered those who remained theistic because of what they perceive to be order and design in universe. I am not a scientist, so I am unable to adequately answer such questions from a scientific perspective. I choose, instead, to answer these questions from a philosophical and theological viewpoint. I acknowledge that atheism has no answer for questions concerning how everything came into existence. In his debate with young earth creationist Ken Ham, Bill Nye readily admitted that this is a question science has yet to answer. The difference between science and Christianity, however, is that science says, I don’t know, whereas Christianity, built on two presuppositions — God exists and the Bible is true — says, the Christian God of the Bible created everything. Of course, Christianity has no answer for the question, where did God come from? The fact is, no one knows for certain how everything came to be. I think, thanks to science, we know more now than we ever have. This knowledge has forced the Abrahamic religions to redefine their understanding of the universe. Those who refuse to do so are rightly labeled closed-minded, ignorant Fundamentalists.

But what about deistic arguments for the existence of some sort of creator God; a deity that created the universe and then went on a long, long, long vacation; a God who is not the slight bit interested in what is happening on planet earth? I readily understand how people can look at the night sky and the wonders of our planet and conclude that some sort of deity created everything. I know that most people want to believe that their lives matter — having purpose and significance. I understand why most people hope that there is life beyond the grave. We humans have a tenacious desire to live, so it is no surprise that many of us hope that after death we will go over the rainbow with Dorothy and Toto. While I have no need for such beliefs, I do understand why others might feel differently.

When I engage in discussions with Evangelicals about the existence of God, they will often point to the universe as “proof” for the existence a God. In a move that often surprises them, I grant their premise. Okay, a God of some sort created everything. How can we know that that God was the Christian God of the Bible? Perhaps one of the other Gods humans worship created everything? Perhaps it was a team effort, with numerous Gods overseeing the work of creation. The point is, no one can conclusively prove that their God, or any God, created the universe.

Once backed into the corner, Evangelicals will always run to the Bible and faith. THE BIBLE SAYS and I BELIEVE are often the refrain of those who desperately want to believe that their version of the Christian God is the right God; that their God and only their God is the creator. Sadly, Evangelicals who appeal to faith — either in the Bible or its God — fail to realize that metaphysical claims have no objective basis and are impossible to refute. When someone invokes faith — a subjective, unverifiable experience — discussion, debate, and argument come to an end. I have yet to have a protracted discussion with an Evangelical that didn’t end with the believer backing his arguments into the garage of faith. This is why I try to attack the theological and historical foundations of their beliefs. Arguing about faith is a waste of time.

While I reject the deistic notion of a creator, I am not the least bit concerned about those who hold such beliefs. They are not the people clamoring for a theocracy or demanding that their beliefs be enshrined into law. Fundamentalism is the problem, not religious belief in general. Perhaps after Fundamentalism is destroyed and its monuments to ignorance (the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter are two) are weed-covered parking lots, there will be time to critique private, pietistic religious beliefs. For me personally, I have little interest in doing so, choosing to live and let live.

Besides, for all any of us knows, our so-called universe and existence might be some sort of alien race’s game simulation. I find arguments for this to be every bit as persuasive as those that are made for the any of deities humans currently worship. Silly? No sillier than Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Mormonism.

The Isaiah 53:5 Project Shows Evidence for God by Quoting the Bible

evidence for god

Every day, without fail, I spend time reading numerous Evangelical Christian blogs and websites. Doing so allows me to stay informed about what goes on in the insane asylum. One such blog is the Isaiah 53:5 Project — a site I have used as blog fodder numerous times before. Today, a man by the name of James wrote a post titled, Not Enough Evidence God. (link no longer active) I thought, oh boy, this ought to be good.

James starts out by saying that this post is a repost of one of the blog’s most-read articles. He goes on to say “If you think there is no evidence to support Christianity, you may want to think again. I thought, okay, James is going to present evidence that supports the existence of the Christian God. Perhaps he is even going to present evidence to support a virgin having a baby, dead people coming back to life, and a man walking through walls. Sadly, James left me quite disappointed. No cigarette after reading this post.

James quotes 19th-century atheist Bertrand Russell’s response to the question, What will you say some day when God asks you, why didn’t you believe in me? Russell replied: “I would say, ‘Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!’” Again, James raises the issue of evidence. I thought, here it comes. Finally, an Evangelical is going to give the evidences for the existence of the Evangelical version of the Christian God. Once again, James leaves me disappointed.

According to James, Russell’s answer is, and I quote, “loaded with problems.” I thought, okay, loaded with problems. James is now going to unpack his powerful arsenal of proofs and slay the mighty dragon of atheism. My body tingled with excitement as I pondered what was coming next. I thought, oh how I want to be a Christian again. Finally, someone is going to give me sufficient reasons to believe the Christian narrative. And, just like that, James, ever the tease, left me, yet again, disappointed.

After James’ coitus-like build-up, I was expecting a rousing defense of Christianity. Instead, James showed that he was a virgin and in but a few moments the deed was done. The only evidence James gave for the existence of the Christian God was the tired, worn out Evangelical trope, the Bible says __________. That’s right — for all his talk about evidence, James gives none. Lest you doubt that I am accurately reporting James’ magnum opus, here is exactly what he had to say:

Problem number one is what God Himself has to say. I don’t think He minces any words here. [emphasis added]

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

– Romans 1:20

…without excuse

…without excuse

…without excuse

Let that sink in a minute then ask yourself if Russell is making the arrogant mistake of blaming his lack of belief on the failure of a divine being who can do no wrong and gave humanity no excuse.

Are you making the same mistake Russell did? If so, how do you think the conversation at judgment will go?

You: “Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!”

God: “…without excuse.”

Seems fairly cut and dry to me.

“Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

– Proverbs 26:12

That’s it. According to James, the Bible says God reveals himself through creation, and that by looking at creation, humans know that God exists. Those who look at creation and do not see God are deliberately ignoring what is plain for all to see. Thus, those who refuse to acknowledge God are without excuse. As I read this, I thought, That’s it, James? Come on, surely you have more evidence for God than this?

I wonder if James has ever had someone actually challenge his beliefs? According to a comment he left on his post, James was, at one time, an atheist (a claim I would love to see him support). (Please read, Dear Christians: The Word “Atheist” is Not Shorthand for Your Lives Before Jesus and I Was an Atheist Like You Before I Found Jesus.) James’ one-point evidence for the existence of the Evangelical God can be easily and quickly refuted.

When someone uses Romans 1:18-21 as “proof” for the existence of God, I quickly grant them their assertion. Fine, I say. I accept your claim that creation reveals to everyone the existence of God. Usually, Evangelicals are taken aback when I do this, but they fail to see that what I am really doing is setting a trap.

After I admit that someone could look at creation and conclude God exists, I then ask, which God? The Evangelical usually quickly responds with, why the one true God, the Christian God. I then ask them, what is there in creation that tells anyone that the Christian God created everything? What proof is there for the God of the Christian Bible being the creator God? What is the bridge that gets us from creation revealing that there is A GOD to that God being THE GOD of Evangelical Christianity? There is nothing in the universe that shows the Evangelical God created everything. At best, creation testifies to there being some sort of deistic God. When I look at the stars at night, I can easily understand how someone might conclude that a deity of some sort created the universe. However, I see no evidence in the sky that tells that this God is the Evangelical God.

Eventually, Evangelicals will finally say, the Bible says ________________. And just like that we are right back to where we started. James’ non-evidence evidence falls flat on its face because the real issue is not what the universe tells us, but whether the Bible is what Evangelicals claim it is. I have long argued that the best way to disabuse Evangelicals of their Fundamentalists beliefs is to attack the foundation of those beliefs — the Bible. And not just the Bible, but their interpretation of the Biblical text. The goal should be to convince Evangelicals that the Bible is not what they think it is. Specifically, Evangelicals need to be shown that the Bible is NOT an inspired, inerrant, infallible text.

The biggest problem is that Evangelicals have been brainwashed into rejecting out of hand any claim that casts doubt on the veracity and authority of the Bible. When the mythical Satan tempted the mythical Adam and Eve in the mythical Garden of Eden, he said to them, Yea, hath God said (Yes, even Satan uses King James English)? Evangelicals see challenges to the accuracy and truthfulness of the Bible as modern-day equivalents of Yea, hath God said? Thus, it becomes very difficult to breach the inerrancy wall that surrounds Evangelical minds. Not impossible, but hard. This is why when Evangelicals attempt to argue with me about something I wrote, I ask them, have you ever read any of Dr. Bart Ehrman’s books? (Please check out our bookstore for a list of Ehrman’s books.) I have yet to have an Evangelical answer yes. Often, they will say they have read reviews of his books or Dr. so-and-so’s take-down of the agnostic Bart Ehrman’s books. When pressed to read several of Ehrman’s books, most Evangelicals reply, I don’t need to. I have the Bible. And therein lies the problem. Until Evangelicals are willing to at least entertain thoughts of the Bible not being what they claim it is, there is no hope for them. If Evangelicals are willing to honestly and studiously read Ehrman’s books, I am confident that they will be disabused of the notion that the Bible is an inspired, inerrant, infallible text. Until the Jameses of the world are willing to wrestle with the history, nature, and complexity of the Biblical text, there is little hope of delivering them from their Fundamentalist beliefs. While I think someone can remain a Christian after reading Ehrman’s books, it is impossible for them to remain an Evangelical. The evidence provided by Ehrman is so overwhelming that those saying they are still Evangelical after reading his books are living in a state of denial.

Pastor Jack Wellman Says Atheists Secretly Know God Exists

atheism

According to Jack Wellman, pastor of Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane, Kansas, atheists “secretly” know God exists. Wellman writes:

They might not publically acknowledge their fear of God’s judgment because of their pride and their love of sin but deep down inside, they know God exists. They are simply suppressing that knowledge (Rom 1:18). I remember an unbeliever sitting next to me on a jet and we were circling the airport and waiting to land because there were tornadoes nearby and the storms had large hail as well as severe wind shear. As the jet kept circling, other planes began to circle around the airport too, waiting for the tornado warnings to expire. The longer we were in flight, the more other jets were in the area and the lighter our jet became (using up fuel), the more it was tossed right and left and up and down. After this experience, the man next to me asked me about God. I sensed his fear of dying made him fear God’s judgment, knowing that he was living a sinful life (as he acknowledge to me). Unbelievers can only have “a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (Heb 10:27) in near-death experiences and that’s the only fear of God they will ever know unless they repent. In the back of their minds they know that “our ‘God is a consuming fire’” (Heb 12:29) and that after death, they will be judged (Heb 9:27).

Imagine, for a moment, if atheists told Christians that believers know deep down that there is no God. Why, there would be outrage. How dare atheists invalidate their personal experiences! How dare atheists suggest that Christians do not know what they believe! Yet, Evangelicals routinely tell atheists that their unbelief is a charade; that atheists deep down (deep down where?) know that God exists. Atheists are rightly offended over such dismissals of their beliefs and personal experiences. If Christians can know in whom they have believed (2 Timothy 1:12), then atheists can certainly know in whom they have NOT believed.

I am an atheist because I do not think there is sufficient evidence for the existence of gods. I am not suppressing knowledge that tells me Jack Wellman’s version of God exists. How can Wellman possibly know that the creator God is Jehovah/Jesus — his preferred deity? What in the natural world screams to all who dare to listen that the Evangelical God created the universe 6,020 years ago? Evangelicals such as Wellman believe the Evangelical God exists because the Bible says he exists. Based on this presupposition, Evangelicals then interpret scientific data so it lines up with what God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible word says. Wellman, typical of most Evangelicals, closes his mind to anything that contradicts his Fundamentalist worldview. Such people are not seekers of truth. They think they have found the truth and have no need to consider any data that contradicts their version of truth. I can tell Wellman this much: provide evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible and I will believe. It really is that simple.

Will such evidence be forthcoming? Of course not. Wellman knows that most Christians-turned-atheists have already critically examined the evidence for the Christian God and found it wanting. What new evidence could possibly be forthcoming? In Luke 16 — the story of the rich man and Lazarus — Abraham tells the rich man — who is in hell — that unless his topside brothers listen to Moses and the prophets, they too will end up in hell. In other words, unless unbelievers heed what the Bible says they will go to hell when they die (technically they will go to the grave, not hell, and await Judgment Day). According to the Bible, God is not planning on sending a sign so people will believe (which is interesting since many Evangelicals keep saying God is giving America signs concerning his disfavor and coming judgment). God gave the world the Bible, end of story. Believe what it says or go to hell. That is, IF you can believe it, since salvation requires God giving the sinner the power to believe. No one, according to Arminians and Calvinists, believes unto salvation until God gives them eyes to see and ears to hear.

Wellman and his fellow Evangelicals refuse to accept that many atheists are quite knowledgeable about the Bible. After all, I was an Evangelical pastor for 25 years. Raised in an Evangelical home and trained at an Evangelical college, I know the Bible inside and out. I carefully weighed the Evangelical God and his errant, internally contradictory Bible on the scale of reason and found them wanting. If Wellman wants to bring atheists to the light then I suggest he do something other than quote Bible verses and make false assertions about unbelievers.

Speaking of false assertions, Wellman states that atheists do not “publically acknowledge their fear of God’s judgment because of their pride and their love of sin.” Pride? Really? What does pride have to do with atheism? Does Wellman really think atheists refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Christian God because they are too proud to do so? I assume he thinks atheists are too proud to admit they are wrong. Here’s the problem with such an argument: for atheists who were once Evangelicals, pride would have kept us in the fold. However, putting great value on truth, Evangelicals-turned-atheists refused to let cultural or family pride get in the way of their examination of Christianity. If anything, it is Evangelicals who have a pride problem. Tens of millions of Evangelical are little more than cultural Christians. It is pride (and fear) that keeps cultural Christians in the fold. If they were honest, cultural Christians would admit that they too see little evidence for the existence of the Christian God. Their lives are living proof that many Evangelicals are, in fact, atheists or agnostics. The Jack Wellmans of the church are the minority.

Wellman also states that atheists refuse to acknowledge the Evangelical God because of their “love of sin.” Countless Evangelical preachers — regurgitators of unverifiable nonsense — make the claim that atheists have secrets; that atheists are actually licentious, vile sinners. Can atheists behave badly? Absolutely. But, based on daily news headlines, it seems that it is Evangelicals that have a sin problem. Atheists, refusing to be bound by an irrelevant ancient religious text, are often quite open about their “sins.” Evangelicals, on the other hand, are taught to hide their sins under the mythical blood of Jesus. Just pray and ask for forgiveness, Evangelicals are told by preachers, and your sin debt will be wiped clean. What a way to avoid accountability for bad behavior. No need to air one’s dirty laundry. Just pray and move on to the next sin-filled night. Who is being more honest? Atheists who say, this is how we live our lives or Evangelicals who hide and obfuscate who they really are, pretending to be some sort of saints? Give me honest atheists every time.

Nothing I write in this post will crack Wellman’s cement-filled head. Now in the sunset years of life, Wellman has too much invested to walk away. In the not-too-distant future, the Evangelical God will either rapture Wellman away or call him home to be with Jesus. Or so Wellman thinks. Oh how I wish that Christians, immediately after death, could come back to life long enough to tell us that there is NOTHING that lies beyond the grave. Or at the very least, tell us that it was Wakan Tanka and not the Evangelical God who met them when they crossed to the other side. Since no one, including Jesus, comes back to life after dying, Evangelicals will continue to believe that a sweet payoff awaits them after death.

[signoff]