Warning! Buckets of snark ahead. You have been warned.
Kizzy, the wife of an Oklahoma-based Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) evangelist, recently did a Bing web search on “sexual sin” and “Bob Gray” former pastor of Longview Baptist Temple in Longview, Texas. Kizzy’s search brought her to this website. All told, she read three posts: IFB Pastor Bob Gray, Sr. Shows His True Colors, Dear Evangelicals, and Why I Hate Jesus. Afterward, she sent me this:
I love you and so does God!! Even if you stay angry at God and at all of those that have hurt you, God is still real and He will always love us even when we are unlovable. I know how it feels to be hurt, and disappointed by others. God allows those hurts in our lives so that we can grow in love and grace. Please know that God has been with you all the way through all of the hurt, disappointments, and sorrows.
What follows is my response to her email. My responses follow her emboldened, italicized sentences.
I love you and so does God!!
Double exclamation point love, wow!!!!!!! I wonder if Kizzy knows that I am happily married and very much in love with my wife. A female stranger expressing her love for me? Well, that’s just creepy. Of course, Kizzy means nothing by her affirmation of love for me. You see, that’s what Evangelicals do. They rage against LGBTQ people, same-sex marriage, illegals, and the like, and then smile big and wide as they say, “I love you.” This kind of love is about as genuine as a prostitute saying “I love you” to her john. Sorry, but there’s no sincerity in the statement. In Kizzy’s case, she wants to have a love threesome — Kizzy, Bruce, and most importantly GOD.
Kizzy is certain that God loves me. However, unlike her, I have actually read and studied the Bible, and the Christian God certainly does not love reprobate apostates such as myself. Perhaps Kizzy had some other God in mind? Nah, she’s speaking for her version of the Christian God. That’s right, she’s speaking FOR God. By saying to me that her God loves me, she is speaking on his behalf. Which begs the question, then, why doesn’t God speak to me himself? If Kizzy’s God is the creator of the universe and the giver of all life, why doesn’t he tell me himself that he loves me and has a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious plan for my life? Instead, Evangelical zealots are always the ones delivering messages from God, and these messages never say the same thing. This leads me to conclude that God is either schizophrenic or these messages from God come, not from the Evangelical deity, but the Bible-sotted minds of Christian zealots.
Even if you stay angry at God and at all of those that have hurt you, God is still real and He will always love us even when we are unlovable.
I suspect that Kizzy thinks I am “angry” at her God based on reading the Why I Hate Jesus post. Sadly, many Fundamentalists are unable to understand rhetoric or nuance. Thus, Kizzy — a literalist — thinks that when I say, “I hate Jesus,” I really do hate the flesh and blood Jesus who lived and died 2,000 years ago. I make it clear in the post that I do NOT hate THAT Jesus, but Evangelicals invariably miss that. The Jesus I hate is the political/social/theological Jesus — a religious construct used by Evangelicals to advance an anti-human, theocratic agenda.
Kizzy, as countless zealots before her, dons her Dr. Freud hat and makes a drive-by psychoanalysis of me and my past/present life. I am generally not a person who hangs on to anger. That doesn’t mean I never get angry, I do. However, my anger quickly rises, explodes, and dissipates. My wife and I have been married for forty-one years. We have had more “fights” than I can count. However, our arguments rarely, if ever, carry over beyond the moment. As things stand tonight, I am not angry at anyone, and that includes Kizzy’s God. Yes, people have hurt me, including my wife, children, friends, and former colleagues and congregants. I am not one, however, who sits on past hurts, brooding over what someone did to me. I choose to forgive and write — not out of anger, but because I have a story to tell; a story that many people find helpful, and a story I hope will one day help my grandchildren better understand their deceased grandfather.
And besides, it’s downright silly to say to atheists that they hate or are angry at God. Atheists don’t believe in the existence of deities — Kizzy’s included — so saying that I am angry at God is akin to saying that I am angry with any other fictional character. It would be like me asking Kizzy if she hated or was angry with Allah, Buddah, or Shiva. “Of course not,” Kizzy would say. “They are not real!” And so it is for me and Kizzy’s God. He is not real.
Kizzy goes on to assert that no matter how “angry” I am at her God and those who “hurt” me, God is still real. How can she possibly know that her God is real? What evidence does she have for such a claim; evidence that would convince a skeptic, a doubter, an agnostic, or an atheist? You see, Kizzy’s “evidence” likely rests on two things: the Bible and personal testimony. However, I remain unconvinced. If, as Kizzy asserts, her God is real, it’s time for him to reveal himself. Billions of people don’t believe in Kizzy’s God. Why is that? Are we the problem? Or maybe, just maybe, a lack of evidence is the problem. Maybe, just maybe, the Bible is the problem. Maybe, just maybe, the way professing Christians live their lives and treat non-believers is the problem. At the very least, Kizzy’s God has a PR problem, one that is getting worse by the day.
Kizzy says, her God “will always love us even when we are unlovable.” Again, how can she know this? She assumes that I feel I am, in some way, “unlovable.” I don’t believe that, out of the almost three million words I have written since December 2014, I have ever said I consider myself “unlovable.” In fact, I know that I am loved, not by fictional deities or religious zealots, but by people who know me, accept me as I am, and believe that I have worth. I turn around and give the same love to them. I don’t love Kizzy or her God. How could I? I don’t know Kizzy, and her God is but a figment of human imagination. (Please see Evangelicals Say They Love LGBTQ People, But do They Really?, Do Christian Apologists Really “Love” Atheists and Other Non-Christians?, Preaching Love or Fear, It Matters Not, Non-Christians Still Go to Hell When They Die, and Does God Love Us Unconditionally?)
I know how it feels to be hurt, and disappointed by others. God allows those hurts in our lives so that we can grow in love and grace. Please know that God has been with you all the way through all of the hurt, disappointments, and sorrows.
I have no doubt Kizzy is trying to make an emotional connection with me. She errantly and thoughtlessly believes my unbelief is due to some sort of hurt I suffered as a Christian, so she thinks by empathizing with me I might be more inclined to “hear” what she has to say. However, I am almost twice Kizzy’s age and have spent the past decade interacting with Evangelicals who have tried to make emotional connections with me. Some of them try the friendship approach, while others, such as Kizzy, try the “I feel your pain” approach. Since Kizzy doesn’t know me, how can she “feel” my pain? And the same can be said for me. I don’t know Kizzy, so I am not in a position to either empathize or sympathize with whatever she might have experienced in her life. Now, Kizzy had an opportunity to get to know me better by reading my writing, but she couldn’t be bothered. Instead, she read .00088915234414345 percent of my posts and then rendered judgment. I guess when you have the inspired, inerrant, infallible King James Bible and the Holy Ghost living inside of you, you can escape the normal ways humans get to know each other. I would be more inclined to listen to what my interlocutors have to say if they, at the very least, made a good faith effort to understand my story. However, they never do so, choosing instead to be the equivalent of a random drive-by shooting on a Chicago street. Kizzy fired away, certain that the Holy Ghost was feeding her ammunition. Unfortunately, for Kizzy, all she shot were blanks.
Kizzy says that “God allows those hurts in our lives so that we can grow in love and grace.” Again, she assumes “hurts” not in evidence, but worse yet, she attempts to use what I call the “abusive Father” argument. God says he loves us, yet he uses pain, suffering, and loss to prove it. He is akin to the husband who repeatedly beats his wife, saying I love you, I love you, I love you, as he does. Sorry, but if God really loves us and wants what’s best for us, he might want to choose a different tack. As things stand now, the Bible God, the God Kizzy loves and worships, is a mean, vindictive son-of-a-bitch who uses hurt and violence to get his way. If the Evangelical God was a human being, why he would likely be serving a life sentence in prison for countless acts of violence against his fellow humans.
I do wonder if Kizzy has really thought about this God of hers — a God who allows women to be raped so they can grow in love and grace; a God who allows children to be sexually abused by preachers so they can see the glories of his master plan; a God who allows countless children and their mothers to slowly die from thirst and malnutrition; a God who stood by and did nothing as 6,000,000 of his “chosen” people were killed in German concentration camps; a God who has endless record of negligence towards the least of these. Sorry, but from my atheist seat in the pew, this God is worthy of nothing but ridicule and derision.
Finally, Kizzy wants me to know that her God has been with me “all the way.” Again, how does she know this? All she is doing here is what Evangelicals do best: projecting her beliefs and personal experiences on others. My journey through life tells me a far different story: that the only people who have been with me “all the way” live in houses of clay. One of the reasons for me divorcing Jesus is that I concluded that he was about as real as Elwood P. Dowd’s pooka named Harvey.
Jesus and I had a wonderful relationship from the time I was saved at age fifteen until I was fifty. Jesus was with me every step of the way. We “talked” to each other every day. I could “feel” his presence in my life. And most of all, I devoted my life to Jesus, believing that he was my “soulmate,” a friend who stuck close beside me no matter what happened in my life. For the longest time, Jesus was the sum of my life, a God-man for whom I was willing to die.
But at the age of fifty, I woke up and realized that the risen Jesus was nothing more than a figment of my imagination; that the Jesus I had devoted my life to lies buried somewhere on a Palestinian hillside; that the Jesus I had sacrificed my health and family for was as real as Dowd’s pooka. I had a choice to make: either keep on “faithing” it, or admit that I had built my life on a fiction. I chose the latter. Had Kizzy bothered to read the posts listed on the WHY page, she would have learned about the intellectual and emotional travail and pain I went through to arrive where I am today. She would have learned, most of all, that choosing to walk away from the ministry and Christianity was the hardest thing I have ever done. And maybe, just maybe, she would have thought twice about sending me such a trite, thoughtless, cliché-laden email. Instead, she did what 6,666,666 Evangelicals before her have done, proving yet again that Christian zealots really don’t give a shit about people; that all that matters to them is putting in a good word for Jesus.
About Bruce Gerencser
Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 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.
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