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Tag: Judgment of God

How Evangelical Theology Terrorizes Children

watching porn is a sin

Evangelical parents are repeatedly told by their pastors that God commands them to “train up a child in the way he should go.” Why? Because if they do so, “when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Religious indoctrination and conditioning are essential tools in ensuring the salvation of children. “Get them when they are young,” the thinking goes, “and you will have them for life.” Evangelical pastors and parachurch leaders know this, so they invest significant time and money in indoctrinating children in the “faith once delivered to the saints.” By the time an Evangelical child graduates from high school, he will have likely heard 2,000 or so sermons/lessons.

Evangelical children learn at an early age that the “church” is their family. Their lives are dominated by God/Jesus/Bible/Church. The goal, of course, is to stop young adults from leaving the church. Church leaders know that young adults are the future. If they leave, Evangelicalism dies.

Children, of course, love to explore, challenge, and test boundaries — especially teenagers. Pastors fear that if teens and young adults test boundaries and wander outside the Evangelical box, they could leave the church, never to return. Instead of engagement, preachers often use threats. (Please see The Danger of Being in a Box and Why it Makes Sense When You Are In It and What I Found When I Left the Box.)

Before children ever reach first grade, they have been repeatedly terrorized with threats of God’s judgment and Hell. They have been told that they are broken, the enemies of God, and in need of salvation. Children are told that if they disobey Mom or Dad, they are sinning against God; and that not doing their chores could land them in Hell. Is it any wonder that most Evangelical children get saved when they are young? Who wants to go to Hell, right?

The threats continue in their teen years. Sexually aware teens are threatened with God’s judgment if they engage in premarital sex, masturbation, or even think about sex. “Sex is reserved for married heterosexual couples” they are told, even though most of the people doing the “telling” engaged in premarital sex themselves. Further, if and when teens start thinking about getting married, they are told that they can only marry Christians; and not just any Christian, but one that is in agreement with their church’s/pastor’s beliefs. “Mixed” marriages are verboten, and sometimes the word “mixed” takes on racial connotations.

Pastors routinely lie to teens not only about sex, but also about alcohol use, drug use, and listening to secular music — to name a few. When I was an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) teen in the early 1970s, my pastors warned me about all sorts of sinful behavior, often invoking the slippery slope argument. “No girl ever gets pregnant without holding the hand of a boy first.” “Pot is a gateway drug that leads to hard drug use.” “Masturbation leads to blindness.” “Listening to rock music will open you up to Satan’s influence and control.” The list of dangers and threats seemed endless to a full-of-life, rambunctious teen boy. Yet, I obeyed. Why? Because of the threats of judgment and Hell.

Evangelical pastors remind teens and young adults that they should respect and obey those God has called to rule over them. Going against God’s ordained authority structure brings chastisement, judgment, and, possibly, death. Pastors love to trot out the Bible story about a group of boys who mocked Elisha. Two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two boys. Lesson? Mock the man of God, question his authority, or do anything contrary to the teachings of the Bible, God could send a “bear” to kill you.

Is it any wonder that, by the time children reach the age of eighteen they flinch every time they come to church, fearing that God is going to judge them for this or that “sinful” behavior — behaviors that are often normal and healthy?

Counseling waiting rooms are filled with Evangelical adults who were terrorized by their parents, pastors, and other authority figures. Is it any wonder that many of these wounded souls leave Christianity, never to return?

When you are in the Evangelical bubble, this kind of behavior seems “normal.” Victims of long-term abuse often think that being abused was just a part of every day life; that they deserved to be threatened with judgment and Hell. However, once they exit the bubble, they quickly learn that there was nothing “normal” about their childhood; that God and the Bible were used as tools of ritualized abuse.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Quote of the Day: Is God Punishing Evangelical Christians?

god of wrath

I haven’t believed in the god of the Bible in decades. It was a relief to dismiss credulity in that vicious deity who rains woe and tragedy upon us for daring to displease him. I mean, really, when does that ever…oh wait.

Cue the white evangelicals in the 21st century.

And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them — Ezekiel 2:17

And there it is:

  • They had spewed so much venom upon the millennials that their own children abandoned the pews in droves. This second Exodus now continues unabated, with Gen Z and a growing list of evangelical super-stars like Joshua Harris and Jon Steingard joining the defectors.
  • Their tolerance and cover-up of rampant sex abuse in their churches were exposed, prompting the Southern Baptist Convention to do absolutely nothing to counter it.
  • Their women went into revolt, following Beth Moore and others out of complementarianism, and sometimes out of the church altogether.
  • Their academic citadel, Liberty University, turned against its own superstar chairman, Jerry Falwell Jr., in a lurid drama involving pool-boy sex, dishonest business practices, and a drunken photo with a woman not his wife.
  • Adherents to the New Apostolic Reformation had the bitter experience of watching their beloved prophets crash and burn over “God’s promise” for the 2020 election.
  • White evangelicals who reject the New Apostolic Reformation as unscriptural had the bitter experience of seeing how many of their fellow believers were actually apostates at heart.
  • Their embrace of Donald Trump failed to result in “retaking America for God,” branding them instead with a reputation for lies, cruelty, and insurrection.
  • Their numbers are nearing freefall.

Basically, they’re about as far away from Jesus’ teachings as you can get. And simultaneously, they seem abandoned in Valley of the Shadow of Death.


And oh boy, did Yahweh ever unleash misery upon them for all those sins. Since white Evangelicals fancy themselves the new Israel, how could all this punishment not be an expression of God’s wrath? For their sins and embrace of lies, cruelty, and moral depravity have made a mockery of Jesus and Yahweh throughout the whole land.

So could all this be God’s doing? Are the white evangelical churches God’s new Israel and is he pummeling the life out of them for their sins and failures? Is this a divine reckoning? It just fits so nicely. I mean, this is exactly what Yahweh does, isn’t it?

But is the god of the Bible the only force in the universe that issues a reckoning? No, He is not.

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. John F. Kennedy

The story of human civilization is littered with the nations, gods, peoples, religions, empires, companies, and cultures that were eradicated by invasions, earth changes, evolution, extinctions, inventions, or just the march of new ideas and cultures. There isn’t much among us that lasts forever.

At the dawn of this century, the older generations of white evangelicals waged a jihad against their own children. It was a shit storm of abuse and vitriol that exceeded even their own parents’ campaign of the 1960s. In such generational wars, however, the elder cohort is doomed from the outset.

For this is a special kind of sin, not just against God, but against evolution. Contrary to the popular saying, survival does not favor the fittest, but the most adaptable. Those who try to stop the world’s center from spinning away from themselves are fighting the battle of the dodo. And in this case, the fallout is a spectacle for the ages.

No, Yahweh is not punishing white evangelicals — History is. This is not a divine reckoning, it’s a historical one.

— Beverly Garside, ExCommunications, White Evangelicals’ Travails Almost Make Me Believe in God Again, August 9, 2021

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Don’t Mess With Donald Trump, The Great White Hope


He [Elijah Cumming] dead. That’s what happens when you mess with The Great White Hope. Don’t mess with God’s children.

Don’t mess with The Great White Hope. You see what happens.

If you notice, John McCain, he dead. Charles Krauthammer, he dead. And Elijah Cumming, now he dead. They all didn’t like The Great White Hope, they went against him, they talked about him, now they all dead. That’s amazin’.

— Jesse Lee Peterson, Right Wing Watch, Jesse Lee Peterson on the Passing of Rep. Elijah Cummings: ‘That’s What Happens When You Mess With The Great White Hope’, October 17, 2019

Bruce Gerencser