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Tag: Matt Dillahunty

Atheist Matt Dillahunty Has Heart Bypass Surgery, Surgeon Finds No Evidence of God-Shaped Hole in His Heart

matt dillahunty

Recently, atheist luminary Matt Dillahunty had successful triple bypass heart surgery. After a two-week hiatus, Matt returned to his call-in talk show on The Line Network, The Hang Up. Matt took some time to detail what happened during his surgery. Two things stand out:

  • The surgeon found no God-shaped hole in Matt’s heart
  • The surgeon found no evidence of the law of God written on Matt’s heart

Matt, of course, was being funny. I chuckled when he said these things. I thought, man, how many times have Evangelicals told me that I have a God-shaped hole in my heart and that God has written his law on my heart?

Of course, these statements are meant to be “metaphors,” but as I shared in a 2021 post titled Can You Know Anything in Your Heart?, Evangelicals can be quite literal when it comes to the heart:

Evangelicals believe every human has a body, soul, and spirit. It’s evident to all of us that humans have bodies, but there’s no evidence outside of the Bible and the pronouncement of preachers that humans have a soul or spirit. Much like evidence for the existence of God, no one has ever seen a human soul or spirit.

Most Evangelicals believe humans are tripartite beings. If you are unfamiliar with this term, Wikipedia defines it this way:

In Christian theology, the tripartite view (trichotomy) holds that humankind is a composite of three distinct components: body, spirit, and soul.

I never believed the notion that humans were tripartite beings. Instead, I concluded that we were bipartite beings, consisting of a body and a spirit, that the words soul and spirit were used interchangeably in the Bible.

As a rationalist and an atheist, I concluded that there was no evidence for the existence of a human soul or spirit; there was no evidence for these things outside of the pages of the Bible. Christians and other religious people continue to try to prove the soul’s existence, but so far, they have miserably failed.

For those raised in Evangelical churches, we have likely heard preachers warn us countless times of missing Heaven by eighteen inches — the distance between the human mind and heart. According to these preachers, many Christians believe in Jesus only in their minds, not their hearts. They have “head knowledge,” not “heart knowledge.” As you likely know, intellectualism is frowned upon in many churches; that believing the right things in your mind is not enough for salvation, that you have to really, really, really believe the right things in your heart. Salvation requires the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart. Just believing the faith once delivered to the saints in your mind — assenting to a set of intellectual facts — is not enough. Unbelievers must have their hearts transformed to become born again.

Of course, the problem with this kind of thinking is that it is based on a false premise: that humans have a “heart” — the seat of the soul and spirit. Where is this heart located? Most Evangelicals point to the blood-pumping organ in their chest. The authors of the Bible certainly thought this was so. The Greek word most commonly used for heart in the New Testament is “kardia.” The only evidence Evangelicals have for the existence of the “heart” is the only evidence they have for a lot of things: THE BIBLE SAYS _________.

This is why it is difficult, if not impossible, to have rational discussions with Evangelicals. Press them on their beliefs, and more often than not, Evangelical believers will say, “I believe in my heart that the Bible is true, God is real, Jesus saved me, and I am going to Heaven after I die.” Instead of using their minds to think and reason, Evangelicals appeal to a part of them that does not exist. Everything they know and feel comes from their brain, not a mythical heart. Yet, because Evangelicals believe God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, resides in their “hearts,” it’s impossible to reach them with rational, intellectual arguments.

Renowned Evangelical apologist and philosopher William Lane Craig had this to say about the matter:

The way in which I know Christianity is true is first and foremost on the witness of the holy spirit in my heart. This gives me a self-authenticating means of knowing that Christianity is true, apart from the evidence. (Thanks Doctor DJ for the quote)

Craig makes his living from arguing for the existence of God, yet when it comes to where the proverbial rubber meets the road, Craig says that it is the witness of the Holy Spirit in his heart, not evidence, that proves to him Christianity is true.

Evangelicals-turned-atheists know where Craig is coming from. We too thought, at one time, that we knew Christianity was true because of the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. It is difficult to move a believer away from this type of thinking, regardless of how irrational it seems. I have concluded that the only way to reach Evangelicals is to disabuse them of the notion that the Bible is inerrant and infallible. If you can get them to question the nature and history of the Bible, this can and does lead to doubt. And as those of us who used to be Evangelicals know, doubt is the first step away from Christianity. Once the Bible loses its power and authority, it is far easier to convince people that many of their beliefs are false.

Matt’s humor aside, I’m glad he survived heart surgery and is on the mend. Matt closed out this week’s show by saying God had yet another opportunity to take him out, yet did nothing. Why is that? I am starting to think that maybe, just maybe, God doesn’t exist, and that the only people who want Matt dead are oh-so-loving followers of Jesus.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Dear Atheist Talk Show Hosts: Please Learn About Christianity Before Critiquing It

think and read

I listen to several atheist call-in shows and podcasts, particularly late at night. I take three medications at night to help with insomnia and pain, yet it still takes two to three hours for me to fall asleep. Typically, I watch TV shows/movies on my iPad Pro or listen to YouTube videos. Instead of saying bedtime prayers to the ceiling God, I fall asleep listening to videos/podcasts produced by the Atheist Community of Austin, Jimmy Snow, Matt Dillahunty, Rationality Rules, the Godless Engineer, and other atheist content producers.

Of late, I have become increasingly troubled by several atheist talk show hosts and podcasters who show a lack of understanding about Christianity and the Bible. If you are going to critique Evangelicalism and the Bible, then you should, at the very least, have a working knowledge and understanding of that which you are criticizing.

One call-in show host said that Jesus, during his lifetime, had LOTS of followers. This is patently false. According to Dr. Bart Ehrman’s book, The Triumph of Christianity, it is likely Jesus had around 20 followers in 30 CE. That group “exploded” to a few hundred people by 60 CE. In Acts 1:13-26, after the death of Jesus, 120 people gathered in the upper room for prayer, to listen to a sermon by Peter, and choose a replacement (Matthias) for Judas. One thing is certain: a relatively unknown, obscure itinerant Jewish preacher did NOT have lots of followers.

Another call-in show host said that Jesus started a new religion. He most certainly did not. Jesus was a Jew; his followers during his lifetime were observant Jews who worshiped at the Temple in Jerusalem. According to Acts 11:25-26:

Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

Jesus was not a Christian. Jesus didn’t start First Baptist Church in Jerusalem. If we take Acts 11 as accurate history, the first time the followers of Jesus were called Christians happened 40 years after the life and death of Jesus.

And finally, another call-in talk show host, an ex-Jehovah’s Witness, objected when a caller said Christianity was a cult. The host vehemently disagreed, saying that her former religion was a cult, but garden variety Christian sects were NOT cults. This host, for some reason, thought it important that the word cult be reserved for just “bad” religions — her former religion. The host showed a real lack of awareness about other Christian sects, particularly Evangelical denominations. Fortunately, the show’s co-host gently corrected his fellow host’s incorrect assertions.

I have noticed that some atheist call-in talk show hosts have a hard time saying “I don’t know” or admitting that they lack understanding about a particular subject. Wanting to be viewed as authoritative, these hosts (at times) speak beyond that which they know. I am in no way suggesting that these hosts are deliberately saying untrue things. I suspect that the problem is a lack of knowledge. It’s important to know what we don’t know. I don’t pontificate on this blog about science or non-Christian religions. While I am not ignorant of some aspects of these things, I am not an authority. Want to talk about Evangelicalism or the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement? I’m your man. I know what I’m talking about. I try to stay in my lane, focusing my work on subjects for which I have expertise.

To these show hosts and podcasters, I say, do better, my fellow atheists, do better. Christians deserve to have their religion, in all its flavors, accurately represented. Atheists don’t like it when their beliefs are straw-manned, and neither do Christians. If you are going to critique Christianity in general and Evangelicalism in particular, please put in the work necessary to know what the hell you are talking about. If you are unwilling to do your homework, please turn off the microphone.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

The Voices of Atheism: Is Belief in the Resurrection Reasonable?

matt dillahunty

This is the latest installment in The Voices of Atheism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. Know of a good video that espouses atheism/agnosticism or challenges the claims of the Abrahamic religions? Please email me the name of the video or a link to it. I believe this series will be an excellent addition to The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser.

Thank you in advance for your help.

What follows is a debate between Roman Catholic Trent Horn and atheist Matt Dillahunty.

Video Link

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Bruce Gerencser