I recognize that telling my story publicly invites critique, criticism, and attack. I started blogging in 2007, and no matter where I am in my journey, there are people who think they “know” the real Bruce Gerencser; that they have pulled back the curtain of my life and exposed the real me. Never mind the fact that my critics rarely read my writing or make good faith efforts to truly understand my story. In their minds, they know everything they need to know about the man, myth, and legend, and they are ready to render judgment.
Evangelical zealots love to tell me that I never was a Christian; that my faith and devoted life as a follower of Jesus was a lie. Long-time readers know this claim irritates the hell out of me. By making this bald assertion, my Evangelical critics refuse to accept my story as told. Years ago, one Evangelical preacher told me, “Bruce, I know you better than you know yourself.” Sadly, more than a few Christians think they have the gift of divination; that they have some sort of innate ability to see the “real” me.
Occasionally — as was the case recently on the post Guilt: the Essence of Christianity — critics will take a different tack, suggesting that I am not an atheist; that I still believe in God, albeit a “different” God from the one from my Evangelical past.
Thank you for being honest, and congratulations on taking a step ahead in your spiritual journey. I’ve been there and done that.
I wanted to add, I don’t think you are an atheist. You just came to a realization that God is not the anthropomorphic being described in the Bible.
Villafane read all of one post — which took her four minutes — and rendered judgment. She made no attempt to understand my story. Nope, she read a few hundred words and then concluded that despite what I say, I am NOT an atheist; that I have just changed concepts of God.
Why do some of my critics deny me the right to disbelieve?
Some people believe that there’s no such thing as atheists; that atheists deliberately suppress their knowledge of the existence of God. Evangelical presuppositionalists, in particular, say that the Christian God of the Bible has revealed himself to everyone through conscience, creation, and divine revelation (the Bible).
Others “sense” that I, deep down in my little ‘ole heart of hearts, still believe in God. These critics pick things out of my writing, seeing these nuggets as evidence of my continued belief in God. No matter what I say, they are convinced that I am still a Christian; or at the very least a believer in some sort a divine creator.
Some Evangelicals will argue that I can’t be an atheist because I profess to having been saved; that once a person is born again, he can never, ever, for any reason, lose his salvation. In their minds, I am a backslidden Christian, and, in time, God will chastise me and bring me back into the fold.
Here’s what I find interesting: everyone is entitled to their opinion and judgment about my past and present life — that is, except me. What I say doesn’t matter. “You SAY you are an atheist, Bruce, but I don’t believe you!” It is in moments such as this that I sigh. Is there no end to such stupidity? I know, I know, rhetorical question. As long as I put my story out there for the public to read, I am going to have people shape my storyline to fit their peculiar beliefs. All I know to do is to continue telling my story. If people refuse to accept my story at face value, there’s nothing I can do about it, other than utter a few choice swear words.
Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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.
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.
Warning! This post contains coarse humor and swear words.
Today, an Evangelical man calling himself Doug Rowland sent me the following email:
I don’t know you neither have I heard of you . I just stumbled on this web-site . I know and you know that I know you are doing this for attention . You probley can’t preach very well and had no choice but to find something else to do . God is real and you know that there are no such thing as atheist and you are no acception .
Ah yes, a drive-by judgment of me as a person, my past, and why I continue to operate this blog. As an atheist, I have never, ever left such a comment on a Christian site. I consider such behavior childish, shallow, inconsiderate, rude, boorish, and quite humorous — as if by writing this email Rowland thought it would change me in any way. Not going to happen. If God can’t change me, the Doug Rowlands of the world have no chance. I am and will remain until death an atheist. Siccing God/Jesus/Holy Ghost/Local Evangelical preacher on me doesn’t work. I am a reprobate, one who has gone too far to turn back now. Of course, Rowland only read a couple of posts, so he likely doesn’t know these things. If he had done his homework, he might have decided not to send me this email. Or, perhaps, sending the email is all about him; a form of Evangelical masturbation; a feel-good exercise — I sure told THAT atheist! Regardless of Rowland’s motives, let me take a few moments to dissect his email.
I don’t know you neither have I heard of you.
You don’t know me and neither have you heard of me, yet your email suggests familiarity about what kind of man I am or was back in my preaching days. Do you make a habit of picking up strangers and having sex with them? Because, that’s what you are doing here. You made no effort to understand my story, choosing instead to read a few posts and then render what I am sure you think is God inspired judgment.
For the record, I am actually quite well-known in some Evangelical circles. It’s uncommon for men with fifty years in the Christian church, including twenty-five years pastoring Evangelical churches, to walk away from everything and deconvert. It happens, but not very often. I suspect that the rarity of my deconversion is why so many Evangelicals are so hostile and caustic towards me. Unable to understand my story or fit it in their theological system, these servants of Jesus, instead, choose to attack my person, my character and, at times, my wife, children, and grandchildren. Every time this happens, I am reminded of how glad I am to be free from religious bondage.
I just stumbled on this web-site [sic].
Oh my God, I caused someone to stumble. Turn the light on, Doug, turn the light on!
I know and you know that I know you are doing this for attention.
Ah yes, another Evangelical mind reader who thinks he knows my “real” motivations for blogging; that the only reason I write is so people will pay attention to me. As with all writers, I do want my writing to be widely read, and I am grateful for the thousands of people who take the time to read what I have to say. In many ways, this blog is my church. The good news is that I can sit in my underwear, sip wine, and listen to Theory of a Deadman while I “preach” my sermons. Beats having to get all dressed up on Sunday and deliver a sermon that most hearers will ignore or forget by nightfall.
So, Doug is right. I write for attention, as all writers do. Who doesn’t want more readers, right? And preachers are no different. Who doesn’t want more congregants? Better to preach to a full house than an empty one.
I suspect Doug’s real motivation here is to impugn my character; to show that I am some sort of attention whore, or that I have no greater meaning or purpose other than whipping my penis out for all to see. I have long since stopped trying to convince people such as Doug otherwise. Believe what you will. How ’bout them Cowboys . . .
This blog, above all else, is one man telling his story. That’s how I started over ten years ago, and telling my story is still a prominent feature of this site today. Over the years, I have branched out a bit: Black Collar Crime Series, Sacrilegious Humor, Songs of Sacrilege, to name a few, but my desire remains the same: that through the telling of my story and critique of Evangelical Christianity, I help those who have doubts about Christianity or who have already left the Christian faith. My target audience has never been Christian zealots, people who are thoroughly committed to their beliefs. That’s why I don’t argue with or debate committed Evangelicals. They are free to read, comment, and move on. (Please see Comment Policy.)
You probley [sic] can’t preach very well and had no choice but to find something else to do.
Ah yes, the “real” reason I am not a pastor is that I couldn’t preach very well. Actually, according to people who heard me preach countless sermons, I was a very good public speaker. I worked hard on crafting my sermons, often spending days studying and writing them. I had a lot of failures as a pastor, but my preaching wasn’t one of them. I was passionate and thoughtful, especially as I got older. My goal was to get people to hear what I have to say and then act on it.
I was a full-time pastor, but I also worked outside of the church. All of the churches I pastored, save one, were comprised of middle-to-lower income people. The most I ever made pastoring a church was $26,000. I pastored one church in southeast Ohio for eleven years. The most money I ever made in a year at that church was $12,000. I definitely was not in the ministry for the money. To help make ends meet, I worked outside of the church: managed restaurants, worked as a grant writer and building code inspector, sold insurance, pumped gas, worked as an auto mechanic, delivered newspapers, and worked as a stripper.
Of course, I never got to have an opportunity to see how much money I could make after I left the ministry. By then, I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and I have spent the last two decades dealing with a plethora of health problems — which started, by the way, while I was still in the ministry, just in case an Evangelical reader is inclined to suggest that my debility is either God punishing me or trying to get my attention. (I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 1997, eight years before I left the ministry.)
God is real and you know that there are [sic] no such thing as atheist and you are no acception [sic].
Doug believes there’s no such thing as an atheist; that deep down in their heart of hearts atheists KNOW there is a God; and not just any God, but the Evangelical God of the Protestant Bible. When Christians take this tack with me, I often ask them to consider how they might feel if I belittled and denied their faith in Jesus. “Oh you are not a Christian. You know that there is no such thing as a Christian. You know in your heart of hearts that Allah is the one true God, and that all other Gods save him are false.” I suspect doing this would cause offense and anger, and rightly so.
When people tell me that they are Christian, I accept their statement at face value. In my world, it is good manners and respectful to accept people as they are; including how they self-identify. I just wish Christian zealots would grant atheists the same respect. When I say I believe, based on my studies and the extant evidence at hand, that there are no gods, there’s no reason whatsoever to not accept what I say at face value. It’s fine if you disagree with me or think I am headed for Hell. I have similar opinions about your beliefs. Getting along with each other requires we, at the very least, accept and understand the differences we have with others. This doesn’t mean we refrain from battling one another in the public square, but it does mean we allow each other to define our beliefs and label ourselves accordingly. Had Doug bothered to read more of my writing, he might have discovered that not only am I an atheist, I am also an agnostic, a humanist, and a democratic socialist. Unfortunately, many Evangelicals are lazy readers, choosing to render judgment after reading a few posts. Once they find out that I am an ex-preacher or an atheist, in their minds, that’s all they need to know. Judge Judy is ready to rule.
Doug, if you happen to stumble upon this post, I hope you will have learned a thing or two about the infamous ex-preacher-turned-atheist Bruce Gerencser. If you still have your head stuck in the sand, I encourage you to read the ABOUT and WHY pages. These two pages will go a long way in curing your ignorance. Above all, I hope you will accept me as a fellow human being; godless to the core, but human nonetheless. I know your beliefs and worldview preclude you from believing atheists are real, but rest assured we are. Our numbers grow daily, and we are no longer willing to let Evangelicals define for us who and what we are. I hope, in the future, you will make an honest effort to understand people such as myself. In doing so, you might find we have a few things in common.
Now, off to the Friday night baby BBQ, complete with drinks made of the blood of virgin sacrifices.
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.
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 scam, yep! That’s a nice way of putting it. A swindle! A bamboozle! A flimflam rook! An irrational squawking farce!
By this time, you have heard about the overexcited anti-Christian campaign that is New Atheism. At the present, the New Atheists have maliciously attacked the Bible, God, and Jesus Christ. It is the nastiest anti-theistic movement in recent history with a lot of putrid attacks against the most sacred truths of Christianity; the New Atheists have presented no proof but rely on anger, invectives, and worn-out insults.
It is really hard to win public opinion merely with unhinged anger and odium. Case in point: The charge made with rage, preferably screamed with intense shrill: “There is no proof for the existence of God!!” Now, look through a microscope or a telescope and see the amazing design of God’s creation. Or open the Bible and note all the hundreds of prophecies that predicted the birth, life, ministry, and death of Christ and the odds tell you that those fulfilled events would take a divine hand to prearrange. Then gaze into the dancing eyes of your youngest child or feel the warmth of your beloved’s hand while walking on the soft sands of your favorite beach. I am fairly sure you will see that evidence for God is found everywhere.
Actually: I know that atheists will have a tough time guarding their eyes from all the proof, but some of them are very talented at overlooking the obvious, the intuitive, and prima facie evidence. Moreover, atheism is logically impossible.
Indeed: It is hard to beckon even a twinge of sympathy for the failure of the New Atheists. Atheism is, by design and principle, full of deceit and malignity. It places autonomous man at the center of the universe; they talk like humans evolved from savage apes; they behave as if life is merely about insuring one’s own genes survive into the future. Their dominant ideology is fueled rancor and self-interest, followed by a disregard of true truth, moral absolutes, and anything transcendent.
Logically, there cannot be any true atheists. For one to propose that God does not exist, anywhere at any time, one would have to know all things, and be omnipresent, eternal, and infinite. That would make you God.
So, the only person in the universe who could possibly not believe in God, everywhere, and always, would be God. One would have to be God to be a true atheist and that is theoretically, logically, and rationally absurd.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:19,20)
According to verses 19 and 20, who knows God exists? That’s right, everybody. So, on the basis of the Word of God, there are no atheists; there are only people who suppress the truth that they know about God in their unrighteousness. In other words, they don’t want God to exist so they can live however they wish.
Many professing atheists will say there is not enough evidence to conclude the existence of God, or that God has not proven Himself to them. But the Bible says there is more than enough evidence to prove God’s existence (again, see vs. 19-20). He has demonstrated Himself through creation and the conscience. The problem is not a lack of evidence, but an unwillingness to believe. Notice the underlined portions and see that professing atheists willfully reject the truth they know about God and will therefore experience God’s judgment unless they repent. Moreover, they hate God (Romans 1:30). They may deny it, but it’s true. Many professing atheists are “former” Christians and began to profess atheism either after a tragedy they experienced, or in rebellion against their parents/the Church [It is evident Jimmy doesn’t know any ex-Evangelicals who are now atheists]. This is evidence of their hatred toward God.
Many professing atheists say, “If God were to show me a sign, I would believe.” However, that is also false. Many people saw the signs, wonders, and miracles Jesus performed while He walked the earth, yet not everyone believed on Him. This is further support for my claim that it’s not a problem of evidence for the supposed atheist. It’s merely a ploy to mask their unwillingness to believe. If God showed them a sign, they would find a way to explain it away. Because they don’t want to acknowledge and submit to the God they know exists.
So, while progressing atheists claim to not believe in the existence of God, God says in His Word that atheists don’t exist. “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” Hence, Christian, next time you are in a discussion with someone and they claim to be an atheist, don’t believe them.