Warning! Snark, a few stray cuss words, and discussion of penis size ahead. You have been warned. Has this warning ever stopped anyone from reading? I doubt it, but at least it keeps easily offended Evangelicals from sending me an email that details their outrage. I expect my writing to offend some Evangelicals. Would I be doing my job if it didn’t? After all, the Bible says the Word of God causes offense. So it is with the errant, fallible, but hopefully inspiring words of the one true God of this blog, Bruce Almighty. (Maybe you have seen the movie about me starring Jim Carrey?) Enjoy!
Recently, an ardent Calvinist left several comments on the post titled, Why I Became a Calvinist — Part Six. Evidently, my responses rubbed the fur on the proverbial cat the wrong way, and the offended Calvinist decided to let me know what he or she thought of me by emailing me a further comment. My response is indented.
Bruce, why do you have a problem listening (here, reading)?
Well, I do have a hearing problem. I have to turn the television up quite loud to hear the programs I watch. Outside of that, I do my best to listen to what others have to say, be it to my face or in a comment on this blog. Your problem, then, is not that I am not listening to you, but that I refuse to let your comments go unchallenged. I will call bullshit every time someone tells me that they came to their beliefs — in your case, five-point Evangelical Calvinism — just by reading the Bible. You were influenced religiously by several outside sources before you became a Calvinist. Thus, your mind was filled with presuppositions about the Bible, God, etc. This does not, in any way, make you or anyone else inferior. All it means is that it is impossible to disconnect ourselves from our past experiences and beliefs.
Why don’t you take what is said, and deal with that? or ask questions, instead of filling in the blanks with your biases and reaching your conclusions? I have a law degree — we’ll see what you make of that — and I expect some “evidentiary” considerations instead of your atheistic religious bias always telling me what my past was or is and what I’m currently doing and what everybody else is doing as a result of what they believe.
Lots of educated people read this blog, including lawyers, doctors, and college professors. Lots of fast food workers, factory employees, and domestic workers read it too. And then there’s the preachers, evangelists, missionaries of various theological persuasions who read this blog. In fact, a large percentage of the thousands of people who read this blog are professing Christians — albeit not your flavor of Jesus Ice Cream®. I am not sure why you felt it necessary to mention that you are a lawyer, other than you wanted to assert your educational superiority over me — as if having a law degree has anything to do theology.
You came to a public forum and commented. I responded, as did several other people. That’s how the process works. (And, if you haven’t read the Comment Policy please do so.) All Evangelicals are given one opportunity to leave at least one comment. You were given an opportunity to leave several comments. What was your objective? Surely, according to your theology, most of the people who frequent this blog are dead in trespasses and sin, having minds and hearts alienated from God. We have nothing to offer someone who is as astute as you; someone filled with the Holy Ghost and knowledge of all things John-Boy-Calvin. Surely, you had to know that commenting was akin to casting pearls before swine. Yet, you commented anyway, whether out of divine conviction, a need to defend the doctrines of grace, or a need to hear yourself talk. And that’s fine. Evangelicals are free to comment on this blog. What they are NOT free to do is shit all over me or anyone else on this site with whom they disagree. Pointed, direct comments are always welcome. What follows in your comment below, is not. And, I might add, not very Christian.
(You could benefit from a formal secular education. Your religious education did not prepare you to think honestly to analyze facts.) I must admit I smirk and laugh at your small comments on Black Collar criminals, but otherwise you’re not credible to take apart everybody and everything because you think you’ve got all the answers based on your latest religious bias.
Now it is time for a dick measuring contest. Who, between us, knows more about the Bible, theology, and Christian history? When people such as yourself take this approach, I “smirk and laugh” at their ignorance. I know I spent tens of thousands of hours reading and studying the Bible, reading theological tomes, and listening to “sound” Biblical preaching (in person and on cassette tape). Thus, the real issue is not my lack of education/knowledge, but the fact that you disagree with my opinions, conclusions, and current beliefs. You said nothing in this comment that overturned my responses to your comments. In fact, you ignored what I said, choosing instead to be outraged and offended. And once an Evangelical reaches this level in the game, watch out, a double-barrel shot at me personally is sure to follow. And you, my friend, hit the target square. You have completed the game. You are a w-i-n-n-e-r!
Your story fits many who have fallen in Scripture, after it, are falling right up until today. You and your scoffers are nothing new and you have nothing new to go up against the God who endures you after he created you and set you up, apparently, as an example of those who do not inherit eternal life.
Yes, the Bible says all sorts of things about people such as Bruce Gerencser and his merry band of apostate followers. So what? I know what the Bible says, from Table of Contents to Concordance, the last book in the Bible. What you seemingly fail to understand is that the Bible has no authority over me. Once I came to realize that the Bible was NOT what Evangelicals say it is — the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God — its hold was broken. After leaving the ministry, I decided to go back and re-read the Bible, trying as much as possible to not let my previous theological training affect my interpretations and conclusions. I concluded that much of what I was taught and believed didn’t fit what I read, or at the very least that there were multiple ways to interpret particular texts. Dr. Bart Ehrman, a renowned New Testament scholar, suggested reading each book of the Bible as a stand-alone book, letting each author speak for himself. I recommend every person do this, Christian or not. Of course, such an approach is death to Evangelical theology with its complex systematic theologies, hermeneutics, and harmonizations. Once freed from these things, the Biblical text took on completely different meanings. I briefly mentioned one of them to you in my comment: that the first three chapters of Genesis do not support Evangelical Trinitarian monotheism; that there were/are actually multiple Gods; that monotheism is a later theological development; that it can be argued today that most Christians are still polytheists with their worship of the Gods Father, Son, and Spirit. (A good book on this subject is The Evolution of God by Robert Wright.)
My conclusion was simple, albeit one birthed out of much intellectual and psychological pain and struggle: Christianity no longer made any sense. I wrote about this in the post titled, The Michael Mock Rule: It Just Doesn’t Make Sense.
You are wicked, you were wicked from birth, you demonstrate knowledge doesn’t save you, you claim you had a faith and shrank back from it, you do not fear God — but likely will fear an expectation of judgment soon. When you have faith that is a gift from God, simultaneous with Him taking up residence in you, you don’t get deconverted.
I love being w-i-c-k-e-d, oh so wicked. Time for a sex orgy, complete with an aborted fetus hors d’oeuvre. Can’t stop there though. There’s more sinning for me to do. I am a bad man; an evil man; a depraved man; an apostate man; a servant of Satan; man who hates the thrice holy Evangelical God. You should meet some of the wicked commenters on this blog. Why, their vile behavior puts me to shame. They spend every waking hour thinking about ways to destroy Christianity. And when they are not doing that, they have sex with the lights on and burp without saying excuse me. Or, then again, maybe we have normal lives just like yours save for believing in your God, or any other deity for that matter.
Your remonstrations (Don’t you love that word, a throw back to the days of Jacob Arminius, John Calvin, and the Synod of Dort.) and condemnations have no effect on me or other atheists. Countless commenters before you have come to this blog to set the ex-Evangelical preacher Bruce Gerencser straight. At least you didn’t quote any Bible verses, so thanks for that. That said, your comments are rooted in your peculiar interpretation of the Protestant Bible. What you fail to see and understand is that the Bible no longer has any power over me. I have figured out the magician’s trick, and I am no longer fooled by his sleight of hand. So it is with the Bible. Once the Biblical authors are left to their own devices and not hemmed in by sectarian beliefs and practices, the Bible loses its supernatural influence. It may or may not still be a book worth reading, but I no longer have to worry about its powerless threatenings. There’s No Heaven, No Hell, No God, No Jesus, No Worries, Bro.
You never were anything more than a nominal Christian enamoured of human competitions for ideas… you’ve just moved along the continuum of unbelief, lately blathering that science has now come along to defeat the human idea of god.
How can you possibly make such a judgement about my character and past work as a pastor? You don’t know me personally, and you haven’t even bothered to invest much time in reading my autobiographical writing. (You might want to start on the WHY page.) The people who knew me as a pastor will all tell you that I was a devoted, committed follower of Jesus Christ; that my life gave evidence of someone who knew Jesus personally.
I know you are having a hard time squaring my past with what you believe theologically. I get it, but that’s not my problem. I once was saved, and now I am not. I once was a Christian, and now I am not. I expect readers to accept my “testimony” at face value, and I promise to do the same for them. When you said you were a Christian, I believed you. I have never said to a Christian, “oh you aren’t a ‘real’ Christian” because I found some defect or contradiction in their story. Atheism allows me the freedom to accept people as they are, including you. How about you do the same? Oh, wait, you can’t! The B-i-b-l-e says . . .
It’s a good thing you came clean cause churches are filled with nominal Christians that don’t wash out or don’t wash soon enough. They are the bane of Christianity, but God is and will be glorified in his antithetical use of them.
Of course, you are the “real” deal, right? You are the gold standard by which to judge the faith of others. You are the grand prize behind door number two on “Calvinism is Right.” This is a common approach used by Calvinists. A former ministerial colleague of mine, Jose “Joe” Maldonado, preached a multi-part sermon series about me using this very approach. Unable to square what he knew about me with his Calvinistic soteriology, Joe determined that I was never a True Christian®; that I was a deceiver, liar, and apostate. You can read more about his “exposé” here: Jose Maldonado Says I Never Was a Christian.
I have failed at many things in my life, and there are certainly things that I did as a pastor that I regret or wish I had the opportunity to do differently. That said, most of the people who called me pastor would tell you that I genuinely loved and cared for them; that I taught them the Word of God and encouraged them in faith and holiness. My preaching was passionate and honest. Attempting to tear me down will not work. I have survived over a decade of deconstruction by countless Evangelical zealots. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but emails and blog comments will not hurt me. I know what I know, and people who knew me do too. You have constructed in your mind a version of Bruce Gerencser that has no connection with reality. This is a common problem. You read a few posts, concluded what kind of man I am, rendered judgment, and then, with a wing and a prayer, let me know what you thought. Mission accomplished, Goose.
Go back to school and take some general degree requirements like Western Civ, Logic, Math, Anthropology. You’ll enjoy them, you can be the “teacher” student and get some human worship go’n there for you. Eat, drink and be merry, cause tomorrow you die. (P.S. Was an English major so was compelled to correct my earlier reply, albeit after I hit send.)
I’ll ignore your final attempt to passively-aggressively attack my education and intellectual capabilities. I get it, you have a dick the size of John Holmes and I have one the size of President Trump. You are a lawyer, an erudite intellectual, and I am not. Believe what you will, it matters not.
I have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to your earlier comments. Everything you wrote belongs to you and you alone. Maybe the Holy Ghost changed your words? While I do have an editor, she does not edit comments, and the only time I do so is when a commenter violated the Comment Policy by posting a bunch of proof texts.
You have said your piece, and now I have said mine. Per the comment policy, you have used up your opportunity to put in a good word for Jesus. Have a blessed day. All honor, praise, and glory to Loki.
Saved by Reason,
Books by Bart Ehrman
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.
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