It’s no surprise that rioters in Portland burned Bibles this past weekend. As I’ve said for weeks now, the spirit behind the riots is the spirit of lawlessness. It is anti-God and anti-Christ, and that’s why synagogues and churches have also been targets.
When it comes to the Bible, for some, it is the ultimate symbol of oppression. Of religious tyranny. Of abusive authority.
It is the evil book on which America was founded, and it should be burned, along with the American flag. It is racist, homophobic and misogynist. It supports genocide and apartheid, and it the divinely sanctioned manual for slave owners. To the flames!
Such is the mentality of the radical left, as reflected in groups like antifa and Black Lives Matter (speaking, again, of the organization, in distinction from the truth that Black lives matter).
There is something else that is animating these rioters and, as we have argued before, it is not from above but from below. And, just as an ideological line can be traced from Saul Alinsky to the leadership of Black Lives Matter, an ideological line can be traced from Alinsky to Satan.
What we are seeing, then, in these riots, is ultimately an attempt to cast off the rulership of God. In the words of the rebellious kings in Psalm 2:3 (NIV) (speaking against the Lord and the Davidic monarch who ruled over them): “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” We will not have God rule over us!
That’s why Bibles are being burned. It is an open expression of hostility to the Judeo-Christian God and Judeo-Christian values. It is the thumbing of the nose to divine authority. It is overt rebellion.
I find it amusing how my Evangelical critics think I live my life. Over the past thirteen years, I have heard all sorts of silly, outlandish things about the former Evangelical pastor, Bruce Gerencser. Evidently, verses about lying and corrupt communication have been cut out of their Bibles. Either that, or their objective is to trash my name, hoping that readers will stop frequenting this site. Or, maybe, just maybe, they are mean-spirited, judgmental assholes who don’t know how to play well with others.
Take Spaniard VIII, the purveyor of the Spiritual Minefield: Exposing the spiritual landmines of the devil through the Word of God blog. Sp8 loves to throw shade my way. He’s fond of distorting and lying about what it is atheists actually believe. Sp8, in particular, is quite into all things Satan. Anything and everything he disagrees with or cannot understand is labeled Satanic. It should come as no surprise that Sp8 thinks I am a tool of Satan, used by the evil one to deceive people he deems “weak” Christians. Atheists, in general, are Satanic too. Sp8 is a twenty-first-century Fundamentalist equivalent of anti-communist Joseph McCarthy. Everywhere Sp8 looks, he sees Satan. Why, I suspect if Sp8 looks under his bed at night, he sees Satan lurking there, ready to pounce on him if he takes off his spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-18).
The remainder of this post is for the Sp8s of the world, people who think I am possessed by Satan, AKA the Devil, Lucifer, Slewfoot, Beelzebub, Son of God, Mephistopheles, AntiChrist, Moloch, Prince of Darkness, Father of Lies, the Evil One, Abaddon, Accuser of the Brethren, Beast, Belial, Dragon, Wicked One, King of the Bottomless Pit, Leviathan, Prince of the Power of the Air, Ruler of this World, Ruler of Darkness, Serpent, Son of Perdition, and Morningstar (names of Satan).
I arise from my bed, ready to face a new day. I raise my hands towards Heaven, praying, “Lord Satan, thank you giving me another day to worship you; to advance your kingdom on earth; to wage war against Sp8 and all the evil Christians. I pray you will give me strength to do your work, on earth as it is in Heaven — err, I mean Hell. Sorry about that, Lord. Amen.”
I put on my Satan Rocks tee shirt, God Sucks underwear, pants, and ball cap. I love my hat. It has a big A emblem on its front, signifying my allegiance to the one true faith of atheism. My grandchildren, however, think the A stands for Aardvark. Someday, they will know the truth. I long for the day when my grandchildren worship with me on Halloween — the day when atheists make blood sacrifices to Satan and bob for apples afterward.
I spend the afternoon reading atheist books. I must keep my mind sharp if I ever hope to defeat Sp8 — a man who has John Holmes-sized apologetical skills. Later in the day, my lunch of broiled aborted fetuses, smothered in the blood of Christians, makes its way through my digestive tract. Time to use the bathroom. It is during my daily constitution that I “read” the Word of God. Well, kind of read. I have to decide if I will go Old Testament or New Testament to wipe my ass. Today, it’s NT, so I rip John 3 out of my King James preaching Bible and take care of business.
Finally it is time for me to sit down and start writing for The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser. I offer up a quick word to Satan, and then, filled with anger, rage, bitterness, and hatred for the Christian God, Jesus, the Bible, and Sp8, I begin to write. My blood pressure rises to 180/130 as I slam my fingers into the keys on my Model M IBM keyboard. Soon, I am frothing at mouth, uttering invectives against SP8’s God.
Several hours later, I finish writing. Time to post it to my blog. Before I do, I offer up another prayer to my Lord. “Dear Satan. Thank you for filling me with your words. I pray that you will use this post to tear down strongholds and defeat the true evil one, Jesus. May countless souls be saved by reason and common sense. Amen.”
As evening turns into night, it’s time for me to watch TV. I scan through the twelve Christian channels I receive with my Directv satellite package. “Nothing to see here,” I say to myself. “Con-artists, the lot of them, out to fleece their flocks. Keep preaching the word, angels of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)
My fellow Satan worshiper, Polly, arrives home from work, and we soon head for bed. Polly quickly falls off to sleep, but not me. My mind is filled with thoughts about my hatred for God, Sp8, and all things Christian. I am already planning tomorrow’s attack on True Christianity®. Finally, I fall asleep, dreaming of a day when reason rules the land and the Sp8s of the world finally understand that atheists don’t believe in God or Satan. Both are mythical beings, the creations of Bronze Age minds. Will the Sp8s of the world ever see the light? Oh Lord Satan, may it be so.
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.
As a child, we are filled with wonderful stories of the magic of Christmas that Santa brings to us. He is a jolly old elf who drives a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer who help him deliver presents to all of the good children around the world. Parents use it to encourage children to behave and children love the thought of being inundated with special gifts. Santa Claus sounds great, however, the figure of Santa Claus is a representation of Satan himself.
Satan is the Antichrist, as he wants to be God and take His throne. He comes in disguise as an angel of light to deceive those who love God into believing he is God, but he is an imposter. As Santa, he comes to the most vulnerable of all people, children, seducing them with gifts and the power of magic. He bases his ministry to children on their behavior, convincing them that they need to be good to be accepted and loved, continuing the belief in our power over the grace of God.
Santa Claus is eternal, omniscient, and omnipresent. He has no true beginning or end and uses the power of witchcraft to know and see all, as well as to be everywhere at once, at least on one night. This is the same as Jesus Christ, who as the Living God is the eternal God over all creation.
Santa has the power to work miracles and children believe he can do even more extraordinary things if they ask him (pray to him). Children believe he can bring families together, heal the sick, give people a home or a job, and much more. Satan can also work through signs and wonders, and will use these to prove he is “god”. We must be vigilant to know the difference between a true miracle from God and false signs and wonders of the Antichrist.
Ultimately, Santa is represented as a God, with minions who do his bidding as he commands them from his hidden fortress in the North Pole. Satan too has his Kingdom of Darkness where he uses the demonic as well as human spirits to carry out his Antichrist plan. He is setting up an army of darkness for his purposes when he believes he will overthrow God once and for all and become the only god of man.
There is only one Jesus Christ, and Satan is not going to stop trying to funnel all of the worship that Jesus deserves over to himself. Satan will use whatever tactics he can to deceive us into believing he is the one true God we need.
— Beth, The Other Side of Darkness, The Antichrist Side of Christmas, December 9, 2019
I am sure your heart yearns to stop the holocaust of abortion, the dismembering and burning alive of living babies in the womb.
However, I think that the devil, who is the mastermind behind abortion, has hoodwinked those of us who say we are prolife. The devil, who comes to “rob, kill, and destroy,” hates life. His plan goes beyond abortion. The trio he uses to rob, kill, and destroy are contraception, sterilization, and abortion. His first aim is to eradicate life before it is born. Abortion is his back-up plan.
Statistics tells us that clinic abortions are decreasing, but the aborting and stopping of life is increasing. Americans are now being introduced to “mail-to-your-home abortion pills” so mothers can freely annihilate their babies.
The American Life League states that “Using formulas based on the way the birth control pill works, pharmacy experts project that about 14 million chemical abortions occur in the United States each year.” That’s more babies killed through the Pill, and its various associated methods, than through abortion!
The devil does not have the power to give life. He cannot give conception. And therefore, He seeks to undermine God’s power to give life. We, as God’s people of life must be truly pro-life. We must think pro-life. We must have God’s mind about pro-life. If we have the mindset to stop life by our own decision, or the pill, or other contraceptive devices, that’s not pro-life. It’s pro-choice.
Cyanide & Happiness hits the mark with their latest comic. Many Evangelicals believe atheists worship or follow Satan/Devil/Lucifer/Beelzebub. Never mind the fact that atheists believe Satan is every bit as fictional as the Christian God. I have given up trying to explain this to Evangelicals. They just know that atheists and Satan are in league together; that atheists are to blame for much of what is wrong in the world; that atheists will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire with Satan. All I can do is *sigh* and ridicule Evangelicals who refuse to speak intelligently about what atheists believe. Can’t fix stupid, I suppose.
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.
Warning! Snark and cursing ahead. You have been warned.
Yesterday, an Evangelical woman by the name of Margo left several comments on Facebook detailing why I never was a Christian. I responded to her several times, but to no avail. I tried to get her to read the posts on the WHY? page and read several of Dr. Bart Ehrman’s books, but she would have none of that either. Her mind was made up: Bruce Gerencser, the one-time Evangelical-preacher-turned-atheist is not now nor ever has been a Christian. At this point, I told her to fuck off. If someone can’t at least give me a hearing or make any attempt to understand my story, I have no time for them.
What follows are two of Margo’s comments/messages. My response is indented. All spelling and grammar in the original. Enjoy!
One who professes Faith in Jesus Christ.. becomes a preacher of the Living Word of God… only to become an atheist and secular-humanist. //// Heres what I believe—- one who does this was never saved.
I have written many times about the absurdity of the “you were never saved” argument. First, it flies in the face of all objective evidence from the twenty-five years I spent in the ministry. Everything about my life said that I was a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. My doctrine was orthodox as was my practice. I devoted virtually every waking hour to Jesus, studying the Bible and praying every day. I genuinely cared about my congregation. I made sure their spiritual and material needs were met. I evangelized the lost and attempted to restore backsliders. Ask anyone who knew me at the time, and they will without hesitation testify that I was a Christian. Nothing in my conduct and habits said to those who knew me best — family, congregants, colleagues — that I was anything but a man who took his faith seriously. To suggest, then, that I was never a Christian is absurd.
Think for a moment about the level of deception that I would have had to use to convince thousands of people I was a Christian. The same can be said for my relationships with colleagues in the ministry. These men heard me preach, prayed with and for me, broke bread with me, and knew my secrets, yet not one of them ever had doubts about my faith.
“Why does this matter to you?” you might ask. “You don’t believe in God, so who cares, right?” Sure, but the issue here is her attempt to invalidate my story. Each of us has a right to his or her own story. I refuse to let Evangelical zealots control my storyline. I refuse to let them use their peculiar theology to define who/what I am and who/what I was in the past.
Why? Because truly born-again believing Christians.. no matter what, remain so.
This is a classic example of allowing theology to trump personal observation and knowledge; of faith trumping reason. And I get it. When you believe the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible Word, it colors your thinking and how you view others. In Margo’s mind, I can’t be a born-again Christian because I no longer believe; and if I now am an atheist that means I never truly believed in Jesus.
I explain the absurdity of this argument this way: there was a day/time when Jesus and I were married. Our marriage lasted almost 50 years. But, there came a time when I no longer loved Jesus or followed his commands and teachings. Not wanting to be in a loveless relationship, I divorced Jesus. Lots of Christians lose their faith and walk away. Granted, it’s not common for someone of my age and ministerial experience to do so, but it does happen. I know of numerous men who labored in God’s coal mine for decades, only to lose their faith. Christians can pretend all they want that we don’t exist — but we do, and we are not going away.
If in the “real” world a man and woman can get married and later divorce, so it is with those of us who were once the Brides of the Bridegroom — Jesus. Does a divorce negate the past? Of course not. I once was married to Jesus and now we are divorced. Nothing I can do now will erase the memories/experiences Jesus and I shared — even if he was a figment of my imagination.
“But, Bruce, THE BIBLE SAYS!” I don’t care what a critic “thinks” the Bible says. The Bible can be made to say anything; to prove anything; to justify anything. What matters is how a person lives, and my life as an Evangelical pastor measures up to the lives of holy and zealous Christians such as Margo. Even now, as an atheist I do my best to live a moral and ethical life. I’m not perfect, but I do want to treat others well. Is that not the essence of Christianity: to do good to other people? Did not Jesus say that the second tablet of the Law was summed up thusly: to love your neighbor as yourself? I am not bragging here as much as I am saying that I am a decent, kind, loving human being, one who does his best to make the world a better place. Sadly, far too many Christians are focused on eternity, so much so that they ignore what is going on right in front of them.
No matter how tough life may become.. one still knows God is at the helm.//// However, there are true Christians who get down in their boots via the toils of life.. and claim to no longer believe.. and/or have lost their faith. Those types are still saved. ///// What you have done is not that.
When Christ saves the believer,.. he then, SEALS the believer for the day of redemption. In His own ways.. He knows who is whom.. from the instant one hears the Word and truly believes or not. You are no different than those of whom “make a profession of faith in Christ”.. but, sometime down the line.. convert to Islam or Judaism or Hinduism. Those who do such things were never saved.
Margo subtly alleges that something happened in my life — “the toils of life” — to cause me to walk away from Christianity. Instead of “enduring,” I gave up, or so she thinks, anyway. Never mind that my deconversion story has many levels of complexity. Never mind the anguishing tear-filled hours I spent studying the Bible, praying, reading books, and talking to my spouse, hoping that I could somehow, some way hang on to my faith. None of this matters. Margo’s interpretation of the Bible says that I never was a Christian, end of story. E.F. Hutton has spoken.
You’ve taken it a step or two further.. as you enjoy the secular-humanistic ‘doctrines of demons’… and claim to be an atheist. No true born-again believer would ever do such things.
Yet, according to my story, one did. And I know scores of other preachers who have followed similar paths. I may be following “doctrines of demons” now, but years ago I earnestly battled Satan. Filled with the Holy Ghost, I waged war against powers and principalities. This was, of course, a war against a pooka named Harvey, but I sincerely believed I was wrestling angels of darkness. A belief does not have to be grounded in reality for it to affect a person’s life. This is true of all sorts of beliefs, including religious ones.
I don’t need a crystal ball to tell me the future… my future in Jesus Christ. I’m a born-again believing Christian. Not perfect. Just perfect in Christ. Seems YOU Have taken passages of scripture out of context.. and using that as an “excuse” to ‘hate Jesus.’
What Scripture did I take out of context? Is it even possible to take Scripture out of context? The text can literally be made to say almost anything. The Bible teaches several different plans of salvation, yet Margo has determined her plan of salvation and her interpretation of Scripture is the standard by which ALL believers and unbelievers alike will be judged.
For the record, I don’t “hate” Jesus. Why would I waste my time hating a man who died 2,000 years ago? This would be like me hating Julius Caesar or any other historical figure. I am generally not a hater to start with, and I most certainly have never, ever hated an ancient religious figure who lived and died two millennia ago. If I was truly going to hate someone, I’d focus my hatred on the orange-haired toddler currently sucking the life out of our Republic. There’s a man worth hating. “But, Bruce, you wrote a post titled, Why I Hate Jesus. See, that PROVES you hate the Son of God.” “Did you read the post?” If you did, you know that what I hate is the Evangelical characterization of Jesus, not the actual man. My hatred is focused on the Jesus of Evangelicalism, not the flesh and blood man buried in an unknown grave in the Middle East.
Keep going down this path.. and you WILL end up in Hell. And yes…. Hell does exist. Christ taught on Hell plenty. Satan loves self-pity.. and “victims” of whatever he can use to take you to Hell. Hes not choosy. I hope you swallow your pride… and repent. ……..Sincerely, Margo
Ah yes, there’s nothing like being threatened with an imaginary Hell. I have been threatened with Hell more times than I can count. Margo says Hell exists, yet If I asked her for proof of this claim, all she would say is, THE BIBLE SAYS! Well, let’s stick with the Bible. It says Hell is in the bowels of the earth. Surely, we should be able to scientifically determine the existence of Hell. Yet, there’s no scientific evidence for its existence. None.
The only hell I believe in is the one created by and for humans. We make our own hell on earth, and the same goes for heaven. My goal in life is to minimize hell and maximize heaven for everyone. Well, almost everyone. I do have a short list of people I would love to banish to hell. Oh the delight of seeing them tortured day and night with looping video reruns of Donald Trump’s speeches.
Margo signs off with a sanctimonious “sincerely.” Sincerely? Really? Sincerely, my ass. There’s nothing sincere about Margo’s sermons. Sincerity demands decency and respect, none of which have been displayed by Margo. In her mind, I’m just another atheist she has set straight; another false prophet exposed; another notch on her gospel six-shooter.
I’m so sorry…. did you miss the part about Hell not being a threat but, one of God’s promises?
No, Hell is a threat; an idle threat, but a threat nonetheless. Without the threat of Hell and the promise of Heaven, Evangelical churches would empty out overnight. If there’s nothing to fear and nothing to gain, why bother, right? What else would motivate people such as Margo to seek out complete strangers on the Internet and attempt to deconstruct their lives? What has she gained by contacting me? What has she gained by commenting on my Facebook page? Did Margo really think that she could say anything that would cause me to change my ways? Perhaps, Margo just needs to hear herself talk; that her faith is bolstered by going after unbelievers. If God himself — he knows where I am, 345 E Main St, Ney, Ohio 43549 — can’t affect change in my life, what possibly could Margo do?
You are still an apostate and unrepentant atheist because YOU CHOOSE TO BE. In fact, satan owns your mind. And if you desire to press the matter, God can turn you over to a reprobate mind…. IF thats not already where you are.
Margo steps in it here. If I chose to be an atheist, can’t the same be said for me choosing Jesus/Christianity forty-seven years ago? Can’t the same be said for me voluntarily walking away from Christianity?
Margo, warns me that God could give me a reprobate mind if I keep rebelling against him. Too late. I am already a first-class reprobate. My God, I am a Cincinnati Bengals fan. Is there anything more reprobate than that?
I can fuck off better than the rest. The devil loves a pity-party. Good luck w that… and enjoy Hell. Or repent. Its your own immortal soul that you seem to give a single care about. You will go to Hell because you’ve chosen Hell.
I willingly choose Hell. If that means getting away for eternity from people such as Margo, sign me up, Mr. Devil. let’s party, Mr. Beelzebub. Who in their right mind would want to spend every waking minute genuflecting before Jesus? Not I!
I love good fucking, by the way.
I’M HARDLY A PASSIVE CHRISTIAN. You are not the golden standard by which all things are judged. My “brand” of Christianity is THE BRAND of Christianity. Gods brand. Biblical and sound.
It is refreshing to see a Christian actually admit that their religion is exclusionary; that his or her beliefs are the gold standard; that their life is the standard by which truth faith is measured. Usually Christian zealots try to hide their arrogance, but not Margo. She needs to write a book that details what is exactly required for someone to saved. The Bible is oh-so contradictory, so a concise statement as to the requirements for salvation would be greatly appreciated. Since Margo’s beliefs are TRUTH, no need to write theological books or fund Bible colleges. Just read her book and you will know all you’ll need to know! Think of all the money and time that will be saved. Think of all doctrinal fights that will be avoided. Finally, after 2,000 years of internecine warfare, Margo, the Christian has appeared on the scene to set the record straight.
Maybe as a preacher, you misused scriptures that you’ve taken out of context, yes? Maybe you’ve led many to Hell. I have no clue. Maybe you were a wolf in sheeps clothing. Maybe you “became a Christian” for all the wrong reasons? You’ve listened to demonic sermons about making money by charlatans selling blessings? And it didn’t work for you so, you’re flying the coop?
My theology was Evangelical and orthodox. I suspect Margo would have loved me back in my preaching days. I was a man of THE Book. I preached expositional sermons, making sure that I didn’t stray from the clear meaning of Scripture.
Did I lead many people to Hell? Of course not, since Hell doesn’t exist. And in the temporal realm, the here and now, I did all I could to lessen the hell on earth experienced by believers and unbelievers alike. I deeply cared about the welfare of others. I was not passive in putting my faith into action. My prayers had feet on them, not wings. I believed in putting into practice that which I said I believed. I wasn’t perfect, but I damn sure tried to be.
I became a Christian because preachers told me that I was a wicked, vile sinner in need of salvation. Isn’t that the point every Evangelical comes to? I saw myself as a sinner and Jesus as the solution to my sin problem. There’s nothing in my testimony that suggests I believed a false gospel.
The comment about listening to “demonic sermons about making money by charlatans selling blessings” makes no sense to me. I worked for and lived on poverty wages, yet I did so willingly. Why would anyone live the way I did if I didn’t truly believe?
Was I a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Of course not, but Margo has to believe I was for her delusional narrative of my life to be true. I was a deceiver, a liar, a false prophet deceiving the masses. For Margo, believing this is the only way my story fits in her theological box. Not my problem. Perhaps, she needs to get out more and experience the wonderful diversity life has to offer.
I don’t need to read a bunch of excuses as to why you’ve made such an asinine decision.
Translation: I’m not going to read the suggested posts/books. Yet, Margo wants me to listen to her and give her sermon careful thought. Why should I when she doesn’t respect me as a person and accept at face value my story?
I know the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I am very much a human being. Done all my homework.
Margo hasn’t, of course, done ALL her homework. She didn’t read the posts I asked her to read, and in failing to do so, she judged me without sufficient knowledge. She made no attempt to “know” me, yet she rendered judgment anyway. And in doing so, she violated the clear teaching of Scripture: He [or she] that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. (Proverbs 18:13)
The devil has you by the nose. Hes your master. You were a false-“convert”.. never were a born-again Christian. Just a pawn for satan. Not a damn thing “irrational” about my thinking.
Bam! Bam! Bam! She loves giving it to me, doesn’t she?
There’s nothing irrational about believing virgins have babies and dead people come back to life? Even the Bible admits that the many of the stories of the Bible seem fantastical. That’s why believing them requires suspending rational, skeptical inquiry — also known as faith.
Atheists always want everyone to know how “smart” they are. You’ll not be hearing from me again.
Well, many atheists are quite smart, or at the very least quite educated about religion. In my case, I know what I know. I didn’t magically lose a lifetime of theological knowledge the moment I said I was an atheist. Has Margo not done the same here? “Look at everything I know,” she is saying. She knows who is saved and who isn’t. Margo knows all sorts of things about my life that she can’t possibly know. Why? She doesn’t know me. Margo read a couple of blog posts, and she thinks she now has sufficient evidence to render judgment. Granted, reading the posts on the WHY? page likely wouldn’t have changed Margo’s mind, but at the very least she would have a better, more nuanced understanding of Bruce Gerencser. And that’s all I ask any of my critics to do. Give my writing an honest reading before you pass judgment.
My favorite line in her comment was this: “You’ll not be hearing from me again.” All praise to Loki for such a wonderful blessing.
Saved by Reason,
After publishing this post, I intended to send Margo a link to the post in case she wanted to respond. Unfortunately, she deleted all her Facebook comments and blocked me from contacting her.
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.
Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.
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Everyone goes through something of a satanist phase. Maybe you drew “666” on your Converses and your youth pastor had to sit down and have a talk with you. Maybe you read a book about Anton LeVay and thought, “Hey, the dude had a few good ideas.” Or maybe you just spent a lot of time scaring other patrons at Hot Topic. But the ladies and gentlemen featured in the trailer for Hail Satan?, a documentary premiering in theaters on April 19th, take their love for all things Beelzebub more than a few steps further.
Directed by filmmaker Penny Lane (Our Nixon), Hail Satan? follows the lives of members of the Satanic Temple, a church/political activist group with multiple chapters across the United States. Founded in 2012, the Satanic Temple was originally launched as something of a PR stunt, though it’s grown into something of a political force to be reckoned with.
In the trailer for the documentary, members of the Satanic Temple fight for the construction of a monument to the goat demon Baphomet outside the Arkansas State Capitol building, much to the chagrin of Arkansas residents. They seem all too eager to combat stereotypes associated with devil worship, portraying themselves as bright-eyed, bushy-tailed activists staunchly committed to principles of religious freedom. “I believe that confronting injustice is an expression of my satanic faith,” one member of the temple says.
That said, members of the Satanic Temple are not at all averse to trolling: when a heckler shouts, “You’re gonna go to hell!,” a man in Baphomet garb flashes a smug grin. “I believe it,” he says, “and I’m excited about it.”
Familiar spirits and generational spirits target our families and situations that are familiar to us. These spirits have been assigned to our genealogy and know our families’ past mistakes and weaknesses. We also need to be aware of the word curses and generational curses in our family members’ lives so that we don’t repeat the past and bring what is dead, buried, and gone into the future. We need to make sure that we are speaking life and freedom and not cursing and bondage. By the words we speak, we can replant and build what the enemy has stolen of our past.
What curses are you putting on yourself? What generational curses are you putting on your children? Statements such as the following should not be spoken:
“She can’t read.”
“She sings off key.”
“He always drops something.”
“My kids are loud and obnoxious.”
“Her middle name is Troublemaker.”
Don’t curse your children and spouse with your words. If it doesn’t edify, encourage, or exhort, don’t say it. Find a way to speak about a condition or happening that is not going to speak against anyone. Better yet, don’t speak it at all if you aren’t trying to find a solution to the problem.
How many times do we speak over ourselves and aren’t even aware of it?
Never say, “That makes me sick,” when someone tells you something. It can open a doorway to sickness. You are speaking or claiming that something makes you sick!
Never say, “She’s driving me crazy” or “I can’t take it anymore.” Such statements can lead to emotional doors being opened. Do you really want to lose your mind and go crazy? How many times have you spoken that out over the years? Remember the law of sowing and reaping.
Never say, “My daughter has the flu, and I’ll catch it next.” We are redeemed! We don’t have to get the flu or a virus. Don’t claim that it’s going to attack you. Expectation is the breeding ground for miracles. Expect not to get sick; don’t expect to get sick!
Never say, “I can’t afford to tithe!” Change your poverty mentality; you can’t afford not to tithe.
Never say, “Over my dead body,” “I’m going to kill you for that,” or “You’re going to kill me for this.” Such statements open a door for spirits of death to come in.
Never say, “They irritate me.” That statement leads to a spirit of irritation. When you say that you are irritated or frustrated, you can’t get rid of it in a few days because you opened the door to those spirits by speaking it. Now you need to cast out a spirit of irritation or frustration.
My brother recently posted on social media a link to an article in Charisma Magazine regarding a sermon by John Lindell, pastor of James River Church, a church with four campuses in Missouri (Ozark, Joplin, and two campuses in Springfield) along with live streaming option. The title of the sermon is “Haunted: Pursuing the Paranormal.” According to the church’s website, this James River promotes the Bible as “accurate, authoritative, and applicable”; a Triune God; symbolism of communion of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection to empower us for life; that belief in Jesus along with baptism in water, setting our minds on God and His purposes, and being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit will allow us to lead the power-filled lives that God intends for us; that Jesus is coming back again to rule and reign on this earth and that history will end as the wicked are judged and the righteous will inhabit a new heaven and earth.
If you have nearly an hour to spare and care to watch his message, please watch the following video. (I was cooking at the time, so at least I was productive while listening to this ridiculous message.) Otherwise, I have provided a very brief summary below.
In the sermon, Lindell warns of Satanic and demonic influences of five major practices common in our “post-Christian” society. He opens the sermon describing Satan as a fallen angel created by God who convinced a third of the angels to rebel with him, thus becoming demons. He says that as a created being, Satan is not all-powerful or all-knowing, and that Satan is a murderer, a liar, and a destroyer. He will be defeated by God one day.
The first practice Lindell warns against is seeking information via the paranormal, such as reading horoscopes, consulting psychics, using an Ouija board or tarot cards. He says that these people are either charlatans trying to take your money or they are opening a door to Satanic and demonic influences. The second practice is attempting to connect to powers, energies, or forces by using physical objects such as crystals or amulets or dream-catchers which supposedly open a portal to demonic activity or influence. The third is practicing Wicca, and the fourth is the typical admonition not to watch movies or read books or participate in any other media not promoting Jesus/God/True Christianity. The fifth is the warning against practicing Yoga, and his description of yoga is one of a false demonic religion (Hinduism) that opens one up to demonic influences.
As an atheist who does not believe in deities or any other supernatural forces, beings, or auras, my reaction to his sermon is that this is all ridiculous fear-mongering in order to keep the congregation away from any outside influences that might run counter to the teachings of the fundamentalist religion. Indeed, Lindell says that opening one’s mind is dangerous. Of course it is dangerous to fundamentalism, as someone may learn concepts in biology, physics, sociology, psychology, archaeology, or any of a variety of other scholarly pursuits that contradict dogmatic religious teachings.
What fascinates me is that these Christians believe that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit and all the angels are on Team Good and Satan/Beast/False Prophet/Anti-Christ and demons are all on Team Evil. It reminds me of comic books or novels, but these Christians believe that Real Live Spirits are duking it out for possession of our puny little human souls. Pastor Lindell believes that physical paraphernalia such as crystals, Ouija boards, and movie posters as well as the practice of chants, mantras, or poses (as in yoga) open up actual portals that allow these demonic spirits to affect us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (and frankly, I don’t know what spiritualism is so I use the term loosely). Pastor Lindell states that all religions other than Christianity are false religions and therefore demonic. Practicing these religions is tantamount to inviting demons into one’s home.
Yoga isn’t my favorite type of exercise, but I do it from time to time and find that it can be good for stretching and for improving my flexibility and balance. These aspects are important as we get older, particularly for those of us who do exercise in a single plane of motion such as running and weightlifting. Additionally, I like wearing yoga pants, as they are comfortable and encourage easy range of motion. Never have I experienced any demonic influence or activity while wearing yoga pants, though according to my husband and 16-year-old son, they may have had lustful thoughts – possibly demonically inspired – when seeing attractive women wearing yoga pants. That’s their problem, not mine.
Here’s what my fervently devout Christian brother commented on the article:
In its origin, design and intent, yoga is worship of Hindu deities. The word yoga means ‘to yoke’ and by extension ‘union’, as when two oxen are joined together under the same harness to plough a field. It refers to the yoking or union of the individual with the divine, and specifically, to Hindu deities. In India, hatha yoga is the physical path to the divine; the devotee dedicates his body to god through ritualistic exercise and hygiene practices. The centerpiece of yhoga is the sun salutation in which an invisible entity receives homage through a series of bowing, kneeling and prostration poses and is entreated through a series of supplicatory skyward reaching poses and prayer gestures. Aside from the salute, many yoga poses represent Hindu deities and/or are designed to direct or contain energy flow, like canals and locks that channel or dam water.
Yoga is idolatry and incompatible with Christianity. Despite the practitioner’s best intention, yoga cannot be divorced from its original purpose and redirected to some other use such as mere exercise or communion with the God of Abraham.” (Quoted from an article written by Corinna Craft)
It is no secret that meditation and prayer exert positive activities in the brain. Research shows through magnetic resonance imaging that the medial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex — the mid-front and back portions — are activated during prayer or meditation. These regions are responsible for self-reflection and self-soothing. Meditation and prayer can also trigger the release of oxytocin and other “feel-good” hormones in the brain, therefore positively reinforcing the behaviors. Stretching, on the other hand, promotes other types of benefits such as increased flexibility and range of motion, improving posture, and increasing blood flow to muscles. Paired with meditation, as in certain types of yoga, these activities can allow one to experience physical and mental benefits concurrently.
Of course, a fervent Christian who believes that yoga provides demonic pathways would say that demons are deceiving us by creating mental and physical rewards for allowing them into our plane of existence. Honestly, if someone believes that there are demons, that demons are actively seeking to influence us, and that certain objects or activities open portals allowing demons to enter our plane of existence, I really don’t know how to have a rational conversation to allay those fears. Extreme forms of fundamentalist religion do a fantastic job of labeling anything “other” as “demonic,” thus inducing fear in followers in order to dissuade them from seeking activities or knowledge deemed by the religious authorities to be inappropriate. My husband suggests that I continue to be a quiet contrarian, gently stating viewpoints explained through scientific and historical evidence. Perhaps one day a nugget or two of truth will get through to my brother. In the meantime, I will practice my downward dog while wearing my yoga pants.