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Another Failed Facebook Interaction with a Liberal Christian

I don’t know why I keep trying. What follows is a discussion I had on a friend’s Facebook page today with a local liberal Christian — a mainline Lutheran. The focus of the discussion is a meme I posted to my page, which my friend shared on his page.

sovereignty of God

Christian: What an awful perspective. God is love and that is what Jesus preached. There are some things in the Old Testament that are questionable. Life and everything is how you choose to take it and live it. I choose love and happiness not the negative aspects. Those who do not believe don’t believe in God or Jesus so non of this(what the Bible says) matters to them. One does not have to believe to be a good person.

Christian: That is Old Testament. He gave us Jesus so our sins will be forgiven. We experience pain and suffering as a result of this world. I teared up the other night at my brother’s concert because of the wonderful message. ✌🏼❤️

Christian: He also gives us free will-big mistake on some people’s part!! I myself, have not made some good decisions and have suffered physically but I have turned to God to help me through these. He never promised that we will not suffer. I also don’t understand why some people suffer much more than I have and why He hasn’t stopped it. I am with you there!! Also some people take being a ‘Christian’ to a level that God never intended. It doesn’t make them any better than someone else!

Bruce: Well, it matters to the degree that their religion materially affects me. Evangelicals, in particular, don’t seem to want to live and let live. They are Heaven bent on shoving their religion down my throat and evangelizing my grandchildren (Lifewise Academy) who attend public schools. The primary Christian sect behind the 1/6 Insurrection? Evangelicalism.

Bruce: I didn’t read the comments you objected to, but you did make theological claims about the nature of God, the sovereignty of God, and Freewill. While I understand you are just stating your opinions, you did posit that your peculiar brand/flavor of religion is superior to others. Surely it is fair for someone to question/challenge your hermeneutics — in a friendly way, of course. Now if your intent was just to give a testimonial . . . that’s different.

For record, I was part of the Evangelical church for fifty years; a Bible college trained pastor for twenty-five years. I am now an atheist (and a liberal, politically.)

Christian: I did not post that my peculiar? brand/flavor of religion is superior to others. That is a lie. You are far from your biblical roots. Also politics and religion should not mix-that statement is irrelevant. You had better review your hermeneutics and learn how to be a better truthful,respectful person. You have fallen off the boat and are unfortunately have drowned in your hatefulness instead of the love of God. Yes, I am shaking-I don’t deal well with people like you.

Christian: I agree with your statement about evangelicals. I was in no way shoving my religion down someone’s throat. I was just stating what I have learned as a lifetime Lutheran. I can understand why you left that particular ‘kind’ of church.

Bruce: Wow.

You said:

“What an awful perspective. God is love and that is what Jesus preached. There are some things in the Old Testament that are questionable. Life and everything is how you choose to take it and live it. I choose love and happiness not the negative aspects. Those who do not believe don’t believe in God or Jesus so non of this(what the Bible says) matters to them. One does not have to believe to be a good person.”

This is a theological statement. You objected to the meme by positing that your religion of “love” (which you showed none of in your response to me) is better/superior/Christ-like.

You don’t know me, yet you think it’s okay to personally attack me. Let me share with you what the Bible says about such behavior:

“Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.” Proverbs 18:13

Bruce: You don’t know anything about me, yet you have jumped to all sorts of conclusions.

The reasons for my deconversion are many. I would be more than happy to share them with you.

You seem to confuse directness with hatefulness. I am the former, not the latter. Ask around. I doubt you will find anyone who says I’m “hateful.” Life is too short to hate.

Bruce: Virtually every Abrahamic religion believes in the sovereignty of God — God is in control. If humans can thwart the will and actions of God, he is not in control.

The Bible has much to say about God’s absolute rule and authority, right down to who he does and doesn’t “save.” Man doesn’t have free will in a soteriological sense. We “choose,” but only because God chose (election, predestination) us first. Even science today questions whether humans have “free will” — in the colloquial sense of the word. Most people think they have naked free will/libertarian free will. It “seems” right. I suspect, however, it’s not.

Christian: Yes love is better than hate. Then why do you say hateful things to me? Love IS Christlike. Truth is better than you telling lies about me by saying things I didn’t say. (Or misinterpret what I said)Calling someone stupid and rude is worthy of turning you into the Facebook police. I am done with your hate and negativity. Deconversion (Do you think it makes you superior by using big words?)

Bruce: sigh. I didn’t say anything hateful to you. I’m sorry that you can’t see that.

Bruce: deconversion: The loss of faith in a given religion and return to a previously held religion or non-religion (typically atheism, agnosticism, or rationalism).

Christian: I know what deconversion is.

Christian: I am also sorry that you did not take in ALL that I wrote either. I agree with you about leaving the ‘church’ that you left-Baptist- evangelical,I believe?(And also we share the same political views.) All I was doing is sharing what I think and follow. It always seems to turn nasty when people talk about their faith and it doesn’t have to be that way. Why can’t we just talk and be decent human beings? I do not quote the Bible or get philosophical. I know what I believe (and do question some things in the Bible). I use what brings me peace. I am highly educated but I think it is offensive when people pull out the big words or quote from the Bible. I would love to hear why you left organized religion but I wouldn’t want it to turn into a debate. I have had my beliefs for 74 years and will go to my grave with them. I am at peace in my life and wouldn’t like it any other way. I hope you too have found peace(I said that to another atheist friend of mine and she didn’t like it).

Bruce: When you share your beliefs/opinions/ruminations on social media, you should expect people to respond. ‘Tis the nature of the medium.

Christian: Yes, I read everything and why should I care what you were before. I was just saying I agree and can see why you left the evangelical church. You are the one who seems to jump to conclusions!! I try to say something nice and you turn it around-there lies the problem with our colliding personalities!!! Randy is a terrific person but I no longer will comment on his religious/ non religious posts.

Bruce: This has nothing to do with colliding personalities. I do agree that Randy is a terrific person — 98.9% of the time.

You have made several wrong assumptions about the trajectory of my life. My beliefs — theological, political, social — evolved over the twenty-five years I spent in the ministry. Just because I once was an Evangelical doesn’t mean I always was one.

Bruce: Words have meanings. Deconversion and its cousin deconstruction are not “big” words. They (generally) accurately describe the process of loss of faith. You seem to think, without evidence, that I used the word “deconversion” so I could be “superior.” I used the word because it best describes the process of loss of faith.

Sigh, right? (Please see Why I Use the Word “Sigh”.) My goal was to meaningfully interact with this woman, hoping to share with her my perspective on the meme and Evangelical Christianity. I could have went after her incoherent theological beliefs, but I chose not to. For whatever reason, she made it personal. In her mind, I was being “hateful” towards her. My words were so offensive that they should be reported to Facebook! Worse, she attacked my character, suggesting that I was trying to be the smartest guy in the room by using big words. By the time our discussion concluded, I wondered who the Hell she was talking to. It sure wasn’t me. 🙂

As readers know, I am more than capable of eviscerating people with words. I can be snarky, but generally, I try to be respectful, knowing that lurkers are reading my posts/comments. While most of my interactions are with Evangelical Christians, I do, on occasion, cross swords with liberal/mainline Christians, I find discussions with them to be quite frustrating, much like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. As the aforementioned Christian showed, she has spent 7 decades picking and choosing what she wants to believe. All Christians are cafeteria believers, but liberal believers have turned it into a fine art. In their minds, the Bible is a book of suggestions. The OT God is different from the NT God. They focus on the LOVE of God, ignoring his judgment, wrath, and holiness. In other words, they do what all Christians do: shape and mold a God in their own image.

And that’s fine. I much prefer liberal Christianity when it comes to good works and the mark it makes on the world. Evangelicalism is harmful, both psychologically and physically. It destroys lives, harming children and adults alike. I have been blogging for almost sixteen years. There’s never been a time when someone left a comment on this site that said “liberal Christianity ruined my life.” I am good friends with several liberal Christians. I love the fact that we can talk about anything. That’s not the case with Evangelicals. Why? Liberal Christians have few theological hills they are willing to die on. Evangelicals, on the other hand, see every molehill as Mount Everest.

During the deconversion process, I tried to embrace liberal Christianity. I desperately wanted to hang on to “God.” Unfortunately, I found liberal Christianity to be intellectually unsatisfying. I found myself saying, “why bother”? What I was left with was a social club of sorts, with wonderful, thoughtful people as members. This was not enough for me, especially during football season. 🙂 While I genuinely love and respect my mainline Christian friends, I cannot intellectually embrace their beliefs. I love their good works, but not their theology.

In early 2008, Polly and I and our three youngest children attended Grace Episcopal Church in Defiance. Grace is a dying congregation of mostly elderly people. The music was atrocious, and on Sundays when the priest wasn’t there, the lay sermons were droning monuments to incoherence. We loved the priest and found the congregation to be friendly toward our family (though no attempt was made to assimilate us into the congregation). On our first Sunday there, one of the matrons of the church said to us “Welcome. You can believe anything you want here.” In this particular church, the Bible and theology were irrelevant.

In the fall of 2008, we attended Ney United Methodist Church for a few months. We loved the pastor and his family. The music was more lively than the unsingable high church music at Grace, but no attempt was made to embrace us as a part of the membership. The pastor (who is an Evangelical), Ron Adkins and I got along famously. We had numerous conversations about Evangelicalism and theology. However, by this time it was too late. Fourteen years ago this coming Sunday, we walked out of the doors of the church never to return. A letter to the editor of the Defiance Crescent News I wrote two years after we left the church caused a problem for Ron. He decided to publicly respond to me, ending our relationship. (Please see Evangelical Pastor Ron Adkins and THE Agnostic.) Evidently, my letter caused a stir in the membership, so he felt obligated to respond to me. Ron no longer pastors the church. For a time Ron was associated with the Free Methodist denomination. Presently, he pastors the Urbana Church of Christ in Christian Union in Urbana, Ohio. (I pastored a Christian Union church in Alvordton, Ohio in 1995.)

Polly and I attended other liberal/mainline churches as we attempted to find a church home. What we typically found was awful music, barely tolerable preaching, and nice people who took no interest in trying to engage us at any meaningful level outside of shaking our hands. Of course, we found these same things in Evangelical churches too, although Evangelical music tends to be more inspiring and singable. While our politics, social beliefs, and pacifism better aligned with the liberal/mainline churches we visited, we found their lack of passion and interest off-putting. In the end, both of us came to the conclusion that we had no interest in trying to breathe life into corpses.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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.

Connect with me on social media:

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.

My Recent Interaction on Social Media with a Fundamentalist Christian Named Soupy Sales

peanut gallery

What follows is a recent discussion I had on Facebook with a local Fundamentalist Christian named Soupy Sales (SS) on the subject of abortion. I also had conversations with four other local Evangelicals. I typically don’t engage in such discussions on social media, but I felt the urging of the Spirit, so I did so. I doubt that I changed hearts or minds, but, maybe, just maybe, I planted a few seeds of doubt. You can read all of the discussions here.

Enjoy! 🙂

SS: If you want to kill a baby (abortion sounds better)…it’s between you and God…So leave me out of your murder. I don’t want to have to pay for your abortion…praying God opens your eyes.

Bruce: no, it’s between a woman and her doctor.

Abortion is a medical procedure. Let’s say you needed a heart transplant and I’m opposed to heart transplants for religious reasons. Should I be able to keep you from getting a heart transplant? After all, I don’t want to have to pay for it (through insurance premiums or taxes).

Participating in the American social contract means we will, at times, pay for things we disagree with.

SS: American Social contracts doesn’t include supporting murder of an innocent life….

Bruce: then why are you complaining about having to pay for them? Which is it?

SS: .here in simple words for you to understand….because people like you are trying to get it pass to be free for every woman who wants to get one…understand…

Bruce: you mean like every other medical procedure? Yes, insurance should be required to cover all reproductive services just like they do other medical procedures. We need to stop making carve-outs for “offended” Christians.

No need to insult my intelligence. Do better.

SS: murdering an innocent life doesn’t offend you…so sad..

Bruce: I reject your claim that abortion is murder. That’s a religious claim; one, I might add, that has dubious Scriptural support. You are certainly free to let your religious beliefs inform your medical decisions. However, your religious beliefs should play no part in the medical care of others. We are a secular state. There’s a wall of separation between church and state. Thus, what you or any other Christian wants shouldn’t matter. That it does reveals how far afield we are from our founding principles.

If supporting reproductive rights makes me a “murderer” so be it. I don’t care one whit what you think of me. My wife, my adult daughters, my ten granddaughters, my sister, and the women who will be protesting the reversal of Roe v. Wade on Saturday? They are the people who matter to me. I learned long ago that no amount of arguing will change the minds of forced birthers. (For the record, I was anti-abortion for 45 years.)

SS: it not my claim…it’s God’s words….read Proverbs 6 verses 16 to 19. This country was founded in God we trust not do whatever you want. So you are saying you didn’t learn anything after 45 years. If you really care about your family than lead them to the truth not to hell. No one is forcing anyone to have a baby….there are protective products out there or sustain having sex until you are married. Shame on you. Go read the context and reason that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the constitution about church and state separation. Read his words not mine or anyone’s else for the truth…if you can handle it.

Bruce: Saying the Bible is a God’s word is a “claim,” for which you provide no evidence. The Bible was written by mostly unknown men. It is a human text through and through. To say it is a God’s word is a faith claim, one that I reject.

You do know I was in the Evangelical church for fifty years, right? A college-trained pastor for 25 years. I know what the Bible says inside and out. But, its words are irrelevant. We live in a secular state governed by laws. Forced birthers are using the power of the state to rob women of bodily autonomy, civil rights, and equal protection under the law. As is our right, those of us who value the rights of women will protest.

I’ve read Jefferson’s words. I’m quite familiar with the separation of church and state.

SS: first…The Bible is God’s holy word…you are not rejecting me…you are rejecting Jesus. A believer job is to spread the word….especially when someone is lost…No one is stopping a woman from having an abortion. It’s between her and God…She makes the choice. Abortion is killing an innocent baby. She should be shown both sides not just one. To be a preacher…you are called by God ….not a college trained person. Satan knows the Bible better than me or you. Just because you belong to a church doesn’t make you saved. You should know that. You must lay down your life and take up your cross. Jesus said that…You should know that. Matthew 6 verse 24. Obviously, you don’t study your Bible or the first amendment. In closing…Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Matthew 15 verses 13 and 14. Shame on you for leading people to hell.

Bruce: sigh. Do you really think quoting Bible verses will make a difference with me? Really?

I likely know more about the Bible than you do. I spent over 20,000 hours reading and studying the Bible. So pick the subject and let’s talk. Or you can keep verbally masturbating, thinking your proof texts mean anything except to you.

I understand where you are coming from. I once was just like you.

Feel free to email me via my blog. I’m more than happy to engage you in discussion.

SS: I’m quoting God’s words not mine. As Jesus said….No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mam-mon. Matthew 6:24. You should know that. Yes we were once the same…sinners..but now I’m saved and converted…Jesus is my Lord and Savior. If don’t believe in God’s word…what’s there to debate about…your non-believe…really…for person that confess to be pastor…your language. Do you really think you know more than our maker? I leave you with Psalms 14: 1….The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

Bruce: no, we were once the same: saved/born again Fundamentalist Christians. My storyline. You don’t get to control it.

Isn’t amazing that God always agrees with you; or that the Bible always supports your peculiar beliefs? A-m-a-z-i-n-g.

Do I know more than your deity? Of course I do, he/she/it is a myth.”God” doesn’t know anything. People do. That’s why I’m talking to you, not the ceiling.

OMG! You called me a fool! Why, I’ve never, ever had that happen before. Again, I reject the authority of the Bible, so I don’t care what it says. I’m more concerned with what my God, Polly Gerencser, 🤣 says than a fictional deity.

I’d be more than happy to discuss with you the Bible itself: its nature, history, inerrancy, infallibility, immoral teachings. Better yet, I will gladly pay for one of Dr. Bart Ehrman’s books on these things and have it shipped to you. Ehrman, a NT scholar at the University of North Carolina, is an expert on these issues.

I don’t like the pants you are wearing! Tough poop, you say? So it is with people who try to police language.

SS: So you going to take the words of a man than Jesus. I did not call you a fool…I quoted you a Bible verse. I leave you with Psalms 118 verse 8…It is better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in man. Praying God opens your eyes to the truth…if it be God’s will.

Bruce: you do know Jesus never wrote anything, right? Not one word. We have no idea what Jesus said. The gospels were written by unknown authors 30-80 years after the death of Jesus; that the oldest copies of the gospel manuscripts — copies of copies of copies — were written 300-400 years after Christ’s death. There’s no evidence for the claim Jesus spoke the words in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. I know you have heard differently, but what you have been told is not true (and most educated preachers know it’s not true).

You put your trust in “men” all the time. Even with religion, you put your trust in preachers, teachers, and books. The Bible is a compilation of books, all written by, mostly unknown, men. Most of the books of the Bible were not written by the men whose names are attached to them. Seminary and college-trained preachers know this, yet they hide the facts about the Bible from their congregants. They lie because they don’t want church members to lose “faith” in God/Bible. Truth matters, and pastors owe it to people to tell them the truth about the nature and history of the Bible.

My offer of a Bart Ehrman book stands. I’ll even give you a copy of one of his books that you can pick up from my home in Ney. I’ll put it on my front porch so you don’t even have to talk to me. Surely, truth matters to you. If your faith is as strong as you claim it is, surely a “book” won’t harm you. You deserve to know the truth about the allegedly inerrant, infallible Bible. Let me know.

SS: your belief and trust is in man and in the world….I believe and trust in Jesus the creator. Praying for your eyes to be opened.

Bruce: no, you trust in “men” too. When you go to the doctor, dentist, lawyer, or auto mechanic, you put your faith and trust in “men.” You do this countless times every day. If not, you’d sit in a corner of your home, waiting for God to do everything for you.

My eyes are wide open, friend. That’s why I’m an agnostic atheist and a humanist. You keep wanting me to return to the garlic and leeks of Egypt. No thanks. Why would I ever want to return to slavery and bondage? My life is better in every way post-Jesus.

But, by all means, keep praying. We will what kind of pull you have with the triune God.

My offer of a Bart Ehrman book still stands.

SS: for someone who supposedly believed has turned so easily. Peter 1 verse 21 …For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Question what made you change from supposedly loving Jesus to hating Jesus? For your 25 years of a being a so called pastor nothing but a big lie in your eyes. Shame on you for being a wolf in sheep clothing. You can keep your Satanic books written by world centered scholar. Always, praying God’s will be done not mine.

Bruce: I have written extensively about my story. Seek and ye shall find. I’ve provided numerous links on this post.

There is a difference between a claim and evidence. Quoting a Bible verse is a claim. Where’s the evidence for the truthfulness of your claim? Just because you said so?

I wasn’t a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Just ask any of the people I pastored. Sadly, you have refused to answer any of the challenges or questions I offered up. Instead, you resort to insults and proof texting. I am used to such treatment from Evangelicals. When someone can provide no evidence for his claims, instead of admitting this, he attacks his interlocutor.

You are so certain you are right, that you fear reading anything that might challenge your Fundamentalist assumptions. It’s just a book. Surely, your God is more powerful than a book.

SS: both the man and the woman will answer for their choice…Nobody has the right to kill an innocent baby .

Bruce: according to the Bible, babies aren’t “innocent.”

In Genesis 6-9, we have the story of Noah and the Flood. God killed everyone on earth save eight people. Did God kill any “innocent” babies?

SS: glad you found your Bible…now let’s see if can read some Bible…Question …How do you know if there were any children at that time? Everyone is born in sin..a baby is considered to be innocent until the holy ghost convicts their heart and let’s them know that they are a sinner….and they need salvation. Being supposedly a pastor, you know this. Have you ever in your 50 years of studying the bible…heard the age of accountability? You should…So sad….for your lack of knowledge.

Bruce: why do you seem to be incapable of interacting with people you disagree with without insulting them?

Actually, there are several different views of the age of accountability. Most Evangelicals don’t believe babies become sinners, they are sinners (from conception). “I was shaken in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

Regardless, the age of accountability is a red herring that has nothing to do with God killing innocent people. I used the word in a colloquial sense, as you did.

Based on Genesis 6-9, God killed innocent babies. Many scholars believe upwards of 6 million people were killed in the flood. Are you really suggesting that there were no fetuses, babies, young children, or developmentally disabled people killed in the flood?

SS: 1 Timothy 6: 20 and 21. ..O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

For your information you are one who said that you were smarter than me and God. I just asked a question if you have 25 years of being a pastor and 50 years of studying …why is understanding and knowledge of the Bible lacking.

So sorry your feelings got in the way of our discussing the truth.

Listen…Jesus is my Lord and Savior…I pray to God everyday thanking him for saving a sinner like me.

Obviously, the only thing you want to do is argue a point that has been settled along time ago….bye…still God will open your eyes before its too late.

SS: Hey you need to hang around with Bruce because both of you: hate the Bible, believe in abortion and can’t handle the truth…..praying God will open your eyes before its too late…..bye…got better things to do…

Bruce: feelings? Nope, you are an amateur compared to other Evangelical assholes over the years. Most of you seem incapable of having a discussion without hurling insults or attacking someone’s character. Please go to the Bible and find out what it says about your behavior. Start with the fruit of the Spirit, the sermon on the Mount, and what Jesus said about how you should treat your enemies. You might also want to check out what Paul said about “corrupt communication.”

This is my last comment.

Be well.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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.

Connect with me on social media:

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.

Friend Me on Facebook

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Last year, tired of dealing with trolls and insufferable Evangelical zealots, I left Facebook. Unfortunately, this move cut me off from many of my friends and family members. So, I have decided to return to Facebook. If you are inclined to do so, please send me a friend request. I am interested in friendships with people who regularly read my writing and support the work I do. I am NOT interested in friendships with trolls and apologists. I treat Facebook like the corner pub on a Friday night; a noisy boisterous place to hang out with family, friends, and acquaintances.

You can find my social media profiles here:

I look forward to interacting with you on Facebook.

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bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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.

Connect with me on social media:

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.

I Am No Longer on Social Media

social media

I recently closed all my social media accounts. This will allow me to focus my attention on this site instead of dealing with multiple streams of comments and messages. If people want to comment on something I have written, they will have to do so here. Further, if people want to email me, they will have to do so through the Contact Form. My health continues to be the tail that wags the dog, so I’m being increasingly forced to focus on essentials, cutting out superfluous services and activities.

Thank you for your understanding.

Let me conclude this post with a bit of stupidity from Evangelical Christian John Fanortney (likely a fake name). You can read my previous post about Fanortney here.

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Fanortney posted his last comment hours after I closed my YouTube account. If you close your YouTube account, your comments are deleted. Instead of recognizing and understanding this, Little Lord John Fanortney thinks I deleted my comments due to his withering exposure of my inconsistencies and leftist ideas. Sure, Johnny boy, sure. 🙂

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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.

Connect with me on social media:

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.

Armchair Evangelical Psychologists

armchair psychology

When I started blogging in 2007, I made the decision to use my real name as I attempted to tell my story. I also decided that I would not protect the guilty. Since Evangelical churches, pastors, parachurch groups and the college I attended are a part of my storyline, I decided their names should be part of my story. Doing this has upset a lot of people, especially when a web search for their name, church, or group brings up my blog on the first page.

If you take time to search for websites mentioning my name, you will find sites with articles deconstructing my life. You will also find my name and articles mentioned on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Free Jinger, Reddit, and a number of public/private sites.

Since I write using my real name, and I am the only Bruce Gerencser in the world, it is not hard to find a wealth of information, positive and negative. I knew when I started blogging that I would open myself up to intense scrutiny. I knew that people would lie about me, distort my story, and try to besmirch my character. This is the price I pay for being a public figure.

Those of you who have read this blog for years know I stopped blogging several times when the emotional and mental stress became too much. (That I have been blogging now for six years straight is nothing short of a miracle.) What changed? Thanks to me seeing a counselor on a regular basis, I have learned to handle the stress that comes from having a public blog that is widely read. This doesn’t mean that I plan on blogging until Jesus comes again, but I hope I have enough mental and emotional wherewithal to withstand the pressures that come my way. If anything puts an end to my writing career it will be chronic illness and unrelenting pain. Recent health circumstances have had me circling the proverbial blogging drain, but, so far, I have been able to find the stopper, keeping me from disappearing. No promises, but I live for another day.

Several years ago, a man by the name of Steve Ransom sent me an email that I shared with readers in a post titled Steve Ransom Lays Down a Challenge to Bruce and His Fellow Atheists. He purported to have a new argument that he was sure would set me back on the right path to God. All he really had was a deconstruction of my life, and how I had followed a false God. There was a time such a deconstruction would cause me mental and emotional angst. Not anymore.

When I started blogging, I thought if I just told my story people would understand, even if they disagreed with me. I thought if I just explained myself, that my critics would at least understand my viewpoint. I know, I know, quite naïve of me.

This subject came up one day during counseling. I expressed my dismay over Evangelicals not being willing to accept my explanation of my life. Who knows my life better than me, right? My counselor told me:

Bruce, you think they care what you think? They don’t give a shit about what you think.

And he is right. I know that those who tear into my life aren’t interested in anything I have to say. They have read a handful of posts, maybe even twenty-five or thirty, and they are now ready to render judgment, and render they do. It’s happened countless times over the years, and it will happen in future. Evangelicals can’t help themselves, so I let them have one opportunity to say whatever is on their mind. One comment, that’s it. Then it is time for them to move on.

There was a time when I engaged every Evangelical commenter. I thought if I just explained myself, they would understand. I now know better. Now that I know they don’t give a shit, neither do I.

Of particular note are Evangelical critics who think they have me figured out psychologically. Instead of accepting at face value my explanation for why I left the ministry and left Christianity, they delve into what they believe are the psychological reasons for my divorce from Jesus and my abandonment of the church. According to them, I abandoned all I loved and held dear because I was angry, bitter, jaded, hated God, ad infinitum. Instead of accepting at face value what I say about my Evangelical past, these critics, use a nit comb to go through my life, looking for the “real” reason I am an atheist today. 

I used to try to answer such people, but after years of doing so, I decided to leave them to their own devices. I know that nothing I say will change their minds, so why bother, right? Such people are not my target audience, so why give one moment of my time to them. I remain committed to helping those who have doubts about Christianity and those who have left the faith. They are my church, not those who sit in the back pews throwing horse shit at me as I share my life’s story.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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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This Week With Christians on Social Media

social media

Guest post by ObstacleChick

I didn’t even make it through a week before finding a lot of really good Jesus-ified quotes. My personal favorites are the pumpkin quote and the one in which the writer believes that Jesus/God prevented all sorts of awful atrocities before they happened. Let me know your favorites and your thoughts in the comments!

“Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked about it?”

OC: Can Christians stop talking about praying? Why can’t they just go pray in private? That’s what Jesus would do . . . he even said so.

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch and brings you in (John 15:16). Then washes all the dirt off of you. (2 Corinthians 5:17). He opens you up and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed, etc. (Romans 6:6). Then he carves you a new smiling face (Psalm 71:23). And he puts his light inside you to shine for all the world to see (Matthew 5:16).”

OC: . . . And when Halloween is over, you sit on the front porch and rot until someone throws you in the garbage.

“You don’t have to please others. Just do what God wants you to do, because at the end of the day, it is only He who can satisfy your heart. Not the approval or applause of other people.”

OC: I kind of like it when other people applaud. . . and I haven’t heard God applaud. He’s pretty silent. Silent God.

“He who counts the stars and calls them by their names is in no danger of forgetting his own children.” – Charles Spurgeon

OC: Nah, he doesn’t forget him, he just lets awful things happen to them.

“Trust me, I know what I’m doing — God”

OC: God, you sure have a terrible way of showing it — hurricanes, cancer, children being abused, accidents that you could have prevented . . .

“When you pray be sure that you also listen. You have things you want to say to God. But He also has things He wants to say to you.”

OC: He needs to speak up — I never could hear him. Maybe he should have sent me an email.

“I believe the time is coming when we will not be able to take our Christianity as casually as we do now.” – A.W. Tozer

OC: I wish they’d all take it so casually that it would just go away. . .

“Have you ever stopped and wondered what God has done in your life that you aren’t even aware of? Maybe He healed you before you even knew you were sick. Perhaps He saved you from a fatal car crash that never happened. I have felt like God has protected me more times than I count, so I can only imagine how many times He has rescued me when I was unaware that I was even in danger. Take a moment to thank God for protecting you. He is always watching over you and He’s there for you even when you don’t realize it. What an awesome God we serve!”

OC: And your evidence that these sicknesses or illnesses that almost happened but didn’t happen because GOD intervened is what? That’s like me saying, oh, I almost won the lottery but then I didn’t because of the devil. Or sin. Or something.

“Simply believing in the existence of God is not exactly what I would call a commitment. After all, even the devil believes that God exists! Believing has to change the way we live.”

OC: Well, I’m an atheist and I don’t believe in the existence of either God or the devil. But just for the sake of argument – what is it about the existence of God that would provoke me to change the way I live? Fear of retribution? And you think that’s a good motivation?

“Dear God, please: 
Teach me.
Keep me.
Hold me.
Help me.
I want to be better than I was yesterday. 
Tomorrow is a new day! Repent and get closer to Jesus!”

OC: If I have a goal I want to achieve, I design or find a plan that lays out the steps I need to do in order to reach that goal. Reaching the goal is not always guaranteed, but the process of completing each step helps me to gain the skills or knowledge necessary to potentially reaching a goal. Never have I achieved a goal by sitting back, repenting to God/Jesus, and asking him/them to do all the work.

This Week With Christians on Social Media

social media

Guest post by ObstacleChick

Here are some fun religious quotes I found this week from my acquaintances on social media.

“When it’s not in God’s time, you can’t force it. When it is God’s time, you can’t stop it.”

OC: I recall that the Bible says that with God, a day is as 1,000 years and 1,000 years is as a day. I’m supposed to hang around for 1,000 years to see which it is? Wouldn’t it make sense if I took some action on my own?

“We must stop compromising the word of God to appease men, and begin guarding what was entrusted to us. Which is the absolute and infallible truth of God. – Adam Cappa”

OC: Because it’s just SOOOOOOO clear in the Bible what is the infallible truth of God.

“Be patient, everything is coming together – God”

OC: Another exhortation for me to hang around for a day or 1,000 years or whatever . . .

“Dear Jesus, help me to surrender my anxiety today, to quiet my mind and stop striving, so that I may see that You are God. Thank You!”

OC: Because seeing God is way better than seeing a therapist and taking Prozac.

“Trust Jesus when everybody seems to be getting a miracle but you. When you feel forsaken and yet remain faithful, you are the miracle. — Beth Moore, The Quest”

OC: Yet another exhortation to do more Jesusing for a day or 1,000 years instead of actually making a plan and taking action.

“If you want God to close and open the doors, let go of the door knob. — TobyMac”

OC: I’m seeing a trend among these quotes . . . sit back and don’t do jack.

“He turns coal into diamonds, sand into pearls, worms into butterflies. He can turn your life around too. — TobyMac”

OC: Translation: we humans are lesser, yuckier things that need Jesus to make us into something better.

“One day there will be no going back to life as usual. One day there will be no more night and no more dying of any kind. The sea and the grave, death and Hades will have given up their dead and the righteous Judge will have assigned final destinies (Rev. 20:11-15). When that eternal day comes I suspect we who were saved from our sins by the blood of Christ will ponder this life and wonder how we ever really called it ‘being alive.’ — Beth Moore, The Quest”

OC: What she really wants to say is that all the SAVED will be partying it up in heaven and saying na-na-na-na-boo-boo to all the unsaved who are suffering eternal torture in HELL for not believing the correct doctrines.

“There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain that binds you!”

OC: Or you could just hit the weight room a little more often. . .

“Stop listening to every dysfunctional thought and tell your mind to align with the word of God.”

OC: Because there isn’t anything dysfunctional in the Bible, the Word of God, no-sir-ee Bob!

Bruce Gerencser