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Bruce, If Christianity Doesn’t Matter, Why Do You Bother With It?

leonard the atheist

Bruce, if Christianity doesn’t matter, why do you bother with it?

Good question.

On one hand, Christianity doesn’t matter. The Bible doesn’t matter. Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God, the Church, none of it matters.

If Christians want to worship their God, I have no objection.  I subscribe to the “live and let live” school of thought. Each to his own. May Jesus be with you. May the force be with you. May nothing be with you. I don’t care.

However . . .

I do care about the influence Evangelical (and conservative Catholic) Christianity has on our culture and government. I do care about the damage done to society in the name of the Christian God. I do care when people are hurt, maimed, and killed in the name of the Christian God.

When Christians want to turn the United States into a theocracy . . . it matters.

When Christians want their religion to have preference over any and all others . . . it matters.

When Christians demand atheists and agnostics be treated as the spawn of Satan . . . it matters.

When Christians attempt to teach religious dogma as scientific fact in public schools . . . it matters.

When Christians attempt to force their religious moral code on everyone . . . it matters.

When Christians attempt to stand in the way of my pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness . . . it matters.

When Christians abuse and molest children in the name of their God . . . it matters.

When Christians wage wars thousands of miles away in the name of their God . . . it matters.

When Christians mentally and emotionally abuse people . . . it matters.

When Christians expects preferential treatment because of whom they worship . . . it matters.

When Christians support fascism, white supremacism, and anti-LGBTQ policies . . . it matters.

As long as Christians continue to force themselves on others, and as long as they attack and demean non-Christians . . . it matters.

As long as pastors and churches get preferential tax code treatment . . . it matters.

That said . . .

As to whom you worship and where? It doesn’t matter.

As to what sacred text you read and follow? It doesn’t matter.

I want all Christians to have the absolute freedom to worship their God.

And . . .

I want that same freedom to worship another god, or NOT worship any God . . .

And as long as that courtesy is not extended to me and to every human being on the earth . . .

It matters.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Hey Girlfriend, Jesus is Way More Muscular than Your Boyfriend

manly jesus

Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Paula Hendricks, a writer for the Lies Young Women Believe, had this to say about Jesus’ muscles:

Video Link

According to Hendricks, big biceps come from Jesus, and no matter how big a man’s muscles are, Jesus’ muscles are b-i-g-g-e-r. Jesus even has bigger muscles than Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, when Arnold said, I’ll be back, he kept his word. Jesus? 2,000 years later, we are still waiting.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Hey Girlfriend, When You Feel Tempted to Hug Your Boyfriend . . .

christian side hug

Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Hey girlfriend, when you feel tempted to hug your boyfriend, hug your dad, brother, sister, or an old lady in the church instead. Nothing quenches sexual desire like hugging a male family member or ancient Sister Bertha, right?

Paula Hendricks, a writer for the Lies Young Women Believe website, had this to say to young women who doubted an invisible Jesus could meet their sexual longings and desires:

 Apparently I’m not the only one who has wondered how God can satisfy when all I want is a pair of strong arms to hold me close. Here’s what Rebecca wrote me:

“The biggest thing I think my crush can give me that God can’t is his strong arms wrapped around me. Although my crush has yet to hold me in his arms, his physical closeness sends shivers throughout my body. I know that God is always there for me . . . but sometimes my feelings get the better of me, and all I want to do is be wrapped up in my crush’s arms and attention.”

Grace added:

“I think what always gets me is that God isn’t physically there like a guy is. He can’t wrap his arms around me. Sometimes I just want that.”

And finally, Isabella said:

“I have often thought, I wish God could come down here and give me a big bear hug. Then I would really be in love with Him.”

But here’s the thing . . . He has come down! And while He was here, He picked up kids and cradled them in His arms. (You have to admit, that shows a tender heart—few guys walk around doing the same thing!)

I know He’s not physically here now…But one day soon, we will see Him. We will be with Him.

When Christ comes again to “marry” the Church, His Bride, He will likely hold us too…

…Now that is something to look forward to! Jesus Christ is not an idea; He is a Person. A Divine Person with arms and legs and beautiful probing eyes. He loves you. Enough to spread His arms wide in order to bleed so you might be healed. And if you have put your trust in His death and resurrection on your behalf, you will soon see and know Him fully.

So in the meantime, as you wait for Him, by all means, hug! No, not your crush. Hug your dad. Hug your mom. Hug your brothers and sisters. Hug your friends. Hug those old ladies at church…

I wonder if Hendricks has heard about the Christian side hug, a type of hug sexually aware, virgin Evangelical young people can give one another without causing sexual stirring or lust?

Video Link

Rational Wiki describes the Christian side hug this way:

The Christian side hug is a means by which young Christians can show affection for each other without engaging in possibly tempting and impure front-to-front contact.

Instead of hugging face-to-face, the huggers stand side-by-side, and can be facing either the same way or in opposite directions. Unlike frontal hugging, side hugs minimize the risk of an eternal damnation which could result from possible incidental contact with a boob or penis of somebody to whom one is not married.

For extra affection, the side hug may be accompanied by a few non-contact blessing pats. If even the side hug is too intense, you can work up to it coyly with this elaborate sequence of gestures. There’s even a Christian side hug rap, which attracted the attention of The Young Turks. The degree of parody and satire intended in the rap version is unknown, but that doesn’t make it any better.

Several years ago, I wrote about the Six Inch Rule, a regulation used at Midwestern Baptist College — the college Polly and I attended in the 1970s — to keep young adults from touching one another. It proved to be a dismal failure. I don’t know of one couple who lived in the Midwestern Baptist College dorm when Polly and I did who didn’t violate the spirit and the letter of the six-inch rule. Something tells me — oh like common sense — that teenagers and young adults are still failing at keeping the touching prohibitions of Evangelical moralizers such as Paula Hendricks. Why, you ask? Simple. We are sexual beings and we desire physical, intimate contact with others. All the sweet, sexy Jesus in the world won’t quench human sexual desire. When it comes to choosing between sexual intimacy and Jesus, my money is on sexual intimacy.

jesus hug

What makes writers like Paula Hendricks so harmful is that they encourage teen girls and young women to act against their nature. They encourage them to repress their sexual desires. Sadly, when these girls later marry, they often bring a warped view of physical intimacy and sex into the marriage (and men can do the same).  Marriage is tough enough without starting life with sexual dysfunction. Instead of teaching teenagers and young adults to repress their sexual desires, they should be encouraged to responsibly act on their desires, starting with a hug or a kiss. If there is more to the relationship, then they can determine where to go from there. There are three bases between the batter’s box and home. Hendricks wants unmarried teens and adults to stand in the batter’s box, never moving or swinging when the pitch comes their way. No running to first, rounding second, sprinting around third, and sliding into home. Not a very fun or interesting game, yes?

Contrary to Paula Hendricks’ horrible advice, hugging is not a gateway to sexual intercourse. Teenagers and young adults can sexually experiment without having intercourse. And if they decide to slide into home base, the best advice to give them is on how to be sexually responsible and use birth control. Of course, this advice must be given to them BEFORE they are rounding third and heading for home. In fact, before they even get to first base, wouldn’t it be better to prepare single teenagers and young adults for their sexual future?

Hendricks now sports the last name Marsteller. She’s married, and I suspect is regularly playing baseball with her husband. I wonder if she touched her husband before they married?

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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What Kind of Christian Are You?

heaven and hell

Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.

I am often accused of lumping all Christians together.

I’m not like those nasty, hateful, judgmental Christians who comment on your blog, says the Good Christian.

Fair enough.

But, let me ask one question.

When I die, will I go to Heaven or Hell?

Well, that’s up to . . . stop it.

When I die, will I go to Heaven or Hell?

I reject your God, Jesus, salvation, and Bible.

I reject the notion that Jesus was God, was crucified, and resurrected from the dead three days later.

With my whole heart, I reject every teaching that is central to what it means to be Christian.

I reject the Christian concept of sin. I have no need of atonement, redemption, or salvation.

So, I ask again, When I die, will I go to Heaven or Hell?

How you answer this question determines what kind of Christian you are.

The Phelps clan, with all the viciousness of a starving rabid dog, screams that I will go straight to Hell when I die and I will be tortured by God in a place where the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched. 

How about you, Christian friend? What say ye?  When I die, will I go to Heaven or Hell?

You can be the nicest person in the world, but if you believe that non-Christians go to Hell when they die, you are not really any different from the Phelps clan. 

If you answer my question with the word Hell, then you are just like those nasty, hateful Christians you say are “bad” Christians. You may wear fashion designer clothes, smell great, and have the best smile money can buy, but if your answer to my question is “Hell,” then you are no different from the trailer park trash Christians you say aren’t part of your family. 

Virtually every Christian sect believes that eternal punishment awaits atheists. I am an atheist, proudly so. I ask you, again, When I die, will I go to Heaven or Hell?

Your answer tells me all I need to know. 

It really is that simple.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Music Leader Edward Thompson Convicted of Sex Crimes

edward thompson

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Edward Thompson, a music ministry leader at Christ Fellowship Church in Eugene, Oregon, and a former member of Eugene Faith Center, was convicted of “repeated acts of rape, sodomy and sexual abuse of a child” that started when the victim was a toddler. Thompson was sentenced to life in prison.

KVAL-13 reports:

A jury found Edward Samuel Thompson of Eugene guilty after a week-long trial earlier this month.

The jury convicted Thompson on charges of: 4 counts of Rape in the First Degree,Sodomy in the First Degree, 5 counts of Sex Abuse in the First Degree.

Thompson was sentenced Tuesday afternoon to 125 years in prison.

Prosecutors say the charges stemmed from “repeated acts of rape, sodomy and sexual abuse of a child.”

“The abuse began when the victim was a toddler, spanning from 2012 to 2018,” the Lane County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “The District Attorney’s Office appreciates Presiding Judge Debra Vogt’s recognition of the seriousness in this matter and reflecting that in sentencing Mr. Thompson.”

Thompson had been a leader in Eugene church communities.

“At the time of his arrest, it was reported that Thompson was a long-term member and a music ministry leader at Christ Fellowship Church in Eugene and former member of Eugene Faith Center,” Eugene Police said.

In 2018, Thompson was arrested on federal child pornography charges. A FBI news release stated at the time:

FBI agents and Eugene Police officers arrested Edward Samuel Thompson, age 38, at his Eugene home on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, following the service of a federal search warrant. Agents filed a criminal complaint against Thompson, charging him with accessing, receiving, possessing, and distributing child pornography. The arrest was without incident.

At his initial appearance on Tuesday, August 21, a federal magistrate ordered Thompson held. He is currently lodged at the Springfield Municipal Jail.

Thompson is a long-time member and a music ministry leader at Christ Fellowship Church in Eugene and former member of Eugene Faith Center where he still plays on a volleyball team at the church. The FBI offers this advice to concerned community members:

Parents who have a child who has come in contact with Thompson should let that child know that Thompson has been arrested for inappropriate behavior. Parents should tell that child that if Thompson did, or said, anything inappropriate to the child to let the parents know. If a child discloses an incident that did happen to him or her or that the child observed an innappropriate incident happen to someone else, the parent should not ask the child detailed questions about the incident. Instead, please contact Eugene Police Detective Chris Mackey at (541) 682-5175 or call the FBI at (541) 343-5222.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Mike Jenkins Found Guilty of Sexual Abuse

pastor mike jenkins

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

William “Mike” Jenkins, pastor of New Season Church in Townley, Alabama, was convicted of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor (a misdemeanor) on Thursday, and sentenced to one year in jail and fined $5,000. Jenkins is also a transportation supervisor for the Jasper City Board of Education.

The Daily Mountain Eagle reports:

A transportation supervisor for the Jasper City Board of Education and pastor was found guilty Thursday of sexual abuse of a minor.

William M. Jenkins, 58, of Nauvoo, was sentenced by District Judge Henry Allred to one year in the Walker County Jail on the charge of sexual abuse in the second degree, a misdemeanor. According to a court order dated Nov. 19, Jenkins pleaded not guilty. 

In addition to jail time, Jenkins is ordered to pay $5,000 in fines.

….

Jenkins was initially arrested on Sept. 30, 2019, and charged with second-degree sexual abuse. 

A complaint, dated Sept. 26, 2019, alleges that on or about June 15 of last year, Jenkins had sexual contact with a 14-year-old female, inappropriately touching her genitals underneath her clothing. 

It is unclear where the alleged assault occurred.

In addition to working for Jasper City Schools, Jenkins is a pastor at New Season Church in Townley. 

Jasper City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson said she will be recommending to the school board that Jenkins be terminated of his position with the school system.  

Jenkins appealed his conviction, and is currently out of jail awaiting a jury trial.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren Says Only God Can Kill Us

calvin and hobbes death

Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Several years ago, Southern Baptist Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, came out in opposition to California Senate Bill 128. If passed, the bill would have given terminally ill Californians the right to terminate their own lives. Warren, whose son committed suicide in 2013, thinks that none of us should have the right to determine when we die. According to the Purpose Driven pastor:

“I oppose this law as a theologian and as the father of a son who took his life after struggling with mental illness for 27 years.”

“The prospect of dying can be frightening, but we belong to God, and death and life are in God’s hands…We need to make a radical commitment to be there for those who are dying in our lives.”

According to the Death with Dignity National Center:

SB 128 would allow patients who are mentally competent and have fewer than six months to live, as determined by two physicians, to obtain prescriptions for medication to end their lives in a humane and peaceful manner, while protecting the vulnerable with strict guidelines and procedures.

Warren’s comments illustrate, once again, why there must be a strict separation between church and state. While Warren might find some vicarious purpose and meaning in suffering, many Americans do not. In Warren’s world, the Christian God is sovereign over all, including life and death. Warren tries to frame his objection as “wanting to be there for those who are dying,” but I suspect there are many Californians who have no need of Pastor Warren or any other pastor or priest “being there” for them during the last days of their life.

While the government certainly has an interest in protecting those who are vulnerable, mentally ill, or unable to make a rational decision, I see no compelling reason for government to forbid the terminally ill from ending their lives through drugs provided by their physician. Warren is free to suffer until the bitter end. He is certainly free to let cancer eat away at his organs or allow ALS to turn him into a vegetable. If that’s what his God demands of him, far be it from me to deny him the right. However, millions of Californians do not worship Warren’s God, nor do they have such a “Biblical” view of suffering, death, and pain.

right to die

Chronic illness and pain are my “dark passengers,” to quote Dexter, the serial killer. I fully expect that I will continue, health-wise, to decline. I see no cure on the horizon, and I highly doubt God is going to send Benny Hinn to fake heal me. There could come a day when I no longer desire to live in what Christians call this “house of clay.” I am sound of mind — okay, mostly sound of mind. Since God is not my co-pilot and I have no desire to be a poster child for suffering, shouldn’t I be allowed to determine, on my own terms, how and when I end my life?

Perhaps I will never reach the place where the reasons for living are no longer enough to keep me alive. There are days when my pain is unbearable and I ponder what death will be like. THE END. Lights out. I have the means of death at my disposal. I take medications that would surely do the trick, but maybe not. Perhaps they wouldn’t quite send me and Toto to the other side. Then Polly would be left with a brain-dead vegetable of a husband. Wouldn’t it better for a doctor to prescribe drugs that are sure to do the trick? If we can execute murderers (against their will), surely we can help the terminally ill die when they want to call it a night. Wouldn’t this be the compassionate thing to do?

Many people are opposed to assisted suicide for religious or philosophical reasons. By all means, suffer to your heart’s content, but you have no right to demand that others play by the rules of your religion or philosophy. I hope the California legislature will not allow Evangelicals and Catholics to pressure them into not giving the terminally ill a death with dignity option. The dying should have the right to determine when and where the show ends. (Please read Dying with Dignity.)

This post was originally written in 2015. The California legislature and then-governor Jerry Brown, after legal challenges by religious zealots, successfully enacted and put into effect the California End of Life Option Act. God loses again.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Short Stories: Down the Hill in Chula Vista

chula vista 1960s
Chula Vista, early 1960s. Front Row: My brother Bobby, my sister Robin, friend of Marijene’s, Aunt Marijene, and Butch. Back Row: Neighbor boy. Gotta love my gun, hat, and vest.

In the early 1960s, my dad packed up Mom and me, along with my younger brother and sister, and moved us to California. Dad was certain that California was a land of rainbows, and that a pot of gold awaited him in the Golden State. Three years later, as broke as when he arrived, Dad moved us back to Bryan, Ohio. In fact, Dad was so broke that he had to trade his pocket watch for a tank of gas in Illinois — just enough fuel to get us to Bryan.

We lived in several houses in California, one of which was a sprawling ranch house on a hill in Chula Vista. One day, my grandmother, Jeanette Rausch, and her daughter, Marijene, came to visit us. While Grandma and Mom were talking, my siblings and I went outside to play; “play” being climbing in the front seat of Grandma’s car.

I was sitting on the driver’s side of the car, and my sibling were next to me. I am sure both of them would say that it was no surprise that Butch (my family nickname) was in the driver’s seat. I was ALWAYS in the driver’s seat; the boss; the “man” in charge.

I had not yet shut the driver’s side door when I decided — as ornery six-year-old boys are wont to do — to grab the column shifter and put the transmission in neutral. Much to my youthful surprise, the car began rolling down the hill. Instead of trying to put the car in park or hit the brake, I bailed out of the open driver’s door, leaving Robin and Bobby in the car as it rolled down the hill.

The car picked up speed as it went down the hill, crashing through the neighbor’s fence and mowing over his beautiful poinsettias. The car continued rolling through his yard, ending up in the middle of the road at the bottom of the hill.

Payday for my crime was swift in coming. Grandma was livid. I remember hearing her hollering as she spanked Robin and Bobby. I received no such whipping. I denied being in the car, despite the protestations of my siblings. Somebody had to pay. I was sure glad it was Robin and Bobby.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Is the Bible All About God’s Love and Grace?

genocidal god

Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Several years ago, a Christian Fundamentalist by the name of Matt stopped by this blog to let me know what God and his servant Matt thought about me. After a week of comments, I finally banned Matt. You can read his comments here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. After I banned Matt, he wandered over to the Quakers and Jesus: A Spirituality of Love (no longer active), the blog of my Australian friend John Arthur.

Watching John and Matt go back and forth was quite entertaining. I’ve learned John is far more patient — most days — than I am, even when dealing with an intractable Fundamentalist who is certain he is absolutely right like Matt. (Please read The Intractability of Christian Fundamentalists.) In all the discussions on this site and John’s, Matt has not changed or moderated his viewpoint one bit. He is certain he is right. Why? Because he can read the Bible for himself. He has no need of books because he has THE book.

While there are any number of Matt’s comments that I could respond to, I want to focus on the following comment:

The wrathful God of the Old Testament and the loving God of the New Testament is a false dichotomy. The love of God is the central feature of both.  The story of the entire Bible is a story of grace. It is a concept foreign to every other religious worldview, but central to Christianity.

First, Matt lets readers know that there is one true religion — his. Now we don’t know for sure what that religion is because Matt refuses to say. My money is on Baptist or Church of Christ.

Second, Matt believes that the love of God is the central theme of both the Old and New Testaments. This line of argument is often used in an attempt to negate the charge that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament. According to Matt, there is one God, a God of love and grace. From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, the Bible is one long, sweet, and enduring love story. However, such a view is based on either a selective reading of the Bible or an attempt to make the Bible awkwardly fit the love/grace paradigm. As I will clearly show, not only is the God of the Bible not a God of love and grace, he is actually a vindictive, temperamental, genocidal son of a bitch. Richard Dawkins was right when he said:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

One of the reasons people deconvert from Christianity is their inability to reconcile the Old Testament God with the Jesus/God of the New Testament. While Jesus is certainly a much-improved version of God, particularly if one sticks to the gospels or the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reverts to the God of the Old Testament in the book of Revelation. Revelation is 17 chapters of God/Jesus opening can after can of whoop-ass and pouring it out on the earth. The slaughter and violence of God/Jesus far exceeds anything humanity, animals, and the earth have ever experienced. Billions of people will be killed, their only sin being the worship of the wrong God. Even the Jews, Jesus’ people, will face slaughter. Only those saved during the tribulation and subsequently martyred will escape the Lake of Fire.

Here are a few of the things God/Jesus promises to do come the end of the world:

  • 1/4 of the inhabitants of the earth will die of starvation
  • Earthquakes
  • Hail and fire mingled with blood will fall on the earth
  • 1/3 of the trees will be destroyed
  • All the green grass will be destroyed
  • 1/3 of the seas will turn to blood
  • 1/3 of the ships will be destroyed
  • 1/3 of marine life will be destroyed
  • 1/3 of the waters will be made undrinkable
  • 1/3 of the sun, moon, and stars will be darkened
  • Locusts that sting like a scorpion will sting earth’s inhabitants
  • 1/3 part of earth’s inhabitants will be killed by smoke, fire, and brimstone
  • Seas will be turned to blood and all marine life will die
  • Heat will scorch earth’s inhabitants
  • Earth’s inhabitants will be afflicted with painful sores
  • Islands and mountains will collapse
  • Large hail will fall on the earth
  • Those left? They will be slaughtered when Jesus returns to earth

I complied this list by briefly scanning the book of Revelation. There are many more things I could have added, but this list should suffice to prove that the God of “love” in the New Testament reverts to his Old Testament ways, killing everyone who does not worship him.

In the Old Testament, even a primary-age Sunday school student could prove false the notion that the God of the Old Testament is a God of love and grace. The 39 books of the Old Testament are a testament to the genocidal rage and violence of the Judeo-Christian God. One need only read Genesis 6-9 — Noah’s Ark and the Flood — to see how God responds to those who get on his bad side. God drowns millions of men, women, children, infants, and unborn fetuses, saving only Noah and seven family members. Where is God’s love and grace in this story? This is an ancient version of the modern “airliner crash, 250 killed, 1 survived” story. Christians focus on the miracle of the one survivor, ignoring the fact that God killed 250 people.

God continued his murderous ways when he slaughtered everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah, save Lot and his family. Then in the book of Exodus, we find God killing all the firstborn sons in Egypt. Only those who had animal blood applied to their doorposts escaped God’s killing spree. When Israel left Egypt, headed for the Promised Land, God commanded them to kill almost everyone who stood in their way. God especially had it out for the Canaanites, ordering the Israelites to slaughter the Canaanites whenever they encountered them.

Shall I go on?

There is no possible way for a rational person to maintain that the Old Testament God is a God of love and grace. I know every argument Evangelicals use in an attempt to make their God look good. All of them fail miserably. The God of the Old Testament, if he were human — and technically, he is — would be sitting on death row awaiting execution for murder and genocide. If he were human, none of us would want him as our father, family member, or friend.

The dichotomy between the Old Testament and New Testament Gods is one of the reasons I deconverted. I suspect the same could be said for many atheists and agnostics. If being a Christian requires embracing, accepting, and loving the God of the Old Testament and Revelation, no thanks! I have often wondered whether the Christian church rues the day they decided to make the Old Testament part of their canon of Scripture. Imagine how much simpler Christianity would be to defend if the Old Testament was tossed into the dustbin of human history. But the Old Testament is a part of the canon, and Evangelicals are left with the task of defending their psychopath Father. Good luck with that.

Imagine a person having no exposure to Christianity one day stumbling upon a book called the Old Testament. Would this person, by only reading this book, come to the same conclusions as Evangelicals? Would they conclude the Christian deities are Gods of love and grace? That a rhetorical, question, by the way.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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An Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Hate List

love not the world

Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.

The Bible says in 1 John 2:15,16

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Independent Fundamentalist Baptists (IFB) are taught to be anti-cultural — to hate the world. For all their talk about salvation by grace, IFB preachers preach a works gospel. If church members don’t obey the Bible – specifically the pastor’s interpretation and application of the Bible – they are considered rebellious, out of the will of God, backslidden or WORLDLY.

bought-by-the-blood, sanctified, sold-out, filled-with-the-Holy-Ghost, King-James-Bible-carrying Independent Baptist shuns the world. Instead, he embraces an alternative world, also known as the church family. Being a good member of the church family requires conformity to the pastor’s (I mean God’s) dictates. If the pastor hates something, you better hate it. After all, the Bible tells Christians that they should love what God loves and hate what God hates. Funny how people mistake the pastor for God.

What follows is a list of things I told church members they should hate. This list evolved over time, hitting its peak in the early 1990s and it slowly shrank after that. I find this list quite embarrassing, but it is what it is.

  1. Roman Catholics
  2. Charismatics
  3. Pentecostals
  4. Arminians
  5. Calvinists
  6. Denominational Baptists
  7. MTV
  8. Television
  9. HBO
  10. Secular radio
  11. Contemporary Christian music
  12. Christian TV
  13. Pagan holidays
  14. Rock and Roll music
  15. Country Music
  16. Long hair on men
  17. Short skirts on women
  18. Pants on women
  19. Shorts on women
  20. Smoking
  21. Alcohol
  22. Hollywood
  23. Atheism
  24. Secularism
  25. Humanism
  26. Pluralism
  27. Socialism
  28. Communism
  29. Liberals
  30. Progressives
  31. Democrats
  32. Bill Clinton
  33. Liberal Christian colleges
  34. Female preachers
  35. Effeminate male preachers
  36. Effeminate men
  37. Hen-pecked men
  38. Haughty women
  39. Psychiatry
  40. Church members who disagree with the pastor
  41. Premarital sex
  42. Extramarital sex
  43. Abortion
  44. Christmas
  45. Halloween
  46. Easter Bunny
  47. World Council of Churches
  48. National Association of Evangelicals
  49. Billy Graham
  50. NIV, NASB, NKJV, RSV, ESV, NLT
  51. The Living Bible
  52. Dancing
  53. Card Playing

The number one hate for the Independent Baptist? Self!

The Bible says IFB believers are to deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Jesus. Human beings, according to the Bible, are wicked, vile, evil, depraved sinners. We deserve having the wrath of God poured out on our heads. We deserve judgment and Hell.

Jesus, the eternal, sinless son of God, came to earth, died on the cross, and rose again from the dead three days later, so we could have our sins forgiven and go to Heaven when we die. Once God saves us, we are to spend the rest of our life groveling before a thrice-Holy God, praising him for delivering us from our wickedness and the world.

Every week, IFB believers go to their churches and listen to their pastors and teachers tell them more things they need to do, more works they need to perform, more laws they need to obey. Do this, do that. If you really, really love Jesus you will______________, their preacher says.

Loud sermons. Pulpit pounding. All for dramatic effect. It’s as if God is trying to pound the preacher’s words into their heads. Evidently the Holy Spirit works better if the preacher yells and is theatrical.

Is it any wonder that people raised in such an environment have low self-esteem? Many IFB preachers even preach AGAINST having self-esteem. Church members are taught to hate self so God can get all the glory. We wouldn’t want humans taking credit for anything, right? Well, there’s one thing church members can take credit for. Any good that happens — God gets all the credit. If bad things happen or someone screws up, it is all on IFB church members. God ain’t taking any credit for the bad shit.

I have spent the last twelve years trying to find myself. The flesh and blood Bruce Gerencser who spent a lifetime in the Evangelical church is dead. My being, my self-worth, was swallowed up by God, the church, and the ministry. My life was defined by the call of God. Nothing else mattered.

I left the ministry and told God to take a hike. At the time of our divorce, God and I were not on speaking terms. God owes me some money, but he refuses to pay up. All I asked for was some of the treasure I had in laid up in Heaven. Since I am going to Hell when I die, I thought it would be nice to have the treasure now so I could get some good use out of it.

Bit by bit I am finding out who I really am. It is not always pretty, but it is honest and authentic. Some people don’t like the new Bruce Gerencser. They want the old Bruce back. They still cling to the hope that my apostasy is just a phase, and that I will come back and be a better than ever pastor. What a testimony I could have, right? I could milk the “From Preacher to Atheist to Preacher” story for all its worth.

There is no going back. The Apostle Paul taught me to run the race that is before me, and that is what I am doing. The longer I run, the more distant Christianity appears behind me. I don’t know what lies ahead, but I DO know what lies behind, and I have no desire to return to the leeks (onions) and bondage of Egypt.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.