Pastor Hates Jesus after Reading Coyne’s Book

Bruce Gerencser was a pastor for 27 years until he started reading books with non-Christian viewpoints. One of the 5 most influential books in his conversion to atheism was Jerry Coyne’s book, Why Evolution is True. Bruce’s kids are no longer evangelicals and left the faith that he once taught them. He openly says he hates Jesus now.

Perhaps there is a Jesus somewhere that I could respect, a Jesus who might merit my devotion. For now, all I see is a Jesus who is worthy of derision, mockery, and hate. Yes, hate. It is this Jesus I hate. When the Jesus who genuinely loves humanity and cares for the least of these shows up let me know. In the mean time, I hate Jesus.

Bruce Gerencser

Though I’m a creationist, I’ve generally not had a high opinion of the clergy (especially now in light of the child molestation scandals in the Roman Catholic church). Most clerics strike me as closed-minded and not very well exposed to critical thinking and examination. In other words, they are often the least qualified to lead others to the truth. They are usually the focal point of social clubs that need an excuse to gather — but bastions of critical thinking? Usually not. A few of them which I’ve known personally are sociopaths.

Many pastors adopt a set of beliefs which they preach in front of congregations, but they can’t defend them very well when confronted. Gerencser strikes me as an example of someone who folded his claims once what he preached was exposed to scrutiny. I commend him for exploring opposing ideas and living by what he believes, though I don’t agree with his conclusions.

But this highlights how pastors and parishioners in the modern day seem to care very little about opening their eyes to the difficulties presented by empirical and archaeological facts and coming to terms with how sketchy the evidence is for their beliefs. Seems that many, when they actually do open their eyes, lose faith. Many believers have confided to me they prefer to close their eyes to the evidential and conceptual difficulties lest they lose faith.

I shared a similar journey to Gerencser when I was briefly an agnostic circa 2001, but he and I ended up in different destinations because of our eventual views on evolutionary theory. If I had been persuaded that evolutionary theory and OOL theories were generally correct, I’d probably be right there where Gerencser is today.

NOTES:

1. http://brucegerencser.net/why-i-hate-jesus/

2. http://brucegerencser.net/2015/02/biologist-jerry-coyne-mentioned-my-deconversion-story-on-his-blog/

3. I’ve been blessed to have some outstanding pastors who were ex-atheists. I get along much better with those who were raised in non-Christian homes before becoming Christians. They don’t seem like the brainwashed variety of believer that I often see in many church circles.

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24 thoughts on “Pastor Hates Jesus after Reading Coyne’s Book

  1. Thank God he didn’t start hating Coyne after reading Coyne’s book, even though that would have been more logical.

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  2. But this highlights how pastors and parishioners in the modern day seem to care very little about opening their eyes to the difficulties presented by empirical and archaeological facts and coming to terms with how sketchy the evidence is for their beliefs. Seems that many, when they actually do open their eyes, lose faith. Many believers have confided to me they prefer to close their eyes to the evidential and conceptual difficulties lest they lose faith.

    Here’s a question: why don’t pastors and parishioners turn to liberal Christianity, like that of Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, Karen Armstrong, or John Shelby Spong? Or, for those who find some tension between Darwinism and Christianity, why not turn to Michael Ruse, Kenneth Miller, or Francis Collins?

    It seems to me that liberal Christianity has a worked-out, coherent position that reconciles faith with the evidential and conceptual challenges posed by archaeology and other relevant sciences. The rejection of the liberal option seems to have been quite disastrous for contemporary American religiosity — as we see with the rise of “The Nones” among Millennials.

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  3. KN,

    As an aside, I was late in thanking you for something. It’s possible it got buried in all Gregory postings:

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/the-problem-of-evil-revisited/comment-page-2/#comment-97354

    To answer your question, I surprisingly don’t care much for theological answers or edicts from the clergy on empirical or historical matters. I don’t owe much of my present views to the clergy.

    In fact, I’ve often resented how indifferent many church circles are to the whole question of evolution and creation. I’ve been shown the door in some local in Inter-Varsity chapters for wanting to raise the issue at all.

    People like Denton (agnostic), Shutzenberger (no stated belief I can find), Yockey (no stated belief I can find), Hoyle (agnostic/atheist), etc. were very influential in forming my present views.

    Baylor is supposedly a conservative Christian college. It’s evident how Robert Marks and Bill Dembski were treated there until a change in administration. The situation in conservative churches is not as monolithic as it may appear in the press.

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  4. He openly says he hates Jesus now.

    The main problem isn’t Jesus — it’s conservative Christianity, which is pretty much the anti-Jesus.

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  5. Neil Rickert: The main problem isn’t Jesus — it’s conservative Christianity, which is pretty much the anti-Jesus.

    Not being a Christian, I question my own right to have an opinion on this subject — but I’m inclined to agree nevertheless.

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  6. Neil Rickert: The main problem isn’t Jesus — it’s conservative Christianity, which is pretty much the anti-Jesus.

    I personally think the propensity to hate is orthogonal to theology and ideology. People who hate will always find something.

    There are people posting here who hate atheists.

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  7. Neil Rickert: The main problem isn’t Jesus — it’s conservative Christianity, which is pretty much the anti-Jesus.

    Yeah, look at that shitlord Jerry Falwell Jr saying all his university students should arm themselves so they can open fire on Muslims.

    Whatever happened to the teachings of the Christ he is supposedly following?

    Whatever happened to “blessed are the peacemakers”? To “turn the other cheek”? To Jesus scolding Peter: “Put your sword away!”?

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  8. petrushka: There are people posting here who hate atheists.

    I don’t understand why the atheists here hate the other atheists here. 🙂

    Well, if one of them is keiths, I guess I can.

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  9. hotshoe_: Yeah, look at that shitlord Jerry Falwell Jr saying all his university students should arm themselves so they can open fire on Muslims.

    Did he really say such a thing? That is just so wrong. Jesus wept.

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  10. Kantian Naturalist: Not being a Christian, I question my own right to have an opinion on this subject

    Being a Christian, I question your right to have an opinion on any subject. 😉

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  11. Mung: Did he really say such a thing? That is just so wrong. Jesus wept.

    “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here,” President Jerry Falwell Jr told an estimated 10,000 students at the weekly convocation held on Friday in Lynchburg.

    “I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,”

    Guardian news article

    Jerry’s whole convocation speech is on youtube. I can’t stand to listen to him talk at length, but I trust that news source to be accurate.

    To be fair, it’s clear he’s talking about shooting armed potential terrorists, not every innocent Muslim who happens to walk by … but that’s still an attitude which is so full of moral and practical problems that I don’t even know where to begin.

    It’s certainly not very Christ-loving.

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  12. And I don’t think it matters. I agree with you that Christians packing guns is deeply anti-Christian. I wonder if I should tell them I love them before or after I shoot them.

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  13. Mung:
    Thank God he didn’t start hating Coyne after reading Coyne’s book, even though that would have been more logical.

    Haha.

    Or worse still, start to believe Coyne doesn’t exist.

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  14. phoodoo:

    From what I can tell, I am pretty sure Coyne hates himself.

    petrushka:

    That’s the most intelligent thing I’ve seen you say.

    petrushka,

    Does that mean you think phoodoo is right that Coyne hates himself? If so, on what basis?

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  15. Neil,

    The main problem isn’t Jesus — it’s conservative Christianity, which is pretty much the anti-Jesus.

    That’s essentially what Gerencser says, too:

    I don’t hate the flesh and blood Jesus who walked the dusty roads of Palestine, nor do I hate the Jesus found in the pages of the Bible. These Jesus’s are relics of the past. I’ll leave it to historians to argue and debate whether these Jesus’s were real or fiction. Over the centuries, Christians have created many Jesus’s in their own image.This is the essence of Christianity, an ever-evolving religion bearing little resemblance to what it was even a century ago.

    The Jesus I hate is the modern, Western Jesus, the American Jesus, the Jesus who has been a part of my life for almost fifty-eight years. The Jesus’s of bygone eras have no power to harm me, but the modern Jesus, the Jesus of the about three hundred thousand Christian churches that populate every community in America, he has the power to affect my life, hurt my family, and destroy my country. And I, with a vengeance, hate him.

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  16. Neil Rickert: The main problem isn’t Jesus — it’s conservative Christianity, which is pretty much the anti-Jesus.

    Indeed. As an atheist, I couldn’t say I come anywhere near hating Jesus, even if he was presented accurately in the New Testament, which is highly doubtful. I tend more to agree with Ghandi:
    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

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  17. Wow. I read Coyne’s book and started hating Donald Trump. What is it with that book?

    How many others have read Coyne’s book and started hating something or someone?

    Could Donald Trump be Jesus returned to earth?

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