Atheist Denies Secular Privilege

Atheist Bruce Gerencser objected to my posting on secular privilege.   He starts off as follows:

Yesterday, Michael, a Christian (Evangelical?) blogger who spends his days raging against atheism, wrote a post titled What is Secular Privilege? Here Are Ten Everyday Examples.

This is nonsense.  I clearly do not spend my days “raging against atheism.”  As anyone can see, I don’t even post daily and when I do post, and when it is about atheism, there is no rage involved.  None.  If anyone disagrees, simply a) identify the posting filled with rage and b) cite your evidence of this “rage.”

Bruce continues:

As you shall see, Michael whines and complains about his flavor of Christianity not being given preferential treatment.

Huh?  That posting about secular privilege did not involve any whining or complaining, nor was I insisting on “preferential treatment” for my “flavor of Christianity.”  I explained the objective of that posting in the first two paragraphs:

When trying to better understand what white privilege is supposed to be, I discovered a series of articles that help by providing concrete examples, such as What Is White Privilege? Here Are 9 Everyday Examples by Suzannah Weiss.   As I was reading through these, it occurred to me that the social justice movement has been suspiciously silent about a another form of privilege that may be just as extensive  – secular privilege.

Let me use the first seven examples of white privilege  from the Weiss article to show they could just as well represent examples of secular privilege (it would help to read that article before this one).    I’ll start by again quoting Weiss, with a few word changes, and quote her examples with the appropriate word changes.

My posting shows that that the type of evidence used to support the notion of white privilege could just as easily be used to support the notion of secular privilege.  Bruce doesn’t ever seem to grasp this point, as he never once responds to it.

So what we learn from Bruce’s description thus far is simply this – Bruce Gerencser has significant perceptual problems.  I did not rage, yet he thinks he sees rage.  I did not whine or complain, yet he thinks he sees whining and complaining.  I am comparing white privilege to secular privilege, even to the point of quoting “her examples with the appropriate word changes,” yet he does not even notice this.

These perceptual problems quickly become serious. 

Let us look at Bruce’s objections to the examples of secular privilege:

I will leave it commenters to dissect and eviscerate Michael’s whine. I do, however, want to address his claims that most products and media are geared towards secularists.

Actually, these two claims are just me mirroring the claims about white privilege:

White Privilege claim: 4. Most Products Are Geared Toward You. A white person can go into a store to buy Band-Aids, beauty products, and other items related to skin tone and walk out with something that suits them. People of color at best have a small section of products tailored toward them, reminding them that in the eyes of mainstream culture, they are invisible.

Secular Privilege claim: 4.Most Products Are Geared Toward You.  A secular person can go into any corner convenience store to buy beer, cigarettes, lottery tickets, or other secular goods and walk out with something that suits them. Religious people will not find religious items so readily available (like pocket Bibles or kosher food), reminding them that in the eyes of mainstream culture, they are invisible.

White Privilege claim: 5. Most Media Is Geared Toward You.  In addition to knowing I can buy products geared toward me, I can feel fairly confident that I will see people like me represented on TV, in movies, in magazines, in books, and all over the Internet. In particular, I am able to see examples of people like me succeeding, which has given me the message that I, too, can succeed.

Secular Privilege claim5.Most Media Is Geared Toward You.  Secular people can feel fairly confident that they will see people like them represented on TV, in movies, in magazines, in books, and all over the Internet. The media is clearly secular, as one can easily watch Netflix all weekend and listen to the radio in their car all week, catch a movie on a Friday night, and read the newspaper every morning without being exposed to religious messages/themes/people.

As we can see, the evidence for secular privilege in these two examples is essentially the same as the evidence for white privilege.

Back to Bruce’s response:

My first thought was “are you fucking kidding me?” Where does Michael live? In a deep, dark cave somewhere? Everywhere I look, I see Christian churches, Christian TV, Christian radio, Christian blogs, Christian podcasts, Christian books, Christian movies, Christian kitsch, etc. I live in rural northwest Ohio. There are hundreds of Christian churches, many of them Evangelical, within 30 minutes or so of my home. Everywhere I look, I see Jesus hanging out street corners like prostitutes selling their wares.

I’m sure Bruce thinks he sees this, but as we have established above, the man has serious perceptual problems.  Given he sees me raging, complaining, and whining when I am not, why think his perceptions of “Jesus hanging out street corners like prostitutes selling their wares”  is accurate? Why think any of his perceptual claims are accurate? He just doesn’t have the credibility. It’s more likely that his perceptions are the melodramatic exaggerations often seen in thin-skinned atheists.

Not only can we dismiss his response(and evidence) as unreliable personal perceptions, notice how Bruce completely side-stepped every point I brought up.  For example, when I note “one can easily watch Netflix all weekend and listen to the radio in their car all week, catch a movie on a Friday night, and read the newspaper every morning without being exposed to religious messages/themes/people,” there is no rebuttal as Bruce tap dances around it.  For example, why not go to Netflix and point out this flurry of Christian movies or tell us about all the Christian movies playing at the theaters last weekend? 

Since my perceptions are rooted in reality, he can’t. 

It would seem that my posting about secular privilege struck a raw nerve. What do you call it when a secularist gets upset because you point out his/her secular privilege?  Why, I think they call it…….secular fragility.  lol

Advertisement
This entry was posted in Religion, Secularism, Social Justice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Atheist Denies Secular Privilege

  1. Kevin says:

    It must be a trend among that brand of atheist to have no reading comprehension. And judging by the words he chooses to employ, such as “raging” and “whining”, then he is also employing the standard tactics of being dishonest and childish.

    Just a typical anti-theistic rant that misses the point. Bruce does not distinguish himself from the rest of the juveniles.

  2. Kevin says:

    Bruce responded to this post:

    As you shall see, he totally missed the point of my post, and he has no understanding of sarcasm and hyperbole. Just about what I’d expect from a Fundamentalist.

    Self-reflection and irony are also not strong points with this particular brand of atheist. This vapid response is just what I’d expect from an anti-theist.

  3. SavedByGrace says:

    Given the fact that he doesn’t see what’s right in front of him and given that he’s already displaying the behavior we’ve come to expect from anti-theist activists, it should be no surprise that he resorts to the usual name calling tactics and doesn’t address the points you’ve made. How are they going to come across as innocent victims of the terrible judgmental Christians if they acknowledge that most aspects of the world today are indeed geared towards them?

  4. Ah yes, the village atheist, who thinks that his own experiences living in rural America are somehow representative of the Western world as a whole, and/or who cannot get over negative church experiences from decades ago and still considers them representative of the entire Christian body.

  5. I see at the bottom of each of his posts:

    Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

    One wonders how he got through 6 kids and 13 grandkids without a better sense of humor. Part of me suspects he plays dumb for the “gotcha.”

    There’s a reason I always treasured the truly honest & good-faith atheists. They were rarer than gold.

  6. Kevin says:

    If he went from being a pastor to mocking Christians, it sounds like his churches probably sucked, because he does too.

    I’ve changed my opinion on numerous things, but I don’t mock those who still hold my old opinion. Because I’m not a jackass, for one thing, but also because I understand where they are coming from even if I no longer agree. If anything I would feel sympathy, not contempt.

    Bruce has nothing to offer anyone, based on his online persona.

  7. SavedByGrace says:

    I’ve heard of this situation sometimes, Pastors who have left the ministry sometimes after many years and become anti-theists. I can’t tell what reasons Bruce left Christ, because I don’t know his heart and it could be for a myriad of reasons. In several of the ministries I watch, they’ve mentioned people leaving the church even as Pastors and aren’t malicious about them whatsoever. Some members have even witnessed to them so that Christ might possibly convict them and bring them back to repentance. They were met with replies of “I don’t need Christ to be happy. I’m financially successful now, I have a loving family. etc.” By his arguing though, he seems to be sensitive about atheism being criticized at all, somewhat like how Mehta balked at having to turn his anti-Christian vitriol down. Whether or not it’s too late for Bruce to be saved, I can’t know. But I continue to pray for him to repent, nonetheless. The lake of fire and sulfur is somewhere we should never want anyone to end up for the absence of time.

  8. Kevin says:

    He seems to be one of those who suffered some sort of tragedy in his past and could not comprehend why God would allow such a thing. In another post he wants Christians to also lose their hope in order to lose their faith, since apparently losing their faith is his goal regardless of the pain he admits this will cause.

    Worse men than Bruce have been called by God and answered that call. Perhaps his mockery is a defense against the pain he feels, as though refusing to admit God is real is easier than understanding why bad things happen under grace. God knows his heart and can work as he wills.

    That said, I feel comfortable calling out his behavior for what it is.

  9. Dhay says:

    > Yesterday, Michael, a Christian (Evangelical?) blogger who spends his days raging against atheism…

    There’s projection for you.

    I see Michael posted ten posts in the month of December 2021, ten in November, eight in October, that’s twenty eight in three months; whereas Bruce Gerencser posted thirty four posts in the mere two weeks of 11 — 24 January 2022 inclusive: that is, Gerencser has posted more posts in a recent fortnight than Michael has posted in the most recent completed three months.

    Indeed, Gerencser recently posted more posts — nine posts — on one single day (11 January 2022) than Michael posted in the whole of October.

    That’s good reason to reckon Gerencser thoroughly irrational.

    Gerencser’s flood of posts is a flood of raging posts; he’s an ex-Evangelical Christian blogger who genuinely does himself spend his days raging. The which he accuses Michael of.

    There’s massive projection for you.

  10. Dhay says:

    Kevin > If he went from being a pastor to mocking Christians, it sounds like his churches probably sucked, because he does too.

    There’s common ground, even now:

    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.

    https://brucegerencser.net/why-i-hate-jesus/

    Bruce Gerencser seems to detest what he considers to be modern distortions of Jesus and his message. But I observe that theologian NT Wright disagrees with significant aspects of the modern image of Jesus (and Paul) — albeit without apparent detestation — so Gerencser’s in good company there.

    I also see early posts, 2006 and 2008, which indicate Gerencser was socially and theologically intelligent. I’ve not looked at further early posts, or in more detail at recent posts; I see no reason to make doing so any sort of priority.

  11. Kevin says:

    That post was mainly a complaint that people envision a Jesus who isn’t a modern left-wing activist, so in typical progressive fashion he presents the worst depiction of conservatives and uses it to attack both them and the non-leftist Jesus.

    Perhaps I am not sympathetic enough to Bruce. I will reflect on that.

  12. Dhay says:

    Kevin > Perhaps I am not sympathetic enough to Bruce. I will reflect on that.

    You and I should avoid getting overly sympathetic, his current anti-Christian ranting is not socially and theologically intelligent.

  13. Kevin says:

    his current anti-Christian ranting is not socially and theologically intelligent.

    Not even a little intelligent, true. But it also seems he is one of those who got hurt, or someone close to him got hurt, and God’s “failure” to prevent it has made him angry not only at God but those who are still joyful in their faith. Hence how he wants all believers to begin demanding of God why he allows bad things to happen, so that they too can join him in the loss of all hope.

    So he rejects God due to the inane, shallow “reasoning” of New Atheism – which frankly takes a lot of ignorance (which he doesn’t possess) and/or a lot of hatred to adopt – and he lashes out at those who still believe with juvenile contempt and scorn. His is not a position of intellectual, but emotion. If my analysis is correct, he is hurting, and hurt people do silly but regrettable things sometimes.

    Of course, if my analysis is incorrect and he actually hopped onto the New Atheist bandwagon because he was somehow convinced by their ridiculous propaganda and catch phrases, then I gave him too much credit by far.

  14. Pingback: An Example of How Evangelicals Respond to Atheists Who Say Something They Don't Like – The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser

  15. Neil says:

    These three remain: faith, hope and smug. And the most prominent of these on this site is smug.

  16. Kevin says:

    These three remain: faith, hope and smug. And the most prominent of these on this site is smug.

    Above, SavedByGrace says:

    By his arguing though, he seems to be sensitive about atheism being criticized at all, somewhat like how Mehta balked at having to turn his anti-Christian vitriol down.

    Having looked at your blog, I see you have some strong opinions about Christians and Christianity. I suspect these opinions prevent you from seeing the difference between smugness and contempt for contemptible behavior. Regardless, you don’t like the response(s).

    In your opinion, Neil, is what Bruce said about what Michael wrote true? That Michael was raging and whining and demanding preferential treatment?

    If it’s not an accurate portrayal of what Michael wrote, then what is the appropriate response that would avoid being “smug”?

  17. Kevin says:

    Bruce and his commenters don’t like us, particularly me. I do note that in none of their comments do they actually address the criticisms, such as how falsely stating that Michael was whining and raging and demanding privileged treatment was somehow perfectly acceptable behavior. Just more insults. All that comes from the anti-theistic crowd, seems like.

  18. I wonder if an over-emotional inability to accept critcism and/or correction was anything to do with his decision to abandon his faith.

  19. Kevin says:

    What Bruce and his commenters fail to realize is that actions have consequences. For example, due to my comments in this thread, his commenters are not fans of mine by any means. What I said prompted a negative reaction.

    Bruce opens with an absolute mischaracterization of what Michael wrote, complete with sneering insults toward Christians and Christianity. He completely missed the point of the post, which had nothing to do with demanding any change in the culture, let alone wanting to establish a THEOCRACY under Donald Trump.

    Apparently we were supposed to roll over and surrender. By pointing out the BS, we are big meanies.

  20. SavedByGrace says:

    So, the cycle is just repeating itself again, as Michael has often pointed out. It’s either “We’ve almost completely destroyed the Christians!” Or “The Theocracy is coming! The Christians are going to kill us all!” Regardless of whether or not I expected that reaction from Bruce or his commenters, I pray for their repentance and forgiveness. I hold no ill will toward them.

  21. Dhay says:

    Neil [Link] > Those who reject societal norms are bound to feel at odds with them. Quit your complaining and join normality.

    This earlier response, in the 11 November 2021 “What is Secular Privilege? Here are 10 Everyday Examples” thread, passed under my radar: in part because I have found responses so short are very rarely worth giving thought to; in part because it was enigmatic and I dismissed the thought of trying to make sense of what the writer wouldn’t make sense; in part because, a reply in kind having quickly been given, no response in return, there was nothing further to say.

    I’ll say now that in the US – which is where and what the OP was about, and where and what the responses were about – in the US it’s atheists “who reject societal norms [and] are bound to feel at odds with them.” I am startled to find a UK strong anti-theist telling US atheists to “Quit your complaining and join normality.”

    > These three remain: faith, hope and smug. And the most prominent of these on this site is smug.

    No context, no detail, no clue who or what post or response thereto might be in view.

    I’ll quote portions of the linked blog’s current latest post, 27 January 2022’s “The Only Truth”:

    I long ago lost my Christian faith…

    No surprises there. Then follows ‘grumpy old man’ type railing at the UK portion of the world. The summing up includes:

    …The only ones we can possibly have faith in are our loved ones; partners, family and friends. [**] … Never believe that government, religion, science, the media or police are on your side and are going to do anything for you.

    https://rejectingjesus.com/2022/01/27/the-only-truth/

    Evidently “these three” do not remain: no faith, not even in the UK’s major institutions; no hope, the UK’s gone down the drain; love – apart from “loved ones” – manifested in these two threads in the bitching not-love of ‘seagulling’ (ie fly in, shit, fly away.)

    *

    ( ** The post ends by reinforcing that quote with, “If you’re doing anything but relying on and looking after these [loved ones], you are pursuing an illusion.” That quote’s effectively the bottom line, it’s reinforced at the very end.)

  22. Kevin says:

    They complain about our reactions as though they have no understanding of basic human psychology. When you open a dialogue with lies or hostility, expect negative reactions.

    I guess psychology isn’t science-y enough for the people who base their beliefs on science.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.