This favorite statement of rage was often made by a former Fundamentalist Baptist evangelist to any Christian he met carrying a Bible or witnessing either from door to door or on the streets of Greenville, often leaving them dumbfounded; but first some background information.
I first met evangelist Dan (I’ll use a pseudonym) when I was president of the Lion’s Den, a religious and philosophical discussion group I led for three years in the late 1980’s. We met the second Thursday of every month at 7:30 pm. Our group’s flier listed the topic of discussion as well as the program’s speaker for the month. The flier ended with:
“The Lion’s Den is a religious / philosophical discussion group whose purpose is to bring together people of widely differing belief systems for discussion of their beliefs.”
|A write up about me from the 1988 Alumni News of my university|
The meeting would open with a general welcome to all present after which time, the person invited to talk on their belief system was given thirty minutes to explain why he or she believed what they did. In the next thirty to forty minutes, the the speaker was expected to answer questions and defend their beliefs.
Sometime around 1988 I was told about a major Fundamental Christian preacher who was now a fiery evangelist for atheism. He even printed up leaflets looking much like Gospels Tracts labeling the Bible, God and Jesus as lairs so I decided to ask him to speak to our group.
After contacting him, he agreed to talk about why he left Christianity after decades of being one of the leading evangelists of the Fundamental Baptists in South Carolina.
I was told that Dan had attended Bob Jones University where he had won the Senior Sermon Prize in Homiletics and where he was also voted Bob Jones Man of the Year by the senior class. At one time Dan lead evangelistic meetings throughout the southeast where he regularly preached the “Old Time Gospel” of God’s total forgiveness though the sacrificial blood atonement of Jesus Christ. For those who didn't respond to this message of salvation, Dan could rain down fire and brimstone from the pit of Hell.
On the night of his talk and for his introduction, Dan lunched into a diatribe on why the Bible along with its God and Jesus were all liars. I can say one thing was certain, Dan had not lost any of his evangelistic zeal as his talk turned into a fiery 40 minute attack on the Bible in which he simply told us that one day he woke up and realized the whole Christian religious system was a huge lie. Fact is, Dan slammed God so hard that several of our regular members walked out blaming me for having asked such a “raging atheist” to speak to our group with one telling me on his way out that he would never come back.
Although Dan talked (or I should say preached for about forty minutes), none of us ever learned why or how he labeled the whole Christian system a lie or why he left it after decades of being a full time evangelist.
Several years past when in 1994 I was contacted by a member of the Lion’s Den and was told that he was writing a book on why people left Christianity. He wanted both Dan and I to each write a chapter as to why we had become atheists.
After the book was published (with several book signing around Greenville and news paper articles), Dan and I were asked to lead a discussion in a large liberal church’s adult Sunday school class about why we rejected Christianity with Dan being the center of attention since he had gone to Bob Jones University and had been a full-time evangelist. Interestingly, a number of the class were professors from the Division of Religious Studies at Furman University who found us oddities to say the least.
After the meeting with the Sunday school class, Dan and I stopped by a McDonalds to get some lunch. While we were eating, a church family came in and the man, who appeared to me as the father, carried a Bible. To my sock and surprise, once Dan saw them, he got up, walked over to the now seated family and casually told them that “I Just Wanted You to Know Your Jesus is a Liar!”
The shocked family immediately stopped eating and father challenged Dan’s statement. Dan said he had proof and gave the man several of his anti-Christian Gospel Tracts.
By just having left a speaking engagement at a church, both Dan and I had on our suits with ties. When Dan returned to our table, the man asked Dan where he had learned such lies about the Bible. Since Dan refused to respond, I told the man that “we had just gotten out of Sunday school”. To which he replied, “My God! What kind of Sunday school teaches this type of thing?!”
To be honest, I really felt perplex as to why Dan had made such a 180 degree shift in his belief system until I found out that Dan had made a sexual indiscretion that ended his career as an evangelist also resulting in the lost of both his wife and children.
For the first time, Dan was faced with the fact that Fundamentalist bury their wounded, especially on sexual sins. Though Dan had been taught and preached that the love of God though the acceptance of the Blood Atonement of Jesus could wash away all and any sins, in reality with Christian Fundamentalism, the bigger you are, the harder you fall and Dan hit this Biblical reality hard!
Now as a marked man, Dan had to face the fact that for him as a Baptist Fundamentalist, the Bible with its God and Jesus offered totally no redemption for his ministry career with his past religious life now damned forever. From that time on for Dan, the theology of the Bible with its God and Jesus were all lairs. Though Dan never revealed the reason behind his anger, his mission was now to inform any who would listen (as well as those who didn't want to hear it) that the whole system of Christian theology was false . . that from his new found truth, “Jesus is a Liar!”
Postscript:I have not seen Dan in years though I understand he has mellowed out (I think he went though some counseling). The Lion’s Den ended in around 1990 when we ran out of people willing to discuss and defend their belief system. For me, the end came when I finally located a group who consider themselves Satanist, but refused to send a speaker. I must say, It was a good three year run and it was fun!