By Merle Hertzler


I have received a number of emails regarding the content of my site. I have decided to respond to some of them here.

I refer to the writers only by initials to protect their privacy. Personal information has been deleted from the replys. Any letter that specifically asks that it not be posted will not be posted here. Feel free to write a private email.

Many of the links here are to offsite sources.



On Dec 30, 2004 KH wrote:

I have just come across your website yesterday, and have been enjoying it very much! I teach…Bible…but this doesn't mean that I have turned my mind off! I begin to question the sincerity of your "search" however, when I find questions that you pose as "examples" purporting to show the Bible is inaccurate, especially since I can, and did, find the answer online in about 1 minute.

I am glad that KH has not turned his mind off. I wish him well in his search.

I am sorry that he questions my sincerity. I assure everyone that I have written this site with all sincerity.

Yes, I have no doubt that one could find an answer to many of my points in one minute on the internet. I myself link to some apologist’s sites that supply similar answers to Biblical questions. But we need to ask ourselves if the answer is valid. It is not enough to give an answer. The answer must be valid.

I had written at my site, “When I read the Bible, it does not take long to find something that does not look right to me. For instance, why does Lev. 11:6 say that rabbits chew their cud? Rabbits do not chew their cud. This passage is mistaken, isn't it?” KH responds:


(Heb. 'arnebeth) was prohibited as food according to the Mosaic law (Lev. 11:6; Deut. 14:7), "because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof." The habit of this animal is to grind its teeth and move its jaw as if it actually chewed the cud. But, like the cony (q.v.), it is not a ruminant with four stomachs, but a rodent like the squirrel, rat, etc. Moses speaks of it according to appearance. It is interdicted because, though apparently chewing the cud, it did not divide the hoof.

There are two species in Syria , (1) the Lepus Syriacus or Syrian hare, which is like the English hare; and (2) the Lepus Sinaiticus, or hare of the desert. No rabbits are found in Syria .  [Source: Easton's 1897 Dictionary online from BibleGateway.com]

With respect, it appears that you have not done your homework by asking this question. This is no contradiction, nor error here, merely a description easy to understand quickly in much the same way as you used the phrase "find something that does not look right to me" If I was to insist on a literal meaning of your verbage, without considering that this is a commonly employed idiom, then your phrasing would not make sense either, and is a contradiction because there is nothing in the Bible that "does not look right to me" literally. So, if you really are going for truth, then you must consider the genre as well as other factors when exegeting a passage.

Well, it seems to me that KH has found the reason why the Bible records that rabbits chew their cud. It seems that hares commonly move their mouths in a way that looks like chewing the cud, but they do not chew the cud. So we can understand how a primitive writer could be mistaken. He saw the rabbits’ mouths move, and concluded they were chewing their cud. So he wrote that they were chewing their cud, but the writer was mistaken. This is why I think the writer was not an omniscient God. For God would have known better. He would have known they only appeared to be chewing their cud.

KH may be arguing that the writer was trying to say that the rabbit looks like it is chewing its cud. But that is not what the writer says. He said the rabbit chews its cud. In that the Biblical writer must surely be mistaken.

I have heard another explanation for this passage. It is reported that some rabbits eat their own feces to re-digest the material. Some have suggested that this is what the Bible means by chewing the cud.  But this explanation is wrong also.  For the Bible does not say hares eat feces. It says they chew the cud. The words literally mean, “bring up the stomach contents.” And eating feces is not the same as bringing up stomach contents. So it seems the author is wrong. See Chew on This…Again!

May I also clarify that, when I had stated that I find things in the Bible that do not look right, that was only my lead-in to the arguments I was making. I was not declaring that the Bible is wrong because it looks wrong. I was saying that in many places the Bible looks wrong, and I went on to explain in detail exactly why I think the Bible is wrong.

2. I note that the verse here does NOT SAY that grasshoppers have 4 legs; yet you made that assumption in your post. It actually says, "...winged insects which walk on all fours. . ." you seemed to assume that this meant only that a grasshopper has 4 legs, which in fact it does not say. I found the following information on a random website giving general information about the grasshopper. Note the last line; grasshoppers walk on 4 legs. Wouldn't you agree that there is really no contradiction here after all? … 

The Legs: The long hind legs are used for hopping. The short front legs are used to hold prey and to walk.


The verse in question is Leviticus 11:21-22 where it refers to, “winged insects which walk on all fours.”  Now grasshoppers do not walk on all fours. They walk on all sixes.

No, the source KH quoted does not say that grasshoppers walk on four legs. It says the four short legs are used for walking. But the two hind legs are also used for walking. So the grasshopper walks on all sixes, not on all fours.

See also What About Those Four-legged Insects?

 I look forward to many hours of thinking about some of these issues; currently, you have many very interesting links and statements about Creationism, and young earth, etc...that I have personally begun to question.

KH is truly involved in a noble search.


On 12/31/04 JB wrote:

i was reading your web site and to tell you the truth i cant really argue agianst any of your points, simple because I dont know enough about the bible to do so. But i do want to congradulate you on questioning your beliefs, i believe that is healthy thing to do.

I am afraid that many people know as little about the Bible as JB claims that he does. The answer is simple. Pick the Bible up and read. If you start at Genesis and start reading—ignoring the notes that people have inserted, and looking strictly at the text—it will not take long for most educated readers to realize that something is very wrong with this book.

My question to you is with all this understanding of scripture why do you go about trying to disprove it by saying you cant prove it? can a man understand completly how the earth was created? i doubt it, no man can ever understand completly. The earths creation is but one of Gods many things. God never says understand me, he says have a relationship with me. God says we cant understand him. So of course we cant prove he exsists. the funny thing about God is it requires faith.

And so JB claims that God is beyond understanding, and so we should just accept what he says. But JB doesn’t seem to realize he is begging the whole questions. What words has God said? Has he said the words of the Koran or the book of Mormon? Has he said the words of the Didache or the Gospel of Thomas? If JB wants me to believe that God has spoken certain words, must he not give me a reason for believing they are God’s words?

In the Hebrew text the word "days" in genises actually means "periods of time" not really days.

I don’t know why JB mentions this. I have provided links to this view where I discuss the age of the earth. Many accept that Genesis may refer to long periods of time.

However, if one reads Genesis 1, even by replacing the word “day” with the phrase “period of time”, he will find that the chapter is still far from a scientific account of creation. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that Genesis 1 is the mistaken beliefs of men.

Huamans will never be able to prove god. If we are made out of gods love he wouldnt force us to believe in him. People dont force people to do stuff cause they love them, no they let then have free choice just as god does for us.

Fine, I am glad that JB’s god allows me free choice. Now what does he want me to choose? In the absence of a clear way of knowing what God wants, I cannot know if I am doing what he wants.

Perhaps God, if he exists, honors intellectual honesty. If this is so, than it seems God would want me tell people what I really believe, rather than pretend to believe something I don’t.

I just wondered why your trying to disprove Gods word to which may have mistakes due to changing the translation, when the thought of God has brought hope to so many

I understand that many have found hope in the Bible. But many have found hope elsewhere. As I show at my website, I think the hope that is found elsewhere is superior to that found in the Bible.

And I want to leave you with this question I heard once "in the begginning there was a partacle" or "In the begginning there was intelligence and communication" which one makes more sense to you. I would never say ignore science, though i do believe god ueses the laws of nature which he has created, i would be foolish to think otherwise. I ask that you please respond to this I would be much appriacted of it, i would love to hear from you.

I deliberately avoid the topic of what happened before the first second of the Big Bang, for I do not know. I have left it open that it could be an intelligence that created the Big Bang. This is not my point of contention. So why is JB trying to raise an issue I do not raise?

Even if JB can show that an intelligence started the Big Bang, that in no way proves that he knows what that intelligence wants of him.


On 1/2/05 AW wrote: 

This is by no means a critique of your web articles that I have glanced through but admittedly have not read under a microscope. Also, please excuse the poor English, I am a middle eastern and english is not my mother tongue. I am impressed by the loads of work you have put into your research; but more importantly, I genuinely agree with you that all Christians should examine the pillars of their faith, to ask questions, tough questions, even the big question involving the credibility of our Messiah.

I am not, however, impressed with most of the logic you present, especially logic concerning evolution.

 Okay, AW is not impressed with my logic concerning evolution. But where is my llogic wrong?  

Allow me to say that I am not impressed with your sixth readings of the Bible either. The Pharisees and the priests knew the Torah by heart and yet this immense amount of literal knowledge did not help most of them understand the spiritual nature of God. Neither did it help them realize God’s plan for humanity.

Now I find that, not only is my logic supposedly bad, but also that I have “sixth readings” of the Bible. What does AW mean by this? I am simply showing what the Bible says, and why I think it is wrong.

I am curious how AW knows that his interpretation of the scriptures is right and the Pharisees were wrong. For it seems to me that the New Testament writers badly misrepresents the Old Testament. How is AW so sure he knows what the Old Testament really means?

And BTW, it appears that the Pharisees were not nearly as legalistic as the New Testament portrays. The Pharisees wrote things that were very close to the Sermon on the Mount. It appears that the writers of the New Testament were misrepresenting the Pharisees.

 There is a fundamental flaw in your understanding of pain and I believe it is the source and driving force behind your bitterness towards God.

Bitterness toward God? What is AW talking about? Where do I say anything that could be interpreted as bitterness toward God?

This has nothing to do with bitterness. It has everything to do with the facts. Which facts have I misunderstood? 

Flip through your Bible and find one Biblical character that wasn’t struck by the pain of tragedy. There is a trend, the closer you come to God, the more pain you will go through in this life. Apparently, God does not see pain as a “bad” otherwise He would not have planned to go through pain Himself as a human. I ask thee: should the raw gold feel bitter towards the goldsmith because he chooses to place the metal into excruciating fire to purify it?

But surely AW does not believe that all pain is good, does he? What about a girl that was abused by her father and grew up neglected. Did God want her to have this pain? If so, AW worships a strange God. If not, then AW admits that some pain happens in this world that is not good, that a loving God would not want. And that is the pain that Christians must explain.

If the Christian suffers sexual abuse, and the goldsmith does not want her to suffer in this way, then it is not the goldsmith that placed her in the excruciating fire. It is not even done to purify her. And it would seem that one would then be right to be angry that it happened.

Where in the Bible does Jesus promise happiness on earth to his followers?

Are you equating joy with happiness? There is joy, not happiness, for example in being persecuted for Christ’s sake because God is with you.

The religion we were seeking was one that put a stop to pain and one that makes life easy and pleasurable; for God to bring us back to Eden basically. That sort of happiness cannot be found anywhere, but especially in Christianity (remember, we’re the religion of the cross). Given that definition of happiness that cannot coexist with pain, I think you have made the right choice in abandoning faith in Christ.

Who is it that expected a happiness that made life easy with no pain? Certainly not I. AW is beating a straw man when he argues with the man who is expecting no pain. There are many things in life that disappoint me. But, in spite of the problems, I am thrilled to be alive, and I am happy.

And I do hope that AW is also happy, in spite of his claim that his Jesus does not promise happiness.

For me, the most important question is the afterlife question. It all boils down to this one: eternal destiny. If there is no life after death then why care about anything except instant gratification: we might as well eat, drink, and marry for we die tomorrow as the Bible says. There is also some mathematics involved in this question as Pascal, the father of probability, pointed out. I am sure his wager is no news to you. In this wager, how do you respond to the risk involved in living a life of unbelief?

Yes, I have heard this many times. I am told that I should believe, just in case God punishes unbelievers in eternity. This is known as Pascal’s wager.

But exactly how should I believe? Pascal taught that I should practice the Catholic faith to save me from damnation. Is that what AW teaches? Should I follow Catholicism? Should I also follow Protestantism, Islam, Judaism, and all of the cults just in case?

Besides, if I follow a faith just in case it is right, and act as though I believe something I do not, I would be dishonest. So, for Pascal’s wager to work, I would need to be intellectually dishonest and pretend I believe something I don’t. Would God honor that? If so, then God honors intellectual dishonesty. If God honors dishonesty, than why trust him? For a God who wants us to lie about our beliefs might me lying about his.

There is one other option: That God exists and loves honesty. If that is the case, then I am doing the right thing by stating what I have discovered. And so, if I must place my bets on God and eternity, I would bet that an honest God exists, and that he will want me to be honest.

 It is unquestionable to me that a Godless life is as purposeless as the process of evolution itself, after all, how could a mechanism devoid of purpose carry its ingredients purpose to give its “creations”? Perhaps you feel there is no need for purpose and that life is to be enjoyed period without reference to meaning.

My life is filled with purpose. I am sorry that AW cannot see that.

The irony Mr. Hertzler is that you are still a door to door missionary except now you’re witnessing to the home team. I wonder why? Why did you decide to make it your life work to prove Christianity’s fallacies? Why didn’t you move on with your life the second you consciously abandoned Christianity and do other things, to just “enjoy this good life” as you put it? Why preach the new faith Mr. Hertzler? To gain ground, acceptance from others, to feel that you are not the only one to come to such conclusions?

To shake your fists in anger at the God of the Bible? Or is it for the good of your fellow men? I think the latter is as far a motive as any for you; how could you care, why would you logically care whether others find happiness or not? You feel that you will never stand before an all knowing judge so then you have no motive to be accountable for you have no moral authority to be accountable to. Why then help others? Because it feels good?

And with that we have rounded a full circle that sent us back to the starting point of your search for happiness.

AW addresses my motive. Why do I do this? I do this because I want to help. There is something inside me that wants to help others. I think I can help by sharing what I have learned in life. So I gladly do it. It comes naturally.

Sadly, AW cannot understand why one would care who does not believe that he will stand before a judge who will judge his life. So AW cannot understand why I would care. This is the tragedy of Christian belief. Many have been taught to do good so they get a heavenly reward. This has been so ingrained in many people, that they cannot consider that others might actually want to help people. There is that within humans that wants to help others.

 The difference between us is that I search for meaning. My happiness is in finding meaning and there is no meaning in the evolutionary humanistic religion. I am willing to go through suffering for the rest of my life given that I find meaning in it all.

I find it odd that AW says my life has no meaning. For it sure seems like it has meaning to me.

AW is apparently willing to suffer with the hope of eternal benefits. But shouldn’t AW check to see if there really will be eternal benefits? 

I have a last remark to make and it is concerning your rather generous acceptance of other faiths like Islam, Buddhism, and atheistic systems. I find the western fascination of men like yourself with Islam and Buddhism amusing but ultimately absurd. You put such credibility on these belief systems based on the four or five muslims/buddhists you have met. I doubt very much that you have given one tenth of the serious examination you’ve given to Christianity to these other faiths. Come to the east my friend and see firsthand the effects that these “other paths to fulfillment” have had on our societies. But of course you don’t really know or care even whether such faiths are really alternative paths to fulfillment. The argument of other faiths is just another asset to place on your balance sheet to further solidify your anti-Christian argument.

Where have I recommended Islam and Buddhism? Is AW making this stuff up?

What I say is, if one is going to decide about religion solely by faith, than one cannot tell which faith is better. On the other hand, if one compares the religions based on reason--as AW appears to recommend here--then why not allow me to present the reasons for my view?

 I too have gone through the majority of the doubts that ultimately shattered your faith; I think ever serious Christian does and should. There is pain in doubt that’s for sure. Apparently, one must go through doubt to develop faith. Are you completely confident of the evolutionary outlook? I am sure the certainty brings you pleasure, after all, you can’t get disappointed with humanism because unlike Christianity it offers no promises of eternal life and the likes of peace and joy on earth. I hope you still realize that there is a limit to your and my understandings of life. I didn’t write this to convince you of anything, that doesn’t interest me, nor am I responsible for it. I wrote because I sympathize with your doubts. I hope there is still room in God’s heart for people like you and me; ones who think they know when they are ignorant; ones who are proud of the strength of their conviction when they are devilishly hoaxed. Remember, when you fall, and sooner or later you are bound to, you will be on your own. You have no bridge, no way out, and you will live with your choices regardless of whether you will to or not.

If I fall, I know that I have done what I could. And I can expect that, if I need help, there would be folks around that share my desire to help others, and that would gladly help me in my need. So, if I fall, I do not think I will be on my own.


On Jan. 18, 2005 GD wrote:

It says in Matt. 13:58 “He did not do many mighty works there because of the unbelief” and it says in Mark 6:5-6   That he could do no mighty works there except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them and he was a amazed at there unbelief” It is possible that doubt unables  God I know that the bible says all things are possible with God but maybe he requires Faith. I think God wants us to believe in him it says in scripture “ it’s impossible to please God without faith.”

And so GD informs me that my doubt “unables” and that, with faith, all things are possible. But there was a time that I too had faith—great faith—and yet I still found some things impossible. Now the verse GD refers to says all things will be possible to him that believes. That verse must be mistaken: For I once believed, and yet I still found that not all things were possible.

Perhaps GD will tell me that my faith was not strong enough. But does anybody have the faith that GD speaks of? If nothing is impossible to GD, then he should qualify for the million-dollar prize offered by James Randi. (Click here) So why has nobody yet shown enough faith to claim that prize?

GD seems to suggest that I should ignore my doubts, and try to believe anyway. This is something I have done many times in my life. I have had many waves of doubt as a Christian. But I always managed to push those doubts aside and stick with faith. I find that I am much happier and am more successful if I allow unwanted thoughts to be processed in my mind, and do not try to push them out.  Apparently GD suggests that, if a doubt comes into the mind, I should just force it away and think only thoughts of faith. This seems to me to be bad advice. See Suppressed Thoughts and Christian Belief.


On 1/20/05 JW writes:

I happened upon your site while browsing on the subject 'God is in control'. Your article questioning whether God is in control was very good. You have a very incisive reasoning ability.

   In my opinion, God is definitely not in control of everything, as your analogy about the polio vaccine very adequately illustrated. I believe, as you do, that suffering is bad, and that we should seek to eliminate it wherever possible. In the vast majority of human suffering, I believe God has no purpose.

Yes, I have found that a number of modern Christians do not accept the Calvinist idea of a God who controls everything. The recent tsunami was a good case in point. Could God have possibly wanted that to happen? The old Calvinist answer was “yes.” The new answer is that God simply chooses to let nature run its course. But how can one worship a God who knows this tsunami is bad, and could easily have stopped it, and did not stop it? See more at Did God Want Charlie to Hit Florida?

As I read through some of your other articles, your perspective on spiritual things became clear. I was saddened to read that you once had a lively faith in God, but have since abandoned it. You mentioned that you are just as happy now, if not happier, as when you believed in Jesus. You said that people can find happiness in many different ways.

Happiness can be found in many ways. But eternal salvation can only be found one way - the Lord Jesus Christ. I know you have discarded your belief in the Bible, but I'm still following my first love.

Yes, I am definitely happier now that I have told people I can no longer believe.

JW has his mind set on eternity. Faith may do little to stop a tsunami or give peace of mind, but there is still the claim for eternity. But why allow one’s life to be dominated by a religion with no real evidence it will help for eternity?

I have no criticism for you, no animosity, no axe to grind. I just wanted to drop you a note and say that I love you. And I'll be praying for you. God bless you my friend.

In His glorious love and grace, 

If God is counting prayers, than I must be up in the upper percentiles of petitions on my behalf. I wonder what JW is praying for. Is he asking that I abandon reason and believe anyway? Of is he asking me to understand that reason really supports his faith? If so, how does reason support his faith? Where is my logic mistaken?



SK writes

Thank-you so much for the information in your website…One of my questions concerns whether American Christian Fundamentalism is a form of religious failure, or if it represents a successful form of coping for the culture that created it. I have my answer outlined in my head, but you helped to jog the creative juices and give more food for thought. I have bookmarked your website so that I can read it in its entirety when I am finished with finals. The reason I took this class is because I've been a seeker all my life. Each time I find something that is "The Truth" I have found it to be a giant red flag, for exactly the reason you stated..if we find "The Answer" it causes us to stop seeking and to stop questioning. It makes us "right" and someone else "wrong." It divides and creates prejudice. I think the important thing is to never stop seeking in sincerity. In this way we are free to be who we are and also to evolve into who we might be. Anyway, I'm rambling on. I have never replied to anyone before on the internet and often find very misleading information, so I always proceed with caution; but I was so taken by the intelligent and humble manor in which you presented your information and opinions. Well done, thanks.

I am glad that SK is a seeker and keeps her mind open. I think she will find many answers as she explores.



YO writes:


Let me see if I have this correct ?

If the Gospels copy each other they can't be correct ?

If the Gospels do not say the same things they cannot be correct ?

Hummmmmmmmmmm ???

Have a nice day !!

YO apparently thinks he has found a fatal flaw in my logic. But I think he misunderstands.

I never said that if the gospel writers copy each other they cannot be correct. I say that if one author lays out another book and copies it (with changes) that this does not count as an independent witness to the events. And it is quite clear that this is what Matthew and Luke did. So they are not independent witnesses.

YO also misunderstands that I think that if the gospels differ they cannot be correct. That is not the point. The problem is that they contradict each other. See Contradictions of the Gospel.

If four independent witnesses wrote, we would expect to see four different complimentary views of each event. That is not what we find. We generally find outright copying, unconfirmed accounts, or contradictory accounts. This is one reason I think the gospels cannot be trusted.



DC writes:

I haven't explored you site fully so forgive me if this is old information.

I read a book s few years ago written by a Christian scientist who made a compelling arguement for old Earth AND dispeled evolution.  I don't recall the author or title and I lent the thing out to someone who lost it.
Where are a couple of thoughts from that book which I found compelling plus a wuestion of mine.

First of all, for one to believe in recent creationism asks all scientists to cast out ALL of our know scientific discipline.  Young Earth simply does not fit the math of what we see in the geological record.  The author also pointed out the fact that the sedimentary rock formations at the mouths of ALL major rivers is several MILES thick.  Something that Noah's flood cannot account for.

I would add to this the fact that Earth simply could not have gone through the formation process, all of the astrinomical hits, the dinosaur age and the like to 2004 in the time frame of the young Earth advocates.

The real problem for the young earth crowd is the 6 days in Genisis.  They simply cannot accept the idea of anything other tha 6 24 hour days. 

The book I read accounts for this very nicely in that the origianl manuscripts employed something call paranthetical expression and that the 6 days themselves were nothing more than the steps taken to build this place.
Finally -  I would ask why is it old earth and creation can't co-exist.

Why are the fundemantalists so bent on young Earth and brand old Earth folks as evolutionists?

Fogive me if this is a well trodden road.

Me I have never accepted young Earth and won't.

Okay, we have here the old earth creation view. DC is correct that the data simply does not conform to the young earth view. So DC has found a way to make the Bible compatible with an old earth. He sees Genesis 1 as using poetic language, and not really meaning a six day creation. I acknowledge this view, but I think one must take a lot of liberties with the text to make it teach an old earth. If the writer of Genesis had intended to teach an old earth it would seem to me he was incompetent. I would think a competent writer would have found a way to write more clearly.

DC wants to know why an old earth and creation can’t coexist. Well, perhaps they can, but would somebody please tell me exactly how old-earth creation works? I have found that old earth creationists are extremely vague when it comes to describing how this creation actually took place. Are we to believe that adult zebras suddenly popped up out of nowhere, in full violation of the laws of nature? And did this type of creation happen many millions of time throughout history? If new species have been popping up out of nowhere millions of times throughout history, could it happen tomorrow? Could you be walking through a field and suddenly have an elephant pop up in front of you?

I find that old-earth creationists are unwilling to deal with such questions. Until such questions are dealt with, I don’t think they can bother putting their proposal on the table. Without details, they have no proposal.



GP writes:

Thank you for your web site.  I read it with an open mind, and allowed my faith to be challenged. 

Now, I'm very sad for you.  You were on your way -- walking in the light, and then you gave the devil victory.   I'm sorry for you, and I will be praying for you.

I am glad GP reads with an open mind. But I am curious what makes her think I gave the devil the victory. I am merely reporting what my mind has discovered. Is that wrong?

10. “You are on your way to Hell, friend" 


BJ writes:

It sounds like you are well aware with the doctrine of forgiveness.  But if the story ended there, then I would have struggled with the "sinful nature" or the "wicked inner man" (I believe you termed it that) the rest of my life.  But no, I got sanctified wholly (1 Thes. 4:3 " For this is the will of God,[even]your sanctification",1 Thes. 5:23).  Holiness, is what you needed through those years, a heart set free (John 8:34-36) "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: [but] the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeedSo like I was saying, I got sanctified, this is my testimony, what happened to me!    Now you might say, that is fine with you, but I don't have to go that way! But that is  wrong, for Christ said (John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.) God's Word also says (Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: ) Holiness by definition is "to be free from sin and sinful affections) WHEN you were saved, you never continued on into Holiness or receiving a Sanctified heart.  That is why you struggled with doubts and fears, I some struggles to, until I got sanctified. 

Okay, so BJ now has sanctification and is free from sin and sinful affections, and has no more doubts and struggles. I am curious how he got rid of all wrong affections. Most Christians readily admit that they sometimes have bad desires. But BJ claims to have found his way to holiness, which he says means freedom from sinful affections. I wonder if he has any references to people that would like to acknowledge that he is free from sin and sinful affections. I wonder if his family will agree with him. If he has such a great cure for the problems of mankind, I wish he would share how he obtained it, when so many others are struggling.

As far as your concerns about whether or not the Bible is accurate or not, the Bible says (2 Tim. 3:16All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: ) it DECLARES itself.  It does not establish an argument for itself.  You might say why wouldn't it make an argument?  Well who in the world do we think we are, that GOD ALMIGHTY would have to justify himself to us. 

Well, I am not sure which books 2 Timothy is referring to. I wonder if BJ would kindly give us a list of all the books the writer was including and how he knows these are the books 2 Timothy was referring to.

I am curious how BJ responds to the many prophets who declared, “Thus saith the Lord.” Jeremiah tells us that many said that, but did not really speak for God. Is Jeremiah wrong? If these guys claim to be giving God’s word, would BJ ask us whom we think we are to question if they are giving God’s word? I think not. I think BJ would be skeptical of the claim if he found out that Jeremiah was skeptical. So his argument that we must believe something to be inspired because it declares itself to be inspired is not valid, is it?

Friend we need to humble ourselves before God and realize that we are only on this earth for a short time, and with Christ as our redeemer and sanctifier then we have no hope of Heaven.

If Christ is our hope of heaven, does Christ expect us to lie and tell people that we believe something that we don’t? Or would he want us to be honest? I’ll take my chances that, if there is a final judgment, God will have wanted me to be honest. I cannot see how pretending to believe an ancient book would help me.

Your concerns about creation were interesting, the Bible declares that God created the earth and since then questions have been brought to you that you could not answer about dinosaur fossils and wind blown rocks and things.  Well  Duet. 29:29 says "The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law."  If God has not revealed it to us, then why in the world should we question that?  

Well God has not revealed Maxwell’s equations either. And I think it was okay for scientists to go ahead and discover them.  They form the basis of modern electronics and the computer that BJ uses to write to me. If God has not written about computers in the Bible, why does BJ use them? And if BJ can use knowledge of computers not found in the Bible, why can’t geologists and biologists use knowledge not found in the Bible?

 I was listening to the radio one day about a Brain Surgeon(who was not a Christian) that was studying the thought processes of the brain,   and he realized something....you can trace the thought process to a certain point but after that, it is un-known how the mind works(after that conclusion he realized there was something more then this life, he got SAVED!)

Of course we do not understand everything about the mind. But we do know that the mind is a function of the brain. And if the brain is gone, how can there be a mind left? 

Since my getting sanctified and dying to myself (Galatians 5:24) and receiving the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19) I have seen the power of God work in MARVELOUS ways.  I've seen men get delivered of addictions to cigarettes and seen the Spirit of God work on people in marvelous ways(I could tell you lots of stories..).  It is SO amazing to see God's power regularly!

BJ has a marvelous life (assuming we can believe what he says). I am glad he is happy (if he is indeed happy). I too have a marvelous life. Is he glad for me?

Now this is why I am writing this email, not to have a "intellectual" discussion or debate with you but because you are in a very dangerous position'  You said "I find that I am far happier without the bonds of religion. It is an amazing thing to set the mind free, free from the need to fit everything into a predefined bias." on your web page.  I do not know if you have ever heard of grieving the Holy Ghost, but you have smeared away all conviction to where this whole "religion" thing doesn't bother you anymore.  You are on your way to Hell friend. 

And so BJ thinks I have grieved the Holy Ghost and am on my way to hell because I declare that I have found happiness in a different way from he. But why should I not say what I have found? Would BJ rather that I lie about what happened to me?

All those people that debated with you about Christianity being false could not tell you anything if you would have experienced God's power, but you had an intellectual faith and that never lasts long.  

As I explained at my site, one of the two great pillars of my faith for a long time was the experience that I had had as a Christian. I assumed that this was God’s power, and was evidence that Christianity works. Perhaps BJ should read my story.  

One more thing, your reasoning about Calvary and the Cross and HAVING to believe in God an things was interesting, what you have done is you have made God into your image or man's image(He doesn't have to use the same rational or logic we do).  Which friend, you cannot do.  He is God, He is Sovreign and He is Lord. 

Okay, so BJ sees that forcing somebody to believe so he can avoid hell is not rational. But he tells us his God does not have to use the same rationality we do. If his God can do things we would consider to be irrational and unethical, how does he know he can trust such a God?

Furthermore,  the Bible talks about deeper damnations in Hell, to think you are turning people away from the Christian faith, granted they didnt have much of a faith(or seen God REALLY move) if they bought into your reasoning.  Well anyway, I did not right these things to argue with you, just take it as another attempt of God to intervene in your life before you pass on into the place you choose (heaven or hell).  I rise early to spend time with my best friend and counselor(and I will pray for you as He leads me). You really are missing out.  God is so wonderful.  Anyway, I hope and pray that you repent the much wrong you have done and look to God in faith. 

 May you come to know Him,

I have heard many different people tell me that their way is wonderful, and that those who don’t do what they do are missing out. And yet these people are telling me conflicting things. And independent studies often fail to validate the claims.

I am curious: Would BJ buy into any religion he finds if somebody tells him he is missing out without that religion? I think not. Okay, if BJ does not find the argument, “You are missing out” convincing, why does he use it?



DK writes:

I really enjoyed your website.  I went through similar struggles as you did.   I was a devout Christian and wanted to know more about God.  The more I read the Bible and the more research I did, the more struggles I faced.  God seemed to make less and less sense the more I studied.  I tried to find the answers to those questions which only lead to more questions.  After reading your website, I became totally convinced that God is a lie.  Your arguments are very compelling and your website is organized very well.  I wish that more christians can read your website.  The only problem is that I have a very difficult time getting others to read websites like yours.  They think it's rubbish or from the devil.  They don't even take the time to read it before they disregard it.

I need to know how to help other christians see the truth.  I need to tell others about it, because I think that they've been brainwashed by the church.  I have friends who keep trying to persuade me to believe in God and come back to church.  After knowing the truth, I just can't go back.

I wish I had you standing next to me to explain to them why they're not thinking clearly.

I am glad that my site was able to help DK and many others. It is sad that some people will not even look at questions about their religion.  I wish DK a wonderful life, and hope that others can be glad for what he has found.



VH writes:

I have never read anything so well reasoned about god. The constant tug of war is tiring, from fear of unbelief to my mind refusing to accept inerrancy. [A friend] is very hurt that I disclosed my doubts to her. She says there are many fine men in our church that believe the bible stories and she can’t understand my misgivings…Is there another way to go. Can one not believe the bible is inspired and still believe in god? I am searching for a way to make it fit. Can you point me to more well reasoned info like yours?

VH has described a mental struggle that many of us had experienced. Our minds refuse to accept inerrancy, but there is the fear of what happens to doubters. VH is learning to set his mind free.

I have many links at my site to other resources that may help folks like VH. When I read of others that had been experiencing this tug of war that are learning to freely inquire about religion without fear of punishment for asking, it makes the whole effort at my site worthwhile.



CL writes:

There are so much things I would love to say to you in response to your website. I actually stumble on your website by accident. I was looking for a christian cite to strengthen my relationship with God and not find something to discourage it.

However, I did not get discouraged by reading your cite. It actually gave me a renewed sense of feeling to renew my relationship with Christ.  I actually wrote to you to thank you.

I know you don't need my prayers because what good would that do. Like many folks, I grew up in a christian home.  My father and Mother raised eight children. I won't go intio details of my religous background.  All I can say is it was similiar to how you were raised as a christian. 

Merle, you have made a very serious decision to challenge God and to descredit what many millions of people have built there lives around. But I'm not shocked, you are definately not the first nor will you be the last.  Throughout history there has many like you who has made such bold statements. 

 Thats all I have to say for now.  Take care and God bless you.

Yes, I am aware that millions of people have built their lives on Evangelical Christianity. Does that prove it is right? Martin Luther exposed a religion that many had built their lives on. Was he wrong to do that? Jesus, Paul, and Moses are said to have exposed a religion that many had built their lives on. Were they wrong to do that? It seems to me that, if there is something better than what millions have found, it is okay to tell them that.



TA writes:

    You seem to be very happy without christ.  I do not doubt that you or anyone else can enjoy this world without christ.  However, if you are so into asking questions, don't you ever ask yourself what happens after this world.  If in fact there is nothing beyond this world then it would seem to reason that everyone should do as they pleased when they pleased.  You know, live it up and experience as much as they can before it's all over.  That would obviously lead to total anarchy, which does not seem to be a very happy place to live.  You could not enjoy things as you do now.  You would have to live in a constant state of fear.  Christians believe that god gave us his laws not to hinder our happiness but to make it possible.  By living under his laws we will be free to feel safe and secure and fully experience the world the way it was intended to be experienced.

Yes, of course, I have asked what happens after this world. See What Happens To Unbelievers? and Is there Life after Death?

TA thinks that only a belief in the afterlife is preventing anarchy. I think he is sadly mistaken. A belief in the value of being human as expressed in humanism has given many a hope of a better society, and has made many into productive citizens. So I think TA is mistaken when he says it leads to anarchy.

TA says that living under God’s laws will make one feel safe and secure. I would like to have a copy of God’s laws, please. If he refers to the Bible, than I think he is mistaken. How can one be secure when one can get the death penalty for cursing a parent or picking up sticks on a Saturday, as recorded in the Bible?

     I'm also curious as to why you seem to base a lot of your current belief on an obvious problem with christians' diagnosis of depression.  Furthermore, it would seem a much more constructive approach to try and help fix the problem rather than turning away from it entirely, and seemingly criticize it from the outside.  It is a struggle to have Christ in your life.  With Christ in your life your conscience doesn't let you just do whatever you want.  But,  since when is whatever we want always good for us.  The simple fact that Christians may struggle with depression doesn't make christianity or christ the problem.

     I thank you for your time and I apologize if this seems a bit rude.  I am, however, eager to hear your reply.

TA acknowledges that Christians often have a big problem with depression. Of course many Christians disagree with TA. I have had people tell me—with a straight face—that a mature Christian will never get depressed, and that any Christian who gets depressed is not right with God. TA apparently disagrees.

Christian depression does not prove that Christianity is wrong. But if one is evangelizing and saying that if one comes to Jesus he will experience a joyful life, while knowing it may well lead to depression, that person is doing false advertising.

I do not say that humanism will cure all depression. But it is my belief that the mind set free that learns to appreciate the wonders of humanity will tend to be happy and free from discouragement.



DS writes:

I've been visiting you're website occasionally whenever I try to find answers concerning "God" and which religion is right... if any off course…

Being an individual who was not predisposed to religion, I began to research many religions including Christianity. I've visited many pro and Christian bashing website, and I'd just like to say that you're website is one of the most impressive I've visited to this date. Its commercialized just enough to keep the reader listening, while avoiding childish anti-Christian comments and remarks. I've noticed a commonly occurring theme within modern major religions. That theme being, adopt this religion or you will suffer in hell/depression. From Islam to Christianity, to Zoroastrianism, the theme has been constant. So I’m really curious, you appear to have a very good understanding of Christianity and its history. How do you believe the Gospels, in a nutshell, came to be?…

Is the Bible the unaltered word of God? No. It simply cannot be, due to the centuries of social, political, language, and geographical changes. In fact, the current Bible is not even complete. Many books have been deleted in order to preserve the church's power. The most glaring purge was at the Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in 325 ce.

I have a question, are the original Gospels, ink to paper versions existent? Or have they simply vanished? Also, I've never been able to find out the reason why Torah translators decided to leave out the so-called fathers name "YeHo". Instead, whenever "His" name was mentioned, they used "The Lord"… any ideas or answers?

It appears that the four gospels began with the book of Mark around 70 AD. His intention appeared to be teaching a Jesus who would soon come back and rescue Israel. He was mistaken, but the idea became popular, and the other gospel writers expanded on his ideas.

And no, we do not have anything close to an original copy of the gospels. All we have is copies, which are most likely corrupted.

DS mentions the custom of translating the Hebrew name Yahweh (or Jehovah) as LORD in the Bible. I understand that this custom began because the Jews did not want to say the actual name. This odd translation contributed greatly to the acceptance of the Old Testament. Few realize that when they read the word “LORD” in the Old Testament, it literally means Yahweh, an ancient god. So the 23rd Psalm literally says, “Yahweh is my shepherd.”  The Psalmist is choosing Yahweh, as opposed to the many claimed gods. When the Psalms are viewed in this light, they take on a whole new meaning. The Psalmist is merely bragging that his god, Yahweh, can beat up other gods. But the modern translation of the word as LORD, hides the real meaning of the word.

16.  “WELL DONE”


KL writes:

I just read your essay Self Esteem and Christian Belief.  Well done.  Thanks.   I have also read your Questioning Series and printed them off to share with others.  I really like your writing tone.  It isn't angry or condescending.  Keep up the good work.



TW writes:

Hi Merle , I read some things on your site ,

I’m sorry you had some bad experiences in what is typically called church .

But, I hope you havent lost your faith in God and Christ’s love for you.  His tomb is empty and your life could be made full again .

I think TW misunderstands. My life is full now. Perhaps he was told that non-Christians have an empty life, and he assumed it was true. I can assure TW that my life is full.



TA writes:

I pray that you will come to know the power of God again before it is too late.  I noticed that only nonbeliever's comments are posted on your front page.  I came here to find encouragement on a final exam that I am going to take in geology at ULM this week.  I found it in your doubt.  Your doubt only made me stronger in my faith in God.  I have found the strength I needed to fail the test on evolution, dates of Earth's eons, eras, and periods, fossilization, etc.  I feel that maintaining my 4.0 after 3 years in college is not worth losing my relationship with God, losing the respect of my 2 children, or failing to set an example of Christian faith.  This final exam is just another stepping stone on my path to Heaven.  I will not let it stand in my way.

TA wonders why I post no believer’s comments on my title page. He is mistaken. I do quote one believer who agrees with some of what I wrote, particularly, my writings on geology. I tried to find a believer who would give a negative comment and let me publish it with his name. So far I have found no believer who will give me permission to do that. I even asked TA if he would care to comment and give me permission to use his name. He did not respond. Go figure.

TA must be very smart. He had a 4.0 after 3 years of college. But he refuses to acknowledge that the earth is old. Many Christians disagree with TA. But TA knows they are wrong. How does he know it? He has faith that he is right and other Christians are wrong. I suppose TA does not realize how silly his blind faith looks from the outside.



JM writes: 

Thanks for putting putting up your site. I just read your "How Questioning Changed Me" article.

After years of cover-to-cover Bible reading in various translations, I just couldn't believe it anymore. I've not been in church for a couple years. But frankly, I'm still hurting pretty bad emotionally over the whole ordeal. I'm 33 but have been in Christianity since my earlier memories. I miss God. I miss the concept of eternal life. But I just cannot accept the Bible.

When you deconverted, did you go through a period of mourning? Did you ever get over it?

Yes, it is normal to feel great sadness when one realizes that his whole life was lived for an illusion. But the joy of shaking it off, and moving on with life, can soon overshadow that grief. I too went through that struggle.

There are many good resources to help people deal with this grief. I link to some on my links page. 



GD writes: 

My theory is that God is omnipotent and all things are possible he has no limitations, but that doubt unables God and that hes not in control. If God was in control that would mean that he allows: the holocost, rape , Child Molestation, Genocide and terrorism ect. That would make God a monster and the bible says God is love and that he died for our sins, so I don’t think God is in control.

Read Matt. 13:58 and Mark 6:5-6 these verses prove that God could not do any mighty work or intervene because of doubt, I challenge the doctrine that God is in control.

Apparently GD thinks that the victim of rape or the molested child suffers because of a lack of faith. Can you imagine trying to explain that to the victim? Can you imagine telling the abused child that this is happening to him because he lacks faith? Can you imagine telling him he must only believe and all will be okay?

I wonder how many people are trying to force themselves to believe that all will be fine, thinking that if only they believe their troubles will end. It seems to me that such thinking only leads to despair.



KM writes: 

I'm 19 years old, and a Muslim who is not really religious.

Like in your case, I started questioning many things about islamic beliefs, but I found out many things that amazed me and only made me more attached to Islam.
I'm not trying to convince you of anything, I've read your pages, and just thought you might find this article interesting. It has a logical approach
Please read through the whole article, [Link]

Thanks for the link, KM. No I have no intention of adopting Islam. I think it is built on false premises. But I notice that the arguments for the Koran sound surprisingly like the arguments for the Bible. I find the same claim that certain statements in the Koran represent revealed knowledge from God. It is so easy to take vague writings in the past, and reinterpret them so that they look like the author had prophetic knowledge or keen knowledge of science that could only have come from revelation. But this does not prove revelation.

Christians that are impressed with the claims of Biblical prophecy should look at this site to find that they are not the only ones making fantastic claims. If they were to take the skepticism they have for this Islamic site, and apply the same thinking style when they read the Biblical apologists, they would see why many of the claims for the Bible are bogus.



NM writes: 

Thank you so much for your website and your character. My husband and I were raised in the church and grew up to have many unanswered questions. Our pastor refused to even discuss the issues and we were forced to find another
church that would help us. We never found that church. While our old friends (and even family) disowned us because we left their church, we still weren't finding the answers we were starving for. After almost a year of church shopping, we were more confused than ever. Every Sunday's sermon
brought a fresh load of questions about doctrine and the Bible. We decided to stop going to church in order to purge our minds and to study for ourselves.

First we studied the Bible itself. With so many contradictions and vague lessons, there were no answers there. Then we studied the origins of the Bible. Bingo! Some of the books you recommend we have read. We learned the Bible cannot be the word of God. There is no evidence that Jesus existed.
What a relief! Losing our faith has been the most freeing thing. Instead of trying desperately to find our answers within Christianity and the Bible, we found them in reason. We know how hard it is to examine what you believe.

While our families are convinced that we are serving Satan, there is someone like you that understands and has been there too. It takes courage to search. I will be recommending your website to a friend who is also searching.

Thank you.


It is good to hear from others who have set their minds free.



 MJ writes: 

I discovered your website today and enjoyed reading some of your material...I wanted to complement you on your reasonong ability. I have been one of Jehovah's Witnesses all my life and for the last several years have found myself questioning these beliefs. Like you, this fundamentalist background is all I know and it is scary to venture out (especially when leaving your religion means being left by your family and friends).

I understand the nervousness that one has in abandoning his support system. Many find that too scary, so they remain within the religion they were taught. They figure it is more important to maintain the social structure they know than to admit the truth.

But is it not worth the risk? Can you imagine having lived your life without ever stepping out and saying what you believe? Life is short. It is up to each of us to make it worth living. But if we hide our doubts, and hide our feelings, we will miss the opportunity to  ever express what we are.

MJ has bravely taken the first step. I hope that he continues into the light.

Those who need help in making this step can find it at places like Walk Away from Fundamentalism and In La Kesh.



 GD writes: 

I read your story.  I've been reading lots of deconversion stories in the last few months and it's interesting that there are so many similarities between them.  So many of us seemed to go through a series of the same steps with similar kinds of doubts and fears as we began to change our beliefs. 

Thanks for writing, GD. Yes, we are not alone.



Future responses will be done at my blog page.





Copyright Ó Merle Hertzler 2004, 2005. All rights reserved.


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