Jaco Gericke - Confessions of a Died-Again Christian

July 25, 2011

Host: Robert M. Price

A couple of student hecklers once reproved Marlowe's Dr. Faustus: "Faustus! Plumb the depths of that which you profess!" Many evangelical Christians have buckled down to study apologetics or biblical studies in just that spirit—and wound up not professing any more! Their stories are often eerily similar yet always fascinating!

And such a delver was Jaco Gericke. First he read the "safe" stuff, then the books they warned him not to read, and then everything else! Today Dr. Gericke is on the faculty of Humanities at North-West University in South Africa. He holds the Doctor of Letters degree in Semitic Languages and a Ph.D. in Old Testament with a specialization in Philosophy of Religion.

He is the author of dozens of published papers and conference presentations. One of his essays, "Can God Exist if Yahweh Doesn't?" appears in the new John W. Loftus anthology, The End of Christianity from Prometheus Books. His quest is strikingly similar to that of Point of Inquiry host Robert M. Price, who interviews him here. You're welcome to come and compare notes.

Books Mentioned in This Episode:


Comments from the CFI Forums

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@22:00

Your Christian ethics destroys your Christian dogma.  :lol:

psik

Posted on Jul 25, 2011 at 5:54pm by psikeyhackr Comment #1

Thanks so much for this interview - I found it immensely cathartic. And yeah, that ethics-vs-dogma quote pretty much nails it! That’s exactly how I found my way out of Evangelical Christianity too, via my own desire for what I thought would be a deeper faith. Ah, irony.

Posted on Aug 03, 2011 at 5:36am by Erica Comment #2

This was a great listen. I found much common ground with Jaco in my own personal journey from Fundamentalism to Agnosticism.

Posted on Aug 04, 2011 at 4:42am by FreeInKy Comment #3

This was a great listen. I found much common ground with Jaco in my own personal journey from Fundamentalism to Agnosticism.

Nevermind…

Posted on Aug 04, 2011 at 5:28am by traveler Comment #4

Thanks for the PM and the favor, traveler. BTW - I love your sig lines. My term for Fox News is “Faux News.” :)

Posted on Aug 04, 2011 at 8:07am by FreeInKy Comment #5

Thanks for the PM and the favor, traveler. BTW - I love your sig lines. My term for Fox News is “Faux News.” :)

Anytime, friend.

Posted on Aug 04, 2011 at 8:16am by traveler Comment #6

Gericke said: “People who suffer from this should get together and start something like ‘Fundamentalists Anonymous.’”

Unfortunately, neither he nor Price seems to have been aware of Darrell Ray’s “Recovering Religionists” organization (http://www.recoveringreligionists.com). Ray (author of _The God Virus_) started RR as an equivalent to AA for fundamentalists, and he’s trying to establish RR groups throughout the country. Start one in your area!

Posted on Aug 16, 2011 at 12:26pm by Dan Delaney Comment #7

I’ve only just listened to this great podcast episode, so am only now posting. Maybe someone will pick up on these questions. The questions I have for Bob and/or Dr Gericke are:

How do they explain their original born-again conversion experiences now that they have made the journey to atheism, in particular if those experiences were powerfully spiritual in nature, i.e., “paranormal”?

Dr. Gericke’s explanation of his experiences seemed to me to suggest some either/or thinking, as if he felt that he either had to be a believer or an atheist. For example he remarked that liberal mainstream Christian theology had a “vague” understanding of God that was unsatisfying to him. He seemed to be motivated by a need for certainty and discomfort with ambiguity (see, e.g., Chris Mooney’s more recent podcasts on the psychology of political conservatism). How would he respond to this observation?

Did either Bob or Dr. Gericke ever consider Eastern Christian (Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, et al) theology, whose epistemology is radically different from any form of Western Christianity, and whose theology, while positively Christian, also has a heavy emphasis on apophaticism?  (Disclaimer: I am Eastern Orthodox.)

Just to clarify, I’m not looking for an argument here, and don’t have time to engage in one. I’m asking because I’m curious, but I will admit that Eastern Christian theology does provide me a way out of many of the dichotomies that I see in the believer vs. atheism discussions. Also, I’m in complete agreement about the delusions of fundamentalism.

Posted on Apr 18, 2012 at 7:32am by JNAustin Comment #8