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Oct 22 2011

Why I am an atheist – Erin Breda

I can distinctly remember kneeling in the darkened family room of my aunt and uncle’s house in Florida. With my eyes closed and my hands clasped reverentially in front of me, I recited the words that every Christian parent longs to hear from the lips of their children: “Dear Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and forgive my sins. I accept you as my Lord and savior.” I was four years old.

My mother was raised in a missionary family, living in various places throughout Central America. Her parents were (and are) Southern Baptist missionaries, and she did not return to the United States until age 17. After graduating high school early, she enrolled at Columbia Bible College, where she met my father. My father was also raised in a deeply religious protestant family, so after their marriage, it seemed the natural course that they prepare for entrance into the mission field. When I was born, my family was living in a small apartment above a church in my father’s home town in Pennsylvania, where he was the youth pastor. After my brother was born three years later, our family began traveling around the country raising support to send us to South America. My childhood was spent moving from state to state, staying in whatever lodging could be lent to us by the host church, while my parents preached and performed to receive donations toward our mission. The final period of their training was completed at a “mission institute” in Missouri, where my family spent six months learning how to make sock puppets and crafts to teach children about Jesus.

It was around this time, at seven years old, that I was baptized by my maternal grandfather in his church, south of Atlanta, Georgia. I don’t remember much of the ceremony, but I can easily recall the feedback I received from family and strangers alike. Everyone I met was delighted at my outward profession of faith. An elderly woman at the restaurant where we had retired to celebrate even gave me five dollars to congratulate me when she learned of my accomplishment. All of this went quite well with my temperament, as I’ve always thrived on attention and praise.

Though my parents divorced not long after we left the mission institute and then settled in Indiana, my happy coexistence with religion as a way to be rewarded continued into adolescence. Beginning somewhere around age 13, however, and blossoming as I advanced through my teenage years, the very healthy sexual appetite that my current husband so appreciates began to assert itself. I play-acted sexual encounters in the dark of my bedroom at night, and in high school I found ample opportunity to explore this arena with other hormone-addled teenagers, both boys and girls. It was at this time that I found a conflict with the happy “Jesus Loves You” message that had been repeated to me throughout childhood. The rules taught in church had always seemed so easy to follow. Of course I would never steal or kill anyone! But now every Sunday the youth pastor repeated the peril of expressing this hormonal urge that came so naturally to me. Feeling ashamed, as being “in trouble” is still one of my greatest fears, I internalized my guilt, but couldn’t deny the pull of temptation.

I lost my virginity at 17 to another virgin, who was likewise the child of evangelical parents. The next day, he was aghast at our transgression and swore we would never commit this crime again until our marriage. After a year of dating, the situation had so deteriorated in the home where I lived with my father and stepmother (who would later be diagnosed with a variety of mental disorders) that I moved in with my boyfriend’s parents. At first I was moved by their warm charity in welcoming me into their home. But from the moment I entered it, I soon discovered that every movement my boyfriend and I made was being scrutinized for signs of sexual behavior. Even though he slept in a separate room, accusations were constantly flung about. Feeling I had nowhere else to turn, after months of overwhelming pressure and condemnation, I agreed to legitimize our relationship through marriage. I was married on the morning of my senior prom in his parents’ living room, after which we returned to school on Monday as if nothing had happened.
After graduation, my new husband and I ventured into the wider world of university together, where we lived in married-student housing. It wasn’t long before I learned, at our school of 35,000, that there are vastly different kinds of people in the world, all holding fascinatingly diverse opinions, and almost all of these people seemed infinitely more attractive than the man I had married. Within the semester I began an affair with a brilliant and witty, if cynical, classmate during a field trip to Chicago. This would shortly end in discovery, anger, violence, and tearful apologies. Terrified of venturing out on my own, I agreed to move back in with our in-laws and begin my penance. I read the bible daily, was not allowed out alone, and was even forced to accompany my husband during his delivery runs. But through all of this, I could not be genuinely penitent because that brilliant and witty if cynical young student had opened my eyes. I learned that all of the guilt and shame I felt had really been self-inflicted. There is no Jesus to be disappointed in me when I break rules recorded thousands of years ago in a scattered collection of parchment. Once lifted of this irrational burden, I was free to exercise my own considerable rational faculties in further testing the religion I had always known. Everywhere I poked, I found the fabric of arguments I’d always accepted to be thin as tissue paper. I would continue my sentence a few more months before gathering enough courage to leave my husband for good. I moved in with my mother until the new semester started and then returned to my studies at university. There I took a minor in Women’s Studies, learning a great deal about sexuality, gender, and how humans have felt and expressed the same stirrings in myriad ways for thousands of years. After graduation, I moved to Boston, where I am now married to a wonderful man who shares my open-minded, voracious curiosity, and together we vet the various claims of the world based on sound, logical principles.

It took a while to let go of what had been so ingrained in me from childhood. Even long after I had mentally reconciled the lack of a supreme being, I still occasionally caught myself offering a silent prayer of thanks to the heavens when something fortuitous happened. I will always bear the scars of guilt and repression from my childhood in an evangelical protestant family. However I can now firmly state that there is no god, and that sex between consenting adults is most often a beautiful and wonderful thing, regardless of what your pastor says. Now, supported by my loving husband, I look forward to bringing children into the world who will grow up in an environment where their actions are judged not by adherence to an archaic code, but by the good or harm they cause themselves and those around them.

Erin Breda
Massachusetts, United States

75 comments

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  1. 1
    'Tis Himself

    One of the controls that most goddist sects like to impose on their followers is fear and hatred of sex.

    Consider the extraordinary attention given to sexual attitudes in Genesis. Indeed the very first biblical reference to human emotion is not joy, anger or sadness but the complex feelings of genital shame. The Bible tells us that Adam and Eve were free of such negativity in Eden, but acquire it after the Fall. In its cryptic language the Bible tells us that sexual fears are enormously significant, a barometer of our relationship with God, each other, and our self.

    Most religions don’t seem to like sex very much, and have lots and lots of rules about what God supposedly wants you to do (or, more often, not do) with your sex organs and other various erogenous parts. Prohibitions against nudity, masturbation, or pre- and ex-marital sex teach an individual to regard his or her own sexuality as “inferior.” Sex is strong and basic, which threatens religion’s dominance, so religion retaliates by trying to suborn and control sex, turning it around on itself and using it as a guilt generator, the better to control its adherents.

    The problem is God is imaginary but sex is real. Sooner or later the real urges overwhelm the imaginary gatekeeper that religion puts in their path, and the sex bursts free for a while. And of course, this is taken as evidence that sex really IS bad and evil and scary, and must be the work of Satan (or whoever your particular anti-God is) because who else would be able to create something that even God can’t help you with consistently? And the cycle starts again, with added intensity. Religion always offers to “help” with sexual problems; it’s fascinated with them, and why shouldn’t it be? It’s good for business, and all the better if the cure is never entirely successful.

  2. 2
    Clare

    Beautifully expressed, Erin.

    I’m glad that you were able to walk away from your previous husband and the religious environment you were living in – it must have taken great courage. And I’m glad that you have such a positive outlook for your future :)

    Best wishes to you and your husband.

  3. 3
    A3Kr0n

    When I first saw the “Why I am an atheist” entry I thought “oh man, another huge chunk of words to read”.
    But I read every word. Every word was needed, and appreciated.
    Thank you Erin.

  4. 4
    Avicenna

    I think I stole the quote from Terry Pratchett (I know it’s not my own creation) but it’s apt here.

    “The worst whip is the one inside your own head”.

    It makes slaves think like slaves, it makes the oppressed think like the oppressed. Only when you stop whipping yourself do you truly become free.

    It’s why religion is so effective, if we are all sinners then we all have a whip that tells us that and it’s very hard to ignore that.

    Glad you got out, it’s good to read about people who build positively on a negative experience.

  5. 5
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    This was beautifully written and a joy to read. Thanks for sharing, Erin. I’m glad you found freedom and happiness.

  6. 6
    julian

    That was an amazing read. Thank you and congratulations on getting out of such a terrible relationship. It takes a lot to walk out the way you did.

  7. 7
    DobermanGuy

    Wonderful story. Also, I dislike the use of ‘university’ as a proper noun. That’s all i have to say about that.

  8. 8
    scaryduck

    Wonderfully written, Erin. Thank you, go out and enjoy your life.

  9. 9
    Iris Vander Pluym

    Well done, Erin. You overcame quite a lot, and at such a young age. Thanks for expressing it so beautifully.

  10. 10
    nesetalis

    Very good read, and I’m glad another escaped that heinous cult.

  11. 11
    Tim DeLaney

    I winced at the first paragraph–I cannot help but regard it as child abuse to push religion on four year olds. It’s worse than binding their feet to prevent their normal development.

  12. 12
    nazani14

    As an outsider looking in, the economics of the preaching and missionary profession fascinate me. Did your parents (or your dad) ever get to South America?
    I’m trying to imagine myself as a preacher’s wife, moving from one place to another, living on donations and expected to set a lot of money aside for a mission. I’m sure I wouldn’t have made it past the birth of the first child, let alone a second. No matter how devoted to a cause I was, I’d still put my children’s welfare first. Congratulations to your parents for at least practicing the rejection of worldliness that the New testament dictates.

  13. 13
    bobcalder

    The practical effect of growing up in a culture where superstition is substituted for rationality is that education is delayed and becomes a burden on society. Erin’s early childhood was effectively spent in a primitive village culture. Her high school should have been spent in a school where we do this. For instance, right now we are acculturating the Haitian earthquake victims. One of my colleagues told me that he had a student that was not aware that we had bathrooms for students to use.

    In Erin’s case, education proceeded at the current college tuition rate. Was it wasted? Probably not. The argument becomes a practical versus social argument that pushes technical education in the end.

  14. 14
    Jonathan

    Well, obviously she only denied the Lord because she wanted to Live In Sin.

  15. 15
    John Stumbles

    A3Kr0n says:

    When I first saw the “Why I am an atheist” entry I thought “oh man, another huge chunk of words to read”.
    But I read every word. Every word was needed, and appreciated.
    Thank you Erin.

    +1 here!

  16. 16
    'Tis Himself

    If there is no god, then there cannot be sin. Ergo an atheist cannot “live in sin.” QE fucking D!

  17. 17
    Monado, FCD

    What a brave and open-minded person you are! Congratulations on throwing off the shackles so early and so decisively.

  18. 18
    plainenglish

    @Jonathan: go wash your mouth out with soap and quit thinking those dirty thoughts!

  19. 19
    plainenglish

    Erin, thank-you for sharing your experience with brainwashing and how you found your way to freedom. There are countless hoardes of us out there, Erin, those who have escaped first, then declared victory and freedom with what remains. When they get us so young (I was born into a Baptist preacher’s family) they rejoice to see us tortured and begging Jesus for forgiveness in very formative years… what hatred that is! Such unbelievable disrespect for innocence. It is indeed a form of child abuse.
    Wishing you good fortune, Erin, and much happiness in freedom.

  20. 20
    Thomas Lawson

    Dumbstruck. Wordless. That was such a powerful entry. All I could think is that playwrights, screenwriters, novelists, etc. should be trolling these entries for ideas. Wonderful, Erin.
    -

    C.C. Moore, the man behind the Blue Grass Blade, where the original “Why I Am An Atheist” letters were printed, in 1903, was indicted twice for discussing pre-marital sex and contraception methods, and was actually imprisoned the second time! The cause of the discussion was a book called The Law of Population by Annie Besant, published in 1878. At the time, it was illegal to send Besant’s book through the US Mail. (And to talk about it, apparently.)
    -
    I would have to wager that that book is still banned throughout the Southern United States. It’s free on Google Books.

  21. 21
    tuesdaydaddy

    All you did was trade the creator of the universe who created sex for the god of self. I am a follower of Jesus and the only limitation in the bible on sex is that it is to be with the opposite sex in marriage for life! Anything else is adultry or lust. For all those who want to quote the biblical text and don’t read the quotes in their context your just the blind leading the blind.

  22. 22
    razzlefrog

    Beautiful!

  23. 23
    Don F

    tuesdaydaddy, good luck with pushing jeazus here!

  24. 24
    KG

    tuesdaydaddy,

    No, what she did was to swap an imaginary tyrant and its narrow-minded, pitiable devotees – such as yourself – for real life, real sex, and real love.

    An excellent post.

  25. 25
    Rumtopf

    Lol. The only limitation.

  26. 26
    raven

    dumb troll:

    All you did was trade the creator of the universe…

    You mean, a fictional character from an old book of fairy tales, don’t you?

  27. 27
    another

    ‘Tis Himself, OM: If there is no god, then there cannot be sin. Ergo an atheist cannot “live in sin.” QE fucking D!

    If?
    There is no god. There cannot be sin. No one can “live in sin.”

    QE ftfy D!

  28. 28
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    All you did was trade the creator of the universe who created sex for the god of self.

    Meaning that she is the only master of herself and doesn’t bow and plead before an imaginary lord? Yeah, really awful for her.
    Hm, being the god(dess) of yourself. That actually sounds good. I’m totally my own goddess.

  29. 29
    Ze Madmax

    tuesdaydaddy @ #21

    Anything else is adultry or lust.

    Adultry? Is that like gentry, but when referring to adults? Because if you think sex is only to happen between a married (heterosexual) couple, then you should probably grow up.

  30. 30
    Zinc Avenger

    Is this the first “I am an atheist” to get goddist trolls? I think it might be. And – oh of course – it is the one where the writer talks about sex in opposition to religion. And somehow I can always paraphrase their comments as “you’re happy now, but you’ll be sorry!”. Thanks, theists. You can keep your god of love and light and sweetness and delight and forgiveness that is just itching to torture us forever in unimaginible ways once we are safely past the point that we can’t learn differently or even pass on the lesson to others.

  31. 31
    raven

    Is this the first “I am an atheist” to get goddist trolls?

    No. IIRC, most of them get a driveby or two.

    This seems to be a xian ritual of “Witlessnessinng”. Driveby, drop off some dumb goddist garbage, and run away. They get brownie points towards their ticket to heaven that way.

  32. 32
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Erin: Amazing story. I’m so glad you escaped all that.

    bobcalder: Please don’t use the word “primitive” to describe other cultures. It’s insulting and it almost always carries racist baggage.

    Tuesdaydaddy: Fuck you and fuck your book of genocidal fairytales for the morally compassless.

  33. 33
    Rich Woods

    #32

    morally compassless

    Brilliant! I shall have to steal that one.

  34. 34
    SallyStrange

    “Witlessnessing.” Good word. I’ll have to remember that one.

    Wonderful storytelling, Erin. Thank you.

    Once again it is demonstrated that Christians are correct to fear, avoid, oppose and undermine education. It really is their nemesis.

  35. 35
    Don Quijote

    @14 “She wanted to Live In Sin.”

    I didn’t know that Basin City is in Massachusetts.

    Felicidades Erin.

  36. 36
    thunderbird5

    Brave, strong, smart.

  37. 37
    NiChrome

    Nice essay Erin!

    My childhood was spent moving from state to state, staying in whatever lodging could be lent to us by the host church

    I suspect the above sort of “charity” comprises a lot of what the religious brag about when they claim they donate more than others.

  38. 38
    Morpheus91

    Wonderful post! :) I think sex is an issue that brings personal bearing to the discrimination of religion, for a lot of people. It’s not hard to agree with something you already hold in your own values (like you said, don’t kill anyone or steal things), or to condemn something that doesn’t touch you personally (when I was a Christian I was quite adamant against homosexuality, notably before I had any homosexual acquaintances) – but when it touches a personal issue, it makes ya stop and think.

    I had immense guilt issues around the subject, and finally reached a level of clarity about it with the thought, “Why would something so beautiful as the human body be sinful?” Despite laudable goals touted by Christianity such as helping the poor, practical Christianity almost always boils down to condemning beautiful, fun aspects of life.

  39. 39
    cadrpear

    I will always bear the scars of guilt and repression from my childhood in an evangelical protestant family. However I can now firmly state that there is no god, and that sex between consenting adults is most often a beautiful and wonderful thing, regardless of what your pastor says. Now, supported by my loving husband, I look forward to bringing children into the world who will grow up in an environment where their actions are judged not by adherence to an archaic code, but by the good or harm they cause themselves and those around them.

    Brilliant. Your position is enviable, and I can only wish you the best in`your journey.

    ________

    @tuesdaydaddy #21:

    For all those who want to quote the biblical text and don’t read the quotes in their context your just the blind leading the blind

    By using the Bible as an authority at all, you yourself are the blind leading the blind. Actually, you’re more like a decapitated chicken, one who has willfully lobotomized itself because it thought its brain was a stumbling block. I mean, if your eye causes you to stumble…

  40. 40
    WhiteHatLurker

    @Erin
    Thanks for sharing your traumatic childhood. Glad to hear you’re recovering.

    @Tuesday’s Child

    All you did was trade the creator of the universe who created sex for the god of self. I am a follower of Jesus and the only limitation in the bible on sex is that it is to be with the opposite sex in marriage for life! Anything else is adultry or lust. For all those who want to quote the biblical text and don’t read the quotes in their context your just the blind leading the blind.

    You must have taken part in OKCupid’s grammar/spelling versus religious level survey.

    I am curious about your story. Did anything untoward happen to Lot’s (married) daughters when they raped their daddy? No. (Well, they had children. But that was their aim.) And yet, his lawfully espoused wife was turned to salt for just looking around. Please explain the context of this passage in light of your point of view on biblical sex.

  41. 41
    raven

    Did anything untoward happen to Lot’s (married) daughters when they raped their daddy? No.

    Well they did give rise to the Moabite and Ammonite peoples.

    These were neighboring tribes and rivals of the Judeans. Which is one of the few indications that there is humor in the bible. As founding myths go, this one isn’t too noble.

    The incestuous relations between Lot and his daughterswww.religioustolerance.org › Christianity › Bible › StoriesCached – Similar

    Dec 24, 2005 – The incestuous relations between Lot and his daughters, described in … Their sons are described as founding the Moabite and Ammonite …

  42. 42
    ConcernedJoe

    The rules governing sex for Roman Catholic brand of Christianity are simple:

    (1) if you are unmarried do not touch anyone including yourself, indeed do not think about touching anyone including yourself

    (2) if you are married do not touch yourself or anyone else other than your sanctified sanctioned spouse, indeed do not think about touching yourself or anyone else other than your sanctified sanctioned spouse

    (3) whether married or not erotica is verboten

    (4) if you touch your spouse or your spouse touches you be sure all seed that might spring forth from such touches is deposited in the approved seed bank

    (5) mostly if you can feel guilty about having sex for the joy of it and use this guilt to abstain from sex except for procreation within a marriage you’ll be holy and right with the Church and Jesus

    (6) if you cannot procreate (too old or have another impairment), or your spouse cannot, you still have to follow the rules above (at least I think so – anyone really know authoritatively?) – that is I think this sums it up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0kJHQpvgB8!

  43. 43
    peterwhite

    Thank you Erin for your honesty about your life. I have spent most of my life explaining why conservative sexual behavior does not equal morality. That was one of the main reasons I became an atheist. I see nothing wrong with sex and the only moral issue around sex is informed consent.

  44. 44
    echidna

    Nice piece of writing there, Erin. Very nice prison escape story.

    And Jonathan and Tuesdaydaddy have thoughtfully backed you up, and provided us with examples of how Christians enforce religion by using guilt and shame. There is nothing enlightened or joyful about these people.

    So what are they trying to do? Shame Erin for having escaped the tar pit of religion?
    Jonathan and Tuesdaydaddy, first give us a reason to think that the dodgy translations of a dodgy old collection of ancient writings has any value to us. Some evidence for any deity at all would would be very useful start.

  45. 45
    Tom Clark

    Blah blah blah, you got laid in high school. Isn’t that just dandy.

  46. 46
    otrame

    Dear Tom Clark

    That’s what you got out of that story? Wow. You are really pathetic, in addition to being a jerk. I know. I have a perfect solution to your problem. Works every time. Just take this somewhat overripe porcupine and place it firmly up your bottom.

  47. 47
    marc

    how does wanting to have sexual freedom prove that God doesn’t exist? a lot of atheists think that christians are forced to live by rules and standards that are difficult to adhere by and that make life boring. that is so far from the truth. salvation doesn’t come from listening to some preacher, salvation comes from inviting christ into your life and letting him rule your heart. as you grow in christ you lose the desire to have casual sex, get drunk, do drugs, etc. as a former heavy drug user i can testify that jesus christ is for real. i am a whole new person because of the love of christ.

  48. 48
    Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa

    marc,

    Would you feel bad if you reached the conclusion that quitting drugs was something you accomplished by yourself, without the help of any supernatural entity?

  49. 49
    Koshka

    Marc,
    Do you think being a former heavy drug user makes you more reliable on the existence of Jesus?

    And thanks to Erin. I usually think a happy ending in a movie is a bit of a cop out but it is great in real life.

  50. 50
    John Phillips, FCD

    Marc, sounds like you have simply swapped one addiction for another.

  51. 51
    Aratina Cage

    Erin, I’m glad you left that abusive community and are enjoying your life! I think the ingrained things like the little superstitions and old religious habits will eventually fade away. For me, it has really been refreshing when I have realized the times I am free of the religiously ingrained thoughts and behaviors in various situations.


    Marc,

    how does wanting to have sexual freedom prove that God doesn’t exist?

    When God fails to strike one down for it–or do anything at all–that does tend to impugn God’s existence. :) It always turns out to be the people involved in the religion who do all the gnashing of their teeth about sex. Tell you what, prove me wrong. Show me one case where God had any hand in punishing someone for having sex that is supposed to not be approved of by God. Oh, that’s right–you can’t because God is a figment of your imagination!

    as you grow in christ you lose the desire to have casual sex, get drunk, do drugs, etc. as a former heavy drug user i can testify that jesus christ is for real. i am a whole new person because of the love of christ.

    All you have done is replaced your drug lust with a lust for others to praise you for praising a collectively believed in imaginary friend. Depending on which drug you used to take and which cult you ended up joining, you might have been better off mentally if you had just continued usage of the drug.

  52. 52
    scooterskutre

    I can’t believe that anybody over eight years old bought into any of this bullshit. It has to be more than religion in a society that induces this level of dumbassery. A respect for elders…. a subservience to authority, a genetic disposition to please an alpha male in the troupe?

    I’m astounded by the intelligence of my fellow atheists, but confounded by their late development. How could anybody buy into a Noah’s Ark story after seven years of age, unless there was something else tugging at their consciousness, drilling a hole in their heads to pour this crap in.

    This has always been my conundrum with atheism. I’m a little cagey about anybody who took that long to catch on, because if they have been that soft headed in the past, they’re still vulnerable to nationalism, patriotism, tribalism, and ideology.

    Recent converts scare the hell out of me. I was raised in the Bible Belt by by hard core fundamentalists and saw right through them, when I was a child.

  53. 53
    echidna

    i am a whole new person because of the love of christ.

    This will be true for any character that people base their lives on, be it a prophet, Spock, or any one of a myriad of gods throughout human history.

    Not long ago, I was at the bottom of a gorge that the local custodians of the land describe as being formed by the Rainbow Serpent. The custodians request that hikers take the time to pause, listening to the bird song and the wind blow through the leaves, in order to sense the spirits who dwell within the trees and land.

    I thought that It’s not asking too much to take a few minutes to appreciate a place of rugged natural beauty. And do you know something? Time seemed to stand still, and I started to feel that the land was alive, and that I was very small. It was a lot like staring at the Milky Way, feeling like a small part of a large universe, except there was more movement and things were closer.

    This feeling, powerful as it was, was just a feeling. It did not provide evidence for the existence of a Rainbow Serpent, or any other spirit. But nevertheless, the feeling of connection is powerful, and humans are very good at constructing these feelings. This particular place is a special place worthy of all the protection it can get, as it has long been the place of last resort in times of drought for both humans and animals in a dry and arid country.

    I think it is a good thing to understand that we are part of our environment, and dependent on it. But imagining spirits does not constitute evidence for them.

  54. 54
    KG

    a lot of atheists think that christians are forced to live by rules and standards that are difficult to adhere by and that make life boring. that is so far from the truth. – marc

    Evidently so, as far as the rules of grammar are concerned.

    as a former heavy drug user i can testify that jesus christ is for real.

    This line always makes me chuckle. Why on earth do so many Christians suppose that the fact that they were once drug addicts / criminals / social outcasts makes their “testimony” more persuasive?

  55. 55
    Inaji

    marc:

    salvation comes from inviting christ into your life and letting him rule your heart. as you grow in christ you lose the desire to have casual sex, get drunk, do drugs, etc. as a former heavy drug user i can testify that jesus christ is for real. i am a whole new person because of the love of christ.

    You think it would be rather obvious that a lot of people here did the whole Jesus shtick. (Odd that a self-proclaimed xian wouldn’t capitalize christ/jesus, doncha think?)

    I did mine back in my Jesus freak days, the tent, Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, Ca. Lemme tell ya something, Marc – even though I was really feelin’ Jesus back then, I still got horny, I still liked to have a drink now and then and I still wanted to smoke weed. You don’t lose those desires, they’re still there. You suppress them, yes.

    All you’ve done is trade one high for another, and you have to feed the Jesus high all the fucking time. If you don’t wash your brain constantly, you start to wake up.

    Life is a lot better when you aren’t busy suppressing every natural feeling and desire you have and you use your brain for thinking, like you’re supposed to do.

    Glad you’re off the drugs and all, but here’s hoping you get off the religion trip, too. It’s a bad one.

  56. 56
    raven

    , salvation comes from inviting christ into your life and letting him rule your heart. as you grow in christ you lose the desire to have casual sex, get drunk, do drugs,/blockquote>

    This is a story, not data. Glad you’re off heavy drugs. A lot of people get off them the hard way, by ODing and dying.

    Some of they most drugged out people I’ve met have been hyper religious. And fundie xians have higher rates of teenage pregnancy and abortion than the average American.

    And not all atheists have “casual” sex, get drunk, or do drugs. Or want to.

    They are more or less are like the general population, scoring higher in intelligence and education, lower in social problems than the fundies.

  57. 57
    raven

    Cthulhu, blockquote fail.

    , salvation comes from inviting christ into your life and letting him rule your heart. as you grow in christ you lose the desire to have casual sex, get drunk, do drugs

    This is a story, not data. Glad you’re off heavy drugs. A lot of people get off them the hard way, by ODing and dying.

    Some of they most drugged out people I’ve met have been hyper religious. And fundie xians have higher rates of teenage pregnancy and abortion than the average American. It might have worked for you, it fails for millions of other fundie xians.

    And not all atheists have “casual” sex, get drunk, or do drugs. Or want to.

    They are more or less are like the general population, scoring higher in intelligence and education, lower in social problems than the fundies.

  58. 58
    echidna

    This has always been my conundrum with atheism. I’m a little cagey about anybody who took that long to catch on, because if they have been that soft headed in the past, they’re still vulnerable to nationalism, patriotism, tribalism, and ideology.

    If someone is moving forward, even late in life, that’s great. We all believe what we are told by people that we trust – to throw off that conditioning you need a reason not to trust. That is not trivial.

    You are human. How can you not be vulnerable to irrationality? Even now you are pouring scorn on people that you feel are somehow beneath you – I would question that feeling of superiority right there.

  59. 59
    Inaji

    Echidna @58, it’s just slanted science, the banned troll that you’re replying to. It will be gone as soon as PZ gets around to it.

  60. 60
    Hazuki

    Yup, substituting one addiction for another. Instead of learning about reality, you convince yourself of a fiction and get high off the narcissism fumes wafting off of it.

    Also, this has been said before, but it’s not like being atheist makes you engage in risky behaviors. I don’t smoke or do drugs, rarely drink, and have only had one lover (and were planning on civil union before the economy tore us apart…).

    You have come from bad situations and overcome much. But it’s time to give credit where credit is due: YOU did this. If you did it by relying on delusion, no matter; you still did it. Now you can let the crutches go.

  61. 61
    echidna

    Caine@59,
    Thanks. I should have recognised SS’s signature snideness.

  62. 62
    Kemist

    Blah blah blah, you got laid in high school. Isn’t that just dandy.

    And you didn’t because you found jebus.

    Isn’t that just boring.

    For people who supposedly feel no desire for sex because jebus is in their heart, xians sure are quite obsessed with it. Especially when it involves people other than themselves having it.

  63. 63
    Aratina Cage

    @echidna and Caine,

    I don’t think that #52 is Slanted Science. I think it is Scooter who runs a radio station in Texas or something and who is acquainted with PZ (follow his link for more info if you like) and has interviewed him before on air. Scooter can be edgy and paranoid to say the least. His FTB nym just happens to have the same initials as Slanted Science, but it’s only a coincidence.

    Regarding his point, I think these are probably valid reasons in part for why it takes so long for some to become atheists: “A respect for elders…. a subservience to authority“. Authoritative households and shame or punishment for different thinking has to be a large part of it. But more than that, religious people don’t normally encourage critical thinking about the religion itself–most actively suppress it by flat out lying, by threatening, or by employing sophisticated theology to confuse, frighten, and bog down honest inquirers and throw them off the path to enlightenment.

  64. 64
    Inaji

    Aratina Cage:

    I think it is Scooter who runs a radio station in Texas

    Nope, don’t think so. That Scooter has a different nym. Besides, this moron mentioned having to “reinvent” himself yet again in another thread.

  65. 65
    D-triple-e-z

    Boo, cheater! Adultery is not a victimless crime =(.

  66. 66
    Robster

    When will the religious indoctrination of children be recognised as child abuse? My evangelical neighbours think I’m a big chunk of pure evil because I argue this point with them. I get the impression that the churchies are so keen on getting the kids because without them, their belief system has no future. This reeks of desperation. I guess it is.

  67. 67
    Inaji

    D-triple:

    Boo, cheater! Adultery is not a victimless crime =(.

    Adultery isn’t a crime. Too bad you couldn’t figure out where this fit in the larger context.

    Go elsewhere if all you want to do is point a finger and try to slut shame Ms. Breda.

  68. 68
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    D:

    Boo, cheater!

    Really? That’s what you’re taking away from this article?

    Tell you what, how’s about you go on and play on the freeway while the adults are talking, hmmm?

  69. 69
    Cassius Corodes

    Caine: Why is it slut shaming to boo someone for cheating on their partner? There is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself but don’t hurt others in the process. Seems pretty simple.

  70. 70
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    D,
    Maybe you missed this part?

    Feeling I had nowhere else to turn, after months of overwhelming pressure and condemnation, I agreed to legitimize our relationship through marriage. I was married on the morning of my senior prom in his parents’ living room, after which we returned to school on Monday as if nothing had happened.

    You’re judging her for “cheating” when Erin was pressured* into marrying her husband at the age of seventeen?

    Jesus -fucking- Christ, your priorities are screwed, buddy.

    *I would use “forced”, but I do not want to put words into the author’s mouth. That’s what it sounds like from my vantage point, anyway.

  71. 71
    Inaji

    Cassius Corodes:

    Why is it slut shaming to boo someone for cheating on their partner? There is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself but don’t hurt others in the process. Seems pretty simple.

    It’s ignoring the context. Why is it okay to slut shame Ms. Breda and ignore her being pressured into marriage before she was an adult? What about that harm?

    It is pretty simple. There’s no excuse for slut shaming someone.

  72. 72
    Cassius Corodes

    Caine: Seemed to me that both were victims of the situation (her and her husband) rather than just Ms. Breda. From her story she was voluntarily in the relationship but the problem was the pressure to marry. That pressure was certainly wrong.

    In any case I don’t want to make this into a big deal – but I do think that your accusation of slut shaming is incorrect. Cheating on your partner – marriage or otherwise is not a nice thing.

  73. 73
    Julien Rousseau

    One of the controls that most goddist sects like to impose on their followers is fear and hatred of sex

    Of course, when the product you sell is bliss you need to get rid of the competition and sex is a huge source of competition when it comes to bliss.

  74. 74
    Dhorvath, OM

    Cheating on a partner can be something wretched. Cheating on a facsimile thereof due to being in a situation that you were not prepared to be in is sad because all members of those relationships are getting less than they could. Holding your wife/husband to a loveless marriage with lack of understanding is not a victimless action.

  75. 75
    cheap monclers

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