Bye Bye Bibles?

I never know how to react (or whether to react at all) when I see Gideon Bibles in my hotel rooms.

That may not be an issue anymore.

Hotel room Bibles are on the outs:

Unlike traditional hotels, the 10-year-old [Soho Grand Hotel in Manhattan] has never put Bibles in its guest rooms, because “society evolves,” says hotel spokeswoman Lori DeBlois. Providing Bibles would mean the hotel “would have to take care of every guest’s belief.”

The article, from Newsweek, says that “the number of luxury hotels with religious materials in the rooms has dropped by 18 percent” since 2001.

So, if Bibles are gone, what is taking their place?

Condoms.

Edgier chains like the W provide “intimacy kits” with condoms in the minibar, while New York’s Mercer Hotel supplies a free condom in each bathroom. Neither has Bibles.

It gets better:

The new Indigo hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., a “branded boutique” launched by InterContinental, also has no Bibles, but it does offer a “One Night Stand” package for guests seeking VIP treatment at local nightclubs and late checkout for the hazy morning after.

What’s the reason for the shift?

Leisure travel is up, business travel is down, and younger generations are entering the hotel market.

And a growing number of young Americans — 20% — are non-religious.

There’s an obvious compromise here, though. I’m surprised no one has thought of it. It’ll make everyone happy.

Just offer up Christian condoms.

I’m sure there will be opposition to the removal of Bibles from hotel rooms, but I’m not sure the reason. If the Bible is that important to you, bring your own copy when you travel. They’re not that bulky. Hell, just download it on your iPod.


[tags]atheist, atheism, Bible, Christian, religion, faith, Jesus[/tags]

  • Richard Wade

    I’m sitting in a hotel room right this moment, having just torn the place to a shambles looking for those intimacy kits, one night stand packages or even a Christian condom. All I found was some stupid Bible. Guess this isn’t an edgy hotel.

    You know, a Christian Condom might not fit well unless your member was shaped like a cross, and that could be rather uncomfortable for your partner, unless of course you’re your own partner, in which case you could use both hands and it could be an auto-menage a trois. Boy, those Christians can sure be edgy!

  • Gadren

    I’m just giddy at the thought of utterly shocked and faux-offended fundies ranting about how “taking God out of our hotel rooms” will lead to Satanism.

  • Karen

    I don’t make a practice of staying in hotels; my idea of the ideal vacation destination is a state park, sleeping in my camper, and I haven’t needed to travel much on business in the last few years. However, when I did do a lot of business travel, I decided that the Gideons had a good idea. I would bring an inexpensive paperback copy of my favorite English translation of the Tao Te Ching along, and leave it in the room with the Gideon Bible. At least a few people would then have the option of being inspired by sensible philosophy as an alternative to religious bs.

  • Stephen

    I have toyed with the idea of leaving a “recommended reading” slip in hotel bibles, pointing to a few of the more ‘interesting’ verses, but I never got around to it, and I also don’t stay much in hotels these days. Anyone got one available?

  • http://raphael.doxos.com Huw

    To see those Bibles as catering to Christians is a common misunderstanding. While some hotels might be seen as “care of [some] guests’ belief” and not others… the fact is the free Bibles are not placed in rooms for comfort of Christians: but for evangelism.

    The Gideons, who put the Bibles there, are missionaries. A “real” Christian is assumed to be carrying his book (or iPod) with him. It’s there for the travelling hordes of Godless Heathens that might show up in a room and wonder why they feel so lonely. The Gideon Bibles have helpful “how to get saved” passages underlined and information about where to look in the book to see “What to do if you’re tempted…” etc.

    It’s a form of absentee-evangelism, which last drives me up a wall, to be honest. It’s like the Gideons have been leaving little spiritual time bombs in hotel rooms in the hopes they will go off and the Hotels have been complying for quite a few decades. In that last sense these are “Catering to Christians” – but only a very specific sort of Christian that has a very specific agenda.

    I’m quite happy to see the Bibles go – and think that, really, just a directory of community services (including available spiritual options, perhaps with crisis counselling 24 hour numbers) in the Hotel is all that any traveller should expect.

    From their website:

    To win others for the Lord Jesus Christ through:
    Association
    Personal Testimony
    Placing the Bible-God’s Holy Word

    Hotels and Motels. The Gideons first placed Bibles in hotels in 1908. Over the years, many lives have been changed because of Bibles placed in hotel and motel rooms. The Word of God placed by The Gideons often meets the needs of travelers in times of loneliness and despair. Other areas of distribution for Hotel Bibles have been added through the years. They include motels, hospitals, jails, doctors’ offices, ships, and airplanes.

  • http://heresycorner.blogspot.com The Heresiarch

    I assume that those would be Protestant rather than Catholic condoms?

  • http://atheistrevolution.blogspot.com/ vjack

    Don’t real Christians always carry a bible with them anyway? Seems like they wouldn’t need the hotel to provide one.

  • http://blueollie.wordpress.com ollie

    Hmmm, I stayed at the Mariott a few years ago, and they had a copy of the book written by the founder. Actually, it was interesting reading.

    I’d propose having copies of The God Delusion in the hotel? :)

  • Jen

    Awesome. I bet there is a lot more sex in hotels than Bible-readin’.

    Hwu is probably right about those Bibles being there to get lonely, vunerable people, because happy, secure people don’t need religion. Same reason they are handing them out to prisons and hospitals. A captive, depressed audience is what these guys thrive on.

    The last time I was at a hotel, it was run by people with a statue of a Hindu god on the counter, but I think there was a Bible anyway. Kind of strange. As an atheist, if I suddenly decided to own a hotel, I would not stock them. Maybe I’d sell them at a gift shop, though. Just for my own amusement, to see if anyone ever bought one.

  • Mriana

    I don’t know if I will notice any difference. I never paid any attention before to whether or not there was a Bible in the room. I guess after a while it just becomes part of the fixture for me. I don’t know. Then again, the last time I stayed in a motel was 4 years ago.

  • http://www.sadcrc.wordpress.com Calvin Moore

    I’m sorry. Maybe I’m showing my “fundie stripes” here, but exactly HOW is replacing Bibles with condoms showing that society has evolved, rather than regressed? I’m somewhat indifferent to Bibles being placed by the Gideons, but CAN see the advantages. However, placing condoms in lieu (is that spelled correctly?) of Bibles doesn’t necessarily say anything GOOD about our society. It actually shows a social irresponsibility. It would assume that every person entering a hotel room is married to the person they enter with, which we all know is not the case. And while many are afraid of people being influenced by such an archaic book found in a drawer, how much more are people influenced by the availability of condoms and “One Night Stand” packages? This is not a sign of evolution, but a sign society and the companies that cater to society are becoming more debased. Seriously? A “One Night Stand” package? That screams, “I have NO morals!” Are atheists rooting for meaningless sex–as if sex were something to be toyed with? As if meeting and having sex with a complete stranger because it will be safe is somehow evolution? I don’t think the majority of atheists feel that way. Not the ones I’ve met who get pissed every time they’re referred to as the reason society is falling apart at the seams.

    Truth be told, there are implications on either side of the equation. There are beliefs these hotels are catering to on both sides of the aisle, both religious and philosophical. They are acting as if the replacement of Bibles with condoms and “One Night Stand” packages were made in a vacuum, devoid of belief or consequences. And whether they like it or not, they are implicated in the actions that take place because of it. My thoughts, if you don’t want Bibles in your rooms, fine. Let people bring their own. But, don’t look at the provision of condoms as human evolution. If anything, condoms STOP human evolution as it stops human procreation. Let people bring their own condoms, too.

  • cautious

    If anything, condoms STOP human evolution as it stops human procreation.

    Wouldn’t this mean that evolution deniers (aka creationists) would be pro-birth control?

  • Mriana

    Would you rather they have a one night stand and take something home to their wife? Or vise versa.

    Not that everyone does that, not even atheists, but the point is, condoms also help to prevent disease, not just pregnancy. It is more responsible than using nothing, IMO.

    You cannot stop people from having sex. That’s their decision. Condoms are not a ticket to having sex, but rather it is saying, “IF you are going to do it, use this to help prevent adverse affects.”

    Few people even bother with the Bibles, unless they are ultra religious and I hate to tell you this, but the ultra religious are in the minority, which is a good thing because if we listened to them, we’d advance no where. We would stagnate with superstition.

  • http://blueollie.wordpress.com ollie

    Few people even bother with the Bibles, unless they are ultra religious
    ——–

    Furthermore, such people carry their own Bibles anyway. Besides, the Guideon versions are the out dated King James Version (last I checked) and there are many better translations out there.

    I still read the Bible from time to time (I enjoy some of the historical debate over it) and prefer the New Revised Standard Edition.

  • Mriana

    I’m also continuously amazed that people believe that condoms “stop” procreation. This is not true. Their effectiveness is not 100%. Put is on wrong or if there is a defect in the condom and the woman could end up pregnant. It is a falacy to believe they are foolproof and “stop” pregnancy. They only prevent. Thus why it is called “safer” sex, not “safe” sex.

  • http://www.sadcrc.wordpress.com Calvin Moore

    Mriana,

    You’ve created a false dichotomy, because I’d rather not have a one night stand. And the hotel should not be marketing them and then thinking they’ve covered themselves legally and ethically by providing people with condoms.

    Yes, you’re not going to stop people from having sex. But, the availability of condoms promotes it, just as the Bible clearly promotes the Christian faith–and in your beliefs, superstition. Why people think one thing’s (the Bible) presence is dubious but another thing’s (condoms) are somehow neutral in nature.

    And, for the record, more people bother with Bibles than people would think. And the “ultra-religious,” as you put it, are clearly NOT in the minority, as evidenced by much of the commenting on this site. Atheism is on the rise, but is still a niche market compared to the “ultra-religious” running around. And to say we’d advance nowhere by listening to those of a religious bent is to deny the evidence of history. Yes, religion HAS been used for evil. But, on the whole, it has been used for much more good than evil and has advanced society further than atheism ever has. (This is not to say atheism couldn’t, it simply doesn’t have an established track record. As a matter of fact, any student of history knows that atheism coupled with any number of philosophical outlooks–in terms of atrocities in the world–has just as good a record as religion does when it comes to atrocities committed.) These are all, of course, blanket statements and ought not be considered to settle any matter as intricate as this as definitive.

  • Jen

    I’m somewhat indifferent to Bibles being placed by the Gideons, but CAN see the advantages.

    What are the avantages? More money to the church when scared, depressed people become Christian?

    However, placing condoms in lieu (is that spelled correctly?) of Bibles doesn’t necessarily say anything GOOD about our society. It actually shows a social irresponsibility.

    Because having sex with condoms is irresponsible? Funny, that’s not how most people feel- most feel that condomless sex leading to pregnancy and STDs is worse. But, you know, however you roll.

    It would assume that every person entering a hotel room is married to the person they enter with, which we all know is not the case. And while many are afraid of people being influenced by such an archaic book found in a drawer, how much more are people influenced by the availability of condoms and “One Night Stand” packages?

    I had access to condoms years before I had sex. They are available, without a judgemental pharmasist, in all pharmacies and many grocery stores, of which I was allowed into even at a young age. And from the quote about the One Night Stand package, that seems to be aimed at people who like to go to clubs, which aren’t necessarily the same people who are having actual one night stands.
    I dare you to find me one hotel guest who decided to have sex solely because he or she didn’t want that condom to go to waste. Come on, I dare you.

    This is not a sign of evolution, but a sign society and the companies that cater to society are becoming more debased. Seriously? A “One Night Stand” package? That screams, “I have NO morals!”

    Yeah! They shouldn’t even sell those damn nightclub-goers condoms! Give them VD! That’ll teach them to dance! Everybody cut loose, footloose….

    Are atheists rooting for meaningless sex–as if sex were something to be toyed with?

    I am. I am still young, so I haven’t done so yet, but you better believe that meaningless sex is on my list of things to do before I die.

    As if meeting and having sex with a complete stranger because it will be safe is somehow evolution? I don’t think the majority of atheists feel that way. Not the ones I’ve met who get pissed every time they’re referred to as the reason society is falling apart at the seams.

    I don’t think I am the reason society “is falling apart” and I don’t necessarily agree that it is. I absolutely don’t think that casual sex is the downfall of society, nor do I think a condom means that people are having casual sex as opposed to commited relationship sex and/or water balloons. You are making a lot of assumptions here, dude.

    And whether they like it or not, they are implicated in the actions that take place because of it.

    So if I go have passionate, unmarried sex in a hotel, my hotel owner is going to go to hell with me? Sorry, then, to several property owners I have condemned to hell. Ooops.

    If anything, condoms STOP human evolution as it stops human procreation. Let people bring their own condoms, too.

    That word, I do not think you know what that means.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Hey, Aren’t you guys all supposed to be at church, instead of here talking about condoms? :)

    I gave my presentation today at church.(first time I ever spoke in front of them) It was surprisingly painless. Aren’t you proud of me? I thought of all of you, and it gave me courage… Thanks!

    Hemant, you come up with some good stuff… I missed that old post on Christian condoms. Good one! I’ll send the link to all of my Christian friends. (ha ha)

    Richard Wade, you are hilarious! I almost fell off my chair laughing! One question though, young man! Why would you be looking for condoms in your hotel room, anyway, huh? ;-) Now, don’t make me come over there and hit you over the head with my Bible… :)

    I personally have no preference regarding the Bibles in the hotel rooms. It’s neither here nor there. It’s no different than a piece of decoration to me. Now, condoms… That could prove to be actually practical and useful. Why not? The existence of condoms in the hotel rooms will not change our decisions about sex. You can choose not to use them, just as you can choose not to look at the Bible.

    Sex in itself is not bad. Every time someone brings up the subject of sex, someone always starts talking about morals. Why is that? Sex is one of the most beautiful gifts that God gave us. We are the ones who twist it and make it bad by being obsessed over it and allowing it to have power over us. We either idolize it or we’re fearful of it.

    Do you know that many (a large percentage) teenagers do not consider oral sex to be sex? They still call themselves a virgin as long as there was no actual intercourse. Why do you think that is? I believe it is a desperate attempt to justify a behavior that cannot be avoided because of raging hormones. The education system tries to use fear tactics and bully them into not having sex, but it does nothing but confuse our teens. People just don’t get it.

    Here, again, is a perfect example of closed-minded people only treating a symptom rather than the root cause of the problem. I truly believe that if we try to understand the hearts of these kids through communication and validation, the real problems will resolve themselves. Sex is not the problem. Their pain, which is ignored, is the real problem.

  • Mriana

    Calvin Moore said,

    November 11, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Mriana,

    You’ve created a false dichotomy, because I’d rather not have a one night stand. And the hotel should not be marketing them and then thinking they’ve covered themselves legally and ethically by providing people with condoms.

    No I have not. I did not accuse you of sleeping around. I just said people do.

    But, the availability of condoms promotes it, just as the Bible clearly promotes the Christian faith–and in your beliefs, superstition.

    No the Bible does not. I never once took notice of the Bible in hotel rooms and if it was brought to my attention, I never once picked it up to read it. So, the Bible does not promote anything. Nor do condoms.

    You also have a very bad misconception of atheism too.

    Linda said:

    Sex is one of the most beautiful gifts that God gave us. We are the ones who twist it and make it bad by being obsessed over it and allowing it to have power over us. We either idolize it or we’re fearful of it.

    Amen, Sister! You said it. :)

    For the record Calvin, medical science says that unprotected sex not only possibly cause pregnancy, but also STDs. Condoms help for safer sex. I’ve divorced two men and in the interim, I’ve been celebate. Not because of religious reasons, but because of medical science. However, IF I were so inclined to sleep with someone I felt I truly loved, I’d use a condom to prevent disease. Again, that is because of medical science (an education) not because of religion.

    There is no sin in sex, but it is immoral to go around having unprotected sex for many reasons. Maybe you need to lighten up a little and read some good Biblical SMUT! I suggest Song of Solomon. Song of Solomon is LOADED with SEX! I recommend reading Song of Solomon with your wife. Reading it together might help your love life immensely and get something kinky going on that you both may enjoy. ;) Have fun!

  • http://ozatheist.wordpress.com/ OzAtheist

    Even stranger is hotels that have both the Gideons bible and condoms.

    My latest bit of fun is to put one of these inside the bible, then hide the bible.

  • http://mollishka.blogspot.com mollishka

    By the way, Calvin, having sex with someone who isn’t one’s spouse isn’t necessarily immoral … likewise, “one night stands” aren’t necessarily immoral either. But it is unethical to not use protection when having sex and not specifically planning, wanting, and being prepared to have a child nine months later.

  • http://paxnortona.notfrisco2.com Joel Sax

    A friend of mine visiting Southern California found in his bedside table three holy books: a Gideon Bible, a Book of Mormon, and a collection of Buddhist Sutras. Someone took the time to write a long essay about how the Buddhist book would lead the reader to hell.

  • Mriana

    Oh brother! :roll:

  • Darryl

    Here, again, is a perfect example of closed-minded people only treating a symptom rather than the root cause of the problem. I truly believe that if we try to understand the hearts of these kids through communication and validation, the real problems will resolve themselves. Sex is not the problem. Their pain, which is ignored, is the real problem.

    “Understand the hearts of these kids”? What? It’s not their hearts that are getting them into trouble. Sex is not the problem–how we raise kids in our culture is the problem. Specifically, they’re ready to make babies and we’re still treating them like babies. That’s the problem.

    By the way, Calvin, having sex with someone who isn’t one’s spouse isn’t necessarily immoral …

    You’re not talking about cheating on a spouse, right?

  • cautious

    Hmm, I thought I submitted a comment earlier but hours later I aint seeing it.

    Calvin, hi, nice to have you here expressing your opinions. While it is good to hear your thoughts, I think that one of them is blatantly wrong.

    Yes, you’re not going to stop people from having sex. But, the availability of condoms promotes it,

    The availability of condoms do not promote human sexuality. The human brain is the only thing people need in order to want to have sex. What condoms do promote is having sex in a safer manner. Which most everyone on here seems to think is a good thing.

    Do you disagree? If so, let us know why.

  • Darryl

    The availability of condoms do not promote human sexuality. The human brain is the only thing people need in order to want to have sex.

    To put a finer point on it, it doesn’t take any higher brain function to desire sex. Nature has made sex pretty foolproof by making it nearly a autonomic response. The real brain power comes in the choice to use protection for yourself and your partner. The only catch is that you’ve got to plan ahead. You know, like condoms in a hotel room.

  • cautious

    I agree with Darryl.

    Nature has made sex pretty foolproof by making it nearly a autonomic response. The real brain power comes in the choice to use protection for yourself and your partner.

    Yeah it seems…pretty obvious to “any student of history” (sorry for using your phrase, Calvin) that humans are interested in sex and are willing to do it. In marriage, outside of marriage, with a spouse, with someone else’s spouse, whatever. If you need examples of any of the above, please consult either Congress, a soap opera, or The Bible.

    One of the differences between humans and other animals is that we use birth control. And one of the differences between modern society and all previous societies is that now women can be sexually active with both a minimal risk of pregnancy and a legal method of ending any unintended pregnancy.

    I think both of these are ways in which humans have “evolved” culturally and socially. I think it’d be great if, one day, no woman had a child she didn’t feel 100% happy and glad to bring into this world. Sadly we’re still a long way away from that day.

    Also I went way off topic. My apologies.

  • http://my-faith.blogspot.com/ Should I Really Use My Real Name?

    because happy, secure people don’t need religion

    The world doesn’t need religion or atheists.

    I’m happy and secure without either ;)

  • Brendan Dieffenbach

    I was staying at a hotel in Montreal recently (surrounded by godless socialistic Canadians and separatist Quebecois, to be sure) and was quite amused to discover the “Intimacy Kit” that had been placed next to my bed. It was a nice hotel (Place D’Arms, for the interested), so mine featured not one, but THREE condoms, a packet of lube, and some “cleansing wipes.” All in its own little plastic case. Trés classy. In all sincerity, though, I was pleased to see it, and I’m glad it’s not isolated to a few hotels. Here on campus at Kenyon College, where I now attend school, there are three places on campus which offer free condoms. Unity House, our GLBTQQA “safe space” on campus, also offers flavored condoms, dental dams, and lube, no questions asked. Considering the convenience of free condoms, there’s really no reason for someone not to have one if they’re planning on engaging in sexual activity. If only the powers-that-be would stop throwing our money at programs trying to dissuade people from having sex, and just make condoms as available in the “real world” as they are on some campuses.

    Cue jokes about the potential reliability of government-issued condoms…

  • http://josiahconcept.org Cory Tucholski

    As a Christian, I would just like to say that I have very rarely used a hotel Bible. I normally carry my own with me. I’ve never read a conversion story which began, “I started my walk with the Lord four years ago when I picked up that hotel Bible and read from the book of Romans. . . .” So I’m neutral on the whole issue of hotel Bibles.

    The one night stand packages are a different story. They encourage responsible sex, I’ll agree to that, but the point is that they still encourage sex. Speaking from both a moral perspective and a safety perspective, sex should be only between a man and his wife. Sleeping around the way everyone does these days just creates serious problems in the marriage later–as I’m unfortunately able to verify for you personally. I used to be glad I slept around and “got it out of my system,” but now that I’m married I wish I had waited for her. I read an article recently that said that the “seven year itch” is now coming in five years. I credit increased promiscuity before marriage with that statistic, and I’m probably right. I know I’d be far less likely to “itch” had I not made my rounds prior to marriage, and I’m sure that there are others just like me. It’s the whole idea of knowing what you’re missing out on–I think it’s easier for someone to not know what he’s missing out on in this case. That person is far more likely to stay faithful.

    I’m not saying I won’t stay faithful, just that it will be harder.

    I’d be all for The God Delusion being in hotel rooms. That way I could read it without having to spend actual money on it.

  • MIke J.C.

    Appearance by Bill Donahue on talk show to denounce “War on Christians in Hotels” in 3… 2…

  • cautious

    Cory,

    As someone who is not married, I am not going to comment on seven or five year itches, since I am not likely to have either anytime in the nearish future. The only opinion of yours I will comment on directly is

    I credit increased promiscuity before marriage with that statistic, and I’m probably right.

    My question is: what increased promiscuity before marriage? Research shows that sex before marriage has been happening in this country at roughly the same rate for the last 50 years. To be lazy and quote from an online article,

    “Researchers say that though the likelihood that Americans will have sex before marriage hasn’t changed significantly since the 1950s, people are now waiting longer to get married. So they are sexually active and unmarried for longer than in the past.”

    So, I don’t think the “increased promiscuity” you think exists is real. This suggests that something else is to blame for five year itches. Perhaps people have realized that marriage doesn’t need to be a lifetime commitment?

  • Siamang

    Perhaps people have realized that marriage doesn’t need to be a lifetime commitment?

    You know, long ago I stopped worrying about what other people are and aren’t doing in the bedroom.

    I can’t control “people”, and as long as nobody’s complaining that they’re getting hurt, I say have at it.

    Are atheists rooting for meaningless sex–as if sex were something to be toyed with?

    Yes, we MUSTN’T USE those parts of the body. They are not toys!!!

    To quote Woody Allen, “Sex inside of love is the greatest thing in the world. Sex outside of love is the second greatest thing in the world.”

    As I said, I’m not big on telling people what they should and shouldn’t do if nobody’s complaining about their own personal treatment. I don’t tell people if they should or shouldn’t have sex. I’m even one more step removed from attempting to socially engineer a change in adult behavior by placing or not placing condoms in hotel rooms.

    We’re stuck in the middle of a terrible war. People of all religions seem to want to destroy each other. The planet is about to undergo a rapid climate change to rival the last ice age, and we’re sitting here worried about if people in hotels have sufficient lube.

  • http://www.de-conversion.com HeIsSailing

    Karen says:

    However, when I did do a lot of business travel, I decided that the Gideons had a good idea. I would bring an inexpensive paperback copy of my favorite English translation of the Tao Te Ching along, and leave it in the room with the Gideon Bible.

    I am a frequent business traveller, and I always find a copy of the Gideon’s Bible and sometimes the Book of Mormon in my room. I am not offended. I figure these Gideons are privately funded, and they can distribute whatever they wish.

    But I like Karen’s idea. I have gotten into the habit of placing a professionally printed copy of Robert Ingersoll’s essay on Secularism on top of the Gideon Bible in every hotel room I stay in. It is short, to the point, and I find it pretty inspiring. On the bottom of the essay is the web address to more of Ingersoll’s writings on infidels.org

    I guess that is as close as I will ever get to atheist evangelism. Hopefully somebody in the future in some hotel room will find it inspiring.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Darryl,

    “Understand the hearts of these kids”? What? It’s not their hearts that are getting them into trouble. Sex is not the problem–how we raise kids in our culture is the problem. Specifically, they’re ready to make babies and we’re still treating them like babies. That’s the problem.

    That’s what I said, Darryl. Pay attention! I said sex is NOT the problem. All of today’s problems involving teens, including sex and pregnancy, are only the symtoms resulting from how they are treated by their parents, peers, and society, for that matter. I talk to teenagers every day. I know what goes on in their world and how they view it. Many of them are in pain of not being able to communicate with their parents. Some of them are even rejected by their peers. They feel trapped and alone. I know it too well, because I’ve been there — very painfully so. They want to be understood and validated… and loved. I’m sorry to disagree with you, but it IS their broken and rejected hearts that get them in trouble. Do you have teenagers? Or have you been that teenager who is in pain and crying out for attention?

    Cory,

    The one night stand packages are a different story. They encourage responsible sex, I’ll agree to that, but the point is that they still encourage sex.

    If two people who are not married enter a hotel room, chances are they have already decided to have sex. I don’t think the one night stand packages or the condoms will influence anyone’s decision about sex. This is the same line of thinking that if our kids are exposed to atheism, they will become atheists; and if they are exposed to homosexuality, they will become homosexuals. What kind of twisted logic is that? Christians are supposed to be freedom people, not fear-filled people…

  • http://josiahconcept.org Cory Tucholski

    Researchers say that though the likelihood that Americans will have sex before marriage hasn’t changed significantly since the 1950s, people are now waiting longer to get married. So they are sexually active and unmarried for longer than in the past.

    Okay, I can admit when I’m wrong. Given this, I could easily credit our highly sensual culture which removes more and more taboos everyday. It’s okay for women to dress in clothes that cover only the essentials. Television shows edgier and edgier things with each sweeps week.
    Perhaps the problem is what society tolerates, rather than what individuals actually do.

  • http://josiahconcept.org Cory Tucholski

    If two people who are not married enter a hotel room, chances are they have already decided to have sex.

    Couldn’t offering these things clinch the decision that they’re going to have premarital sex? Why not embrace a morality that teaches premarital sex is taboo?
    Yes, people will still have sex. I agree that safe sex is better for everyone involved. But why must society not only tolerate it, but cater to it?

  • cautious

    Why not embrace a morality that teaches premarital sex is taboo?

    Now, you just agreed that, sure, a majority of Americans have premarital sex. And that the relative percentage hasn’t changed much in ~50 years. But you, apparently, would still like to teach that such activity is taboo.

    Hmm.

    This, to me, doesn’t seem very constructive.

    But I’ll let the more mature people in this forum discuss this more. For some reason I agree heavily with Siamang’s want to just leave this alone. Adults should be able to make up their own minds about whether or not they want to engage in sexual conduct. I choose yes, with (shock!) an unmarried partner who is a fellow atheist. The horror…the horror…

  • Darryl

    Why not embrace a morality that teaches premarital sex is taboo?
    Yes, people will still have sex. I agree that safe sex is better for everyone involved. But why must society not only tolerate it, but cater to it?

    As Siamang said, I don’t worry about what other people are doing in their bedrooms, and I certainly don’t care to know the details, except insofar as it involves a public health risk. Now, from what the experts have been saying, using a condom is the single best thing you can do to prevent the transmission of STDS which are the only public-health component of this matter. For me, morality begins and ends there. To not use a condom when you ought is immoral. Everything else about sex is fair game.

    This is our problem: we make sex “taboo.” We’re so prudish and infantile about sex in our culture. We bring these problems upon ourselves. When teenagers are reminding their parents to practice safe sex, then I don’t think we have a thing to worry about. Let’s eliminate aids in Africa rather than trying to fund abstinence education.

    Let’s take sex out of the moral sphere.

  • Siamang

    Why not embrace a morality that teaches premarital sex is taboo?

    You ask the question “why not”? I ask the question “why”?

    Why should we teach that premarital sex is taboo? Perhaps premarital sex should be entered into “conscientiously”. But taboo?!?! Taboo like “eating human flesh” is taboo?

    By all means, let’s heap a whole bunch more meaningless shame on people… Yes, let’s. Why don’t we make masturbation a taboo too? And might as well make it a taboo for women to wear anything but a burkah, you know, just in case a man not married to her might have his eyes drawn below her neckline?

    “But why must society not only tolerate it, but cater to it?”

    If we confine the argument to the subject matter at hand: HOTELS, we can ask a more precise question:

    Why must companies who sell the use of BEDROOMS and BEDS not only tolerate it, but cater to it?

    Heaven forfend… you mean some people are actually having, you know, SEX, in those, GASP, BEDS?!??!?!?!

    Oh, the shame of it all.

  • http://my-faith.blogspot.com/ Should I Really Use My Real Name?

    I think it should be mandatory for all atheists to use condoms, heaven forbid that they should pro-create.

  • http://josiahconcept.org Cory Tucholski

    This is our problem: we make sex “taboo.” We’re so prudish and infantile about sex in our culture. We bring these problems upon ourselves. When teenagers are reminding their parents to practice safe sex, then I don’t think we have a thing to worry about. Let’s eliminate aids in Africa rather than trying to fund abstinence education.

    We make sex taboo? Really? I saw an outfit for a toddler that consisted of a really short skirt, a spaghetti-strap top, and it bared the midriff. Are you sure that society makes sex taboo? Because I tend to think that we make it a little too accessible.
    If you do an Internet search sometime on anything unrelated to sex, and pornographic pictures show up unless you have SafeSearch activated, then we make sex a little too accessible in our culture.
    Your response is quite naive, I think.

  • http://josiahconcept.org Cory Tucholski

    Why should we teach that premarital sex is taboo? Perhaps premarital sex should be entered into “conscientiously”. But taboo?!?! Taboo like “eating human flesh” is taboo?

    By all means, let’s heap a whole bunch more meaningless shame on people… Yes, let’s. Why don’t we make masturbation a taboo too? And might as well make it a taboo for women to wear anything but a burkah, you know, just in case a man not married to her might have his eyes drawn below her neckline?

    It isn’t about making someone ashamed of doing what comes only naturally. It is about setting sex aside and making it something special that one only shares with one’s spouse. It is about elevating sex to something beautiful–an act of love–instead of debasing it by making it something that people just do for fun.

    At the risk of being accused of an ad hominem attack, the rest of your post is too stupid to respond to.

  • Mriana

    We’re so prudish and infantile about sex in our culture.

    It comes from the Victorian age. There were so many Puritans back then.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Cory,

    Why not embrace a morality that teaches premarital sex is taboo?

    This is the thing that religion has been teaching our society throughout history. It has permeated the deepest corners of our thoughts. But our flesh refuses to comply with the impossible demands that religion puts on us. We become angry and ashamed.

    We pass down these “morals” that we, ourselves, could not follow down to our children. They are not stupid. They see the hypocrisy. They look for loopholes to satisfy their desires and still remain acceptable. Yet somehow they find themselves filled with guilt and the fear of being exposed. Layers of shame and denial accumulate until they can no longer remember who they are underneath those layers.

    We move through life in this zombie like stage, trying to earn our way to God. That is the religious thinking that keeps us in bondage, striving for perfection that we can never achieve. We live in fear of being exposed, afraid to feel and afraid to be touched… afraid to love.

    We should choose to live in freedom, not in fear…

  • Darryl

    I think it should be mandatory for all atheists to use condoms, heaven forbid that they should pro-create.

    Atheists propagate just like believers–not by sex but by indoctrination.

    We make sex taboo? Really? . . . If you do an Internet search sometime on anything unrelated to sex, and pornographic pictures show up unless you have SafeSearch activated, then we make sex a little too accessible in our culture.
    Your response is quite naive, I think.

    You’re young, aren’t you, Cory? Have you ever heard the phrase “culture war”? You probably have heard it at church. Lots of evangelicals think we’re in one here in America. Well, what we’re in is a transition from hyper-moralistic, religiously-mandated taboos about all things sexual. Ever wonder why some Muslim women wear those burkas? Ever ask yourself why you’re offended by the all the pornography out there on the internet? What, is sex intrinsically ‘dirty’? Are people who have sex outside of marriage ‘naughty’? Is sex done purely for pleasure sinful? Why do you think sex is so pleasurable? Why does everyone want it, but so many are ashamed to say that? You’re naive. Our culture is obsessed with the illicit nature of sex just because our Christian forebearers made it taboo.

    Sex is foundational to human existence and culture; nothing foundational is bad. Grow up.

  • http://josiahconcept.org Cory Tucholski

    You’re young, aren’t you, Cory?

    I’m 30, married, one child, former New Ager-turned-Christian and a recovering sex addict. I’ve watched more than my fair share of porn, and I know first hand the damage that both it and premarital sex has done to my own marriage.

    I’m not a young and naive child parroting what I’ve heard in church. I’m the voice of reason who has been there and doesn’t want to see others go down that same path.

    Take the time to find out about someone before you make comments. I have grown up, I think now you should take a more mature outlook of sex.

  • http://my-faith.blogspot.com/ Should I Really Use My Real Name?

    Sex is foundational to human existence and culture; nothing foundational is bad.

    So is murder, does that make murder good?

  • cautious

    Take the time to find out about someone before you make comments. I have grown up, I think now you should take a more mature outlook of sex.

    A) How are people going to find out about you? Did you link us to your mini-biography before you started writing here? :)

    B) …as long as everyone’s saying their ages here, I’m 25. So I might be one of the people in this forum thread who is younger (read: potentially less mature) than you are.

    C) Aside from that….I have a succinct suspicion that nobody in here should be grasping for the “I’m the most mature” straw. Unless, like, Jesus shows up. Jesus might be more mature than any of us here since he would be really, really old if he were still alive.

    (warning: my statements do not constitute an endorsement of Jesus for President)

  • cautious

    also, Should I Really Use My Real Name? , do you say things to be constructive or …are you just being funny?

    Since, for example, saying that murder is a foundation of human culture? And comparing sex to murder? Both LOL-tacular.

  • http://my-faith.blogspot.com/ Should I Really Use My Real Name?

    Random comments to make you smile…. but only generally added on to the back of unsubstantiated comments made by the other ever so slightly too serious commentators…

  • http://ozatheist.wordpress.com/ OzAtheist

    Cory Tucholski said,

    Why not embrace a morality that teaches premarital sex is taboo?

    Why Taboo? Why make something which can be fun, exciting, wholesome, loving, and bring pleasure, (not to mention, a natural desire) a taboo?

    Isn’t it better to educate people that sex can be a good thing, but also educate people on the possible physical problems (STDs, HIV, unwanted pregnancy, etc) and emotional problems, and then let them make their own educated decisions? Without any pressure, and providing suitable assistance (condoms, etc) when they do want to go ahead.

    As my dad said when I left home “behave your self son, and if you can’t be behave, be careful”

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    OzAtheist,

    Very well stated. And your dad is a wise man.

  • http://josiahconcept.org Cory Tucholski

    A) How are people going to find out about you? Did you link us to your mini-biography before you started writing here? :)

    Not directly, but if you click my name, and then click the ABOUT tab on the top of the blog, you would be able to gather much of that information. Obviously, I’ve posted pictures of my child on my blog (what parent-slash-web-geek hasn’t?). You wouldn’t have been able to gather that I’m 30 nor a recovering sex addict from any of that information; my wife was the only one who knew the recovering sex-addict part. Most of my views are evident from the remainder of the blog entries.

    C) Aside from that….I have a succinct suspicion that nobody in here should be grasping for the “I’m the most mature” straw.

    Not what I was going for: just that I was more mature than you gave me credit for.

    Why Taboo? Why make something which can be fun, exciting, wholesome, loving, and bring pleasure, (not to mention, a natural desire) a taboo?

    It really isn’t about making sex itself a taboo, just the premarital part. Keeping sex between two people elevates it to something that, for some reason, everyone on this blog thinks is unhealthy. I think it’s really about you guys wanting to have guilt-free sex with whomever you so desire, without hearing people of my ilk say that it’s immoral to do that.

  • cautious

    Random comments to make you smile…. but only generally added on to the back of unsubstantiated comments made by the other ever so slightly too serious commentators…

    Awwww but being too serious is so much funnnnn.

    But ok, fair enough, I was just wondering where you were coming from… Do you have a serious comment on this issue of whether premarital sex is taboo?

    Also, and off topic, and sorry for reading your blogs, but do you have Mass Effect pre-ordered? If so, awesome. If not, what are you doing reading posts here, go pre-order it, it should be exquisite.

  • cautious

    Hey again Calvin,

    Firstly, yes by clicking the About you link on your linked page, we can tell you’re a dude, and you’re married, and you’re Catholic. And that’s about it. :)

    So the people on this blog who were …basically, shocked by your usage of the word “taboo” to describe sex outside of marriage were, I don’t think, very much out of line to potentially think that you were parroting the Church line. Cuz.. in all honesty you are parroting the RomanCatholicChurch line that sex outside of marriage is baaaad. Your own experiences in life are the reason why you parrot, but you are parroting the RCC party line.

    And most (if not all) of us here have heard the RCC view on sex. Maybe because we were raised with it (raises hand) or learned it in school (raises hand) or learned about it through our Christian majority nation. I mean I see no reason why you should be ashamed of parroting the RCC if you believe them. Now if I were, then I’d be worried…

    Secondly, the dialogue between you and Darryl went …you said he was being naive, he said you were probably young and needed to grow up, and then you said you were grown up and that he needed to take a more mature outlook of sex. If he’s willing to admit that you’re grown up, are you willing to say that he wasn’t being naive?

    Thirdly, people who aren’t sexually conservative (like …I would hazard to say, most atheists) don’t think that keeping sex between two people is unhealthy. I know a few people, religious and not, who have met a person, they fell in love, they had or didn’t have premarital sex, they got married, and that’s been it for their love life so far.

    If a person is happy with living that kind of life, then I’m happy for them. Being sexually liberated partially means being happy for people no matter what (healthy and safe) choices they make with their sex lives.

    You feel guilty about having premarital sex. I’m sorry you feel that way, and I believe you shouldn’t feel guilty about it, but, I also realize that you and I have different sources of moral values. Your moral values say you’ve been bad. Mine don’t. Well, I mean, unless you killed someone. Then I’m gonna get worried.

    You can say that I lead an immoral life. Quite frankly, according to RCC rules…yeah, I do. But the actual, real, conflict between our two worldviews is that you think that sex is dirty if it happens outside of marriage, and I think sex is dirty if its non-consensual. I have the sluttier take on things, I suppose…

  • http://my-faith.blogspot.com/ Should I Really Use My Real Name?

    But ok, fair enough, I was just wondering where you were coming from… Do you have a serious comment on this issue of whether premarital sex is taboo?

    Serious comments always get me into trouble… As far as my beliefs on sex go, I think that having one life long partner is probably the best way to go. Of course being married to the only woman I’ve had sex with doesn’t really give me much experience in what is good or bad, but If I relate it to my other passions in life, say gaming, I really wouldn’t want to have more that one sexual partner, because when ever I get a new game, I’m always holding it up against all my other games that I’ve played before, and judging the gameplay, enjoyment etc against my previous experiences… doing that with intimate relationships would drive me nuts.

    Also, and off topic, and sorry for reading your blogs, but do you have Mass Effect pre-ordered? If so, awesome. If not, what are you doing reading posts here, go pre-order it, it should be exquisite.

    That’s what they are there for, reading! As for Mass Effect, thats a sore subject matter. I was looking forward to playing it as I was up until a fortnight ago a game reviewer on Microsoft’s Approved Reviewer list, but alas, in their infinite wisdom they decided to cull their lists, and I got removed.

    So no more free games for me, and with 3 kids and a wife to happily support, stuff all gaming money!

    Of course this might be a good thing, as if I did get sent Mass Effect, I might be tempted to engage is some casual alien sex, and that would only stir up a hornets nest of moral dilemmas….

  • Jeff

    Hi (:->) My name is Jeff. I read Your interview over the internet and i would like to first offer a correction *(” I don’t know any atheists that are saying, “There is no God, I will never pay attention to the evidence.” I don’t know a single atheist that thinks that way, even though that’s the stereotype. Atheists say, “I don’t believe in God. But if you show me the evidence, I’ll look at it, I’ll think about it.”). An Atheist according to the dictionary has absolutely no belief in God. If you are not sure if there is a God or if you think there might be then again according to the dictionary you would be considered an agnostic. And second *i would like to state that i could not believe in evolution simply because the chances of intelligent life forming from a big bang somewhere in the middle of the universe are astronomically HUGE. From my point of view believing in a universe without intelligent design takes more faith then i could ever have in believing in God. Atheists I commend you on your faith.

  • Siamang

    I’m 30, married, one child, former New Ager-turned-Christian and a recovering sex addict. I’ve watched more than my fair share of porn, and I know first hand the damage that both it and premarital sex has done to my own marriage.

    I’m sorry if premarital sex damaged your marriage. It didn’t damage mine.. I’ll go on to say that my marriage has been faithfully monogamous for its duration, and while I cannot rerun history another way to see if it would or wouldn’t turn out negatively, I’m happy that I married someone with whom I was sure I was sexually compatable.

    Now, assuming we create a society where premarital sex was taboo… you’re asking me to turn the society into one where my romantic relationship with my fiancee was the business of the culture at large. You’re asking me to live in a society that poked its nose into our private lives in order to shun our behavior.

    You’re asking me to be part of a society that forbids my behavior so that it could encourage you to police your own behavior.

    Sorry. Personal responsibility. It’s not the society’s job to keep you out of trouble with your marriage.

  • Jen

    Why not embrace a morality that teaches premarital sex is taboo?
    Yes, people will still have sex. I agree that safe sex is better for everyone involved. But why must society not only tolerate it, but cater to it?

    If 95% of American have sex before marriage then why try to make it taboo? Nothing we have done in the past 50 years has worked- not shaming those dirty, slutty girls for getting pregnant, not disrupting access to birth control, not religion, nothing has worked. If there is basically nothing that will stop people from having premarital sex, why should we make it taboo and mess people up for doing something that people are just going to do? Imagine if we made driving taboo. You don’t have to do, some people go their whole lives without doing it, people die doing it…. but people are still damn well going to do it, so we might as well hae speed limits and seat belts.

    The Guttmacher quote: Further, contrary to the public perception that premarital sex is much more common now than in the past, the study shows that even among women who were born in the 1940s, nearly nine in 10 had sex before marriage….. According to the analysis, by age 44, 99% of respondents had had sex, and 95% had done so before marriage. Even among those who abstained from sex until age 20 or older, 81% had had premarital sex by age 44.

    It isn’t about making someone ashamed of doing what comes only naturally. It is about setting sex aside and making it something special that one only shares with one’s spouse. It is about elevating sex to something beautiful–an act of love–instead of debasing it by making it something that people just do for fun.

    I am not sure why sex has to mean the same things to everyone, or if it even does mean the same thing to two people every time. For instance, I think all of us adults here can admit there is much joy and pleasure in sex, but each time is its own adventure. Sometimes sex is Serious Business, and sometimes random fun, and sometimes goofy, and sometimes cathartic, and sometimes it about one person or the other person… I don’t see why it can’t be beautiful sometimes and fun othertimes. And how does my fun sex life change your beautiful sex life, if we are to buy into your idea that sex after marriage is beautiful and sex before marriage is fun and never the two shall cross? If I sleep with every person I see tomorrow, will that debase your sex life? And I suppose gay marriage changes your marriage too?

    We make sex taboo? Really? I saw an outfit for a toddler that consisted of a really short skirt, a spaghetti-strap top, and it bared the midriff. Are you sure that society makes sex taboo?

    Read a little feminism, one day. Of course we want women to be sexy for the male gaze, always seeming to be available, while actually protecting ye important hymen and therefore the male patriarchial blood line. Its the Madonna/Whore thing our culture does so well- be Britney Spears, in a miniskirt, but damn it, be a virgin too. Think of words used to insult women- whore, slut, tramp, vixen, dyke, cunt- all of them are sexual in nature, implying things about the woman and her sex life. Sex is only ok if it is used to sell products, but its awesome to make jokes about Paris Hilton’s gaping wide vagina, cause god forbid a woman, and not a company, makes money off a woman’s body!

    I think it’s really about you guys wanting to have guilt-free sex with whomever you so desire, without hearing people of my ilk say that it’s immoral to do that.

    Actually, this just about sums it up. Why should I feel guilty about your morals?

  • cautious

    Jeff, you should email Hemant. His email address is somewhere around here. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to hear about your excitingly original thoughts!

    (stops being sarcastic)

    SIRUMRM,

    I really wouldn’t want to have more that one sexual partner, because when ever I get a new game,

    Egads it’s so horrible to say I know where you’re going on this.

    I’ve been critically told by an ex of mine that love/sex is something that, if you do walk down the road of serial monogamy, you shouldn’t end up loving or lusting after different people in the same way. Cuz if you do…that’s not good, that means you’re looking for a person to fill a void in your life. That means you’re looking for someone to complete you, when the truth be told, being in an actual loving relationship requires two complete people who can then share common interests/goals/excitements/passions/etc. Needing someone else in a “I can’t live without you baaaaby” kinda sense is immature.

    (Note: singing the above quoted line will improve your day, I guarantee it.)

    I somewhat agree with her analysis. But back to the video game analogy, different partners, like different genres of games, should challenge you in different ways, some will test your dexterity, some will make you think, some will make you run to a strategy guide for advice…wait this analogy went too far… to get back to topic… I can say I like things about a lot of games but it’s tough for me to say that any one game is better than the rest, by far. Trying to compare different partners is like trying to compare different genres, I think it’s not worth it.

    I’m sorry to hear about your lack of free games, particularly, free games with casual alien sex. I am gonna be really pissed off if the game is 90% casual alien sex and 10% galaxy exploration. Note to everyone else on this forum: I am sorry to even have to mention casual alien sex. I promise I won’t bring it up again.

  • Siamang

    Jeff wrote:

    An Atheist according to the dictionary has absolutely no belief in God.

    That’s me. I have absolutely no belief in God. I guess I’m an atheist then.

    If you have any evidence, I might change my mind. But I’m guessing you don’t.

    *i would like to state that i could not believe in evolution simply because the chances of intelligent life forming from a big bang somewhere in the middle of the universe are astronomically HUGE.

    Funny you use the word “astronomically”. Do you know what that word means? It means odds as great as the number of stars in the sky.

    So the odds against life forming can be literally astronomical, and by definition there would be life somewhere. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

    From my point of view believing in a universe without intelligent design takes more faith then i could ever have in believing in God.

    Not faith really. If you’d come here and listen to us, and ask us what we believe, you might learn something. Instead you’ve come here to tell us what we supposedly believe. You’re not going to learn anything that way, Jeff.

    Why not approach us as human beings, rather than come here to preach at us, pity us and (predictably) leave? There’s much more wonderful interaction to be had here… we can learn from you and you can learn from us… but you’ll need to start with questions, and stop with telling us what we supposedly believe.

    Because you’re incredibly wrong about us. You don’t even know anything about us. How about coming here with listening ears and a welcoming heart? I promise we don’t bite, Jeff.

    Atheists I commend you on your faith.

    That sounds like you are using it as an insult. I thought belivers thought highly of the word “faith.” I will take it as a compliment. We’re here to be friends with you, Jeff. Will you be friends with us?

    And WELCOME!

  • Jeff

    Siamang said Funny you use the word “astronomically. Yes i know what the word astronomically means that is why i used it. Siamang said Not faith really. If you’d come here and listen to us, and ask us what we believe, you might learn something. Instead you’ve come here to tell us what we supposedly believe. You’re not going to learn anything that way, Jeff. It sounds like i have struck a cord and it sounds like you have come to a few preconceived notions of your own. I’m not preaching and I’m not judging I’m simply commenting on an interview i had read tilted i sold my soul on eBay and offering my opinion. isn’t that what where all doing on this forum is offering are opinions. Please take the time to ask me questions then draw your opinions . O and by the way that comment on Atheists having faith can you say that does not apply to you . (That was a question not a judgment. take it as you like). I said Atheists I commend you on your faith. Siamang said Atheists I commend you on your faith.That sounds like you are using it as an insult. Not insult humor. would you please elaborate on what you mean by friends and thanks for the welcome i well try and crash the correct forum next time it seems iv’e crashed the one on sex.

  • Jeff

    cautious said (stops being sarcastic). Sarcasm humor tamato tomato. I so pose it depends on ones point of view. If you really think about it doesn’t it take a certain amount of faith to belevive anything that is not both factual and constant IE gravity.

  • http://josiahconcept.org Cory Tucholski

    cautious,

    So many things wrong with your post, it’s hard to know where to begin. Well, let’s start with the name. It’s Cory, not Calvin. As for my religious beliefs, I’m Reformed (Calvinist), not Catholic. The church that my wife went to–the one which I eventually became a part of–was not Catholic, though I didn’t specify that carefully enough. I’m a former Catholic, and any quick perusal of my blog entries under the RC category would reveal that. I’ve had regular exchanges with prolific Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong about his labeling of me “anti-Catholic.” In fact, I’m on his “anti-Catholic” page near the bottom.

    I’m not ashamed to parrot the views of the RCC, but I want everyone to understand that the parroting comes from hard-won experience, not from just hearing it in church and then coming to a blog and spouting off. I actually have a reason to believe this stuff: I’ve lived through it. I know how destructive any addiction–sex addiction in particular–can be to a marriage. The endless lies, the deceit, the empty promises of seeking help. I don’t want to see other people go through that. I know that sex before marriage has contributed in part to that.

    I will admit that Darryl isn’t naive when he shows that he isn’t. I’ve demonstrated that my views are informed and mature. I believe with all of my heart that my take on sex is the healthy one in this comment section.

    Being sexually liberated partially means being happy for people no matter what (healthy and safe) choices they make with their sex lives.

    No, this isn’t sexual liberation. This is postmodernism: everyone’s opinion is as good as anyone else’s. Because of postmodern philosophy, I am unable condemn another person’s lifestyle as subpar even though I can tell you exactly why it isn’t a healthy lifestyle. I’m not happy for people who would choose premarital sex because I know it is a mistake.

    I don’t feel guilty about premarital sex. I wish I could go back and change the fact that I engaged in it. That is different than guilt. Since I can’t go back and change it, I can try to prevent someone else from falling into the same trap as I did. God forgives through faith in Christ, and I have made my peace with His judgment by my repentance. If, God forbid, something happens to my wife and I find myself single again, I won’t have premarital sex. Simple as that.

    Your moral values say you’ve been bad. Mine don’t.

    This is the reason we’re talking past each other. We aren’t operating from the same set of morals on sex. On the other hand, I would virtually bet that there are more similarities than differences between our morals (Ps 40:8, Is 51:7, Jer 31:33, Rom 2:15). Which is why it is totally false for you to think that I am saying you lead an immoral life.

    Siamang,

    I think it is really funny that you are lecturing me on personal responsibility for two reasons. First, I just did a series on my blog where I dismantled the argument that God somehow owes humanity nothing but goodness by focusing on our own personal responsibility for what happens on this planet. Second, I haven’t asserted that society owes me anything for my marriage. My marriage is great and I’m so in love with my wife. My choices have created demons with which I will struggle for the rest of my life, and I wish that I could change that. I’m not playing the victim. I’m trying to play the activist to get this message out.

    I’m happy that premarital sex hasn’t yet been a significant detriment to your marriage. I hope that that continues!

    Jen,

    I knew someone would agree with me on the point that you just want to have guilt-free sex without me saying that it’s wrong. But if my wishes for society don’t affect you in the least, then why the really long post trying to prove to me that it shouldn’t matter? Obviously it does.

    Read a little feminism, one day. Of course we want women to be sexy for the male gaze, always seeming to be available, while actually protecting ye important hymen and therefore the male patriarchial blood line.

    That disturbs me greatly. The outfit in question was for a toddler. A young girl, less than three years old. You want her to look sexy and available for the male gaze? That isn’t feminism, that’s gross.

    Those are the only two points I care to respond to. The rest seemed way off topic to me.

  • Jeff

    Just a side note on the topic of sex. I did an IE (Internet Explorer search). using the word porn to see how many hits i would get and i got more hits then there are people in America. thats one porn site for every man women and child in America and plenty left over for the illegal aliens . Freedom or infestation you decide.

  • Richard Wade

    Jeff, a little clarification:
    The number of hits for the word “porn” would include every mention of the word in every article, blog or comment, including the ones you and I just wrote. The number of hits is not just porn websites.

    Yes, there are a lot of porn sites, so your basic point may still stand, but not the very large number of hits for the word.

  • Jeff

    Richard Wade said. Jeff, a little clarification:
    The number of hits for the word “porn” would include every mention of the word in every article, blog or comment, including the ones you and I just wrote. The number of hits is not just porn websites.
    You are correct my oversight. Though i am not above correction i believe there are enough sights to effectively make my point. Thanks for at least acnoleging that possibility.

  • Jeff

    Siamang said Jeff wrote:

    (An Atheist according to the dictionary has absolutely no belief in God.)

    That’s me. I have absolutely no belief in God. I guess I’m an atheist then.

    If you have any evidence, I might change my mind. But I’m guessing you don’t.

    Siamang I have to ask you before taking on the endeavor of providing evidence in all seriousness what evidence beyond your own views beliefs and convictions would you seriously consider and or believe. Disclaimer. The above is not a judgment it is a question and meant to be received as such.

  • Jen

    Cory, you entirely misunderstood me, and brushed past my “off-topic” points such as (95% of Americans have premarital sex. I have no idea how that is off-topic, as it appears to be entirely on topic, but alright.

    I wasn’t saying toddlers should dress sexy. I was saying that feminists have noticed that our culture wants women to be sexually available while keeping our virginity. It becomes how the adults dress, and then the teens, and then the children. While I didn’t spell that out, I am unsure how you would read what I wrote as “feminism is about dressing your toddler sexy” which makes you either unable to read or completely unaware of feminism. I was speaking, in the sentence you quoted me, not as feminism, but in the voice of society, which wants women to look sexually available, and that becomes the fashion, and fashion goes down in age as time moves on.

    Moreover, trying to correct your preconcieved notions about a premartial sex lifestyle doesn’t mean I am obsessed with what you think. But if there could be one fewer wingnut out there voting against laws that allow for freedom of sexual expression, one less jerk with a rude bumper sticker, one last person teaching children that sex before marriage means you should probably just kill yourself you slut, one less person voting for ineffective abstinence only education in the classroom- then I would be a happy woman.

  • cautious

    Cory, sorry, my brain was in at least 3 different places when I was writing that and so I confused your name with the Calvin fellow who posted here earlier and then left. Sorry about that and the confusing your former status as a Catholic with a current status as a Catholic. My quick perusal of your blog was apparently way too quick to actually notice this…

    I know how destructive any addiction–sex addiction in particular–can be to a marriage. The endless lies, the deceit, the empty promises of seeking help. I don’t want to see other people go through that. I know that sex before marriage has contributed in part to that.

    Do you know how some people can have a glass of wine every few days, but some people, whenever they drink, they end up drinking themselves to excess? I’ll agree with your point that addiction can be bad, and I’m glad when addicts are able to identity their addiction and get help, but…

    It partially seems that you’ve taken a “if bad for me, thus bad for thee” logic to premarital sex and the porno. I’m not going to get into a conversation about porno being good (since most of the time its so misogynistic that it’s not), but, not everyone who watches it ends being addicted to it. And not everyone who engages in premarital sex ends up divorcing their spouse. eg, my parents are still together after 40 something years. The heck if I know why…

    I will admit that Darryl isn’t naive when he shows that he isn’t. I’ve demonstrated that my views are informed and mature. I believe with all of my heart that my take on sex is the healthy one in this comment section.

    Touché.

    This is postmodernism: everyone’s opinion is as good as anyone else’s.

    If it makes you feel any better, I don’t think your opinion is as good as mine. Trust me, I’m trying to avoid postmoderism as much as possible. In my mind: having a liberated view of sexuality > having a conservative view of sexuality. I will preface that by saying that that is my opinion, but I, strangely enough, do prefer my opinion.

    I don’t feel guilty about premarital sex. I wish I could go back and change the fact that I engaged in it. That is different than guilt.

    So more like shame than guilt?

    This is the reason we’re talking past each other. We aren’t operating from the same set of morals on sex.

    Right, yours come from the Bible, mine come from biology, sociology and my socio-political-derived ethical values. Do I really come off as a Christian online? Weird…

    Jen, I agree with your points so far and glad you’re around to make them. It’s strange that feminists and sexual conservatives can both agree on an issue (the increasingly younger and younger sexualization of women is icky) but think that the source of the problem is something completely different: feminists blame a sexist world in which females (and females only) have to be simultaneously sexy but prudish (at least until marriage) whereas sexual conservatives blame an increasingly slutty society (that research, like that you cited by the Guttmacher Institute, shows is an illusion)

  • Polly

    Cory Tucholski,

    I want everyone to understand that the parroting comes from hard-won experience, not from just hearing it in church and then coming to a blog and spouting off. I actually have a reason to believe this stuff: I’ve lived through it. I know how destructive any addiction–sex addiction in particular–can be to a marriage.

    Given your experience, I would say that it’s a moral imperative for you to state your experience and the potential pitfalls of sex. I’m not against that, and I’m not even against the idea of monogamy – it worked out very well for me. :)

    But, where I think you’ll lose a lot of your intended audience is to turn a warning into a culture wide BAN (not in the legal sense).
    Some people can be social drinkers or even college binge-drinkers and come away without ending up as alcoholics. Others get drunk or do drugs just once, and then they’re hooked. I think this is analogous to what you are talking about regarding sex.
    For some, probably a minority, it can be a problem even after marriage. For those, I think counseling is recommended. It’s also fine that you wish to warn others of the potential hazard.

    But, saying that sex should be confined to only after marriage for EVERYONE, would be like banning the sale of alcohol because some people become alcoholics or banning video games because one kid died of dehydration while playing a multi-day marathon without stop. Human beings can get addicted to ANYTHING. I agree with your attempt to save others the same troubles you’ve had and I’m sorry and wish you luck in recovering from that. I see relatively little emphasis on the psychologically “safe” sex message. But, no one is going to listen to someone who says “no sex until after marriage” especially in a society where marriage is being put off until later and later – probably due in part to economic and educational constraints.
    Btw, taboos can affect people just as badly as “liberality.” I know this from experience. There are harmful side-effects to making sex shameful. Not everyone is going to get the fine distinction between pre- and post- marriage. The only thing that will register is: “she’s a slut ‘cuz she sleeps around” “she’s a dirty whore”… Despite the good intentions, people have a way of taking deviations from the norm and using them to punish others for their own self-aggrandizement. Taboos just arm people like that.

  • cautious

    Dang, Polly said what I said about addiction, but better. Thanks Polly.

    Quasi-on-topic, I was thinking about why I think that abstinence before marriage is bad, and part of my reasoning has to do with why religions (such as Judeo-Christianity) support abstinence. The ideas that “true love waits” and “it should be a holy thing shared between two people” …these are ideas that are (if everyone here will pardon me for using an evolutionary biology term) exaptations. They’re secondary explanations for why a social construct (in this case, abstinence) exists.

    What’s the primary explanation for why the social construct exists?

    A man can’t prove that he’s a virgin or not. He can obfuscate until people believe he’s one or the other. So having a man be abstinent is basically…useless.

    A woman, on the other hand, can physically prove that she is a virgin by the existence of a hymen. In the early history of civilization and land ownership and all these other concepts that we recognize as progress from our hunter-gatherer days, a woman with a hymen, through a plethora of socio-economic reasons, became more economically viable on the marriage market than a woman without one. Therefore, society adapted this value that a woman should not lie with a man before her wedding day.

    Not because society cared about women, or, how they felt about anything, but because daughter w/ hymen = marryable, more profit, daughter w/o hymen = not marryable, less profit.

    That this same attitude regarding women and sexuality exists to this day is …to say the least, frightening. Because early civilization decided that women had no worth unless they were wives and mothers, here we are thousands of years later having to say…no, women do have rights, and, no, its ok if a woman has premarital sex with 10 guys and then decides to have a healthy, monogamous married relationship.

    (Next time on the cautious quasi-on-topic show, I’ll be talking about why monogamy is a social construct not based on human biology at all, which is why so many people have problems living up to it!)

  • Polly

    No, this isn’t sexual liberation. This is postmodernism: everyone’s opinion is as good as anyone else’s. Because of postmodern philosophy, I am unable condemn another person’s lifestyle as subpar even though I can tell you exactly why it isn’t a healthy lifestyle. I’m not happy for people who would choose premarital sex because I know it is a mistake.

    I wanted to clarify: that whole “post-modernism / Relativism” thing is for the most part a Xian stereotype of atheists. If you could present evidence that premarital sex is harmful on the whole you would see more agreement. But, other considerations like personal autonomy might still weigh against any kind of official action to stop it. But, you haven’t made your case for the general populace. That’s why I say, at best your experiences serve as a warning of potential problems that some would be wise to take into account.

    The reason Xians think we are relativists is because we don’t agree with their moral standards in some regards, therefore, they conclude that we have no morals and simply “do whatever feels good.”

    This is just a strawman caricature invented by the xian right.

  • Polly

    @cautious,

    I can’t wait to tune into the next installment of the quasi-on-topic-show! :)

  • Siamang

    Siamang I have to ask you before taking on the endeavor of providing evidence in all seriousness what evidence beyond your own views beliefs and convictions would you seriously consider and or believe. Disclaimer. The above is not a judgment it is a question and meant to be received as such.

    Two things would be required. One would be real evidence that an interactive God exists. By “evidence” I don’t mean people talking. I mean real things I can find on my own and see with my own eyes.
    And if you’re about to tell me about air or love, both being invisible, let me say this… I’m looking for INTERACTIVITY. If God interacts with people, I need something I can see-hear-touch-taste-feel that shows that God is indeed interactive with the people on this planet.

    It can’t be “I prayed and got off drugs.” I know people who are atheists who got off drugs without praying. So that’s not a proof of supernatural intervention… and it’s also an example of someone talking about God… I need an experience I can have myself.

    The other thing that would be required is a reliable, repeatable way to tell a true theological statement from a false theological statement such that two different people with differing beliefs can run the same test and nevertheless get the same answer consistently.

    Without the first, I have no reason to believe that an interactive god exists. Without the second, I have no way to know if I’m following false teachings or true teachings about this god.

  • http://lfab-uvm.blogspot.com/ C. L. Hanson

    I just went on a trip to Switzerland last week and found a Bible in the hotel room. I was kind of disappointed to see that custom had spread to Europe.

    I would have found it much cooler if there’d been an “intimacy kit” (even though as a mongamous happily married lady staying with hubby and two kids all in the same room, I wouldn’t have had cause to use it…).

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    It’s sad to see the hostility aimed at a new person who happened to stop by. He didn’t even say anything that offensive. Gosh, this gets to be a scary place sometimes. Do guys suffer from PMS too? That’s what it reminds me of…

    Just calling it as I see it…

  • stogoe

    Linda, who are you referring to? Cory’s a (recovering) sex addict who’s a complete and total slut-shaming dick about it, and Jeff is an idiot tilting at strawmen.

    And you will know the clueless fucking dolts by their words:

    And second *i would like to state that i could not believe in evolution simply because the chances of intelligent life forming from a big bang somewhere in the middle of the universe are astronomically HUGE. From my point of view believing in a universe without intelligent design takes more faith then i could ever have in believing in God. Atheists I commend you on your faith.

    I mean honestly, how much more of a creationist regurgitator could you get?

  • Siamang

    It’s sad to see the hostility aimed at a new person who happened to stop by.

    I was going to ask you what you were talking about, as I attempted to welcome Jeff into the conversation, and I asked him to be friends here and listen rather than tell us what atheists supposedly believe.

    I thought you were going overboard, since I thought we were being quite civil.

    Then Stogoe posted and pretty much ruined the whole thing.

    Thanks, Stogoe, for making Linda’s point. :-(

  • Mriana

    You know guys, I think it is a matter of personal preference. As long as one is being responsible and not insisting eveyrone has the same preference, I really don’t care what their view is about pre-marital sex.

  • grazatt

    It’s threads like this that make me doubt the possibility of mutual understanding between atheists and Christians. Maybe we are just too different?

  • Milena

    Nothing prevents pre-marital sex from being “beautiful”. Sex is a physical union between two people — the emotional part is optional, and I don’t see how no marriage = no love.

  • Jeff

    stogoe Such hostility. Have another cup of coffee. You are right about one thing though. Trying to convince atheists about creation is like grasping for straw. I think thats along the lines of what you were getting at.

    Siamang I can offer you what i would consider proofs evidence and arguments about God-creation-doctrine etc. But i suspect you’ve heard most of them and have come to your own convictions. the only thing i can offer at this point is if you really want to experience an interactive God that you simply ask him God if you really exist prove it to me; and i appreciate your honesty. I wasn’t sure if you would really answer my question.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    grazatt,

    Maybe we are just too different?

    No, that’s just it. We are not all that different, unless you concentrate on the differences. We are actually very similar. But… as I said before, we are addicted to conflict. :-( That’s just my opinion. Disagreements keep the conversations more interesting than agreements. Unless… someone starts asking questions that make us think on a different, higher level. Well, it’s an idea. Now, that would be challenging – to try to come up with ways to look at the concept from different angles. But that’s too much work, I guess… so we’ll just keep spinning the wheel… But what do I know? It’s just a thought…

  • Siamang

    But i suspect you’ve heard most of them and have come to your own convictions. the only thing i can offer at this point is if you really want to experience an interactive God that you simply ask him God if you really exist prove it to me; and i appreciate your honesty.

    Thanks Jeff.

    And to be honest and forthright, I actually have prayed in that way. Awhile ago, and as a result of this ongoing “friendly atheist conversation”, I decided that I needed to bend over as backwards as possible and really, really attempt to do what the Christians were telling me I needed to try.

    Now I used to be a believer… and now I’m not. My story is here. I’ve gone from belief to nonbelief in an interactive concept of God. But as part of this discussion, and as a measure of “good faith” (pun unintended), I did pray, and it can be said that I do pray, if you can call an inquisitive nature about the divine a form of prayer. A number of times since then, when my mind is still and my thoughts are calm, I try to corral as much humility and open beseeching nature that I can muster, and ask the question in the silence and the darkness.

    In all honesty, there’s been no response. I just don’t feel spiritual feelings. You might as well have me calling random phone numbers in an attempt to talk to Santa Claus. There’s just nothing there… at least for me.

    Now I’m not looking to test, but asking the question. And I’ve done it the best I can, or the best I know how to do. I’ve been told by some believers that I didn’t do it right. And I’ve been told by some that I’m lying to them. And I’ve been told by others that I’m probably saved.

    I don’t understand the human tendency to tell people who’s saved and who’s damned. I don’t fear a nonexistent god’s wrath. I don’t fear missing a nonexistent afterlife. I have only heard threats and promises from believers, never from gods. Since you are not a god, I do not need to prove to you the sincerity of my prayer. But I know it was sincere, and if there is a God, the god knows.

    But all I can tell them, and you, is that I still have no reason to believe that an interactive God exists, nor do I have a solution to the problem of telling a true theological belief from a false theological belief.

    Without that, the evangelists for false gods and potentially false gods line up outside my doorway, asking me to buy their “one true ticket” to salvation. I bypassed those folks and asked the question of the god Himself. He doesn’t seem to be answering my calls, if He hears them at all.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com olvlzl an enigma, they say

    If I wasn’t about to go watch Nova I’d give you five hundred words on what constitutes “proof” and why it seems so out of place in this discussion. But time is a-waste’n. But let me leave you with this thought. Say you are God, that you created the entire universe, you invented all of its intricate workings and rules, you keep it going. What do you need to prove to anyone? Belief isn’t important, being good is.

  • Jeff

    Siamang I got about that far in reading your story about two thirds down Q&A. work bids me come i will finish reading it later.

    Quote:
    ~Did you grow up in a home where religion was practiced? If so, did it or did it not have any bearing on your choice to become an Atheist?

    A couple of questions before i go open to whomever.
    1 Do you ever feel like your looking for a higher porpose outside or greater then yourself.
    2 What do you think or feel when you hear the name Jesus Christ.

  • Polly

    Way off-topic:
    What’s with everyone changing their screen names?

    An enigma? Really?
    They say that? Who are they?

    Does this mean that you are an “ism” or an “ist”, now? If so, what have you converted to?

    Well, I’m still Polly. But, I don’t want anyone else using that name. Is there a registration option anywhere?

  • Siamang

    Did you grow up in a home where religion was practiced?

    Yes, in various forms at various times. It trended toward the “new agey”, but there were times as a child when I trended toward the evangelical christianity.

    If so, did it or did it not have any bearing on your choice to become an Atheist?

    I cannot know for sure, since I can’t rerun my life history without that influence. But I imagine that if my parents weren’t religious, I wouldn’t have been either.

    Do you ever feel like your looking for a higher porpose outside or greater then yourself.

    I’m a father of a very rambunctious four-year-old. So yeah, I’ve got a higher purpose outside myself. Other than that, it’s do what I can to leave the world a better place than I found it.

    What do you think or feel when you hear the name Jesus Christ.

    About what I feel when I hear the name “Julius Caesar”. I don’t have a strong emotional feeling one way or the other, except for a slight worry that the next thing I’m about to hear is someone trying to sell me a membership to their church.

  • http://www.ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    I’m all ears Jeff,

    I’m interested to see where you’re going with this.

  • Jeff

    I was instructed to listen and learn you can’t do that without asking a few questions and perhaps breaking a few yokes. and i like to keep things interesting i think varioues points of view are at least worth hearing evan if you don’t agree with them. and as for selling genraly you target a market interested in bying. pardon my gramor but i’m rushing through this. I owe i owe so off to work i go. Chow.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com olvlzl a fly in the flux

    Polly, I recently underwent a complete computer breakdown and a hard disc bleaching. I’ve undergone a number of name changes, The Heretic, being just one. I was recently called an enigma by someone who apparently can’t figure out how the various positions I hold simultaneously fill a pre-made mold. And here I just thought I was trying to think things through to their logical conclusion, or as near to as possible, while upholding respect for inherent individual rights to their own ideas and bodies.

    I suppose that the new name would lead some to think I’d become a gma, if not two of them. Which I can live with but don’t hold me to it.

  • grazatt

    Yes I too am interested Jeff, in whether or not you will confirm what I said earlier!

  • Jen

    Jen, I agree with your points so far and glad you’re around to make them. It’s strange that feminists and sexual conservatives can both agree on an issue (the increasingly younger and younger sexualization of women is icky) but think that the source of the problem is something completely different: feminists blame a sexist world in which females (and females only) have to be simultaneously sexy but prudish (at least until marriage) whereas sexual conservatives blame an increasingly slutty society (that research, like that you cited by the Guttmacher Institute, shows is an illusion)

    Thanks Cautious. I am happy to see someone else pointing out the historical reason we value virginity in women. I think it is important when we see conservatives complaining about people having sex before marriage, we look to see what they are really complaining about- its usually the women, because they are the dirty sluts who suffer more visably from sex- and their attitudes are not new, but rather what we have been seeing practically as long as people realized sex=babies, and that another man’s babies=not my damn babies, so I need a virgin to insure this doesn’t happen.

    It’s sad to see the hostility aimed at a new person who happened to stop by. He didn’t even say anything that offensive. Gosh, this gets to be a scary place sometimes. Do guys suffer from PMS too? That’s what it reminds me of…

    I am not seeing how anyone is being hostile. I am not sure which guy you are referring to, Linda, but assuming it’s Jeff- I see someone coming in, arguing on a thread with a very distinct topic about something very, very off topic. Again, I have no problem with new people, but I do think of this as meeting space among people, and I do wonder who would in real life see a bunch of people talking about X and then come in with ABC, a complete topic change, when a quick listen to the discussion would say, no, they are talking about X, and why not listen to them to understand the tone and tenor of the discussion before jumping in with ABC? I choose not to engage Jeff in this topic at this time because of that very reason. Those who did seemed pretty polite, given this complete shift in topic.

  • grazatt

    olvlzl a fly in the flux How about olvlzl SUPER FLY

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    I am not seeing how anyone is being hostile.

    No hostility? Well, maybe it’s just my perception then. Let me illustrate what I saw:

    Jeff started by saying:

    Hi (:->) My name is Jeff.

    Then he proceeded to state some of his views. He has no idea how this forum works and who the people are. He’s new, remember?

    Then cautious said:

    Jeff, you should email Hemant. His email address is somewhere around here. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to hear about your excitingly original thoughts!

    Is that how you treat guests that visit you in your home? I don’t think it’s funny at all. Oftentimes, sarcasm hurts, depending on the intention behind it.

    And then Siamang said:

    Funny you use the word “astronomically”. Do you know what that word means?… etc.

    Why not approach us as human beings, rather than come here to preach at us, pity us and (predictably) leave? There’s much more wonderful interaction to be had here… we can learn from you and you can learn from us… but you’ll need to start with questions, and stop with telling us what we supposedly believe.

    Because you’re incredibly wrong about us. You don’t even know anything about us. How about coming here with listening ears and a welcoming heart? I promise we don’t bite, Jeff.

    I see that as an attack. You disguise it with friendliness, but it’s still accusatory. Again, we’re the host and he’s the guest. He’s not the one who has to first fit in with the group. We have to try and make him feel welcome first. A new visitor has no idea how things flow here, although I imagine he quickly figured it out.

    Jeff then said:

    I’m not preaching and I’m not judging I’m simply commenting on an interview i had read tilted i sold my soul on eBay and offering my opinion. isn’t that what where all doing on this forum is offering are opinions. Please take the time to ask me questions then draw your opinions . O and by the way that comment on Atheists having faith can you say that does not apply to you . (That was a question not a judgment. take it as you like). I said Atheists I commend you on your faith. Siamang said Atheists I commend you on your faith.That sounds like you are using it as an insult. Not insult humor. would you please elaborate on what you mean by friends and thanks for the welcome i well try and crash the correct forum next time it seems iv’e crashed the one on sex.

    You definitely put him on the defensive. That means he felt attacked and judged. Regardless of how kind and inviting you guys thought you were being, he certainly did not feel it.

    That’s just how I saw it. I’ve also felt some of that in other discussions we’ve had. A couple times, I’ve been tempted to just leave and not return. But I’ve decided I love it here too much to do that… And, you’ve also shown me tolerance and acceptance on other occasions. One friendly remark makes up for ten hostile ones. At least for me.

    And this is one of my favorite quotes, and so true:

    We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.

    ~ Anais Nin

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Olvlzl,

    Belief isn’t important, being good is.

    I have to say I disagree. That’s still religious thinking. Being good, or “trying” to be good, is what religion teaches us, whether we believe in God or not. Morality drives us. Isn’t that what the Ten Commandments are about? Well, I have to tell you, I’ve broken every single one of those ten commandments. And for the life of me, I cannot be completely good. So I have to break some more of them to cover up my faults. God forbid someone should find out that I have faults.

    That’s how it is. Religious thinking makes us think that there’s something wrong with us. Did you read my post titled “Freedom in Thought?” No one ever asked to discuss it.

    Being good is not important. Being good is impossible. Belief, on the other hand, IS important. Belief that God sees you as perfect anyway. Belief in his Love. Love is not something that we do. Love just is. And we just are. We are love, because we are loved. When we get rid of this religious thinking of morality and “trying” to be good, trying to change into something that we’re not, then we can finally see ourselves as the LOVE that we ARE.

    When we stop always striving for perfection, always trying to be better and always wanting more, then we can finally realize that we already ARE perfect, because He says we are. That’s how He made us. Then we can finally begin to be like God in his image, FREE in all of our creativity without any bondage, and create amazing and wonderful things out of this world.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    And Olvlzl,

    I was recently called an enigma by someone who apparently can’t figure out how the various positions I hold simultaneously fill a pre-made mold.

    I accept that. I agree with that. But I don’t see any firm belief in anything that you say. Where is your passion?

    The following is a quote from a book by a very wise man:

    To live your life intensely and on the edge-of-the wedge, act “as if” you’re experiencing everything that shows up for you for the very last time. Obviously, sooner or later, this will certainly be true. Then every conversation, every cup of tea, every bird in flight, etc., becomes a cause and an opportunity for celebration and gratitude. Create deep passion in your life for something heartfelt… and then stay fully committed to it. Taking a stand in life is even more important than the nature of the particular stand that you’re taking. Amazingly, the universe doesn’t really care what you want to get committed to. It just doesn’t like you to be “wishy-washy.”

  • grazatt

    Linda you said Well, I have to tell you, I’ve broken every single one of those ten commandments. Is that true? What other gods did you worship? Zeus? Thor?

  • Mriana

    Grazatt, she was just pointing out what she was seeing. I’m not sure why you are trying to be insulting to her. She does have a point though. The debate in this thread is a bit like a football game.

    However, your comment is an attempt at insulting her.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    grazatt,

    Linda you said Well, I have to tell you, I’ve broken every single one of those ten commandments. Is that true? What other gods did you worship? Zeus? Thor?

    I’m so glad you asked that. I was hoping people would challenge me on what I say. I’m not proud of them, but I’m not ashamed of them either. I’m an open book. All you have to do is ask.

    Well, to answer your question:

    I’ve worshipped perfection.
    I’ve worshipped acceptance and popularity.
    I’ve worshipped approval and validation (I still do sometimes).
    I’ve worshipped money.
    I’ve worshipped luxury.
    I’ve worshipped sex.
    I’ve worshipped education.
    I’ve worshipped my children.
    I’ve worshipped being respected.
    I’ve even worshipped love – trying to get it at any cost.
    … and many other things… perhaps you can help me think of more.

    But mostly, I’ve worshipped religion. It nearly killed me. I was on the verge of jumping into death. Then, Jesus caught me in his arms and told me to be free. So here I am, talking to you, alive and kicking… and free.

  • Mriana

    Then, Jesus caught me in his arms and told me to be free. So here I am, talking to you, alive and kicking… and free.

    OK now that’s getting a bit too sappy for me and brings to mind pictures of a dead man catching someone. Nice and All Hallows Eve just past not too long ago. Sorry, Linda, but I have a vivid imagination to go with my long drawn out thought process.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Mriana,

    I appreciate your honesty. :) I only meant it metaphorically. Since I wholeheartedly believe in the Trinity — God-Son-Holy Spirit, and that means LOVE-GRACE-FREEDOM to me, I was just trying to explain the spiritual process I went through to get to my current state.

    I was not always like this. Something happened to me. People around me in “real” life here are bewildered and puzzled. I was shy and meek and afraid of everyone and everything. I averted people’s glances because I was afarid to talk to them, and I ran ragged trying to please everyone while hating every minute of it. I always thought I had to “do” something to make myself worthy to be in their company.

    Something happened a couple months ago, I almost took my own life, and this is what I turned into. Absolutely no more fear. See? I’m not even afraid to admit that that’s where I’ve been. Call me crazy. But that’s what I’ve been calling myself all my life, so it’s nothing new. Actually, I’m kind of proud of it now. Why be same when you can be different? So I’ve been living on this “high” for the past two months and not getting much food or sleep. I lost 15 pounds and overflowing with energy everywhere I go! The best diet I’ve ever been on!

    My husband thought I was having hormone problems and made me go to the doctor. The doctor tried to give me anti-depressants. I threw the prescription back at him and debated with him until he admitted that there’s nothing wrong with me. He was trembling by the time I left his office, because people hate to be wrong.

    Anyway, the Jesus illustration is my way to make sense of what happened to me. Otherwise, it makes no sense.

  • Jeff

    If nothing else (to borrow a southern term) you all are intertaining and human. I sopose a persons God is what ever they worship be it vice, family your knew car your belifes or God.

    grazatt said

    Yes I too am interested Jeff, in whether or not you will confirm what I said earlier!

    Grazatt please refresh my memory; There have been a lot of posts since i crashed the party.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    And… an atheist had a huge part in this transformation process. That’s why I first came here to talk to you in the first place. And I’m loving every minute of it, because it’s just plain fun. You help me to breathe and know that I’m alive. And I’m still changing… into what? I don’t care. I wait in anticipation of what each day will bring. And I have not been disappointed yet!!

    Marina, you, Jeff(s), and Richard Wade, and Polly, and Hemant, and Siamang, Jen… etc… and the people that I am gifted with everyday on this side of the screen… I cannot tell you all the blessings that I’m given. Every single person, everyday, is indescribably significant in my growing process… I’m sorry, words fail me again.

  • grazatt

    Well, to answer your question:

    I’ve worshipped perfection.
    I’ve worshipped acceptance and popularity.
    I’ve worshipped approval and validation (I still do sometimes).
    I’ve worshipped money.
    I’ve worshipped luxury.
    I’ve worshipped sex.
    I’ve worshipped education.
    I’ve worshipped my children.
    I’ve worshipped being respected.
    I’ve even worshipped love – trying to get it at any cost.
    … and many other things… perhaps you can help me think of more.
    but those things aren’t gods
    I thought the 10 comandments said
    3 you shall have no other gods before me.
    or 8 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

  • Jen

    Eh, maybe they were rude to the guest. I still maintain that as a newbie, it is the job of said newbie to at least post on-topic. In a perfect world, I would also want said newbie to read a few posts, maybe in the Most Popular Recent Posts section, maybe 21 Unconvincing Arguments for God, and see that we have debated and discussed most atheist bingos till we are blue in the face. It bothers me to see ANOTHER interesting discussion on a topic interrupted to discuss those things have already discussed. I have been on this blog for almost a year now, maybe over a year, and I see it anytime a thread gets longer than thirty posts, and it bugs me, especially when we are having good conversation. Here, I thought it was really interesting to see all the angles and back-stories that led to what everyone said- we mostly agreed, but it seems like for different reasons. We were also engaging two Christians who disagreed and then seemingly vanished, as they often do, but it was still interesting.

    So, I don’t know, maybe I am just a bitch, but I have a hard time getting worked up over defending poor, poor Jeff and his desire to ask us a question I am sure we have answered as a group dozens of times.

  • Jeff

    Linda you sound as if Im changeing my religion from Christian to Atheist. No such luck. The words from an old Utoo song (I’m standing in the corner changing my religion) don”t apply to me today. Sorry to disapoint.

  • Jeff

    One final thought or observation if you will. As Christians we have the same conversations about not being hostile towards those of differing beliefs and geeting them when they walk in to are churchs and makeing them feel welcome as i have observed on this forum. I find it interesting that we agree on something that iv’e always thought to be more of a religues topic or view point.
    Chow for now.

  • Mriana

    Marina, you, Jeff(s), and Richard Wade, and Polly, and Hemant, and Siamang, Jen… etc… and the people that I am gifted with everyday on this side of the screen… I cannot tell you all the blessings that I’m given. Every single person, everyday, is indescribably significant in my growing process… I’m sorry, words fail me again.

    Well, I’m glad to hear that and nothing personal, but I like my metaphors better. Not as Halloweenish. Unless you are scared of the elements found in the earth. :lol:

  • Richard Wade

    Jeff said,

    I find it interesting that we agree on something that iv’e always thought to be more of a religues topic or view point.

    Assuming that “reliques” is a typo intended to mean “religious” rather than an archaic form of “relic,” which would make no sense to me, yes we agree that the rules of hospitality are important to follow. The part we don’t agree on is your apparent implication that they come exclusively from religious thinking. No, they preceded any and all religions and are basically universal in all cultures. So finding atheists who consider the rules of hospitality important suggests that you should rethink your assumption that they are the exclusive property of religion, if indeed that is what you were thinking. It sounds like a variant of the pernicious myth that morality is also the exclusive property of religion.

    Hence this very long discussion started by a question of whether hotels should show hospitality by providing Bibles or rubbers.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Mriana,

    Ha ha, of course you can stick to your own metaphors. And I think you have some great ones.:) You also call me on it if something I say doesn’t seem right. That’s what I like about you.

    I didn’t know that believing in the power of the Holy Spirit was “Halloweenish,” though. I thought everyone understood that I was a born-again Christian who firmly believe that I received the power of the Holy Spirit, which is the whole concept of the Gospel. Just because I have radical views on some issues does not change the fact that I am a new creation in Jesus Christ. I just don’t subscribe to “religion,” in any sense – not even in the “Christian” sense. I follow rules if it makes sense to me. I don’t if it doesn’t. I try to make every decision based on my new identity in Christ. I do make mistakes and do and say stupid things on a daily basis, but I don’t look back, because I believe in predestination. I believe nothing happens that was not meant to happen, including the very words that I’m typing right now. That’s just my belief and my truth.

    I don’t think any of your beliefs are “weird” or far-fetched. I can understand where each of you are coming from. I accept your point of view, and I want to do my best to take a look at things from that perspective. That is my goal. That is why I’m here. To share my thoughts and to learn your thoughts. I have learned so much already, and my thoughts are evolving every day.

    The point that I wanted to get everyone to see was that it’s not about fighting over Bibles and condoms. It’s not about that. Do you honestly think what the hotel rooms offer will have any impact on our behavior or our choices? I hope we have more brains than that. The very fact that this is one of the longest and the most heated discussions that we’ve had proves that religion and morals (what we perceive as right and wrong) have much more power over us than you think.

    Richard Wade,

    It sounds like a variant of the pernicious myth that morality is also the exclusive property of religion.

    It is my belief that morality is a form of religion.

  • Richard Wade

    Linda,

    It is my belief that morality is a form of religion.

    Please explain.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Richard Wade,

    It will take some time to organize my thoughts, so I don’t end up rambling without making any sense. I will post those thoughts later. Thank you for asking!! :)

  • Mriana

    Linda said,

    November 14, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    Mriana,

    Ha ha, of course you can stick to your own metaphors. And I think you have some great ones.:) You also call me on it if something I say doesn’t seem right. That’s what I like about you.

    :lol: Thank you and you’re welcome. :)

    I didn’t know that believing in the power of the Holy Spirit was “Halloweenish,” though.

    No, you were talking about Jesus, not the HS. By now, IF he ever lived, he’d be a skeleton, if not dust. :lol: Thus the pic in my mind.

    I thought everyone understood that I was a born-again Christian who firmly believe that I received the power of the Holy Spirit, which is the whole concept of the Gospel.

    Actually, that does not come in until the end of the Gospels. Now Acts and Paul make a big deal out of the HS. The Gospels are the story of Jesus (God incarnate).

    I don’t think any of your beliefs are “weird” or far-fetched. I can understand where each of you are coming from. I accept your point of view, and I want to do my best to take a look at things from that perspective. That is my goal. That is why I’m here. To share my thoughts and to learn your thoughts. I have learned so much already, and my thoughts are evolving every day.

    I’m glad my beliefs don’t sound weird or far-fatched to you. I just hope you don’t have difficulty following the “everything is chemically based” idea and upon death recycles back into the earth.

  • Polly

    Way off topic again:

    @Olvlzl, an enigma, They say,
    I was reading this series of Slate articles and thought of you.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    What was this thread about? I think it was bibles in hotel rooms.
    My only comment is to keep the comments to the topic of the post.

    I am impressed, though, with everyone’s passion and energy that they spend in this forum. That’s a good thing!!!

    I don’t travel much anymore (thank God) (ha ha). But perhaps the next time I see a Gideon bibble, I will highlight some of my favorite passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy for the attention of others.

  • Jeff

    Sorry Linda i assumed being on an atheist forum that an less otherwise stated every one was coming from an atheist or at least an agnostic view point and was responding to your post on that premises. Thank you for clearing things up a little.

    Pardon the tipos typos i shouldn’t try and think before sleep or caffeine; let alone type.

  • JeffN

    As i see two Jeff’s on the forum i am going to simply add an N to the end of me simply to avoid confusion. or you can remember I’m not the one with the web link.

  • JeffN

    Jeff said,

    What was this thread about? I think it was bibles in hotel rooms.
    My only comment is to keep the comments to the topic of the post.

    Point taken.

    I think this thread has pretty well run it’s life cycle though on the topic of Bibles or Condoms in Hotel rooms why not both and let people make up there own mind. I suspect the Condoms would get more use. I can see someone calling the front desk and asking for another complimentary condom; or maybe two.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Mriana,

    If you don’t mind, I will post a reply to your comment over at the other Jesus discussion. I think it’s more appropriate over there.

  • Mriana

    No, I don’t mind. Hopefully, you can stand my strange sense of humour too. :lol:

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    JeffN,

    Please know that I was not defending you as a fellow Christian. Only as a fellow human being who’s had similar experiences on this and other blogs. And I love these people, regardless of their beliefs. I cannot speak for them, but my having discussions with them is not to prove them wrong or prove myself right, but to get a deeper insight into who we are, why we do what we do, and to attempt to find solutions, if possible, to the pains that we suffer. …And also to make some friends and have some fun in the process. I think I’ve said somewhere else that I’m finding atheists are more open-minded and know how to have more fun. I’m still sticking to that opinion until I’m proven wrong.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Richard Wade,

    Okay, I decided to just copy a couple of paragrahs from one of my favorite books:

    Supposing science ever became complete so that it knew every single thing in the whole universe. Is it not plain that the questions, “Why is there a universe?” “Why does it go on as it does?” “Has it any meaning” would remain just as they were?

    Now the position would be quite hopeless but for this. There is one thing, and only one, in the whole universe which we know more about than we could learn from external observation. That one thing is Man. We do not merely observe men, we are men. In this case we have, so to speak, inside information; we are in the know. And because of that, we know that men find themselves under a moral law, which they did not make, and cannot quite forget even when they try, and which they know they ought to obey. Notice the following point. Anyone studying Man from the outside as we study electricity or cabbages, not knowing our language and consequently not able to get any inside knowledge from us, but merely observing what we did, would never get the slightest evidence that we had this moral law. How could he? for his observations would only show what we did, and the moral law is about what we ought to do.

    If you guess which book, you get a prize. ;-) (the rest of you… no helping!)

    Anyway, I have new thoughts which are quite different than the original thoughts I had when I first read this book. I’d like to discuss it.

  • JeffN

    The quote came from.

    The Question of God: An Introduction and Sourcebook
    By Michael F. Palmer

  • Richard Wade

    I’m sorry Linda, but from my point of view the quote from Palmer (thank you, JeffN) is so full of absurdities that I can’t really make heads or tails of it, much less see how it explains your statement that morality is a form of religion. Maybe it would be better, as you said, for you to discuss your ideas in your own words rather than me picking that quote to pieces. I appreciate your effort.

    I would like to understand you just as you have said you wish to understand others. Keep in mind that agreement or disagreement is beside the point to me. I’ll give my reasons why I agree or disagree with someone once I’m confident that I have understood them, but for me the understanding is the goal. Arguments for the purpose of changing another’s opinion are most often a futile effort around here.

  • Darryl

    Richard, I agree, the Palmer quote is silliness. This is the kind of thinking that Christian Apologetics is filled with.

  • JeffN

    Richard Wade said

    Keep in mind that agreement or disagreement is beside the point to me. I’ll give my reasons why I agree or disagree with someone once I’m confident that I have understood them, but for me the understanding is the goal. Arguments for the purpose of changing another’s opinion are most often a futile effort around here.

    Well Said.

  • Richard Wade

    Darryl, okay, but it apparently stimulated Linda’s thinking, and as she’s indicated her original thoughts have changed so let’s give her time to express what she’s getting at.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    The quote came from.

    The Question of God: An Introduction and Sourcebook
    By Michael F. Palmer

    WRONG!!! I’ve never even heard of that book. Try again! I told you no helping!

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Remember… another one of my favorite quotes:

    “ASSUME makes an ASS out of U and ME!”

    SUPERE AUDE (think for yourself)

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Tell me what you disagree with about the quote. (In layman’s terms, so I can fully understand what you’re saying.)

    Sorry about the three-in-a-row post. I guess I should have just edited the first one. I keep forgetting that I can do that. :+

  • JeffN

    Linda

    The thought and quote originally came from CS. Lewis. There are to many authors who quote from his writings to take another gander at which author or book you read it from including the one i mentioned above. since i Don’t take you to be a CS. lewis fan i think I’m safe at saying it was mere Christianity chapter four. although the book you read it out of remains a mystery.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    JeffN,

    Ding-ding-ding-ding!!! You should get the prize, but the prize was not offered to you. Hmm…. what to do?

    Anyway, what makes you think that I’m not a C.S. Lewis fan? I sobbed for hours when I read Surprised by Joy. Not a sad book, but I could feel his thoughts and he validated mine.

    Other books that I love are: The Four Loves, Screwtape Letters, A Grief Observed, and, of course, Mere Christiantiy….

    I also have others from his collection, including The Weight of Glory, God in the Dock, The Abolition of Man, The Great Divorce, Miracles, The Problem of Pain, and Till We Have Faces… I just haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. But it makes me happy just looking at all the books piled up.

    I also love reading A.W. Tozer, although it’s been a while since I picked up one of his books, so I don’t know if I still agree with everything he says…

    Now I’m starting a collection of atheist books… And books on non-duality.

    Did you see my ASSUME quote?

  • JeffN

    That’s alright give the prize to the person you offered it to or do as you like. I didn’t take you as a CS. Lewis fan because from reading your posts and looking at your web sight or at least the one your name links to I couldn’t tell if you were a Christian, Atheist, Something in between or in transition between the two. What was the word enigma or something. I so pose as long as you know what you are and where you stand it’s not important if i do.

    Yes i saw the assume post; Cute.

    I really liked his book the Screw Tape Letters. I started reading The Problem With Sin but it was above my head so i gave it to some one who could understand it. That was twenty years ago maybe i should pick it up and try to read it again When I’m finish with mere Christianity and Francis Schaffers a Christian manifesto. So many books so little time. Well to much rambling I think I’ll end this post now.

  • Mriana

    Darryl said,

    November 15, 2007 at 2:01 am

    Richard, I agree, the Palmer quote is silliness. This is the kind of thinking that Christian Apologetics is filled with.

    Maybe that’s why the first paragraph makes no sense.

    Linda said,

    November 15, 2007 at 4:57 am

    Tell me what you disagree with about the quote. (In layman’s terms, so I can fully understand what you’re saying.)

    OK

    And because of that, we know that men find themselves under a moral law, which they did not make, and cannot quite forget even when they try, and which they know they ought to obey.

    Sorry, but man did make the law- even Biblical law. It was written my man and is NOT the word of God. It is man’s word. Yes, Yes. I’ve heard it being devinely inspired and all, but it is only inspired by man from previous writings. Read over the Code of Hammurabi and The Egyptian Book of the Dead (one of the oldest, if not the oldest book written by man) and you will see there are several similarities in the laws of the O.T. and no, there is no devil fooling anyone. It’s just one of those facts of men.

    That is for starters. I’m sure others can pick it apart more.

    Oh C. S. Lewis. No wonder it makes no sense. That man never did make any sense to me. Surprised By Joy. You have no idea how I picked his ideas apart and showed he was NEVER an atheist. I should give you the link to it on my site sometime. I made an “A” on it, though the prof said she didn’t agree. That’s OK, I did not expect her to agree, but she allowed me my thesis and I went with it to show he was never really ever an atheist. Not to say the least, he was insulting to Humanists in Surprised By Joy, which is sad because Old Knock was a Humanist and, in the words of Richard Dawkins in the “God Delusion”, he should have known better.

    Screwtape was a real mess. I thought the guy was in an insane assylum until like the fourth chapter and then I was like “Huh? He’s not in an insane assylum? Well he ought to be.” Of course, I didn’t say the last part of that thought in class. I had to have the whole weird book explained to me in class and it still made no sense. None of his works we read in that class made sense to me and people argued with me about Aslan dying. I said he never really did die and stand by that. Abolution of Man takes the Tao and really does a number on it. He had no idea what he was talking about esp concerning the Tao. The Great Divorce? It was so bad that I can hardly remember a thing. As for Mere Christianity, well if he was Anglican, I don’t even recognize his views as a former Anglican myself. Episcopalian or Church of England, it’s still basically the same- Anglican.

    I could probably shred “The Problem With Sin” too, just as I did Surprised By Joy and some of his other books, if I had to. I don’t want to though, much less do I have any desire to read it. The man is incomprehensible and any explaination or realization as to what he is saying gives me more ability to shred it.

    Not a sad book, but I could feel his thoughts and he validated mine.

    However, like Lewis validated yours, Bob Price, former Anglican priest Anthony Freeman (God In Us: A Case for Christian Humanism), and Bishop Spong valided many of my life long ideas. So, I guess it’s fair game, but I make no apologies. Pun intended.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Wow, Mriana,

    You amaze me. My respect for you grows each day. You ARE a thinker, aren’t you?

    I appreciate your comments, although you are a giant compared to me in the intellectual department, so I apologize for not being able to respond to every point that you make in any intelligent sense (I really mean it.) :)

    The reason I brought this up is because as I was thinking about what Richard Wade said in conjunction with everything else that I’ve been thinking, I suddenly remembered the book. I’ve loved C.S. Lewis, ever since I read the first paragraph of the first book I read of his. He’s the master thinker in my book, as is A.W. Tozer. They’re the only two people I need to read as far as Christianity goes, other than the Word of God Himself. That’s just me. Because I relate to how they think. Well, I suppose I should always keep an open mind about other writers, though.

    When it comes to psychology and philosophy, I like Alaine de Botton, Marcel Proust, Thoreau, Emerson, and the likes. And also Shakespeare (a recently peaked interest when my daughter began studying him). I never studied philosophy. I’ve just always liked Thoreau and Emerson, and recently Proust through books by Alaine de Botton.

    Chinese philosophy, such as the ideas of divinaiton in Yi Jing (Book of Changes), Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu, as well as the teachings of Confucius, is something that’s just in my blood and my culture. Nothing that I’ve studied in depth. I just somehow know the philosophy because it’s a part of my make-up.

    I have no formal education per se, but I love to learn. I love to think and I always have. And I’ve recently discovered that two heads thinking together are better than one, which led me to believe that three would be better than two, four better than three, and so on. Maybe too many thoughts get chaotic, so I don’t know what the magic number is. I’m just going with the flow.

    Anyway, enough about me… The reason I brought up the C.S. Lewis quote was that I now find some discrpancies between his thoughts and mine. I don’t know if my thoughts are valid. I need to think it through with other thinkers.

    I’m still waiting to hear what Richard Wade has to say, since he’s the one who asked. And other thoughts as well.

  • JeffN

    In regards to my last post. I would like to make a minor correction. The for mentioned book by CS. Lewis Which i Said was titled The Problem With Sin. was incorrect. The actual title of the book is The Problem With Pain.

  • Mriana

    Linda said,

    November 15, 2007 at 8:20 am

    Wow, Mriana,

    You amaze me. My respect for you grows each day. You ARE a thinker, aren’t you?

    I appreciate your comments, although you are a giant compared to me in the intellectual department, so I apologize for not being able to respond to every point that you make in any intelligent sense

    Aw! Schucks! :blush: I’m not a giant though. There are some people who can out think me and amaze me.

    I’ve loved C.S. Lewis, ever since I read the first paragraph of the first book I read of his. He’s the master thinker in my book, as is A.W. Tozer. They’re the only two people I need to read as far as Christianity goes

    I’m the same way about Spong and Price, BUT I cannot agree with you on the Bible being the Word of God. IMO and to save argument, it is not. I can elaborate later, if you want. They both, Spong and Price, think much as I have always thought and in some sense I sort of wish one of them could have been my father, because we do think similarly.

    When it comes to psychology and philosophy, I like Alaine de Botton, Marcel Proust, Thoreau, Emerson, and the likes. And also Shakespeare (a recently peaked interest when my daughter began studying him). I never studied philosophy. I’ve just always liked Thoreau and Emerson, and recently Proust through books by Alaine de Botton.

    I don’t really consider Shakespeare a philosopher. However, if you are speaking of philosophy, I do appreciate Hume and Kant. The Tao is good too.

    Maybe too many thoughts get chaotic, so I don’t know what the magic number is. I’m just going with the flow.

    You know the old saying, “Too many cooks…” Eventually there can be too many.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    P.S. – don’t get me wrong… I don’t agree with everything Lewis OR Tozer writes. I only admire their thought process. And their hearts.

  • http://www.ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Correction. I don’t “only” admire their thought process. I do respect many of their views, but not all of them.

    Let me just throw a thought out.

    I now disagree with one thing in this quote. That is where he says,

    “…men find themselves under a moral law, which they did not make…”

    Everything else I still agree with.

    Now, can you humor me and let me know what you agree or disagree with?

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Linda, sorry for the delay. I’ve been really busy flying through the air in my golden pickup truck, bringing science to all the good little boys and girls. I’m working on my comment about the quotation, and I’ll probably post it tomorrow afternoon. Gotta go. (Zoom!)

  • Richard Wade

    Okay Linda, sorry this comment is so long but you really wanted me to tell you what I disagree with about the quote. (No matter who the heck wrote it.) Mriana has and can further dismantle things like this, since she has done a lot of study. I’m a country bumpkin about scripture and apologetics. As others here know, I read slower than a drunk talks so I have to be very choosey about the time I devote to reading. I’ve got more important things to read than a disjointed collection of desert culture myths that have been co-opted, adulterated, edited, spun and translated again and again until they’re incomprehensible gibberish over twenty one or more centuries, much less modern authors failing miserably to make sense out of that nonsense. It took me almost half an hour to read the comments that have appeared since you posted the quotation.

    So I’ll talk about it in my non-scholarly way. Firstly it is a short excerpt from a longer work so it may not be fair to dissect it out of context. Many complex thoughts depend on implied premises that are explicitly described earlier in their text and so a single, isolated page may be senseless when taken only by itself. But be that as it may:

    Supposing science ever became complete so that it knew every single thing in the whole universe.

    That is not the goal of science, not in the way he’s implying. Many people have misconceptions about science, both those who support its findings and those who do not. Science is a way of thinking about and investigating the things that can be observed, not the things addressed in this quote’s subsequent what’s-it-all-about questions. This misconception is sometimes used as a straw man argument to attempt to portray science as anti-god or anti-religion. Science is not interested in anything that, by the definition of the people who believe in such things, cannot be empirically observed and measured. Science is not concerned with “disproving God” or other such childish characterizations. Science has come up with convincing alternatives to some religious explanations for the physical world around us, explanations that some, but not all religionists find threatening. So they try to discredit science or they pretend to be “scientific” themselves. Hey, if they can come up with actual evidence for their claims, great. Haven’t seen it yet.

    Is it not plain that the questions, “Why is there a universe?” “Why does it go on as it does?” “Has it any meaning” would remain just as they were?

    These questions are not necessarily absurd in and of themselves, but it is absurd to pose them to science, as I have explained above. You might as well ask science “Does Barney the Purple Dinosaur really love me?” So yes, they would remain as they were, unanswerable by science. It is not a failure of science that it cannot address such concerns, it is an inappropriate expectation in the first place.

    Before some dork who isn’t reading this carefully accuses me of “worshipping science” I’ll say no, I don’t. Science is useful for certain things and not for other things. That’s all there is to it. With six and a half billion people on this planet we need a constant flow of good solid science just to stay alive. Religious hucksters trying to push their agendas by pretending to be scientific are putting that flow at risk, so I speak up against them.

    Now the position would be quite hopeless but for this.

    What position? If that word refers to the first paragraph, which is patently absurd, it is not clear to me. If that is a “position” it’s not clear what the author is getting at, other than science can’t answer his fuzzy, amorphous and non-confirmable questions. Yeah, we know that already. Why is he going to a dentist with a question about interior decorating?

    There is one thing, and only one, in the whole universe which we know more about than we could learn from external observation. That one thing is Man. We do not merely observe men, we are men. In this case we have, so to speak, inside information; we are in the know.

    Observing people objectively by their behavior can tell us a lot of useful information. Adding our own personal experience to come to conclusions about mankind in general can either help or it can muddle it all up. When it helps we call it “insight.” When it muddles it all up we call it “prejudice” or “bias.” What determines which it is? Guess what, our own prejudice or bias.

    It is a serious mistake to use oneself as a model when making judgments about people in general. Some folks seem to think that they are the generic prototype and so assume that everyone would respond to a given situation just as they would. For instance, some Christians say that without morals imposed upon us by God, people would run amok, raping and murdering in anarchy. Actually they’re just giving us an insight into their own secret pirate-like character, their own immature moral development that still, like a small child requires the threat of punishment from big daddy overhead to keep them in line.

    And now the essence of the absurdities:

    And because of that, we know that men find themselves under a moral law, which they did not make, and cannot quite forget even when they try, and which they know they ought to obey.

    I’ve seen moral systems of all kinds written in books. I’ve tracked down those books to their publishers. The publishers, after harsh questioning have admitted that authors wrote the books. Those authors, no matter where they hide are always finally exposed as human beings.

    Please show me the solid evidence indicating that a non-human source has authored any system of morals anywhere for anyone. Once, at the end of a tour of a creationist museum, I heard the docent say, “So which are you going to believe, the word of man or the word of God?” Well the first thing in my mind was we have only the word of man claiming that certain books are the word of God. God didn’t come down and say, “Hey Richard, I wrote this myself.” No, it always comes down to having to take on faith the word of some human being that something is the word of God. If we are to mistrust the word of man, then their claims about possessing the word of God have to be included in that mistrust.

    This is why I give more credence to claims that provide physical evidence to back them up.

    Notice the following point. Anyone studying Man from the outside as we study electricity or cabbages, not knowing our language and consequently not able to get any inside knowledge from us, but merely observing what we did, would never get the slightest evidence that we had this moral law. How could he? for his observations would only show what we did, and the moral law is about what we ought to do.

    This guy seems to think that nobody ever actually obeys their moral rules. He’s saying that outward behavior never reflects the inner moral structure, that morals are simply thoughts that never translate into actions. What a cynic.

    An objective observer, even an extraterrestrial, given enough time and numbers of people to observe would notice that people’s behaviors follow patterns that often go against their immediate personal benefit. They would observe altruism, equality and compassion by people who are stronger, more powerful or somehow in a position of advantage. The one who finds food doesn’t eat it all, but takes it back to share with the others. The large male does not rape the smaller females, but seems to follow inhibiting guidelines. The observer would also notice that individuals who do not show these self-denying traits often get negative consequences from others. Finally the observer would see that societies where the altruistic behaviors are more common tend to be more stable and successful in general.

    So the objective observer could conclude that there are social injunctions, norms and expectations infusing the group and the individuals that guide their interactions. We would call those morals.

  • Claire

    An objective observer, even an extraterrestrial, given enough time and numbers of people to observe would notice that people’s behaviors follow patterns that often go against their immediate personal benefit. They would observe altruism, equality and compassion by people who are stronger, more powerful or somehow in a position of advantage.

    Just a tiny footnote to Richard’s lovely exposition: observers also see those things among social animal groups. Humans share those things with other creatures, and those other creatures manage to do them without being told to by an externally imposed set of values.

  • Richard Wade

    Thank you Claire, that’s a nice addition.

  • Claire

    In my younger days, I came across an lengthy excerpt from C. S. Lewis’s writing, about the sin of pride (not sure from which book). I can still remember how incredibly pleased, and yes, maybe just a little proud, I was to be an atheist after I finished reading it. I basked in the glow of that for days. It’s still a pleasant memory.

    I’m not sure why christians are always trying to get non-christians to read him, his writings are so very much an argument and an advertisement for atheism.

  • Claire

    Oh, and in case anyone thinks I’m basing this on insufficient knowledge of Lewis’ oeuvre, I have read nine books by him. It’s kind of like a train wreck, it’s horrible and you know you shouldn’t stare, but you just can’t stop, you can’t tear yourself away from seeing what horror will be revealed next.

    Maybe atheists should be putting C. S. Lewis in hotel rooms.

  • Mriana

    :lol: Yes, his ignorance could make an atheist out of almost any thinking person- if they aren’t already.

  • http://www.ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Wow! Richard Wade,

    That’s an eye-full! I’ll have to come back later to read and reply (I’m also very slow), as my family is waiting for me to watch Hot Fuzz. :)

  • http://www.ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Okay, I’m back. Wow! If you want to see an atheist movie, Hot Fuzz is it! There’s one scene where a priest asks the hero in the movie, “Even if you’re not a man of God, you can still understand peace,” or something to that effect; and the hero atheist/agnostic cop, whose last name happens to be Angel, replies, “I may not be a man of God, but I know right from wrong…” Then a shootout ensues. It made me think of all of you. :)

    Okay, back to the discussion:

    Richard Wade,

    you are so eloquent with your words in a way that no one can really argue with your points. Very clear, precise, on point, and very well thought out, without sounding pompous.. How do you do that? I wish I were as gifted… I also have to apologize ahead of time for this lengthy post. I tried to shorten it as much as I could.

    I hope you don’t think that I’m trying to get you to read C.S. Lewis. I’m not. He’s just one of the writers that I admire. The reason I brought it up is because I recently (very recently) realized he, too, was very much affected by religion (my definition of religion).

    What you said about science, I have to agree with. How can you argue with that? One view that I have which you may not is that science helps us to better understand God. I believe the more we learn about everything there is to know and explore, the closer we’ll get to the truth. In my opinion, the closer to the truth we get, we will also get closer to knowing God.

    I’m gonna have to double post, to break up this long comment… :+

  • http://www.ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Richard Wade,

    You also said,
    For instance, some Christians say that without morals imposed upon us by God, people would run amok, raping and murdering in anarchy.

    I think people of most religions would say that. I recently came across a quote by a respected Jewish psychiatrist/neurologist Viktor E. Frankl from his book, Man’s Search for Meaning:

    Either man’s freedom of decision for or against God, as well as for or against man, must be recognized, or else religion is a delusion, and education is an illusion. Freedom is presupposed by both; otherwise they are misconceived.

    Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness.

    I showed it to everyone, and no one had a problem with it. But I did. It’s basically saying that religion is needed to control people, isn’t it? I completely disagree with it, but I couldn’t get anyone to see my point. Do you have any thoughts on this one?

    I’ve seen moral systems of all kinds written in books… Those authors, no matter where they hide are always finally exposed as human beings.

    So we do agree that morals come from man and not from any other source?

    Please show me the solid evidence indicating that a non-human source has authored any system of morals anywhere for anyone.

    I can’t. Even the Bible indicates that the morals came from man. If you’re nice to me, I’ll tell you where. ;-)

    The observer would also notice that individuals who do not show these self-denying traits often get negative consequences from others.

    So your’ve talking about natural consequences here? Such as take-someone-else’s-stuff-and-get-punched-out kind of thing?

    Finally the observer would see that societies where the altruistic behaviors are more common tend to be more stable and successful in general.

    Are any of these societies religious? Can you be religious AND altruistic? Would it be truly altruistic if the motivation is following religious law or even moral law? Or… is there any society where there is no religion? I don’t know if there is, even the most primitive…

    So the objective observer could conclude that there are social injunctions, norms and expectations infusing the group and the individuals that guide their interactions. We would call those morals.

    So are you referring to natural consequences again? But you said above that morals come from man. Is it nature or is it man, in your opinion? I believe all morals come from man. Man who also made up religion to go along with those morals. What are your thoughts on this?

  • Avante-Danae Lamarche

    It says in the word that in the end times men will love plesure more than they love Jesus..
    God is real I know of miracles!! This is all leading up to the coming of Christ. Jesus delivered me from so many things if you want to know just email me i will be GLAD to tell you!!!

  • Richard Wade

    It says in the word that in the end times men will love plesure more than they love Jesus..

    …Uh, and in the last two thousand years when has that not been the case?

    I vaguely remember this person’s comment word-for-word a few months back on some other post around here. Is this what is meant by a spam bot? I notice that he didn’t leave an email address.

    duh.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    It says in the word that in the end times men will love plesure more than they love Jesus..

    Always makes me think of this quote.

    “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink…. I don’t know what will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. We’re more popular than Jesus now. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.” – John Lennon

  • http://www.ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    It says in the word that in the end times men will love plesure more than they love Jesus..

    Perhaps the “pleasure” is religion. Religious people generally crave religion to keep them/us afloat. Religion provides them/us a list with boxes to check off, giving them/us a false sense of always doing the right thing. It gives us justification for our action/inaction, and we can continue to believe that we are in complete control of everything, ourselves, and even God…

    BTW, HappyNat… I LOVE that John Lennon quote. I’d never heard it before. Thanks! But I think it’s more fitting when we apply the word “disciples” to the modern-day mainstream Christians. The original disciples spoke the truth (when people are willing to take the time and have the desire to understand what they really meant.)

  • Wright

    My boyfriend and I bought a 22 room motel in Montana in August of this year. We noticed that some of the rooms had bibles, some did not and some did but they were written on or very damaged. So, I thought, why have bibles in the rooms at all. If people really want to read the bible and it’s that important to them, then they should bring their own.

    Holy smokes, the word got out and we started getting harassing phone calls from local residents. A “put the bibles back in the room” – gossipy and judgemental – movement developed. I even had one guy call me to say that it was “the law” to have bibles in motel rooms. That same guy, I just love the educated people, said that our soldiers are in Iraq right now “fighting for one god” … ironically enough, he did not have family members in Iraq (I do) and I gaurantee that my brother is not there fighting for this man’s god.

    So, to be honest, boutique motels in large cities can get away with it, but since word of mouth is vital when you run a business in a town of 3,000, we’ve quite grudgingly have decided to put the bibles back in the room. Honestly, I cannot take the vicious judgement of these do-gooder “Christians” any longer. And, yes, I do see the irony of that…


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