Reasons Not To Get Love Advice from Don Miller

Christian author Don Miller likes to talk about how your life ought to be a compelling story, one that’s going somewhere, has a purpose, has real ups and downs, isn’t stagnant, etc. There’s a lot of truth to that — if your life doesn’t make for an interesting story, are you really making the most of it?

Recently, though, he must have taken a page out of Mark Driscoll‘s Handbook because his suggestions to men and women for how to create a “good love story” were appalling.

For example, he told women that they should never hook up.

… when your husband finds out you were the “hook up” girl he’s going to have to have a lot of grace, which is fine, it just puts you in the category of “charity” in his mind and not “equal” or “partner.” He may still love you, but he will have serious questions about whether you’re in the kind of shape it takes to run a marathon. Unless you get over it and move on and do a period of time where you put it all behind you, he will and honestly should lose respect for you…

Because any woman who’s had sex before (without “getting over it”) isn’t worthy of complete respect…

Because, I guess, it’s not possible to have sex with someone you have no intention of marrying and come away from it perfectly fine.

Because all men have a problem dating women who hooked up with guys in the past?

He also told women they had to “be willing to suffer.”

What this means for you is that your love story needs to have a lot of lonely crying in it. Believe it or not, there will come a day when a man will fall madly in love with you and you will have the honor of sitting down with him one special night to explain that, while you weren’t perfect, you turned down plenty of guys and and cried yourself to sleep hoping somebody would come around and treat you with respect. He will be honored by this, and he will love you and feel humbled. If he doesn’t have the same story, he will feel intensely convicted and unworthy. You’ll really be giving him the foundation he needs to love your heart.

What the fuck…?

So, women, now you know what it takes to find a good man: Never have any physical fun growing up (you non-abstinent slutty slut slut) and start bawling about all those men in your past who had no respect for you. (Apparently, there’s no possible circumstance in which two perfectly decent people, with active sexual histories, just decide the relationship isn’t working out and part ways.)

So what’s the advice for men? Same stuff, right?

Not even close…

Men were not designed to have love stories “happen to them” as much as they were designed to “make a love story happen to a woman.” Do you understand. You’re the writer of the story. You’re the guy who initiates and has the character to follow through. You’re the one responsible for how the love story turns out.

Somewhere, high-school-sophomore-Hemant is thinking about the girl who was his best friend. He developed a massive crush on her, the kind that makes you think about her every waking hour, that makes you get all excited when she IMs you at night. He asked her out a couple different times. She rejected him a couple different times. (Because it would ruin the friendship.) She went out with other guys over the course of that year. He was really depressed about all that. But they stayed friends and he continued to fall for her. When the next year came around, and they were even closer friends, and he had given up hope of anything ever happening, she asked him out… and they began to date. He had his first kiss with her and it was wonderful. During the time they dated, life was full of rainbows and cookies and puppies and babies. (Of course, like a lot of high school couples, they eventually broke up. That sucked for a while, too… but they still remain friends to this day.)

That couldn’t have been a love story, though. It didn’t happen to me; she basically initiated everything. I suppose I’m just not “man enough” for Miller.

Other advice he offers men: Stay away from the harlots:

Is she seductive? Stay away. Is she nagging? Stay away. Is she sexually promiscuous? Stay away. In my dating history, I’ve dated some amazing women. But on two occasions, I dated girls who were pretty seductive in nature, and I paid dearly. I lost sleep and nearly lost my sanity. I’ll never forget taking a flight to Vancouver BC one night, reading through the book of Proverbs and realizing what the source of my problems was, I was dating a girl the book told me not to date. I broke up with her immediately and sanity returned.

Now this does not mean you shouldn’t date a girl with a past. One of my all-time favorite girlfriends, a girl I consider amazing and will make a terrific wife to somebody some day, actually spent years living with a guy and has a fairly liberal standard regarding sexuality…

There are so many things wrong with those paragraphs… (to begin with, who the hell reads the book of Proverbs on an airplane?)

But whatever.

It’s a lot of bad advice all around.

It’s also irresponsible to say that those are the rules you must follow to have a “good love story.” They’re not. There are plenty of examples of how they’re not. You don’t even need to step outside a Christian church to find examples of that.

Miller is offering suggestions for a very specific type of relationship — one I have very little desire to have, but one which may work just fine for him.

Realize, though, that just about all of Miller’s rules can be broken without sacrificing any happiness.

I wrote most of what you just read sometime last week. It was a draft and I wanted to go back now to finish it up… but it turns out Miller deleted both of the posts. Which is a dumb thing to do, since all the writing is still accessible via Google Cache. The smarter thing to do would’ve been to just add an update/apology/whatever as an addendum to both posts.

But maybe that wouldn’t have helped since Miller deleted the posts, not because he felt he said anything wrong, but because it didn’t come off as he intended…

I’ve seen this sort of backlash before in other arenas. I’m convinced a number of preachers drive as many people away from Jesus as they invite toward Jesus through the harshness of their rhetoric. I’m not interested, then, in driving people away from a good love story simply because I used language and presented ideas they found offensive. Especially when the ideas were generated in no more than half an hour.

Another reason to take the blog down is that love and sexuality is complicated. To address sexual matters, especially, is often a graceless conversation, and yet a conversation that can only be healing in a tone of complete and utter grace. My blog, while straight and toned to the language many use while talking over a beer, lacked the tone of grace. That was an enormous mistake on my part.

That’s not true.

The rules would have been equally ridiculous over beer.

My (Christian) friend Rachel Held Evans didn’t appreciate the suggestions he made either. Her response is *fantastic*:

I am not a supporting character in a story that a man is writing.

My story is more interesting than that.

I am not defined by my sexuality, my past, my marital status, or my body.

My story is more interesting than that.

I have not cried into my pillow waiting for someone else to give me purpose and direction in life.

My story is more interesting than that.

I do not fit into the passive and predictable roles that well-meaning Christians have prescribed for me.

My story is more interesting than that.

*Applause*

Miller spoke with Rachel and agreed to post a formal response to his own comments, written by Rachel, on his site soon… perhaps as a way to make amends. We’ll see if that actually happens.

Meanwhile, I can’t wait to see his revised, revamped list of rules.

Looking at a few other responses to what Miller wrote, I was especially sad to read this post from a Christian woman who seems to have followed “the rules”:

… I have always dated “good Christian men.” I’ve kept myself above board in all aspects in my relationships with them. But if I’m honest, I have never been treated worse than I have in those relationships. For some reason, whether it be expectations, pressure or nerves, it seems like I leave each relationship feeling ugly, worthless and stupid. One relationship in particular left me feeling like a whore. And I don’t use that term lightly. For more than a year after it ended, I felt like a whore. And would you believe I didn’t even kiss that guy? In the three months we were together, we never even kissed. He believed it was important to wait a year before going down that road. But his words cut me deep, and it took years to repair that wound.

Regardless of what you think about her personal decisions, this just shows that following Miller’s rules and seeking out “those” kinds of guys doesn’t guarantee you a happy ending.

Oh. While we’re at it… What advice would I give to people who want a good love story?

Be with someone who makes you happy.

That’s it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a virgin, or a swinger, or divorced, or gay, or live with someone of the opposite sex, or never had a relationship end badly, or don’t want kids in your future, or want a lot of kids in the future. None of that is a problem as long as you’re with someone who understands you, respects you, and trusts you. If the two of you share the same values, you’re going to be fine.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Formula_lee

    i love this story….

  • http://www.facebook.com/mujica.alex Alejandro Mujica

    Wow, excellent post, and what a character Don Miller is! I, too, had a relationship with a woman who asked me out. This was my first real relationship, even though it was during high school. You can also say I’ve been with the “harlot,” and that’s made my life all the better. Good women out there have their own rhythms and they don’t need to change their rhythms for anyone. As long as they’re there for their partners, who’s to judge?

    • Megan

      I appreciate your comment, and I also appreciate your correct use of they’re, there, and their within the span of four words. Kudos :)

  • Anonymous

    Why would anyone talk relationship advice from someone who clearly only works from stereotypes?  Has he ever met a woman?  Women are people too, as if it needs stating, stop treating them like objects or like they are part of a man’s household.  You,  Don Miller, will be happier for it and so will the women in your life.

  • Anonymous

    Abstinence is the answer??  Bullshit.  I’ve been with my husband for 18 amazingly happy years and we had sex on the first date and all the way through our dating relationship to our now married relationship.  We survived the stupid, pointless shame and guilt the church tried to instill in us and came out of the (christian) experience more in love and even happier to be free.  There is no “right” way to fall or be in love.  It’s ridiculously arrogant that someone who takes cues from a book which encourages extra-marital affairs, concubines, and harems to instruct anyone on how to initiate and manage a monogamous relationship using antiquated and oppressive gender roles.  If someone makes you happy, don’t waste time by not expressing your care and love for them (however that may look.)

  • Mel

    Rachel Held Evans made me cry, but it’s b/c someone spoke more eloquently than I could.  Thanks!!

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Don Miller is confusing what has “worked for him” as what should apply and “work for everybody else”.  Religious people seem to do a lot of that. 
     And yes its true that most religions are guilty of trying to regulate sexual pleasure.  If you can regulate and control the terms of sexual pleasure, you can regulate and control the whole person.

    “Be with someone who makes you happy” – that is good non-assuming advice.

  • Anonymous

    How is Miller the focus here, though? He is just expressing what EVERYONE in those deluded congregations would be saying as well.  This type of thinking is a sneeze away from the madness of throwing acid in women’s faces for ‘dishonor’…

    What is ironic is how this rationale mirrors their platform on pornography.  That pornography objectifies women and creates unhealthy/unrealistic expectations of women….just what the fuck do they think they are doing by trying to repress a women into some sanctified Madonna object?

  • R Sparks Newcomb

    I think the worst advice (for women) is this:

    “6. Don’t be thirteen:…They aren’t strong enough to say no to a guy who just wants to use them. These are all elements of immaturity…. Stop acting like a victim. If you want a strong man who can protect you and your children, stop trolling for predators by crying all the time. Act like a dignified woman who believes her company is valuable and should come at a price.”

    “If you went through a slutty season, don’t act like you were a helpless victim, a sweet girl who got caught up. You probably weren’t. A confession and an excuse are entirely different. Excuses talk about being hurt or drunk or being lied to…”

    “And stop using alcohol as an excuse. Nobody gets drunk and accidentally sleeps with a hamster. You know what you’re doing, drunk or not, so cut it out.”

    What women can do to protect themselves from victimization is a controversial and  touchy subject.  The advice that Miller gives suggests that if you’re not chaste, if you’re crying in public instead of in pillows,  than you are asking to be abused.  Because you can totally avoid abuse by waiting for the right man to romance you, and suffering silently until he appears.  And if you want to move from the former to the latter category, you need to accept you were at fault for being hurt.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      That’s… disgusting.

  • http://nadiawilliams.wordpress.com/ Nadia Williams

    After fifteen years of marriage, my husband and I recently separated. One of the root problems? I took my conservative Christian brainwashing into my marriage, that I was there to support my husband, that I had to submit to him, be his helpmate. For years, I suppressed myself, striving for this goal. The ‘man is god’ mindset that had so gone hand in hand with Christianity for me, and had been justified from the Bible, brought us to a point where I was angry, bitter and resentful. It was a huge factor in two people who are otherwise perfectly suited getting to a place where we can no longer live together.

    Thank heaven for atheism. Looking away from some god and instead at what matters, we saved our deep, lifelong friendship from the ashes. I’m finding my feet, becoming my own person, and I need to live alone for that. A religious approach to this problem would never, never have allowed the loving but separate lives we now live.

  • Anonymous

    Miller took his story metaphor way too far, and frankly, it’s immature.  It’s too bad his mea culpa reads faintly like a blame the reader exercise.

    It’s like he was going for a storybook fairy tale, where the princess stayed pure for her prince, even though she will probably never meet him for years, and her prince will be treated to a mystical virginity (or an even more nonsensical second virginity) taking and they live happily ever after.  How many stereotypes can someone push?

  • Anonymous

    Much worse than Don Miller (not that it excuses him) is John Elderidge, whose book “Wild at Heart” I had to suffer through in  church group in high school. Here’s a sample of the tightly defined gender roles he traffics in:

    “Little girls do not invent games where large numbers of people die, where bloodshed is a prerequisite for having fun. Hockey, for example, was not a feminine creation. Nor was boxing. A boy wants to attack something-and so does a man, even if it’s only a little white ball on a tee. He wants to whack it into kingdom come. On the other hand, my boys do not sit down to tea parties. They do not call their friends on the phone to talk about relationships. They grow bored of games that have no element of danger or competition or bloodshed. Cooperative games based on “relational interdependence” are complete nonsense. “No one is killed?” they ask, incredulous. “No one wins? What’s the point?” The universal nature of this ought to have convinced us by now: The boy is a warrior; the boy is his name. And those are not boyish antics he is doing. When boys play at war they are rehearsing their part in a much bigger drama. One day, you just might need that boy to defend you.”

    This type of stuff runs throughout the book. A bunch of anecdotes about how men need to be MEN. How society is emasculating them. How women need to understand how much men need to still be 6 year-old boys, how they need to be protected by a physically strong he-man.
     
    And it was a HUGE bestseller in the mid-00s. Church groups were reading it, pastors were dedicating sermon series to it. It’s definitely a larger problem than just Don Miller’s dumb ideas.

  • scott-k

    “Nobody gets drunk and accidentally sleeps with a hamster” – What are you trying to tell us, Don?  Why would this even occur to you?

    • http://disienai.tumblr.com/ Semipermeable

      I went to a party school, have seen a lot of parties, and I would have to disagree with his hamster statement….

  • Tess of the Doobie Brothers

    Miller and Driscoll are pals, so it’s not surprising that they’ve got the same take on what a man is, what a woman is, and how they’re supposed to deal with each other. The only reason there’s any backlash is because Miller is one of the heavy-hitters of “liberal” Christianity. I put liberal in quotes because, as that blatantly anti-gay Bill Hybels sermon (linked to by Hement in the Starbucks post) showed, those who identify with that particular flavor of religion often believe in the same hateful principles as their more overtly hostile brethren. They just know better than to picket funerals.

  • http://happycat.pip.verisignlabs.com/ Chris aka Happy Cat

    Excellent post, Hemant.  The misogynistic drivel seems to have ramped up and I’m glad people like Miller are called out.  Sounds like Miller realized he’d created a tiger which he had by the tail. Rachel, thank you so much for your response.  You almost brought this jaded old queer to tears. Can I have a hug? :-)

       Hemant, I like your succinct advice regarding someone who makes you happy and respects you, although I’d add a footnote: Don’t write off someone if things get rocky at times or the person does things that make you unhappy at times.  Just throwing that in there because I’ve seen men and women leave relationships after some tough times or disappointments then regret it down the road.  Guess I’d call it standards vs. expectations.
       Thanks, again for this.

  • Bo Tait

    I would change the advice at the end. Many times being with someone who makes you happy is not enough. 

    I would say “Be with someone that makes sense.”  

    Of course part of making sense means they make you happy, but since I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in soul mates. There are people all over the world that could make me happy. But why devote my time to someone who lives on another continent, or is from another culture? Unless you’re ready to make a very large permanent change in your life, it just doesn’t make sense. You’re setting yourself up for some very large obstacles in the future that you may not be able to get over, even though they make you happy.
    Being happy is relative. What is required to be happy changes through the years. Find someone that you’re crazy for and when the time comes, sit down with them and have the most honest conversation you can with them about whether or not the two of you have a good chance of making it together for the rest of your lives.
    I feel that kind of honesty and maturity, whether you decide to stay together or not, is love in a very pure form. 

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

      “Be with someone who makes you happy.” is not intended to be an absolute statement. I think there are restrictions implied on harmful habits…

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        THIS. If it’s “S/He makes me happy, but…” you might want to take a closer look at the relationship. Little things, like snoring, you can put up with. But if it ever gets into the realm of  “but he yells at me/calls me names/hits me/tries to control me” GET OUT. Don’t stop to even think about it, or go, “But he does all these other wonderful things for me”. Just. LEAVE. It’s not worth sticking around, because you WILL end up miserable and in therapy at best, and in the morgue at absolute worst.

        /Been there.
        //Got lucky and escaped.

      • Bo Tait

        I really wasn’t talking about harmful habits. Just about obstacles that can present themselves. IE distance, culture, language, philosophy) These things may seem trivial in the stages of falling in love, but they can present real threats to a long term relationship. You may make each other happy but the obstacles you are presented with may be too much to bear.

  • Fredericka

    The FriendlyAlcoholic wrote:

    “Because, I guess, it’s not possible to have sex with someone you have no intention of marrying and come away from it perfectly fine.”

    Surprisingly enough, the Bible calls that ‘fornication,’ and frowns upon it: “Flee fornication.” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Who amongst the atheists, counseling us to emulate the barnyard animals, ever would have thought of it? Like they say, ‘You can be good without God; you will, of course, have to redefine “good”.’

    • http://disienai.tumblr.com/ Semipermeable

      “He only wanted help for the man who had misused him, and he thought only of that, and has had no food nor sought any. He has watched by his master two nights. What do you think of your race? Is heaven reserved for it, and this dog ruled out, as your teachers tell you? Can your race add anything to this dog’s stock of morals and magnanimities?” -Mark Twain 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Roy-Gamsgrø/100000677601467 Roy Gamsgrø

      “Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished” (Isaiah 13:15-16)

      If that’s the king of good you are with God, then yes, we most decidedly need to redefine the word ‘good’…

      • Fredericka

        Roy Gamsgro wrote, “If that’s the king of good you are with God, then yes, we most decidedly need to redefine the word ‘good’…”

        Hold that thought. Why do you advertise the slogan, ‘You can be good without God,’ when you know it’s deceptive advertising? You are equivocating on the word ‘good.’ It means something very different to you and the Christian passers-by looking at the bus ad. They understand it to include sexual morality, which you reject. So why adopt this make-believe ‘me-tooism’ in the first place? A better slogan would be, ‘You can be really, really bad without God: Yippy!’

        • NickDB

          Because it’s not deceptive advertising. It’s fact.

          And ‘You can be really, really bad without God: Yippy!’ Would not be a better slogan, because you can be downright freaking evil with God.

          Technically since he doesn’t exist you can’t be good or bad or evil or saintly with him.

          • Fredericka

            “Because it’s not deceptive advertising. It’s fact.”

            Read this blog, and all the disgusting content on it. Sometimes it makes me want to vomit. You’ve gotten yourself turned around 180 degrees so that what is evil you think is good.

    • The Captain

      Why should anyone consider an iron age mythology to be an authority on modern sexual norms? 

      Hell, 1 Corinthians 6:18 isn’t even well reasoned. 

      ” Flee fornication” well that’s just a statement, and since there is no evidence of invisible friends in the sky, it is nothing but the opinion of the author. As for the rest “Every sin that a man doeth is without the body”, well that’s just a thought crime. And most moral people are against the idea of thought crimes. “but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” well that’s just preposterous, you can’t “sin” against something that’s consenting and when you “fornicate” your own body is most defiantly consenting.

      • Fredericka

        The Captain wrote, “Why should anyone consider an iron age mythology to be an authority on modern sexual norms?”

        Because God authored it. God does not want us to emulate the barn-yard animals, the way the atheists do: “Would that ye were perfect–at least as animals! ” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, XIII). He has something better in mind for us. He wants us to be human beings, with all the dignity and nobility attached to that status. Though a foreign conception to atheists, it is a thrilling and inspiring conception once you overcome the unfamiliarity.

        • ACN

          I am Jack’s circular argument. Without me, Jack couldn’t prove that the bible isn’t mythology by simply repeatedly asserting that god wrote it.
          Put up or shut up, evidence or stop using this line of argument.

          • Fredericka

            What is circular about it?:
            God authored the Bible.
            God also speaks direct to the human heart.
            God confirms, speaking to the heart, that He authored the text.
            If you have the Holy Spirit, you hear the Holy Spirit’s voice.

            Another line of confirmation: we know God through our reason and conscience. Having this knowledge of God, discerning the authorship of the Bible is no different from any other judgment of attribution. Does the text match up with the author’s known perspective, style and concerns?

            • Anonymous

              Do you really not see this as circular?

              God authored the bible.  We know this because the bible tells us so.

              Or are you committing an appeal to emotion by claiming that God authored the bible because you feel that he did?

        • NickDB

          Actually god does want us to emulate the barn-yard animals, that is why he made all the rooms in the inn full, so his son can be born in a barn, and then set his son up as a example for us to follow.

          Ergo we should try and live like the animals.

          Animals and children tell the truth, they never lie

          Which one is more human

          There’s a thought, now you decide

          Compassion in the jungle

          I really, really should not feed the trolls.

        • The Captain

          Yes, the bible is true, because the bible says it’s true argument, well so does the Illiad so I guess you follow the greek gods commands too then?

          Oh, and here’s more of that great sexual morality you’re bronze age collection of stories says.
          Deuteronomy 22:28-29  ” If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father.  Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

          So I guess then for you god wants raped women to have to mary their attackers then??? Or do you just pick and choose which commands from your god you listen to to conform to secular societies ideals of “good”?

          • Fredericka

            Hi Captain. The Holy Spirit, if you are His, speaks to your heart and tells you it’s true. The Holy Spirit is offering testimony as to His own authorship of the text, not from the text, but from your heart. What is so wonderful about living like a barnyard animal? Have you ever tried the other path and lived like a human being, even just for a trial period?

            • The Captain

              You avoided the question and the contradiction. 

              So do you, or do you not think women who have been raped should be force to marry their rapist as your bible says????

              And, “barnyard animal”, that is a straw man argument. No, sorry to inform you but I am not a “barnyard animal”, I am in fact a “town home” animal and yeas i live like one. I take my trash to the curb on tuesdays, I shovel the sidewalk when it snows, I park on the street, we all sit on our stoops on the weekend and talk, we drink at the local pub, and I watch my big ass TV after a day of work, just like all the other town house animals I live with. It’s very wonderful actually.

        • Anonymous

          Fredericka, we don’t believe in gods.  Your assertion that God said this or God wants that is wasted on unbelievers.  You may as well tell us that Sauron wants us to find the One Ring because we’ll put as much credence to the claims.

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

      Valuable insight, except “Flee fornication” means clean up and get out when you’re done. Corinthians has a very no-strings-attached attitude toward sex.

      • Fredericka

        Hi Michael, you might try re-reading it; your interpretation is novel.

  • Davidp

    Reminds me of what I heard an evangelical man sayingn at my work “I think men & women are equal in there separate ways in a relationship, for example I’m the man so I expect to make the decisions and make the money but I expect the woman to be in charge of house stuff like keeping the house clean and cooking or taking care of children.”

  • The Captain

    It may be christians views on homosexuals, non-christians, abortion, ect that gets all the press, but their views on relationships are some of the most appalling.

    Like many atheist I enjoy listing to christian talk radio for the shits and giggles, and I used to listen to Focus on the Family’s marriage advice program. It was mostly Dobson and his panel spewing the same kind of crap as this, until that one day….

    The woman had apparently called in before, it was an ongoing case they had been giving her advise on for the last few months it seemed. The basic situation was the poor woman was married to a pretty emotionally abusive husband. He seemed to be generally emotionally hostile to her, putting her down most times, yelling at her, calling her names, ect, and indifferent to her at best. 

    Well the they had been trying to get him (through her I believe) to come to some sort of counseling, and he was having none of it. So, this is where is gets sad, they started to “prepare” her for…. her miserable life she was about to lead. Really!

    Since her husband was not beating the shit out of her, Dobson and his crew kept telling her that she could not get a divorce (apparently they’ve been dragged into the 21st century enough to allow the “once he hits you you can leave” loophole), and she would have to stay with this guy for the rest of her (or his) life… and still be obedient to him. It was horrible to listen to. You could hear her sobbing in the background as they told her this was “god will”, or “gods test” and other sorts of crap. They even where kind enough to take up two more segments of the show to help prepare her for, what they even admitted, would be her miserable, loveless, subservient, unhappy life. It was the saddest, cruelest thing I ever heard on the airwaves. I  became angry not just at this evil monster Dobson, but at myself because I did not have enough internet skills to find out who this poor woman was and contact her to try to convince her not to take these christians advice. 

    • cipher

      Dobson is a piece of garbage. He used to beat his dachshund because it didn’t want to sleep on the floor, or something. Everything with these people is about domination and subservience. Their entire theology is based upon it.

      His listener base is enormous; he may be the most influential of all the radio/tv evangelists. Just another indication of how unsalvageable that subculture is.

  • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

    You should save those deleted pages, Hermant! Google doesn’t keep its caches forever; before long those links will be broken.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      I saved the pages last night.

      • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

        Shit I got your name wrong! Sorry!

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

    “If he doesn’t have the same story, he will feel intensely convicted and unworthy.”

    Can someone tell me just what the flying fuck he means by “feel intensely convicted”? ‘Cuz as far as I’m aware, “convicted” is not an emotion…

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

      Convicted by the ever-judgemental deity?

      Maybe those living in such repression need more nuanced descriptions for their negative emotions.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        Oh, like they feel kinda guilty about doing… whatever.

        I think this is one of those Fundie Word Redefinitions.

  • http://lovejoyfeminism.blogspot.com Libby Anne

    Ack! This is how I grew up! I actually wrote a post on my blog about the whole “your husband will be disappointed if you’re not a virgin” thing. It’s all about expectations! If you go with a fundy guy who expects you to be a virgin, then YES, he will be disappointed if you aren’t! But if you go with a normal guy, he’ll look at you like you’re completely crazy if you’re a virgin! 

    Here is my post: http://lovejoyfeminism.blogspot.com/2011/08/role-of-expectations-in-courtship-and.html

  • Heidi

    I’ve always wondered… if it’s only women who are not supposed to “hook up,” and men aren’t allowed to be with each other… how does that even work?

    Also: “I am not a supporting character in a story that a man is writing.” Words to live by.

    • Martin

      Christians don’t think men should “hook up,” either. 

      “Hook up” is a euphemism for any sexual activity outside the license of the church.

  • Dark Jaguar

    I vehemently disagree with the notion that my life has to be an “interesting story” to justify itself.  My life is rather boring in terms of a campfire narrative or fodder for a book or movie.  However, it has been very fulfilling.  Pretty much anything that would make my life an “interesting story” would be something harmful to my life or the life of those around me.  Why would I WANT that to happen, and seek it out?  It’s been enough to live a boring but well planned life to achieve as many goals as I’m able while maintaining good relationships with family and friends.  I don’t need to fight the joker, have a nasty relationship where I learn something, fight with a boss, survive the wild, or “show a stodgy establishment I was right all along”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    sexual promiscuity? Surely the devil’s work! If you’re a TrueChristian™ you only have sex in the missionary position with the lights off with your husband on his birthday for the sole purpose of procreation.

  • Anonymous

    It’s mind boggling that almost everyone on his blog defends him, says he was so right, true and heartfelt. How they all agree with him, that his writing is the best thing ever and that nothing he said was remotely offensive.

    I don’t get it. Makes me thing these people are somehow mentally damaged. Their whole thinking is completely alien to me. And Miller seems like just another Christian whackjob wrapped in nice paper.

  • Shelly

    Did I just wake up in 1880?  Sure sounds like it!

  • http://www.brookieblogs.blogspot.com Brookie

    Would anyone be willing to email me the text of his post? My school has blocked Google Cache for some reason.

  • http://fivedollardayblog.blogspot.com/ Ruby Leigh

    Yikes!

    Many things of my former fundamentalist life have been pretty easy to brush off and move on from.  (.. and many have not)… However, the thing that continues to have an impact is the bullsh!t relationship advice that was fed down my throat by the church.  Pieces like this make me shudder, and here: Donald Miller is supposed to be one of the “good guys”… and yet he can’t even realize how harmful these ideas are.   It positively scares me how many people live in pain at the hands of these messed up ideaologies. 

  • http://godconfusion.com/ Xanthe Wyse

    It’s double standards.  The bible portrays women as whores etc, so it’s no surprise the fundies do too

  • http://godconfusion.com/ Xanthe Wyse

    It’s double standards.  The bible portrays women as whores etc, so it’s no surprise the fundies do too

  • Rusty

    As an evangelical pastor, I’m a bit shocked by both the anger and critical spirit of practically every comment made so far. I just found this site and was curious by the moniker “Friendly Athiest,” but it seems that congeniality has yet to find its way here. Richard, I’m not sure why you think yourself friendly….your article sounds just as judgmental as the Christians who antagonize you. 
    When I council people, I don’t judge them. Neither does Jesus (John 3:17). That doesn’t mean that harmful behavior no longer harms, it just means that the religion I profess has the goal of helping people reach their full potential, a potential I believe that can fully be found with Christ. 
    If a person is having sex with many other people, that doesn’t mean they are somehow worse than I am. The Apostle Paul himself realized this, looking at his own life and calling himself the chief of sinners. 
    I honestly think you don’t have a fully-formed view of my religion. 

    • Erp

       I don’t believe Richard is involved in this post or comment thread.   Hemant is (and he is the original ‘Friendly atheist’) so perhaps you mean Hemant.   I note that Hemant is criticizing a particular form of Christianity, that espoused by Don Miller, and his criticism is shared by a Christian peer, Rachel Evans.

      It is also true that we ‘you’ don’t have a fully formed view of your religion; however, I doubt you do also or any person.  Christianity is huge in its diversity from Coptic to Orthodox to Catholic to Presbyterian to Baptist to Mormon to Quaker etc..  Even evangelism has diversity (e.g., Arminian versus Calvinist).    However what Don Miller holds has its faults and that is what is being criticized;  I doubt Hemant thinks Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson holds the same views.

  • pmeissner

    Interesting research coming out about cohabitation’s effect on marriage. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/opinion/sunday/the-downside-of-cohabiting-before-marriage.html?pagewanted=all


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