In What World is This Good Parenting Advice?

In one of his recent sermons, Pastor Mark Driscoll offered advice to fathers in part drawn from a book he wrote (PDF) a couple of years ago.

That book includes wonderful nuggets of wisdom like this one:

Furthermore, throughout proverbs (e.g., chapters 2, 5, and 7) the father also speaks very frankly to his son about hot women with necklines that plunge down to hell. Rather than encouraging porn, the wise father encourages his son who is not built for abstinence to get married young and enjoy his wife’s body. The wise father knows that the ultimate goal for his son is a faithful marriage, and so he encourages his son’s sexual desires toward marriage.

Don’t watch porn, son. If you want sex, just get married quickly. That’ll solve alllllll your sexual frustration problems.

Father of the year, right there.

But what if your child has sex? First, make sure it’s with a Christian; after that, you might as well kill yourself because you’re a horrible parent:

One of the dumbest conversations I’ve ever had on this topic was with a pastor. He asked me to pray for his teenage daughter, who claimed to be a Christian but was dating and having sex with a non-Christian teenage boy. I asked him what specifically i should pray for — that God would give him a steady trigger finger? He told me that he had never told her not to have sex because she was an adult, and he did not want to pry into her personal life. I told the man that I would not pray that god would give his daughter wisdom, because God had already given that wisdom to her father, who did not lovingly dispense it to his daughter, and that he was a wicked man who apparently hated his daughter and was a coward unfit for the pastorate.

This guy’s gotta be fun to have at parties.

Oh, and don’t even think about staying at home while your wife works. Driscoll is having none of that:

Furthermore, it is completely impossible to read the Bible and wind up with the inane idea that a Christian father can be a stay-at-home dad while mom goes to work. Anyone who thinks these things are acceptable is by definition worldly.

No, not worldly! It’s not enough to be a working father, either. You have to be a better father than those other fathers: “If you want to be a godly man who provides for his wife and children, you will need to out-work and out-earn other men.”

Somehow, this is what passes for healthy parenting in Driscoll’s world. Control every aspect of your kids’ lives, be an alpha-male in everything you do, and make sure your wife doesn’t take over the roles that Driscoll has in mind for you.

Anything less and you’re failure at life. Or perfectly normal. One or the other.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Sue Blue

    Is this guy compensating for something? Is complete domination of women and children the only way he can ensure that his Sacred Sacs won’t shrivel up and fall off? Cavemen would call this guy a low-brow, but I suppose this is how he appeals to MRA white guys who feel threatened by social progress, and that subset of backwoods “Christians” who think that smashing beer cans on your forehead, driving the loudest pickup truck with the most guns in the rack, and smacking mouthy broads around are indicators of manly aptitude.

  • StudntSemipermeable

    “….with necklines that plunge down to hell”

  • Stev84

    Hardly unsurprising for Driscoll. The guy is a sick, sex-obsessed freak.

  • StudntSemipermeable

    Sorry, I hit the button to soon. But I kind of want to see what sort of garmet has a neckline that plunges into the depths of satan’s lair. It sounds uncomfortable…

    Hyperbole aside, it is interesting that he considers women’s bodies and breasts as hell or a one way ticket to the aforementioned. You don’t have to scratch very hard to see the hatred focused on women.

  • Neil Rickert

    “Anything less and you’re failure at life.”

    Mark Driscol is a failure in life. He is dispensing bad advice, and being harmful.

  • Jayelle

    If this is “godly” Christian manhood, I’d say that teenage (or is it “adult”?) pastor’s daughter dodged a damned bullet by dating a non-Christian. I’m very grateful that quite a few of the Christian men I know would be appalled by this, too.

  • Outcast Kyle

    Can we ask to creat a child protection service’s watchlist for everyone that buys the book?

  • Charles Honeycutt

    But what if your child has sex? First, make sure it’s with a Christian;
    after that, you might as well kill yourself because you’re a horrible

    One of the dumbest conversations I’ve ever had on this topic was with a
    pastor. He asked me to pray for his teenage daughter, who claimed to be a
    Christian but was dating and having sex with a non-Christian teenage
    boy. I asked him what specifically i should pray for — that God would give him a steady trigger finger?

    He’s not actually advocating suicide there. He’s advocating murder.

  • latraviata

    Perhaps a tad too European but when my father left his parental home to go to university in another town, his father offered his mistress as a farewell present. This method I would not recommend it as a rite of passage, though I find it somewhat more effective than Driscoll’s. The (use of) mistress is of course an entirely different subject.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    There’s a superhero webcomic where a lady hero who wears a costume that isn’t much more than a swimsuit and cape is defending her outfit, and explains that it wasn’t even her first choice; she liked her original costume better, but “half of it kept falling off.”

    The incredulous hero talking to her asks “Which half?”

    She replies, “The left one.”

  • John Brockman

    Hey, it could be worse. He could advocate strict adherence to Biblical strictures and advise that rape is better than masturbation*, and a good way to get engaged besides**.

    * The Bible condemns masturbation, but never mentions rape. After all, how can you rape property?

    ** Having sex with an unmarried woman results in the man paying her father a fine and then marrying her. In other words, it’s vandalism. Again, consent isn’t an issue because the Bible considers women property, not people.

  • Hat Stealer

    The extent to which guys like Driscoll live up to all the stereotypical views and behaviors that characterize, boorish, misogynistic Christian assholes is really quite astonishing. I keep waiting for him to come forward and reveal that it was an elaborate piece of performance art the whole time.

  • Rain

    I asked him what specifically i should pray for — that God would give him a steady trigger finger?

    I’m going with the presumption that he means ejaculation. Presumably he wanted to make an ejaculation joke so badly that he ignored little things like, oh, birth control for instance.

    he was a wicked man who apparently hated his daughter and was a coward unfit for the pastorate.

    Yeah I’m sure the man is just thrilled to hear that. So remember folks, if you have a conversation with Pastor Mark Driscoll, he’s gonna backstab the hell out of you. In public, no less. (Assuming he didn’t make the whole thing up.)

  • Ibis3

    The fact that the father thinks his mistress is an object to be shared? An attitude just about the same as Driscoll’s.

  • Marc Mielke

    I REALLY want Driscoll to hurry up with the inevitable sex scandal. With all his manly man talk, it’s gonna be GOOD. I’m thinking domination, infantilization, cross-dressing…(not that any of these are bad, especially not for manly men who especially need the release…)

  • J-Rex

    Wow. I always felt the “get married quick” attitude coming from Christians because it’s hard to control your feelings and having sex is absolutely the worst thing in the world. I’ve seen so many young couples rush to get married straight out of high school or college because they can’t wait. They fall for the first person they date because they want sex and know that they can’t have it until they’re married so…let’s get married!
    I assumed that was simply the natural result of abstinence teachings. I never thought I’d actually hear anyone suggest that that’s a good idea.

  • Kinky F.

    He is just another cynical prick that doesn’t believe the shit he spews out his pudding-hole. He is a lesser known asswipe no different than Ann Coulter or Sarah Palin. He just says what he knows will be eaten up by the mouth-breathing cretins (his followers) all so he can make a buck, retire to a non-extradition country where he will enjoy a non-stop flow of T3 speed Internet porn, hookers, cocaine and hand-jobs on demand.

    He is a subhuman piece of doody.

  • Michael

    Best guess, he’s trying to divert attention from all the normal things he did before he learned that if people find out you’ll go to hell.

  • Stev84

    There is a reason the divorce rate is somewhat higher among fundies

  • Sam Aronow Huddy

    Sharing is Socialist, and thus very un-Driscoll.

  • Immanuel Goldstein

    So he tells the other father to turn to guns if his daughter takes up with a non-Christian…how exactly is this different from the Taliban?

  • Billy Bob

    Now for the scary part. This guy has a huge following.

  • Michael

    If we’re taking bets then what are the odds on furries?

  • Psychotic Atheist

    Genesis 34, when it’s the Israelite’s women that get raped, the correct course of action is to kill the rapist. And their family. And friends. And everybody else that lives in the same city. Unless they were females, or children….who were kidnapped and presumably some of them raped.

  • Matt Potter

    “If you want to be a godly man who provides for his wife and children, you will need to out-work and out-earn other men.”

    For someone who takes such a literal view on the roles of women and constantly quotes the good book as his evidence, he seems to have forgotten how Jesus felt about money and the rich.

  • latraviata

    Well, I don’t know about that, mistresses in the thirties last century were not exactly of the submissive type, so there must have been some agreement of her part. I don’t really know wether my father accepted the offer or not, he never told us……

  • chicago dyke

    i guarantee you this guy is watching porn 6-12hrs a day.

  • latraviata

    LOL, I doubt that my grandfather was a socialist. I remember him as a rather feudal person.

  • Fortuna Veritas

    Seemed like murder-suicide to me.

  • jenbo

    This idea that parents should have intimate knowledge of and exacting control over the sexual lives of their adult children is the definition of twisted.

    I find it nauseating whenever Christian parents discuss their standards for their children’s sex lives…Similarly, I find it appalling that the Christian community has no problem commanding that parents should manipulate their children with threats of eternal damnation hell and the loss of familial love and support unless they surrender to the out dated and unnecessary idea of young marriage or complete abstinence.

  • Anna

    No, I think he’s going for the old “fathers need/want to shoot men who have sex with their daughters” trope. Creepy in the extreme, but sadly not limited to fundamentalists. These types of jokes are also all over mainstream society.

  • Anna

    I don’t think so. I think he’s clearly talking about murdering the boyfriend. It’s a common enough “joke,” ie: threatening boys with guns if they dare to touch a man’s daughter.

  • WallofSleep

    “One of the dumbest conversations I’ve ever had…”

    And I’d wager he’s had many.

  • Rain

    Okay I think you’re right. Driscoll should watch his pronoun antecedents, dammit. He has everyone confused, LOL. Guns are the last thing I would have thought of. Call me an eternal optimist I guess.

  • Carmelita Spats

    James Dobson (Focus on the Family) is constantly showcasing his sex life as well as that of his adult children. He makes references to his “virginity” before marrying Shirley and discusses their marital sex on the radio. Dobson is well into his 70′s. Ewww. Dobson’s son, Ryan Dobson, is divorced and remarried which is akin to adultery according to Jeebus. Dobson’s daughter, Danae, is 47 years old and has never been married. By her own admission, she is a 47-year-old virgin who is still on the dating scene, complaining about the lack of godly men like her dad. Double ewwww. She is a 47-year-old virgin who writes creepy malt shop books about dating and sex for teenage girls. It doesn’t get any creepier or twisted. This is exactly what I mean when I talk about Christian voyeurism. It’s so gross it triggers the gag reflex, like watching flies feed.

  • Michael W Busch

    “sick”, probably not. “creepy”, definitely yes.

  • Mary Driftwood

    Because as everyone knows, the only factor worth considering in a good marriage is the sexual desirability of the wife.

  • Mary Driftwood

    My guess is it’s the kind of porn with no ladies involved. His obsession with manly-man, turbo-hetero masculinity suggests to me that he may be trying to talk the talk loud enough that no one will guess about his fantasies, but methinks he doth protest too much.

  • mikespeir

    Driscoll is the very definition of “low hanging fruit,” but it’s still fun.

  • observer

    Driscoll’s a white Christian, so by default he’s the “good guy”.

  • Nate Frein

    I hate that meme. I really do.

    It feels more like the man is staking his territory or marking his truck then trying to protect his family.

  • Georgina Smyth

    Rather than encouraging porn, the wise father encourages his son who is not built for abstinence to get aquainted with his right hand.

    Lots less rape-in-marriage/rape of children if only the church encouraged more masturbation.

  • Earl G.

    It will be a gay sex scandal, if Driscoll’s homophobia is any indication.

    Or perhaps the scandal will be that one day he’s caught treating his wife with respect.

  • John Brockman

    But is that condemning rape or vandalism?

  • Alice

    There’s also the “emotional virginity” BS where you’re only “pure” if you marry the first person you fall in love with. Otherwise you’re an emotional slut who doesn’t trust God to show up at your house on some random day driving a Perfect Spouse delivery truck. Josh Harris is a big proponent of this because apparently the purity culture’s regular teachings weren’t harmful enough.

  • Hat Stealer

    Either that or he’s advocating an honor killing… also like the Taliban.

  • Alice

    Rape is about power, control, and sadism, not pent-up sexual desire. However, many of Driscoll’s teachings do reinforce rape culture, such as his hatred of women and pressuring men to prove their dominance.

  • Anna

    It’s such a horribly sexist way of looking at the world, and the general mindset is disappointingly widespread, ie: shows like 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. Not only does it treat girls and women like they are the personal property of their fathers, it denies them any sexual agency and promotes the idea that men should control their daughters and protect or prevent them from experiencing sexuality with a partner. That’s not even getting into the weird romanticization of the father-daughter relationship in Western culture.

  • Anna

    I’m also betting on a gay sex scandal. Remember that this is the man who considers masturbation a form of homosexuality! Not to mention his utter obsession with masculinity and disdain for any man who fails to live up to the ideal alpha male he’s obviously worshipping in his head.

  • Anna

    Fundamentalist parenting in general seems to promote a complete lack of boundaries. Parents are supposed to micromanage every part of their child’s life well into the teen years and even beyond that into adulthood. Children and teenagers are pretty much treated like property. They don’t appear to be considered to have any rights. You can see this with the corporal punishment, the enforced religious attendance, the censorship of books, movies, television, and curriculum that conflicts with the parents’ views, and the denial of opportunities to socialize with those outside the subculture.

  • J-Rex

    It’s funny how they go on about cleavage and two-piece swimsuits, but they act like women aren’t turned on by shirtless men.

  • J-Rex

    But if it was only about control, then it would be quite some coincidence that the Catholic church manages to collect such a high percentage of sadistic individuals.
    In the case of priests, it seems like they can’t handle being celibate, and since they see sex in the same light as rape and child rape, they’re going to go with the one they have more access to and has less ability to turn them down.
    If priests were allowed to get married, I doubt there would be as much sexual abuse.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I’m sure Jesus just LOVES jokes about murdering people!

    Thanks, Mr. Driscoll. I was awake 10 whole minutes before I got my daily reminder your god doesn’t exist.

  • Feminerd

    Or skin-tight superhero suits. Some of those boys have very nicely-toned asses …

  • Feminerd

    The RCC is all about control, though. It’s very hierarchical. IT’s about controlling your mind and body, but with creepy teachings about sin and forgiveness that take agency out of the picture. I agree that celibacy and lack of any sexual outlet doesn’t help at all, especially for people with normal or high libidos, but a lot of that could be (and is) channeled into prostitutes or unofficial liaisons with parisioners, not outright abuse. The twisted channels of control are what leads to the abuse, not the celibacy per se.

  • Michael W Busch

    You are wrong about the demographics.

    Many priests are not celibate – estimates range up to 50% in any few-year period. Some are straight and have consensual sex with adult women. Some are gay and have consensual sex with adult men. A few sexually assault adults (the recent case of Cardinal Keith O’Brien is an example). But those priests are not the same as those priests that assault children, at least not often.

    If there were not such a comprehensive culture of cover-ups, where so many priests are concealing the consensual sex they falsely see as being wrong, then there probably would be fewer cases of priests sexually assaulting adults or children. But that’s because abusers would be identified and have fewer opportunities for other acts of assault.

  • Miss_Beara

    I think their obsession “emotional virginity” is ever creepier than the physical.

  • Miss_Beara

    I bet he has stacks of beefcake magazines and porn. His sick obsession with masculinity and hatred of women and men who are gay or straight men who are not “man enough.”

  • jenbo

    I completely agree Anna, I was raised in a home that was close to fundamentalist (and have many friends who were raised like this also) and now that I’m older I realize that the extent to which these parents went to censor the outside world was INSANE and neurotic.
    And Carmelita, I know what your talking about too – I remember hearing a sermon on a Jeebus radio station where the married couple squawked for an hour about how they NEVER EVER EVER would pleasure themselves with anything but their spouse – even though they were often separated for weeks at a time. They believed everyone should do the same…very very creepy. I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that these people want to control the entire world’s sex life down to the most infinite detail. what the hell do they gain from this, anyway?

  • Thalfon

    I’m still sitting here trying to process the fact that he used “worldly” as an insult. That has got to be a first for me.

  • Random_acct

    So the dad should encourage his son to view porn? Really?

  • Random_acct

    FYI…one who is not supporting the destructive homosexual lifestyle does not make one a “homophobe”. But you knew that already.

    Or did you?

  • Random_acct

    I bet he doesn’t have “stacks” of porn (or beefcake mags).

    But perhaps you are projecting?

  • Random_acct

    You should ask his wife whether he treats her with respect amigo. You’d certainly get a response counter to your twisted assumption.

    But you knew that already.

  • Random_acct

    A “failure”‘ eh? As opposed to, for example, you?

  • Random_acct

    Ah yes…the ol’ “protesteth too much” assertion.

    So old.

    So idiotic.

  • Random_acct

    I guarantee he isn’t.

    See how that works?

  • Marie the Bookwyrm

    No, he should encourage him to masturbate.

  • Random_acct

    While looking at porn?

  • Obazervazi

    As opposed to everyone here. Even you, random troll, are less of a failure than him.

  • charlesjthornton

    What does he think about St Monica? Should her father have killer her or her husband?

    What of Elisabeth Leseur?

    But Mr Driscoll would also deny the Acts and Lydia of Thatira. To put it another way; the faithful of all faiths cherry pick from the teachings they follow to support their personal view of faith.

  • amycas

    Fyi, you’re a bigoted fuckwad, but you knew that already.

  • amycas

    You’re right, nobody has stack of porn anymore. It’s all downloaded in his pron file.

  • amycas

    I don’t understand how all godly men are supposed to out-work and out-earn all other men. Doesn’t this metric mean that there is only one true godly man–the one who is currently out-working and out-earning all the others?

  • baal

    The ‘homosexual’ lifestyle isn’t destructive. That’s a lie from the xtian right. So far as the gay community has above average suicide rate, a lot of that is due to bullying from xtians. i.e. if you all would stop bullying, you’d lose the only data point you have for ‘destructive.’

  • baal

    Aside from Hispanics, the rate of divorce at 10 years into marriage for women is twice as high if they marry at 18 or younger (~50%) vs older than 25 (~25%). This is totally unsurprising.

    Blue states have the earliest marriage age averages and highest divorce rates (the two are linked). I have to imagine idiotic ideas like the ones from Driscol have a role.

  • baal

    ‘Subhuman’ is a term that should not exist. However awful he is, he’s still a human being and entitled to certain rights because of it.

  • Lance Gritton

    As a teacher in Utah with most of my students growing up Mormon, I see this all the time. In the Mormon church, sex outside of marriage is the second worse sin you can engage in (murder is the first). I have seen many 18 year old girls get married just to have sex, and yes most of those marriages end in annulments. So stupid. I even had a 16 year old (great student) drop out to get married to have what she and her mother called “adult relations” with her boyfriend.

  • GCT

    We can also find women who think that Xianity isn’t misogynistic or who vote against reproductive choice. That some women support such things doesn’t mean that he’s actually treating her with respect. From what he’s saying, it appears that he’s treating her as property.

    BTW, look up Stockholm Syndrome.

  • GCT

    Blue states? You mean red states surely.

  • Spuddie

    Actually it does. Nice try.

  • Spuddie

    But one can generally weasel out of any sex scandal provided it doesn’t involve a either dead animal or a child.

  • Billy Bob

    “Remember that this is the man who considers masturbation a form of homosexuality!”

    Wouldn’t this mean that every one who ever existed is gay?

  • Billy Bob

    The most disgusting part of that is they treat gay people like shit causing them to have above average rates of things like drug abuse, mental illness, and suicide. They then turn around and use that to condemn them.

  • Billy Bob

    Hell, even that might be pretty rare. There are tons of free porn sites one can go to.

  • Anna

    Makes you wonder what kind of fantasies Driscoll is having when he masturbates!

  • Crazy Russian

    A guilty dog barks the loudest, as they say…

  • Crazy Russian

    The RCC begs to differ on the latter.

  • Spuddie

    Too much whimsy involved. Driscoll strikes me as a guy who definitely lacks whimsy.

    His redneck fanbase would make it too dangerous anyway.

    If CSI has taught me anything, its that furries and rednecks do not mix. He could too easily be mistaken for a stray critter, shot by accident by his fans and eaten.

  • Spuddie

    Not if he can help it. Porn gives people too many ridiculous notions. Much like taking sexual education advice from people who advocate abstinence.

    But I would suggest that you keep quiet during the act with any sexual partner. I am sure listening to you would be a major turn off.

  • Spuddie

    They would like to think that. But the public hasn’t let them off the hook.

  • Matt D

    There’s nothing wrong with my lifestyle, there’s only something wrong with how you perceive it.

  • AntiTroll

    Well, on matters of idiocy, we can defer to your expertise.

  • AntiTroll

    I guarantee he is.
    See how this works?

  • Free

    What is troubling to me is that the actual idea of people having restraints and boundaries on sex is now such a staggering thought to the culture. As if sex is the be all. There is more to life that a quick release of sexual tension and pleasure. Really! Love exists in the boundaries of sex but it also exists outside of it as well. Sex can not take the place of love. Setting up boundaries for yourself and parents for your children while under your guardianship is an act of love. Stop having such low expectations of yourself and those around you to think that self-control is impossible or not necessary to navigate the sexual realm. Sex is a gift and should not be treated with such disdain as being casual, unrestrained, and without consequence. Driscoll, after reading carefully, is advocating a high moral standard for sex for it’s greatest benefits as it should be. We can too easily settle. We forget that it playing games with intimacy at the core of a persons being and should not be treated cavalier. People are used, abused and treated as objects selfishly as long as I get mine. What a low view and respect for sex. I would take another honest and open look at some of the implications of Driscoll’s observations. You may not agree because of his Christian world view, but again, those boundaries if honored cure, STDs, unwanted pregnancies, emotional pain in intimacy, and a host of other society ailments. The problem is that it is too darn hard so we just say whatever. Choices have to be made and apply some discipline in our lives in the area of sex is long over. Some thoughts to consider.

  • Anna

    Who is advocating no restraints or boundaries on sex? The problem with fundamentalists is that they advocate the exact opposite. For them, the only “moral” sex takes place within impossibly narrow parameters.
    They condemn all unmarried people for engaging with their sexuality. It does not matter if they are consenting adults. Heck, if doesn’t even matter if they are monogamous heterosexuals. No, even that’s not good enough for fundamentalists. They insist on calling all sex outside of marriage (even all orgasms outside of marriage!) “sinful.”
    It’s their belief that sexuality is to be so restricted that’s poisonous. Sex is normal and healthy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with consenting adults having sex with each other. Yet evangelical and fundamentalist churches shame and guilt their adherents into believing that it is wrong for them to fantasize and to masturbate, and to have sex outside of marriage.
    Their insistence that the only “moral” sexual fulfillment can take place within heterosexual marriage excludes almost the entire population, the vast majority of whom start experiencing sexual arousal and desire at puberty. Yet fundamentalists insist on telling people that they must ignore their sexual desires until marriage. It’s no wonder that so many of them rush into premature marriages in their late teens or early twenties. Such extreme self-denial is impossible for most to maintain for long.

  • Random_acct

    Yes…that was what I was getting at. Glad to see that you caught on so quickly. Impressive.

  • Random_acct


  • Random_acct

    I don’t know what your “lifestyle” is, so you would have to describe it to me.

  • Random_acct

    Uh…I didn’t give any “advice”. I was trying to understand the OP’s position on the issue.

  • JKPS

    Sometimes I really worry that Mark Driscoll cries himself to sleep at night, because nobody could believe these things and actually be happy.

  • Aspieguy

    For years I was bullied into accepting the concept of “biblical marriage”. Bullying people is what christians call ” exhorting”. Bible marriage firmly places women and children in permanent second-class status. However, it’s simply terrible for men. I was supposed to be a “priest” for my family, lead family “devotions”, love my wife like Jesus loves his church, be an “authentic” man like Jesus, and have friends that help you discover all your faults and imperfections. Yes, the christian life is just constant fun and freedom.

    Let Dricoll and his ilk spew their nonsense. The more they talk, the more people will flee the church.

  • Iduehe Udom

    Every father and mother should not let anything to be the excuse of not being able to train their children to great pillars of morals…. Source: University of Nigeria…