NTSC: Greta Christina.

Greta Christina is up talking about atheism and sex.  I don’t envy her having to follow Matt Dillahunty after that talk, but if anybody could do it and keep pace, it’s Greta (and maybe Sam Singleton).

“Some religions ban sex.  Not surprisingly, those religions don’t last too long.”  Epic win.  Pro tip: if you want your religion to survive, don’t make procreation a sin.

When I speak, I make bullet points to keep me on track, but I speak mostly off the cuff.  I find that when I have every word written down and either memorize them or read them that it makes me wooden and boring.  Virtually every other speaker I know feels the same way.  And when I see other speakers read from a paper, they always bore the piss out of me….except for Greta.  Greta rocks it and it always amazes me.

Greta says she has stopped referring to him as “Jesus” and has started referring to him as “the Jesus character in the Christian myth”.  Again, win.

Gah, I have to pee like crazy, but I don’t even want to miss two minutes of Greta’s talk…

Contrary to the arbitrary lines drawn by religion, where the rules are more about obedience to god than the results of those rules, atheists can create a sexual environment where nobody gets hurt and everybody’s desires are equal. Take homosexuality.  Instead of asking “Does homosexuality make baby Jesus cry?” we can ask “Does this make people happy or unhappy?” “When it comes to sex, we need to be willing to listen to the people who are having the type of sex we’re considering.”  Looking at you, religious people who want to control the sex lives of others.

“We need to not make judgments about sex based purely upon what grosses us out” and “no matter what you are doing sexually, there’s someone on earth who thinks it’s gross.”

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Rebecca Hensler

    Every single post and blog entry out of that conference makes me wish I was there.

  • Emmet

    What religions ban sex?

    • Glodson

      I couldn’t find one that outright ban sex. I know the Abrahamic religions do attached a veneer of guilt to sex, in particular premarital sex. Which has an effect on sexuality in general. But that’s not a ban.

      I’m sure there’s a religion like that. But without knowing what Greta is citing, I cannot find a confirmation of this. I doubt strongly it was anything historically significant. It is one thing to ban pork, beef, or booze. We do have a drive to eat, but there’s plenty of other food out there to satisfy that need. And booze doesn’t have that driving natural compulsion. In a culture with those religions, it is easier to accept these as the people aren’t aware they are missing out on some good eats and drinks.

      However, people innately know about sex at a certain age. Tougher sell. And a religion that doesn’t last long might not even make it as a footnote in history.

      Sorry, I tried to find a good answer, but without knowing exactly what she was talking about, I can’t find it. Maybe others will have better luck.

    • Mark

      The Shakers were celibate. Some of the male members of the Heaven’s Gate group had themselves castrated, but I don’t think it was considered mandatory.

      • Kodie

        Isn’t this one of those weirdo things that separates Catholics from the rest? It’s not a ban on (marital) sex but voluntarily subjecting oneself to celibacy is one of those things they do. Sex is earthly and abstinence is a voluntary sacrifice made to god in order to enter priesthood or nunhood. I don’t know what nunhood is called.

        I don’t know about a lot of religions, but I think that voluntary abstinence is not unheard of in other non-Western religions.

        Contrasted with most of the rest of Christianity, where I think it is not that sex is banned, but that being married (and thus having all the sex) is the holiest, and if it’s possible to be even holier-than-holiest, have a lot of children and take a lot of pride in the quantity of offspring you create. It is more mandatory that one enter into a marriage than choose to abstain for any reason, especially if one wants to be a pastor. Mormons even marry dead people so they get the choice seats in heaven.

        “no matter what you are doing sexually, there’s someone on earth who thinks it’s gross.”

        That could be applied aptly to any example in my post from strict abstinence, to breeding like rabbits in a complementarian marriage, to marrying dead people. Gross.

    • Brad1990

      None I know of ban it outright but many have positions or sub-sects or related cults within them which demand abstinence. Look at Catholicism for example.

  • BradC

    Regarding Greta’s last point about “making Jesus cry” vs “making people happy or unhappy”, your fellow blogger Libby Anne had a very on-point post in the last year that talked about that difference, how religious people divide sexual acts into “what god forbids” vs “what god allows”, and secular, progressive people divide sexual acts into consensual vs non-consensual:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/08/a-tale-of-two-boxes-contrastin-sexual-ethics.html

    Definitely brings some clarity where there is so easy for those groups to talk past each other.

    • Baal

      Thanks for bringing Libby’s post to light. I don’t always make it over there.

      ““making Jesus cry” vs “making people happy or unhappy””
      This is what I love most about Greta Christina. She’s injecting easy to use awesome phrases like this one into the culture. She’s a one women reset switch on the xtian’s push on the overton window.


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