June 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm 68 comments

Wow, my titles are getting more depressing though I think my content is more hopeful. This post should not be an exception – I hope.

The more I’ve been thinking about dealing with the arrogance versus humility issue, the more it has pried open an issue which, ironically for me, has become somewhat tautological. Suppression.

I’m pretty sure that every person deals with this on a daily basis, but I’m also pretty sure that conservative Christians are masters of exacerbating it. In fact, I was heavily on my way to becoming a guru when it came to suppressing everything I felt and wanted. And here is how I have been setting myself free.

For the most part I’ve identified two major areas of suppression in my own life: physical and emotional. Intellectually I suppressed some things – like how I considered evolution to be beautiful and immediately thought it was the devil speaking to me. But for the most part, I did not feel like the intellectual side of my mind was hindered too much by the Christianity with which I grew up. And if my intellect was suppressed, I feel that I have sufficiently dealt with that. Many of you may notice the change in tone of my posts – that I used to be much more analytical. So that leaves me with physical and emotional suppression.

Physical suppression revealed itself most strongly in sexuality. I remember distinctly being terrified of my first sexual thoughts. In my early arrogant Christian days – at around the age of 9 – I remember looking up to the teenagers around me in disgust. Who are these apes, gallivanting about all stupid and shit? I won’t be like them. I’m a good Christian. I’ll never look at porn. I’ll never commit adultery. I will never have sex before marriage. I had not yet learned that only the arrogant say “I would never.”

Then puberty hit. Oh gosh was it steamy for me. Forgive the openness if it offends, but I would regularly have two wetdreams in one night and wake up still feeling frustrated. Touching myself was out of the question. Thinking about girls – while at first quite fun – eventually lead to so much guilt and repentance that I was ready to do just about anything short of castrating myself in order to eliminate the desire for sex. To give you an idea of how hard I worked at this, I went for a couple years during my teenage years where by employing certain ‘techniques’ I had been able to avoid sexual thoughts almost completely.

Elimination of desire: that was the goal. Now that I think back, the theology was that desires that went against God’s will were sin. However, I was introspective beyond most of my contemporaries during those middle school years and soon began to notice that I did not have a single thought that was not against God’s will. Either I was wanting something that I was not supposed to have, or getting angry at not getting something I thought God wanted me to have, or trying to throw thoughts out of my mind that I thought might be bad, or trying to suppress every ounce of curiosity that existed in my bones unless it was about getting closer to God. Heck, the only desire I constantly stroked was my desire to be like God and every ounce of pride I had in that desire. As such, I would go from feeling on top of the world to exhaustion rather regularly – especially as I would feel (and subsequently ignore) my sexual desires wax and wane with the passing tide of women.

I can see why some men want to be monks. In some ways that was the direction I was headed. But I could not be a monk and at the same time witness to people: I had to get out there. I could not waste away pursuing a growth in my relationship with God so – selfishly. So, like a fallen monk I tortured myself with human interaction that would never satisfy my desire to only need Jesus.

I was a fucked up mess. I rarely smiled, I rarely laughed, and I could only find fault in those around me. I only became happy whenever I felt like God was speaking to me or when others gave backhanded or open-ended compliments about my relationship with the Lord. Obviously if they praised me too much I would flip and become a self-deprecating mess, but I do remember those few occassions when the comments of others gave me just what I needed. That was so rare.

But the point of this is that I was suppressing dozens – if not hundreds – of little desires. For example, I wanted to play a computer game called One Must Fall, but maybe Jesus would not approve? “Dear Jesus, if I should not play One Must Fall show me by having me lose this next game.” Damn (in Christianese), I lost. Does Jesus not approve… if Jesus doesn’t approve why is this not bothering anyone else? I should follow Jesus, not others. I would stop playing. Moving ahead several years… I want a sports car, but sports cars are vain. Jesus does not want us to be vain and I probably only want one so that I can get attention from the ladies. Getting attention from the ladies is wrong unless Jesus leads them to you… all other attention is fake and is lustful. I  am supposed to avoid lust, so all those desires must be wrong! But why the fuck did Jesus give me hormones that rage at age 13 and 14 if I am not supposed to do anything about them until I am married?

Ranting aside, I definitely took this suppression to an extreme. People have always told me I am intense, and it is true. In just about anything I try I either put all my weight into it or none. So when it came to suppressing my desires I feel like I put quite a damn bit of weight into it. I was not going to give up. In a way, I felt like an oil well spewing out under pressure and I was trying desperately to put a cap on it. For some reason it never occurred to me to funnel my passions out slowly. In my black and white mind, I was either going to stop the well from leaking completely or let it explode all over the ocean of my life – killing everything in its vicinity.

And the latter is what happened, and it ended up destroying so many friendships and relationships and left me feeling alone by my late teens. All my energy was put into setting God’s desires before my own and in the process I became an emotional raisin. And even then, God gave me nothing. I remember on many occasions going into my room alone – without anyone knowing – and just sitting and waiting for God’s presence. I would confess my sins, read my Bible, and just seek Him with every ounce in my being. Nothing. I remember the dry tears, crying desperately for God to listen – to do anything – to show me His presence. So I not only suppressed my every desire, but like a crack addict I found myself scraping the cigarette trays of spiritual gas stations looking for any signs of a smoldering fag to satisfy my endless craving for even the faintest of a smoke signal from God.

So anyway, I know now that I was digging my own emotional grave and since then it has been a slow and choppy – but steady – process of learning to listen to myself.

Here’s how I’m doing it.

First, I’m learning to dig through all the layers I had built on top of all my desires to keep myself from paying attention to them. This mostly involves an opposite pattern of thinking than I normally had been employing. For quite a bit of my life, most of my thought life has been a deep, digging process to resolve all the contradictions I saw between what I thought I should be and what I knew I was in order to eliminate desires that I found to be sinful. My new thought process is about finding those desires I suppressed and learning how to satisfy them in healthy ways. And most of this involves facing my deepest fears and desires, rather than ignoring them. This normally involves me spending a lot of time alone with myself, just thinking and talking to myself or writing out exactly what I want to think or what I actually do feel.

Coming from a Christian background this can be terrifying. For example, there have been points where I wanted to kill my dad. I once woke up early in the morning recently just fuming, incapable of relaxing my body into anything other than the deepest of hate. I knew I needed to face that… not act on it, but face it. That is how I really felt. That was what I, Josh, really felt. It was not some other foreign part of me that I was to suppress by focusing on something Jesuslike. No, it was what I really felt.

And that brings me to the second thing I’m learning to do: be honest with myself. That can be hard, especially when you feel like you have two completely conflicting desires at the same time – most of what I’ve felt my entire life. Last year whenever I was with a girl I inevitably reached a point where I was like “Fuck, I do not know what I want.” Now that I look back, what I was really saying was that I wanted two different things. I wanted true love – whatever that is – and I wanted to have tons of sex with lots of girls. I inevitably felt guilty about the latter and also always failed at the former. But recognizing this – and being able to say that both desires are my desires – is key. Then it is simply a matter of figuring out why I want both, facing the fact that both desires probably mix as well as oil and water and then being honest with myself about the situation and making up my mind.

See, for me at least, Christianity emphasized an internal war and exacerbated it. In fact, I remember preachers who almost taught that if you did not feel this internal conflict something was wrong! It is true that everyone faces desires for things they cannot have. This lust can be crippling and can make us act irrationally. It should be avoided at all costs. But that war should not be encouraged by building up a wall against one side of yourself (“I buffet my body to make it my slave”), it should be dispelled by internal diplomacy (“Hey Josh, why not learn how to attract women and just have fun and be safe and then some day settle down with one them? … or two of them?”).

Ultimately all of this has helped me realize that the most healthy person is the person who has learned to satisfy his or her own needs. A healthy person seeks out what he or she wants and pursues it with confident passion and gets satisfied. A healthy person learns to listen to his own desires – every one of them – and pays attention to them. A healthy person is willing to say “no, I need time to myself” or “self, you need time with others”. Growing up, in many ways, is like becoming your own parent. It is learning to listen to your own cries and taking healthy action to satisfy them.

I feel slightly silly at having only recently discovered this, but given my past I guess it’s what I should expect and I feel like I’m doing pretty well.

Once again, I hope this helps someone else who might be in a similar position. Feel free to unload. I keep doing it and it always makes me feel a lot better.

– Josh

Entry filed under: Josh.

Arrogance Coping mechanisms

68 Comments Add your own

  • 1. thin ice  |  June 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Great insights, Josh. You invited us to unload, so here goes. As I read through this, I began to realize how big this sexual suppression was in my own life as a christian. Not having my first “climax” till I was 13 or so and helping finish our house construction, using an electric sander. Pushing against it with my waist, and pop! there it came: the most wonderful feeling. Because I was a good christian kid, I had no idea what had happened. I eventually figured it out, but never did stop feeling deeply guilty whenever it happened, and praying and begging for god’s forgiveness for days afterwards.

    Then, staying a virgin till I was married was a really big deal. I successfully accomplished that, but spent the next 30 years wondering what it would be like to have sex with a different woman. I think it actually has affected my marriage in a negative way, and might be a major cause of some difficulties we are going through after 33 years of marriage.

    A buddy of mine in back in Bible College was taken to the hospital one night as the result of him trying to cut off his penis, because he just could not conquer his habit of masturbation. He was simply following Jesus’ injunction to cut off anything that made you to stumble. That’s another thing I felt guilty about for the last 3 or 4 decades.

    Christianity has prevented me from having a healthy, normal attitude towards something that is a regular biological function, and it makes me mad! I’ve shed the christianity, thankfully, but this negative legacy may linger for a long time . . .

  • 2. Notabarbie  |  June 26, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Great post! Very thought provoking. You said, “Christianity has prevented me from having a healthy, normal attitude towards something that is a regular biological function, and it makes me mad!” I know just what you mean. Boys aren’t the only ones that enjoy “solo sex” and I think of all the energy I wasted pleading for God to forgive me for giving myself pleasure and for the fantasies that went along with that and all I was doing was something completely natural. I’m a bit mad about that too. I was a Christian, but not, to my dismay, a virgin when I married and I always felt less because of it. I was surprised to discover that being a virgin when one married was not the be all end all Christians portray it to be. Most of my Christian girlfriends confessed that their honeymoons were not amazing in fact quite the opposite, their sex lives were boring and there was always that lingering thought of what another man would be like. I slowly learned that being a virgin when one married, didn’t really pay off. After a while, I was kind of glad that I had had a little experience before I got married, but struggled with that idea, because God had said it was a sin to have sex outside of marriage. Now that I am no longer a Christian, the point is so moot. I have some friends that were Christians and had only been with each other since the age of around 14. One of the first things they did after their de-conversion was to decide to have an open marriage and they are happy as clams. It’s too bad you couldn’t work out something like that with your mate because sexual variety can be very fun. I’m single now and so glad that the issue of sexual purity is not part of my dating experience. Not that I’m irresponsible, but the fear of hell when it comes to deciding on intimacy is not part of my decision making process and it is awesome. I think we will all remain a bit scarred from being indoctrinated into Christianity, but we are so much better off without it. Amen? :o)

  • 3. Joshua  |  June 26, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Thanks thin ice.

    If it is any consolation, I had not actually ‘climaxed’ until I was 19. True story. Pretty sad, really. While all my friends were relieving the tension I was nearly constantly miserable. Oh well, it is all in the past.

    Speaking of cutting off offensive organs… I do remember the consistent discussion with my friends over how to stop masturbating (mostly in college). Everyone had their own techniques or just didn’t care. Looking back, it is amazing how we all convinced ourselves to unnaturally deal with what we kept saying was something unnatural. Nobody ever actually cut off anything that I knew of, but there was talk about how maybe it would not be a bad idea. The quote from Jesus definitely drove me crazy.

    As far as your predicament in your marriage goes… best of luck. Wish I could help. Does the curiosity still bother you pretty bad?

  • 4. Dan +†+  |  June 27, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I would love to comment here but since you are scared of the truth and do not allow my comments through anymore I feel it to be a waste of my efforts. “Afraid”, is not the position you should take towards truth. Sad really.

  • 5. Dan +†+  |  June 27, 2010 at 12:03 am

    Hmm, it went through. All my comments are placed into “moderated” throughout this blog now so no one can view my comments anymore. Has that changed now?

  • 6. Blue  |  June 27, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Dan do you need attention again? Not getting enough from the missus at home?

  • 7. CheezChoc  |  June 27, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    “You are afraid of the truth” is one of many fallacies in argumentation.

  • 8. Joshua  |  June 27, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Yeah, I’m petrified. That’s why I use Bible references to shut down arrogant asshole Christians.

    All I’ve got to say is that I think there is a serious amount of projection going on here because Dan is completely unwilling to actually deal with the content of anything that any of us say. He cannot admit he is wrong on anything and when he comes close, I think his pride keeps him from admitting that any of us could actually be right about anything.

    Well, screw you, Dan.

  • 9. Eve's Apple  |  June 27, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Wow, I can really relate to that post. I suppressed so much during my years as a Christian (especially sexual), because I too believed that this was what God wanted. Actually it was more like “this was what others wanted.” It seemed like the more I got involved in Christian circles (as opposed to simply going to Mass on Sunday like the rest of my family), the more pressure there was to suppress. Sex, especially, was not talked about. Christian women do not get horny, do not have any feelings between the legs. They do not struggle with chastity because that would imply that they do have sexual urges. The ideal single Christian female is one who has been psychologically spayed. As for what goes on after the marriage ceremony, I haven’t a clue. All I ever heard was that it wasn’t very pleasant but something one had to put up with for the sake of the man.

    Now that I am older I am only now beginning to realize the damage that has been done and I am taking baby steps towards healing. I recently joined the community theater even though I have no background in acting. As the director likes to say, theater is art you do with your body. So I am hoping this experience will help me become more comfortable with my body and with sexuality in general, even if I choose to remain celibate.

  • 10. Lyra's Alias  |  June 27, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    “The ideal single Christian female is one who has been psychologically spayed.”

    Wow, yes. You have concisely stated a phenomenon I have been aware of but have not articulated so well.

  • 11. CheezChoc  |  June 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    When people on this board pour their hearts out about experiences, trauma, struggle, confusion, etc., the wrong thing to do is come in and immediately accuse them of not wanting to hear the truth from you about their situations. That is an attack.

  • 12. Quester  |  June 27, 2010 at 5:58 pm


    Of course it’s an attack. Dan is a troll, and a very successful one. The occasional mindless post, and we all dance to his tune.

  • 13. Sarah  |  June 27, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I can relate to being pyschologically spayed 🙂 I shut down my sexual imagination so well I still can’t fantasize. (my fear now is that it may lead to thinking about someone other than my husband)

    But my body is now aware. If I don’t climax regularly, I become eXtremely irritable. The problem is, I feel so selfish asking for it

  • 14. Joshua  |  June 28, 2010 at 12:54 am

    Sarah, I can relate. It wasn’t until recently that I was able to bring back some ability to fantasize. It was actually really nice.

    And maybe you could talk to your husband about it… I imagine if he were dead honest he has fantasized about other women so if your mind goes there too… oh well! You’re only human.

    For some reason this reminds me of the Family Guy bedroom scenes.

  • 15. Dan +†+  |  June 28, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I find it ironic the “suppression” of my comments at this blog

  • 16. Joshua  |  June 28, 2010 at 5:24 pm

  • 17. Dan +†+  |  June 28, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Harm, or cause harm?


    I find it also hilarious when I slip in and call you out you, to save face, keep the moderation off this post. All the rest say, and I quote:

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    So whatever, no I don’t feel persecuted, especially by the likes of this crowd, but I am having a good laugh at your expense. Forgive me.

  • 18. Eve's Apple  |  June 28, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Dan *T*–where I come from there is a name for people who have a good laugh at others’ expense, and it is not a complimentary one. It is also not considered very Christ-like. Have you stopped to think that in having your little fun that you may be actually driving people AWAY from Christianity? Of course not. Because obviously it is far more important to you to have your little laugh at our expense than to honestly engage in meaningful dialogue with us. I always thought–maybe I am wrong–that a Christian was supposed to reflect Christ in his or her daily behavior and to not put stumbling blocks in others’ way. Your laughing at us is a BIG BIG stumbling block. If Christianity is true, and those of us who reject it are going to hell, then people like you share part of the responsibility for us being damned and will also pay part of the penalty. At least that is what I was taught. But obviously it is not true. When it comes to making fun of others Christians are no different from the secular world, despite all their high and noble talk. Well, enough said. You have your Bible and can read it as well as us. Maybe when you talk to your Lord in prayer you might ask Him what he thinks of you having a little laugh at others’ expense.

    Joshua–the flip side of being “psychologically spayed” is that we Christian women were also taught that if the man gets aroused, it is our fault. Eve the temptress, don’t you know. We were not taught anything whatsoever about male sexual psychology or physiology other than the basic facts of life. So we not only had no desires of our own, we had to control the man’s desire as well. I was brought up with a great fear of male sexuality–having guys try to force themselves on me didn’t help–and even now have a hard time with physical contact of any kind. I look at these kids (18 to 20 year olds) in the theater and I envy how physically affectionate they are with each other, they have no inhibitions about hugging, cuddling, etc. I am not like that. I was taught to keep all that at arm’s-length because–I did not want to be responsible for arousing someone else and leading them on. So sad. I am working very hard to overcome this negative conditioning, but it is so hard, so very hard. Of course, people like Dan *T* probably think this is hilarious. All I can say is that what goes around comes around and someday he may be in a place of pain only to be mocked.

  • 19. Joshua  |  June 28, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Hmm, if someone has added you to the moderation list, they have more wisdom than I do.

    I love the Christian attitudes Dan portrays. I’m tempted to avoid deleting his future comments because they show just how devoid of the Holy Spirit – and childish – his attitude really is.

  • 20. Layne Ransom  |  June 28, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    I have typed about three different responses to Dan. I have liked none of them. Instead, I’m just going to post this comic with talking dinosaurs so we can laugh at it, because, unlike intelligent/honest/vulnerable comments in this discussion, this is worth laughing at.

    (Thanks again to whomever it was that posted one of these on here and introduced me to them; they’ve provided a lot of laughs for me and people I know.)

  • 21. Lyra's Alias  |  June 28, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    the above is me. well, there goes anonymity.

  • 22. Joshua  |  June 28, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Here lies Dan: a miracle. Killed every day in the forums, yet he lives by the long-suffering, patience, and kindness of the atheist friends he keeps trying to destroy with his bullshit.

  • 23. DSimon  |  June 29, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Lyra, I think that was me. But, no need to thank me; spreading the joy of Dinosaur Comics is its own reward. 🙂

    We should start a Church of Utahraptor.

  • 24. DSimon  |  June 29, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Also, this one complements the one above:

  • 25. Sarah  |  June 29, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Josh, what I meant before about about being afraid to let my mind wander wasn’t because I want to fantasize about other men, but because of the slippery slope arguement. What I want most of all is a great relationship with sizzling sex. What I don’t want is to hurt either of us and infidelity is a sure-fire way to cause hurt. Because of the slippery slope idea, I need to stop way before I get anywhere near anything that may lead to something harmful.
    Before I was married this meant I squelched any thought of what it might be like to kiss anyone. This is because it might lead to wanting to kiss them. Which might lead to wanting to do other things. Which would lead to doing other things. And that would lead to 1) losing my Christian witness 2) robbing my future husband 3) a ruined life in general.
    Now that I am married, I still have a hard time thinking about even kissing. To have sex I shut my mind down. We have come a long ways since we were first married and were too shy to look at each other. However, I am still afraid that if I dabble in something unknown I’ll become an immoral person.
    Suppression and the slippery slope are both fear based and irrational.

    Eve’s Apple- I appreciate how well you put things into words- so true what you say.
    I remember each young people’s gathering there would be the gender divided talks. Us girls would get the modesty talk every time. The guys would get direction on how to be heads of the household. The message was truly that us gals were responsible for our ‘brother’s’ sexual purity. Which meant more absense of sexuality than healthy sexuality.
    I have also been pinned down by guy friends. I still spook sometimes if touched the wrong way. What helped me most was gentle touching from the man I trust which gradually overwrites the other memories.

  • 26. Joshua  |  June 29, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    “What I want most of all is a great relationship with sizzling sex.’

    As do all.

  • 27. Dan +†+  |  June 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Eve’s Apple,

    >> It is also not considered very Christ-like.

    Maybe so, but Christ did have some harsh words for some people. Matthew 23 is filled with harsh words to the Pharisees. When Jesus refers to Pharisees as ”hypocrites“ (Matthew 23:13) and a ”brood of vipers“ (Matthew 23:33), he is berating fellow Jews. Look at Luke 14:34,35 he is calling people not even worthy of a dunghill . The phrase in Greek is ‘Kopria”, which would more accurately be translated “poop-hole”. Also, speaking of laughs, Jesus used all forms of humor like exaggeration, satire, sarcasm, and irony.

    >> Have you stopped to think that in having your little fun that you may be actually driving people AWAY from Christianity?

    Oh come on now!!! Do you really think I have the power to take God’s people away from God? Really? John 10:28-30? You give me way too much credit. No, the lost were lost long before I came along and no one is lost “by” someone else. That is between them and God. Satan himself doesn’t wield that kind of power. Thanks for that vote of confidence, but it was a wasted vote indeed.

    >>Because obviously it is far more important to you to have your little laugh at our expense than to honestly engage in meaningful dialogue with us.

    Have you read anything else I have said? If all these post of mine are lost in the moderation fog then I don’t doubt it for a minute but I have been pleading, and discussing, things for many years here at this blog.

    >>Of course, people like Dan *T* probably think this is hilarious.

    Where did that come from? What kind of person do you think I am? Playful banter is one thing, real pain is a whole different animal. There is plenty of tragedy with my comedy though so you don’t have to wish more on me. :7)

    Ray, taken from the Bible, coined the phrase “Law to the proud and grace to the humble” Many here are anything but humble and need a little harsher treatment. They are too proud to admit how wrong they are in their thoughts and actions. So forgive me for being a little rough and bruising while trying to remove these kids from that proverbial fire, but soon that fire will not be proverbial any longer and the fight will be real, and too late. Better to fight now.

    Like the late great C.H. Spurgeon said “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”

  • 28. Dan +†+  |  June 29, 2010 at 3:56 pm


    >>As do all.

    Is that ALL you can say on that Sarah’s comment? Really? Try being less of a dude and have a heart to hear what she is saying, instead of acting like Butthead saying “ah huh huh huh, she said sex”

    What a dork.

  • 29. Joshua  |  June 29, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    You know what, you’re right Dan. What I meant to say was that I connected with her… I understood a portion of what she was saying at least to some extent. I thought about trying to give advice and then realized that would be super presumptuous and I didn’t have any because, heck, I’m only 25. What do I know? So I’m sure I came across wrong. My apologies Sarah. I didn’t mean to come across that way, I just didn’t know what to say and shouldn’t have said anything.

  • 30. Sarah  |  June 29, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    🙂 I’m not offended by your comment, Josh. It is true.

    Dan, I’m not sure whether you were trying to defend me or looking for an excuse to attack Josh. Your comments would be more helpful if you left the name-calling out.

  • 31. DSimon  |  June 29, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Would a moderator please just ban Dan? His comments aren’t contributing anything to the topic; they aren’t even attempting to contribute to the topic; heck, they aren’t even civil. The majority of what he says now consists of whining at great length and frequency about how he doesn’t get to say even more, intermixed with tut-tutting that we don’t appreciate what a terrible sacrifice he’s putting himself through to constantly derail our threads.

    It’s now bona-fide 100% pure Florida-squeezed trolling, and in my opinion it’s taking away from the purpose of the site.

  • 32. Eve's Apple  |  June 29, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    “So forgive me for being a little rough and bruising while trying to remove these kids from the proverbial fire”–don’t you think that you are giving yourself too much credit, Dan “T”? After all, you yourself said the lost were lost long before you came along, so apparently it does not matter what a person does or says because it has all been decided beforehand. It works both ways.

    Of course I am only an apostate Catholic (who spent some time in evangelical circles) so I really don’t know anything about the Bible; but it seems to me that Jesus reserved his harshest language for those who thought that they were doing God’s will. The religious people, the holier than thou people. The Pharisees. Jesus seems to have been most at home hanging around non-religious people and those pious society scorned,

    I do not know what your story is or what your pain is, but a good deal of us have experienced or are experiencing a great deal of pain in our lives, some of which has been caused by Christian teachings. Now maybe they are false teachings or distorted teachings, but none the less these destructive teachings are still allowed to continue to spread their pain in the name of the Lord. I do not know how many times someone has said, “I am sorry that you have been hurt by Christians.” Well, being sorry is not enough. When Christians have been repeatedly and explicitly told exactly how they are hurting others, and they persist in this behavior, then they are not really sorry. Nor are they sensitive to others. They come across as wanting to have it all their way and to hell–literally–with anyone else. If Christians are sincere, they will stop the offensive behavior once it has been pointed out. I do not see this happening.

    Your remarks are an example of this. They struck me as particularly insensitive and unnecessarily so. I am not sure what kind of point you are trying to prove. I know absolutely nothing about you other than what I see on my screen, and I know that I did not like what I saw. I did not like the character i saw revealed there. Maybe I am misjudging you. But you came across as gloating–and I do not like gloating. There have been far too many people in my life who have sought to gain a little fun at my expense. So yes, I am somewhat sensitive to that sort of thing when I see it occurring.

  • 33. Dan +†+  |  June 30, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Eve’s Apple,

    >>I do not know how many times someone has said, “I am sorry that you have been hurt by Christians.” Well, being sorry is not enough.

    Well they were wrong to say that. More accurate would be “I am sorry that you have been hurt by professing Christians.”

    Now, if you were warned of your impending doom in hell forever, and ever and ever that is not hurting but loving you, enough to warn you. So if coddle is love to you then yes, Christians will not “love” you in your subjective eyes. But truth is that its love. We are not here to make friends but to preach and warn others of their unrepentant sinning. (Ezekiel 3:20)

    I fully understand that truth always is confrontational, there is always someone on the wrong side of truth. This is a very serious and real subject for you and I. If I didn’t love you enough to tell you the truth, then I wouldn’t. Truth hurts, I understand.

    I hope for the day when we will all be in Heaven having a lemon-aid and laughing about these times, but without Christ you will not, please reconsider your choices (freely given to you) to ignore Jesus Christ in your life.

    Take care of yourself and please do me a huge favor and do not die before figuring all these things out. We still have a chance.

  • 34. Quester  |  June 30, 2010 at 1:44 am


    We don’t really have any moderation on this site, and trolls like Dan often take advantage of that. All we can do is resist responding to him. I know it’s difficult. He’s a very skilled and effective troll. He picks on people’s weaknesses, is quick to pounce on the newest members, builds up strawmen of not only atheist arguments, but theist arguments as well, calls people names, copies and pastes irrelevant quotes, throws in Bible quotations without referent, and makes statements of such obviously mind-numbing stupidity that even lurkers feel the need to choose a user name, log in and express disbelief. He’s really good at it. Click on his username and visit his site. I don’t believe Dan is actually a Christian. He’s just a really, really effective troll. He’s very skillfully combed the fringes of absurd Christian dogmas, interpreted them in an extremist fashion sure to piss off believers and non-believers, and presented them in a true conspiracy theorist style of sarcastic revelation.

    The claim that Oil is a ‘fossil fuel’ may not be the case at all. The postulation that oil is actually rotting dinosaurs (reason for lost transitional fossils? How convenient!) and plant matter, magically transforming over millions/billions of years into oil is erroneous.

    I’m calling Poe. No one can spout this much ignorance by accident.

    Remember, friends, the only way to beat a troll, is to starve it. Just don’t respond to Dan.

  • 35. Quester  |  June 30, 2010 at 2:02 am


    Suppression and the slippery slope are both fear based and irrational.

    I wish that made them easier to overcome.

    I’m a lazy person, and the path of “if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out” is so easy. Tear out the parts of me that make me human. Remove temptations, doubts, feelings, thoughts, sexuality- repress, suppress, surrender my mind in prayer and my body in service. Hold onto eternal certainties from an unchanging God, and lay myself on the altar as a sacrifice.

    I miss it, some days.

    Trying to nourish, maintain and express healthy emotions, healthy doubts, healthy sexuality, healthy relationships- this is decidedly difficult! I can’t just go to one extreme of an arbitrary spectrum anymore- I need to use empathy and reason to find balance in a changing milieu.

    Life is messy. Growth is painful. Love brings heartache and struggle with its joy and peace. Being a sacrifice on an altar is so much cleaner and lazier. I don’t have to worry about slippery slopes if I lay myself down at the bottom, and pretend there’s no mountain to climb.


  • 36. Joshua  |  June 30, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Quester, I’ve got to hand it to you. Well said. I agree whole-heartedly.

    I find days where I just want to “give up” and almost find myself saying “Whatever, I don’t care, I’ll just go back to living that comfortable portion of the Christian life where I didn’t really care but just went through the motions because they were habitual.” You know, reading the Bible each morning, avoiding looking at women so I don’t accidently get turned on, just agreeing with my religious parents because, etc. That would be a lot easier. Sure, there were portions of Christianity that were hell which probably had a major influence on my leaving (voices in the head, terror of Hebrews 6:1-6, altar calls that gave me panic attacks, ridiculously backwards moral decisions by my father, judgmental pricks, having to plug my ears to 95% of the world, resolving Biblical contradictions by saying there is no contradiction and hoping nobody rebels and disagrees, etc.) But there was – in the early days – the comfortable compliance.

    I never would have imagined that the wide and easy road was just what I grew up with. The harder road was leaving. The narrow road was going against the grain of everyone I knew and trying to adapt to the rest of the world. I don’t have it as bad as my friend Brandt though… he came from Brazil to America and from fundamentalist Christian to atheist. He got two culture shocks and I only got one.

  • 37. thin ice  |  July 1, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Agree with quester about starving trolls.

  • 38. Joshua  |  July 1, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I have a hard time ignoring trolls because I felt like that’s exactly what people did to me in church… except I wasn’t trolling. I was serious.

  • 39. DSimon  |  July 1, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Joshua, I think even entirely serious people (and I’m not convinced Dan is a Poe) can still reasonably be called “trolls”. I don’t think True Trollness is about sincerity so much as it is about failing to argue in good faith (to use an ironic term).

    Or in other words: The very worst trolls are the ones that have managed to *bait themselves*.

  • 40. CheezChoc  |  July 1, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    What is a Poe? All I can think of is Edgar Allan…..

  • 41. Quester  |  July 1, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I can’t remember Poe’s law off the top of my head, but it refers to the difficulty of distinguishing an attempt to humourously parody religious fundamentalists by exaggerating their beliefs to absurd extents, from a sincere believer. A Poe, thus, is a person who- for whatever reason- is providing a parody of a religious nut.

  • 42. Joshua  |  July 2, 2010 at 2:39 am

    So a troll is like a blog heretic, and since you can’t burn anyone at the stake, we just have flame wars?

    It’s all so clear now.

  • 43. Dan +†+  |  July 2, 2010 at 11:23 am


    >>So a troll is like a blog heretic, and since you can’t burn anyone at the stake, we just have flame wars?

    TROLL, noun, often used as an acerbic, puerile, exclamatory insult — a knee-jerk ad hominem often employed in a feeble effort to discredit another poster because one has been flummoxed, proven to be wrong, ignorant or incompetent.

    It’s clear now.

  • 44. BigHouse  |  July 2, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Well, at least Dan has provided proof that he’s using his own dictionary to define words in ways reasonable people don’t accept.

  • 45. Joshua  |  July 2, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Dan, thanks for providing an example with your definition.

  • 46. DSimon  |  July 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Joshua, nah, a troll isn’t a blog heretic, it’s just a blog jerkface.

  • 47. DSimon  |  July 2, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Or maybe “blog bully” is a better term.

  • 48. thin ice  |  July 2, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Just to regress: re-read Dan’s comment – which is soooo typical of christians trying to win us back – assuming that the reason we de-converted is that we were hurt by the church/christians in some way.

    When will they bloody understand that the majority (I think) of us weren’t hurt at all, in fact we wanted to grasp any life ring we could in order to stay IN the warm bosom of the church! It’s just that the thinking, logical, rational part of our being could no longer accept the unprovable fantasy that we previously regarded as truth.

  • 49. Richard  |  July 3, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Dan is a not a troll in the sense the he is probably sincere and seems to genuinely believe that mockery, scorn, condescention, and sarcasm are justified in the name of Truth. He can successfully rationalize almost anything because hey, you know, hes trying to save us from hell. But of course, people who really love you do not try to change your mind about something, even something important, by smug mockery. A) it is a singularly ineffective means of persuasion and b) it isnt love, and we all know it. Dan doesnt.

    I think Dan & others like him are actually useful, despite themselves. He is an excellent psychological case study in cultish narcissism & the hijacking of the conscience by dogma. I say: do not get sucked into sparring with ( in that respect, he is trollish, b/c it encourages him) but do learn from him. We used to be slaves too: now study it in realtime, but with a bit more distance. Dan manifests every type religious brainwashing there is: observe & innoculate yourself!

  • 50. 4riozs  |  July 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Just reading through the comments, I wish I could have followed the post early on. Talking about Suppression, had anyone tried living their relations based upon, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”? I did and now as an adult I think it was a horrible decision. I think it’s a good idea to be careful when it comes to sex, but in regards to relationships and psycholog- I think I should have been dating through highschool. My moto was to wait for “God” to send me my husband, what a mistake. I don’t even believe it’s a Biblical stance now that I look back. But when I did start dating at age 21 I was unprepared mentally. I was mature in many aspects, but I really didn’t know what to expect or how to kiss- which was embarrasing! I also didn’t realize how men really are physiologically compared to what I was taught at church. I finally realized that my kissing dating goodbye was cruel to my many guy friends in the past who actually liked me. It messed me up on many levels, I was never into fashion and didn’t know how to dress presentably bc I was trying not to attact men.

    Dating and sex is a big topic, I imagine for anyone who has left the church. After reading Josh’s post I realize how difficult it really is for young men in this area. For women it’s difficult also. As a child you figure out something feels good in certain places and than when you’re a bit older are told it’s a sin. I struggled with this alot growing up. My parents were never religious, but I was involved in a church that would preach from the pulpit against masturbation and sexual acts. I went as far as confessing my masturbation to another person and even telling someone I looked at naked guys online.

    Now I realize sexuality is only natural and having meaningful dating relationships is also only natural, and all of things help us become better adults and learn how to interact with the opposite sex.

  • 51. Joshua  |  July 3, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Yeah, I was a die-hard follower of I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Looking back, it had a major impact on my relationships in a negative fashion.

    I found that book – and advice from others – made my relationships with women just chaotic at best. I still to this day find myself occasionally avoiding certain women just because they like me and I wouldn’t want to ‘hurt them’. The irony is that I’ve hurt a lot of women in my attempt to do things ‘right’ – especially last year when I felt that I had to swing to the polar opposite of I Kissed Dating Goodbye because I no longer believed it.

    And that’s where I think I mess up so much these days. In typical fundamentalist fashion, books like I Kissed Dating Goodbye set up a sort of black and white perception in my mind. If it’s dating, it’s bad. However, the perfect relationship should be done like X, Y, Z. Oh, and if your relationship is not perfect it is because you probably did something wrong. Sometimes relationships just don’t work.

    Imagine you were never allowed to have any friends and when you turned 12 years old someone handed you a book on how to make friends. In that book, it outlines all the awful scenarios that can occur in friendships and explains how to have the perfect friendship.That would probably fuck you up pretty bad. All your friendships would be disjointed, choppy, clingy or needy, and would probably end up falling apart. That’s what I think I Kissed Dating Goodbye and similar books did to me.

    I’m not saying everything in I Kissed Dating Goodbye was bad, but it really, really messed with me. I was always so darn confused about ‘God’s Will’ when it came to women. If a woman was the one, but she didn’t think she was, was I supposed to continue pursuing her because I believed it was God’s will? Would God put me with a woman that I was not sexually attracted to?

    Oh gosh, that last one drop me batshit crazy. In fact, I think I need to write a post about this subject… in keeping with the theme of these last posts.

    P.S. Thanks Richard for your post… it was well said.

  • 52. Eve's Apple  |  July 10, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Josh–love that analogy of the book on how to make friends. That is exactly how abstinence education was presented to me back then.

    I remember being so frustrated by the leaders of the local abstinence movement. Each and every one of them had been out of the dating game for decades! None of them were in the trenches the way I was. I would go to them with issues and they would give me BS issues that did not satisfy. I would ask them, where are these guys who believe in waiting until marriage? Do you personally know any that are out there dating, and not studying to be a monk or a priest? No, they did not. And I would say, then how do you expect people like me to find a husband?

    You see, the ugly little topic of what used to be called “spinsterhood” never comes up when discussing waiting for marriage. But what happens when the years, then decades go by, and you are still “waiting”? Especially if you are a woman who wants to have children. The churches are full of women who have never married, who have patiently waited for the Lord to bring them husbands, and whose hair is graying and wombs are drying up. I am not talking about women who chose to remain single and celibate, I am talking about women who long for a husband and family but are never chosen, never noticed. Doesn’t the church have a responsibility towards them?

    “You have to be patient.” “Sometimes that’s just the way things are.” Always, always said by someone who is married.
    It’s like, “I’ve got mine, too bad for you.”

    In reading over the Bible, I am struck by the fact that while there were many, many women who bemoaned their childlessness and beseeched the Lord to send them a child (preferably a son), I can think of only one woman who lamented the fact that she was not married, and that was Jepthah’s daughter, who came out to greet him upon his return from battle not knowing he had vowed to sacrifiice the first living thing that greeted him. That is because there was no dating as such in Bible times. Marriages were generally arranged and most people married at 18 or younger. That is why Paul can write about “it is better to marry than to burn”. He said nothing at all about those who burn but cannot marry, because that was practically unknown in his world. Things have changed vastly since then. If the abstinence movement is going to work, it is going to have to recognize the fact that many people do not marry until later in life. Is it really fair to ask people to abstain from sex until they are 30 years old, for example?

    I don’t know. I have been rethinking some of this stuff. For me, I think that celibacy is probably the best option. My sex drive seems to be either low or nonexistent, whether by nature or training or both, I don’t know. Therefore I can’t judge others’ struggles with the flesh, because I don’t know anything about them.

  • 53. DSimon  |  July 10, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    “If the abstinence movement is going to work, it is going to have to recognize the fact that many people do not marry until later in life.”

    Do you think the abstinence movement ought to work?

  • 54. Eve's Apple  |  July 11, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Well, I believe in a modified abstinence movement. I am just old-fashioned enough to feel that teenagers are too young to be having sex. They need to be focused on other things, like completing their education and getting the skills they need. I know that seems to be a lot to ask, but I have seen far too many young people needlessly locking themselves into a life of poverty because they failed to practice sexual self-discipline.

    There are a lot of kids out there who cannot read, cannot write, cannot add, do not know anything about basic job skills, but by God, they do know how to fuck!!!! And we taxpayers are going to be the ones who support them and their children.

    It is so sad, so sad. Over and over I have had people come up to me and ask me about jobs where I work. All they have is a piece of paper that says they managed to stay in high school long enough to be awarded a diploma, and sometimes not even that. Well, that might get you in the door at Burger King or McDonalds, but it is not going to get you in the door where I work. Just because it might be one of the largest employers in the area does not mean that it is taking everyone and anyone. You have to be qualified. That means going to school and actually learning about hard things like science. If you have learning difficulties, being proactive about getting the help you need, rather than just making excuses.

    Maybe I am being harsh, but poverty is even harsher. I do not think it amusing to see pregnant unemployed teenagers whose children are fathered by other unemployed teenagers. I do not find poverty amusing at all. And I know I am going to catch hell for saying this, but the younger a person starts sexual activity (especially a female), the more likely they are to be trapped in the “Nickled and Dimed” lifestyle. No, I don’t have any studies to support this; but I do have eyes and ears and can see what is going on around me.

    I think that good abstinence education needs to focus on that–instead of waiting for marriage (which may never come)–we need to be saying, wait until you can support yourself before you start having sex. Get your foundation in life FIRST.

  • 55. Dave  |  July 11, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Well, at the risk of being flamed, here goes. I have recently left the church, though i still occasionally attend, and associate with the people i have known there; the church is a client of mine and i teach some of the members, so in some respect it will be in my life while I live where I do and work my jobs
    MY big ‘ah-ha’ moment was when we had a Pentecostal type conference, and the main speaker pushed me to the floor. Later I found he had done this with someone else, who just went along with it. He was dancing around and doing a lot of odd things. I saw him attempt to push another person over, but it didn’t look like she was going for it. Good for her.
    In addition to all this drama, being gay has really been the biggest hurdle. I’ve known since my early teen years which way the wind blew, but the Bible is pretty blunt about what happens to guys who like other guys. Well, that’s overstating it, guys who have sex with other guys. Like I did, a couple of hours before writing this.
    The whole upshot of it now is, Jesus hates me a lot less than His followers do. I have a healthy relationship and respect for God, especially when I am not being dissected under the microscope others try to train on me. I’m just sorry I didn’t break free sooner. Of course with my sex drive, I probably would have caught everything under the sun, so it’s probably a good thing, right? Synchronicity, serendipity, the universe, the Will of God, whatever.

    Oh, the Will Of God. I hated the will of God when I was a kid, especially being brought up in a group so fundamentalist they made evangelicals look like slutty whores by comparison. The will of God seemed to be this puzzle that i would always have to guess at and never really know if I had figured out until i was dead. Bullshit! I now believe that the real ‘will of God’ is to pursue what you love, as long as you don’t harm anyone else. We could debate what ‘harm’ entails, but I’ll let Dan field that one.

    ‘Christianity’ has some truly fucked up things in it. I choose to focus on Jesus, not the one promoted by those who are intent on micromanaging the minds and lives that comprise the social order, but as a revelation of Divine Love. I’m no longer worried about God’s wrath or retribution, I realise that I make my own choices and am responsible for myself and how I exist in this life.

    Dinosaur comics rule! Been reading those for years!

  • 56. BigHouse  |  July 11, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Dave, where do you get good information on this Jesus that you speak of?

  • 57. DSimon  |  July 11, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    No, I don’t have any studies to support this; but I do have eyes and ears and can see what is going on around me.

    Huge swarms of loud alarm bells start ringing when I hear people say things like this, about *anything*. If you want to say something about trends in society in general, you ought to have rigorous studies to back it up; otherwise you’re just taping a big sign to your back that says “Cognitive Bias Kick Me!”

    To respond to your major point, though: I agree that teenage pregnancy, and the more generally parents having children that they’re unable or unwilling to care for, is a huge social problem, possibly the hugest. However, I don’t think abstinence-only education, even a modified “Don’t have sex until you’re 21” abstinence-only education policy, is an effective way of doing this. This *is* backed up by studies; abstinence-only education doesn’t work well at all.

    I think a much more fruitful approach is to improve contraception education, and cultural acceptance of contraception, in addition to encouraging teenagers to wait before having sex.

  • 58. Dave  |  July 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    BigHouse, i don’t want to start a debate and take over this thread, I am NOT Dan. What would qualify information as ‘good’ tor you?

  • 59. DSimon  |  July 11, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Dave, I think what BigHouse means is, how do you know that Jesus actually continues to exist as some kind of immortal person and interact with you, as opposed to the somewhat more reasonable-sounding hypotheses that he was an ancient prophet who said some influential things and then died, or that he was a fictional character?

  • 60. Ubi Dubium  |  July 11, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Let’s be sure not to miss the big point in what Dave said, which is that he has made the big break away from believing everything the church tells him is true. Well done Dave! You are at the beginning of your journey. I don’t know where your beliefs will wind up, but you’ve walked away from dogma and fear and you are taking personal responsibility for your life instead of crediting all good and bad to supernatural forces. Bravo!

  • 61. BigHouse  |  July 11, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Leave it to Ubi to glean the silver lining out of Dave;s post. I’m ashamed I focused on the dark and stormy part 🙂

  • 62. Lyra's Alias  |  July 12, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    (23) DSimon: if one of the rituals is eating the flesh and drinking the blood of dinosaurs, we might end up as founders of the most disturbingly badass religious establishment EVER.

  • 63. DSimon  |  July 12, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    I like the idea of that ritual, because as a prerequisite it involves creating a real life Jurassic Park. 🙂

    It does create some issues for me as a vegetarian, though. Can I start a schism and create a Church of Dromiceiomomus where we just eat leaves and drink orange juice? (Also, do you normally have to ask permission before starting a schism, or can you just go ahead and do it?)

  • 64. Lyra's Alias  |  July 12, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    How about I issue an edict declaring you apostate and as a result you start the schism? That’s the gist of how they usually come about, right?

    (But then I will be a secret sympathizer ’cause uh…I like orange juice.)

  • 65. DSimon  |  July 13, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Sounds good to me. Er, I mean, a thousand curses upon you, worshipper of the false deities!

    (We have plenty of orange juice, no worries.)

  • 66. Sarah  |  October 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Dear Josh and everyone else who has contributed to this thread:

    I’m brand-new to this site but not to de-conversion; I’m about to celebrate my fourth year of de-conversion. However, it is just now that I am finally learning that I am AN OKAY PERSON despite my de-conversion!! I identify uncannily well with essentially everything you’ve had to say. It is soooo wonderful to hear the thoughts, stories, and insights of each one of you (including our friend Dan who has provided us all with an immaculate example of the Christians we no longer are! 😉 Just knowing that I am not alone places a sort of warm blanket around me that I have not known since… well, since I had the church. Does this ring any bells to anyone regarding why people become “addicted” to the church? If you leave it, you also leave behind your “security blanket” that encapsulates your entire life and being.

    I came upon this site in my quest to find guidance-based resources for de-converts who are confused and/or hurting. I myself landed my ass in rehab at age 19 because I had lost all moral compass so quickly. My wish is that others who grew up in the church do not have to go through the should-have-been-avoidable pain that I endured. I’m trying to conjure ideas regarding outlet/avenues for getting this message out. I mean, Christians have TONS of websites and books and hell, they even have bookSTORES to get THEIR message out. How do we convey ours?! Many de-converts could really use some guidance as they journey towards deciding for themselves what to believe is right and wrong. How best do we reach them?

  • 67. Quester  |  October 26, 2010 at 4:20 am

    Hey, Sarah!

    I’m afraid this site has pretty much died over the course of this year. It’s sad, as it was a wonderful resource for, as you say, getting the message out. I hope you find other resources, be they blogs, vlogs or humanist chaplaincy. I hope you find a community, as well.

    Best wishes!

  • 68. Quester  |  October 26, 2010 at 4:25 am

    Belated thought: the Ask Richard section at the Friendly Atheist website can be a helpful resource for advice. Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Today’s Featured Link

Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.



Blog Stats

  • 2,163,101 hits since March 2007