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Sex outside marriage is sinful

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By Matthew Sewell

Because this post is important for you to read, here’s the TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) rendition of what’s below:

We’re all called to chastity (and it doesn’t mean what you think it means). Sex isn’t about you. Sex has a place, a purpose, and a right usage. Sex, created by God — past, present, and future — can only be rightly practiced within the confines of marriage.

****

After reading Martin Elfert’s column, “Two reasons to be sexually active before marriage” at the beginning of April, I’d best explain my immediate feelings as both “bewildered” and “profoundly disappointed.”

Here’s the initial question posed to Rev. Elfert by “LC”:

Me and my girlfriend had sex a while back and continued to do so until recently when we decided to stop and go to confession. We have since stopped and are planning stopping until marriage. So, my question is, is it a sin to engage in other acts instead of actual sex, such as oral or hand wise? Also, masturbation: I’ve stopped since I went to confection but it’s really testing my fires.

In this post, I want to give LC an alternative (and, I think, far better) response to his very thoughtful and honest question. Especially, considering LC’s mention of confession, since I seem to be speaking Catholic-to-Catholic here.

Engaging in any sexual act outside marriage is sinful — I won’t sugarcoat it. Paul talked about it, even Jesus talked about it, so when addressing the temptation to engage in any sort of sexual intimacy outside of marriage, the answer should always be, “No.”

However, that “No” isn’t just a “negation of something good” as Fr. Robert Barron puts it, but rather a “no” in service to a greater “yes.” Barron uses the analogy of a golf swing to explain this a bit more:

“Any golf swing coach worth his salt will say ‘no’ much more than he says ‘yes,’ precisely because there are a thousand ways to swing a club poorly, but really only one way to swing it properly. So when he says ‘no,’ he is negating a series of negatives, trying to move his student onto the narrow path of the right swing.”

The “yes” we’re serving is the call to chastity. Now, I want clarify before getting too far — chastity is not the same thing as abstinence. To be abstinent is simply to refrain from doing something, and in this context, it’s more or less just a plain “no” instead of the “no” in service to the greater “yes.”

Chastity, on the other hand, is, “the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2337).

Instead of mere abstinence, the call to chastity (especially if you’re a person of faith) is a call to maintain “the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in [yourself]” (Catechism, 2338), to recognize that you are created by God for a purpose and that your desires have a right order to them.

The call to chastity is also a call to recognize that we were made for self-gift. Just as Mary gave her life to bear the Son of God, and just as Jesus — in the greatest way — gave his life for the sins of humanity, so too are we called to give our lives in service to another, especially for those of us called to married life.

That “apprenticeship in self-mastery,” as the Catechism defines chastity, “is a training in human freedom.” The choice is plain and simple, “Either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy” (Catechism, 2339).

Refraining from sex before marriage, when looked at in light of all this, is a great number of things: a challenge, a gift, a sacrifice. Most of all, however, it’s an adventure, should we see it in a different light. For, as G.K. Chesterton once said, “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.”

Look, I’m no one special, and I’m not an expert on chastity. But I do speak as someone who 1) was recently married (June 2014), and 2) experienced this very same temptation frequently during my three-year relationship and 1.5-year engagement to my now-wife. We’ve been on both sides of this dilemma. We gave in to temptation at times and we also committed to forego all of those temptations for the sake of our marriage. We discovered that life is FAR better when we’re committed to chastity, and our marriage has been so much better for it.

I would take the graces that came from the pain of sacrificing those temptations over the short-term fix of instant gratification any day. Why? Because I love my wife.

My wife’s dignity is worth upholding, and so is mine. And honestly? I love my wife SO much more now as a result of having given up short term pleasure for long-term happiness and stability.

It’s unfortunate that Rev. Elfert — right along with mainstream culture — succumbed so simply to LC’s request with nothing more than a shallow “yes” to his question. It’s unfortunate because Rev. Elfert passed up a golden opportunity to call LC to something greater — to a greater love of his future wife, to a greater mastery of himself, to a greater cooperation with the vocation to marriage God placed within him.

 

 

About Matthew Sewell

Matthew Sewell, a Denver Broncos fan and amateur Chestertonian, loves golf, music, truth and good food. A lifelong Catholic, he graduated from a Catholic college (Carroll College; Helena, Mont.) but experienced a "re-version" to the faith during graduate studies at a state school (N. Arizona; Flagstaff, Ariz.). Irony is also one of his favorite things. He and his wife currently reside in Spokane, though they're Montanans at heart. He blogs at mtncatholic.com.

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54 comments

  1. Who says having sex with an adult consensually (and, presumably, with at least reasonable competence) saps their dignity? When my partner and I have sex, unmarried or otherwise, it’s a fun and intimate activity. Never once in our relationship did she or I feel stained with guilt. It’s just preposterous and insulting that you would say that. My dignity and my partner’s dignity are fully intact and we love our life together.

    I did, however, live on the other side as a “Bible believing” Christian for a good part of my life, and married a woman when I was quite young. We were both virgins. The following seven years of marriage was an absolute nightmare because we were in no way sexually compatible. No amount of counseling or books would help. It would have saved me a lot of pain if I had just had sex with her while we dated. I wish that I had.

    Frankly, your opinion doesn’t really represent the majority of any religious group. Catholic women have around a 97% rate of use of some form of birth control. They have sex outside of marriage like almost everyone else. It’s an incredibly strong drive and you can’t really apply Platonic logic to it as you and other ultra-conservative radicals insist upon.

    Sex rules. Having good sex in your life with a loving partner is incredibly good. Before signing that legal contract to tie your lives and possessions together, have lots of sex. Following your advice is one of my biggest regrets in life and I am still paying for it with the aftermath of a horrible divorce. Don’t do what I did. Have lots of sex before getting married.

    • Sam, what I find interesting with your post is that you start you discussion on sexuality with your own qualifications, “adult consensually (and, presumably, with at least reasonable competence).” Which, by the way, “reasonable competence” is insanely vague- not a good starting point for an firm argument. Why do you get to create your own qualifications for a proper and healthy sexual experience but then berated Matt for doing that same thing? All you have done is fit your qualifications to meet your own definition or more accurately your current experience. Would it be okay if I removed “adult” or “reasonably competent?” Well, under your approach a 13-year old could do that and find themselves in a proper and healthy sexual experience. It’s easy to fit our definition of right and wrong based off of where our desires lead us, that’s basic. However, looking past the immediate desire of an action and finding deeper reactions, and then choosing based on that is called wisdom. I respect Matt’s approach to find a purposeful definition that doesn’t fit his immediate desire. What Matt has done, and you have ignored, is he attaches a created purpose to an action, sex here, and recognized that steering away from that intended, created purpose will have consequences down the road. How do we know this? Statistics (thanks for bringing those things into the discussions).
      Despite your rather unfortunate marital experience, statistics support the success of marriages that wait till marriage to engage in sex. Studies have shown that only 5% of marriages that have couples who waited till marriage to have sex end in divorce. Studies have found similar results for couples who don’t cohabitate before marriage and do not use contraception. So, if one of the points of getting married is to stay married, our very inconvenient friend “Statistics” seems to agree with Matt on this one.
      So, let’s recap. You have done the same thing that Matt has done in creating necessary qualifications for healthy sex, however, there is no evidence to support your qualifications whereas Matt’s qualification (namely Holy Matrimony) is heavily support by these pesky little things called facts.

      • Uh no you may absolutely not remove “adult” from the conversation. If the reason for this eludes you, I will ask: Do you, personally, need an all powerful deity to threaten you with eternal punishment to keep you in check to not rape, and presumably murder, steal, etc? Because I’m a hardcore atheist and I do not need this deity to tell me that I shouldn’t rape children.

        Re: Reasonable competence – the next step below this is to be a selfish lover, which is pretty bad for the other person involved. Y’all shouldn’t be selfish lovers.

        Show me those statistics. “Studies show [insert improbable statistic here]” isn’t good enough, sorry.

    • Sam, thanks for your comment. I also want to say I’m sorry to hear the story of your divorce — I know it isn’t an easy thing to go through, no matter the circumstances.

      I’m afraid your comment is riddled with straw men. First, while both the fact that you and your former wife were virgins when you married and that your marriage ended in divorce in no way necessitates that your not having sex before marriage caused the divorce.

      Secondly, even IF my opinion needed to be shared by a majority, even a Catholic majority, to be correct (“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -GK Chesterton), your stat on Catholic women is completely and utterly fabricated –> Read here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-claim-that-98-percent-of-catholic-women-use-contraception-a-media-foul/2012/02/16/gIQAkPeqIR_blog.html

      Also, a drive or incessant desire to do something doesn’t imply that it’s meant to be done or should be done. For example, you wouldn’t say to a child molester, “It’s an incredibly strong drive, so you better do it.”

      Thirdly, (that “Sex rules”) I agree! That’s where I stop agreeing, though. Sex has a definite unifying aspect to it that is essential to a healthy marriage. However, it’s not the only tool to a healthy marriage. There are many, MANY other aspects that a good and healthy marriage must contain. Without knowing you personally, it’s more than likely that your marriage also lacked some of those things.

      Truthfully, if tomorrow I found out I couldn’t ever enjoy conjugal love with my wife again, I still wouldn’t divorce her because of it, and we haven’t even been married that long. Rather, I would stay married to her because I love her as a complete person, not because of her capacity to have sex with me.

      • So, 87% of catholic women use birth control, not 98%, according the WaPo article you linked to. You really got me good on that one!

        My father is in prison for being a child molester. I was the only member of my family present for his sentencing and I asked the judge for absolutely no lenience on him (He pled guilty and got the maximum possible sentence of life in prison, I am happy to note). Conservative catholics, I have observed, love to take a healthy, reasonable approach to sexuality (your position is radicalist, not mine) and immediately compare it to child molestation. But, in actual fact, and as any reasonable person would no doubt agree, there is no comparison at all. Children can’t consent by the nature of them being children. We are now enlightened enough in the Western World to basically all agree on this. (For most of the history of the RCC, marriage to children in their early teens was perfectly okay.)

        (Pro-tip: Don’t compare your opponents in a debate to people who support child molestation. It’s bad form.)

        Child molesters do what they do because they want power and glory. It makes them feel good to brutalize a child. They are, as a whole, men who feel small and pathetic, and they need to prey upon the weak and defenseless to feel big.

        To compare this gross exploitation of power to a healthy, adult sexuality is absurd. You and DPearson both did this. Why? I listen to my intuition on this one as what I’m about to say is impossible to prove: You need to make a reasonable, healthy approach to sexuality look small to make your belief look big.

        Your belief is insane. It’s insane to expect people to never have sex with their partner until marriage. It’s insane to accuse people, particularly women whom you put on a pedestal, of stripping themselves of dignity for having non-marital sex, of thinking that abstaining until marriage actually imparts one tiny molecule of virtue to you.

        Because you know what? It doesn’t make one a better person to abstain. It doesn’t make one a better person to have consensual sex outside of marriage. It just is. It’s a bonding experience, it feels good, it’s something to do to pass the time when it’s raining hard on a Saturday afternoon, it’s something to do between commercial breaks, it’s a deep spiritual experience, it’s a high better than drugs. It’s anything you make it to be. But it’s not a matter of virtue. It’s just what we do as humans. If you and your wife abstain until marriage, the world is not one bit more of a better place.

        I don’t feel that I need to justify how I, as a non-believer, think that consent is important. If you need to have God tell you that consent is important, I fear you. There are a huge number of reasons why it’s important and if you need an all-powerful god character to tell you why, you have a very underwhelming sense of morality.

        Last point: Saying you understand why my marriage fell apart, and the role I had to play in it, is incredibly offensive. How do you know? The fact is, my exwife and I both agreed that it was due to sexual incompatibility because for the most part, everything else was pretty good. Seriously, if someone tells you something deeply personal like that, how do you excuse yourself saying something so unfounded about me? I was telling you something painful about my personal life to illuminate the discussion and you flippantly dismiss it. Awesome testimony, dude.

  2. I had to look at my calendar and “yes, just as I thought… It says 2015.” We are in the 21st century! Does that mean people can make their own life decisions now?

    If you believe sex outside of marriage is a sin you shouldn’t stop there…

    11 Things The Bible Bans, But You Do Anyway.

    Here are 11 things that are technically banned by the Bible. (All quotes are translations from the New American Standard Bible, but, because I’m actually trying to maintain serious journalistic integrity here, I cross-referenced several other translations to make sure I wasn’t missing the point.)

    Round haircuts.
    See you in Hell, Beatles… and/or kids with bowl cuts, surfer cuts or (my favorite) butt cuts. Leviticus 19:27 reads “You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard.”

    Football.

    At least, the pure version of football, where you play with a pigskin. The modern synthetic footballs are ugly and slippery anyways. Leviticus 11:8, which is discussing pigs, reads “You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.”

    And you’re doubly breaking that if you wake up, eat some sausage then go throw around the football. Or go to the county fair and enter a greased pig catching contest.

    Fortune telling.

    Before you call a 900 number (do people still call 900 numbers, by the way?), read your horoscope or crack open a fortune cookie, realize you’re in huge trouble if you do.

    Leviticus 19:31reads “Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.” The penalty for that? Check Leviticus 20:6: “As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.”

    Seems like a lifetime of exile is a pretty harsh penalty for talking to Zoltar.

    Pulling out.

    The Bible doesn’t get too much into birth control… it’s clearly pro-populating but, back when it was written, no one really anticipated the condom or the sponge, so those
    don’t get specific bans.

    But… pulling out does. One of the most famous sexual-oriented Bible verses… the one that’s used as anti-masturbation rhetoric… is actually anti-pulling out.

    It’s Genesis 38:9-10:
    “Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord; so He took his life also.”

    Yep — pull out and get smote. That’s harsh.

    Tattoos.

    No tattoos. Leviticus 19:28 reads, “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.”
    Not even a little butterfly on your ankle. Or Thug Life across your abdomen. Or even, fittingly enough, a cross.

    Polyester, or any other fabric blends.

    The Bible doesn’t want you to wear polyester. Not just because it looks cheap. It’s sinfully unnatural.

    Leviticus 19:19 reads, “You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two
    kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.”

    Check the tag on your shirt right now. Didn’t realize you were mid-sin at this exact second, did you? (Unless you checked the tag by rolling off your neighbor’s wife while you two were having anal sex in the middle of robbing a blind guy. Then your Lycra-spandex blend is really the least of your problems.)

    Divorce.

    The Bible is very clear on this one: No divorcing. You can’t do it. Because when you marry someone, according to Mark 10:8, you “are no longer two, but one flesh.” And, Mark 10:9 reads, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

    Mark gets even more hardcore about it a few verses later, in Mark 10:11-12,
    “And He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.’”

    Letting people without testicles into church.
    Whether you’ve been castrated or lost one or two balls to cancer isn’t important. The Bible doesn’t get that specific. It just says you can’t pray.

    Deuteronomy 23:1reads (this is the God’s Word translation, which spells it out better),
    “A man whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off may never
    join the assembly of the Lord.”

    Oh, and the next verse says that if you’re a bastard, the child of a bastard… or even have a
    great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchild of a bastard, you can’t come to church or synagogue either.

    Deuteronomy 23:2 reads, “No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the
    Lord; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter
    the assembly of the Lord.”

    Wearing gold.

    1 Timothy 2:9 doesn’t like your gold necklace at all. Or your pearl necklace. Or any
    clothes you’re wearing that you didn’t get from Forever 21, Old Navy or H&M.

    “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments.”

    Shellfish.

    Leviticus 11:10 reads, “But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not
    have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among
    all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable
    things to you.” And shellfish is right in that wheelhouse.

    Leviticus 11 bans a TON of animals from being eaten (it’s THE basis for Kosher law); beyond shellfish and pig, it also says you can’t eat camel, rock badger, rabbit, eagle, vulture, buzzard, falcon, raven, crow, ostrich, owl, seagull, hawk, pelican, stork, heron, bat, winged insects that walk on four legs unless they have joints to jump with like grasshoppers
    (?), bear, mole, mouse, lizard, gecko, crocodile, chameleon and snail.

    Sorry if that totally ruins your plans to go to a rock badger eat-off this weekend.

    Your wife defending your life in a fight by grabbing your attacker’s genitals.

    No joke. Deuteronomy actually devotes two verses to this exact scenario: Deuteronomy 25:11-12.

    “If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity.”

    That’s impossible to misinterpret. Ladies, if your husband is getting mugged, make sure to kick the mugger in the pills. Do not do the grip and squeeze (no matter what “Miss Congeniality” might advise). Or your hand needs to be cut off.

    As a final note, I know that nine of these 11 cite the Old Testament, which Christianity doesn’t necessarily adhere to as law.

    To which I say: If you’re going to ignore the section of Leviticus that bans about tattoos, pork, shellfish, round haircuts, polyester and football, how can you possibly turn around and quote Leviticus 18:22 (“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”) as irrefutable law?

    But that’s me trying to introduce logic to religious fanaticism (or, at least, trying to counter some mix of ignorance, bigotry and narcissism with logic). And I should probably know better.

    • No one’s saying you can’t make your own choices. Also, context is a thing … so …

      http://catholicmemes.com/memes/quoting-leviticus/

    • But honestly, I’d agree with you on the pulling out and divorce aspects of that post. I think it’s a little unfair, but definitely premature to call me a religious fanatic without at least reading and trying to understand more source material that aided what I wrote.

      Go and read John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, or read the bit of the Catechism on chastity — it’s a pretty big section, with lots of footnotes, and I’ve linked it above. If you read it with an open mind, and without an attitude that you know all there is to know about sex and marriage, I’ll bet you’ll learn something new and useful to understanding sex and marriage in the truest sense.

    • Also, Spoon, I’d encourage you to read the second portion of this article –> http://www.catholic.com/blog/trent-horn/homosexuality-and-hypocrisy

      It gives a great treatment on why some verses in Leviticus don’t need to be followed any longer, and why others are and ought to be still binding on us today.

  3. I apologize Matthew for my unclarity… I was not referring to you as a religious fanatic, rather all people who literally follow the 3400 year old ignorant writings of men, or a historically misogynistic religion guilty of thousands of human atrocities down through the centuries, as if it is a blue print or owners manual for the best and only possible way of life. Mea Culpa!

    • Seeing as I follow that “historically misogynistic religion,” I think you’re implicitly calling me one. But in any case, I’m not sure the misogyny allegation would hold up, considering we hold a *woman* in the highest esteem of all the human race — the “Queen of Heaven” is how we refer to Mary, in fact. Also, several of the great teachers recognized by the universal church as “Doctors of the Church” are women. Would you agree that a misogynistic religion would likely refrain from such practices?

      Also, to the “human atrocities” comment, there’s no doubt that great evil has been done by Catholic individuals who used their influence in the wrong way. However, when looking at just the raw numbers, you’ll see that it’s precisely the *Atheistic* regimes who kill millions (and millions (and millions (and millions))) of people:

      (Scroll to the bottom)
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2013/03/atheist-governments-of-the-20th-century-the-death-toll-of-godless-goodness/

  4. I appreciate where you are coming from.

    Please look at the other side of the story now. It may as you said “I’ll bet you’ll learn something new and useful.”

    This list contains persons burned by the Catholic Church, (not individuals but the church) after being deemed heretics. I only have time to list one atrocity since it is supper time and my dinner is getting cold.

    The list does not attempt to encompass the list of those executed by
    burning (such a one would include many other people such as victims of witch hunts or other persecutions). Some of the victims, such as Quirinus Kuhlmann and Jacques de Molay, were executed primarily for political purposes; the charges of heresy
    were simply official excuses. After they were convicted by the Church,
    they were turned over to the local government for execution because of
    religious restrictions that kept ecclesial clergy from actually carrying
    out the executions.

    List of people burned as heretics in Catholic Countries

    (Incomplete list of both men and women)

    Burning of the Templars, 1314

    John Badby 1410

    Ramihrdus of Cambrai (1076 or 1077) (lynched)

    Peter of Bruys († 1130) (lynched)

    Gerard Segarelli († 1300)

    Maifreda da Pirovano († 1300)

    Andrea Saramiti († 1300)

    Fra Dolcino († 1307) (never tried by Catholic Church), Italy

    Sister Margherita († 1307), Italy

    Brother Longino († 1307), Italy

    Marguerite Porete († 1310)

    Botulf Botulfsson († 1311), the only known heretic executed in Sweden

    Jacques de Molay (1243–1314), burned after conviction by a tribunal under the control of King Philip IV of France, France

    Geoffroi de Charney († 1314), burned with Jacques de Molay above, France.

    Guilhèm Belibasta († 1321), last Cathar

    Francesco da Pistoia († 1337)

    Lorenzo Gherardi († 1337)

    Bartolomeo Greco († 1337)

    Bartolomeo da Bucciano († 1337)

    Antonio Bevilacqua († 1337)

    William Sawtre († 1401)

    John Badby († 1410)

    Jan Hus (1371–1415), impenitent/unrepentant heretic

    Jerome of Prague (1365–1416), relapsed heretic

    Joan of Arc at the stake, 1431

    St. Joan of Arc (1412–1431), relapsed heretic, Rouen, France

    Thomas Bagley († 1431)

    Pavel Kravař († 1433)

    Girolamo Savonarola († 1498)

    Joshua Weißöck (1488–1498)

    Jean Vallière († 1523)

    Hendrik Voes († 1523), 1st martyr in the Seventeen Provinces

    Jan van Essen († 1523), 1st martyr in the Seventeen Provinces

    Jan de Bakker († 1525), 1st martyr in the Northern Netherlands

    Wendelmoet Claesdochter († 1527), 1st Dutch woman burned as heretic

    Michael Sattler († 1527)

    Patrick Hamilton († 1528), St Andrews, Scotland

    Balthasar Hubmaier (1485–1528), relapsed heretic

    George Blaurock (1491–1529)

    Hans Langegger († 1529)

    Giovanni Milanese († 1530)

    Richard Bayfield († 1531)

    James Bainham († 1532)

    John Frith (1503–1533), England

    William Tyndale (1490–1536)

    Jakob Hutter († 1536)

    Aefgen Listincx (d. 1538)

    Anneke Esaiasdochter (d. 1539)

    Francisco de San Roman († 1540)

    Giandomenico dell’ Aquila († 1542)

    Maria van Beckum (d. 1544)

    Ursula van Beckum (d. 1544)

    George Wishart (1513–1546), St Andrews, Scotland

    Rogers’ execution at Smithfield, 1555

    John Rogers († 1555), London, England

    Canterbury Martyrs († 1555), England

    Laurence Saunders, (1519–1555), England

    Rowland Taylor († 1555), England

    John Hooper († 1555), England

    Robert Ferrar († 1555), Carmarthen, Wales

    Patrick Pakingham († 1555), Uxbridge, England

    Hugh Latimer (1485–1555), relapsed heretic, England

    Nicholas Ridley (1500–1555), England

    Bartolomeo Hector († 1555)

    Paolo Rappi († 1555)

    Vernon Giovanni († 1555)

    Labori Antonio († 1555)

    John Bradford († 1555), London, England

    Thomas Cranmer (1489–1556), relapsed heretic, England

    Stratford Martyrs († 1556), 11 men and 2 women, London, England

    Joan Waste (d. 1556), Derby, England

    Pomponio Algerio († 1556)

    Nicola Sartonio]] († 1557)

    Thomas von Imbroich († 1558) (beheaded)

    Fra Goffredo Varaglia († 1558)

    Gisberto di Milanuccio († 1558)

    Francesco Cartone († 1558)

    Antonio di Colella († 1559)

    Antonio Gesualdi († 1559)

    Giacomo Bonello († 1560)

    Mermetto Savoiardo († 1560)

    Dionigi di Cola († 1560)

    Gian Pascali di Cuneo († 1560)

    Bernardino Conte († 1560)

    Giorgio Olivetto († 1567)

    Luca di Faenza († 1568)

    Thomas Szük (1522–1568)

    Bartolomeo Bartoccio († 1569)

    Dirk Willems († 1569), Netherlands

    Fra Arnaldo di Santo Zeno († 1570)

    Alessandro di Giacomo († 1574)

    Benedetto Thomaria († 1574)

    Diego Lopez (martyr)|Diego Lopez († 1583)

    Gabriello Henriquez († 1583)

    Borro of Arezzo († 1583)

    Ludovico Moro († 1583)

    Pietro Benato († 1585)

    Francesco Gambonell († 1594)

    Marcantonio Valena († 1594)

    Giovanni Antonio da Verona († 1599)

    Fra Celestino († 1599)

    Giordano Bruno (1548–1600), Rome, Italy

    Maurizio Rinaldi († 1600)

    Bartolomeo Coppino († 1601)

    Kimpa Vita (1684–1706), Angola

    Maria Barbara Carillo (1625–1721), Madrid, Spain

    The Legitimation of the Abuse of Women in Christianity
    http://www.womenpriests.org/theology/rossi1.asp

    Dispelling Myths: Adult Clergy Sexual Abuse
    http://www.educatingtoendabuse.com/id22.html

    Not Just Boys: Catholic Church Abuse of Women + Girls
    http://msmagazine.com/blog/2010/04/14/not-just-boys-catholic-church-abuse-of-women-girls/

    Vatican says 848 priests defrocked for sexual abuse since 2004
    For the first time, the Holy See releases numbers of priests disciplined
    for rape and molestation of children. More than 2,500 given lesser
    reprimands.
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 3:51 PM

    Vatican reveals how many priests defrocked for sex abuse since 2004
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/vatican-reveals-how-many-priests-defrocked-for-sex-abuse-since-2004/

    My moms calling me now so I have to go inside and eat 🙂

    • Spoon, I already noted that Church officials have erred gravely all throughout history, so your post is (while winning the award for longest comment) is redundant. Police officers have erred gravely against their sworn duty all throughout history too, but that doesn’t mean that the institution of policing or the duty of the police department is somehow invalid.

      • Police officers are not representatives of God or claiming the exclusive privilege as chosen representatives, dolling out condemnation and judgment of acts (or thoughts) of others. They merely are imperfect humans that either choose to uphold the law or enforce the law in either a bias/unbiased manner.

        No comparison

        • Brother, it’s an analogy. Of course they aren’t representatives of God, but YES THEY DO judge acts and dole out punishment! But more importantly, you make my point precisely–police, like Church officials, are imperfect people.

    • Spoon, this has been one of my favorite points to address as of late for several reasons, mainly cause it keeps arising in any discussion moderately revolving religion.

      Here is my response to what you have just attempted to do. First, let’s both agree, with the entirety of the Church and also likely all of human existence, that the Church and her people do not own a some moral perfection. Like Matt pointed out that doesn’t nulify the institution.

      But besides that already stated point, most importantly I want to ask you to share your reasoning for both sides of the moral expectation argument. If you trend away from the Church, believe Her not divinely inspired, or do not believe in the existence of God (maybe you can choose any of these) because of negative actions done in the name of the Church or in the name of God, then you must attribute the same response to good the Church has done, just simply on the opposite side. That’s logical right? If not, let’s stop here and wrestle with that point. If it is logical, then you must then find a pull towards the Church, find it divinely inspired, or see it as an argument for the existence of God based upon the good the Church is doing in the world. If this was a scale argument, which your logical approach to listing many (really a ton) of atrocities done by people of the Church, then you have to weigh both sides. It is an easy point to make that the good of the Church outweighs the bad done by Her people on an unbelievable level (universities, hospitals, the current largest provider of charitable care in the world, etc). If we don’t agree here, then I would happily site as much evidence as you would like, starting with some pretty neat people and organizations. This would then mean by using your logic that you are ultimately pro the Catholic Church, that is unless you see Her as “perfect or nothing”, which would put you on a level of moral expectation higher than the very people who follow the Church, making you more Catholic than the Pope (jk).

      • Here is another lengthy reply (more like book)
        Part 1
        I suggest breaking it down over several days, I’ll wait 🙂

        There is just so much to say regarding the rest of the story. History, both ancient and contemporary makes it impossible to agree with you regarding Christianity tipping the scales more towards good than evil. At least in it’s past and present state. If it evolved to be more “Christ Like,” well you and I would certainly see more eye to eye. Either way I respect the fact that Matthew has a happy marriage and acknowledge the fact, you both seem like a genuinely cool people.

        So many things to ponder…

        1. Christianity is based on fear. While today there are liberal clergy who
        preach a gospel of love, they ignore the bulk of Christian teachings, not to
        mention the bulk of Christian history. Throughout almost its entire time on
        Earth, the motor driving Christianity has been—in addition to the fear of
        death—fear of the devil and fear of hell. One can only imagine how potent these threats seemed prior to the rise of science and rational thinking, which have largely robbed these bogeys of their power to inspire terror. But even today, the existence of the devil and hell are cardinal doctrinal tenets of almost all Christian creeds, and many fundamentalist preachers still openly resort to terrorizing their followers with lurid, sadistic portraits of the suffering of nonbelievers after death. This is not an attempt to convince through logic and reason; it is not an attempt to appeal to the better nature of individuals;
        rather, it is an attempt to whip the flock into line through threats, through
        appeals to a base part of human nature—fear and cowardice.

        2. Christianity preys on the innocent. If Christian fear-mongering were
        directed solely at adults, it would be bad enough, but Christians routinely
        terrorize helpless children through grisly depictions of the endless horrors
        and suffering they’ll be subjected to if they don’t live good Christian lives.
        Christianity has darkened the early years of generation after generation of
        children, who have lived in terror of dying while in mortal sin and going to
        endless torment as a result. All of these children were trusting of adults, and
        they did not have the ability to analyze what they were being told; they were
        simply helpless victims, who, ironically, victimized following generations in
        the same manner that they themselves had been victimized.

        The nearly 2000 years of Christian terrorizing of children ranks as one of its
        greatest crimes. And it’s one that continues to this day.

        As an example of Christianity’s cruel brainwashing of the innocent, consider
        this quotation from an officially approved, 19th-century Catholic children’s
        book (Tracts for Spiritual Reading, by Rev. J. Furniss, C.S.S.R.):

        Look into this little prison. In the middle of it there is a boy, a young man.
        He is silent; despair is on him . . His eyes are burning like two burning
        coals. Two long flames come out of his ears. His breathing is difficult.
        Sometimes he opens his mouth and breath of blazing fire rolls out of it. But listen! There is a sound just like that of a kettle boiling. Is it really a kettle,
        which is boiling? No; then what is it? Hear what it is. The blood is boiling in
        the scalding veins of that boy. The brain is boiling and bubbling in his head.
        The marrow is boiling in his bones. Ask him why he is thus tormented. His
        answer is that when he was alive, his blood boiled to do very wicked things.

        There are many similar passages in this book. Commenting on it, William
        Meagher, Vicar-General of Dublin, states in his Approbation:

        “I have carefully read over this Little Volume for Children and have found
        nothing whatever in it contrary to the doctrines of the Holy Faith; but on the
        contrary, a great deal to charm, instruct and edify

        the youthful classes for whose benefit it has been written.”

        3. Christianity is based on dishonesty.

        The Christian appeal to fear, to cowardice, is an admission that the evidence
        supporting Christian beliefs is far from compelling. If the evidence were such
        that Christianity’s truth was immediately apparent to

        anyone who considered it, Christians—including those who wrote the
        Gospels—would feel no need to resort to the cheap tactic of using fear-inducing threats to inspire “belief.” (“Lip service” is a more
        accurate term.) That the Christian clergy have been more than willing to accept such lip service (plus the dollars and obedience that go with it) in place of genuine belief, is an additional indictment of the basic dishonesty of
        Christianity.

        How deep dishonesty runs in Christianity can be gauged by one of the most
        popular Christian arguments for belief in God: Pascal’s wager. This
        “wager” holds that it’s safer to “believe” in God (as if belief were volitional!) than not to believe, because God might exist, and if it does, it will save “believers” and condemn nonbelievers to hell after death. This is an appeal to pure cowardice. It has absolutely nothing to do with the search for truth. Instead, it’s an appeal to abandon honesty and intellectual integrity, and to pretend that lip service is the same thing as actual belief. If the patriarchal God of Christianity really exists, one wonders how it would judge the cowards and hypocrites who advance and bow to this particularly craven “wager.”

        4. Christianity is extremely egocentric.
        The deep egocentrism of Christianity is intimately tied to its reliance on
        fear. In addition to the fears of the devil and hell, Christianity plays on
        another of humankind’s most basic fears: death, the dissolution of the
        individual ego. Perhaps Christianity’s strongest appeal is its promise of
        eternal life. While there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim, most
        people are so terrified of death that they cling to this treacly promise
        insisting, like frightened children, that it must be true. Nietzsche put the
        matter well: “salvation of the soul—in plain words, the world revolves
        around me.” It’s difficult to see anything spiritual in this desperate
        grasping at straws—this desperate grasping at the illusion of personal
        immortality.

        Another manifestation of the extreme egotism of Christianity is the belief that
        God is intimately concerned with picayune aspects of, and directly intervenes in, the lives of individuals. If God, the creator and controller of the
        universe, is vitally concerned with your sex life, you must be pretty damned
        important. Many Christians take this particular form of egotism much further
        and actually imagine that God has a plan for them, or that God directly talks
        to, directs, or even does favors for them. If one ignored the frequent and
        glaring contradictions in this supposed divine guidance, and the dead bodies sometimes left in its wake, one could almost believe that the individuals making such claims are guided by God. But one can’t ignore the contradictions in and the oftentimes horrible results of following such “divine
        guidance.” As “Agent Mulder” put it (perhaps paraphrasing Thomas
        Szasz) in a 1998 X-Files episode, “When you talk to God it’s prayer, but
        when God talks to you it’s schizophrenia. . . . God may have his reasons, but
        he sure seems to employ a lot of psychotics to carry out his job orders.”
        Matthew you are not one of them 🙂

        In less extreme cases, the insistence that one is receiving divine guidance or
        special treatment from God is usually the attempt of those who feel worthless—or helpless, adrift in an uncaring universe—to feel important or cared for. This less sinister form of egotism is commonly found in the expressions of disaster survivors that “God must have had a reason for saving me” (in contrast to their less-worthy-of-life fellow disaster victims, whom God—who controls all things—killed). Again, it’s very difficult to see anything spiritual in such egocentricity.

        5. Christianity breeds arrogance, a chosen-people mentality.
        It’s only natural that those who believe (or play act at believing) that they
        have a direct line to the Almighty would feel superior to others. This is so
        obvious that it needs little elaboration. A brief look at religious terminology
        confirms it. Christians have often called themselves “God’s people,”
        “the chosen people,” “the elect,” “the righteous,” etc., while nonbelievers have been labeled “heathens,” “infidels,” and “atheistic Communists” (as if atheism and Communism are intimately connected). This sets up a two-tiered division of humanity, in which “God’s people” feel superior to those who are not “God’s people.”

        That many competing religions with contradictory beliefs make the same claim seems not to matter at all to the members of the various sects that claim to be the only carriers of “the true faith.” The carnage that results when two competing sects of “God’s people” collide—as in Ireland and
        Palestine—would be quite amusing but for the suffering it causes.

        6. Christianity breeds authoritarianism.
        Given that Christians claim to have the one true faith, to have a book that is
        the Word of God, and (in many cases) to receive guidance directly from God,
        they feel little or no compunction about using force and coercion to enforce
        “God’s Will” (which they, of course, interpret and understand). Given
        that they believe (or pretend) that they’re receiving orders from the Almighty
        (who would cast them into hell should they disobey), it’s little wonder that
        they feel no reluctance, and in fact are eager, to intrude into the most
        personal aspects of the lives of nonbelievers. This is most obvious today in
        the area of sex, with Christians attempting to deny women the right to abortion and to mandate near-useless abstinence-only sex “education” in the public schools. It’s also obvious in the area of education, with Christians
        attempting to force biology teachers to teach their creation myth (but not
        those of Hindus, Native Americans, et al.) in place of (or as being equally
        valid as) the very well established theory of evolution. But the authoritarian tendencies of Christianity reach much further than this.

        Up until well into the 20th century in the United States and other Christian
        countries (notably Ireland), Christian churches pressured governments into
        passing laws forbidding the sale and distribution of birth control devices, and they also managed to enact laws forbidding even the description of birth control devices. This assault on free speech was part and parcel of
        Christianity’s shameful history of attempting to suppress “indecent” and
        “subversive” materials (and to throw their producers in jail or burn
        them alive). This anti-free speech stance of Christianity dates back centuries, with the cases of Galileo Galilei and Giordano Bruno (who was burnt alive) being good illustrations of it. Perhaps the most colorful example of this intrusive Christian tendency toward censorship is the Catholic Church’s Index of Prohibited Books, which dates from the 16th century and which was abandoned only in the latter part of the 20th century—not because the church recognized it as a crime against human freedom, but because it could no longer be enforced (not that it was ever systematically enforced—that was too big a job even for the Inquisition).

        Christian authoritarianism extends, however, far beyond attempts to suppress free speech; it extends even to attempts to suppress freedom of belief. In the 15th century, under Ferdinand and Isabella at about the time of Columbus’s discovery of the New World, Spain’s Jews were ordered either to convert to Christianity or to flee the country; about half chose exile, while those who remained, the “Conversos,” were favorite targets of the Inquisition. A few years later, Spain’s Muslims were forced to make a similar choice.

        This Christian hatred of freedom of belief—and of individual freedom in
        general—extends to this day. Up until the late 19th century in England,
        atheists who had the temerity to openly advocate their beliefs were jailed.
        Even today in many parts of the United States laws still exist that forbid
        atheists from serving on juries or from holding public office. And it’s no
        mystery what the driving force is behind laws against victimless
        “crimes” such as nudity, sodomy, fornication, cohabitation, and
        prostitution.

        If your nonintrusive beliefs or actions are not in accord with Christian
        “morality,” you can bet that Christians will feel completely justified—not to mention righteous—in poking their noses (often in the form of state police agencies) into your private life.

        7. Christianity is cruel.
        Throughout its history, cruelty—both to self and others—has been one of the
        most prominent features of Christianity. From its very start, Christianity,
        with its bleak view of life, its emphasis upon sexual sin, and its almost
        impossible-to-meet demands for sexual “purity,” encouraged guilt,
        penance, and self-torture. Today, this self-torture is primarily psychological,
        in the form of guilt arising from following (or denying, and thus obsessing
        over) one’s natural sexual desires. In earlier centuries, it was often physical.

        W.E.H. Lecky relates: For about two centuries, the hideous maceration of the
        body was regarded as the highest proof of excellence. . . . The cleanliness of
        the body was regarded as a pollution of the soul, and the saints who were most admired had become one hideous mass of clotted filth. . . . But of all
        the evidences of the loathsome excesses to which this spirit was carried, the
        life of St. Simeon Stylites is probably the most remarkable. . . . He had bound a rope around him so that it became embedded in his flesh, which putrefied around it. A horrible stench, intolerable to the bystanders, exhaled from his body, and worms dropped from him whenever he moved, and they filled his bed… For a whole year, we are told, St. Simeon stood upon one leg, the other being covered with hideous ulcers, while his biographer [St. Anthony] was commissioned to stand by his side, to pick up the worms that fell from his body, and to replace them in the sores, the saint saying to the worms, “Eat what God has given you.” From every quarter pilgrims of every
        degree thronged to do him homage. A crowd of prelates followed him to the
        grave. A brilliant star is said to have shone miraculously over his pillar; the
        general voice of mankind pronounced him to be the highest model of a Christian saint; and several other anchorites [Christian hermits] imitated or emulated his penances.

        Given that the Bible nowhere condemns torture and sometimes prescribes
        shockingly cruel penalties (such as burning alive), and that Christians so wholeheartedly approved of self-torture, it’s not surprising that they thought little of inflicting appallingly cruel treatment upon others. At the height of
        Christianity’s power and influence, hundreds of thousands of
        “witches” were brutally tortured and burned alive under the auspices
        of ecclesiastical witch finders, and the Inquisition visited similarly cruel
        treatment upon those accused of heresy. Henry Charles Lea records:

        Two hundred wretches crowded the filthy gaol and it was requisite to forbid the rest of the Conversos [Jews intimidated into converting to Christianity] from leaving the city [Jaen, Spain] without a license.

        With Diego’s assistance [Diego de Algeciras, a petty criminal and kept
        perjurer] and the free use of torture, on both accused and witnesses, it was
        not difficult to obtain whatever evidence was desired. The notary
        of the tribunal, Antonio de Barcena, was especially successful in this. On one occasion, he locked a young girl of fifteen in a room, stripped her naked and scourged her until she consented to bear testimony against her mother. A prisoner was carried in a chair to the auto da fe with his feet burnt to the bone; he and his wife were burnt alive . . . The cells in which the unfortunates were confined in heavy chains were narrow, dark, humid, filthy and overrun with vermin, while their sequestrated property was squandered by the officials, so that they nearly starved in prison while their helpless children starved outside.

        While the torture and murder of heretics and “witches” is now largely
        a thing of the past, Christians can still be remarkably cruel. The Westboro
        Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, provides one current example.

        Its members picket the funerals of victims of AIDS and gay bashings,
        brandishing signs reading, “God Hates Fags,” “AIDS Cures Fags,” and “Thank God for AIDS.” The pastor of this church reportedly once sent a “condolence” card to the bereaved mother of an AIDS victim, reading “Another Dead Fag.” Christians are also at the forefront of those advocating vicious, life-destroying penalties for those who commit victimless “crimes,” as well as being at the forefront of those who support the death penalty and those who want to make prison conditions even more barbaric than
        they are now.

        But this should not be surprising coming from Christians, members of a religion that teaches that eternal torture is not only justified, but that the
        “saved” will enjoy seeing the torture of others. As St. Thomas Aquinas put it:

        In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful and that they may give to God more copious thanks for it, they are permitted perfectly to behold the sufferings of the damned . . . The saints will
        rejoice in the punishment of the damned.

        Thus the vision of heaven of Christianity’s greatest theologian is a vision of
        the sadistic enjoyment of endless torture.

        • Sir, I don’t know you, and I don’t know what church or person you learned your “Christianity” from, but what you describe here is not the form of Christianity to which I adhere.
          My faith is about love and freedom and generosity in all things.
          But…this thread is not the place for this discussion.

          • I’m very glad to hear that you do not adhere to that form of Christianity. I wish more Christian were like you. Dpearson asked me a question and what you read was my reply. Unfortunately, what I wrote is the actual history and reality even today for the vast majority of Christians. It is sad that the Christian religion can not let go of everything that does not concerning the only two commandments and requirements established by Jesus. What an amazing and totally unique religion it would be if everyone just tried to live by those two commandments and left the sexual preferences and other Gd given freedom to each individual.

          • Spoon,

            Wow! You really have a lot of time on your hands. I can respect your dedication to this online discussion. Now I don’t have the time to go through every single statement you just listed, which if was your strategy to exhaust in an argumentative marathon, then well done sir.

            I won’t take the time to address all your points, I just simply don’t have the time. However, I will address one historical suggestion that you have made then I want to ask you something.

            You have mentioned that Christianty is cruel and warring. What I would suggest is that humans are cruel and warring, Humans are religious, so often religious people are people are cruel and warring. However, is it from their religiosity or their human nature? I would suggest human nature, and so would stats:

            The truth is, non-religious motivations and naturalistic philosophies bear the blame for nearly all of humankind’s wars (93% of wars in history, which 4% of the religious wars belonging to Islam). Lives lost during religious conflict pales in comparison to those experienced during the regimes who wanted nothing to do with the idea of God – something showcased in R. J. Rummel’s work Lethal Politics and Death by Government:

            Non-Religious Dictator Lives Lost

            Joseph Stalin – 42,672,000
            Mao Zedong – 37,828,000
            Adolf Hitler – 20,946,000
            Chiang Kai-shek – 10,214,000
            Vladimir Lenin – 4,017,000
            Hideki Tojo – 3,990,000
            Pol Pot – 2,397,0003
            Rummel says: “Almost 170 million men, women and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed or worked to death; buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed or killed in any other of a myriad of ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens and foreigners. The dead could conceivably be nearly 360 million people. It is though our species has been devastated by a modern Black Plague. And indeed it has, but a plague of Power, not germs.”

            The historical evidence is quite clear: Religion is not the #1 cause of war, not even close.

            So, I would say you have attributed a lot to blame on religion which I would say is a part of our human nature and religion’s attempt is to lessen that. In a perfect world it would eradicated violence, but the world, like us, aren’t perfect. I attend daily mass and have done so through high school and into college, so I am pretty religious, but I am still a dick despite my best efforts. I wish I wasn’t and I think my faith and the people I have spent time with have lessened my dickish nature, but I am a dick nonetheless.

            Here is my question for you: Why do you think all the things that you have listed against the Church are intriscically bad? Why is being cruel, authoritarian, arrogant, egocentric, or dishonest (just to name a few of your complaints) bad things? You speak of real evils vs made up evils, but what governs your idea of evil? Serious question. I agree with you that they are bad, but I want to know why you think those things are bad.

            Based off all the things you listed, it can not simply be a social reliance on relationships By relational beings inside of a culture, because then morality would change from political social structure to political social structure. Ultimately, morality would be different in a communistic society then it would be in a monarchy. Which, you can’t hold to be the case since you just attacked a religion that has existed in all types of political social structures, so ultimately you hold morality to be set and and not based upon social structures to appeal to our needs to be inside relationship with others.

            So removing that option, I would like to know what governs your idea of right and wrong? Is morality intrinsic? Is it instilled in us by a creator? Or is it something that we just made up? What tells me that it is wrong to kill? Because even though I don’t have the time to address all these things that you consider “Bad” that have been done by Chrisitianity, I do want to figure out what governs your idea of what is “Bad.”

            Despite my dickish nature, I am not trying to be a dick here. I genuinely want to know. And if I could ask one thing, please keep your response short enough for me to actually read and try to respond to the entirety of it without committing a huge portion of my day to. If it is too crazy long, I will admit defeat to this marathonic approach to arguing and name you winner of the comment land and not respond.

            In Christ,

            P.S. That signing off is intended to be a good thing, which I guess based off of how you see religion could be construed as signing off with an “F You” but that is not the intent here 🙂

          • No offense taken “In Christ.” Here’s a shocker… I’m not a Christian:) but Jesus. as well as, others has been and is a role model for the way I live my life. I think the world would be better off if there were fewer Christian and more Christ Like people.

            Ok, my reply to your question.

            Here’s the thing. If you write a book called God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, you sell a lot of books. If you write a book called What’s So Great About Christianity on the evils of atheism, you also sell a lot of books. If you say that neither extremist viewpoint makes any sense, you end up doing a podcast and working as a greeter at Wal-Mart directing customers to the section where they sell Hitchens and D’Souza books.

            The truth is less incisive, it’s less inflammatory, it raises no ire, and it draws no audience.

            And that truth, as I’ve said time and time again, is that people are
            people. No matter what segment of society you look at, you’ll find good people and you’ll find bad people. You’ll even find, as has been said, that the line between good and evil cuts through every human heart.
            Certainly there are people in the news who kill in the name of religion,but just because they kill in the name of religion doesn’t really mean they kill because of religion. The Islamic militants who cut off Nick Berg’s head are not nice men who would have otherwise been his best friend, if it weren’t for their religious convictions forcing them into this grievous act. They are base murderers, and they should be punished accordingly, I don’t care whether they go to church or not. Killers don’t really kill because of their religion. Neither does a lack of religious convictions cause one to run wild in the streets with a bloody axe and a torch. Religion is a convenient banner for many to carry, but there are plenty of other banners available as well, and if it wasn’t religion, they’d do their deeds under some other justification, if they care to even have one. The real reason they do their evil deeds is that they’re human. Humans are very smart, very capable; and when we want something, we generally find some way to get it, even if that means killing someone or committing genocide.

            By doing this episode, I’m going to be called an apologist for
            atheist genocide. My dismissal of the entire argument as pointless and fallacious will be interpreted as a dodge from advocating a weak
            position. So go ahead and post that as a comment on Skeptoid.com, if you’re still convinced that this is argument that can ever have a useful conclusion. I’m convinced that arguing either side is merely an
            opportunistic way to tingle sensitive nerves and sell a lot of books.
            And, I’m convinced that any discussion of the religious causes of
            genocide is a divisive distraction from the more worthwhile
            investigation into the true cultural and psychological causes. We are
            human beings, and we need to understand our human motivations.

            So I am no longer going to participate in the childish debate of what
            religion has killed more people in history, because it doesn’t matter.
            The way I see it, you might as well debate what color underpants are
            worn by the largest number of killers, and try to draw a causal
            relationship there as well. Neither religion or atheism cause you to kill people, and it certainly doesn’t prevent you from killing people either.

            P.S. I wasn’t really trying to win anything, especially by drowning you in information. I’ve always believed that both sides of the story are equally important and once an individual has heard both sides, done their own research, then they are in a position to make an educated decision. Of course this usually takes some suspension of judgement until more facts have been gathered, and it takes some courage because typically both sides contradict one another and the so called truth lies somewhere in the middle.

            Thanks for hanging in there with the conversation. Now lets go get some drinks 🙂

  5. It amuses me that the articles usually receiving the most attention and comments on FAVS are:

    1. Sex, who’s having it and how
    2. Anything about money

    All smart-assery aside; I’ll never understand the obsessive way most Christians are more interested in condemning and judging the rights and freedoms of others than solving the real problems plaguing the world today. Even more confounding is the fact very few Christians will even understand what I am talking about. (Sad and Scary)

    Back to the smart-assery (it’s the only way to remain sane when dealing with insanity)

    Dear DPearson, if you’re going to quote statistic, please use ones that are quantified and qualified with double blind studies from sources other than bias Christian organizations. Nuff said.

    Premarital Boning Is Good for Both You and Society

    Culturally, America’s attitude toward women and sex is pretty screwed up (no pun intended). Society tells us that it’s dirty, filthy, and wrong, and women who have it are sinners who have to pretend that they don’t know what a dick looks like. Then, on that magical day at some point in their adulthood, those formerly dirty women get married (if any guy will still have them and their tattered hymens) and the sex act, a thing
    they’ve been doing in a dirty way for years, suddenly transforms into an amazing and blessed experience. Sex, you see, is a very bad, dirty thing that you should only do with someone you love very, very much.

    This is ridiculous. It’s untenable. In fact, premarital sex is a morally good thing. It’s time we stopped seeing it as something wrong and started seeing it as something that, for most of us, is totally right. That scarlet “A” you’ve been wearing on your soul should actually stand
    for AWESOME (or ASSPLAY).

    At The Guardian, the incomparable Jill Filipovic explains, in one of the most comprehensive, straightforward, and difficult-to-counter ways I’ve ever seen, why American society’s attitude about sex before marriage is hindering happiness, and how embracing sex as something that can and should be shame-free. Here are 8 broken down bite size points for your perusing pleasure.

    -People who have sex are happier.

    Fact!
    Having sex once a week is the happiness equivalent of an extra $50,000 in the bank. Especially if you’re having sex with a rich dude. (Kidding. Rich dudes don’t try in bed.)

    -Sex is healthy and natural.

    Human beings reproduce sexually, which means that each of us is almost certainly the result of a sexual union — you might even say we’re fucklings. It is natural and normal for most mature human animals to want and to pursue sex, and our bodies reward us when we do — we get some exercise, endorphins, orgasms. Imagine what all that would feel like if we didn’t also attach unnecessary guilty baggage to it.

    -Premarital sex leads to more stable marriages.

    Sex, as in having it before you get married, is associated with longer, more stable marriages. Why? Sorry no statistics. Secular Scholars are less obsessed with rampant sexual human depravity, which brings up an interesting point -without christian guidelines mapping out sinful behaviour would Christians become Wild Bohemians having none stop sex with everyone and everything? Amazingly, without biblical blueprints many secularist seem to have much more self control over their desires -despite what Christians choose to think of us pagan heathens.

    Back to point-

    Because a society that encourages women to prioritize participation outside of the home
    leads to more women choosing to go to college, to build a stable career before they focus on partnering up and settling down. Because sexuality is a human need, it stands to reason that during that time they’re focused on being things other than wives and mothers, they’d be enjoying several feet (or miles — no judgment!) of c@ck. Which is fine! Because
    after they get married, women who got their ya-ya’s out earlier in life tend to stay married, tend to raise more successful children, and tend to be happier.

    -Sex feels great and is fun.

    One of the most compelling pieces of Filipovic’s argument is her emphasis on ethical sexuality — sex that “(takes) precautions to protect the physical and mental health of yourself and your partner (No Dpearson, no one is suggestion minors as you so weirdly implied) rather sex that is fully consensual and focused on mutual pleasure.”

    Experiencing sex as a positive way to interact with someone who is totally into it rather than a self-destructive way to get back at your dad who didn’t hug you enough or your ex who cheated on you. This means doing it with a willing partner, this means making sure your partner has a good time, this means protecting yourself using condoms or body sized sandwich bags or whatever is sufficient for the two of you to have the best time
    possible in the safest way possible. I’d argue that this means pursuing sex only with someone who isn’t violating the agreed-upon terms of any existing sexual relationships s/he is having and being honest with your partner, but Filipovic doesn’t delve too deeply into issues of monogamy or fidelity.

    -A wedding isn’t a magic spell that transforms sex from something that is “bad” to something that can’t ever be bad.

    Especially if you’ve lived your life up to your wedding believing that you had a sin-hole between your legs.

    Sex is good whether you’re married or not, and certainly folks who wait until marriage can have a lot of sex once they tie the knot. But waiting until marriage often means both early marriage and conservative views on marriage and gender – and people who marry early and/or hold traditional views on marriage and gender tend to have higher divorce rates and
    unhappier marriages.

    Antiquated views that lead people to believe that there is such a thing as sexual “purity” can also lead to a messed up postmarital relationship with sex.

    -Americans are “pleasure starved.”

    Focusing too much on the guilt we’re supposed to feel about being dirty for wanting things that we naturally want is giving all of us a complex. It is making our lives worse.

    -Not everyone is sexually compatible, so figure that shit out before you walk down the aisle.

    Sexual compatibility matters in relationships, and bad sex, for many people, is a dealbreaker. Take the car out for a test drive, and if the stick shift feels awkward to you or the airbags frighten you, move along. Someone else will be happy to drive that car.

    (This was a dick and balls joke try to have a sense of humor. Life is too short and there’s a 50/50 chance this is all we get)

    Finally the biggest point ever…

    Discouraging people from having premarital sex has never, not once, not at any point in human history, succeeded in getting people to actually stop having sex.

    95% of Americans have sex before they get married. Even in previous generations, the vast majority of Americans got busy before they tied the knot. So pretending that abstinence is a viable option for any meaningful segment of the population is at best obtuse and at worst
    really, really, really f@samfletcher:disqus cking dumb. Filipovic mentions that the federal government has spent a dizzying amount of money on programs designed to discourage people from having sex before they’re married, which demonstrably doesn’t work. Instead, our resources would be better spent on things that aren’t the educational equivalent of digging a big hole in the ground and dumping piles of cash into it. Things like proper use of birth control, self-respect, and respect for others.

    The Puritans are dead. It’s about time we stopped letting them dictate our attitudes
    toward sex.

    • Hey buddy, incongruous tag is incongruous! (Pretty sure it was a typo though lol)

      • Thanks Sam 🙂
        By the way I really thought your post was very well thought out and personal. You are not alone in your “to young for marriage” experience it is the experience of millions of couples who feel forced to marry before having sex. Also, I’m not sure why your name popped up in one of my reply’s -right in the middle of the words “F’n dumb.” Some glitch in the FAVS website I guess.

        Thanks again for sharing your real life experience and point of view.
        Spoon

  6. I’ve given this issue a lot of thought, both just for myself as a person and as a pastor. Part of my pastoral role is the honor of performing marriage ceremonies. Given that hardly any couple wait to have sex anymore, I’ve had to think about what I will say to couples about this. What I’ve ended up thinking the most about is, “When, exactly, is a couple married.” I mean, “At what moment do they go from being unmarried to married?” Matthew, what do you think?

    • Very nice thought and question!

    • Hi Jan, thanks for your question! I really appreciate it, and I think it’s a great one, especially for our culture today. I’ll speak specifically from the Catholic Church’s point of view on marriage — Marriage is seen as covenantal, in the same vein as God’s covenant with Israel, and with Christ’s mystical union with the Church. It’s built off both Genesis (“the two shall become one flesh”) and Christ’s re-upping of that instruction in Mark 10:6-9, with emphasis on the 9th verse.

      Marriage happens in the moment when, before God and before those gathered, the couple makes a promise to each other of a lifelong, selflessly-loving, potentially-fruitful union. While the mutual love of the spouses — loving the other “as other,” to paraphrase Thomas Aquinas — is an essential component, so too is the capability of being always open to life in the marital embrace. Marriage is an unbreakable covenant.

      The unfortunate aspect of this understanding of marriage is that our culture seems to only see marriage as a legal contract, and thus isn’t even aware that there *could* be more to what marriage than just that. If marriage was purely a legal formality, then by all means we ought to have sex before marriage, because that “marriage” part would be utterly meaningless.

      However, if we believe in a good and loving God, who is completely perfect and eternally changeless, and if we also believe He created the whole world with a divine Will, it implies that everything — literally everything — was created with a purpose and with a *right order*. That means that marriage as an institution has a right order as well, and doesn’t simply glean its rules from the fancies of a particular culture at a particular point in time. To put it in contemporary language, God doesn’t want couples to “half-ass” their union — we believe that God asks us for a solemn and irrevocable promise that we lay our lives down for one another before we enter into the act and the life that brings about new life.

      Thanks again for the comment, Jan! I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

      • Marriage was created by people to regulate the passing on of property (also a notion created by people) to progeny. You can have love without marriage and marriage without love and marriage (with or without love) where sex is obtained elsewhere (and married couples do this with and without mutual consent all the time.).

      • Hi, sorry about the long delay between replies.
        Your answer is one of the many that I came up with while I was thinking through the whole idea of marriage, and officiating at marriage ceremonies. And please know that i am not trying to belabor the point, this is honestly the conversation that goes on in my head, and since it’s so on trend, what with SCOTUS deciding the fate of so many, I am still thinking about it.

        If “marriage” happens at that moment when a couple makes a promise to each other of a lifelong, selflessly-loving, potentially-fruitful union,” is it not a marriage if one or both people are actually making that promise? What if it’s a marriage of convenience, financial, legal, etc? Are they still married? What if one of them is being coerced? What if either or both have no intention of staying married? Is it still a marriage?

        What I have come up with, and it’s still a work in progress, is that marriage is about intent. (much like the military definition of desertion is about intent…) (that was meant to be funny) But, really, it seems to me that what makes any relationship covenantal is intent. One simplistic example would be a dating relationship. At some point, the two folks involved express some intent to be a “couple” and not to see other people. This may be expressed verbally or non-verbally, but hopefully they are talking to each other about these things. Cheating happens when one of them breaks the covenant and dates someone else. We all know when this happens, it does no good for the cheater to say, “It’s not cheating if we aren’t married.” Of course it’s still cheating – you were in a committed relationship and you broke that covenant. Duh.

        I extrapolate that same idea, because of the underlying human emotions and psychology that precipitate those emotions, into my views on marriage. It is about intent. There is no need for legal red tape to establish that bond of commitment between two people. All their friends and family know that they are a couple. I DO believe that people of faith ought to stand in front of their family of faith and make statements of binding commitment, both for emotional and psychological reasons. (There’s kind of no “take-backs” if 100 people heard you say the words.)

        This train of thought is why I believe that marriage is a human right, and why I believe that SCOTUS should rule in favor of same-sex marriage. If the intent of a couple, any couple, is to “be” married, then the State should uphold that intent with legal protections.

        It’s also why I think couple should not rush into sex. There is more going on than the physical, because we are not just physical beings; we are spiritual and emotional too. In order to protect our emotional and spiritual selves, we should put some boundaries on that physical self, but what/where/how often…that I have fewer answers to.

        • Matthew Sewell

          Hi Jan, no problem about the delay 🙂 Again, I really appreciate your thoughtful reply, and I think it brings a lot of food for thought and fodder for good dialogue.

          What I’ll refer to in addressing the questions in your second paragraph are two things: The “Catholic both/and” and the Catholic Church’s meticulously-detailed bit in the Catechism of the Catholic Church on marriage (by way of my own post on the subject at FAVS – http://spokanefavs.com/ask-a-catholic-why-do-people-get-remarried-when-they-join-the-catholic-church/)

          I wholeheartedly agree that you can’t have a valid marriage without proper intent. In fact, the Catholic Church requires the following for a valid marriage (from my article):
          – Both parties entering into the marriage freely and unconditionally
          – Consenting to, as promised in the Catholic vows of marriage, fidelity, permanence (literally “til death do us part”), and openness to children
          – Not having impediments to getting married, such as being married already, coercion, being too young, being related to one another, being under a vow of chastity, or physically being unable to engage in sexual intercourse
          – Following the sacrament correctly

          Intent is definitely required for marriage, but it must be a pronounced intent. In addition, marriage does not only require intent.

          When God made the covenant with Israel, He didn’t just “think” it, and it wouldn’t have been efficacious if He didn’t make an outward declaration of it. In essence, there had to be an act associated with the making of the covenant — hence the splitting the animal in two and walking between them.

          Along those lines, I definitely agree with you too that marriage is a human right, but it’s also why I disagree that SCOTUS ought to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. Everyone has an equal right to marry, because marriage already has a definition. It’s been anthropologically defined based on biological complementarity in every society in history in order for man and woman to stay committed solely to one another for life for the good of the children that come from that union.

          Furthermore, marriage has sadly been reduced to be little more than a legal contract by people who love each other at the time. Heck, if marriage was only about legality, loving the other person, and getting tax breaks and control of the other person’s assets when they die (etc. etc.), it should definitely be open to any two-person union, because that would be an awesome deal.

          But marriage is meant to be so much more than that. It means so much more than just getting to have sex and moving in together, and it takes an affirmative, objective manifestation of intent in order to be valid.

          Marriage, especially where the Catholic Church is concerned, is a contract between three persons: a man, a woman, and God. It is a spiritual institution first and foremost that is meant to bring out the best of the two spouses through complete and total self-gift, which is then inherently required to be open (in intent and in action) to producing children.

          I would definitely encourage you to read the section in the Catechism of the Catholic Church on marriage — what makes it valid, what makes it spiritually distinct, how it relates to the union of Christ and his Church, and tons more — I think and hope you’ll find some answers there that can help. (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c3a7.htm)

          • Great respect for your right to live and believe as you choose.

            It will be interesting to hear your stance after you have children, especially when they turn 16, or are born gay.

            Life is full of changes most of all our own perceptions as we age, or have children etc.

            Respectfully, I offer you some food for thought. Not to change your stance, more like Paul Harvey’s “The rest of the story” (no I’m not a big fan of Paul Harvey)

            l respect the fact that Catholics still have the lowest statistics for divorce, if this is a good thing or not who knows. I remember an old friend who had been married for 60 years to the same woman, both were Catholic. What I remember most was their joke that some of those years were actually good 🙂
            ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

            It seems Catholics are the most adulterous religious group in Britain however.

            The number of Catholics actively looking for affairs was almost twice that of other religions, a survey has found.

            Research showed 21.5% of the 600,000
            members on an extra-marital dating site were Catholic – a high figure
            since they make up only 10% of the UK population.

            Church of England followers are less common – although 40% of English citizens list themselves as COE, Anglicans only made up 33% of members surveyed by extra-marital dating site IllicitEncounters.com

            2.) Interesting study reported by the Washington Post

            DIVORCE

            Q:
            Do you agree or disagree with Catholic Church policy that says: “An
            individual who has divorced and remarried outside of the Catholic
            Church, is living in sin which prevents them from receiving Communion”?

            58 percent of Catholics overall disagree with church teaching on divorce, but 75 percent of African Catholics agree with this policy.

            Even though Roman Catholics are the second-largest religious group in the United States, the tradition has seen an exodus of members in
            recent decades. One in ten Americans is an ex-Catholic.

            If ex-Catholics were counted as their own religious group, they would be the third-largest denomination in the United States, after Catholics and Baptists, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

            If it weren’t for the infusion of Catholic immigrants, especially
            from Latin American, the American Catholic Church would be shrinking pretty fast.

            A recent study by two college professor tries to get at a simple question: Why are they leaving?

            Conducted by William J. Byron, a professor of business at St. Joseph’s University and Charles Zech,founder of the Center for the Study of Church Management of Villanova’s School of Business, the anecdotal study conducted in late fall of 2011 processes the opinions of 300 non-churchgoing Catholics in Trenton, New
            Jersey.

            Reason #6 for no longer attending church.
            Church’s stance toward divorced and remarried Catholics

            Catholicism’s stance on divorce and remarriage were also highlighted, especially by divorced females.

            The churches stance on divorce is closely tied to their stance on
            adultery. Without getting a marriage annulled, any marriage after a
            divorce is considered adulterous. Therefore, divorced people who have not had their marriage annulled or remarried are not able to receive Holy Communion.

            “Please find a way not to exclude me from the Catholic community,”
            said one 56-year old divorced female. A 59-year old divorced female said she would tell her bishop to “petition the church to expand its view on divorce.”

            In November of last year, Pope Benedict XVI responded to a German
            bishop who questioned the Church’s teaching on divorce and remarriage. “A pastoral approach which truly wants to help the people concerned must always be grounded in the truth… in the end, only the truth can be pastoral,” the Pope wrote, signaling a reluctance to change church teachings on divorce and remarriage policy. “Instead of making every Mass a form of humiliation for Catholics who cannot receive communion,” one respondent to the Trenton survey said, “do something like a private blessing at communion time, to include everyone.”

            Just some food for thought. None of us God forbid knows what the future hold despite the best laid plans and most closely followed biblical guidance and devotion.

            Cheers

  7. If premarital sex saps one’s dignity, then I and most of the people I’ve ever cared about are somewhat to highly undignified. Which I think I prefer, actually, to the alternative.

    But really, as a Jew, I am held to different standards. I am coming to believe that America consists of countless microcultures. To pretend we’re all the same and should live similarly strikes me as ludicrous.

  8. “Americans receive different upbringings in different families of different faiths, while living in different neighborhoods of different cities in different regions, and are then thrown onto the same social-media platforms. These platforms afford an illusion of a single culture, as if public controversies are grounded in common experiences and assumptions. But Americans have never understood one another.”

    –Conor Friedersdorf

  9. Part 2 of a very long reply to a question asked by the honorable DPearson.

    8. Christianity is anti-intellectual, anti-scientific.

    For over a millennium Christianity arrested the development of science and
    scientific thinking. In Christendom, from the time of Augustine until
    the Renaissance, systematic investigation of the natural world was
    restricted to theological investigation—the interpretation of biblical
    passages, the gleaning of clues from the lives of the saints, etc.;
    there was no direct observation and interpretation of natural processes,
    because that was considered a useless pursuit, as all knowledge resided
    in scripture. The results of this are well known: scientific knowledge
    advanced hardly an inch in the over 1000 years from the rise of orthodox
    Christianity in the fourth century to the 1500s, and the populace was
    mired in the deepest squalor and ignorance, living in dire fear of the
    supernatural—believing in paranormal explanations for the most ordinary
    natural events. This ignorance had tragic results: it made the populace
    more than ready to accept witchcraft as an explanation for everything
    from illness to thunderstorms, and hundreds of thousands of women paid
    for that ignorance with their lives. One of the commonest charges
    against witches was that they had raised hailstorms or other weather
    disturbances to cause misfortune to their neighbors. In an era when
    supernatural explanations were readily accepted, such charges held
    weight—and countless innocent people died horrible deaths as a result.

    Another result was that the fearful populace remained very dependent upon
    Christianity and its clerical wise men for protection against the supernatural
    evils which they believed surrounded and constantly menaced them. For men and
    women of the Middle Ages, the walls veritably crawled with demons and
    witches; and their only protection from those evils was the church.

    When scientific investigation into the natural world resumed in the
    Renaissance—after a 1000-year-plus hiatus—organized Christianity did everything it could
    to stamp it out. The cases of Copernicus and Galileo are particularly
    relevant here, because when the Catholic Church banned the Copernican
    theory (that the Earth revolves around the sun) and banned Galileo from
    teaching it, it did not consider the evidence for that theory: it was
    enough that it contradicted scripture. Given that the Copernican theory
    directly contradicted the Word of God, the Catholic hierarchy reasoned
    that it must be false. Protestants shared this view. John Calvin
    rhetorically asked, “Who will venture to place the authority of
    Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?”

    More lately, the Catholic Church and the more liberal Protestant congregations have
    realized that fighting against science is a losing battle, and they’ve
    taken to claiming that there is no contradiction between science and
    religion. This is disingenuous at best. As long as Christian sects
    continue to claim as fact—without offering a shred of evidence beyond
    the anecdotal—that physically impossible events occurred (or are still
    occurring), the conflict between science and religion will remain. That
    many churchmen and many scientists seem content to let this conflict lie
    doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

    Today, however, the conflict between religion and science is largely being
    played out in the area of public school biology education, with Christian
    fundamentalists demanding that their creation myth be taught in place of (or
    along with) the theory of evolution in the public schools. Their tactics rely
    heavily on public misunderstanding of science. They nitpick the fossil record
    for its gaps (hardly surprising given that we inhabit a geologically and
    meteorologically very active planet), while offering absurd interpretations of
    their own which we’re supposed to accept at face value—such as that dinosaur
    fossils were placed in the earth by Satan to confuse humankind, or that
    Noah took baby dinosaurs on the ark.

    They also attempt to take advantage of public ignorance of the nature of
    scientific theories. In popular use, “theory” is employed as a synonym for
    “hypothesis,” “conjecture,” or even “wild guess,” that is, it signifies
    an idea with no special merit or backing. The use of the term in science
    is quite different. There, “theory” refers to a well-developed,
    logically consistent explanation of a phenomenon, and an explanation
    that is consistent with observed facts. This is very different than a
    wild guess. But fundamentalists deliberately confuse the two uses of the
    term in an attempt to make their religious myth appear as valid as a
    well-supported scientific theory.

    They also attempt to confuse the issue by claiming that those nonspecialists
    who accept the theory of evolution have no more reason to do so than they
    have in accepting their religious creation myth, or even that those who
    accept evolution do so on “faith.” Again, this is more than a bit
    dishonest.

    Thanks to scientific investigation, human knowledge
    has advanced to the point where no one can know more than a tiny
    fraction of the whole. Even the most knowledgeable scientists often know
    little beyond their specialty areas. But because of the structure of
    science, they (and everyone else) can feel reasonably secure in
    accepting the theories developed by scientists in other disciplines as
    the best possible current explanations of the areas of nature those
    disciplines cover. They (and we) can feel secure doing this because of
    the structure of science, and more particularly, because of the
    scientific method. That method basically consists of gathering as much
    information about a phenomenon (both in nature and in the laboratory) as
    possible, then developing explanations for it (hypotheses), and then
    testing the hypotheses to see how well they explain the observed facts,
    and whether or not any of those observedfacts are inconsistent with the
    hypotheses. Those hypotheses that are inconsistent with observed facts
    are discarded or modified, while those that are consistent are retained,
    and those that survive repeated testing are often labeled “theories,”
    as in “the theory of relativity” and “the theory of evolution.”

    This is the reason that nonspecialists are justified in accepting scientific
    theories outside their disciplines as the best current explanations of observed
    phenomena: those who developed the theories were following standard
    scientific practice and reasoning—and if they deviate from that, other
    scientists will quickly call them to task.

    No matter how much fundamentalists might protest to the contrary, there is a world of
    difference between “faith” in scientific theories (produced using the
    scientific method, and subject to near-continual testing and scrutiny)
    and faith in the entirely unsupported myths recorded 3000 years ago by
    slave-holding goat herders.

    Nearly 500 years ago Martin Luther, in his Table Talk, stated: “Reason is
    the greatest enemy that faith has.” The opposite is also true.

    9. Christianity has a morbid, unhealthy preoccupation with sex.
    For centuries, Christianity has had an exceptionally unhealthy fixation on
    sex, to the exclusion of almost everything else (except power, money,
    and the infliction of cruelty). This stems from the numerous “thou shalt
    nots” relating to sex in the Bible. That the Ten Commandments contain a
    commandment forbidding the coveting of one’s neighbor’s wife, but do not even
    mention slavery, torture, or cruelty—which were abundantly common in the
    time the Commandments were written— speaks volumes about their writer’s
    preoccupation with sex (and women as property).

    Today, judging from the pronouncements of many Christian leaders, one would think that
    “morality” consists solely of what one does in one’s bedroom. The
    Catholic Church is the prime example here, with its moral pronouncements
    rarely going beyond the matters of birth control and abortion (and with
    its moral emphasis seemingly entirely on those matters). Also note that
    the official Catholic view of sex—that it’s for the purpose of
    procreation only—reduces human sexual relations to those of brood
    animals. For more than a century the Catholic Church has also been the
    driving force behind efforts to prohibit access to birth control devices
    and information—to everyone, not just Catholics.

    The Catholic Church, however, is far from alone in its sick obsession with sex. The
    current Christian hate campaign against homosexuals is another prominent
    manifestation of this perverse preoccupation. Even at this writing, condemnation of “sodomites” from church pulpits is still very, very common—with Christian clergymen wringing their hands as they piously proclaim that their words of hate have nothing to do with gay bashings and the murder of gays.

    10. Christianity produces sexual misery. (Obviously not with you or your wife)
    In addition to the misery produced by authoritarian Christian intrusions into
    the sex lives of non-Christians, Christianity produces great misery among its
    own adherents through its insistence that sex (except the very narrow
    variety it sanctions) is evil, against God’s law. Christianity proscribes sex between unmarried people, sex outside of marriage, homosexual relations, and even “impure” sexual thoughts. Indulging in such things can and will, in the conventional Christian view, lead
    straight to hell.

    Given that human beings are by nature highly sexual beings, and that their
    urges very often do not fit into the only officially sanctioned Christian form
    of sexuality (monogamous, heterosexual marriage), it’s inevitable that those
    who attempt to follow Christian “morality” in this area are often
    miserable, as their strongest urges run smack dab into the wall of
    religious belief. This is inevitable in Christian adolescents and
    unmarried young people in that the only “pure” way for them to behave is
    celibately—in the strict Christian view, even masturbation is
    prohibited. Phillip Roth has well described the dilemma of the
    religiously/sexually repressed young in Portnoy’s Complaint as “being
    torn between desires that are repugnant to my conscience and a
    conscience repugnant to my desires.” Thus the years of adolescence and
    young adulthood for many Christians are poisoned by “sinful” urges,
    unfulfilled longings, and intense guilt (after the urges become too much
    to bear and are acted upon).

    Even after Christian young people receive a license from church and state to
    have sex, they often discover that the sexual release promised by marriage
    is not all that it’s cracked up to be. One gathers that in marriages
    between those who have followed Christian rules up until marriage—that
    is,no sex at all—sexual ineptitude and lack of fulfillment are all too common. Even when
    Christian married people do have good sexual relations, the problems do not
    end. Sexual attractions ebb and flow, and new attractions inevitably arise. In
    conventional Christian relationships, one is not allowed to act on these new
    attractions. One is often not even permitted to admit that such attractions
    exist. As Sten Linnander puts it, “with traditional [Christian] morality,
    you have to choose between being unfaithful to yourself or to another.”

    The dilemma is even worse for gay teens and young people in that
    Christianity never offers them release from their unrequited urges. They
    are simply condemned to lifelong celibacy. If they indulge their
    natural desires, they become “sodomites” subject not only to Earthly
    persecution (due to Christian-inspired laws), but to being roasted alive forever in the pit. Given the internalized homophobia Christian teachings inspire, not to mention the
    very real discrimination gay people face, it’s not surprising that a great many
    homosexually oriented Christians choose to live a lie. In most cases, this
    leads to lifelong personal torture, but it can have even more tragic results.

    An extreme prime example is Marshall Applewhite, “John Do,” the guru of
    the Heaven’s Gate religious cult. Applewhite grew up in the South in a
    repressive Christian fundamentalist family. Horrified by his homosexual
    urges, he began to think of sexuality itself as evil, and eventually
    underwent castration to curb his sexual urges. Several of his followers
    took his anti-sexual teachings to heart and likewise underwent
    castration before, at “Do’s” direction, killing themselves.

    11. Christianity has an exceedingly narrow, legalistic view of morality.
    Christianity not only reduces, for all practical purposes, the question of
    morality to that of sexual behavior, but by listing its prohibitions, it
    encourages an “everything not prohibited is permitted” mentality. So, for
    instance, medieval inquisitors tortured their victims, while at the same
    time they went to lengths to avoid spilling the blood of those they
    tortured—though they thought nothing of burning them alive. Another very
    relevant example is that until the latter part of the 19th century
    Christians engaged in the slave trade, and Christian preachers defended
    it, citing biblical passages, from the pulpit.

    Today, with the exception of a relatively few liberal churchgoers, Christians
    ignore the very real evils plaguing our society—poverty; homelessness; hunger;
    militarism; a grossly unfair distribution of wealth and income;
    ecological despoliation exacerbated by corporate greed; overpopulation;
    sexism; racism; homophobia; freedom-denying, invasive drug laws; an
    inadequate educational system; etc., etc.—unless they’re actively
    working to worsen those evils in the name of Christian morality or “family
    values.”

    12. Christianity encourages acceptance of real evils while focusing on
    imaginary evils. Organized Christianity is a skillful apologist for the status quo and all the
    evils that go along with it. It diverts attention from real problems by
    focusing attention on sexual issues, and when confronted with social evils such
    as poverty glibly dismisses them with platitudes such as, “The poor ye
    have always with you.” When confronted with the problems of militarism
    and war, most Christians shrug and say, “That’s human nature. It’s
    always been that way, and it always will.” One suspects that 200 years
    ago their forebears would have said exactly the same thing about
    slavery.

    This regressive, conservative tendency of Christianity has been present from
    its very start. The Bible is quite explicit in its instructions to accept the
    status quo: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no
    power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever
    therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they
    that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” (Romans 13:1–2)

    13. Christianity depreciates the natural world.
    In addition to its morbid preoccupation with sex, Christianity creates social
    myopia through its emphasis on the supposed afterlife—encouraging Christians
    not to be concerned with “the things of this world” (except,
    of course, their neighbors’ sexual practices). In the conventional Christian
    view, life in this “vale of tears” is not important—what matters is preparing
    for the next life. (Of course it follows from this that the “vale of
    tears” itself is quite unimportant—it’s merely the backdrop to the
    testing of the faithful.)

    The Christian belief in the unimportance of happiness and well-being in this
    world is well illustrated by a statement by St. Alphonsus:

    It would be a great advantage to suffer during all our lives all the torments
    of the martyrs in exchange for one moment of heaven. Sufferings in this
    world are a sign that God loves us and intends to save us.

    This focus on the afterlife often leads to a distinct lack of concern for the
    natural world, and sometimes to outright anti-ecological attitudes. Ronald
    Reagan’s fundamentalist Secretary of the Interior,

    James Watt, went so far as to actively encourage the strip mining and clear
    cutting of the American West, reasoning that ecological damage didn’t matter because the “rapture” was at hand.

  10. Last part of a very long reply to DPearsons “because of negative actions done in the name of the Church or in the
    name of God, then you must attribute the same response to good the
    Church has done. That’s logical right?
    If not, let’s stop here and wrestle with that point. If it is logical,
    then you must then find a pull towards the Church, find it divinely
    inspired, or see it as an argument for the existence of God based upon
    the good the Church is doing in the world. (universities,
    hospitals, the current largest provider of charitable care in the world,
    etc).”

    14. Christianity models hierarchical, authoritarian organization.
    Christianity is perhaps the ultimate top-down enterprise. In its simplest form,
    it consists of God on top, its “servants,” the clergy, next down, and the
    great unwashed masses at the bottom, with those above issuing, in turn,
    thou-shalts and thou-shalt-nots backed by the threat of eternal
    damnation. But a great many Christian sects go far beyond this, having several
    layers of management and bureaucracy. Catholicism
    is perhaps the most extreme example of this with its laity, monks, nuns, priests,
    monsignors, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and popes, all giving and
    taking orders in an almost military manner. This type of
    organization cannot but accustom those in its sway—especially those who have been
    indoctrinated and attending its ceremonies since birth—into accepting
    hierarchical, authoritarian organization as the natural, if not the
    only, form of organization. Those who find such organization natural
    will see nothing wrong with hierarchical, authoritarian organization in
    other forms, be they corporations, with their multiple layers of
    brown-nosing management, or governments, with their judges, legislators,
    presidents, and politburos. The indoctrination by example that
    Christianity provides in the area of organization is almost surely a
    powerful influence against social change toward freer, more egalitarian
    forms of organization.

    15. Christianity sanctions slavery.
    The African slave trade was almost entirely conducted by Christians. They
    transported their victims to the New World in slave ships with names such as
    “Mercy”and “Jesus,” where they were bought by Christians, both Catholic and
    Protestant. Organized Christianity was not silent on this horror: it
    actively encouraged it and engaged in it. From the friars who enslaved
    Native Americans in the Southwest and Mexico to the Protestant preachers
    who defended slavery from the pulpit in Virginia, the Carolinas, and
    Georgia, the record of Christianity as regards slavery is quite
    shameful. While many abolitionists were Christians, they were a very
    small group, well hated by most of their fellow Christians.

    The Christians who supported and engaged in slavery were amply supported by
    the Bible, in which slavery is accepted as a given, as simply a part of
    the social landscape. There are numerous biblical passages that
    implicitly or explicitly endorse slavery, such as Exodus 21:20–21: “And if
    a man smite his servant, or his maid with a rod, and he die under his
    hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day
    or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.” Other passages
    that support slavery include Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, Titus
    2:9–10, Exodus 21:2–6, Leviticus 25:44–46, 1 Peter 2:18, and 1
    Timothy 6:1. Christian slave owners in colonial America were well
    acquainted with these passages.

    16. Christianity is misogynistic.
    Misogyny is fundamental to the basic writings of Christianity. In passage after
    passage, women are encouraged—no, commanded—to accept an inferior role,
    and to be ashamed of themselves for the simple fact that they are women.
    Misogynistic biblical passages are so common that it’s difficult to
    know which to cite. From the New Testament we find “Wives, submit
    yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is
    the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church. . . .”
    (Ephesians 5:22–23) and “These [redeemed] are they which were not
    defiled with women; . . .” (Revelation 14:4); and from the Old Testament
    we find “How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he
    be clean that is born of a woman?” (Job 25:4) Other relevant New Testament
    passages include Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:7; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 11:9, and
    14:34; and 1 Timothy 2:11–12 and 5:5–6. Other Old

    Testament passages include Numbers 5:20–22 and Leviticus 12:2–5 and 15:17–33.

    Later Christian writers extended the misogynistic themes in the Bible with a
    vengeance. Tertullian, one of the early church fathers, wrote:

    In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your
    husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s
    sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down
    upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated
    the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your
    way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what
    ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you
    merited, even the Son of God had to die. . . . Woman, you are the gate
    to hell.

    One
    can find similarly misogynistic—though sometimes less
    venomous—statements in the writings of many other church fathers and
    theologians, including St. Ambrose, St. Anthony, Thomas Aquinas,
    St.Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nazianzum, and St.
    Jerome.

    This misogynistic bias in Christianity’s basic texts has long been translated
    into misogyny in practice. Throughout almost the entire time that Christianity
    had Europe and America in its lock grip, women were treated as chattel—they
    had essentially no political rights, and their right to own property
    was severely restricted. Perhaps the clearest illustration of the
    status of women in the ages when Christianity was at its most powerful is the
    prevalence of wife beating. This degrading, disgusting practice was very
    common throughout Christendom well up into the 19th century, and under
    English Common Law husbands who beat their wives were specifically
    exempted from prosecution. (While wife beating is still common in Christian
    lands, at least in some countries abusers are at least sometimes prosecuted.)

    At about the same time that English Common Law (with its wife-beating
    exemption) was being formulated and codified, Christians all across
    Europe were engaging in a half-millennium-long orgy of torture and
    murder of “witches”—at the direct behest and under the direction of the
    highest church authorities. The watchword of the time was Exodus 22:18,
    “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” and at the very minimum
    hundreds of thousands of women were brutally murdered as a result of
    this divine injunction, and the papal bulls amplifying it (e.g., Spondit
    Pariter, by John XXII, and Summis Desiderantes, by Innocent VIII).
    Andrew Dickson White notes:

    On the 7th of December, 1484, Pope Innocent VIII sent forth the bull Summis
    Desiderantes.
    Of all documents ever issued from Rome, imperial or papal, this has
    doubtless, first and last, cost the greatest shedding of innocent blood.
    Yet no document was ever more clearly dictated by conscience. Inspired
    by the scriptural command, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” Pope
    Innocent exhorted the clergy of Germany to leave no means untried to
    detect sorcerers . . . [W]itch-finding inquisitors were authorized by
    the Pope to scour Europe, especially Germany, and a manual was prepared
    for their use [by the Dominicans Heinrich Krämer and Jacob
    Sprenger]—”The
    Witch Hammer”, Malleus Maleficarum. . . . With the application of
    torture to thousands of women, in accordance with the precepts laid down
    in the Malleus,it
    was not difficult to extract masses of proof . . . The poor creatures
    writhing on the rack, held in horror by those who had been nearest and
    dearest to them, anxious only for death to relieve their sufferings,
    confessed to anything and everything that would satisfy the inquisitors
    and judges. . . . Under the doctrine of “excepted cases,” there was no
    limit to torture for persons accused of heresy or witchcraft.

    Given this bloody, hateful history, it’s not surprising that women have always
    held very subservient positions in Christian churches. In fact, there appear to
    have been no female clergy in any Christian church prior to the 20th century
    (with the exception of those who posed as men, such as Pope Joan), and even
    today a great many Christian sects (most notably the Catholic Church)
    continue to resist ordaining female clergy. While a few liberal
    Protestant churches have ordained women in recent years, it’s difficult
    to see this as a great step forward for women; it’s easier to see it as
    analogous to the Ku Klux Klan’s appointing a few token blacks as
    Klaxons.

    As for the improvements in the status of women over the
    last two centuries, the Christian churches either did nothing to support
    them or actively opposed them. This is most obvious as regards women’s
    control over their own bodies. Organized Christianity has opposed
    this from the start, and as late as the 1960s the Catholic Church was
    still putting its energies into the imposition of laws prohibiting
    access to contraceptives. Having lost that battle, Christianity has more
    recently put its energies into attempts to outlaw the right of women to
    abortion.

    Many of those leading the fight for women’s rights
    have had no illusions about the misogynistic nature of Christianity.
    These women included Mary Wollstonecraft, Victoria Woodhull,
    Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Margaret Sanger (whose slogan, “No God. No
    master,” remains relevant to this day).

    17. Christianity is homophobic.
    Christianity from its beginnings has been markedly homophobic. The biblical
    basis for this homophobia lies in the story of Sodom in Genesis, and in
    Leviticus. Leviticus 18:22 reads: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with
    womankind: it is abomination,” and Leviticus 20:13 reads:
    “If a man lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have
    committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

    This sounds remarkably harsh, yet Leviticus proscribes a great many other
    things, declares many of them “abominations,” and prescribes the death
    penalty for several other acts, some of which are shockingly picayune.
    Leviticus 20:15 declares, “And if a man lie with a beast, he shall
    surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast” (which seems rather
    unfair to the poor beast). (One suspects that American Christians have
    never attempted to pass laws enforcing Leviticus 20:15, because if
    passed and enforced such laws would decimate both the rural, Bible-Belt
    population and the cattle industry.)

    Curiously, given the multitude of prohibitions in Leviticus, the vast majority
    of present-day Christians have chosen to focus only upon Leviticus 20:13,
    the verse calling for the death penalty for homosexual acts. And at
    least some of them haven’t been averse to acting on it. (To be fair,
    some Christian “reconstructionists” are currently calling for
    institution of the death penalty for adultery and atheism as well as
    for”sodomy.”)

    Throughout history, homosexuality has been illegal
    in Christian lands, and the penalties have been severe. In the Middle
    Ages,
    strangled gay men were sometimes placed on the wood piles at the
    burning of witches (hence the term “faggot”). One member of the British
    royalty caught having
    homosexual relations suffered an even more grisly fate: Edward II’s penalty was
    being held down while a red hot poker was jammed through his rectum and
    intestines. In more modern times, countless gay people have been jailed
    for years for the victimless “crime” of having consensual sex. It was
    only in 2003 that the Supreme Court struck down the felony laws on the
    books in many American states prescribing lengthy prison terms for
    consensual “sodomy.” And many Christians would love to reinstate those
    laws.

    Thus the current wave of gay bashings and murders of gay
    people should come as no surprise. Christians can find justification for
    such violence in the Bible and also in the hate-filled sermons issuing
    from all too many pulpits in this country. If history is any indication,
    the homophobic messages in those sermons will continue to be issued for
    many years to come.

    18. The Bible is not a reliable guide to Christ’s teachings. Mark, the oldest
    of the Gospels, was written at least 30 years after Christ’s death, and
    the newest of them might have been written more than 200 years after his
    death. These texts have been amended, translated, and re-translated so
    often that it’s extremely difficult to gauge the accuracy of current editions—even
    aside from the matter of the accuracy of texts written decades or centuries
    after the death of their subject. This is such a problem that the Jesus
    Seminar, a colloquium of over 200 Protestant Gospel scholars mostly
    employed at religious colleges and seminaries, undertook in 1985 a
    multi-year investigation into the historicity of the statements and
    deeds attributed to Jesus in the New Testament. They concluded that only
    18% of the statements and 16% of the deeds attributed to Jesus had a
    high likelihood of being historically accurate. So, in a very real
    sense fundamentalists—who claim to believe in the literal truth of the
    Bible—are not followers of Jesus Christ; rather, they are followers of
    those who, decades or centuries later, put words in his mouth.

    19. The Bible, Christianity’s basic text, is riddled with contradictions.
    There are a number of glaring contradictions in the Bible, in both the Old and
    New Testaments, and including some within the same books. A few examples:

    “. . . God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”
    (James:1:13)

    “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham.”
    (Genesis 22:1)

    “. . . for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger
    forever.”
    (Jeremiah 3:12)

    “Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever. Thus
    saith the Lord.”
    (Jeremiah 17:4)

    “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.”
    (John 5:31, J.C. speaking)

    “I am one that bear witness of myself . . .”
    (John 8:18, J.C. speaking)

    and last but not least:

    “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
    (Genesis 32:30)

    “No man hath seen God at any time.”
    (John 1:18)

    “And I [God] will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts.”
    (Exodus 33:23)

    Christian apologists typically attempt to explain away such contradictions by
    claiming that the fault lies in the translation, and that there were no
    contradictions in the original text. It’s difficult to see how this could be so, given
    how direct many biblical contradictions are; but even if these
    Christian apologetics held water, it would follow that every part of the
    Bible should be as suspect as the contradictory sections, thus
    reinforcing the previous point: that the Bible is not a reliable guide
    to Christ’s words.

    20. Christianity borrowed its central myths and ceremonies from other ancient religions.
    The ancient world was rife with tales of virgin births, miracle-working saviors,
    tripartite gods, gods taking human form, gods arising from the dead, heavens and
    hells, and days of judgment. In addition to the myths, many of the
    ceremonies of ancient religions also match those of that syncretic
    latecomer, Christianity. To cite but one example (there are many
    others), consider Mithraism, a Persian religion predating Christianity
    by centuries. Mithra, the savior of the Mithraic religion and a god
    who took humanform, was born of a virgin; he belonged to the holy
    trinity and was a link between heaven and Earth; and he ascended into
    heaven after his death. His followers believed in heaven and hell,
    looked forward to a day of judgment, and referred to Mithra as “the
    Light of the World.” They also practiced baptism (for purification
    purposes) and ritual cannibalism—the eating of bread and the drinking of
    wine to symbolize the eating and drinking of the god’s body and blood.
    Given all this, Mithra’s birthday should come as no surprise: December
    25th; this event was, of course, celebrated by Mithra’s followers at
    midnight.

    Mithraism is but the most striking example of the
    appearance of these myths and ceremonies prior to the advent of
    Christianity. They appear—in more scattered form—in many other
    pre-Christian religions.

    A Final Word: These are but some of the
    major problems attending Christianity, and they provide overwhelming
    reasons for its abandonment, in it’s past and present form. Why not just
    follow the two commandments of Christ and drop all the other stuff?
    That would be an awesome religion and unique!

  11. ” I Don’t want to Miss the Boat,”
    ( its funny that only men are commenting on this subject.)
    There are many times in the scriptures, (If you Believe in the New and Old Testament etc,) that state that Sexual relations is between a man and women and to be saved tell they are Married. All the Apostles and Prophets to today and church leaders, Pastors (well some,) have stated this from the Beginning of the Creation of this earth and Human beings that it is a commandment of God. Now, I know we are in the 21st century and all is well with the world? but I would have to say If you were to ask the People of Noah’s generation, if all was well when they “MISSED THE BOAT,” that day, and what was there Sin? exactly, immorality, perversion etc. Also, I would then look through the Centuries of History to Sodom and Gomorrah, a Different Century of course like 1000 years, we don’t need to live the law of “Virtue and Morality”, I guess you could ask them today how that worked out for them, “They missed the Boat,” the sins of all of them, the most grievous was immorality of all kinds. Our God “Took them off the Earth,” destroyed, they were so wicked, and there was no repentance or change or even a thought of it, but hey it was a new time a new century,” come on you don’t really believe in Noah’s time anymore do you’?, is what the people of Sodom and Gomorrah would tell there neighbor, and today we tell ourselves that also, hey that was back then its a new time a new sexual revolution everyone is doing it. It’s nature, or Natural.
    We can all set back and justify our wrong doings or sins and say its a new day a new sexual revolution, but God is God and for us all there will be a new day when we pass on to the heavens above and realize there is a meeting with God and that new day will be. EYE OPENING for some. Crap,” I missed the boat”
    For me and my house, morality will be taught and encouraged to save tell marriage, and between a Husband and wife because it is wonderful and sacred and amazing with someone that has committed to be with you. Now on another subject, Adam and Eve were put on this earth to “multiply and replenish the earth”, each of them was given a Scared gift to bring God’s Children to this world, it takes a sperm From a male and a egg from a female to make life, let me repeat that, (because some of us have “Missed the Boat,” on that matter) it takes a sperm from a male and a egg from a female, that is how it was in the beginning, Male and Female, I have made, in my “OWN IMAGE”. like unto myself in other words, and one is not without the other in Gods eyes.
    God is a God of order, he does not change his values to meet the times, he asks us to keep Sexual relations of any kind, tell we are married and at a proper time in life.
    Now, We all have once again our Free Agency, our choice to chose are path or plots in life….. Just remember all through Century’s of time, God has Cleansed the earth of the wicked, From the beginning of time to the coming of the ” Second Coming of Christ,” his son. So for Noah’s people they “Missed the Boat,” as stated in the Modest Mouse song, (which is Ironic) and Also the People of Sodom and Gomorrah, missed it to. Different century’s different times. What will our place be at that day of God’s reckoning, do you think he is going to say “oh its a different century” I will let you by.
    He didn’t with Noah and he didn’t with “Sodom and Gomorrah” whole city, and many more I could list. Something to think about… as for me I will do my best, and teach my kids also, and Repent when I do wrong, and get back on that Boat, because:
    “I DONT WANT TO be the one that “MISS’s THE BOAT”

  12. Thanks for your article Matthew and for the polite and thoughtful way you have responded to the comments. You are a stand up guy and I appreciate your levity, wisdom and humility in dealing with a very sacred and beautiful matter.

    • Eric, thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it! Especially coming from another faithful, stand up guy 🙂

  13. Why do Christians ignore the only two commandments of their God?
    Why are they more concerned with the teachings of Paul, Mark or Pedro Posqualy? Following them above and beyond the commandments of their Lord, God and Savior?

    What a beautiful and completely unique religion Christianity would be if they only concerned themselves with loving their neighbor as they love themselves and loving their God with their whole heart, mind and soul. Instead of condemning others as sinner because of what they do in their bedrooms. If, as a religion, Christians continue to choose to follow Paul or Mark why not change the religions name to Pauliians or Markians.

    I guess if Christians actually followed the laws and teachings of their God they would not have the persecution complex that they seem to need in order to feel justified and separate as the one and only true religion. Most non-believers have no qualms with the teaching of Christ we only have qualms with Christians condemning us as sinners. Like Gandhi said.
    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
    or the bumper sticker “Jesus Save Me From Your Followers.”

    Why not live up to the name of your religion and actually be lights unto the entire world?

    • I will not "Miss the Boat."

      God was and is the one that set the standard for us all, the Apostles were just spreading his truth to the world, that is what Apostle means.
      Remember when Jesus Christ came upon the women that they were going to stone, What did he say to them, and what did he say to her,” GO NOW AND “SIN” NO MORE! He had the power to forgive her and he did, but he also told her to that it was a sin, and to not do it again. She was having sexual relations out of Marriage.
      Most of the History in the Bible, are from God and Christ, The bible old and new are a Testimony of Christ and his word.
      We are all sinners in different ways, but it doesn’t make the sin right and okay, it wasn’t Paul that Told Noah to build a ship and to kill everyone, it wasn’t The Apostles who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, it was GOD! and it was because of there wickedness with immorality and perversion’s that got them destroyed. I cant change that, neither can you, only God will judge us for the sin’s we have committed and decide when the Second coming of Christ will be, I choice to follow his will, and that is Sexual relations out of Marriage is wrong as above he says to her, “Go and SIN no more,” that is pretty clear what she was doing was wrong, which was having sex out of marriage. You or I cant change that Charge and commission from Christ himself to her and if it’s not okay for her then its not okay for us, today even in the 21 century.
      That’s all I need to hear. Why are people so afraid to follow Jesus and live his commandments, instead, they just go sin it up and except Forgiveness and do it again and again. Jesus said repent and sin no more.

  14. I just want to say that both Hardcore Atheist and Conjugal Love would make excellent band names.

  15. Matthew, thank you for this thoughtful and well presented response. I agree with what you said and believe the principles you presented to be true.

    And now, having said that, I realize that some of the other responders will assume, without knowing anything else about me, that I am self righteously obsessed with taking away other people’s freedoms, have no interest in helping with any of the world’s other problems, that I neither love God nor my neighbor, and that I am incapable of living in peace and harmony with people who do not share my beliefs. I just want to stop all non married people from having sex! Expressing one’s beliefs about chastity inevitably provokes those responses, even though, in actual fact, they are generally unrelated and irrelevant. But go to any website where someone expresses support for chastity, and they will have been accused of the same things.

    It is possible to believe that chastity is a God given law, one of many, as important as but no more important than any of his other commandments, and that it actually is an integral part of the commandment to love one’s God and one’s neighbors, which are, indeed, the highest commandments. And it is possible that many of the people who believe in chastity would like the privilege of expressing that belief but have no interest in ramming it down anyone’s throat; and they also probably spend the majority of their time thinking about other things and serving in other ways. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that right this very minute, there are people working for Habitat for Humanity or Doctors Without Borders or No Kid Hungry who also (brace yourselves for a mind boggling conundrum!) believe in chastity.

    Having said my piece, I am now going to leave this site and go to my favorite animal welfare website, and no, that does not mean I do not care about the suffering human beings in this world and or that I do nothing to help people.

  16. I’m not sure exactly why but this blog is loading extremely slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

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