by John W. Loftus
How many sermons have Christians heard about Joseph and Potipher’s wife where the preacher asked something like this: “How many men would've been able to overcome this temptation?” And they conclude with, “I fear not many men here could’ve overcome this.” What are preachers saying here?...That Joseph was a man of faith and had real strength of character, but most men, even Christian men, do not. And yet when a Christian (former one) like me actually does succumb to such a temptation, these same preachers are quick to condemn me. Isn't that odd? Which is it?
The story of my affair [which took place 15 years ago(!)] that I tell in my book, Why I Rejected Christianity, is a story that shows the church is the only place that shoots its own wounded. Say it isn't so? If someone has a problem, the church is the first to condemn.
Christians stress that the marriage vows are sacred. And what part of those vows is most important? Sexual faithfulness. Why? Aren't there other vows there too? Like to love, honor, and "obey?" LOL. There are Christian couples out there that can boast of being faithful to each other in marriage for 25 years and more, but they hate each other and bicker and fight all day long. But whoopee, they're faithful to each other! Big deal. Their marriages are a sham.
Ethicist Richard Taylor wrote a book on Having Love Affairs (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1982) and he discusses whose fault it is when there is an affair. I am not excusing myself here, but as he explains, there may be more to it. “Though a wife may be ever so dutiful, faultless, and virtuous in every skill required for the making of a home, if she lacks passion, then in a very real sense she already is without a husband, or he, at least, is without a wife. Similarly, a husband who is preoccupied with himself and his work, who is oblivious to the needs of his wife and insensitive to her vanities, who takes for granted her unique talents and who goes about his business more or less as though she did not exist, has already withdrawn as a husband, except in name.” “What must be remembered by those persons who wish to condemn adultery is that the primary vow of marriage is to love, and that vow is not fulfilled by the kind of endless busyness exemplified in the industrious and ever generous husband or the dedicated homemaking wife…What has to be stressed is that the first infidelity may or may not have been committed by the one who is having an affair. The first and ultimate infidelity is to withhold the love that was promised, and which was originally represented as the reason for marriage to begin with.”
Christians are still condemning me here at ex-Christian.net. Why? Because that's what they do, and it should be no surprise to atheists here that Pastors have problems with sexual sin. Now I am happily married to an atheist and faithful to her. I love that woman. She is my best friend.
In my opinion Christianity is psychologically harmful by creating and maintaining the circumstances whereby we do wrong, since we cannot be free to express ourselves or even confess our problems to other Christians for fear of condemnation. I no longer have to hide my true feelings about anything with my wife since I no longer have the Christian guilt trip and the potential condemnation that goes with it.
For the record, it wasn’t just my affair that led me to reject Christianity. I could’ve gotten beyond the damage that had done to my faith. It was being cut off from the church, of which the affair with her was the catalyst. Taken together with what I was learning at the time, and the subsequent church experiences I had, I eventually came to reject my former faith.
By the way, haven't you seen documentaries on TV where a con-artist (male or female) got someone to marry them for their money and then killed them? There are people out there like that. Wake up! This woman wasn't that bad of course, but she was a modern day Potipher's wife who sought to destroy me because I was speaking out against pornography in town and she was a former stripper who had it "in" for preachers like me. And I never said it wasn't my fault, either.
Now, deal with my arguments. I want to stress the fact that my thinking has indeed changed. You cannot explain away my present ideas by pointing to these bad experiences in my life. They may be what provoked my thinking, but they don’t explain my thoughts. I am an atheist regardless of the experiences that led up to my present way of thinking. In talking with me you will have to deal with my arguments. Otherwise, I could point to your past experiences and explain your beliefs away as a product of what you have experienced too! People believe and doubt for a wide variety of reasons, and that’s all there is to it.
The real questions to me are: 1) Why God allowed this in the first place, if he knew the outcome would be that I'd become an atheist because of it and eventually lead others "astray;" and, 2) Why does the church shoot its own wounded?