Former Christian Apologizes for Being Such a Shit All Those Years

by Luke Muehlhauser on June 7, 2010 in General Atheism

[Inspired by.]

sorry puppy

1. I apologize to gays. I’m sorry I said you were corrupt and sinful. I’m sorry especially to an in-closet Christian homosexual friend, whose decision to pay for Christian “gay cure” therapy I did not advise against. I’m sorry I signed a national petition to prohibit gay marriage. I’m sorry I used the word “gay” as an all-purpose insult term applied to everything from traffic I hated to sports game outcomes I hated.

2. I apologize to atheists I tried to convert on “missions trips” to China and England. I hope you didn’t buy my story and pick up an imaginary friend. I’m sorry; I was confused. I’m sorry I said I was worried you’d go to hell. I’m sorry I told you the Bible was written by God. It isn’t.

3. I apologize to everyone for investing so much time and money in churches. Some of that went to charity work, but a great deal of that went to buildings and worship services devoted to deceiving people with ancient myths.

4. I apologize to everyone I hurt by advocating superstition. I’m sorry I told my best friend that God didn’t heal him at a Benny Hinn conference because he didn’t have enough faith. I’m sorry I told so many people the best way to make their decision was to ignore the facts and ask their invisible friend. I’m sorry I told so many people to be unjustly faithful rather than justly skeptical.

5. I apologize for encouraging sexual repression. I’m sorry for silently or vocally condemning people who had  fulfilling relationships without a marriage contract. I’m sorry for volunteering to be an ‘accountability partner’ with other young men as we struggled to encourage each other to feel ashamed for masturbating.

I’m really, really sorry. I repent. And I’m doing my best to walk the other way and make the world a better place.

Sincerely,

Luke Muehlhauser

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Atheist.pig June 7, 2010 at 6:43 am

Good stuff.

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Ajay June 7, 2010 at 6:44 am

Hahaha, nice post. I think you’re going to have to apologize to the people in China and England personally though… ;-)

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Baal June 7, 2010 at 7:11 am

It reminds me of that making amends step used by AA.

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Graffight June 7, 2010 at 7:34 am

…I’d say that most of this stuff is stuff that Christians should apologize for while still being Christians, only because it comes from misunderstandings of the scriptures intent.

I apologize to gays. As Christians we are not called to bash, mistreat, belittle, harm or in any way do bad things to gay people. Regardless of what it says in the Old Testament, a robust understanding of Christian theology as a whole will show that we are supposed to love all people even if we don’t agree with the things they do. Just like I wouldn’t use the term “that’s so alcoholic” to refer to something I hate I should not use the term “that’s so gay” either. It is however quite interesting how we are ok with saying things like “that’s so stupid” or “that’s so dumb” or “that’s retarded” and so on, as if it’s ok to hate people who fit these categories, but when it comes to gay people they should have extra protection…in any case I’m against treating ANYBODY badly.
So to revise this apology: I apologize to anyone I have been unkind to or mistreated.
I apologize to atheists I tried to convert on “missions trips” to China and England
Well, I guess since I haven’t been to these places I wouldn’t apologize  but I wouldn’t apologize for this anyway. This one is one that only applies if I think Christianity is false.
I apologize to everyone for investing so much time and money in churches.
Ehh…this one is an internal Christian problem. I agree that it is a problem, but I don’t think, not investing my money is the answer, rather we should be diligent about not staying at churches that misuse the money that is given to them. Also it’s very rare that someone in the congregation really knows where all of the funds are actually going.
I apologize to everyone I hurt by advocating superstition.
Yup I’m with this one too…word of faith is simply wrong. We should not be telling anyone that they were not healed because they didn’t have enough faith. God does not promise that everyone will always be healed of every affliction.
I apologize for encouraging sexual repression.
Again I think there’s a misunderstanding here. The point is not to get people to stop masturbating there is absolutely nothing wrong with the physical action of rubbing my hand up and down my penis until I ejaculate. The problem is objectifying women in our minds. Or having impure thoughts about woman who are not and never will be our wives. Or even having those thoughts about women other than our wives when we are married. It’s funny how we don’t apologize for undressing women in our minds or thinking about having sex with them when they may or may not want to engage in that act with us. How many of us would be willing to open up our thoughts and put them on the table for every woman who we had them about to see. Most of us would be uncomfortable with that because we would be seen as perverted.
As far as the marriage contract I could care less…marriage is a Christian institution and I honestly don’t really think the government should have any part in it. For people who are not Christians I don’t believe I should try to hold them to a Christian standard. Sure I think it’s sin to have sex outside of marriage, but what good is it going to do for me to try and stop it from happening…it’s more worthwhile to try and teach the truth of the Gospel.

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other eric June 7, 2010 at 7:47 am

Graffight:
“How many of us would be willing to open up our thoughts and put them on the table for every woman who we had them about to see. Most of us would be uncomfortable with that because we would be seen as perverted.”

no, we would be seen as human. fortunately most women have the sense and decency to not have any desire to know our private thoughts and acts. it is only god who cannot seem to grant us this respect. in this way i believe it is god who seems the pervert.

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Molly June 7, 2010 at 8:46 am

Whoa. What exactly does an “accountability partner” entail?

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Graffight June 7, 2010 at 8:47 am

Eric:
I think you missed the point. If you were to walk up to some random woman you don’t know and tell her the sexually explicit thoughts that are in your mind do you think she would see you as human or a pervert. Why do you think that is. Why is it ok to think that way, but not ok to articulate those thoughts openly? If it’s just human, what’s the difference either way. To say that, “women have the sense and decency to not have any desire to know our private thoughts and acts” is wildly speculative. How would you possibly know such a thing? At least I’m making my statement based on observations of social norms, my own personal feelings, and what has been revealed to me about the feelings of people I know. I wouldn’t even accept your statement from a woman. But even deeper than that, why is it considered “decent” not to want to know those things? If the thoughts are O.K. why do you care if a woman knows them? If you were married would you want your wife to know about those thoughts? Do you think your wife would be ok with them if she did. Needless to say I’m sure there are a good number of swinger women and men who would be ok with this type of thought, but those of us who are into the monogamy thing, well…I’m not sure how you can justify it. I’m interested to know though.

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lukeprog June 7, 2010 at 8:52 am

Molly,

This means me and another guy who also thought it was his God-given duty to stop masturbating would call each other once a week and ask, “How are you doing?” and then we’d tell each other on which day we failed and masturbated, and then we’d say something like “Okay, well, I’m praying for you, brother. Stay strong.”

LAAAAAAAAAMEEEE! :)

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Graffight June 7, 2010 at 9:04 am

luke

would it be lame if he was an alcaholic? what exactly is lame about wanting to overcome an unhealthy addiction.

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Rick B June 7, 2010 at 9:07 am

It’s a headline right out of The Onion, but for real!

I apologize for proselytizing to my best friend when I was 15. He finally told me he does believe, at which point I cried and let him go home.

This friend now calls himself a `Conservative Hippy Christian.’ I don’t know what to make of that, but I hope I didn’t have any influence on his conversion.

****
@Graffight – in my experience, Christians use the term ‘objectifying women’ to mean a lot of thoughts, some of which I agree can have negative impacts. However, your condemnation of physical attraction, arousal, lust and eroticism for women to whom s.o. isn’t married goes too far. I think there’s a legitimate place for those before, during and after any relationship, or even in a relationship’s absense. Never mind marriage. I won’t even address the rampant sexism in your post – your post is entirely androcentric.

I think there might be a bit more freedom [and thought discipline] if we could just lay our thoughts out there. I would also hope people would be charitable with each other: I very specifically choose not to act in ways that I think.

What you’re doing there is applying your religious rules to outsiders. Stop it. Unless you also want to be forbidden to eat pork [religious Jews], draw certain historical figures [Islam], drink alcohol or coffee [Mormons], eat beef [Hinduism] or kill flies that bite you [Buddhism], to name a few prohibitions.

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Ajay June 7, 2010 at 9:13 am

Graffight, yes, because most people do equate alcoholism and masturbation…

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Ajay June 7, 2010 at 9:13 am

Especially, you know, doctors!

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Graffight June 7, 2010 at 9:16 am

you have not read my entire post if you are trying to say that i’m trying to apply my rules to outsiders. he said that he was an accountability partner with another christian…i also said in my first post “For people who are not Christians I don’t believe I should try to hold them to a Christian standard.”

I’m not sure how i’m being sexist. But i also agree, thought dicipline is the key. Even in the absense of my wife I don’t see any reason to think about anybody other than my wife…period.

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other eric June 7, 2010 at 9:17 am

Graffight:
“If the thoughts are O.K. why do you care if a woman knows them?”

taking a shit is okay, but it’s something i prefer to do in private and that i’m confident no one really wants to hear about. if i walked up to a woman and described my last bowel movement to her she would think i was a pervert, that doesn’t make the bowel movement evil. it just means i should keep that to myself.

the notions of thought crime and of purity of mind are totally fucked, evil, untenable and undesirable. if we never had lustful thoughts about people we weren’t married to, no one would ever get married in the first place. would you marry someone who didn’t fill you with lust?
christ, i hope not.

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Graffight June 7, 2010 at 9:18 am

ajay…

so you’re saying, it’s lame to have an accountability partner to overcome your alcahol addiction? or are you being sarcastic?

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Graffight June 7, 2010 at 9:25 am

Eric:

But there’s a difference here. Having a bowel movement has nothing to do with anyone else besides yourself it’s also something you have no control over without endangering your life. Neither of these things apply to your sexual thoughts about a woman. it’s disanalagous.

The question is simple. why would it make you uncomfortable to have some random woman who is the object your sexual fanticy know your thoughts about her?

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Ajay June 7, 2010 at 9:28 am

I’m not sure how you made that inference. I’m saying it’s lame to equate alcoholism (an actual, serious disease) with masturbation.

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Graffight June 7, 2010 at 9:29 am

Ajay:

There is such a thing as sexual addiciton you know.

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Ajay June 7, 2010 at 9:32 am

And it’s different than masturbation you know…

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Felicia June 7, 2010 at 9:42 am

“As far as the marriage contract I could care less…marriage is a Christian institution and I honestly don’t really think the government should have any part in it. For people who are not Christians I don’t believe I should try to hold them to a Christian standard.”

Graffight, I don’t understand why people say marriage is a Christian institution. Marriage existed before Christianity did and it is present across cultures, including those that are not Christian.

Luke, I pretty much agree with everything on your list except for the missions trips to England & China. Instead, it would have to be my friends who I tried to get to read Christian materials or I didn’t think were really Christian so I would try to get them to accept Jesus into their heart.

It is pretty embarrassing to think of some of the things I thought were necessary to share & repent over in order to be accountable. Looking back, it seems like so many little things are made such a big deal over in Christianity & cause so much angst unnecessarily, even kissing & dating in some circles.

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exapologist June 7, 2010 at 9:43 am

Great Royal Tenenbaums reference! I love me some Wes Anderson films.

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lukeprog June 7, 2010 at 9:44 am

Felicia,

Yup. :)

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other eric June 7, 2010 at 9:49 am

Graffight:
“why would it make you uncomfortable to have some random woman who is the object your sexual fanticy know your thoughts about her?”

because she and i have both been socially trained to find it distasteful and embarrassing. just like talking about our bowel movements.

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Hitch June 7, 2010 at 10:12 am

Just to say the obvious. Amazing photo.

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Atheist.pig June 7, 2010 at 10:21 am

If you masturbate 3 times a day is that considered an addiction?

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Mastema June 7, 2010 at 10:29 am

“If you masturbate 3 times a day is that considered an addiction?”

Only if it starts to chafe, and you keep doing it without taking a few days off to heal.

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Hansen June 7, 2010 at 10:31 am

If the thoughts are O.K. why do you care if a woman knows them?

My thoughts and fantasies are mine and mine alone! And ALL my thought are O.K. no matter what they are about as long as they stay in my head. If I start telling other people about my thoughts, then they are no longer simply my thoughts. Then it becomes a social interaction with another person and entirely different rules apply to such interactions.

Example (that may or may not be fictional):

My best friend’s wife is hot beyond belief. I have had thoughts about having sex with her many times. I am not the least bit ashamed about those thoughts. In fact, I consider them perfectly natural and a sign of health! But I’d never act upon those thoughts and I would never tell my friend or his wife about them. Why not? Because that would hurt other people and probably cause me to lose a friend. (Another reason is that she would most likely reject me – but let’s leave that aside.)

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Robert Gressis June 7, 2010 at 10:47 am

“the notions of thought crime and of purity of mind are totally fucked, evil, untenable and undesirable.”

If someone kept on thinking of raping children, and felt guilty about it, would you tell him he shouldn’t feel guilty about it?
If someone constantly had thoughts of blacks as inferior, and felt guilty about it, would you tell him he shouldn’t feel guilty about it?

I think it’s a perfectly tenable position to say something like “as long as he doesn’t act on them, he shouldn’t feel guilty about them” (though I would disagree with that position), but do you think it’s possible for someone to reasonably hold the view that he should feel guilty about such thoughts even if he never acts on them?

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other eric June 7, 2010 at 11:31 am

Robert Gressis:
“If someone kept on thinking of raping children, and felt guilty about it, would you tell him he shouldn’t feel guilty about it?”

i wouldn’t tell him anything about his thoughts because i am not psychic.

besides, telling this person to not feel guilty would likely be as useless as telling them to never think about that subject again. the difference for me is our personal right and responsibility to feel guilty about our thoughts, and the rights of others, including gods, to punish us for our thoughts.
i’m also arguing that having sexual thoughts about someone who you do not own via marriage isn’t worthy of the same feelings of guilt as having sexual thoughts about children.

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ayer June 7, 2010 at 12:18 pm

“I’m really, really sorry. I repent. And I’m doing my best to walk the other way and make the world a better place.”

Except for #3, yes, it does sound like you were doing some obnoxious things; are you sure Greg Boyd was one of your favorite pastors? Because he is not known for encouraging the things you were doing.

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lukeprog June 7, 2010 at 12:30 pm

ayer,

My Christianity evolved quite a bit. I was most obnoxious before about age 19, when I discovered Boyd and also ‘the Emerging Church.’

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Mat June 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm

So now you are an apologist?

:p

(Great post BTW)

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Nance June 7, 2010 at 1:12 pm

This is the first time, EVER, that I’ve heard an apology like this. I truly never expected to hear one. It’s a little long to frame, but I’m thinking about it anyway. The least I can do is send it along to my son, who lives in Nashville surrounded by continually proselytizing evangelicals who can’t get out of a car without thanking their deity.

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Dan June 7, 2010 at 1:20 pm

” I’m sorry I told my best friend that God didn’t heal him at a Benny Hinn conference because he didn’t have enough faith.”

I sometimes wish that hell existed, so that Benny Hinn could get what he rightly deserves for all the people who have paid him and his organisation sums way beyond their means for a hoped for healing that never comes, only to be told ( often by hinn himself ) that its THEIR fault nothing happened ( sin, lack of faith, sins of their fathers, curses, devil etc etc blah blah )

I think i need to apologise to my ex-imaginary friend for wishing to smash Hinns lights out.

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Dan June 7, 2010 at 1:22 pm

@Mat – “So now you are an apologist?”

love it!! ;)

maybe more of a “sex-apologist” judging by his confessions of simian punishment guilt.

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Hermes June 7, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Atheist.pig: If you masturbate 3 times a day is that considered an addiction?

Of course not. It’s considered spring training.

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Jesus C. June 7, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Apology rejected!

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Walter June 7, 2010 at 2:40 pm

LOL at these comments!

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Hermes June 7, 2010 at 5:00 pm
Atheist.pig: If you masturbate 3 times a day is that considered an addiction?

Hermes: Of course not. It’s considered spring training.

Bater up!

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godless randall June 10, 2010 at 1:09 pm

EPIC PHOTO

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Charlie June 12, 2010 at 10:26 pm

hahaha this was excellent, I too was an accountability partner and I had forgotten all about it until I read this. Being a Christian sucked.

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Evolution SWAT June 13, 2010 at 9:20 pm

As a former Christian, I apologize for being so judgmental of my classmates in school. I never hated gays, but religion made me very, very judgmental.

As a New Atheist, I apologize for not coming out in the most mature way and for taking out my frustration on the wrong people. I should have held off for a while until I could communicate more clearly.

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Lucian December 23, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I apologize for encouraging sexual repression.

Well… don’t be. Sexual addiction is just as dangerous as any other addictions, leading into clinical depression, which in many cases leads to suicide. And equally dangerous is the contraction of venerial diseases, like AIDS. On another note, to spend (or waste?) one’s youth in lust-driven uncomitted relationships, only to find oneself all empty and alone at 40 is also pretty unpleasant.

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Wave March 31, 2011 at 10:50 am

Hang in there Luke. Your sentiments are excellent but God’s probably not through with you yet! xo

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Sol April 30, 2011 at 10:28 pm

The dog says it all! Nice one!

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Luke Muehlhauser April 30, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Yeah, I like that pic. :)

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