Tag Archives: sin

Guilt Trips by Miz Pink

Why do so many people think that Christians exist only to make them feel bad about themselves? Yeah I know the concept of “original sin” sounds icky and doesn’t sit well with alot of people.

Yeah some Chrsitian folk can get all highandmighty and catalog all your sins while acting as if they have none of their own.

Yeah, some preachers like to trumpet the fire and brimstone and remind you all day long that you’re a pitiful excuse for a Christian…or a human…and that you should feel fortunate that God even offers you eternity in hell for your sins instead of just obliterating you right now.

The Chrisitians who go overboard don’t define us all you know. As human beings we are a pretty sinful lot and we really don’t treat God’s laws or even his planet…or ourselves for that matter…or other people with the respect that we need to. But when the Bible…or a well-meaning Christian…points out that people sin and that we sin against God all the time, it isn’t meant to give us a guilt trip.

Deke is pretty comfortable bringing out the family and parenting metaphors when talking about God so let me do it too, okay? I’ll even change the standin for God and have it be a mother in our little story.

So, imagine we have a guy name Stan whose mother is named Dorothy. Dorothy has raised Stan alone and although she thought discpline was an important character trait, she also loved him and provided for him. Dorothy gave up something very important to her in order to make a good life for Stan. From time to time, she would talk about her past and drop hints about what she had given up. But she never made a big point of it and she never tried to guilt her son.

Stan almost never really followed any of his mom’s rules. He lied to her alot and took things from her and talked about her behind her back and ridiculed her and ignored her. He spent more time disrepecting her than he did showing love back to her. And even as she took most of the disobedience and abuse in silence, Stan never stopped heaping more of it onto her back.

One day, some relatives who were sick and tired of Stan dumping on his mom…and who were also concerned about where Stan’s life was going to go if he wasn’t going to internalize any of his mom’s good advice…took him aside and pointed out to him that he wasn’t doing right. A couple of them might have even suggested that at the rate he was going, Stan would be really lucky if his mom even left him anything when she died or instead just give it all to a charity or something.

That’s the end of my story. No trick ending or witty conclusion. That’s it. Does it ring any bells?

God lets us make our own beds, and he often helps up out of our messes. He takes our abuse and disoebedience quietly. He gave his only son over to evil people to suffer a horrible death he didn’t deserve and to bear all our sins…just because he loved us that much. He gave up something important for us so taht we could have a future and still we don’t even try to meet God halfway most of the time. We ignore and insult and disobey. And we expect to be given a big inheritance because we think “we were pretty good people in the end.”

Stan may have treated alot of other people okay in life, but the parent who gave him everything certainly never got back the love she had earned and deserved.

Then again, maybe he finally did learn to to give her back that love and to finally listen to her…once those relatives pulled his ear a bit and set him straight on a few facts.

Oh, and those relatives would be concerned Christians who are trying to save souls and to get people who are saved to stay on the straight and narrow as much as possible.

Yeah, some of those relatives were probably assholes to Stan. But some of them really meant well and were nice about telling him what was what. Most Stans don’t listen to even the nice ones, though, do they?

How about you?

You don’t know jack(ing off)…the sequel

smiley-face.jpgSo, I was checking out various Internet searches that have led people to this blog, and checked one out related to masturbation being a rejection of Jesus’ atoning death or something along those lines. Not surprisingly, it had led someone to my post a few days ago about masturbation.

So, in using the same search terms on Google, I quickly found a Catholic site that thoroughly lambasted masturbation as a terrible sin. I spent nearly an hour going through this incredibly long discussion thread on the subject and was simultaneously amazed and dismayed. I’m not saying it was all horseshit; the discussion board manager and some other rabid anti-jacking folks had some valid points. But by and large, I was amazed at how doggedly some people stick to the notion that masturbation is always and necessarily a sin.

Here’s the gist of what I got from the anti-jacking-off side of the argument:

Non-procreative sex is a sin

OK, this is a really popular one with the Catholic church in particular. If you have sex, even as a married couple, and the two of you are fertile, don’t you dare do anything to prevent pregnancy. Be fruitful and multiply. Birth control is as evil as abortion.

Wow! Really? I can’t just enjoy sex with my wife. I’ll admit that sex outside of marriage is a sin, and one that I’ve committed myself. But the notion that using a condom or having relations that don’t involve penetration and potential insemination is a sin is ridiculous.

I guess God gave women the clitoris, a part of the body that serves no purpose other than to grant feelings of pleasure, just to tempt them or to keep them in the bed long enough for a guy to get them knocked up. God doesn’t want us to enjoy sex at all. Nope. Just procreate, guys. Not like the earth is already overpopulated and you’re using up all the resources I gave you. Just keep popping out as many kids as you can.

Aside from the fact I have a really hard time seeing masturbation as (a) a form of sexual intercourse or (b) a means of inappropriate birth control.

I just don’t know what else to say on this one. Oh yeah, I do: Horseshit!

Masturbation involves impure thoughts

OK, on this one I may have to cop to some valid points and admit that there are limits. Looking at a porn video or skin mag while masturbating probably isn’t really part of God’s ideal design. First, you’ve supported the porn industry, which does a lot of harm to the people who work in it and which creates a lot of imagery in society that encourages promiscuity. And my apologies for my part in supporting it in the past.

Second, it is true that sinning in one’s thoughts is still sin. One could argue that by looking at the image of some man or woman other than your spouse, and getting off on that, could be construed as a form of mental adultery. I don’t know if I agree with that in the case of using porn or imagining Angelina Jolie and/or Brad Pitt or something like that, because this isn’t a person I’m ever going to meet (maybe not even a person who really exists if it’s purely imaginative), and I suspect Jesus’ warnings about mental sin (lust or violence, for example) pertained more to people we actually see around us in regular life.

Third, a point was made that you are objectifying a person (or people) in said porn images who is a child of God and was not created for your amusement. Again, not a completely crazy point, though it’s on thinner ice than the previous point.

But here’s where it got wacky on the discussion I was viewing. Someone asked, “Well, what if I’m masturbating to images of my spouse, either actual photos or mental images?” The chief poster in the discussion, whom I believe was also a site admin or owner, actually said that is still a sin because you are sexually objectifying your spouse solely for your own amusement. And lust is a sin.

(stunned silence)

I’m sinning if I feel lust toward my wife? If I desire her because she’s sexy and I want her, that’s bad? So what, I’m supposed to hold her hand, give chaste kisses and, when she’s fertile, have sex just on the hope we’ll end up with a child?

The Bible has established that sex between spouses is more than just about procreation. It’s part of how we bond. And frankly, if you’re jacking off to thoughts of sex with your own spouse at those times you cannot enjoy sex with said spouse, I think that’s a damn good sign you are well attached to that person.

And even if it isn’t my wife I picture in my mind all the time, so what? Am I really sinning and committing adultery if I make up a person in my mind? Or how about if someone is using erotic literature or sexy short stories as the stimulus? If that’s a sin, I guess I’ve committed murder every time I read about someone committing murder. I’m not saying we should wallow in mental images of sex, violence or anything else. But short of being Jesus himself, how am I supposed to keep a head full of nothing but thoughts of flowers, sunshine and helping orphans?

Yes, we can control our impulses and yes, we can mitigate our thoughts. But to throw masturbation into the pile as some heinous sin simply because is ridiculous. Yeah, if you can’t put down your equipment now and again, you have a problem. If you turn to yourself instead of your spouse because it’s easier or more fulfilling to you, that’s a problem (either with you, your spouse, or both).

I certainly don’t think God looks down and says, “nice ejaculation with that one, son.” But I also don’t think He’s wrinkling his nose at every act of self-pleasuring. Because frankly, I doubt God looks down and smiles about a lot of other things we do as part of life that are just part of life. Oh, say, eating, drinking, walking, breathing, shitting. I mean, if you think God is looking down at you on the toilet or at the dinner table thinking to Himself how wonderful you’re doing that activity, you have a pretty dim view of God. I think He has a lot more to be concerned with than our bodily functions. Like, say, the universe and our souls. Just a theory, ya know.

So, yeah, maybe that subscription to Hustler isn’t something you should renew. And you probably shouldn’t be thinking about the pool boy when you’re taking care of your personal needs. But frankly, if we didn’t have so many hang-ups about sex, particularly in the Catholic church (and I’m not a Catholicism hater…just a guy with some serious reservations about how it’s led at the top), maybe we’d have more stable people in church leadership all the way around. Looking at Catholicism, for example (since they do an awful lot of the hating toward masturbation) I’d love to see more priests jacking off and, even better yet, being able to get married, and fewer of them getting hauled away for diddling children in the congregation. I’m not for promiscuity and allowing everything, but rampant repression doesn’t do us much good, either.

You don’t know jack(ing off)

semi-smile.jpgOK, it’s been two weeks since my last post directly related to the carnal pleasures that help keep porn sites in businesstime to sex it up again. Otherwise that whole Deacon Blue thing is gonna become irrelevant. And I notice traffic picks up here when sex is involved. Yeah, big surprise there.

But this time, instead of exploring whether God cares what you do between the sheets, we’ll be taking a firm hold on the ever-pressing, explosive (OK, enough puns) issue of whether He cares what you do with your right hand. Or left hand. Or the little cordless hand-held vacuum. Or the wheel-and-pulley system you created so that you can keep your hands free to work the computer or turn the pages of your favorite centerfold pictorial.

Yes, folks, it’s time to talk about one of the old favorites: Masturbation. Choking the chicken. Slapping the salami. Jacking off. Need I say more? (OK, I do need to say more…ladies, why aren’t there any good slang terms for you? Frigging is just too British to have universal appeal, and I know y’all are helping yourselves out, with and without battery-operated aids. Must we be so formal? Come up with something. The best I can think of is exploring the deltaand that isn’t all that catchy.)

From parental threats that God will send you to hell for masturbating to saying this activity will cause hair to grow on your palms (again, there is a gender bias here; how come girls never got a similar threat? Honey, your finger will shrivel and fall off if you keep sticking it in there…), this has been one of the oddest areas for attack by ultra-right-wing God-fearing Christians and even some in the middle of the road. Somehow, self-pleasuring got labeled as self-abuse.

What am I…raping myself? Defiling the holy temple of my body? Fornicating with myself?


Some would argue that masturbation robs one’s spouse of “natural affection.” In other words, if you’re doing yourself, you ain’t doing your significant other enough. Again, nonsense. Yes, it is possible to rob your spouse of affection, but unless you’re hiding behind masturbation all the time to avoid sex with your spouse, that doesn’t apply here. Women can explode over and over (and it’s a good thing men can’t or you’d never get us out of our rooms) and men, well, let’s put it this way: Most couples don’t go at it every day, or even every other day or so. No matter what anyone says, most couples are lucky if they do the do once a week after they’ve been married more than a couple years. Frankly, I think it’s a service to one’s wife to keep the package in regular use. Otherwise, you go several days or a week or two (depending on what’s going on) between sex, and then we men are going to be blasting off into space before we’ve even gotten you women to the pre-launch procedures.

Religious obsessions with masturbation even gave us the term onanism as a synonym for masturbation, named after a guy named Onan whom God killed for jacking off. Well, sort of. See Genesis chapter 38 for the whole story, and there’s an interesting Wikipedia piece on Onan too.

Onan did something more to piss God off than just jack off (or perform a little coitus interruptus, depending on how you read the story). Much like Jonah got some wrath handed down on his ass when he refused to do something big for God, I imagine the problem with Onan was that God had made it pretty clear that he was supposed to get Tamar in a family way. Why? I don’t know. God works through people and circumstances and over the long run most of the time. Maybe through her some generations down the road someone critical to God’s plans was supposed to be bornand Onan’s disobedience set that back by centuries. Point is, apparently Onan knew what he was supposed to do and not only told God “no” but decided to metaphorically rub God’s face in it by essentially saying, “Oh, and by the way, I’m going to empty my ball sacks just to show you I’m the boss here.” Bad move to waggle your dick in the creator’s face, dude.

I mean, if God was so down on masturbation, he would have killed a whole lot of other MoFo’s in the Bible. As much as God doesn’t like homosexual sex, I don’t recall Him killing off any gay folks. Sodom and Gomorrah don’t count, by the way, even though we get the word sodomy from one of those towns. The problem wasn’t that guys there buggered other guys on the regular. Problem was those cities were just plain depraved. A hell of a lot more than man-on-man action was going down. Any place where it is a common and accepted practice for folks to wander around in groups and gang-rape people who are new to town is a place I want God to wipe off the map, thank you very damn much.

Some argue that masturbation is a form of unnatural birth control or argue that every sperm is a potential person. Well, first off, that means you can’t knock women for masturbation because they don’t eject their eggs when they do it. And as for men, the sperm get old, die and are recycled constantly anyway. They go to waste if we don’t have any kind of release, so by the “birth control” or “life killing” logic, we sin as men if we don’t have sex starting as soon as we hit puberty, and have it every day. Anyone on board for requiring every 12-year-old male to get married and have lots of kids?

Didn’t think so.

I think we have this issue in hand now…er, under control now. Back to your stations.

(Image from www.freeimages.co.uk…like I was gonna put an erect dick or something else up there for this post. You wish, ya dirty minded freak.)

Over the limit

cross01.jpgSo, what’s that magic number of sins that send you to Hell until judgment day? What number of sins, or what kinds, can rob you of your salvation once you accept Jesus as lord and savior?

This is a really divisive issue at times inside and outside the church (the worldwide body of Christ and actual brick-and-mortar worship places).

First, people outside the church structure, and people in very liberal churches, just don’t like the idea of sin and Hell. It’s just too icky. It makes God look mean. Of course, removing sin and Hell from the equation also renders Jesus’ atoning death on the cross entirely meaningless.

Simple fact (biblically speaking) is that it only takes one sin to put you on the road to Hell. We are born with the devil in us, so to speak. Working only toward our own interests is easy and often very satisfying. Serving others and obeying God doesn’t bring that instant gratification. Let’s face it, sin is crack cocaine for the soul.

Now, when you consider the multitude of sinful things, from little white lies where you have your spouse call in sick for you so you can play hooky from work to murdering your neighbors in a cold-blooded orgy of murderous glee, the average human can easily commit thousands of sins in a lifetime. That’s thousands of sins committed by a really, really nice person, by the way. If you’re average…or better yet, a complete asshole…you can bring that up into the tens of thousands and more quite easily.

This is why it was such a big deal that Jesus took on himself every sin ever committed and every sin that would ever be committed in the future. He bore an amazing amount of really bad juju, folks. And in so doing, he had to allow himself to be separated spiritually from God for a time. A guy who had been in touch with his heavenly father every day of his life, cut off until he rose again from the dead. The physical suffering he endured during crucifixion was unbelievable already, and if you ever read about what crucified people went through before death, you would have to be insensitive to the point of serial killer psychosis not to shed at least some internal tears for Jesus and anyone else who suffered that form of execution. And then you add the spiritual factor, and you get some sense of why God wants people to acknowledge His son’s sacrifice and truly accept Jesus in order to benefit from his atoning death on our behalf.

So, that alone is a reason why everyone should seriously look into Jesus, and learn about why he makes sense not just spiritually (how many other religions try to restore a connection between God and humans and provide a savior for us) but historically as well (I highly recommend The Case for Christ, written by a former atheist, Lee Strobel, as a starting point on the logical reasons for believing in Jesus as the son of God). You may decide it still doesn’t make sense, but you have to give serious consideration to Jesus for your own sake. If you reject him after a real and sincere search for truth, I’ll respect your decision, even as I fear for your soul.

Now, how about losing your salvation? There are things in the Bible about how the branches can still be cut away from the olive tree and how certain sinners cannot inherit the kingdom of God and so on. So, a lot of Christians argue that being born again through faith in Jesus Christ doesn’t necessarily get you off the hook. You have to reject sin and live like Christ.


If God made nothing else clear through all those commandments and convenants over the centuries, it was that humans are inherently disobedient, ever since screwing up in the Garden of Eden (thanks so very fucking much, Adam). To make Jesus’ protection over our souls contingent upon our behavior after accepting him is ridiculous. The presence of the Holy Spirit in us is a spiritual thing, and it can moderate and guide us in our earthly activities, but we still live in human bodies that really like sin, be it physical or otherwise. Temptation occurs, and the world presses in on us, and sinning in a multitude of ways is still easy and, frankly, unavoidable. You improve, but you don’t become perfect.

The problem with saying there are certain sins, or a certain number of them, that can cost you your salvation make no sense. Now, saying that failure to accept Jesus and be accountable for your mistakes before everything is tossed into the Lake of Fire is pretty clear-cut. On the other hand, saying you are saved unless you commit too many new sins is hazy as can be. How could you ever know when you crossed the line? How could you know when you are over the limit? That places Christians into more bondage, more confusion, more doubt and more fear than before they accepted Jesus. Being born again is supposed to free us from bondage and fear and the love of sin so that we can do God’s work.

That doesn’t mean that someone who claims to be born again and commits all sorts of nastiness is necessarily born again. But that’s for that person to come to grips with. Someone who kills for the mob for a living, for example, and continues to do so after claiming to have accepted Jesus is someone whose spiritual sincerity I doubt. But that’s between that person and God and Jesus. He or she really needs to look inside and reevaluate but, for all I know, maybe that person is truly born again. It’s not my place to judge, even though an awful lot of people seem to like to set themselves up as God’s earthly judges.

The idea that you might not inherit the kingdom of God for certain sinful behavior, even after being born again refers not to losing your salvation but to the fact that depending on how well you do avoiding sin and sharing the Gospel, you will have varying rewards in Heaven. The idea of differing rewards for the really, really faithful is established in the Bible. But when you get down to it, I’d rather live in the “slums” of Heaven (if one can even say there is such a thing) than have 10 earthly homes to rival what Bill Gates, Donald Trump and any major sheik can boast.

(Image by Joshua Miller, from ebibleteacher.com)

Hypocrisy hell, part 2

headache.jpgWell, in part one of my Hypocrisy Hell series, I took on a kind of double standard found most frequently in the agnostic and atheist camps. Today, I call out the holier-than-thou crowd (hey, you may not always agree with my theological/spiritual position, but I hope you can never fault me for failing to point out foibles on both sides of the fence).

Why is it that a painfully significant number of folks who are born again through faith in Jesus Christ get so fired up about their salvation that they forget they were (and still are) sinners themselves? All of a sudden, they are so zealous that they figure they can start pointing fingers. How could you do that? How could you think that? And they completely ignore their own faults and complete disregard that their own path to Jesus might have been very rocky, and perhaps very slow. They start to push, and prod, and damn near try to bulldoze people toward Christ with no regard for the damage they do in the process.

In particular, these particular kinds of hypocrites seem to get worse the longer they are born again, feeling ever more full of themselves instead of being filled with the Holy Spirit…and God help everyone when one of them ascends to a pulpit. Because if they had the hypocrisy bug bad before, suddenly they start talking like they’re as good as Jesus and never sin anymore.

As a side note, I know a lot of people with grudges against Christianity hate the very concept of sin or humans as sinful beings. They think, “How could a being as small as I am offend a being great enough to create a universe with anything I do?” That’s not the point. The point is that sin is a barrier between us and God. God doesn’t sin. So when we do, we put ourselves in a position in which He cannot relate to us. It’s only when we accept Jesus, who had both the godly and human natures within him, that we can reconnect and truly be heard by this immense being known as God the Father.

Anyway, getting back on track, it is so very wrong to criticize others for their sins when those of us who are born again through Jesus did just the same things, or worse. And we continue to sin, which is why we continue to need Jesus to bolster our spiritual credit until the day we pass into Heaven. Yes, those of us who are born-again should feel content and proud (though not prideful) of our decision to acknowledge Jesus, but if we become smarmy and obnoxious about it, all we do is make people want to get as far from us as possible.

And it’s kinda hard to reach people for Jesus if we’re always chasing them away.

(Image from www.freeimages.co.uk)

Who really blew it in Eden?

apple.jpgA lot of people get a little worked up about the patriarchal nature of Christianity. God the father. Jesus the son. Twelve apostles that were all men. Male-centered language all over the place in the Bible. Understandably, it’s the women who are most likely to feel a bit peeved about this state of affairs. Who can blame ’em? Seems pretty sexist on the face of it.

While I do believe in things like only men being pastors, men as spiritual head of the household (at least in households where they are present) and a lot of things like that, I understand why it doesn’t sit so well with a lot of women. I’ll pick some other day, though, to defend the reasons for men “outranking” women by a small margin on spiritual matters. (And believe me, it ain’t necessarily a privileged position.) 

Instead, let me take this moment to get women off the hook for something by noting that it isn’t the fault of a woman that humans got kicked out of the Garden of Eden and the world took such a nasty turn for all of us spiritually (yes, I believe in the Eden story, and someday I’ll get around to noting why it doesn’t necessarily have to conflict with evolution and other scientific notions).

Yeah, folks, despite centuries of people pointing the finger at Eve, it was Adam who screwed it all up.

Sure, Satan came at Eve first. Sure, she gave in and ate the forbidden fruit. And yes, she offered a taste to Adam. But Adam didn’t have to eat the fucking thing! And despite all the notions that she was some temptress, I don’t think she did something like dangle the damn fruit between her bosoms and say, “Take a taste of it or you won’t get a taste of me for the next few decades, mister.” Hell, even if she had, Adam should have found the nearest waterfall and taken a cold shower.

God told both of ’em not to eat off that damned tree. More than that, Adam was created first and had been hearing God’s voice long before Eve was added to the mix. The man knew the  score. He knew God was good, he knew God was in charge, he knew there was only one freakin’ rule for him to follow: Don’t eat from that tree right over there.

Simple rule.

The problem wasn’t Eve. And you can’t blame her for being a weak-willed sop and neglect the fact that Adam was just as much a pushover as she was. Let’s show some equal treatment here. The problem was that sin itself is a tantalizing thing. God knew that, but he had to provide something counter to Him in order for humans to truly have free will.

The fact that Eve ate the fruit showed that humans could choose to disobey God. It set some major precedent. There probably would have been repercussions for her on some level and maybe for us as a species. But remember, it wasn’t until Adam ate the fruit that they got kicked out of Eden. God didn’t evict Eve. Not until Adam went and disobeyed, and then they both got the heavenly boot. Problem for all of us is that, essentially, the Earth was deeded to Adam. He was the steward of this planet, and when he disobeyed, Satan got a major foothold, taking over the lease in some respects from God.

When Adam looked at Eve and saw she hadn’t been struck dead for eating the fruit, he decided to doubt God and give in to the temptation to do his own thing. And that’s what separated humans from God in a spiritual sense. The guy was put in charge, and he was too much of a wuss to hold out at least long enough to have a few kids.

Because the world would be a vastly different place, I suspect, if the human race had started on the right foot with babies first being born to an obedient couple, or at least a couple with one obedient member. Instead, it started with two people who disobeyed and had been left spiritually dead, one of whom was the head of the “household” (whatever passes for a household in a big garden, at least).

And ladies, this should give you some sense (even before I go into any major debate on male leadership in the faith) of why I don’t think it’s always such a wonderful thing, for example, that I am spiritual head of my household because I’m the guy. With that position comes some responsibilities and burdens that I’d rather pass along, thank you very much.

That being said, at least I’m glad I wasn’t the guy who screwed it up for the rest of us.