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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sex, Drugs, & Rock 'n' Roll

Re: Sex, Drugs, & Rock 'n' Roll

Would you agree that Christianity has nothing intelligent to say about any of these three important topics?

Do any other atheists (or even non-fundamentalists) wish to agree with me also that in addition to the rationality, a side benefit of not being religiously committed is that you can have a more sane, balanced, empirical understanding of these three topics?


  1. I'm going to be controversial and say no. Whether its religion or law or society, it all has an impact on how I view sex, drugs and rock'n'roll.

    For example:

    Sex I know that biologically and historically that its completely to reproduce with 14 year old girls, however I find it disgusting probably because of society.

    Drugs, I know that cocaine is severely mentally addictive yet has no physical side-effects when pure. Yet I'm not going to deal it because its illegal.

    Rock'n'roll doesn't really relate because its hard to define it and unless you take into account all music it cant be applied.

  2. Damnit, Vagon stole my thunder.

    I too disagree. I've known a devoutly religious yet very randy girlfriend - who taught me a thing or two. I know an atheist who's actually very sexually uptight, and his taste in music is too angsty for my taste.

    I strive to differentiate between the fundamentalists we disagree with here in the blogs, and real life religious people. The former tend to be extreme (and thus possibly have Abbie Normal views on the aforementioned 3 subjects), while the latter are almost always moderate and certainly what I'd consider "normal".

  3. Geoff,
    Sex, drugs, and Rock&Roll have all played a part in my life but rarely all at once, and only very selectively at this stage of the game. Yet, as stated in your post, I totally agree with you.
    the sane balanced part is important.

  4. WEM,


    +50 points for nonchalant Young Frankenstein reference.

  5. Vagon and WEM,

    I see your points, but I'm not sure they're really disputes with my claim.

    I am saying that religious superstition often leads to misunderstandings on these topics, just as religious superstition often leads to misunderstandings about evolution. It's not an absolute correlation, but religious thinking is particularly poisonous in discussions about these topics.

  6. religious thinking is particularly poisonous in discussions about these topics

    Even if only anecdotal, doesn't the fact that I personally know exceptions to this rule tend make the correlation unreliable?

    I know what you mean, Geoff. I just don't think it's very easy to pigeonhole religious beliefs in regards to the topic.

    As an example, I did not drink until I was 22 years old. I wasn't devoutly religious, but I identified with it pretty strongly, and felt drinking was just something I didn't need to try.

    Once I moved away from religion, I went through one of those phases people often associate with highschool and college - I got plastered, and tried all kinds of stuff.

    Ultimately, I'm neutral on "substances" today. They can be fun or useful, and they can be bad for you.

    Did religion change my perspective? Yeah. Is that perspective stereotypical? Not very (but not exactly radical either, yo)

  7. STD's, Addiction & Ear Damage
    Been there, done that.

    I saw some Dead-Heads the other day and I said to them,
    "Nice Uniforms".

    They were red faced with shame.
    When everyone's a rebel, who's an L7?

  8. L7 = dead giveaway that you're old :)

  9. WEM wrote: "Even if only anecdotal, doesn't the fact that I personally know exceptions to this rule tend make the correlation unreliable?"

    I'd say no more than the fact that some religious people believe in evolution doesn't mean that religious beliefs don't mungedg up (mungedg is my verification word) biology beliefs. My point is not that religion is the only reason someone would have not to pursue sex and drugs, but that religious thinking has a particular tendency to distort views on those issues, just as religion is more likely to intrude on biology than, say, aerodynamics. Specifically, I think religious moralizing has promoted treating drugs in a simplistic "just say no" fashion while undermining more promising efforts that treat addiction as a medical issue. Ditto abstinence only sex-ed.

  10. Wem,
    Did I date myself? :)

    I'm 48, so maybe I've just read too much beat lit.

  11. Hey, I'm guilty too.

    I used to have a massive crush on Annette Funicello, back when she was in the Mouseketeers. Anyhoo, I think I saw L7 in the movie Beach Blanket Bingo

    Talk about dating yourself :p

  12. Wem,
    I didn't think you were that old.

    BBB? You dated and shamed yourself. ;-)
    But confession is always a good thing.

    I think I first read about L7 in some Burroughs book, but I also used to like the riotgrrl band.

  13. It's not just sex, drugs and music, Christianity has nothing intelligent to say about science.

    Consider Ray's latest post; The Faith of the Atheist, where Ray quotes C.S. Lewis (supposed ex-atheist):

    "Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen for certain physical or chemical reasons to arrange themselves in a certain way, that gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But if it is so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It's like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way the splash arranges will give you a map of London. But if I can't trust my own thinking, of course I can't trust the arguments leading to atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I can't believe in thought; so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God."

    What exactly is being rejected here? Evolution's ability to "design" a brain, or the ability of atoms inside our brains using physical and chemical processes to think?

    If he distrusts materialistic processes then how can he trust his computer? Or do computers have souls and spirits?

    If he distrusts evolutionary processes then how can he explain what happens with genetic algorithms?

    Of course, C.S. Lewis knew nothing of modern computers or evolutionary algorithms, but Ray doesn't have that excuse.

  14. Norm,
    Who designed your computer?
    The bible has plenty to say about sex/fornication, drugs, and music.

    The word translated as "sorcery" in Revelation in the original greek is, "Pharmakae" like Pharmacy, meaning drugs.

    Rev 9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

    And the bible teaches that Satan uses music to seduce and destroy-

    Isa 14:11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, And the sound of your stringed instruments; The maggot is spread under you, And worms cover you.'
    Isa 14:12 "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!

    Of course the bible also has a lot to say about the beauty of sex in a godly marriage, medicine, and godly music.

  15. Dani' El, I see that simple logical comparisons are incomprehensible to you. Did religion do this brain damage to you -- or were you just born stupid?

    When you ask, "Who designed your computer?" you miss the point. The computer was used to address the material factor, that it is atoms that do the computing without any supernatural agency, not the design factor. Of course, people designed the computer -- but your computer is not the result of one person's invention and design.

    The design factor was addressed by reference to genetic algorithms. Google it and "evolutionary programming."

  16. When the ad homs fly?
    Victory! crieth I.


    Any comments on topic, Norm?

  17. My grandfather was an atheist.
    I'm not, but I've always respected his take. We agreed to disagree. One thing he never did was ridicule and put down believers. Your blog attacks believers constantly and demonizes them, and this article it flat-out hurtful and untrue.

    I'm a liberal Jew, and many of my closest friends are Christians. The generalizations in this article paint a picture of religious people as insane and uneducated, and you didn't list any proof here to back up your opinion that "a side benefit of not being religiously committed is that you can have a more sane, balanced, empirical understanding of sex, drugs, and rock n' roll." Many religious people are opposed to drug use, prostitution, and worry about the message rock music sends to children. I have no problems with rock music, but I like the idea of helping prostitutes find other lines of work. I believe that sex should be taken seriously, and that it is a “big deal.” I’m against all drugs, except for medical uses. I understand some people do it, and I’ve seen religion help addicts. Not all people who use drugs are, but I still think doing drugs is self-destrucive and dangerous. Not everyone will agree with me, and that’s fine. Although I can ignorantly argue that people who aren’t religious don’t have balanced views on these issues, I won’t because I believe that people are individuals, and can be balanced or unbalanced with or without religion.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but please think it over. Blogs like yours buy in to the idea that religion is for primitive and uneducated people, and affects how people treat those of us who do believe. It hurts me when people mock me for my religion, just as it may hurt you when an intolerant religious person says God will damn you. Intolerance is horrible, and that goes for everyone--- including atheists.

  18. We've moved, Roxy. You probably wont recieve a substantive reply here.

    I disagree with you, but that doesn't matter. Feel free to come and join us over at We Are SMRT

  19. I'll take a stab at arguing the affirmative, but only if I can ignore the ridiculous form of superstitious Christianity that takes the stories literally.

    Rock 'n' Roll and Christianity:

    Christianty is at its heart a subversive, counter-cultural, expression of poetic critique of unbridled power and injustice. In addition, Christianity is a form of protest based on non-violent methods. Rock 'n' Roll is clearly a modern form of protest against power structures and cultural norms that afflict and oppress society. I see a strong connection between the 2 forms of social subversive rhetoric.

    Drugs and Christianity:

    Religions have always used ecstatic emotional experiences (trances, meditation, deep moements of prayer) to help people experience introspection and emotional healing. Drugs can in many ways duplicate that experience. There have been many studies that compare the religious ecstatic experience and discovered that the same portions of the brain are being effected as with many narcotics and hallucinogens.

    Sex and Christianity:

    Sex is a unique experience that incorporates a rare balance of freedom and submission. Sex is an act of letting another person into a rare place of intimacy that involves trust but creates a profound sense of freedom. Christianity also has this balance of freedom and submission as it challenges us to gain freedom through submission. Christianity, like sex, challenges us to see how opening ourselves up to personal relationships and sacrifice can be a pleasurable experience.

  20. Mike,
    Lipstick on a pig.

    I'd like to invite you to my neighborhood and see all the "enlightened" crack heads, tweakers, and junkies sleeping on the streets, covered in sores, breaking into cars, etc.

    I'd also like to invite you to Ward 86, the Aids clinic in SF, or the Up Your Alley festival here in Sodom Calif, where men perform sex acts in public in front of children, urinate on each other, drink urine (!!??) etc.
    Oh the charms of fornication.

    Or what of the broken families, the heartbroken children that comes from adultery?

    And as a former rock musician, I can tell you that the music that promotes fornication and drugs, eastern religions etc does so to deceive people into suffering, the slavery of addiction and ultimately the flames of hell.

    Do you also find spiritual value in Hip Hop music that promotes Drug dealing, prostitution, gang violence, and the degradation of women?

    You can try to sanitize evil but I know better from experience.
    You may say that many lead productive happy lives using rec drugs etc.
    Sin is enjoyable for a season, but all face judgement after death.


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