CONTENT WARNING: I will be talking about sex, the sexuality of my relationship, and the cognitive dissonance it should have (but fails to) with my wife. This will not be graphic, nor in any detail. However, if having this kind of conversation makes you uncomfortable then you might want to skip this post.
The other night when I was telling my wife some of the “why” of me becoming an atheist we had a sidebar conversation regarding sexual morality and the Bible. For as faithful, devout, and conservative my wife is in regards to religion, her views on sexual morality have always been pretty progressive. Well, progressive compared to our context.
Truth is, her and I had a sexual relationship prior to marriage. Sure, we thought it was “bad”. There were many times where we “quit”. We even got busted once. But we loved each other, and knew marriage was where we were headed. And honestly, the sex was really awesome. We just work together in than matter. We always have and still do. But while we were dating, she never seemed to have a moral problem with us sleeping together. I did. It stressed me out. But she has never had any regrets over it.
I decided to explore this avenue as a means to develop the, “you don’t always believe the bible either” approach to atheist/Christian debates.
After sitting on our porch and talking about God, we notice it’s getting late. We walk inside and start cleaning up. We finally head up stairs and in our room we start talking about sex and sexual ethics.
Me: I really don’t understand how you keep you views on sex and sexuality, and still consider yourself a conservative Christian.
Her: What do you mean?
Me: Well, honey, we had sex before we were married.
Her: Hell yeah we did, it was awesome.
I should mention at this point that my wife has brought this up with church people on a couple of occasions. You can’t imagine how embarrassing it is for me as a pastor to have my wife talk about the fact that we had sex before marriage. And not as a counseling point. Oh no, no, no, just as a random factoid of our relationship. A couple of our staff members know, as well as a few elders. They never brought it up again. I’m thinking they’re all guilty of the same “sin”.
Me: Right, but you do realize that is against the bible?
Her: Well yeah.
Me: And you don’t have a problem with that?
Her: Nope! [she says proudly]
Me:But…but… what?! That’s against the bible! That’s directly in opposition to the law of God! Why doesn’t that bother you if you believe in the bible?
Her: We knew we were getting married. I wasn’t sleeping with some guy, I was sleeping with my husband.
Me: Ok, but we weren’t married. I wasn’t your husband.
Her: Look, every guy I slept with before you I always felt guilty about it. I always felt wrong. But with you, it was right.
Me: Ok but that’s the thing, it wasn’t right. Not if the Bible is right. Either the sex was right and the bible wrong, or the bible was right and the sex was wrong. Like, you can’t have it both ways.
Inadvertent sexual pun. We both giggle like teenagers.
Me: So you don’t think there was anything “wrong” about our sexual relationship?
Her: No I don’t.
Me: I don’t either anymore. You know who else I don’t think is wrong? Kyle.
He and his wife waited until marriage. They fucking waiting until their wedding night.
She smiles at the pun. God! What are we, 12?
Me: They wait till marriage. They then have a terrible relationship, including sexually. They get divorced, he gets a new girlfriend, falls in love with her, and they have sex. He even said that there was a lot of emotional healing that came about through his positive sexual relationship with his girlfriend. He was healed as a person through positive sexuality with someone he is not married to. And I don’t have a problem with that!
Her: I don’t either!
Me: Oh, but you should! If you believe in the Bible, and if the Bible is right, then he’s going against the expressed will and commandments of God.
Her: Well I still believe in God and the Bible, I just see things differently.
Me: And that’s fine, but that’s not Biblical Christianity. That’s not Jesus, Paul, Moses, et al.
This is part of why I can’t, yes “can’t”, believe. I can’t condemn Kyle. He did it the right way, and God wasn’t there for him and his wife. And now they have a kid, and he stuck in that God awful [city name here]. Yet we go against God’s commands and advice and look how awesome we are! Kyle goes against the Bible and look how awesome him and his girlfriend are! I just can’t believe the Bible when it doesn’t work. And I cant believe in God when he doesn’t show up.
We are finally laying in bed. She looks me in the eyes
Her: But John, I have to believe…
Me: I know… but either God exists and the bible is totally wrong about him, or he doesn’t exist. I just find it easier to believe he doesn’t exist…
At this point you’ve already read how this conversation ends…