Do you Pinky Swear?

“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”
What if–instead of swearing on a bible, holy book, or other boring document–we could pinky swear? I’d even go for a “cross my heart” every once in a while.

Well, the folks over at secularpinkyswear.org have got the right idea. They’ve written out a pledge for those who wish to live by secular principals.

Here are the ideals you would affirm:

  1. I will be open about my secular values and will not feign religious values due to pressure from friends, family, employers and/or the general public.
  2. If I face religious pressure in the future, I will be mindful that as an individual I have a right to believe and act in a way that I deem appropriate. To accept dogma, superstition or creeds that I don’t believe in would be to sacrifice freedom of conscience and expression on the altar of conformism.
  3. Without need for religious reference, I will make every effort to take a mature, intelligent approach to decisions regarding my sexuality. I understand the appropriate context for sexual abstinence and appreciate the benefits that communication and maturity bring to intimacy.
  4. If I marry, my wedding ceremony will be either humanist, secular, or a joint ceremony that avoids the implication that I hold to views not actually my own.
  5. If I have children, I will recognize the importance of letting my humanist values inform my childrearing, and won’t yield to cultural, family, or other pressures to indoctrinate them into traditional religious beliefs or force them to participate in religious rites of passage.
  6. Without losing sight of the importance of diverse viewpoints, I will encourage others to appreciate the value of reason, compassion, equality, and other enlightened principles that make the world a better and safer place for humanity, now and in the future.
  7. In all of my actions, and without threat of divine retribution, I will strive to respect the dignity of all people.

That first one is a real challenge for me, since I’m still in the closet. I don’t pretend to have religious values, but I am not public about the fact that my views are godless. Think I could still put my name down?

What do you think of these affirmations? Would you add any others? Will you pinky swear?

(via @Pharyngula)

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May 30, 2009  |  religion

17 Comments


  1. I know I'm not following a whole lot of these. I'm not able to come out with my beliefs right now, especially with my fundamentalist parents and my fianceé's fundamentalist family. I'm betting my wedding will be a pseudo-religious service, and I won't be raising my children secular if my fianceé has a say in it, though we won't be indoctrinating them in religion either. It's more of a presentation of all sides and letting the children decide. Anyway, I hope that one day I can abide by these principles, but at the moment it just doesn't seem feasible.

    • Hey JP, I hope you don't mind me voicing some questions. No pressure to answer, of course.

      Does your fiancée fully understand and support where you stand on matters of faith?

      Since child-rearing and religion in the home are some of the most important issues a married couple has to agree on, are you two really solidly nailing down what life would be like (practically speaking) since you are a non-christian and she is one?

      I was raised by a Catholic mom and a Presbyterian dad, and even then there was a lot of discussion, compromise, and planning to be really clear what traditions, teachings, activities, and practices were going to be part of the family culture.

      Wishing you the best of luck with all of it!

  2. i think it makes sense! that's how i'm living my life!

  3. I'll start by saying that a lot of people I'm friends with on facebook don't know yet that I've deconverted from Christianity.

    My status: _____ is all for breast cancer research and awareness, but wonders how informing her facebook friends of the color of her bra is really going to help with that.

    Lots of people have messaged me or left comments thanking me for standing up for the gospel and for purity and telling me that I'm a wonderful example of a godly woman.

    …What? I was simply expressing curiosity about what exactly this silly meme was going to accomplish.

    I suppose this is a good way to start letting some of them know that I'm not trying to be a good fundy girl who is pure and modest and cares about not "defrauding" her brothers or causing them to stumble.

  4. I wonder what these fellows struggling with their purity do with all of the pictures people post on their facebook pages? Most of what I see from my friends' (and maybe it's just my friends, but…) photos is waaaaaaaaaay more provocative than a random color posted as a status update. I don't know- the whole thing just seems silly to me (both the meme itself and its apparent reaction).

  5. I don't doubt that there are plenty of men like those described in the gentleman's post. There certainly is a subset of men who will get riled up just knowing the bra color of the women on their facebook feed. And?

    More to the point, there are men who are so repressed and obsessed and afraid of sexuality that they think that they have the right to impose their standards on other people and expect those people to follow them. If you are bothered by things people post, stop reading updates from those people. Seems simple enough. But no, he feels the needs to try to scare them into doing things his way with a faux boogeyman of internet stalkers. Which simply tells you what a truly disturbed and potentially dangerous person *he* is, because the implication is that he would be that stalker if he weren't afraid of being punished by God.

    As a side note, it took me three days to figure out what the random colors people were posting in their updates. Hardly in-your-face provocative titilation if you ask me.

  6. I am all for people trying to live their lives as pure as they desire. However, what I am not for is when purity people try to influence the behaviour of other people according to their purity beliefs. They do not have the right to try to modify people's behaviour according to their own view of the world. If Facebook is getting too unpure for them, then leave Facebook. They shouldn't try to modify anyone's behaviour on there to fit their view point.
    Besides, if knowing a chick's bra colour is going to cause them to deviate off their path of purity then their will to remain pure must not be very strong.

  7. As an atheist man who is extremely prudish for some reason when it comes to sexual matters, I still think this letter is 100% bullshit. I don't understand how knowing anything about the colour of some woman's brassiere has any effect on anything – even my own mental state. It doesn't cause me to think about that woman's breasts or to fantasise about engaging in sexual congress with her; all it does is make me wonder why on earth she would care to disclose that information and/or what she thinks it will accomplish. This letter only serves to highlight the mental issues of the man who wrote it.

    I have neuroses that make me extremely uncomfortable with sex, but I don't project them onto everybody else (well, within reason – I don't like to see people engaging in overly passionate "public displays of affection" and I might snidely ask them to get a room, but aside from that…), and I think that's the difference between somebody like me and somebody like the man in question who is basing his concerns on religion. I know that my issues are irrational; he does not.

  8. Oh my god. I escaped the church in part because I never wanted to hear the phrase "stumbling block" ever again. (I don't think "JoeBob" even used the term, but I was bracing for it.) Only under the repressive cloak of strict organized religion can a mentally healthy, fully grown, married man feel that knowing a woman's bra color could make a straight guy over the age of 14 think dirty thoughts. I am so glad that if I have a son he'll be raised to laugh it off should he ever come across the knowledge of his female friend's undergarments. Yet another reason to leave Christianity for me.

  9. Internet stalker? Hardly. He just described a guy who likes to picture breasts. Whoopdeedo. No implication and it comes off like a strawman.
    Despite my defense of this guy, I totally agree that this whole reaction comes from repressing healthy sexuality.

  10. I wish I was in a position where I could do this. Those of you who have read my story know that I’m still totally closeted (well, almost totally, there are a select few who know) and working in a job where I can’t come out as an atheist.

    (Hmm… I think there may be another atheist blogger who has been in a similar place before, I wonder who that could be? :D)

  11. Great idea! I always yell out ” I swear on my life!” “I swear on all my cookboks!” and other important things. That way friends know they can trust me.

    With other people around I am know for yelling out “I swear to God!” when joking about something. Friends see the jokes, other people believe me. 😉

    I mean, why shouldn’t we swear on something everyone can see? Everyone can see me??

  12. I would say I almost fit the bill for this secular pinky swear, but I still wouldn’t agree to it. I’m most certainly not a closet atheist, almost to a fault. I have had to actually tone my shit down for fear of losing my job. So now when people asking what I am reading I might say philosophy instead of spending the rest of my lunch break in a heated argument with a fundie who’s had their feelings hurt by a book titled God is not Great despite not knowing anything about the contents. Or when my ultra conservative bosses start ranting about the impending doom and tyranny of Islam and how it’s going to destroy freedom and shit on the founding fathers or whatever, I try to just agree with them that Islam is a religion that is counterproductive to human progress without pointing out the glaring counterpoint that the Baptist church may not necessarily be launching us into a Utopian future either.

    So in some respect, out of self preservation, I have to censor my full opinions down to what my bosses won’t get angry about so I don’t lose the tenuous grasp I have on the lower class and (sans-income) begin a spiral down into homelessness and inevitably male prostitution and starvation. (The starvation would be due to my total inability to succeed as a male prostitute. My jaw doesn’t open very far.) I still think I can get on board rule number one though, since even a conscious effort to moderate my detest for the religious right doesn’t filter out enough for anyone to wonder where I stand on the issue.

    I actually make it through the whole list with no more problems, until rule number seven. I find the opinions and actions of the saved, most especially here in the bible belt, to be so perverse, dispicable, and down right sadistic, that I can in no way “strive to respect the dignity of all people”. Without considering any other topic, I think the religious stance on homosexuality alone is enough to condemn anyone who professes belief in the “good” book. When an entire group vocally and energetically denies basic human rights to people outside of their pious holy roller circle jerk, I get pretty pissed off. I would argue that the policies of the american church are so disastrous for progress and equality that those involved should be publicly shamed until they reluctantly drop their bigotry (on the surface) and finally allow people with different beliefs to be treated like actual human beings. As an add-on to that point, I would also argue from my extensive experience with the mind numbing garbage spewed across the nation in the form of conservative radio ready packed for mass consumption by a predominantly white, predominantly christian audience. By extensive experience I mean a forced listening period of at least eight hours a day of conservative talk radio. (I’m getting hungry for a bullet just thinking about it) Over the last year that I have been listening to a work day’s worth of panic soup with hate crackers, I have not been given much of a sense that the religious right in America has any dignity for me to disrespect. Somewhere between screeching like a banshee about how we should be shooting illegal immigrants at the border, and face-sharting ad nauseam to the effect that our country should let the children of minorities go without food because their parents are lazy liberal parasites, my perception of the renowned dignity and civility of people who stockpile food in their bunkers at the advise of their freakishly Aryan-Mormon fear puppeteer with a chalk board fetish shifted from one of respect to one you might experience while poking the maggots out of roadkill with a stick, or inspecting your feces to admire the quantity of corn you consumed the day prior. That is, an attitude of morbid curiosity at best. As a result, even if I found dignity in the cult of Jesus which I had the option of respecting, I don’t feel they deserve it.

    Also I have an aversion to signing up to follow inflexible rules someone else came up with. But despite what my incessant venting may infer, I actually see the point of this pinky swear dealio, and I think it’s good to try to encourage like minded people to stand up for the secular values that so many of us silently adhere to.

  13. PS – Sorry for the insane length of my comment. I didn’t mean to out-write the poster, I know that’s not cool, and I didn’t realize how long it had become. (the preview window stays so innocently small no matter how long I angrily stab at my keyboard) My bad Godless Girl. I had a really bad day, and now I feel much better, so sorry and thanks.

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