We’re all allowed to change our minds. I’m not sure if this is a credit to my character or a blight on it, but I’ve changed my mind about many varying topics over the past—sometimes from one extreme to another. A lot of these changes happened because I went off to college and was finally out from under my parents’ influence. Having to find your own way and discover how you feel about certain ideas sometimes inspires radical shifts. I was a perfect example.
Another reason I’ve been moving from one side of a debate to another is my radical switch from Christianity to atheism. When I was a believer, I always knew what to do and what to believe in because it was an established system in my religion, my family, and my community. Atheism flung me outside all of those groups quite suddenly, and I had to do even more thinking on my own. With no one to tell me what to believe, and not much practice being a truly critical thinker, I had a lot of catching up to do! In fact, I know I’m still not done reconsidering my positions. Perhaps I never will be.
I came up with four examples of how I’ve shifted my opinions in the past five years.
Then: A few years ago after wobbling between “masturbation is a sin” and “if it’s awesome, why not?” I settled on the view that masturbation was okay so long as you didn’t lust. This is a popular position in some Christian circles because it allows the person the physical release, but it keeps people from sinning according to Jesus “Thought Police™” Christ (see Matthew 5:28).
Now: My new guiltless sexuality and self-confidence are mainly a direct result of leaving Christianity. Now I’m not ashamed of my actions nor filled with self-loathing about being a sexual person. I can embrace healthy expressions of this side of my nature; I can be mature and wise about it instead of secretive and ignorant. The human body is an amazing thing, and we should enjoy it!
Check out my previous post on masturbation.
Click below the cut for three more…
2) Pre-Marital Sex
Then: Five years ago I was a pile of contradictions. I encouraged young women to wait until marriage to have sex, but I wasn’t a virgin myself. I gave advice and spiritual counseling to girls who struggled with, “How far is too far?” while at the same time fantasizing about all the things I could do with another man. I thought it waiting for marriage was not only the ideal, but that those who didn’t wait were somehow dirtier or less mature and respectable (all the while not counting myself among “those people.”)
Now: I encourage safe, confidant sex. I want women like myself to make wise decisions about sex—not make decisions based on guilt or shame—and have healthy boundaries. I think sexuality is an amazing, glorious area in which to grow, and I am angry at those who try to teach that it’s dirty or scary to express what comes naturally. I believe sex is very special and can unite people who care about one another and want to express that care with complete vulnerability, passion, and trust. Marriage is not a requirement for that stage of a relationship.
Then: I used to assume it’s what was generally done, and was the parents’ right to circumcise their children. I didn’t really think about male circumcision as a big issue until I became non-religious (and realized how stupid it was to use this ancient religious ritual today, especially on non-Jews), dated a man with an intact penis (and found out how rad a foreskin really is), and did more research about the topic to educate myself.
Now: I’m very strongly against infant circumcision. I think every child has the right to the complete genitals they are born with—no matter what they are. Circumcision permanently removes healthy functional tissue from a person who did not consent to it.
4) Gay Marriage
Then: I thought I was a supporter of gay rights—I really did. But I considered a separate-but-equal union for gay couples to be a fair deal. I figured that if homosexuals could have civil unions while not having “marriage,” it was good enough and would make everyone happy.
Now: I support the absolute same rights, labels, and acceptance for everyone of every gender and every sexual preference. Homosexuals don’t need a special type of union apart from marriage. They should be married. There should be absolutely no difference between any couple in terms of benefits, social acceptance, legal status, or anything else. No separate-but-equal bullshit allowed.
What do you think about these topics? Have you ever radically changed your mind from one view to another?