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.

every time you maturbate, god kills a kitten

photo by Tony Case

1) Masturbation

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…

photo by Fernanda do Canto

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.

I’ve written before about healthy views about sex. And don’t miss the results of my twitter survey on open relationships, monogamy, and polyamory.

photo by Zoe

3) Circumcision:

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.

photo by Nate Chongsiriwatana

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.

Check out my other posts on Gay Marriage and Homophobia in schools.

What do you think about these topics? Have you ever radically changed your mind from one view to another?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

30 thoughts on “Changing Opinions: 4 Controversies in the Past 5 Years”

Ahab · September 22, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Yes! When I deconverted from Catholicism, I changed my views on all of the above topics and so many more. Leaving faith and forging your own path is life is challenging, but ultimately more rewarding than accepting religious teachings without question.

    Godless Girl · September 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    I found it a bit scary, to be honest. I still do sometimes. I doubt my own reasoning abilities!

Restoring Tally · September 22, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Congratulations! You seem to have developed some enlightened views and opinions. It is amazing what happens when one comes unbound from dogma and the “accepted” way of thinking.

Your “controversies” are all related. Your current opinions are based on accepting the body for what it is. Sex is a natural part of life, whether it be self pleasuring, enjoying others regardless of gender, or refusing to supresss sexual urges by removal of erogenous tissue. We all should embrace what we are and how we were born.

Henway · September 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I agree with you for all 4 points. I think masturbation is something that should be done w/o any inner conflict. It’s the guilt that’s harmful, not the actual act.

Pre-martial sex is ok, as long as it’s safe.

For the most part, social conventions usually don’t make a whole lot of sense, even some them aren’t based on a religious/moral context such as the whole rat race.

Andrew Hall · September 22, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Changing/shifting positions isn’t a bad thing unto itself. I think most freethinkers value the process of decision making as much as the conclusion.

    Godless Girl · September 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I suppose I’m not sure if my changing.shifting has to do more with general life changes or if I really am easily influenced. Maybe both? heh…

S. · September 22, 2010 at 6:49 pm

I think the biggest change for me coming out of Christianity, in addition to all of the ideas about sexuality, was my politics. Man, once you stop being so brainwashed by the Christian thinktanks, nothing they do or say makes sense any longer. There was one very tough summer when I was 18 when all of this hit me at once. I’m glad that’s over.

    Godless Girl · September 23, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Thankfully I was on the liberal side of politics even as a believer. There are a lot of moderate-to-liberal Christians out there.

Rob S. · September 23, 2010 at 10:01 am

Once you decided that it is OK to THINK, as questions and form conclusoins on your own, you were free.

Free doesn’t mean easy though, and you (like most of us, I think) are in for a life of constantly assessing the standards you adopt against new and interesting situations you encounter in life. Hopefully, the end result is that you begin to form a more consistent and universal morality that respects individual quirks while simultaneously achieving a “common good.”

Best,
Rob

    Godless Girl · September 28, 2010 at 11:05 am

    “Free doesn’t mean easy.”

    Too true!

nullefide · September 23, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Wow. That’s almost scary. I pretty much had the same turn around on all of these subjects when I was going through college. College was the first time I was really away from my parents and their Christianity long enough to ask questions about these topics, really think about the subject, and come up with opinions of my own. College also allowed me to not feel pressured to keep thinking like my parents, so it gave me the confidence to stick with my newfound opinions and ideas without feeling like I’ve disappointed my parents.

It’s sad how religion has an almost universal hold on people’s thoughts and feelings.

    Godless Girl · September 23, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I do realize that it is not just religion, but the reality of being a child who is easily and constantly influenced to be like those around her. Adults can’t help but trying to train children up to be like them, reflect their ideals, and believe what they do.

Roof Woofer · September 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I don’t feel strongly about circumcision one way or the other, but I think your reasoning about affecting the child without consent is very thought-provoking.

Jenny · September 26, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Wow, it’s like I wrote this article myself. I had a very similar experience. I found some of my writings about various issues from high school this past summer. I shuddered and tossed them in the trash.

Are you disgusted with your past self? That’s what I need to overcome. The fact that people from high school remember me the way I used to be is distressing to me.

    Godless Girl · September 28, 2010 at 9:59 am

    I hope you don’t take those feelings to heart. We’re all just people doing the best we can on our journeys, finding out who we are over time. Don’t hate yourself–past or present. Who you were then is a part of the new person you are now! I usually laugh or groan when realizing how many people think I’m still the old evangelizing know-it-all from back in my church days. But what can I do about that? I was that person, and they just haven’t had the chance to see the changes I’ve made since. Maybe they will, one day 🙂

    Hey, that’s motivation for going to class reunions, right? 😉

Kim Hambric · September 27, 2010 at 8:23 am

Hello Godless Girl, It’s my first visit here. Glad to hear of your breakthrough. I’ve never been a believer. I never knew it had a name until I was an adult. I went through the rituals of church until I was 13 and told my parents I did not want to return to the church. My main concern being a child at church was if we had to just sit and color pictures of Jesus and sheep (instead of asking questions), why we weren’t given enough brown and white crayons.

I guess I’ve always been a believer in masturbation (in private), premarital sex (within reason), and gay marriage. I never gave much thought to circumcision, though. I guess I never had to.

My issue now is transitioning from being a Godless Girl to a Godless Mama. There are some interesting conversations with my 8-year-old daughter.

I’m looking forward to returning and seeing what you’re talking about next.

    Godless Girl · September 27, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I’d be curious to hear how those conversations go 😉

    Thanks for visiting and responding!

Shelly · September 28, 2010 at 10:59 pm

I agree with you on everything except the circumcision part. When I am in the mood the only thing i want to stop for is protection. It don’t have time to search for it.

My experience was exactly opposite of yours. Yours was RAD, Mine was Bad ..but that’s just me.

    Billy · October 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I don’t think the original point made by the author on circumcision was intended casually, as so many have interpreted it. The issue is not whether women enjoy sexual intercourse with a mutilated penis, but whether or not it is acceptable to mutilate the penis of a baby boy.

TheSecretAtheist · October 12, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I know exactly what you mean about all of these.

Jessica · October 13, 2010 at 5:46 pm

What a great post! I am not an atheist, but I am definitely not a believer like I was–I have been disillusioned for a while and won’t go to church, but it is taking a long time to figure out WHAT, then, I am. It’s like once I decided I didn’t really believe the Bible, though…I felt a lot of relief. Like, ok, I don’t have to struggle with that anymore–feeling like I ought to feel more confident about something that is supposed to be true. You know?

As for your topic–I feel the same way about all of this–except when it comes to gay marriage my stance is I just don’t care what other people want to do–if a dude wants to marry a dude, so what? It no longer offends me. I had a HUGE issue with masturbation. I was a virgin who was convinced I was a sex addict because I liked masturbation too much, much more than a good Christian girl should. Then when I did start having sex, at 24, I realized how normal and sane it is and felt angry that I had been so cruelly misled. It IS cruel.

Anyway, I appreciate your site and your thoughts. My contact with atheists has been a little bit negative–I get bashed by arrogant brainiacs who won’t allow for doubt– with a lot of things about God and religion I am not yet sure how I feel, but I definitely don’t need someone calling me a retard for not having the answers. It’s enough for me right now that I am not letting a church run my life like I did in college. And I met a man who is not going to pressure me to go to church but, *ASTONISHMENT!!!* is a good man anyway–even if he isn’t a religious nut. He is also not circumcised, which is AMAZING. I am with you on this. Since I met him, I have landed firmly on the side of circumcision being wholly necessary and actually a form of ritual genital mutilation. It shouldn’t be done. His dad taught him how to keep himself clean and I am not sure what the above post refers to, but we don’t have to pause for anything other than protection…? Best sex of my life, not kidding. I feel utterly sorry for snipped dudes, because they have no idea the pleasure they are missing. ANYWAY. LOL.

    Godless Girl · October 14, 2010 at 12:57 am

    Thanks for taking the time to chime in!
    I’m sorry your experiences with atheists haven’t been that cheery. I admit a lot of us kinda suck at helping those who are unsure or just not as passionate feel accepted and respected in that state. That probably goes for almost anyone who feels self-assured in their beliefs.

    One of my good friends goes to church every week but isn’t sure she believes in god at all. She just likes the “moral lessons” taught there. At first I just considered this silly since I wouldn’t want church to be my sole source for morality. But that’s where she is in her path now, and so be it.

    I hope you feel like you’re exactly where you need to be right now, even if that’s not on either side of an invisible line.

Metal Brake : · October 31, 2010 at 11:12 pm

i’m not totally against gay marriage, coz gay persons need to be happy to .

Caleb Green · December 1, 2010 at 12:17 pm

i think that gay marriage should be allowed in certain states but not in other states `~;

Autumn · September 26, 2011 at 8:53 am

I’m late in commenting but I want to thank you for your posts. I’m a former Christian, now an atheist. I realized when I was about twelve that I was attracted to girls. I sat quiet for years as it was drilled into me that being a lesbian would mean burning in hell for an eternity. I spent many lonely years crying alone, thinking I was some kind of freak. The bible says I’m an abomination. I felt I was a good person. I never hurt anyone. Should I really burn in hell because I loved another girl?

But I eventually realized that the bible is full of unscientific fables, sexism, homophobia, and brutality. If the bible is the word of god then why does science contradict it? Why does the bible contradict itself so much? I can be moral without resorting to a book written thousands of years ago by a bunch of nomads who had no clue about a lot of things. Sexism, homophobia, and other ugly beliefs were the borm nack then. My morals won’t allow me to support such things.

I came out to my mother as an atheist and a lesbian two years ago at age 18. She’s never accepted it, but I’m happy with myself. I have a wonderful girlfriend whom I’ll marry someday when the archaic laws in my bible belt state finally change.

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