As I’ve stated before I’m a former right wing, Roman Catholic, nut-job, now a proud agnostic (practically atheist), pro-choice, sex radical, lefty. This conversion didn’t occur overnight obviously. There were many factors that contributed to my loss of faith but as you will see issues of sexuality and reproductive rights are at the core of it.
First off here is what I had to overcome, I was raised in a Roman Catholic home, went to a Roman Catholic elementary and middle school, a Roman Catholic high school and two years of a Catholic collage. So it should be of little surprise that in my youth (birth through middle school) I was basically a mindless sheep. However, even at a young age, I liked the sciences; I liked logic and reason. Despite all the factors working against me I managed to develop a rational, scientific mind.(1). Even then the real me was struggling to break free. I can remember in middle school having deep (well as deep as a middle school-er can get anyway) crisis of conscience because of all the time I spent sneaking peaks at my brothers porn mags and trying to make out naked bodies amidst the wavy lines of scrambled out porno channels; and of course doing what came naturally in both those instances. Interesting to note that my tastes were already trending away from the norm. Bondage mags interested me more then Playboys and I was quite happy when I could make out more than two people going at it amidst the blurry lines. The nexus between religion and sex was forming.
Then came high school, I cannot reminder when but at some point I realized what my religion teachers were telling me did not make sense and I briefly became an atheist. It wasn’t much better than being a mindless sheep Catholic, at that point a lot of it was also just teenage rebellion. More importantly, I was still a right-wing nut job most of the bigoted/misguides/patriarchal/downright nonsensical beliefs were still there just flying under a political rather than religious banner and as I said this conversion was brief and I went back to Catholicism soon enough. Nevertheless, this did show religion’s hold on me was not absolute. Now why did I go back to Roman Catholicism? Two reasons I said my religion teachers didn’t make sense; I around that time discovered internet message board and found a board where one user managed to explain Catholic theology better than any religion teacher I’ve ever had. This alone did not convince me I should convert back, however it did make me take a second look at Catholicism. The reason I converted back, that is directly related to sex.
Along with internet boards, I had also discovered internet porn. I had discovered porn so what? Isn’t that what teenagers with internet connections do? Remember most of my sex education came from catholic sources, I still to this day have an irrationally high fear of contraceptive failure, and I was looking up info on Catholicism at the time, because otherwise this might not make sense. I discovered porn and then made the leap that I was addicted to it. Was I? No, but that’s what I thought at the time. One night convinced that I was an addict, I had waited a long while to download a truly horrible porn clip, I broke down and prayed for some short of miracle to save me from this “addiction”. Second thing you have to understand, my computer sucked at the time, my brother’s computer was better and in particular had burning capabilities., we were on the same home network. My plan for the day after my prayer session was to put my porn files into a shared folder and use his computer to burn them to disc. Then my sister-in-law came home.(2) Early I told myself; she probably wasn’t. As silly as it may sound, since I could not use the computer now, I took that as the miracle I was praying for deleted all my porn and became a Roman Catholic…what happened here?
Was I a porn addicted? No. Was what happened a miracle? No. Was I a teenager trying to deal with the emergence of his sexuality? Yes. Did I grow up in a conservative shame based culture? Yes. Did I have the tools and resources to deal with my sexuality? No…no I didn’t. So… what did I do I ran into a belief system that provided rules, that proposed to have all the answers. That let me call the fact that I like seeing women tied up, face fucked, and fornicating feverishly with more panther at once then my religion said one should have ever, the work of the devil and then beg God for forgiveness. I had no way of approaching the issue in a healthy manner so I selected the path of easy answers. I repressed my own sexuality because I knew no other way of handling it. This leaves me stunned every time I think of it. If I just had a different way of approaching my sexuality, if sex ed didn’t consist of “no masturbation, no porn, no sex before marriage, no contraception, sex must be open to life, everything else is a sin” Catholic theology. How different would those years that followed have been? How would things have been had shame not been so deeply engrained in me that even after I renounced my faith, I still wished I could have cast aside my sexuality along with it. How different might it have been?
I was originally going explain my entire path from converted to where I am now but realized this moment really need to stand on its own. I’ll post the second half of this journey another day but I will say this: the issue that brought me out of Catholicism is again related to sexuality; the issue of reproductive rights. Till then, stay sane readers.
- Just a note there is one specific factor I can name for this miracle occurring; I may or may not end up posting it somewhere down the road [↩]
- Yes he was married and still living at home [↩]