I would like others to explain to me why some non-Christian people abstain from certain “sinful” activities…and how to interact with them.
posted by sixcolors to human relations (58 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
For those who do not know my background, I grew up really sheltered and associated mostly with religious people. A little bit over a year ago, I started questioning my religion (Christianity), and started hanging around people who have different belief systems than mine. Some are atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, wiccan, and some are non-practicing Christians or Jews. It’s not just the people I hang around who have diverse beliefs, many of my classmates in grad school are non-Christians, and if they are they are mostly non-practicing.
I grew up around many people who abstained from sex, alcohol, drugs, using profane language, gambling, and violence. The first 15 years of my life, I went to a Pentecostal church, we were told flat out we would burn in hell if we engaged in the above. From age 16 on, I attended a non-denominational church, while it was more liberal than the first church, the message we received was “if you engage in sinful behavior, it will ruin your relationship with Jesus Christ, and you will become miserable”.
Well, since I became less religious, I’ve been enjoying many “worldly” activities. I no longer avoid alcohol, sexual related activities, cursing, playing poker, and watching violent movies or listening to violent music in fear of being bathed in fire and brimstone when I die. The biggest shock that came to me within the last year, is that some non-Christian people do not live the same lifestyle I do, and is more in line with the lifestyles of the people I grew up around.
An example…in one of my grad school classes we had a debate on whether there should be condom dispensers in resident halls on college campuses. There were some who students who said “no”, I was expecting most of them to be strict Christians (or Jewish or Muslims), but most of them weren’t religious of all. I’ve learned from other classroom discussion that some of those students were plain anti-sex.
Another example…I have a few friends who are pretty anti-alcohol and especially anti-drug…yet, again, non-Christian. They won’t drink even a sip, they stay far away from bars and nightclubs, and leave parties early where there’s a lot of drinking. They won’t date drinkers either. On occasion, they try to discourage US from drinking.
I’m confused about this behavior, if you don’t fear eternal punishment for drinking and fucking or whatever, then what motivates them to avoid activities that many people deem as pleasurable? I’ll be honest, the first thing I think is that they are just prudes, but I don’t want to be insensitive. I’d rather understand people before judging them, because I know that are many different things that drives behavior and some aren't obvious. And, to avoid conflict, because I seem to get into a lot of conflicts about this. I would like know some concrete reasons why some non-religious people avoid things that will bring them pleasure. Maybe if I can identify the real reasons, I will know how to handle them better in the future.