Ex-

By Sean Carroll | March 4, 2009 12:39 pm

Quick! What do the following kinds of people have in common?

  • Rebel
  • Hypocrite
  • Masturbator
  • Atheist
  • Slave
  • Diva
  • Fornicator
  • Porn Addict
  • Homosexual

Answer below the fold.

The answer is: they are all bad. If you fit into any of these categories, you should recognize your shortcomings and change.

At least, that’s what I learned from P4CM.com, website of the Passion for Christ Movement. (Via, and also.) And once you successfully have overcome your shortcomings, let the world know with these snazzy T-shirts!

ex-masturbator_seneca_amy.png

Stylin’. I’m sure the kids at your high school will respect the strength of will you have demonstrated in announcing your lifestyle change through bold fashion choices. And the mental imagery will be completely welcome!

Still, there are some mixed messages here. Given the nature of the organization, we shouldn’t be surprised that “Atheist” and “Homosexual” and “Masturbator” are condemned as bad. And “Slave” isn’t something anyone wants to be, that’s for sure. But apparently you don’t want to be a “Rebel,” either. “Obey — but not too slavishly.” All of this while avoiding being a “Diva” or a “Hypocrite”! Man, religion is hard.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humanity, Religion
  • Fernando

    Wow… just wow. Isn’t this a joke website? Because lol, that just goes way too far. I’m sorry for the models posing with those shirts. Ex-porn addict, lol.

  • Tom

    What they fail to recognize is that their own beleive system their messiah was a complete rebel, so much so they crucified him.
    Sorry… I can tell I am going serious here where this just had to be a good ol cheek in tongue post. Too funny!

    The only one I can agree with is hypocrite. Never good, even if we all have some hypocrisy in our lives.
    lol.. diva? Really they have diva on their no-no list? But not *thief*, *adulterer*, *murderer*, etc.

  • George Musser

    This has got to be a joke. Read some of the lyrics posted on the site. When you look up the church street address on Google Maps, you get a warehouse.
    George

  • Patrick

    Shirts might as well say LIAR

  • mk

    Well… as an ex-christian, ex-teetotaller, ex-celibate, ex-prude, ex-spiritualist, and ex-conformist, I am sympathetic. I know the power of addiction! I struggle with it every day.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    It’s for real, folks. Not a joke. The line is sometimes blurry.

  • ex-masturbator

    I want the ex-masturbator shirt. That’s awesome. Ohhhh I know what I’m getting my friends for Christmas this year!

  • Z

    –And “Slave” isn’t something anyone wants to be, that’s for sure.–

    You know, I’ve come to a conclusion that people do have some innate desire to be slaves. Perhaps it has something to do with lack of responsibility (i.e. that slaves don’t have to be responsible for their actions, they just do whatever they are told; so it is somehow psychologically easier). And I think that this is related to the appeal of religion — people choose to become slaves when they submit to religion (think of muslims bowing down in prayer…).

  • http://arcsecond.wordpress.com meichenl

    Maybe if I fit into an even number of those categories, my evil-parity can come to zero?

  • Elliot Tarabour

    You need to be careful if you wear the ex-masturbator shirt over the ex-fornicator shirt, there is a danger that you can just explode.

  • http://blueollie.wordpress.com ollie

    How about “ex-Bayesian”?

    :)

  • Eric

    ex-masturbator dameco:
    i mean, maybe if you’re smackin’ the monkey 34 times a day and forget to eat, shower, and go to work… but otherwise, i have a hard time with the idea that Almighty God gets particularly upset about some chick twiddlin’ her man-in-the-boat on occasion. God’s probably busy with starvation, terrorism, and High Fructose Corn Syrup. Take the hours spent on that blog and put them into a homeless shelter or burning a twinkie-effigy or something… Honestly, 7 year battle?

  • Luis

    I’m guilty of items 3, 4, and 7. Actually, given that this year my Fair Lady is living in a different continent, I might temporarily qualify as an ex-fornicator. The unfortunate downside is that my consumption of adult entertainment (and subsequent self-satisfaction) has increased. I guess you can’t have everything!

  • Tom

    I suspect slave is used metaphically here. Church goers often talk about being “slaves to” something. Just meaning they have relinquished control to something (food, sex, money, etc.), much like an addiction.

  • Sam Gralla

    Wouldn’t “I don’t masturbate” be a better shirt than “ex-masturbator”? Isn’t it a little insane to advertise sinning and overcoming over just plain not sinning? Yet this strangeness is built-in to Christianity. C.S. Lewis warned that nice people would struggle to get into Heaven, because they wouldn’t have many sin-and-overcome experiences. It’s a truly bizarre situation.

  • http://www.jacobrussellsbarkingdog.blogspot.com Jacob Russell

    So porn is okay in this version of religion? Just don’t get addicted…

  • onymous

    Oh no. Just what the world needs: legions of hipsters ironically wearing “Ex-Masturbator” shirts….

  • http://blueollie.wordpress.com ollie

    If one is an “ex hypocrite” does it mean that they no longer practice their religion? :)

  • Low Math, Meekly Interacting

    It must take unswerving faith in The Almighty Lord to dare sport such an excruciatingly unhip slogan in public. It’s just so wrong on so many levels the mid reels. What’s wrong with something funny and catchy, like, I dunno, “Onan Had It Coming”, maybe. Yeah, it make some people groan, but not recoil in a mixture of horror and pity like these tees will. How some religious expression manages to communicate and influence so successfully I’ll just never understand.

  • John R Ramsden

    Those people proudly wearing ex-masturbator tea shirts would be rather
    more convincing if they wore thick glasses.

    Also, although most these days seem to agree that hypocracy is among
    the worst sins, it has a constructive aspect and oils the wheels of society
    (and has a splendid tradition in the Christian church). Some of my best
    friends are hypocrites.

  • anonymous this time

    Perhaps this is like the guy who gave up smoking; about a dozen times so far today…

    (And, strictly speaking, I think the biblical scholars among you will find that Onan’s specific sin was not masturbation per se, but coitus interruptus.)

  • Brian Mingus

    If curing death should be the first priority of transhumans then curing religion should be the second. It is a serious failing of any society to have so many of its members living their precious lives based on a delusion.

  • Low Math, Meekly Interacting

    Onan’s sin was the “spilling of seed”, a consequence of both “pull and pray” as well as self-abuse. At any rate, in common parlance, “onanism” is understood to mean masturbation.

  • http://whenindoubtdo.blogspot.com/ Eugene

    I think people here are missing the point of “ex-masturbator”.

    Basically, I think they found something better, and it’s not Christ.

  • http://whenindoubtdo.blogspot.com/ Eugene

    (I am kidding)

  • Iva

    Ex-homosexual? Appalling! Way to go, dear Passion for Christ Movement! Stuff them back in the closet! Way to go!

  • Xeridanus

    May God help them when we invent chem geld. On the other hand this might diminish their numbers.

  • Elliot

    I guess you have to hand it to the people who wear the ex-masturbator shirts. Since obviously they can’t hand it to themselves.

  • Jimbo

    These are the type of people who want to put me (and most everybody else) in jail or a mental institution, with THEM as the keepers. Everytime anyone is caught slammin it, a finger is cutoff: 10 amputations later, they are put to death by the state for incurable perversion.
    Just cuz politically things seem to have gotten mellower, people: BEWARE. Wacko’s like this are out there, in abundance, hiding behind the guise of religon, like the hypocrites they are, playing pocket-pool under their cassocks.

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  • Sili

    Quick! someone start making Ex-ex-maturbator shirts for after Lent.

  • Flaming Pope

    I fit into 4 of those categories lol. Guess Christ just isn’t for me.

    Ollie- right on dude. But then you get into a paradoxical situation which basically leads to their religion.

    “Ex- Fornicator”, that’s just funny

  • Fermi-Walker Public Transport

    If theocracy comes to the USA, then this is the list of those who will be sent to “re-education camps”.

  • Brad H

    If they’re going to be unctuosly self-righteous, they should at least get the terminology right. With addiction, you’re never “ex”, just “recovering”. Although “recovering masturbator” may imply you’re just in down time right now…

  • Joe

    Sean,

    Why the hatred? This seems petty on your part. You know, I’d love to see posts marginalizing Atheists at the other end of the spectrum as well, but I suspect we’d never get that from you. Quacks at either end don’t give people honest impressions.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    Joe, there’s no hatred here, only mockery. I’m happy to engage seriously with thoughtful people with whom I disagree, but these people are just silly, and there’s nothing wrong with making fun of them. I wouldn’t bother, if the attitudes they promote were marginalized and irrelevant to the society in which we live. But that’s far from the case. Just ask anyone in California whose marriage was recently declared illegitimate by popular referendum.

  • Alex

    The reall kicker here is, that in the history of the world there has never been a bigger hypocrite then religion! I think that they should make the pope were an ex-hypocrite shirt. Although that would be a lie…

  • Joe

    At a minimum, I’d say your mockery sounds a bit intolerant and is quite one-sided in that you ignore silliness on the other side—and yes, the other side does exist and also promotes ideals which are relevant to the society in which we live.

    I’m sure you feel your position is justifiable, but there is something to be said about the manner in which you take these issues on. I, and I suspect many others, are much more persuaded by a serious argument against a particular set of beliefs (and you have made such arguments in the past) than I am by an argument made in mockery of another group and its beliefs.

    It is just plain mean-spirited, and as I hinted before, you are bringing more attention to a group which most Christians would probably think to be silly as well. In doing so, you also give a false impression that this is “typical” and, perhaps indirectly, it disingenuously discredits “less silly” groups by making people think of that all religious people are just like the silly group you just made fun of in this post.

    I’m just saying that this seems below you.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/bushwells kemibe

    I want to get one of those shirts, carefully eradicate the “Ex-” part, and wear it around town: The grocery store, church, McDonald’s. Actually, I think I’ll wear it when I go to apply for a home loan. Or to a job interview at a nursery school.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    Joe– Come back after the U.S. has legalized same-sex marriages, abortion rights are secure, and “intelligent design” and “abstinence-only education” have been consigned to the dustbin of history. I’ll be a lot more sympathetic.

  • http://gerusz.freeblog.hu Gerusz

    I’m an atheist. P4CM hates me.

    YESSSSSSS!!!!

  • mk

    So let’s see… no fornicating, no masturbating, no rebelling, no thinking for yourself and clearly in “Joe’s” case, no sense of humor! Nice.

  • Joe

    Sean,

    I’ll +1 you on removing intelligent design and abstinence-only education, but your view on same-sex marriages and abortion rights are very debatable…so have some sympathy. There is more than one solution to those problems.

    And either way, I’m not sure how what you wrote now directly relates to the website you linked to. I only browsed the site, but I don’t think that they were advocating any legal/policy viewpoints. Its certainly possible that the authors or people subscribing to similar views believe that such legal action is good, but the site itself is speaking strictly to moral issues. I’m tempted to say ”strawman”.

  • http://ropata.wordpres.com Robert Papesch

    having been young and idealistic once, i can relate to the mindset behind this website. it is indeed a willing slavery of oneself to an idealistic goal. it’s a narcissistic dream of purity amid a messy world. it is a damaging abdication of responsibility for one’s own choices and wellbeing in service to a misguided ideal. I think some studies have shown that church youth groups operate as sibling structures and keep their members in social immaturity. i say experience life, it is a gift. don’t stay in the church cocoon or you’ll never fly.

    i do believe in God, but he is not a control freak or obsessed with every little mistake people make. i believe in a certain level of sexual morality but this is grotesque and cult-like behaviour.

  • http://ropata.wordpress.com Robert Papesch

    Jesus always ripped the pharisees. He proclaimed a “higher” law that superseded the OT rules and regulations — a law written on the human heart. It’s why they killed him! This message is suppressed in communist regimes because it promotes independent thought. It’s also strangely overlooked by many churches because the people are like sheep who WANT laws to make them feel safe so they don’t have to think.

    This blog on cognition, culture, and computer programming identifies two modes of thinking that I see in Christian circles; “Mapping” is akin to the visionary, reflective stream of christian thought; “Packing” is a lower-order level of simple procedure-based thinking.

    Packers have a whole proceduralised culture that provides behavioural tramlines for just about everything. It’s so complete you don’t even notice it until you solve a problem perfectly effectively one day, by a method that’s not on the list. It might be trivial.. Mappers hardly ever get the upper hand on these cultural issues, but when it does happen it can be hilarious. A packer gave a dinner party and it so happened that over half of the guests were mapper types, IT workers and others. The host pulled a pile of warm plates from the oven, and started handing them to the guy on his left.”Just pass them around!”, he cried cheerfully. Everything went well until he realised he needed to shout “Stop!” [everyone was just passing plates around randomly in an endless loop!] Mappers don’t have a general cultural context to learn from, so we are almost entirely self taught.

  • Low Math, Meekly Interacting

    I’m happy to say making fun of this isn’t beneath me.

    Anyway, what boggles my mind even harder is the apparently unwitting self-abasement. Is this really supposed to be persuasive? A big happy grin and…THAT on your shirt? Everybody wanks but we still make fun of it. It can’t be helped. Even the most permissive will not, at a gathering of close friends, declare they had a wonderful toss last weekend. There’s something intrinsically embarrassing about self-gratification that defies all appeals to high-minded tolerance and promotion of sexual health. I should think that the natural approach to the subject, if it also brought grief to one’s conscience, is to simply refrain from discussing the act altogether. Ex-virtually anything else might get some kind of high-five from somebody for choosing to abstain, but “Ex-Masturbator” is just pathetic. I want to crawl in a hole and die just looking at these poor kids, it’s so humiliating. What on Earth were these people thinking?

  • Woodcarver Steiner

    I want a T-shirt that says “Lapsed Ex-masturbator”.

  • Joe

    Low Math, Meekly Interacting Says:

    ‘I’m happy to say making fun of this isn’t beneath me.’

    I should clarify: I don’t object to making fun of this, per se. I mean, yes…it can be and is quite funny to a number of people. What I object to is making fun of this in order to advance a political point—and that is exactly what Sean did. I think the difference is paramount.

    I still wonder about this site though…its remind me of:

    http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com/

    One could also ask…what were these people thinking?

  • jester

    Joe,

    why do you expect other people to behave what you think of them to do? To me Sean is just a collection of what he said and what he did. I just adjust my opinion of him flexibly whenever I read his blogs and papers. But you are asking him to say what you might think of him to say. What’s the point?
    Just tell us what you think of these pathetic people, not of what others should do or think.

  • http://telescoper.wordpress.com Peter Coles

    I claim a perfect score.

  • Joe

    jester,

    You are barely making any sense. Every person is a collection of their own actions and words. That is so obvious it shouldn’t even be said. And clearly, I have been adjusting my (rather high) opinion of Sean flexibly as well. I am trying to hold him to (what I believe to be) a higher standard. This is no different from what Sean is asking others when he points out their flawed beliefs and desired policies. So even Sean doesn’t hold to your mantra of “tell us what you think….not of what others should do or think”. And I would have to say that even you do not subscribe to that, as you are now asking me act in a certain manner.

  • Erwin

    I want all those t-shirts but with Born Again instead of EX. The Born Again should speak to the P4CM movement. Born Again Atheist.

    Still, that photo with those kids and those shirts, I don’t know, it’s creepy.

  • xiaoren

    Uh… There is nothing ‘below the fold’ except for people’s comments. Where is the content that is being mocked?

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  • http://huperborea.blogspot.com/ Robert O’Brien

    “Well… as an ex-christian, ex-teetotaller, ex-celibate, ex-prude, ex-spiritualist, and ex-conformist…”

    You forgot ex-thinker.

  • http://huperborea.blogspot.com/ Robert O’Brien

    “But that’s far from the case. Just ask anyone in California whose marriage was recently declared illegitimate by popular referendum.”

    Well, in our defense, most of us were not aware that you, speaking on behalf of all scientists, authoritatively proclaimed that there is no such thing as natural law.

  • http://huperborea.blogspot.com/ Robert O’Brien

    “How about ‘ex-Bayesian’?”

    Better a Bayesian than a vapid atheist.

  • moron

    I was going to guess that they were all probably Republicans.

    But seriously, this issue has been dealt with at length here:

    http://patriotboy.blogspot.com/2009/02/does-rep-damschens-have-sick-lust-for.html

  • Chris J.

    So every time I make fun of someone I have to give equal time to “the other side”? Since when? Ridiculous.

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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .

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