The Loser Letters
A Former Christian converts to atheism.


Mary Eberstadt

Above all, I want all my Letters to be useful. I was taught by Marxist Leninist Atheists at college a while back, back before they all went to wherever all the Marxist Leninist Atheists went. And I have to confess, at times I really miss their verve! Don’t You? Especially their sense of how the highest purpose is to be Useful.

Well, I think the most Useful thing I can do here is to show You something of how the Dulls really think from the inside, so You can see what we’re truly up against in trying to convert them. Just think of me as your own private Project Runway or What Not to Wear — someone who just wants us atheists to be all we can be.

I do hope everyone reads my story of personal Evolution through. After all, it’s the only one You have, at least so far. But don’t let the numbers bother You much. One down, and just a few billion more to go!

Your huge fan,
A.F. Christian


LETTER ONE: “The Trouble with Experience”

Dear Sirs,

First let’s talk about something You atheist Guys all like to talk about (judging by those latest books especially!!!), which is sex and the role that it plays in separating the benighted believers from the enlightened rest of Us.

As I get it, Our atheist position on sex boils down to this: the believers with their tard regulations are all wrong about it, while we Brights have been — I’m reaching here for the words that You Guys might use — so groovy and hip by throwing out the Christian rule book on all that stuff. Or to put it another way, thanks to atheism and secularism more generally, words like privacy, consenting adults, and behind closed doors are in; and ones like monogamy, self-restraint, and staying together for the kids are out. If there’s anything We Brights are all on the same page about — and again, I’ve read all those pages of yours pretty carefully! — it would seem to be this; am I right?

Now, as a fresh convert myself who is in a more or less delirious state at all times just thinking about what my new atheism will mean for my personal life now that I’ve been freed from all those commandments (!), I’m certainly not here to argue with You about the appeal of doing what comes Naturally. At the same time, though, I have to warn You about something. A lot of what the new atheism says about sex strikes me as strategically dangerous to Us — the kind of talk that runs the risk of turning off some of the very believers, especially the younger believers, who might otherwise be tempted to switch over to our Side.

Let’s start with that generational difference between You new atheists and some of the rest of us. Did Your parents ever leave home for the weekend when any of You were kids, putting You in the care of teenage siblings? Do You still remember the two-day nonstop party, and the expressions on Your parents’ faces Sunday night when they saw the overflowing ashtrays and empty kegs and someone else’s underwear in the laundry and throw-up in the fish tank? Well You should know that’s pretty much what it was like for those of us who went through life after You baby boomers did, a decade or so after what might be called the Godless Generation swept through first.

And this brings us to why atheists run the risk of losing among this younger generation when You talk about sex the way new atheists all have so far: because everybody on the godless team writes about sex and freedom from the religious moral rules as if all the years from 1960 on never even existed. As if the Sexual Revolution hadn’t been staggering along for nearly a half century now! Hello? Well for better or worse from the point of view of our Side, it has. And what that means is that all kinds of people now know that if we try and make a selling point out of trashing Christian sexual morality — as atheists have been doing since the beginning — a whole lot of Dulls today are going to raise their hands and call us losers again on the subject of sex and say that we don’t know what we’re talking about. So in this Letter I’d like to draw Your attention to just some of the legacy of the sexual revolution, in the hopes of making our Movement less vulnerable to the unfortunate Facts.