Long John Silvers Is Uncomfortably Similar To Porn

I eat at Long John Silvers only once a year. If I try to go there any more frequently, my digestive system clenches up for self-preservation. Because there really is nothing very redeeming about what I’m eating. French fries, fried fish, fried shrimp, fried clams, fried lobster, fried bread dough…and lining every platter and side dish are those little crispy crumblies. It’s a good selling tactic–these little slivers of fried batter are probably the least expensive thing that Long John Silvers makes, but they fill up a plate visually, making it seem like more food than it is. And after all, nobody really eats those, do they?

Well…therein lies the problem. I was.

Amidst bites of seafood, I was scooping up little spoonfuls of the crumbly things…and I couldn’t figure out why. They were greasy, fattening, devoid of anything healthy, and THEY DIDN’T EVEN TASTE GOOD. I wasn’t even eating fried food–this stuff was what they used to fry everything else. I was eating the epitome of all bad food: FRIED NOTHING.

When I go for a long time without eating Long John Silvers, my memories start to soften. I think, “Man, remember how good that food tastes? Sure, it’s a little unhealthy, but there’s something about giving in that just feels so good!” But then I cave, and as soon as I finish eating, everything within me twists and turns with dietary regret.

Pornography can be the same way. It can start to seem less bad and disgusting in hindsight, even looked at with fondness or sympathy. It’s only after giving in that it is seen for what it is: a cheapening of what sexuality is supposed to be, a self-serving perversion that isolates people, where sex and intimacy are meant to bring people together in a unique and beautiful way. It is empty. Poisoning. Vacuous.

Fried nothing.

If you suffer from pornography addiction–and let’s be honest, statistically speaking, most of you do–take some steps toward being free.

1. TALK ABOUT IT

In many circles, especially Christian ones, pornography is a dirty word, and a topic to be avoided. Beating around the bush like that doesn’t help anyone. We are most susceptible when we are alone, isolated. Talk to someone you trust about your problem. Talking about pornography brings it into the light, and helps you remember all its bad qualities.

2. BE ACCOUNTABLE

Find someone you trust and have them check up on you every few days, to see how you’re dealing with pornography. X3Watch is a free accountability software you can install that monitors your internet use and e-mails a list of inappropriate visited websites to someone you trust.

3. CUT THE INTAKE VALVE

If you have pornography in your house or on your computer, get rid of it. Filter your internet to cut off the biggest inroad to temptation. K9 Web Protection is another free-to-download program. You can use it to block general categories, specific web pages, or even individual keywords that may signify pornographic material. You might consider letting a trusted friend hold the e-mail address and password so you don’t try to change the settings without supervision.

4. KNOW THAT THIS IS NOT WHO YOU ARE

Guilt is one of the biggest factors in pornography addiction. Even when we try to pull ourselves out of the morass, we remember how much we’ve failed in this area. We believe that we will always be enslaved to pornography, that it will always be a part of who we are, that nothing we do makes any difference. And when we feel like that, we give up. We stop trying to become any better and just give in.

Well, don’t.

If you really want to get over pornography addiction, find a way to let go of the shame and guilt of what you’ve done before.

For myself, I find that forgiveness from Jesus. You can go ahead and scoff and roll your eyes. I know Christianity is not a very popular belief right now. The child molesters and militant protesters and self-righteous condemners and swindlers and liars and fools who wear the name “Christian”  have given us a pretty bad rap. And I can’t help that. I’m not responsible for their unchristian beliefs and actions. All I can control is me. What I say, what I do, who I am.

And for me, Christianity gives me something that no one else does. It gives me a purpose and meaning in life that I don’t get from the nihilism that follows from atheism. And unlike Judaism or Islam, or a hundred other religions, my life is not built around desperately trying to do good acts so that I will not be punished. If there is something that explains why Christianity is different from other religions, it is the concept of being born again.

“Born again.” It’s quite the religious buzzword, I know. And it’s not one that we explain or clarify very often. Which is surprising, because it’s a very important idea. It’s the idea of

Take two.

Reset.

Fresh start.

Tabula rasa.

Let’s try that one again.

God gives us the chance to start over. Takes the list of everything bad we’ve ever done, crumples it up, and throws it on the fire. It’s not something we earn, or something we deserve, because we don’t, we can’t. I’m not a Christian because I’m in some way better than you–I’m a Christian because I’m not!

Anyway, that was a long post, longer than I expected to write today. I hope this helps somebody. In summary, porn is bad, don’t do it, find help, and don’t eat those crispy crumblies from Long John Silvers. Seriously, don’t. I’m pretty sure even the hush puppies are healthier than that.

And if you don’t agree with me about Christianity, or porn, or even fast food…well, thanks for reading this far. That’s about four pages worth of blog you just waded through, and it means a lot to me that you saw the whole thing through. Thanks for reading, and uh, have a safe Halloween, I guess.

Next post should be funnier.

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13 Responses to Long John Silvers Is Uncomfortably Similar To Porn

  1. Ceej says:

    Man I love porn

  2. The prospect of metaphysical clean slate is very attractive. So is the prospect of a dozen virgins waiting for me in heaven. I remain unconvinced that the former is any more probable a religious deliverable than the latter.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh! These go first comment –> lowest comment. Suddenly everything makes more sense!

    My fault. That comment was written in ignorance; I thought the topmost were the oldest.

    • It’s kind of hard to follow…the initial comments get older the farther you go down…but direct replies to comments (like this one) show up below the comment that is…commented upon. (I need a new word for comment.)

      I wonder if I can change the settings on that…

      • Jesse says:

        Yeah, these comments are hard to follow. Sorry, I’ve been a little busy the past few days and so have not had much of a chance to respond. I will address Nathan’s Nov. 2 comment and Chandler’s Nov. 7 comment together with my thoughts.

        There need not be an “end goal”, as it were, to give purpose to a thing or its actions. If there is no grand purpose, no greater plan, then the smallest acts of kindness that we do to each other mean everything. The simple assumption that human beings are special creatures, deserving of basic rights and subject to basic morality regarding each other, then that is all the meaning in the world. And if that meaning and purpose ends when our species ceases to exist? So what? We had a short period of time in this cosmos to be all that we can be – to live together, eat together, form a society together, and treat each other with some amount of respect. I in no way whatsoever believe that we have achieved the pinnacle of human decadence or that it even exists somewhere, now. But it could. It could, and we can still strive for it. I think we are getting ever so slowly closer to that goal, but a worthy goal it is, and I think that can give all the meaning to our lives that we need.

        Just because someone claims to have found meaning, doesn’t mean they really did. I agree. But why does “meaning” and “purpose” all of a sudden have to be “purely logical”, or “perfect”? Certainly, no one can claim to have lived the perfectly good life. But that doesn’t mean their life is meaningless. Your logical sentence, “If we take as our axioms: ‘It is good that all humans should have clothing, food, roof, and the opportunity to better themselves,’ and, ‘I ought to do good things where I can,’ then the crisis of African orphans wouldn’t exist.” is based on several unstated assumptions. It also assumes that all human beings are aware of these axioms, that they care more about the suffering of others than they do about themselves, and that they are capable of achieving these goals. None of these are necessarily true. For instance, I strongly hold that all humans should have clothing, food, roof, and the opportunity to better themselves and that I ought to do good things where I can. And, in fact, I do. I can and do try to contribute to the betterment of the world, but my resources are limited. There is only so much I can do without everyone else’s help. If everyone in the world were brought together in a unified way to solve some of the evils of this world, then maybe we could do something about that then. But doing so requires an intermediate goal – the dissolution of boundaries, of war, of pride and prejudice. Again, not something I can do by myself, but it can be done, and I can contribute my part. That is a worthy purpose.

        And, there is something else that I hesitated to bring up, but I feel I need to in order to fully make my point. I strongly believe that in order for a goal to be meaningful, it must be realistic. That is, one’s sense of purpose must be rooted in reality and truth in order for that purpose to truly exist. Though I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth (and I’m not really addressing anyone in particular), I think you agree with me too. Consider a scenario of a man spending his life in pursuit of the thing he desires most – communing with God (in his language, he would call him Allah) in eternal paradise (Jannah). He must believe in one God, do good deeds, and believe that the prophet Muhammad is the final messenger of God. This belief of purpose empowers him in his life, but his perceived purpose was entirely vacuous. There is no Allah, no eternal paradise, and Muhammad was no one special. He lived his life for that which didn’t exist, negating most (if not all) of the purpose he had for living.

        Not only must purpose be rooted in truth, but this truth (and the search for it) cannot be trusted to our whims and desires, for they do not always lead us to that which is true. We must shake off all the falsehoods that we find (vacuous) purpose in and ground our lives in what is left – what is true and good. To do so, we must approach everything from a neutral point of view so as to correctly disentangle our wants and desires from our knowledge about the universe. This is called overcoming our Confirmation Bias. For what is meaning or what is purpose if the object of our meaning and purpose does not exist or is not worthy of our lives’ devotion?

  4. Anonymous says:

    (Let all that I say be held beneath the umbrella of “This is only a response and has no bearing on how I view any of the posters, past or future, in this debate. It is in no way an indication of my feelings toward the posters, past or future, and should be treated purely as a conceptual response to a posited theory.”)

    Nihilism (n): the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.

    It seems to me that nihilism *must* follow from atheism. In the atheistic model Jesse has constructed, purpose comes purely from “causing.” It’s nice to know that I’ll be “causing” when I’m redistributed into heavier particles many millennia from now, but I’d be just as purposeful as a rock or as an elephant’s steaming dump. If purpose is defined by “causing something,” and decomposing and being redistributed as particles counts as “causing,” where’s the meaning in life? We can’t even hold ourselves as superior to the animals; we’re all headed for the same destination, and the animals don’t have to worry about 401k’s, or social security, or politics. For the sake of Zeus’s hairy left [nostril], how many lionesses do you see lounging about their safari home, worrying about how to find Mr. Right? How many pet rodents have you met who ponder the inherent usefulness of their hamster wheel?

    (What a horrific accident that any creature should evolve enough intelligence to value its life, but not enough to understand that its life is valueless. How tragic that we developed just enough brain cells to understand how much our lives are wasted on Xbox and long lines at McDonald’s.)

    In addition, just because someone claims atheism and also claims to have found meaning in life doesn’t mean a darn thing. I’ve met way too many people to think that anyone lives a perfectly logical existence. For goodness’ sake (although of course in this construct “goodness” is an arbitrary value which I automatically ascribe to myself and my closest friends but which no other human beings have an intrinsic claim), our whole lives are based on ignoring certain uncomfortable facts. For example, if we take as our axioms: “It is good that all humans should have clothing, food, roof, and the opportunity to better themselves,” and, “I ought to do good things where I can,” then the crisis of African orphans wouldn’t exist. Humans are experts at ignoring inconvenient conclusions.

  5. Direchihuahua says:

    My definition of nihilism: a philosophy that views existence as devoid of intrinsic meaning or purpose.

    Intrinsic meaning is a naturally theistic concept, whether mono, poly, or pan. Intelligence creates meaning. Grand, cosmic meaning requires a grand, cosmic intelligence or intelligences to create it, whether in the form of “God,” “gods,” or “the universe.”

    If there is no grand intelligence to create this meaning (i.e. if God does not exist), we are free to create our own meanings or accept that there is no meaning to anything. Essentially, in this case, we’re left with nihilism or existentialism as options.

    Thus, nihilism can be considered to follow naturally from atheism. Existentialism can also be considered to follow naturally from atheism.

    Am I missing something?

    • Jesse says:

      I have several objections to your process of thought, which I hope you will not construe to be an attack upon your person or your character, but rather a point of discussion upon which we can build mutual understanding and a furthering of knowledge. If this is not the case, then please ignore the rest of what I say, for it is not worth it, nor is it my intention to be antagonistic (in more than simply an epistimological sense).

      First, in regards to nihilism (as you haven’t mentioned existentialism until late in this post anyways), your argument sort of folds on itself. (Which is why I believe you brought in existentialism at all.) If nihilism is a view of existence as devoid of intrinsic meaning and purpose, meaning and purpose need not be grand and cosmic to give a person a fulfilling life.

      Furthermore, I would argue that, though it not necessarily be true of all atheists, many can (and do?) find “grand and cosmic” meaning and purpose in their atheism. It’s the circle of life – even if I, one day, will die and return to dust, that dust is the building blocks of living organisms down the road. And even if all living organisms and the earth itself perish, we return to a more primitive dust, where we will be gobbled up by the stars themselves, fused into heavier elements of matter, and redistributed throughout the galaxy, where our atoms will combine to form new planets and new life. This certainly classifies as “grand and cosmic”, a purpose that ends only when the cosmos itself ends.

      However, I would go even further and argue that intelligence is not necessary to create meaning and purpose. I suppose this may be taking the conversation all the way back to the very definition of meaning and purpose, but I believe meaning and purpose can be intrinsic properties of matter and objects themselves without the need to be created or observed by an intelligence. Imagine a world in which there was no intelligence (say, a world of two or three billion years ago when the only existing life on earth was that of unintelligent single-celled organisms and no God, according to the atheists). Even here, we can see meaning and purpose ascribed to all things. The sun necessary for creating and supporting cellular life, the earth necessary for harboring it, and water necessary for constituting it. Had all life died out early and homo sapiens not evolved, the meaning and purpose of all these things would still be just as applicable then as they are now. Everything causes something, and it is these causes, not intelligence, that gives things meaning.

      Later, you mention that nihilism and existentialism are the only two natural conclusions of an atheistic universe. As I intimated above, this is only true if you hold that an infinite, eternal, grand and cosmic intelligence is required in order to ascribe meaning and purpose. I do not believe this is the case, as meaning and purpose is intrinsic to all things. In fact, (and here I am nitpicking at your words, so forgive me if this is going too far), your very definition of nihilistic is a view of existence that is devoid of _intrinsic_ meaning. But, you then claim that meaning and purpose only comes from intelligence (more specifically, a grand and cosmic intelligence that is God). Isn’t theism, then, the very definition of nihilism, or at best, existentialism? Things have no intrinsic meaning and are only given meaning by God. Yet atheism counters this by saying that meaning and purpose are intrinsic to everything (or as I put it, everything that causes).

      Finally, I would take a step back and ask, so what? Is there anything inherently “bad” about a nihilistic or existentialistic view of the world? Going back to Nathan’s post, he contrasted nihilism with the ability to get over the shame and guilt of doing immoral things (like pornography) by finding forgiveness. I’m not sure about this, but I think I would agree that nihilism precludes this, at least to some degree. But existentialism? The idea that we (individually or collectively) assign meaning and purpose to our own lives? Even though I believe that (at least some) meaning and purpose are intrinsic to our being (and not ascribed to God), I still see existentialism as a very rational mode of thought for people who do not wish to think as I do. So long as their meaning and purpose is compatible with a basic level of human morality (as it virtually always is), what is the problem in that?

      • First off, I really appreciate your comment that argument is not a personal attack, and I hope these arguments will be taken the same way.

        Is that really a purpose or meaning, though? I would argue that “purpose” requires an end goal.

        As far as being atoms and swirling around for infinity being a purpose, I would say that is like saying a box of Legos has purpose because you can close the lid, shake the box, and see them in different arrangements when you open the lid.

        Also, where does “basic human morality” come from? Is it defined by the individual, or is it by some kind of worldwide democratic vote? And does this fall true for other kinds of life? Is there basic bacterium morality, or an ethics system for aliens?

        Nihilism may preclude shame and guilt, but it does so by making nothing shameful or guilt-inducing. If the purpose of existence is just for the universe to become more building blocks later, what does it matter if I do good works for the rest of my life, go on a killing spree, or jack off to porn until I die of dehydration?

      • Jesse says:

        Also, a thought just occurred to me. If we are going to go back to the original statement (“nihilism follows from atheism”), it would behoove us as a group to have a short discussion on necessary vs. sufficient. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necessary_and_sufficient_condition for a nice discussion.)

        A necessary condition for a truth means that the first thing must be true _in order for_ the second thing to be true.
        A sufficient condition for a truth means that the second thing will always be true if the first thing is true.
        If a condition is both necessary AND sufficient for another thing, then it can be said that the two things are equivalent.

        Because the nature of the English language is ambiguous, I took the statement “nihilism follows from atheism” to mean that atheism is a _sufficient_ condition for nihilism, which I have been arguing against. Not all atheists are nihilists, for many atheists find meaning and purpose in life. That’s pretty much my argument.

        If you want to argue instead that atheism is a _necessary_ condition for nihilism, I may have to agree with you. (Though, I could probably nitpick and find a way to disagree, but the truth is that I believe this is mostly true. In other words, one cannot be a nihilist without also being an atheist.)

        Maybe this clarifies things a bit.

  6. Jesse says:

    What is your definition of nihilism, and how does it follow naturally from atheism?

  7. Direchihuahua says:

    Nihilism naturally follows from atheism, but that doesn’t mean that all atheists are also nihilists. Atheists tend to create other purposes and meanings for themselves because it is difficult to live with the philosophical implications of atheism. Most often, in my experience, they replace religious faith with faith in mankind, which hardly makes more sense.

    Of course, this is only my opinion.

  8. Jesse says:

    FYI, nihilism does not follow from atheism. It can, but it doesn’t have to. Many, many people have found purpose and meaning once they’ve stopped believing.

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