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You might have heard about #prayershaming. It is very interesting. It is yet another example of a privileged group shamelessly stealing the language of the oppressed in order to pretend it is not a privileged group. Many of our colleagues here on Patheos have discussed this subject, ranging from religious people using the term unironically to atheists who have politely explained why it’s nonsense. I would like to raise another point.

Masturbation and prayer are, basically, the same thing. You’re thinking of someone else who will not be affected by your actions, or you’re thinking of someone who doesn’t exist, and you feel satisfied because of this private action. The difference is, we don’t consider masturbation sacred, and no one is deceived into thinking it actually makes a change beyond making you happy. Also the pleasure of masturbation is sexual while the pleasure of prayer is not. I’d say all this proves that masturbation is much more superior to prayer.

Probably aware of this superiority, religion has been trying hard and unsuccessfully to keep masturbation out of business. Whether lying about how it’s detrimental to your health, to making fun of it, to making it a taboo. Indeed, unlike #prayershaming, #masturbationshaming has been a reality of our world since religious morality has been dominant. And unlike #prayershaming it has caused real world consequences, making people ashamed of their basic natural drive, dealing psychological damage.

So this is my proposal: I will end my war on prayer when religious people end their war on masturbation. Because that’s how I calm myself in private.

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An Iranian researcher, writer, and teacher who is an ex-Muslim atheist currently living in one of the theocracies in the world, Iran. Interested in literature, philosophy, and political sciences, especially...