I read in Dinesh D’Sousa’s book, What’s So Great About Christianity, something that made me reread it because it was a somewhat blunt, but I also think it is profound.
The orgasm has become today’s secular sacrament. This is not because we are living in an age of sensuality but because, in a world of material things that perish, it gives people a momentary taste of eternity, (pg. 274).
He follows up with a personal story to illustrate what he means.
I once met a monk who admitted to me that he fasts regularly and sometimes even beats his legs with a small whip to “mortify my body for the love of Christ.” I was quite shocked to hear this, but the fellow had an interesting response. The same people who laugh at monks for mortifying their bodies for spiritual purposes think nothing of undergoing painful surgeries to produce cosmetic improvements. Nor do they shrink from the most punishing physical regimens in order to lose weight and tone their bodies for sex.
This is the context of discussion that for many atheists their objection to Christianity isn’t so much rational than it is moral (which is what I’ve mostly experienced as well).