One of the things that bothers me the most (and frustratingly doesn't bother other people at all, it seems) is inconsistency, especially inconsistency when it comes to things that matter. As an Atheist, I can toss Moral Nihilism around to justify doing whatever I want, but in a Christian worldview there are no philosophical loopholes.
From a Christian standard, God has decided what is right. From a Christian standard, if you don't do what's right you go to Hell for all eternity (well... except with Mormons you just get stuck in the lowest of the three Kingdoms of Heaven). If you take everything Christianity says as being truth, you should be crippled with guilt and insecurity constantly. You should feel remorseful, repentant, and ultimately ashamed of who you are... all the time.
At least, that's how I felt when I was a Mormon. I'd be up in front of everyone, reciting the Sacrament Prayer while thinking, "these people are taking this bread, believing it to be blessed by me. I have to be a pure and clean vessel in order to hold the Priesthood, which grants me the power to bless this bread. Because I have lusted after females, because I've stolen things, because I've committed the most horrific of sins and, most shamefully, can't help it that I'm attracted to females, I am not a clean or pure vessel... but I'm so ashamed of it that I can't tell anyone. These people think they're renewing their baptismal covenants by taking the sacrament... but they're just eating bread, all because I'm unclean and impure."
(Any Mormon who reads this, I know, will interpret it to mean, "I'm an Atheist so I can keep sinning." Go ahead and think that. Go get married in the Temple. Go get sealed for time and all eternity. Please don't have any kids.)
There are no gray areas when it comes to "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not steal". I'm thinking those are pretty straightforward, at least on the surface. But where does pirating music and software show up in the Bible?
Personally, I think pirating music is only justifiable when the music is unavailable for purchase (like if it's soooo old that they aren't selling it anymore) or if the artists specifically say you can pirate it. I'm not just arbitrarily picking those situations, either; I feel like I have legitimate logical reasons for holding this view of piracy. Obviously, however, I'm completely opposed to torrenting, say, the entire discography of Nine Inch Nails for free. Yes, NIN won't be devastated by it. Yes, maybe there are specific tracks or videos you can't get elsewhere. Yes, you're not technically stealing it... but from a moral standpoint, you're obtaining something that NIN intended you to pay for, but without actually paying for it.
I remember how conflicted and tormented by guilt I was. I remember feeling like I needed to punish myself in some way, because I wasn't confessing to the bishop. I remember standing in the kitchen, knife in hand, not cutting myself only because "our bodies are Temples of God", and damaging them would be another heavenly mark against me.
... and that's why it FUCKING BOTHERS ME SO MUCH that my siblings can shamelessly pirate music without even being fazed by it. They fill up their iPods with all kinds of video game music and bless the sacrament on Sunday. They're probably committing the same horrific and unspeakable sins I was, without even thinking about how they're blaspheming God by going to the temple.
Why couldn't I have been like them? Why couldn't I have ignored every doctrinal thing I heard and just done what my church leaders told me? Why couldn't I have just gone to church and compartmentalized everything?
But alas, I actually think about things. I actually take what I'm told and what I observe and put them together. I actually care about what's right, not just what makes mommy smile.
Yes, I know, I'm getting overly emotional about this, but when you're stuck in a household where "contention is of the devil"... No no, let's put that stupid quote on the shelf and discuss it some other time.
Dear God, this was a lot longer than I thought it would be.