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However, two decades later, Harris, now a married father of three, admitted that over the years, a number of individuals have shared how his book negatively affected them and promoted a damaging and unhelpful view of sexuality, relationships, and dating.
Harris said that while there are some good ideas in "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" -- like the fact that "you don't have to be in a dating relationship to be a whole person" -- his eyes have been opened over the past few years to "see some fundamental problems" he included in the book.
Earlier, Harris told NPR that while the Bible gives "certain commandments and guidance" relating to sexuality and relationships, Christians often take truths from God's word and add extra human regulation onto them, the pastor contended.
"For example, there are clear things in statements in Scripture about our sexuality being expressed within the covenant of marriage.
Who wouldn’t want to please God with a pure heart and body on their wedding day?
Of course, it isn’t as simple as all that and, really, IKDG is revealing a method that cedes self-autonomy for what God and your parents want.
It’s fostered the sort of shame that follows me into my relationship now, and it makes me angry at how dating or relationships without marriage as a pre-determined point, let alone sex or any kind of physical affection, were robbed of any joy for me.
"So you can kind of, like, back up and say well, because of this, then you should do this, this and this as well. We have God's word, but then it's so easy to add all this other stuff to protect people, to control people, to make sure that you don't get anywhere near that place where you could go off course.
"It's been such an emotional roller coaster for me," he said.
"There are moments where I feel contrite and there are other moments where I swing over and I'm defensive and I'm mad that people are blaming me for things... But, the reason I don't, is because I believe that this is the pathway of growth for me, that I'm going to learn things in facing up to what I got wrong." "There's transformational power in admitting that you got something wrong," he added.
"Youth, zeal, certainty, ambition ..have the tendency to set the world on fire.
I was writing to fellow Christians, I was saying, 'We need to be serious about our faith, we won't have sex until we're married, and if we want to avoid premarital sex, we should radically change our lifestyle, and that means we should stop dating.'" The book quickly became a staple among the Christian community, selling over 1.2 million copies and propelling Harris to instant fame.
But beside my non-existent teen love life, the book had a larger impact that as an adult, I’m only now coming to grips with—damaging expectations of myself, men, and sexuality—beliefs that have cost me love, friendship, and given me a life of shame.