Religious folk like to claim that lack of God begets a lack of morals, and to a certain extent they’re right. Only, it’s not secularism that causes the problems but rather instilling people with notions of magical punishments for their actions, hammering into them the import of doing good not for the sake of being a good person, of not doing harm to others because they understand harm, but for the sake of saving themselves from some fantastic damnation. And once that veil is pulled away, what’s the point? Once religion, once God is exposed as a fraud, then suddenly the impetus to do good out of fear is eliminated as well. And when you confuse morality with a system of religion, this can be really dangerous.
It’s similar to the way we approach other things, too: Like how we build up these mythical tales of marijuana use killing you on your first use, and destroying your life, and being so addictive and horrible that you’ll be ruined within months if you ever even think about smoking a joint. And then people actually end up smoking pot at some point in their lives and realizing it’s not even close to as bad as depicted, and in fact quite pleasant with seemingly few side effects with responsible use. And then it dawns on them that other drugs were depicted this way, too, so maybe it’s safe to give, say, heroin a go. Or crack. Hell, why not some crystal meth?
And that’s what the gateway is: Not some intrinsic property of the drugs themselves, but rather the way we condition ourselves as a species to think about things. We aren’t honest with ourselves because we don’t seem to be able to trust ourselves to be adults. (And it’s cyclical, of course: Treat someone like a child and they’ll become one.) We end up inventing all these little tricks to try to convince ourselves that intensely exaggerated and often outright invented repercussions will result from actions we’re afraid (sometimes with good reason — see: heroin) or uncomfortable to take. And in doing so, in lying to ourselves, we never fully grasp what the actual situations are, what the actual dangers are. All we do is prop up a bunch of facades of boogeymen and train ourselves to believe that if we do something “wrong”, they’re going to come alive at night and eat us.
And some people can only be tricked for so long.
When you find out that Santa Claus isn’t real, for how long do you continue kissing ass with your parents? The whole thing was just a device to get you to behave for an entire year for a single annual reward. There was always the threat of no presents at Christmas, because Santa doesn’t bring gifts to bad girls and boys. Only lumps of coal. And then you’re told it’s bullshit, and not only is the incentive to be artificially pleasant and complacent under almost any circumstance throughout the year removed, but you’re also disillusioned with the system as a whole.
So what happens when you suspect that God isn’t real? The same God you’ve been kept in a state of perpetual childhood to believe in, to suspend your disbelief, to exhibit cognitive dissonance to such an extent as no rational adult in an enlightened, mature society would be capable? The same God who’ll burn you for an eternity — a fucking eternity — for something so much as lying to your parents? God doesn’t give heaven to bad girls and boys. Only lumps of coal. Lit. Up your asshole. Forever. What happens when you begin to suspect that maybe this whole system might not be real?
Some people can only stay children for so long.
 And this is what makes the whole Catholic kid-rape scandal particularly insidious is that these children are led to be complacent to appease God — who they’re told is represented by these men — and so they’re afraid to do anything out of fear that they’ll make God angry. Fucking disgusting.