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Why young Christians aren't waiting anymore
A young Christian at an purity rally spreads the word.
September 27th, 2011
08:39 AM ET

Why young Christians aren't waiting anymore

By John Blake,  CNN

(CNN) –True love doesn’t wait after all.

That’s the implication in the upcoming October issue of an evangelical magazine that claims that young, unmarried Christians are having premarital sex almost as much as their non-Christian peers.

The article in Relevant magazine, entitled “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It,” cited several studies examining the sexual activity of single Christians. One of the biggest surprises was a December 2009 study, conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which included information on sexual activity.

While the study’s primary report did not explore religion, some additional analysis focusing on sexual activity and religious identification yielded this result: 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults (18 to 29) said that they have had sex - slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adults, according to the teen pregnancy prevention organization.

The article highlights what challenges abstinence movements face. Movements such as “True Love Waits,” encourage teens to wear purity rings, sign virginity pledges and pledge chastity during public ceremonies.

Yet many of these Christian youths eventually abandon their purity pledges, Relevant’s Tyler Charles concludes in the article. Tyler talked to people like “Maria,” an evangelical woman who said she wanted to wait until marriage to have sex.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

But she said she started having sex with her college boyfriend when she turned 20 because nearly everyone, even most of  her Christian friends, were having sex.

Maria:

It seemed everyone in my life, older and younger, had “done it.” In fact, I waited longer than most people I knew and longer than both of my sisters, even though we were all Christians and came from a good home.

Relevant theorizes about why it’s so hard for so many young Christians to wait, including the saturation of sex in popular culture, the prevalence of pornography and a popular “do what feels good philosophy.”

Yet the article also asks a question that rarely comes up in discussions about abstinence movement. Relevant notes that in biblical times, people married earlier. The average age for marriage has been increasing in the U.S for the last 40 years.

Today, it’s not unusual to meet a Christian who is single at 30 - or 40 or 50, for that matter. So what do you tell them? Keep waiting?

Scot McKnight, author of “The Jesus Creed,” and "One.Faith: Jesus Calls, We Follow," acknowledges that young, single Christians face temptations that their counterparts in the biblical age didn’t face.

He  tells Relevant:

Sociologically speaking, the one big difference – and it’s monstrous – between the biblical teaching and our culture is the arranged marriages of very young people. If you get married when you’re 13, you don’t have 15 years of temptation.

So what should a Christian parent or youth pastor do? How do they convince more young Christians to wait until marriage, or should they stop even trying?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Culture & Science • Culture wars

soundoff (5,770 Responses)
  1. BBoy705

    Now I have it figured out! Don't use the word $ ex when you post a comment about this article which is about $ ex. How bloody stupid is CNN anyway?

    September 27, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  2. BBoy705

    Okay Christian kids I'm going to let you in on a little secret! Catholic and Mormon girls are the easiest! Go for it!

    September 27, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Jesus

      You can thank me later.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • BBoy705

      Sweet Jesus!

      September 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Ian

      I'm LDS, and I live in an area with many good, wonderful Catholics. I am saddened by your bigotry and hate.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • BBoy705

      Ian, I married a Mormon girl and I know full well what they are capable of! LOL! I have actually been propositioned by "good" Mormon housewives while at parties with my wife in SLC. One woman, who professed to everyone to being a very good Mormon, promised me the best BJ I'll ever have if I just slip out back with her! I didn't because I am faithful to my wife. So please don't pull that holier than thou BS on me! BTW, when I told her I was an atheist she was surprised that I didn't take her up on her offer!

      September 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • BBoy705

      BTW, my wife is no longer a Mormon... some comment sense discussions about that wacky faith (and religion in general) had her seeing the real light of truth and wisdom!

      September 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  3. Steve

    @kimsland
    Wrong? About what? How exactly does Barry (or people like him) "impose" his beliefs? Do you know Barry well enough to generalize to all those people taking advantage of "helpless" people? You sound as if you might be projecting your own childhood religious experiences on others. Surely you must know that such generalizations are unfair to those unidentified masses. You should also know you are in the samll minority of people on earth who proclaim no God. Q: Are you an Absurdist as well as an atheist? Surely in your certainty of atheism, you understand the subjectivity of truth, the cultural relativity of "common sense", and the undefinable nature of "normal", as well as the difficulties surrounding truth. Pontius Pilate mused philosophically about "what is truth". What do you say truth is, in light that your belief system is shared by less than 1% of the world's population?

    September 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • kimsland

      You must be joking?
      By the way this is another completely different topic, you can't ask me questions here about another topic. How rude.

      Yes be aware that religious people ALWAYS push their beliefs onto others, they are told to do this, didn't you know?
      I'm merely telling them the real truth. God does not exist. If you can't handle that simple point then go away.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  4. Bo

    @center, I often wonder how ahteists get a lot of their oppions information and understanding of, religion, belief, the Bible, Christianity or God. Since most of it is untrue, I just chalk it up to foolishiness, ignorance, sarcasim or hatered. Although I do wonder where they get their information, I don't worry about it; just let them rant; I think that is the most loving Christian way to treat it.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Castiel

      I take it you don't personally know any, or you wouldn't be making such ignorant assumptions.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Hi

      what's "loving" about that? it's time EVERYONE here realized something... God, the creator of all this, everything unknown (and it is alot) in the physical and astro-sciences is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy beyond the understanding of us, petty, selfish, impulsive human beings. As such, NONE of us (including the ancient egyptians and hebrews) can understand the creator of everything. Not one of us, throughout the history of time. Realize this and at least we might be able to stop killing ourselves over things like religious differences and live long enough to gain even a glimmer of some higher truth. Oh, and there are BILLIONS of other galaxies out there just like us... there are black holes larger in size than our galazy, the sun is thousands of times bigger than the earth and we don't know how to cure cancer yet so please stop thinking you know anything about a creator. Please... stop all of it.

      January 9, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  5. Rock

    banging religious girls is awesome. They want to rebel so badly and do ANYthing.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Jesus

      I love it when they say my name.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • kimsland

      Yeah like Jesus F'ing christ you're good. That is good :)

      September 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  6. Rich

    The obvious solution to this problem is massive tax cuts for the super rich.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  7. Jesus

    Lets all have s.e.x. My dad was a fuddy duddy. He told us not to do it because most men were bonin goats and he didn't like the idea of STDs getting around.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  8. Squeezebox

    A lot of the evangelicals I know justify doing whatever they want to because they take God's forgiveness for granted. A lot of Catholics take confession for granted. When will we take God's word seriously?

    September 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • kimsland

      NEVER

      September 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • You can't handle the Truth

      On the day of Judgement.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Jesus

      Dad's word is worthless.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Rock

      Thou shalt not judge – but there is a day called judgement day...irony

      September 27, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  9. Meh

    The best way to keep a girl is to make her think you will leave if there is no nookie...oh religion was the topic...who cares

    September 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • kimsland

      That's the first thing that parents teach their teenage daughters to avoid.
      That, and religion too.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  10. JB

    It's only been in the last couple of hundred years that people lived past 40. Body has been evolving form thousands of years to procreate at a young age. Used to be 16-18 was a time to marry and have kids to keep the species going and you might live long enough to see them do the same thing. Religions are nothing more than a control mechanism and regularly abused by many that love actin holier than thou.
    Hormones are gonna win

    September 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Dave

      Not true. There are many references in the Bible to where people lived to see old age, and it was definitely beyond 40. There have been periods of time when life expectancy was less than it is now, and with all of the new health issues, drug addictions and alcoholism at an earlier age, its forseeable that the next generation my not live as old as the previous.

      September 27, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Dave, we're talking about reality here. Not the bible.

      September 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Answer

      Yah Dave believes that those old bible foggies lived up to 900 plus years. Don't you wish you could live that long? Is that why you chose religion Dave?

      "Hey if those guys in that book can do it.. I'll try it." Good luck.

      September 27, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  11. Anton LaVey

    Personally I enjoy the company of multiple partners (ladies) on a nightly basis. Free from unreasonable expectations and guilt. We are all adults and freely make our choice. Friends with benefits. I provide for them while they finish college. They eventually move on in life but we always remain friends. I must say I do enjoy the christian girls the most.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      Yes that was a self serving statement. lol

      September 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • kimsland

      Yes bravo.
      The concern in this story was the word 'young' ie young teenagers.

      Anyway, kids should realize that religion is not the reason to avoid or go for s ex.
      Actually religion usually just gets in the way of everything.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Meh

      Do you shower between broads or take one girls gunk to the next one?
      just curious

      September 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      Yes bravo.
      The concern in this story was the word 'young' ie young teenagers.

      Anyway, kids should realize that religion is not the reason to avoid or go for s ex.
      Actually religion usually just gets in the way of everything.

      ---–
      Interesting enough when I was a christian I waited until I was 18. Even today as a non-christian I am selective.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      Meh

      Do you shower between broads or take one girls gunk to the next one?
      just curious

      --------
      *rolling eyes* everybody showers before. And don't assume one has to or it is expected to "do" all every time.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • kimsland

      There's always one freak in the pack.
      Generally the 'religious' girls are having it off with just about anyone they can.
      ie Religion doesn't mean sh!t

      September 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      To the simpletons who cannot see beyond their p*n*S, there is more to relationships than just s e x. Think of it as like creating "art"

      September 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • melvinslizard

      I think "self-serving" is all the loving that you get...

      September 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • ram

      You sound like a frustrated 50-year-old virgin. But then again, you are satanic. In a nutshell, you are a frustrated satanist.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      ram

      You sound like a frustrated 50-year-old virgin. But then again, you are satanic. In a nutshell, you are a frustrated satanist.

      --–
      Yes you have me pegged

      September 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  12. Rich

    Religion is delusion.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      No more of a delusion than you thinking anyone loves you.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • kimsland

      I love you Rich

      September 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Jesus

      I love him

      September 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Rabbi Green

      Jesus, don't you owe me 31 pieces of silver and a lamb?

      September 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Jesus

      You gotta wait til payday. I'll have your money, I promise.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Kim Kard

      OMG Jesus just ate me out

      September 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Kim- prove that you love him I bet you will have no better chance of that than a person of faith proving God exists to you.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Yo, Uncouth! You're asking Kimsland to prove her love to Rich? Consider Rich's feelings!!!!

      September 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "Consider Rich's feelings!!!!"

      Why? I see no reason to consider his feelings on such a thing that cannot be proven anymore than how some treat other ppl's belief on things they cannot prove.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • kimsland

      I love all people that are not religious.
      Whereas religious people are made to just poke fun at.
      I thought that was your gods teachings?

      September 27, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Jesus

      Kim, please wash beforehand next time.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • BBoy705

      What would Rich do? Hmmm?? Consider that for a moment! ;-)

      September 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Kim- "I love all people that are not religious."

      Prove it. You can prove it can't you?

      September 27, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Answer

      @Uncouth

      If you wanted to be the spectator in their love act why don't you just ask properly? I'm sure they could fit you in as the meat in the sandwich. I didn't think you were that desperate to witness someone getting it on.

      September 27, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  13. Toby

    The reason they aren't waiting is the same reason non-believers aren't waiting-there is nothing "up there" and deep down they know this fact too well-they only believe that they believe it. Peace.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  14. David

    The Bible is a lie.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • kimsland

      And that is the truth.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      That is an opinion. Well...actually it's a poorly written sentence. When can a noun be of itself a lie?

      September 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Shoulder Devil

      and you are your parent's biggest mistake.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Rabbi Green

      Well yes, the torah is a collect of stories which are somewhat historical... Except for the earth in 7 days bit....

      there is no reason to think that god is a simpleton wizard as many religious people would have you believe, science has been unlocking the craftsmanship of gods work for years, and hopefully will continue to do so...

      September 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • KG

      If the Bible is a lie then explain to me how you got here. The first people, the very first cells, did not evolve from nothing. Would you agree with me that something finite cannot bring itself into existance? Therefore, the first cells are unable to create themselves. Something infinite had to create it, correct? The only explanation is God.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @KG Right. It was Brahma who did it. The bible is still a lie.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      KG

      If the Bible is a lie then explain to me how you got here. The first people, the very first cells, did not evolve from nothing. Would you agree with me that something finite cannot bring itself into existance? Therefore, the first cells are unable to create themselves. Something infinite had to create it, correct? The only explanation is God.

      ----------–
      We might have come from a god or gods.... some of us don't put our faith in the men that wrote your bible. Your faith is in man not your god.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Answer

      You can do an imagery test in your mind to come up with an answer to god.

      It would go like this.. firstly you know there was nothing. Complete nothingness. So imagine it.
      Now you know that some of you religious folks make the ridiculous claim that god was 'always' there. The only 'always' that can exist is nothingness. For god to come into being there are two ways: firstly another god made that god.. secondly.. the god in question pulled his own being out of the nothingness.

      The answer of the universe being able to self create itself then answers the second conclusion in direct relationship to god. This satisfies the Big Bang theory – supports science. If you were to claim that god was always there, now that is something you have to really be big on the proof. The second conclusion of god pulling himself out.. well that is your only logical conclusion if you want a god. So to each their own choosing. As an atheist I support science because reality is much more rich! Having you whackos (religious tards) spewing your tirade of condemnation and trying to see who wins the struggle of "my god is the only true god" is just sick.

      I do hope you morons clue in to this honest logic which anybody can do if they applied their reasoning without cluttering your mind with useless dogma.

      September 27, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • KG

      @Answer
      So you're telling me that something finite can create itself? A pencil can just create itself? A book can just create itself? That's impossible. Something finite (a pencil, a book) cannot create itself. Something infinite MUST have created it. Sure, it may not be the same god as mine, but doesn't it make sense that only something infinite can bring finite things into existance, A god?

      September 27, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      KG

      @Answer
      So you're telling me that something finite can create itself? A pencil can just create itself? A book can just create itself? That's impossible. Something finite (a pencil, a book) cannot create itself. Something infinite MUST have created it. Sure, it may not be the same god as mine, but doesn't it make sense that only something infinite can bring finite things into existance, A god?

      --------–
      As an agnostic I am open to the idea. However, I don't accept answers from what men wrote 2000-5000 years ago as the answer to all. If there is a god or creative force they know where to find me if they are so concerned with "me". Until then enjoy life and do what your wil desires.

      September 28, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  15. Layne Pype

    I believe in God, but I also like to stick my love truncheon into agreeable ladies.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Wow, Richard S Kaiser channeling Larry Flint, amazing.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Nah, that was too coherent for Kaiser.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  16. Nonimus

    God said be fruitful and multiply, right?
    And Jesus got rid of the whole 'adultery is a sin' thing, just like eating pork and shellfish and wearing mixed fabrics etc., right?
    What's the problem?

    September 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • melvinslizard

      "Jesus got rid of the 'adultery is a sin thing'..." please explain as this is completely bogus. I don't expect you to be Christian, but please don't share blatantly incorrect information. thank you

      September 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I thought the rules in the OT were, well not removed, but "fulfilled". You know stoning people for adultery or back-talking their parents and such. No pork, no shellfish, no storing cheese and meat together, no wearing linen and cotton together. Do you still follow those rules?

      September 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  17. Grant

    Perhaps we should encourage young Christian singles to not put off marriage until they're 30 – or 40 or 50.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Brittany

      Are you saying we should encourage them to get married at 18-19-20? Which, by the way, has a proven higher rater of divorce when married before the age of 25. Doesn't God also preach against that – "what God has put together, let no man put assunder."

      September 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  18. JohnQuest

    Does anyone know why "God" is so interested in Human Se-xuality? Seems to me that something like that should not matter to a non human. It has no effect on a deity in any way, if someone sees it differently please explain it, I just don't get it.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • kimsland

      Oh something about he's really arrogant and says he can do it with Mary but no one else has the right to.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • ES

      I just posted the same thing, lol. God wouldn't. But human men in charge of the church would be very intrested in this subject.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  19. kimsland

    S ex?
    Are people still doing that?

    September 27, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • George Burns

      My brain wants it 20 times a day but my body wont give it up

      September 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  20. Michael

    I am going to start going to church now.

    September 27, 2011 at 11:57 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.