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.
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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.
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?
It used to be a social stigma to engage in pre-marital s-ex. I think it's great that people have the option to do what they want without this stigma. HOWEVER, it seems cruel and very intolerant to tease people who still choose to wait. At 20, I'm still waiting. And don't launch into "you must be ugly" critiques because they are lame and baseless. I've been with the same guy for a year and a half and he respects my decision. You want respect for the way you live your life? Give respect in return. There's no reason to be cruel or nasty- someone waiting to have s-ex isn't hurting you so grow up
I salute you! Take comfort in the fact that your body is a temple of the holy spirit. By not defiling yourself with acts of fornication driven by selfish lust, you can celebrate your journey with the Lord that will eventually lead to intimacy with your betrothed that will be pleasing in God's sight. You do not carry the baggage of shame and guilt. Keep your lamp lit. Those who mock you are living a miserable existence. Repeat acts of fornication have not brought them comfort or satisfaction, instead your inner peace, drawn from obedience to the TRUTH, enrages them. Pray for them, they know not what they do. Thanks for witnessing to all!
Good for you, and don't give in! Pay heed, as well, to use your time for the Lord as Paul instructs the single to do. When your time is devoted to marriage and family, it is simply harder to find the time to serve. Don't waste your singleness. Revel in it. You will be blessed.
Good for you! My husband and I both waited and we feel so blessed to be the other ones only partner. Yes itis hard but very worth it. God is smiling on you!
Kudos to you Beth & to those like minded Christians! Honor your bodies, temples of the Holy Spirit. It helps and enlightens if all of you can check out this website http://www.pastor jentezenfranklin/keep your underwear on. God Bless.
Keith Stone helps you duckin' down your draws', suckin' beer through straws, helpin' you get yours.
Just because the commercial says you are smooth doesn't make it true. How can you even be smooth with the name Keith?
Saving yourself for marriage is silly. Anyone who marries with the intention of being monogamous for the rest of their life should at least have some idea what they are getting into. Moreover, you do learn a lot about a person being intimate with them. You learn if they are sensitive, caring, generous, etc.
Wow. 90% of the comments I've read are either nasty or ignorant. It's not up to Christians to judge each other or to judge non-Christians, and it's not up to non-Christians to judge Christians. For now, we can only judge ourselves; one day, we'll all find out for sure whether or not God(s) exist(s), and then if It/They do(es), then It/They will let us all know who was right and who was wrong... If anyone was right or wrong at all.
Me, I've chosen to wait because have heard personal experiences from both sides and I see a lot of benefits to it. I believe in God, but I also don't think that God cares as much as some people think He does; I think God has bigger fish to fry. My decision was not really a religious thing for me.
Getting married earlier is a good option. Not talking 13, but really, anybody should be mature enough to marry at 20. If not, this is another example of the epidemic extended-adolescence. Yeah, yeah, give the litany of problems with early marriage – finances, instability, etc. But if you look for and find the most important person of your entire life, and you're mature enough to handle all the changes and hardships that will happen, why wait another 5 years?
This from the Terms of Service: "You agree not to upload, post or otherwise transmit any User Content that is offensive to the online community, including blatant expressions of bigotry, racism, abusiveness, vulgarity or profanity."
Also, right beneath the box where you write... "CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct..."
85% of these comments have been anything but courteous. Most have been bigoted, abusive, vulgar, and profane. Classy.
Thanks for sharing that :).
Well said, Jared. It's just not cool to be so nasty on a public forum....well not cool in any forum actually. Discussion is good and keeps us from being so narrow minded. But why all the jabs and ugly remarks?
Calling abstaining from s-ex "Purity" is just weird - I am disgusted by that term. It is repulsive. So, the day after the wedding you are not "Pure" anymore?!
good point....i had never tho't about it that way.
Yes... as a little kid I was taught by the Church that even thinking of a naked human body or anything to do with natural s-exual behavior was "impure". I guess I had lost my "purity" by the time I was 6 or 7. I was mortified and humiliated to have to confess "impure thoughts" every damn week!
Oh please. They never did.
We are still paying a HUGE price that Mary lied about and extra marital affair 2000 odd years ago!
ALL RELIGION IS A HUGE PRICE.
Because they are a bunch of phonies
not really...not all of them....do some more checking and i think you will find there are alot of people who make their belief in God a lifestyle rather than a religion. And they are some pretty awesome people!
Just because you believe in something doesn't mean it is real... But what the hell, go ahead and kill anyone who doesn't believe the way you do. God's obviously not powerful enough to kill evil in this world. He really needs your help identifying and eradicating all non-believers! Kill them so they can be saved!
What are you talking about? I can't make heads or tails of that non-nonsensical comment. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Don't let a long history of bad "Christian" examples sway you from the awesome love of God. Just because the Enemy (Satan) dresses up as a "Christian" doesn't mean we should believe every word he speaks. Compare any teaching you hear to that of the Bible (New International Version) and see if they cross paths.
Proverbs states, "there is a way that seems right man, but in the end that leads to death." If people would trust God more, and the enemy less, this world would be a much better place. Let me ask you a simple question, "What if God is real? Would you be willing to spend an eternity in Hell, Agony, Torment, and Suffering? Do you think the idea of God is a 21st century one? What makes us so much more smarter? Because we have i-phones? Why do we have towns called Bethel, Philadelphia, or Zion's Hill?, why do Hispanics name their kids Jesus, why do Americans give their kids biblical names, why haven't evolutionist proved their theory yet? Why is 1/3 of world's population "Christian", and 85% of the world's population having a "Higher Power" belief system? Because God is real, and he manifested himself in the form of Jesus Christ. Not Muhammad, not Gandhi, not Shirley McClain, Not Charles Taze Russel, not Joseph Smith. Jesus says, I am the way, the truth and the life and goes to the Father except through me. That is black and white. Jesus didn't say that you can go to the Father, through me and Muhammad. No...Jesus is very clear that he is the only way to salvation. Other religions require you to do so many 'good' things to get saved, Christianity says that Jesus paid it all and our sins are forgiven. You don't need to send up 25 hailmary's and 10 our fathers, You don't need to give 20% of everything you own, You don't need to fast on the day of Atonement or Rammadan, you just need to have a joyful heart and to ask God for daily forgiveness. We are a royal priesthood with direct access to the throne through prayer in Christ Jesus. Live everyday expecting his return and rejoice that your sins are forgiven.
Travis: I'm sorry to see that you are so brain washed that you can't think for yourself. If you could, you would see that you are only Christian because that's what you were taught to be. Have you investigated all the 200 active religions as well as atheism to determine which is right? I doubt it. If you had been born in Pakistan, you would be Muslim and would hate Christians. I hope that you can one day break away and begin to examine life in a rational way, not the way 2000 year old, unsophisticated men want you to see it. The bible is no more valid than the kuran. They are both old story books that have been translated hundreds of times. The catholic church even controlled the bible for about 300 years. The chances of it even saying what it did 2000 years ago in very small. The inconsistencies and confllicts in both books also degrade their validity. Human beings have been creating gods for hundreds of thousands of years to explain that they couldn't understand. they made up explanations using gods instead of researching for the truth.
Travis, with all due respect, why do you think that is only 1/3 of the population christian? What happened to the other 2/3's? You can just play with the numbers to favor your point... And what is black and white? The bible...? What about the Koran? Which is older than the bible... please inform yourself and do everyone a favor...
You "can't make heads or tails of that non-nonsensical comment."? Isn't a "non" non-sensical comment, a sensical comment?
"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?"
I have had inclinations for years to murder someone... So what do you tell me? Keep waiting?... (Hopefully you answer yes)
Same idea. Same destruction it would brings to so many lives if I wouldn't wait. True Christians know how Christ would be disappointed in them for such a serious crime against His children.
So saving virginity and not murdering someone is the "Same idea"? Sometimes Christians can be absolutely scary.
so having premarital relations is the same as killing someone? Please don't ever talk to a family of a murder victim. Someone should alert our prison system. We have killers i in their, but two people having consentual relations is the same as going on a killing spree, or at least the same as killing one person.... sorry to make a sweeping generalization like killing spree. You, sir, are ridiculous
Do you really require a religious doctrine to keep yourself from murdering someone? That kinda makes you sound like a psychopath.
If someone thinks saving their virginty for their spouse is "the best thing they ever did for the marriage," they probably have a bad marriage and a very low opinion of themselves.
Agreed. slu_tt_ines is a great boost to self esteem!
If someone thinks of a comment like Burnz wrote, he probably is a dumba_ss with an inappropriately high opinion of himself.
@ Burnz – Hmmm.....Nope! My husband & I actually have a *grand* marriage & also a very high opinion (esteem, respect) of ourselves! Purity & Viginity actually go hand-in-hand with the whole idea of respecting yourself enough to 'wait'! :) I am very sorry that you have not had better role models to discount your opinion on this matter. :(
13* “Enter through the narrow gate;* for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.j 14How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.
Matthew Chapter 7
@ Jim J. McCrea
Scriptures always answer our questions... Usually when you hear "everyone is doing it", that means they are all headed for purgatory so run the other way.
Waiting was the most difficult thing I ever did, and also the most rewarding in the end.
Not waiting was the most rewarding thing I ever did, and I didn't have to wait for love to become apparent.
@my2cents...how do you know? You have nothing to compare it to.
@steve. My2cents said it was the most rewarding thing they had ever done! They were not comparing waiting with having not waited. Please make sure you fully understand someone's comment before replying.
Also, I see in your other replies, you are making personal attacks. That is not necessary to have a discussion.
How the blank would CNN know what Christians DO? As if they're even remotely interested? Oh, that's right- CNN is there to report the dangerous of Christianity, and any means of disgracing it – sorry, CNN. You don't have a consensus sheet, or poll big enough to encompass America. Your attempts to indoctrinate Christians as amoral and jaded, is just laughable.
II'd really like to know if you waited or not.
They are actually just reporting on the results of a study done by evangelical magazine. So they don't but apparently you can't be bothered to read the article before expressing your outrage.
Typical nonsensical response...
@Mermarie...your statement makes absolutely no sense. You are aware of that much, are you not? How's is your survey coming so far?
Every evangelical Christian that I know that waited regretted doing so.
Obviously you have never met my husband & I then!! We have been very happily married for SEVENTEEN YEARS & enjoy what so many of you cannot...EVER!! virginity is a gift you can only give away ONCE. The blessings & healthy consequences of a monogamous relationship = NO regrets, NO diseases, NO guilt, NO excuses for our kids to cross that line, NO comparing with past lovers. When SO MANY of our peers have gone through multiple marriages & affairs, our love has lasted...ever since we dated in high school & got married at 19. In my humble opinion, anyone who is on here saying/bragging otherwise, is doing so because you know you have lost something that you will never be able to get back again.....and I would venture to say you are trying to ease your guilty conscience, even if you would never admit it! :)
@Purelove you can not say you waited to have s3x with your husband. If you were 30 before you had s3x... that would be waiting. You got married right out of the gate. My first time was even later than yours. I am sure everyone could wait until marriage if we all got married at 19. Congratulations on your long marriage, but please don't put on airs like you waited. 19 isn't waiting, it is within the average age to lose your virginity
I regret not waiting... Thankfully I didn't pickup an STD or life-ending disease in the process. God is faithful and we (every human besides Christ) are unfaithful. Some of your perceptions of biblical Christianity is skewed. You have this "idea" of God that fits within your limited, finite understanding. God is a not an evil kid with a magnifying glass sitting on an ant hill as Bruce Almighty says it, he is simply perfect, just, and Holy. HUMAN BEINGS are the ones that screwed it up, stop blaming God for our conscience decisions to choose against Him. We can ALL choose to do the right or wrong thing. Most of you are pathetic, unloving, and unwilling to change for the better, and I know this because i was that person for a long-time. You would rather spit in the face of the Creator than have to obey his simple commands, all because your hearts are so rebellious. Trust me when I say that not all Christians are crazy, non-nonsensical hypocrites. Some of us truly believe we are jacked up sinners, (look at the world today and try to argue otherwise) and we need the sinless blood of Christ. Many of you live empty and unfulfilled lives, just storing up treasures that you will never live long enough to enjoy. If you are happy living your 1-75 yrs without God, then prepare to live 75-to-infinity years in Hell. I would rather take the free gift of salvation, much less risky if you are a mathematician. "Christians" who "live" according to the bible have Nothing to lose and Everything to gain, Non-believers who accept the patterns of this world have Everything to lose and Nothing to gain.
Christianity isn't a religion, it's a lifestyle. Many people think that going to church on Sundays will save their souls. Well 1st century Christian were the church. So it blows the idea out of the water that a building is what's important. It doesn't meant that we shouldn't gather together for praise and worship. It just means that Christian living goes beyond the buildings. Jesus says to forgive your enemy's, love other people as much as you love yourself, be merciful, be kind, be holy, do not conform to the patterns of this world (Satan's attacks), humble yourself, be obedient and remain faithful. This stuff isn't rocket science and everyone will undoubtedly fall short of meeting these expectations. Luckily if you do fall short, there is a God named Jesus Christ that can pick you back up. World Religions says "do this and do that", Biblical Christianity says "It's done!" Jesus did it all. We just have to believe in Him.
@Danielle78 – interesting comment....quite tho't provoking! See, THAT is the benefit of these kinds of discussions. Not to bash each other or try to use scripture to hammer another person's opinion. We all need to be thinking outside our little boxes...Not saying to throw away all that we have been taught or found to be Truth in our own lives. But it is a different age we and our kids live in. We better be thinking things thru in a different way or we will miss many opportunities to connect with young adults today. Using the time worn cliches doesn't seem to be working in my opinion. Because if it was, then we wouldn't have the issue we are currently discussing. So it's time to think/reason/ explore other ways of communicating good values and moral principles to our kids. And these forums are a great way to get input we don't find in our little circles! Then we can take the input we get and compare it to the Truth we know in our hearts....maybe find a different way to convey the principles we want to pass on.
It's biology. Check out when our hormones are raging. The teen age years. God made us that way. Did He screw up?
Hi Mark, This is what God's word say 2 Timothy 2:22 – "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." Yes we all have those hormones and so do believers in Christ! But its a choice that we choose to take His path, rather than evil desires. There are many desires people have that are so called "natural" but it doesn't make it moral. Also God gives strength to choose the right way and say no to evil and its called self control. We have a fallen nature than craves sin rather than the things of God. When a person comes to Jesus the bible calls it new birth John 3:3. He gives you His nature and you begin to see that once what you thought was good or "natural" is really not good.
@ Jane I bet you are an over weight diabetic. Couldn't you resist those urges to eat at Mc D's.
Bless you Steve!
I waited 24 years, my wife 26, and it was totally worth it. Definately a big part of the strength of our marriage 11 years later. There is a different bond between us that I don't see in other couples. Regardless of religious affilitation, it does make for a stronger marriage, and with all of the stresses out there in the world, people need all of the strength they can get.
Quite a presumptuous statement. Quite the absurd statement.
CMoses.....unless they have experienced it in their own marriages, our culture seems to be *clueless* as to the special bond that there is because of 'waiting'. my husband & I recently celebrated our #17.....both of us were virgins when we married @ 19 and often say that our *EXCLUSIVITY* has been the one driving force in our faithfulness & committment to each other over the years. I fear our culture these days has no idea what EXCLUSIVITY even means!!!! :(
@CMoses- What do you compare your experience against? Again... you've been married 11 years. So what... i've been married 14 years and didn't wait. You know what, my parents have been married over 40 and they didn't wait. So what does this tell you? Does it make your marriage more special in some way, does it make mine more special? Absolutely not. Bunch of people thinking they found the answer by waiting to have s-e-x, but everyone here is so tied up in Theology they forget about Sociology. Every relationshiop is different because it involves different people. That's it. To prove the point... my wife and I are athiests. I know... can you believe it, no faith and we've been married 14 years. An to head off the attacs... no we have not had any marrital issues outside the common mother in law problem you all experience.
Im a young christian and I'm waiting.
What a coincidence! I'm a fallen-away Catholic and I'm waiting, too. Until around dark anyway.
Be encouraged brother! It is WORTH it! When we choose His way He blesses us. His ways are so so so so so so much better. It can be a fight at times but it worth fighting! He gives strength and grace to live a life that is Holy and set apart unto Him.
@.....penis. Why wait until dark. Afternoon delight is alright. Wait I didn't mean to make that rhyme
Why do I get the feeling you are quite unattractive( on the outside) You see I am nice.
@ Steve I get the feeling that nobody likes you. that it why you have nothing to do but slander people that are smarter than you. in the CNN comment section.
Don't get mad at us just because we actually have the will to work at something and stand up for it. It's OUR desision, I dont get mad at you when you blow your welfare check at the lquor store, so dont get mad at us for makeing our own choices to better our lifes.
I honestly think that your still a virgin, because I cant see how someone would ever want to be with someone as irrigant as you.
Anyone can go with the flow and try to copy everybody, it takes a real man to stand up for what he beleives in.
@ Joel – "Anyone can go with the flow and try to copy everybody, it takes a real man to stand up for what he beleives in." ......Very Well Said!! :)
@ Brandon – Don't Give Up! You will never regret having waited – God WILL reward you! :)
Don't give up! The people out here are cruel and very intolerant to make fun of you.
People that qoute the scriptures 2 suit their seilfish,wicked act. Be warned
True True. Yet they can't even understand how self righteous they are..that is the scary part
Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
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.