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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 (5,768 Responses)
  1. Colin

    .

    September 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  2. Mary Rottenbox

    Who wants a good time?

    September 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  3. Chris

    The easiest chick I ever slept with was a diehard Christian.

    September 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • ram

      You are probably a big fat slob who has never kissed a girl trying to put on a show out of spite ... just because you hate God. You poor soul. I pity you.

      September 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • wrussia

      That shows real class. I am positive your mother,sisters ,wife all the women your life hope their boys turn out to be just like you.

      October 11, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  4. Sy2502

    Good, we don't need one more generation of repressed individuals with an unhealthy relationship with the most natural of body functions.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • RJ

      Or we can go in the other direction of everyone and everything doing it all together and spreading STDs.

      September 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  5. ram

    It's amazing how such badly written and poorly researched articles tend to bring out the slimy creepy creatures of this planet ... the type which only take glory in their shameful lusts.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Mary Rottenbox

      Your anger turns me on big boy!

      September 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Chris

      @Ram me baby!

      September 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  6. Chris

    Oppressing our natural desires and the very reason we are alive to begin with only creates more sick people. See: Catholic priests.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  7. Observer

    Bristol Palin is the poster child.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  8. Papp

    The U.S. has the world's largest Christian population....

    September 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  9. Jesus 4ever

    GOD BLESS ALL CHRISTIANS.......... I love Jesus forever! ... PS! Jews for Jesus

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

      Thats not as big of a leap of faith as you might think. I was jewish. You want a leap of faith? Athiests for Jesus. Not THAT is spiritually powerful!

      Oh, and go have some s e x.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Anomic Office Drone

      There's the humility Jesus preached.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Chris

      www jesusradicals com – Real Christians.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • cherylita

      Just Christians? Remember if a non believer reads this he may think you are a jerk. So let's say God Bless everyone. Muslims, Non believers, whether they are gay, straight, black or white God bless them

      September 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Karen

      God bless all humankind. May all come to know you through your son, Jesus.

      October 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  10. Anomic Office Drone

    Christianity grew in America under Reagan because it was an era of ego and greed and again during the housing boom for the same reason. Evangelical Christianity teaches that all is forgiven no matter what you do, that you're right about the only question that matters and that you're some kind of special snowflake. Modern Christians don't praise God. They just are giving themselves an unlimited supply of Get Out of Jail Free cards for their consciences. It all comes back to them. It's all about selfishness.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • wrussia

      Do I know you? You just wrote about me Christian ,living during Reagan but you do not know me. do not write like you know all about me you do not . It is a straw man argument ( 40 years since college I may have pulled the wrong label out of my head . Truly don,t do a lot of debate these ays

      October 11, 2011 at 1:15 am |
  11. Jon

    Don't buy the car without test driving it.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Jesus

      and make sure that car has a big back seat!

      September 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • sadiedog

      i agree . i would perfer a used model , that way you can skip driver's ed .

      September 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  12. Craig

    I waited until marriage, as did my wife. I was 28, she was 21. It was absolutley worth it. I regret nothing. I've heard countless stories of first time experiences where there is nothing but regret. One of them was drunk, pregnancy fears, the relationship falls apart, etc. They all remember their first time and many have admitted to me, "I shouldn't have done it that way probably." When I look back on my first time, it is a triumph. I fought the battles, denied temptation and look at my wife and know she was the first and I smile everytime I remember my first time, and she smiles right back at me. I was meant for her, and she for me and she was worth waiting for.

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

      Didn't touch a woman until 28? Oh dear god man, just come out, will you? You are clearly gay.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Tom

      So it worked for you, it must work for everyone else too. Blow me.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Utah Gary

      Previous two posts–and TONS of others on any subject dealing with religion or faith...proof that we still need adult supervision to make us play well with others.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Karen

      It is nice to know there are true gentlemen left in this world. These people who rush into intimate relationships with anyone and everyone have no idea what they are missing. I commend you and your wife for being strong. Just because it is right doesn't mean it is easy. Pay no attention to the lude comments posted here. We should pray for them as well as the young couples who are dealing with temptation.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Whorhay

      @BillyBones, so anyone with more self control than you, or some imagined break point, is gay? I'm sure if he was gay that wouldn't have stopped him from having intercourse, it just wouldn't have been with a woman.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      Craig

      I waited until marriage, as did my wife. I was 28, she was 21. It was absolutley worth it. I regret nothing. I've heard countless stories of first time experiences where there is nothing but regret. One of them was drunk, pregnancy fears, the relationship falls apart, etc. They all remember their first time and many have admitted to me, "I shouldn't have done it that way probably." When I look back on my first time, it is a triumph. I fought the battles, denied temptation and look at my wife and know she was the first and I smile everytime I remember my first time, and she smiles right back at me. I was meant for her, and she for me and she was worth waiting for.

      --------
      I am happy for you. Serious. Just remember not everybody is the same and some of us were created for more than one.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • SophieCat

      No one gets any guarantees. The fact that your life is working right now is no guarantee that it always will. I certainly do not have any ill will for you, but you sound as if your story has ended. It hasn't ended – and anything could happen, at any time, which means you'll have a nice memory of how great everything was, right before it all went to hell in a handbasket.

      September 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      Karen

      It is nice to know there are true gentlemen left in this world. These people who rush into intimate relationships with anyone and everyone have no idea what they are missing. I commend you and your wife for being strong. Just because it is right doesn't mean it is easy. Pay no attention to the lude comments posted here. We should pray for them as well as the young couples who are dealing with temptation.

      ----–
      And then you have the clueless and judgemental that thinks their shoe fits everybody. Save your prayers for yourself that you might be more understanding and less close minded. Save your prayers for yourself so that you can honestly look in the mirror and see only yourself instead of everybody else as you.

      September 27, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Joe

      @Tom Where do you see that Craig said that because it worked for him that it should be that way for everyone? He's merely giving an example of how waiting for marriage can work out and be worth it. I hope you're just trolling otherwise you come off sounding like an assuming toolbag.

      September 27, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Answer

      @Utah Gary

      Here's your badge for the duty of being hall monitor. Now get to work.

      September 27, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  13. kimsland

    Now kids, its either $ex or bible study, you make up your mind.
    Oh and thankyou to CNN on how this belief topic has backfired on them.
    No one likes bible study even without $ex.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      kimsland

      Now kids, its either $ex or bible study, you make up your mind.
      Oh and thankyou to CNN on how this belief topic has backfired on them.
      No one likes bible study even without $ex.

      ----–
      Reminds me of an adult play I was involved in. God was C@ ck blocking Satan and screaming out his scripture while banging Mary. God had the head of a pig...much like how men are viewed who take advantage of women. In the end we are god's who res which god sacrificed his only g a y son.

      September 27, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  14. JMissal

    This is what happens when 10-12 year olds make "purity pledges"under the guise of religion only to find out some years later that religion is simply about social control rather than spirituality.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  15. BBoy705

    Think about this for a second, Jesus's Mom had $ex with a ghost and gave birth to a human! How totally k inky is that?

    September 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  16. snoosnooshi

    haha...goes to show religious nuts are just that...nuts. I waited...but because i wanted to...not because of Jesus or whatever. Silly religious peeps...when will you see that dictating life rules to others based on made-up stories is dumb.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • steveinmo

      So...how many of you nonbeliever bloggers that come to the Belief site were among the group Obama invited to the White House, to push his agenda on the electronic front, which just coincidentally happened right before the Arab Spring, and was just coincidentally propogated through the electronic media? And all of a sudden now the Internet and cell phones are basic human rights? Shows all you nonbeliever "professional" bloggers don't know much, especially regarding matters of Faith. Yet you all can't help posting here to only show your H8 and ignorance, instead of wanting to come here to make friendships or bonds, or learn. Don't know much about love do you?

      September 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Anomic Office Drone

      Steveinmo, do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound accusing people who disagree with you of being on someone's payroll? Just to be clear, what bonds and friendship are you offering when you accuse people of such things? People can look at the same set of facts and reach a different conclusion. It has happened since the dawn of man about every topic we could come up with. Be less petty.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • steveinmo

      Well Atomic Drone, if you were to even come here for anything other than attacking believers, then you might know. And if you had read some of my posts over the weekend on the "Rapture" thread, one would hope you might see I was trying to say something from my heart for the well-being and love for others, meant in the best way, and with no character attacks; that is until everyone turned on me accusing me of thing I didn't say.

      And where is it written that I can't ask an honest question? Or does the question scare you? Perhaps it jus doesn't fall within your criteria and rules of free speech? That's right, the nonbelievers and the liberals (yes, I'll keep them separate instead of saying they're one group) are so threatened with the old ways and what's right they pass laws to shut us up, yet say their right and freedom to slander what's good and say what they want, while saying it's their right not to tell us to keep quiet. So what's your agenda and real reason for being here? If you don't like what we believe in, you have the freedom NOT to come here. But you can't even answer what's on your heart of why you come here because totally honesty with yourself is out of your reach at the moment.

      2 Thes 2:11-12 - And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

      September 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Answer

      @Steveinmo

      You're upset .. so what? Go have some s-e-x.

      September 27, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
  17. steveinmo

    Well, just look at some of the people they've hired, like Piers Morgan and that shows pretty well how stupid CNN has become. At least they're not like MSLSD or Fox...

    September 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • steveinmo

      sorry this was supposed to be a reply to BBoy705 below, but the site dropped it in the wrong place.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • BBoy705

      Thank you!

      September 27, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  18. Stainedundies

    The biggest regret I have in my life was waiting.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Jesus

      Mary Rottenbox, is that you?!

      September 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  19. ElaineV

    This makes me really sad. God does not change – His standard for holiness hasn't changed regardless of when it is socially acceptable to marry. Thankfully grace applies to those who are truly repentent. "Should we keep on sinning such that grace increases all the more? Of course not!" We as Christians must be light in the darkness. We should pray for our young people and not-so-young single brothers and sisters who struggle with temptation.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • BBoy705

      Get some batteries girl and go to your room!

      September 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • David in Corpus

      You barely made sense with your religious gibberish, but I will fight and die for your right to mouth off religious gibberish.

      BTW, young christians are fkn more these days cause they are animals like everyone else. FYI. Animals like to fk.
      True that, it makes them look very hypocritical, but that isn't new to religion at all now is it.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Tom

      So irritating. Quit assuming you know what your deity wants for you and me. You know nothing. And your deity is nothing but make-believe.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  20. awasis

    Jesus is not as satisfying as an orgasim, that's why.

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

      Well, to that I say, let me give you an orgasm!

      September 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.