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.
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?
Santa Claus. Easter Bunny. God. Tooth Fairy.
My husband (of 8 years) and I waited...we weren't perfect, but it was important to us. I think as long as people are in a committed relationship, and they are thinking about their actions, there is no harm in not waiting.
My significant other (1 1/2 years together) and I did not wait. We have a great s-x life that has made us closer
I lost my virginity when I went to college..... it was one of the worst decisions I ever made.....
Unfortunately you can lose it only once.
That is why it is important to teach children the truth about 'Abstinence'
I believe in todays society, parents are telling their kids "dont do it" instead of teaching them why not to do it. We also have to see that years ago people use to marry in a much earlier age than now. So, when you marry early you dont have to hide to "sin", why should you if you were already married. An it was very normal norm. In todays world kids don't want to marry on early age but we all still have the urges.
I"m definitely one of the biggest victim here. I don't want my kids to hurt others or to be hurt.
They're waking up FINALLY!
I wouldn't buy a car without test driving it first, just saying.
Couldn't agree More!!!
Too many stinky farts in the car you now own
Women are not objects...nobody is better than anyone...men or women...that just says you are not a man...how ignorant of you
You own that car now? A couple of my buddies and I drove it and found it way too fast.We enjoyed the test drive though
The instinct to pro-create is stronger than the instinct to survive. When deciding to wait until marriage and yet still participating in "dating" activities is simply asking for a vow to be broken. Along with that, since young marriages are being discouraged and there are decades of temptations for the young generation, the idea of abstinence is no longer for oneself but to prove you are better than your peers... which is obviously not working since WE have much more fun than YOU do.
Why should fun be restrictive to mean 'it', why can't fun be something more?
I know I'm going to regret this but I just have to say some things that bother me. I just don't get why people have to be so rude and insulting to each other when it comes to religious beliefs and decisions. Is it so wrong to have faith in something? And even more so is it so wrong not to? I guess I just expect more from CNN readers, I would expect to see ignorant comments on so many other news sites but I just always thought that people who read these were a little more opened minded and much more tolerant. Seriously nothing makes you any better than anyone else, Christian, athiest, agnostic or even . I guess insulting other people makes you feel superior or more of a man/woman. I just don't understand.
Keep chasing that rainbow.
"Is it so wrong to have faith in something?"
Faith is believing something without evidence, or even contrary to the evidence, simply because you want to. Faith is willful ignorance. So yes, it is wrong to have faith in something.
hear hear Simian. That's funny. Faith is the ability to not have to take responsibility for things you don't understand. Many people have faith, and since I'm still alive and able to type this, it seems that not all faith works. Everyone has the right to believe what they want, and that includes everyone. If i believe you are an idiot for trying to be better than me, i have that right. The difference is, I will not try to convince you of this or "bring you to the other side"
The current teaching seems to be that we can't control ourselves because we are like animals in heat. I think all of us know better than that. None of us could maintain a monogomous relationship at all if that were true. Sure, some animals live in monogamous relationships, but that is obviously the nature of those particular animals; we do it by choice sort of against our nature. Simply telling kids not to do something "because it is wrong" does not work in the environment we have today, where they are bombarded with messages that right and wrong are not absolute and they should do what feels good. By the way, I can easily kid myself into believing that I am not hurting anyone when I do "what feels good"-even if I really am hurting them very badly. Have you ever lived with an addict or alcoholic who is convinced their addiction, which feels good to them, is hurting no one when in fact it is killing you and the rest of the family? I have lived in that situation, and it's called denial.
My message to my kid was to have respect for herself. Didn't she respect herself enough not to surrender her virginity to some guy who may know all the right words but in reality cared little or nothing about her happiness-maybe he was only curious or wanted to put a notch in his belt? Or mybe he thought he loved her but was too immature to commit to her. I asked her if that was what she would really want her first experience to be like. Or would she rather it be with a man who loved her and cared about her happiness enough to make a commitment to her, enough to stay with her if she happened to get pregnant? It's partly about what a girl or woman really wants and what she feels she is worthy of-I believe all girls are worthy of respect and worthy of someone to love them enough to commit to them. No one has to settle. And don't think it's because I'm naive because my purity was forcibly taken from me before I married. Avoiding sleeping around (the previously stated incidents were not voluntary on my part), however, really made me miss out-I have to admit it. I missed out on STD's, unplanned pregnancy, having my heart broken by a guy telling me if I loved him I would do it and then leaving, finding out that my name was being laughed about in the guy's locker room, etc. (I have a very protective brother-I knew what guys did in the locker room.)
Today my kid sees the wreckage all around her from those who are doing "what feels good." If it feels so good and doesn't hurt anyone, then why is it leaving her friends with broken hearts? Why is she having to pick up the pieces from these one night stands gone bad?
Life is a linear chain of heart break. Religious and non religious alike. The most peaceful people I know are not Christians. The most destructive people (to themselves and to others) are.
I didn't say a word about Christianity or religion in my above post. I was just asking some questions.
You listed numerous negative possibilities attached to s.ex and mentioned none of the positive ones. One could do the same with regard to food. You could choke on it and die. You could get botulism. You could waste money on luxury foods. You could eat too much fat and harm your health. etc.
So being realistic about teen sleeping around makes me a negative person? I volunteered at a center that helps teens with unexpected pregnancies, so I have seen numerous kids from different backgrounds with those "negative" things I mentioned. To ignore the negatives would be idiotic. Many of those girls were doing what they were doing simply because "everyone else is doing it." They had no idea there was even an option not to hop in bed with every guy-it wasn't unusual for them to be relieved to know they even had a choice. Giving a girl like that a choice can really help her by giving her more power.
I also stated what is happening in real time today with my kid who is observing friends who happen to be older than teens who are doing what is supposed to feel so good. They are finding that it doesn't feel nearly as good as it was promised to feel. Of course, these are women, not teens. So what positives am I leaving out? The short term pleasure? A temporary feeling of closeness? A little bit of fun? Sometimes it lasts and sometimes it doesn't. How often does it last with teens? I can't speak for all girls, but if I had given myself like that I would have wanted it to last. How do you think the guy would have felt about it? I can only give personal experience, but the guys who really cared about me weren't asking for a roll in the hay. Judging from their heartbreaks, my daughter's friends want it to last longer than it is lasting as well-so the feeling is not just a relic from when I was a teen. Perhaps guys feel differently about the whole thing-I can't speak for them.
I didn't say you were a negative person...
For the congregations that specialize in pointing out what others should do, yet don't do themselves,(I'm not going to name any but the initials of one is Baptist) this must be good news indeed!
Heh heh heh...good one. Observing the 'brethren' being sanctimonious AND a hypocrites all in the same breath is what draws me in to the (their initials are...) church once or twice a year... just for entertainment purposes. I have never gone in without getting prompted for a 'love offering'. Bless their hearts.
Bahaha! Totally agree!
This is exactly why gay is the way to go!
Gay only prevents pregnancy. It does not prevent the mental effect or the other physical effects...
While the increase in age at the time of marriage may be a contributing factor, it ignores a key reason for these behavioral patterns: modern contraceptives. When one removes the risk of negative consequences from an activity, the temptation to engage in that activity is exponentially increased. By dramatically lessening the risk of STDs, unexpected pregnancy, etc, many Christians are able to wear one face in public and another behind closed doors. And, in particular, evangelicals love their contraception, both in and out of marriage. This is not to say that such behavior happens only in evangelical circles. However, the Catholic and Orthodox Churches have, at the very least, refused to adopt the contraceptive mentality of the Protestant world, which began with the 1930 Lambeth Conference. To better understand this collapse, read the well-written article "Children of the Reformation" by Allan Carlson (http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=20-04-020-f).
I "waited" until I got married, and so did my husband. We were 25 and 26, and it was absolutely worth the wait.
we also waited. totally worth it!
Hahaha!! You may have waited,but your new husband didn't...no joke!
I've seen your wedding photos. You don't look like you had much of a choice.
The name of Jesus, like a secret charm, awakened similar emotions in the hearts of all the converts, and called immediately into action every feeling of moral loveliness, and every desire of dutiful obedience, which consti_tute Christian purity.
god is a charm you wear?
It is simple training. The safety of the unit depends on knowing exactly what the man next to you will do. This is not a yale graduation where we just spent 4 years learning how to bash Jesus.
Wow! You have never been to Yale. Well, one more thing you do not know
absolutely, fred....we can bash jesus without going to yale
I THINK HIS POINT WAS: PEOPLE WITH COLLEGE DEGREES ARE MORE LIKELY TO NOT BELIEVE IN JESUS, OR ANY RELIGION FOR THAT FACT...DUMMIES
Rick, I agree. I didn't go to yale (or any college for that matter) and I still hate organized religion as much as the next (logical) guy.
I think people misunderstood, or just misrepresented what I was saying. All I'm really saying, is that there IS wisdom in waiting till marriage... doing something ONLY because "it's fun" or because "it's natural" isn't a good enough reason. There are a lot of things that could be "fun and natural" that just aren't wise things to do...
Marriage is a means of moderation and balance, and moderation and balance are almost always a good thing. Wisdom and patience are good things to cultivate... that's all.
...of course, people are always going to argue against Wisdom if they'd rather live by Passion. Passion without Wisdom is like starting a fire with no way to control it.
Fire can be beautiful and warm. S-ex can be the same. But either left unchecked is just asking for disaster. There are some serious risks involved with s-ex, even when using every ounce of "protection." Marriage provides a more safe and beautiful environment for that expression.
Sam I like what you are saying, the only thing that I do not hear is "Where is our love for Jesus" If He tells us not to fornicate then there is a GOOD reason. Our Christian Culture has lost their love for God. It is his heart that is broken because we choose to disobey Him. And when we do we suffer the consequences of our actions. He needs to be our standard not other people or even the culture. Look around the culture is in trouble and by design I might add. Stay strong, stay pure.
"doing something ONLY because "it's fun" or because "it's natural" isn't a good enough reason"
Why not? If it is fun, natural, and can be done safely without intruding on others, why not?
Eating is natural. Eating ice-cream is fun. So why are those sufficient reasons? No one is forcing you to do it.
"Why not? If it is fun, natural, and can be done safely without intruding on others, why not?"
Well that the thing isn't it. "done safely." Marriage is the safest way to do it brother. No con-tra-cep-tive has a 100% guarantee. But that's only the physical matters. I'm also concerned about the emotional matters too. S-ex is powerful stuff. Doing it without commitment is simply asking for troubles and complications. Once again: Wisdom in waiting.
So what are you saying? Only the state can give you a piece of paper that now says it's no longer passion, it's love? Here at the grown up's table, we don't need a priest or a judge to tell us what our relationship is. IT'S UP TO US.
Its simply a choice. Some people wish to wait until marriage for a variety of reasons, religion is one among them. Moist people do not or will not so it is in our society's best interest to educate everyone in the consequences of unprotected and/or promiscuous s-ex. Also, keep in mind that s-ex outside of marriage is just as safe in a long-term monogamous relationship. Marriage is not some kind of magical state of existence (whatever your religion may tell you )
@ Markin No, and I see what you are saying. I'm just saying that it comes down to commitment. Marriage is a form of commitment. Mostly it's this noncommittal s-ex that I find sad... One should wait to find someone they can commit to, I think it makes the experience more emotionally satisfying. It's beautiful to have your first time with someone you truly love and care about. Someone who will be part of the bigger whole of your life.
I have some questions for any Christians, and I don't know much about this religion, so bear with me here, please. If lust is a sin, is it still a sin after marriage? That is to say, is it considered a sin if you are having s.ex with your husband or wife out of lust? If you are not having s.ex for the purpose of producing children, then is it sinning? So for example, if a couple has just gotten married and would like to wait for a couple years before having children, is it still okay to consummate their marriage? Or is that a different act? Thanks.
There is nothing wrong with lusting after your spouse, it is a sin if you are lusting after someone other than your spouse. Go read the Song of Solomon. God created us to have pleasure, Gensis said that Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed. They only became ashamed after sinning. If you look up on another person other than your spouse with lust you have already committed adultry in your heart. Paul said it is better to marry than to burn up (meaning sinning and going to hell) because of lust. Not an full explanation, but hope it helps.
You really need to talk with your pastor about this together with your wife. As far as lust goes the Bible is speaking of lust in terms of sinful thought / heart att-itude. Natural pure loving thoughts to please one another that is respectful to both.
As far as contraception goes there are lots of ways to skin that cat.
Whatever you do with your spouse, significant other, "insert word that best describes your relationship with the other person" is between you and that person – no pastor needed.
Whatever you do with someone who is not your spouse, significant other, "insert word that best describes your relationship with the other person" is between you, the other person and your "spouse, significant other..." – no pastor needed, but you might want to have a doctor and/or lawyer on standby in case the others involved become unhappy.
Why do you need a pastor to think for you? Are you really that feeble-minded?
Given question was asking about birth control and lust from a Biblical point it should be someone knowledgeable in the Bible and from his denomination.
No pastor is needed if your ramjet gets together with Ace above since your only talking HotAir.
1 Corinthians 7:2-6 each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command.
Fred, you are correct, there was a biblical context. The essence of my response was "No Babble Required!" -throw your bible away!!
Lust is wanting something that is NOT your own. Wanting your spouse is not under "lust" category because he/she is already yours.
There comes a time when everyone has to make a choice. Follow the way of the world, or follow the way of Christ. The Lord never promissed us that it would be easy. He never said that we wouldnt be tempted. Its how we react to that temptation that makes us who we really are in Christ.
I waited until I was married. It was REALLY hard. The older I got the harder it was to resist the temptation. Went to college: "Hey mom and dad arent around, no one would know" Graduated college "Hey not even my Christian friends in college would know now..." and so on it went! I chose to please the Lord, and every time I think about that choice, I praise God for giving me the strength to resist the temptation!
not releasing ones s e xual tension is a major causer of testi caner... thats a fact! look it up, or just blindly follow the words of your stupid god. does he tell you to do things like bend over and touch your toes... lets find out where the wild goose goes!
Don't discourage Ryan. The longer he waits, the fewer hapless candidates for his unevidenced religious dogma will be produced.
The Bible says if you give up anything in this world for my sake you will be rewarded. Just praying for strength during temptation brought you close to God. My hats off to you as I could never show great a resolve. Keep it Up! Now, go make up for lost time because God hates divorce.
I commend you for your restraint and your "putting off until the proper time" is pleasing to the Lord. Our only purpose for being here on earth and that is to honor God and His Name and to enjoy His fellowship. God will not leave us in temptation without giving us a way of escape. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Another reason for the lack of restraint is because society has given up the biblical idea of courtship and has replaced it with the dateing game. Two young people left to themselves out on a date with no supervision will most certainly be led into temptation by God's enemy that old man the devil. If the devil can destroy a young Christian's fellowship with the Lord he is satisfied for the moment. So, let's get back to courtship. It really does not hurt and is not in the least way demeaning. Courtship – therein lies logic.
"Our only purpose for being here on earth and that is to honor God and His Name...."
Egotistical fella, isn't he?
I didn't wait until marriage. I waited until I was sure that I trusted and loved my partner. We are still together now, but if some day we end our relationship, I am certain that I will not regret losing my virginity to this current partner. It's not a religious issue for me.
The 'wait' is applicable to the believers!
Our society lacks control. That's the problem. We keep getting told that "natural" urges should be acted upon, because HEY! They're natural. What do we get:
over-spending, over-eating, over-s-ex-ed.
what's the result:
Financial crisis, obesity, and... teen pregnancies, H-I-V, high divorce rates, abortion, etc...
Maybe "old-fashioned" values hold some wisdom after all....
So if I'm following your argument and your analogies correctly, you are saying that lack of self-control led to over-spending, over-eating, and "over-s_ex-ing." The solution to that last one is waiting until marriage or not doing it at all? So you're saying that to avoid the financial crisis and obesity, people should not spend at all and not eat at all.
I don't think that's quite right. Spending and eating smartly yield great results. So can having s-ex smartly. Use protection, make sure you trust that your partner is clean, understand what you're getting into on the emotional side of things. Take these precautions and you won't end up with teen pregnancies, HIV, etc. Young people not waiting until marriage are not causing these problems; it's lack of education in this area.
Obviously there are people who won't take the precautions. But there are also people who eat terrible food and spend loads of money on useless things.
Of course, one of those old fashioned values was rushing to get married to do it. For many people that didn't work out so well. I thought the bible made some mention of not judging, that is reserved for God? Yet, it seems that a great deal of evangelicals time is spent judging. The choice is between the individual their partner and their own relationship with their God. No one else gets a say in it.
I'm NOT an evangelical... and I'm not saying that everything of the past was the prudent thing to do. I'm only advocating that there is wisdom in waiting.
Yeah, but look at the bright side. We have eradicated the black plague and small pox. Priests no longer can gift small pox ridden blankets to Indians
@ Samsword....I agree with you. The scripture says the wages of sin is death, hence such diseases as HIV. We are told to wait until marriage because God knows that if we don't, it can end up in heartbreak which can lead to other tragedies such as one wanting to end their life or someone else's...hence, the scripture that says..."the wages of sin is death". The rate of suicides and homicides have increased greatly simply because people are not choosing to use the wisdom to wait or to just simply seek wisdom. Proverbs says that all who hate wisdom love death. So for those who say it's a choice, you're correct, it is a choice. But when you choose to not use wisdom, you are choosing to love death. (Romans 6:23-For the wages of sin is death) (Proverbs 8:36-But he who sins against me (wisdom) wrongs his own soul; All those who hate me (wisdom) love death.")
I believe that something as powerful as human intimacy does well to be expressed in an environment of commitment and sincerity (such as marriage.)
Se-x-ual urges are natural... but just because something is "natural" doesn't make it wise to act upon. If young children are upset they naturally kick and scream, but this is still something we rightly nurture out of them. It's natural to like food, but eating excessively is bad for you. It's natural to want money, but that doesn't justify stealing it. Natural urges can be (and frequently should be) controlled.
There is no such thing as a 100% perfect con-tra-cept-ive. Having wanton s-ex is simply not being thoughtful or wise.
As always, I think that balance and moderation is the answer. There is a right time and place for such things; and I think marriage provides the best situation for s-ex-ual-ity to express itself.
(P.S. You don't need have s-ex to "understand" your partner. That is the silliest thing I've heard. How about good old conversation and communication? Successful marriages have existed for centuries before the "s-ex-ual exploration" movement came about....)
Not that it's relevant to this article, but wanting money isn't natural.
OF course it is... people want money all the time. You can want money for good reasons too. Wanting to the excess of greed is a bad thing... that's what I'm saying. Desiring to have enough to sustain yourself, even desiring enough for a comfortable life isn't bad in and of itself... but wanting to the point of greed, and acting upon that greed are bad. People need self control.
Is self-control really such a bad thing? I honestly can't believe people are arguing against it. It seems like common sense.
No it isn't. Wanting money is not natural.
Wanting STUFF is natural.. . money is just the representation of buying power. Wanting material comfort and power ARE "natural." That's what money represents. People have a natural inclination towards those things... you're telling me, that you've never walked into a store and wanted something that you couldn't afford? Frankly, I'm afraid I don't believe you. It's a natural reaction to WANT... Look at children. Children around 2 years old will often try to take toys from other children simply because they want what the other child has. Obviously acting upon want all the time produces undesirable effects on others. So it is a "natural desire" that rightly nurtured out of us.
Your bibles also warn about those who cause others to sin, so you should let the young couple live with you while they're getting their degrees. HEY, THEY'RE GOING TO DO IT ANYWAY, AND PEOPLE IN MOST OF THE REST OF THE WORLD LIVE IN A MULTI-GENERATIONAL SETTING DURING THE EARLY YEARS OF THEIR MARRIAGES.
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.