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?
I would guess the 20% that dont are the faithful Christians. Since when is being a Christian about doing what the world does?
They don't wait because its fun–
Could it be they're really not Christians,but truly secularized slobs just like those who don't profess any religious beliefs?
Based on your comment my guess is that you are no follower of Jesus either, just like most Christians who tend to follow Paul, the church, or whatever false prophet is leading them around by the nose at the time.
Jesus, you see, was a devout Jew who promoted Judaism. He would have been appalled to find that he's now been turned into a cheap idol by those who don't even understand his own religion.
I think this should be between you and God. That is the relationship that ultimately matters, not "I am a much better Christian that Virginia because she is no longer a virgin" or "I am better because I waited T-shirts. This is a personal choice. If you are not hurting yourself or others this should not be a righteousness contest.
"If you are not hurting yourself or others this should not be a righteousness contest."
You should always point the bible thumpers to "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)
This is NOT logical. First you said "this should be between you and God", while in the end you mentioned something about hurting yourself or others... but I thought you meant "YOU and GOD", wouldn't your decision hurt GOD??? Do you really mean "between you and God" or "between you yourself and others"? Which comes first to you?
Sophie, I'm sorry you have trailer park family 'values' and so does the rest of the country.
Must hurt to be everyone's sp*rm dumpster and be unloved. But that isn't my problem, it's yours.
Bah, I posted out of anger and wish I could remove that last post. But what's done is done; I'm not going to fret over it.
Even though your post was out of anger, it sounds reasonable to me and I would click "like" button. :)
Great, trash talk. How Christian of you.
@KS: “Sophie, I'm sorry you have trailer park family 'values' and so does the rest of the country. Must hurt to be everyone's sp*rm dumpster and be unloved. But that isn't my problem, it's yours”
Typical Christian knee jerk reaction. Instantly demonize any one that disagrees with the oppressive rules you want to inflict on them. You said the post was in anger, not that is wasn’t what you really feel
Where did KS say he was a Christian? Even if he was, wouldn't you think he could have emotions or make a mistake? You don't have to generalize to "typical Christians". I'm sick of the people who are so stereotypical.
Whether one chooses to wait until marriage, or to have sew with a new partner every weekend; is nobody's business but their own. That's what makes America great.
I came here –renewed the page –all my posts gone. Now I published again–and all of them are back. This is the quirkiest forum!
CNN has a word filter for anything that might be offensive to someone under 18.
(That means if you don't use the language they want you to use, your comment is automatically filtered out and thereby not posted).
In case if you didn't see my replies to your comments, I think they are on pg 53. Thanks!
I guess I'm too knowledgeable for CNN forums? too good at it? Because they've censored everything I've written–and there was nothing wrong with any of it. Apparently, the first amendment is dead and defunct at CNN.
I was born and raised in a Christian home and I practice what I preach... 25 years old, been married four months, and I was a virgin on my wedding night. It really wasn't that hard to wait.
Me too..I got married 5 months ago and was a virgin till then. 30 years old. It's not very hard. Do what Joseph did. Flee...don't resist.
Good for you! You are one of those who have strong will power and self respect. You definitely deserve to be respected by others and appreciated by your spouse. I admire your courage and decision. I'm sure later people are going to have negative comments replying yours, but don't bother reading them. They are from evil and they will never understand you from any perspectives.
Congrats, Allison and George. You are evidence of Christian commitment in young people today –even against all the odds –all the temptations. May God bless you all the way.
What if you were married at 35, 45, or 55? Would you wait then? I don't think so
Probably easier for them because the hormone is not as high as teenagers anymore, PLUS they are very strong willed people, they are strong enough wait for 25 and 30 years during the most difficult time, a few more years will not be a problem.
Widows and widowers are chopped liver, then?
Oh, I'm sure that you have some airy-fairy rationalization to cover it, eh?
Those are amazing beliefs, Allison and others. Especially (or perhaps not) at a time like this.
PS, you guys are really quite an inspiration! I like reading these posts and I guess meditating on them? –they make me feel so nice on the inside because I'm finally surrounded by people who value the things I do, things that were a commonly held belief across the western world (unilaterally at one point).
KS: I think you idealize the past.
Let them that don’t want any have fond memories of not having had some
Rick you really believe "Do what is right in your heart"? What about those murderers? What if they think killing you is right?
serious: doing what is right in one's heart does not exempt them from civil penalties.
I'm sorry but some people believe killing is right. What you are doing now will eventually deserve your final penalty!
Its not that hard to wait? Try waiting 10, 20 years for a spouse and see if its "not that hard". LOL.
"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 by locking itself into the cultural and social norms of 2-3 thousand years ago, the Christian Church has caused conflict for itself? Huh, who knew?
@David: “that one is not a Christian” Most Christians are arrogant busybodies; but, you take the cake. Who elected you to be god?
If someone can lie down with another prior to marriage and not have any qualms about it that one is not a Christian. The truth is that many "christians" aren't Christians.
Matthew 7:1, "Judge not that ye be not judged."
Funny to see how much people love to quote this verse. Whatever David Claytor said is just common sense as a Christian. Being a Christian doesn't mean you have to lose ability to tell what is right what is wrong.
David, I am actually quite skeptical that they're not Christian despite such disgusting behaviour. But I don't think that's for others to judge.
Maybe not followers of Christ would be the better term because most Christians as far as I know, only have one thing in common: they believe Jesus is their 'lord.'
Well damn!! David Claytor is GOD now!!
People, don't you want to be special? Don't you want to be different? People constantly try to identify themselves "better" or "special" in different ways. Dying your hair doesn't make you special. Wearing makeups doesn't make you prettier... whatever you do on the outside doesn't make any difference from the others. If you want to identify yourself, try to change from inside. Stop sleeping with other people's future spouses. If you want to, please keep in mind that someone might sleeping with your future husband or wife, giving him or her STD. If you don't want a Nth hands(not a second-hand anymore, but many hands), please don't try to be used or use others.
Yes, make up DOES make me prettier!!! you've no idea!! Otherwise, good post, Hater. why call yourself, Hater?? And if I don't color my hair, people will think I'm my husband's mother –because his hair hasn't changed and mine has! Of course, inner beauty is what matters and I'm fortunate to have a husband who loves Christ so much that he has a godly love and fidelity for me –though we are not at all matched in worldly attributes of se-ual attractiveness! He's the alpha male –I'm the homely one whom they say makes a good and faithful wife because she has no options!!
Thank you for your comment. You sound very nice and cute(if you don't mind). I understand people's need of coloring hair and wearing makeup. It definitely help them to gain more confidence, but I know you knew what I was trying to say. I'm NOT against those who use makeups at all. Why do I call myself hater? Well, I'm really nice and sweet in person (seriously!), but you know when you read some comments here it can really p*ss you off, and it is liking pressing a button called ANGER! I'd like to sound more firm and serious, but I do love people. :)
"If you don't want a Nth hands(not a second-hand anymore, but many hands), please don't try to be used or use others."
It may shock you but women aren't objects or commodities that lose value with use. Maybe there's a 13 year old out there for you yet.
I'm talking about men also, not just women. The problem is that people without virtues treat themselves as objects.
If people who sleep around do have precious values, why do we have a word "trash" for them?
Well, seeing as how you have about a 50% chance of actually staying married to that husband or wife and then will most likely get RE married at some point down the line, which husband or wife of yours should I NOT be sleeping with?
However, the point is the divorce rate is so much higher among those who didn't wait than the ones who waited. The more people you sleep with, the less emotional bond you are going to have.
Sleeping with other people's FUTURE spouses was fun. I would wager that the vast majority of adults in this country have done so.
That's why the vast majority of adults of this country are as cheap as trash. People with value don't act the way because of what most people do.
@Hater: “People, don't you want to be special? Don't you want to be different? People constantly try to identify themselves "better" or "special" in different ways”
Just remember that if you want to be special you have to do it exactly the way I tell you to or I will take away all of your self esteem
Self esteem is something you gain on your own. It doesn't depend on what others are doing or what others are saying. Since like Rick said "the vast majority" has done it, why would you think those people are any different and special from the others? Do NOT treat yourself like worthless and that's the way to have the self esteem (NOT because of what I said).
serious: people of value do all sorts of things. if you choose to live down to your screen name my looking down your nose at them, so be it.
Really –the s word? filtered out? Let's see –Try no. 4: Christian young people don't make it to marriage without pre-marital copulation for 4 reasons: Lack of chaperonage when 2 parents work outside the home and kids have both empty house and car access and drive each other home from those school events designed to keep youth out of trouble –so they face temptations in teen years that a chaperoning society didn't have. Likewise at colleges with no curfews –such that you can disappear to a motel for a whole weekend and no one knows or will ever ask or tell your parents that you went AWOL. Again, prevalence of temptation. Also many parents tell youth today to have education and career completed before marriage because they will cut-off finances once married. Too much trust of Christian youth contributes to the lack of chaperonage by their parents. "O she would never do that. She knows better." And about marriage –they "disparage marriage." "O she's got a long time before she needs to be thinking about marriage. She's got a lot to see and do before settling down." As though settling down should be last on our list of options. Worst excuse of all is by the secular live-in couples –"we are saving for a big wedding." Who wants to go to these big weddings that tie up your whole day? that cost the wedding party an arm and a leg to participate in. That cost the price of a down payment on a house to feed 200 friends and relatives. Used to be that a cake, flowers, dress, punch, mints and nuts and minister and 2 attendants and some good music made a lovely wedding. And let the bridal couple get on their way without complete exhaustion.
I'm waiting to get married to my boyfriend until I can afford my next divorce....
HR, you realise that may not be a healthy way of looking at things, right?
Actually, it is NOT true that people in biblical times got married earlier. I think we like to tell ourselves this to justify the decision to not wait. In fact, people in biblical times were sometimes much older because they lived longer lifespans, at least in the earlier books like in Genesis. Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah. I agree that media and culture play a big part, and also that we are not SELECTIVE enough about what we expose ourselves to. The problem is, we take in so many messages daily that are not of God. If we are constantly filling our minds with TV, music, and friends that do not honor God, if we are not being wise in our relationships with the opposite gender...then yes, waiting will be very difficult. But if we press into God and spend more time meditating on Him than anything else, He will give us the strength and clarity we need.
That's the best comment I read here. I agree with every word you said. It's so true that people look for all kind of excuses... about age of marriage, about what others are doing, etc. People constantly think "others are worse". If we start focusing on something more important, it's not hard at all. The problem is that the culture and society are soaking people's minds into all these filthy things. They are really from evil to me.
I think men were older historically for economic affordability–and the women younger for child-bearing. And now my chaste devout Christian and lovely, pretty daughter with a stellar career is older and finding that men her age are looking at girls in their 20's. I remember when a Christian woman former missionary speaker or reknown in Christian circles –who was fortunate to outlive 3 husbands at least –told the Christian college girls to be sure and wait on the Lord and not get anxious about a husband –to do NOTHING to seek out a mate –but let God do it all–and my daughter believed her, shunned introductions and opportunities that didn't seem just quite perfect, and is single in late 30's. Her college house motto was "single 'til the rapture." She felt quite awkward in Christian singles' activities after college –and shunned them– because those were just date-finding groups. Now those house-mates are all married but her –and it's not that she was at all homely –in case you wonder.
Why would we even care about the men of her age looking at girls of 20's? Those are just the ones who only care about appearance. Even if she married someone like that, she probably wouldn't be happy anyways. I mean, yes it's true that most men are like that, but the question is why do we care about people like that? Maybe Lord has prepared her a man who cares about the heart, or maybe He has a plan for her bigger than that. Getting married is not the only answer to everything. If we look at the bigger picture, we may see hope. He knows the best!
Amen sister Becky, you've got it down and He sees that. But more importantly the world sees it which is what needs to be seen.
Serious responded to me under Becky's comment and I'd like to comment back. That, in fact, the most appealing Christian men still single in mid-life (late 30's and 40's) , the most apparently devout, are interested in the younger women –judging by whom they try to go with. My son in early 30's resents those Christian singles' groups in churches that divide singles between 20's and 30's. Said with humor, "All the girls my age look old! I want to be able to date girls in their 20's!"
"Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah."
And she was 10-14 years old at the time. Your point?
“ In fact, people in biblical times were sometimes much older because they lived longer lifespans, at least in the earlier books like in Genesis.” Of course in those time they also committed quite a bit of god approved inc*est (Adam and his clan, Noah and his children, Lot and his daughters) so according to the bible it’s ok to do your relatives
The young have Free Will Choice and many choose unwisely. Same for adults. A society soaking in manure doesn't know that they smell funny.
I truly agree with your idea of our society soaking in manures. Where is our lost virtues? This society definitely destroys them without realizing how filthy it is here.
Almost as bad as those soaking in self-piety
“A society soaking in manure doesn't know that they smell funny.”
Interesting, that’s exactly how I feel about Christians
The pain, heartache and suffering associated with fornication is just not worth the cheap thrill of a moment of indiscretion.
There is power and salvation waiting for our GLBTQ youngsters and our straight youngsters who just say no to fornication.
STDs are making a big comeback due to the filthy human vessels that have become walking disease incubators as a
direct result of fornication.
Exactly! They deserve the consequences of their own actions.
pain, heartache and suffering? you are doing something very badly
You should wait and see. Don't say a word yet unless you are dying tomorrow.
This is what happens when you talk about things you don't know (or haven't done).
Douglas: Cheap thrill? Gosh, you must really suck in the sack
serious: don't say a word unless I am dying tomorrow? why not? apparently, you see god as an angry, petty being. i suppose that is why you worship him
Honestly, I'm not a real Christian. I just like their ideas. You don't know what will happen in the future. You don't know if you will regret later. You don't know if you will have AIDS or something... so don't just make the conclusion right now. Right, if you are dying tomorrow, you don't have chance to regret and sure you can say whatever you want.
The single underlying problem is contraception. Society pushes it, and people are being lied to about their bodies and actions. True love is a mutual, self giving act. Contraception says that a person does not totally want to give themselves to each other, yet is holding something back. We need to understand the meaning of our bodies and how God designed it.
I agree that contraception and abortion have contributed to the temptation to pre-marital intimacy. In my youth, 1 out of 40 white girls got pregnant and 1 out of 5 black teens –and most gave children up for adoption or had the "shotgun wedding." Fear of STD's and Pregnancy were really big deterrents to "going all the way," as we called it –for youth of all religions.
That stat went up by the 90's –after the Se-ual revolution and "free love" of the 60's/70's –such that now it's 1 out of 5 white girls and 4 out of 5 black teens pregnant outside of marriage –and many of these staying single –so our single parent rate is much higher, too. An interesting question to study would be whether or not the Christian youth are more apt to marry their partner or not.
Wow, you must be a man because you don't know what you're talking about. Choosing to use contraception is not saying you are not willing to give yourself totally to someone else at all. I CHOOSE not to have children. It is NOT for me. I am being responsible by preventing that from happening instead of getting pregnant and having an abortion or choosing to give it up for adoption. That doesn't mean that I don't want to be close to someone else. Why do you HAVE to have children??? I think it's the worst thing I could possibly do for myself. I would hate having children and it would honestly ruin my life.
I guess your parents did the WORST thing ever. The worst decision they could possibly make. Their life is ruined. Apparently it's true. Thank you for the good point!
HR –about your choice to be "child-free," I know that I never could imagine myself as pregnant with kids –wasn't around pregnant women much growing up –and other people's kids just looked annoying and like a lot of work. Nevertheless, I found myself married and pregnant –just didn't feel good with the pill–and that little baby changed our lives, enriched our marriage –and so we went on to make three more! NEVER have I regretted the serendipity of mothering –and having these wonderful people for our social community. I am not disappointed by them in the least. I only say that to suggest that you shouldn't judge kids or parenting by looking at others. There is nothing like your own kids. They expand your heart beyond all expectation.
many people claim to be Christian, but their actions prove otherwise. case in point, this articles topic. where have i heard this before? hmm..................
(Matthew 7:20-24) Really, then, by their fruits YOU will recognize those [men]. 21 “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 22 Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew YOU! Get away from me, YOU workers of lawlessness
That's exactly true. People don't know what it means to be a Christian, and they don't know who Christians really are. Only God knows from their hearts and actions.
Half of the people here are just crazy. They must truly believe they are the center of the universe of something because they keep pushing their own views to other people. I don't understand. I'm not religious myself but to me, from what I've read, the atheist sounds most egocentric and arrogant!
Your moral is your moral. My moral is my moral. There is no consistency is there is no higher power. If you don't believe in God, why do you care what other people's morals are? So hold your own moral.
Relativism is a fool's concept. There are absolutes. One of them, in fact, is that you are going to die. You ready for that moment?
I agree with what you said, but here I'm only talking about moral standards. Everybody believes his own standards are the most correct, but who can make the same judgement towards moral?
The thing is that those who didn't wait will never (not even able to) experience the joy, respect and trust as those who waited until marriage. They don't understand about it, so they don't even have any rights to say anything about those who waited because those who waited are truly strong ones who experienced the similar situations but overcame themselves.
That's so true. They always make fun of the ones who waited, but how do they know while they never even experience it. I like it "overcome themselves". That's more difficult than overcome others or anything. They truly have to be strong willed people. I respect them!!!
Yet the divorce rate is higher among christians than it is among non-believers. Go figure :)
I waited, and while I certainly don't espouse promiscuity, I thought afterwards, "What's the big whoop in having waited?" I guess I expected some magical transformation. I'm sure that I would have felt the same closeness and respect even if I hadn't waited.
I think people should first figure out who are Christians. Whoever they mentioned in this article, they are just some hypocrites because they don't act the way a Christian should act. So many people were born in a Christian families, however not 20% of them know what it means, so they call themselves Christian, but they never truly accept Jesus in their lives.
The problem is that if you never experience something, you can't presume what it is like. People who didn't wait, they will never have the same trust in each other. You might think yours is not enough, but those who didn't wait have less.
“The thing is that those who didn't wait will never (not even able to) experience the joy, respect and trust as those who waited until marriage”
Well my marriage of 7 years is going along quite nicely, so I think you’re wrong. I do know that if I had waited I would have lost out on a number very pleasant and rewarding relationships that I had with some wonderful ladies.
I feel deeply sorry for your wife that you would say things like that unless your wife is as sl*utty as your other "wonderful ladies".
Have you asked your wife you ever satisfy her? She probably has had better before you.
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.