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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. Changed.By.JESUS

    This year has been the hardest year of my life because after I started following Christ, my parents told me they were getting a divorce, my grandfather died, my grandma's brother died and my dad's nephew died. But even through ALL OF THIS, I am the happiest I've ever been! Does that make any sense?! It's because I asked Christ into my life and have asked him to guide my life and use according to his will. I can now say with 100% confidence that I have a relationship with God and it produces overflowing JOY and PEACE in my life. [Philippians 4:7, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."]

    You can't be a witness to someone when your doing the same stuff they are doing! I pray that God will use my story to change at least 1 other person's life as he has changed mine.

    December 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  2. Changed.By.JESUS

    Stuart Dooley,

    God doesn't expect us to be perfect, but calls us to be honest with him. The idea of 'the bar is too high' is just an excuse to keep living the same way. Jesus changes the hearts of those who cry out to him and sincerely try to seek him. Also God would never direct someone away from him. He wants everyone to believe in him, but many choose not to.

    December 26, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  3. jameser35

    If you're the type of Christian who gets saved once, then aren't you covered either way?

    If you're the type of Christian who has to repent all the time, well, do it and repent later.

    Ten bucks says someone responds with, "one of the types you mentioned isn't a Christian!"

    December 26, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • George

      I don't think you understand the meaning to the word repent. It's not just asking forgiveness. It's turning away from sin.

      December 26, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Rick

      It's turning away from what Iron Age sheep boinkers categorized as sin

      December 26, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  4. Saith

    I chose to sleep with my boyfriend of a year...and I'm so glad I did. I found out he was a lousy lover, had no interest in my wants or needs, and just wanted to satisfy himself. I broke up with him. Thank goodness I didn't hang around, get married, and find myself trapped in a marriage like that doncha think?

    December 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • George

      Marriage is more than about s.e.x. S.e.x is for procreation.

      December 26, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • Rick

      Wow, s-e-x only for procreation. I bet Mrs. George has a battery operated boyfriend

      December 26, 2011 at 6:33 am |
    • nonbeliever

      @Saith-

      Yes. One of my closest friends just got married and him and his wife decided to wait till they were married. They are both very strong christians, leading in their church and studying scripture every morning together, ect. They have a terrible se.x life. He is to the point of wanting to leave her because it's so bad. He wishes more than ever they hadn't waited and that he had known what he was getting into. He doesn't understand why god would want him to wait, only for that major part of intimacy to be lacking. I try to explain to him there is no god, but he just feels he is being punished. Very terrible way to live if you ask me.

      December 26, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • George

      Mrs. George and I are of the same mind. We are Bible believers and believe that the God-ordained purpose of s.e.x is for procreation. It's the worldly man who teaches otherwise.

      December 26, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Rick

      "Mrs. George and I are of the same mind."

      So, she's using it today?

      "We are Bible believers and believe that the God-ordained purpose of s.e.x is for procreation. It's the worldly man who teaches otherwise."

      Check the nightstand for batteries

      December 26, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  5. Green Ninja

    I agree with the article in saying that people are facing greater temptations because they are getting married at late ages now. It's better to get marred young, rather than have a history of ex partners that will cause anger, jealousy, bitterness in an individual that spills over to marriage. And marriage is a religious union. Peace

    December 25, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Rick

      Try getting married without a secular license

      December 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  6. kwkc

    we just got married in our mid twenties. we both waited. totally worth the wait. praise God.

    December 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  7. Chele

    These comments are all a joke right? No one actually takes all this stuff seriously...... right?

    December 25, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • jameser35

      Why you little jezabel! Wearin' yer make-up and dancin around to yer britney spears devil music!

      December 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  8. Joey

    Th

    December 25, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  9. joe223344

    Young "Christians" are not waiting because they are false converts and are in disobedience to God. They are not truly Christian, they have not been born again.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • ron

      Joe, you apparently believe in your understanding of the Bible. What about "Judge not that you be not judged"?

      December 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • jacko

      I'm an evangelical and I bone my gf. She's HOT.

      December 25, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Darthmarkus

      How do you know who is or is not a Christian? Has God revealed what he reserves as his desision to you? It's amazing that throughout the history of humanity, God has FINALLY revealed his knowledge of those who are written in the book of life to a single individual. You could save many a wishy washy Christian from their condemned existence by at least telling those who aren't Christian, but really think they are, what their fate is so they can stop following God's principles for no reason.

      Kindly keep your ignorant ideas out of any discussion unless you actually have something beneficial to contribute instead of your clearly convoluted and judgmental ideals. Jesus confronted the Pharisees harshest because of their judgmental ideas and their own prideful endeavors, yet He met Mary in a gentle and forgiving manner. If you met Jesus, who do you think you would fall most in line with, and how would he respond to you?

      December 25, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Keith

      ron, guess what happening a verses later than the one you atheists love to quote....judging-as we are instructed to do. A verse used out of context is a pretext.

      December 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Keith

      Markdufus, God gave us His written Word. It contains the qualifications of who is saved and who isn't. It's no secret. Look it up for yourself. BTW, who appointed you the moderator over what can and can't be discussed on this site?

      December 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Chris

      So True Christians don't sin... Ever read the Bible?

      December 25, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • Darthmarkus

      Markdufus, God gave us His written Word. It contains the qualifications of who is saved and who isn't. It's no secret. Look it up for yourself. BTW, who appointed you the moderator over what can and can't be discussed on this site?

      The qualifications of being saved is that it's through God's grace, nothing of ourselves but having all to do with him solely. If you think that you can do ANYTHING that qualifies yourself, you have clearly misread and fall into the same mentality as every other religion that tries to climb a religious step-ladder to their salvation.

      now if we take that logic a step further we say, "hey, there's nothing I can do to save myself" therefore, "there is no action anyone else can take, that I can judge their salvation upon, since it never had anything to do with them in the first place." Salvation is based upon faith, not knowledge.

      Saying that anyone is not a true Christian because they sin is a pretty bold claim. Until we die and get out of our sinful existence, there will ALWAYS be sin prevalent in our lives. It doesn't mean we pursue sin because it is inevitable, but to condemn someone's salvation because they have sinned doesn't line up well with what Jesus taught us. Peter believed, but still betrayed. There are plenty of other "great" Christians who still believed, but still fell into sin through their lives as well.

      As for the "qualifications" of what saves people, the only one that matters is God's qualification of us. You may want to reconsider your faith if you think there's any other "qualification" that matters.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • nonbeliever

      @Keith-

      You are wrong again. In matthew, Jesus says in verse 1, Do not judge, or you too will be judged. The following verse then says, For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. What your jesus was implying, is one, do not judge other people, but if you choose to do so, and do so wrongly, I will in the end judge you in the same manor. He then goes on to say not to pick out the speck in your brothers eye when you have a plank in your own, which means DO NOT JUDGE. And is very sound advice for you and georgie boy, since you two can't seem to understand the basics of what your "savior" preached.

      @Darthmarkus-

      Don't let Keith get under your skin too much, he knows very little about the bible other than what he probably copies and pastes off of google.

      December 26, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • Keith

      Mat 7:15 ¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

      Sounds like judging to me.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Keith

      Luk 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Keith

      Luk 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
      Mar 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
      Luk 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
      Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
      It seems as if Jesus was indicating that REPENTANCE was a requirement.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Darthmarkus

      It seems as if Jesus was indicating that REPENTANCE was a requirement.

      Repentance IS a requirement. But it is not the prime requisite of Christianity. When you realize that you've sinned against an omnipotent God, it only makes sense that repentance would come naturally and earnestly. But only through your FAITH does God reveal Himself, this is the PRIME requisite of Christianity. Everyone other reason hinges on the selfishness of man. If you repent, merely for the sake of repentance so you no longer have to be damned, you're still only doing it for selfish reasons. Not because you're truly repentant, but because you're scared of being damned to hell, and you're just as bad as the law following Pharisees that Jesus condemned.

      You can quote scripture all you want, I know it well enough. I also can see through when people try to twist scripture into their own agenda. God also gives us His word through revelation as well, TESTED against scripture.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • nonbeliever

      @Darthmarkus-

      The thing you need to understand about keith, is that he is a supporter of Chuck Missler, who has swindled people out of thousands of dollars during Y2K, has been caught and admitted to plagiarism, and also believes that martians will be attacking us from the moon.

      As you can gather, keiths biblical knowledge is a little thin at best.

      December 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Keith

      non believer, I feel so priveledged to be criticized by a seminary dropout like you. If you'd have stayed in, you might of learned that we are to judge others. Dude, you are so clueless and I'll say it again-you're so smart that you're stupid.

      December 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Keith

      nonbeliever, Is thi2Pe 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. s you? Or were you never really saved in the first place?

      December 26, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Keith

      nonbeliever, That should have said: Is this you? Or were you never really saved in the first place? 2Pe 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

      December 26, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Keith

      nonbeliever, For you to be on this site trying to cause people to stumble, you must be a glutton for punishment. Sizing your neck up for a great big millstone? When you breathe your last, you will realize that Satan had duped you into believeing a lie. You are storing up for yourself wrath. You'd best repent before it's too late.

      December 26, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • nonbeliever

      @Keith-

      Prove to me your god exists and I'll bow and repent before him right this instant. The fact of the matter is, you can't. Your god is created by man, to be used as a source of control. You are too stubborn to take the time to study history and fact. You can spout all the scripture you want at me, but you don't get it. I pity you. I truly do. You don't even understand the book you preach from, because I doubt you understand a bit of Greek or Hebrew. I can't imagine what it must be like to live in your life, hoping every night that you are right and that you aren't wasting your life worshiping an imaginary figure. You think you understand your god, but you don't even understand the bible you quote from. It saddens me.

      You can tell me how hot my hell will be, even though the bible mentions NOTHING of fire and brimstone, but I'll be just fine, passing my energy off to the next being that needs it.

      But if you're god is right, I hope your rapture happens soon. Those aliens attacking from the moon that you obviously believe in should be coming on soon. I would much rather have this earth to those who will treat it right and well, than to have uneducated fools who are too ignorant to see the light keep populating it.

      December 27, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • Keith

      nonbeliever, the only useful thing you have to pass on would be if you are an organ donor. No one would want any wisdom from a seminary drop-out loser. Couldn't handle it could ya? Was it the Greek that gave you trouble? How many semesters did you make it? Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.

      December 27, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
  10. MNP

    I am a Christian but I never worried about waiting. I could see no good reason for practicing abstinence until marriage in our time as opposed to a time when marriages could be a matter of life or death economically and politically. As long as the choices are made maturely so as not to hurt others or yourself it's fine.

    In the end I was with my eventual wife for 8 years monogamously before I married her and we have had a very happy marriage in the years since.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • George

      @MNP

      You see no reason? How about the Word of God? You, sir, are a Christian in name only.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Rick

      Georgie: And you are a pompous twit claiming to know who is a real Christian and who is not

      December 26, 2011 at 6:45 am |
    • Mirosal

      now now now .. play nice.. we all know little Georgie is mad because he's a 37 year old virgin, living in his mother's basement, and he's upset because when his mommy was cleaning his room, she found his stuck-together Playboy pages under his comic books and dungeons & dragons figurines.

      December 26, 2011 at 6:51 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Thanx Mirosal...some images are not required when I have yet to have breakie or ever for that matter...btw: CA is apparently back and being delusional again :-)

      December 26, 2011 at 7:02 am |
    • Keith

      Rick, why would a comment from an atheist troll such as yourself have any relevance?

      December 26, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Rick

      Keith: Wow, great comeback.....now go back to parroting scripture, slaveboy

      December 27, 2011 at 5:32 am |
    • Keith

      Rick, While I am a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ-I assure you-I'm no boy.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • Boy Keith's Mom

      Keith, have you been whacking again

      December 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
  11. Terri

    How about letting go of the ridiculous notion that everything in the bible should be taken literally and that all of it should still apply today.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Terri

      You said, "How about letting go of the ridiculous notion that everything in the bible should be taken literally and that all of it should still apply today."
      ... and some 34,000 different sects, cults and denominations later there still isn't consensus over the "right" interpretation......

      December 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  12. Melissa M

    God never said it would be easy, but He promises it will be worth it. Don't wait so long to marry.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Rick

      By all means, deny your humanity based on tranlated writings from Iron Age sheep herders

      December 26, 2011 at 6:47 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      god said nothing...man did!!!

      If God wanted to impress me with his 'miracles' he would've impregnated Joesph, not a poor unwed teenage girl. That happens every day.

      December 26, 2011 at 6:49 am |
  13. Jon

    it means more when it is with just one person instead of everyone

    December 25, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  14. JIM

    After reading all these excuses for people to do what ever they feel like doing its no wonder the Bible says only A few will find the path. I would rather believe in Jesus as lord and be right than to not believe and be wrong eternity is A long time to wish I would have givin Jesus A shot at changing my heart, He is Real

    December 25, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Jeff

      So you believe in Jesus, because you are scared you will burn in hell... Good way to practice Christianity. You believe in Jesus cause maybe he is right and you do not wanna be wrong. I think, it is supposed be you believe in him regardless of the consequences...

      December 25, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Darthmarkus

      Condemnation is a great basis for one's faith. :P

      Christians should worship God not out of fear of our own eternity but because we fully realize how great He is and how we've sinned against so GREAT a God, and even if we knew we were damned to hell, we should still worship him because of it.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • nonbeliever

      @Jeff-

      The reward of heaven, or even the idea of just not going to he.ll, is what keeps the churches filled. Religion without some form of reward is pointless, which is why they all have some promise either of heaven or return to life in another form. If you polled most 'believers' they wouldn't be in their religion if there was no promise of an after life. People need to feel that they are secure in something and that they will be taken care of. I mean, what's the point in following jesus, if he doesn't give you something for your service?

      December 26, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  15. Alex

    They really should just stop trying.
    It is simply ridiculous.

    December 25, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  16. Tom

    C'mom! Nobody has been waiting for 50 years.

    December 25, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  17. George

    I pray that people will turn from sin during this holiday season.

    December 25, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  18. Joe

    We are born to reproduce, this religion thing came 100,000 years later.

    December 25, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • Craig

      Really? Religion thing? You are confused.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Doug

      He is not confused. Humans have been walking the earth for a million years. Christianity is 2000 years old. Judaism is 5 or 6,000 years old.

      December 25, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • George

      @Doug

      Humans have only been around for about 5000 years. Read your Bible.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • ???

      George, if you are not serious, that's hilarious...if you are, then I hope your god helps you cause you're an idiot.

      December 26, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • George

      @???

      Read your Bible.

      December 26, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • nonbeliever

      @George-

      The bible is not historical fact, it's a religious book. It cannot be used as a reference to when life began on this earth, it's ignorant to feel that it does. Even your god declares that a day is like a thousand years to god, 2 Peter 3:8. You have no idea what your bible says about time and how wrong you are in your knowledge, george.

      December 26, 2011 at 7:40 am |
  19. Sam

    All of us stopped believing that nonsense. We do what our hearts guide us and don't feel guilty anymore. Society is finally evolving.

    Merry Winter Solstice to all of you and a happy New Year!

    December 25, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • Joe

      Troll. New year is coming only if you go by the christian calendar otherwise You'd have to be talking about March.

      December 25, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • Faucheur

      @Joe: "New Years" can be celebrated at any time of the year, so long as the celerations are 365 days appart.

      December 25, 2011 at 7:24 am |
    • John Gault

      New Year starts 12/23 this year

      December 25, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Jeff

      Sam you're a troll with no knowledge....Knowledge is power and you have none.

      December 25, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  20. Stuart Dooley

    Glad i don't see those " Let Jesus be your boyfriend" article. I have a neighbor who's gone through 2 divorces and lives with her current boyfriend she no longer attends her home church as she does not want to be a hypocrite . she agreed that Jesus does not keep you warm at night. she says the bar is too high and god directed her away from that church

    December 24, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • George

      We need to pray for her so that she turns from sin. The bar is too high? I don't think so.

      December 25, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Terri

      Wow, George, if only the whole world could live according to you! Spare me.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Jeff

      The bar will always be too high if you're going under it.

      December 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Rick

      People do not see "sin" the same as the Bible's authors did. There is no need to comply with the fantasies of men who existed 2,000 years ago.

      December 26, 2011 at 7:10 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.