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Interesting choice of texts.
Perhaps the version of the statistics on the left reflect the fact that more Christians are realizing that the Bible doesn't condemn premarital sex explicitly or implicitly.
Great points, Steve. It is very hard for me to believe the veracity of MANY polls I see these days. At best, they seem to be skewed. At worst, they seem to be contrived to further someone's agenda. I can't recall seeing one which even claimed to interview a large enough number of people to make it meaningful and representative.
I am always sceptical about "surveys" on matters like the one under discussion. When done by non-Christians it is usually to show that these "holier-than-thou" Christians are no better than "us". When done by "Christian" pollsters it is designed to demonstrate that "these Christians are never what they say they are". Most surveys tend to be pre-determined as borne out by the fact that questions are cleverly framed, and terms are defined in a self-serving way. The clincher for me is that one can never be really sure if the one being questioned is telling the truth either about their status (evangelical Christian) or the question itself (sexual behaviour). I do not know too many Christians who are willing to talk about personal and private sexual matters to total strangers, do you? So I read these "surveys" and they have no effect on my opinions concerning Christian behaviour whatsoever, since I observe the behaviour of Christians around me and I know what is happening.
Would be interesting to see a breakdown by gender.
I sincerely HOPE that this is not true of 80 percent of young unmarried evangelicals. IMHO, the real foundational problem is that many pastors are not teaching the Word of God anymore. Many are teaching "the gospel according to themselves", and church attendees don't read the Bible for themselves, so they just assume that what is taught is Biblical. This same issue arose in OT times among the Israelites. There's a verse (in Jeremiah, I think) where the Lord speaks of false shepherds teaching lies, and the sheep "love to have it so". God help us.
Where in the Bible does it say get married .... ? Here's a few verses for you ...
1 Corinthians 7:1-16
where does it say we shld get married in the Bible???
THE REV ROBERT MORRIS
I certainly applaud Christians who stand by their convictions and remain celibate as single people, and think the contrast between the two surveys is a sign of different assumptions, questions and filters that lead to different result. The problem with such surveys is that, in both, one can't really be sure of the veracity of the answers. Sexually active people often boast about their activity, trying to conform to the secular social image of the sexually fulfilled person. Conservative folks would, likewise, lean into conforming to the image of righteous restraint. Not saying everyone is fibbing, but, as another comment indicates, survey results are iffy at best. The number of people who say they attend church "every week" is, famously, skewed by the image people wish to have of themselves.
Our culture is sexualized to the extreme. Now our culture advocates, through government institutions, "safe" sex among our youth. They imply that virginity is an unobtainable goal. This is what is being taught to the masses. Most people come to the church after having spent time outside of it doing what the world does, and the world has a lot of sex. It is a major part of the common courting behavior of the average American. Sex is expected, as soon as the first date for some. So I would think that the future of the church will see more and more people who not only come to the church without virginity, but who may even spend some intellectual energy rationalizing its inclusion in courting.
I'm in my early 40s, a Christian woman, have never married and am still a virgin. I would like to be married and have sex. Please, Christian publications and preachers, stop focusing on the Christians who are having sex outside of marriage - one reason life long celibates such as me are willing to give in and have sex outside of marriage is that we get NO SUPPORT, no mentions in Christian media or from the pulpit, and it's assumed all or most of us are having sex, leaving me to think, well, I might as well. How about more articles highlighting Christian virgins past their mid 30s, and I don't mean the ones who actually had sex but who now call themselves "born again virgins," "secondary virgins," or "spiritual virgins," but honest to goodness virgins?
This is interesting -- I blogged about the story behind these two surveys a few months ago
It appears that the first survey was drawn from a national gallup source, and spun by the national campaign's CEO sarah brown to make it look like most evangelical american's accept the idea that unmarried couples should have contraceptives.
The second survey, as I see it, was at once as sort of mea culpa attempt to get a more representative sample of young evangelicals, as well as an attempt to avoid the appearance of being implicated in the sins of abortion.
I found this quite interesting because is shows up possibly as another damning but bogus statistic thrown at the church, like "70 percent of young people leave the church, " "or "50 percent of marriages end in divorce." None of these are true, at least not when you look into the details carefully. I am not sure who comes up with all the numbers, but they do the church great harm when they don't get things right. And, to our shame, we Christians believe the worst about ourselves and each other far too easily.
I didn't really want to read the article or stats. I'm on the trailing edge of the (so-called) Silent Gen who married a Boomer. I'd just as soon not know is my natural impulse. But on uncertain trail of advanced cancer, I am preoccupied with writing Trailside Companion, a legacy manifesto to pass on to my six grandkids. It's getting long. There is so much to tell, stories and history getting forgotten, especially the values the seem fading like a laptop screen running out of juice. One section (chapter?) is Holiness and Purity. Then I caught Randy Alcorn's PURITY PRINCIPLE. He rescued me from a preachy, rusty harangue. This evening my therapist soninlaw and the Wild Gray Goose (that'd be me) are going to chat with the three oldest, one a 10 year-old girl. It was triggered by the newly established age-15 for the Morning After slaughter of the innocents (of their fertilized unborn and of those innocent girls with huge fear barrier removed...OTC means even parental fear is gone)
I would like to know how these researchers are even defining "sex." To me, sexual activity not only conveys sexual intercourse, but also any sexual activity which would lead to intercourse. Many young evangelicals are swept up in "how far they can go." But many of the ways in which they are getting intimate with each other fits into a lenient definition of sex. This is why it might be uncomfortable to talk about a lot of young evangelicals as "virgins" even though they are having oral sex or touching each other in private ways. I think one problem of our sexuality today is that we do not have a comfortable, working, normative definition of sex. And any activity may leave young evangelicals in a sort of confused pain after being so intimately connected.
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