Friday, August 10, 2007

Evangelical Promiscuity

David Wayne on statistics that indicate that evangelical teenagers, despite a pronounced ethic against premarital sex, are just as likely to engage in it:

In fact, there is evidence that evangelical teenagers on the whole may be more immoral than non-Christians. Statistically, evangelical teens tend to have sex first at a younger age, 16.3, compared to liberal Protestants, who tend to lose their virginity at 16.7. And young evangelicals are far more likely to have had three or more sexual partners (13.7 percent) than non-evangelicals.

As previously noted, we have to be careful of statistics casually thrown about. But Wayne brings up a critical point that helps explain why evangelical Christians are engaging in premarital sex:

And the bible does offer a direct solution for people who are burning in lust (I Corintihans 7:9). Adolescence - that time when a person is physically an adult but socially a child - is a modern invention. In the past, people married much younger, as soon as they were sexually ready. Today's culture postpones marriage while stretching celibacy to the breaking point.
A counter-cultural church may do well to encourage younger marriages. . . .


Possibly, although the age of first marriage (in America, at least) has not risen that much over time.

12 comments:

JD said...

Yea! That's the solution. Allow for younger marriages so kinds can have sex as God intended in a married setting only to be divorced down the road when they get board with their spouse. How 'bout we just try this little thing that Paul talks about called restraint and stop trying to make up excuses for these kids.

That is like the credo, "Well, they're doing it anyway, let's make sure they are safe and hand out condemns."

How 'bout someone try to emphasize the emotional side of things. This is not just a spiritual issue.

PAX
JD

BruceA said...

I've visited many different kinds of churches in my life, and one thing I've observed is that (on average) evangelical churches tend to talk about sex a lot more than other churches. I wouldn't be surprised if that extra exposure influenced kids to try sex earlier -- if the statistics are accurate.

Dan Trabue said...

"A counter-cultural church may do well to encourage younger marriages."

A counter-intuitive church may do quite poorly to encourage such foolishness.

Brucea may be on to something. Tell a group of teenagers, week after week after week how wrong sex is and how they better not do the deed is like waving raw meat in front of a lion.

I think our (ie religious folk) predilection to focus on sex-as-sin so much is not a good thing. It's certainly talked about in the Bible, but not as much or as clearly as God's Kingdom or economic issues, for instance.

Balance is a good thing.

Lorna (see through faith) said...

Scary. I know of youngsters (Christians) who are virgins and rush into early marriages. They love each other and want to have sex. ok

I also know of youngsters who are virgins and choose to wait longer for marriage and sex

I also know of youngster who are having sex before they even think about getting married.


I don't know the answer - not really - Here in Finland living with your future partner is very much part of the culture.

I hope my kids would make a different choice - but at the end o the day it is THEIR choice to make - and rushing into marriage just to have sex could be as spiritually and emotionally disastrous as pre-marital sex. And being trapped in a love-less marriage too. That's the truth.

Jeff the Baptist said...

Ah statistical analysis done by non-statisticians...

"Statistically, evangelical teens tend to have sex first at a younger age, 16.3, compared to liberal Protestants, who tend to lose their virginity at 16.7."

Actually, unless their sample size is huge, 16.7 and 16.3 are statistically indistinguishable. It wouldn't surprise me if the multiple partners numbers suffer from the same problem. So this data shows that the two are the same not that evangelicals are worse off.

Mark Winter said...

Different times, different circumstances today. In biblical times, you got married early to start producing sons to help with the labor load. Adolescents were considered adults in those days, but not so much now.

Today kids have sex just to have sex. But we know that most teens today can't handle the demands of marriage or the intimacies of sex. It's like giving car keys to a 9-yr old. A car is a good thing, but it can also do a lot of damage in immature hands.

Churches need to teach teens the biblical view of sex. It's not dirty or shameful: it's a beautiful gift from God. Like all gifts, it should invoke gratitude toward the giver. I wouldn't receive expensive cologne from my wife and then splash it all over the dog. There is also forgiveness and restoration for those who fail and turn back to God.

In our sex-crazed culture, the most counter-cultural message the church can give is "Abstain until marriage. This gift is too precious to give away."

John said...

Jeff wrote:

Ah statistical analysis done by non-statisticians...

"Statistically, evangelical teens tend to have sex first at a younger age, 16.3, compared to liberal Protestants, who tend to lose their virginity at 16.7."

Actually, unless their sample size is huge, 16.7 and 16.3 are statistically indistinguishable. It wouldn't surprise me if the multiple partners numbers suffer from the same problem. So this data shows that the two are the same not that evangelicals are worse off.


But it does show that evangelicals are not making a dent against sexual libertinism within their churches. But perhaps, as Dan suggests, hammering on about sex all the time may be counter-productive. I don't know. I've never heard a sermon on sex before.

Dan Trabue said...

You obviously didn't grow up Southern Baptist...

JD said...

Paul really jumps into the whole marriage thing in 1 Corinthians 7. I also appreciate Dan's comments of balance. What needs to be understood with this balance is that no matter what we feel or think, an important part of being a Christian is not being selfish and giving into the desires of which Satan tempts us. Married or not, teenager or not, we must all temper our desires. That is more important. Getting married just to have sex so it somehow fits into God's plan warps the beauty and sactity of the sexual relationship created by God. If the reason for getting married is so you can have sex without judgement from the Chrisitian community or to have the freedom to give into your sexual desires, not matter how destructive, then you might as well not get married.

PAX
JD

Anonymous said...

While no one would suggest marriage to a 15-year old, it is nevertheless true that evangelical churches have dropped the ball big time when it comes to encouraging those on the verge of adulthood to start preparing for marriage - and fast.
Paul's words are still valid - if you can't control your sexual hunger, then take a spouse. As John Calvin said, if anyone finds themselves unable to avoid burning desire, they are COMMANDED by God to get married.
Until churches start actively encouraging marriage for those about to leave their parents home, Christian teens and young adults will continue to fall into sin.
It simply isn't normal for someone in their early 20's to be abstinent. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

This blog is funny.

You guys actually believe in a "God" and a "devil" named "Satan"?

Hilarious.

Shopping Blog said...

You simply link to one site and discount links of london that site in turn links to another site. charms bracelets That third site then links to you and completes a perfect web charms links of london that is untraceable by anything Google can do.This can build your links of london sweetie watches Serps immensely and give you a major edge over all your competition. links of london ring uk You would be surprised just how fast Google can move links of london silver necklace you up in rankings.Now is the time to stop wasting your time on useless link building that does nothing links of london silver earrings and start using a system that is prove to work..