Strawman Argument Against Celibacy / Virginity and Sexual Purity by the Anti Sexual Purity Gestapo – The First Person Argument – vis a vis Early Marriage debate
(This is Part 1 – Link to Part 2 is at the end.)
I sometimes see liberal Christians use this argument, but it’s usually atheists, or other types of Non Christians, who have a very skewed understanding of evangelical ideas of sexual purity who use it.
This argument is most often seen in the comment sections under articles and editorials on blogs where early marriage is being advised by Christians, or where ever the issue is being discussed.
As you know, I do not support early marriage.
I’m not completely opposed to early marriage, but I do not think it should be hyped, marketed, or mandated or forced on anyone. I have blogged about my reservations of early marriage before.
It is not biblical or wise to encourage people to marry before they themselves decide they are ready to marry, as Early Marriage advocates do.
Instead of teaching Early Marriage, Early Marriage advocates should be doing what the Bible does: teaching sexual self control.
(Even where the Bible mentions ‘marrying rather than burning with lust’, it does not teach the idea that one experiencing burning, or one who MIGHT experience such burning, must marry by ‘age X.’
The Bible simply does not prescribe an age of marriage every one must follow.
The Bible does teach the concept of self control, however.)
The New Testament does not mandate marriage for anyone; it presents marriage and having children as being personal choice, nor does the Bible list an age by which God says people MUST marry, as I just discussed.
Some characters in the Bible did not marry until age 40 or older, and God was not the least bit upset by this fact (see this blog page for examples).
God even commanded one Old Testament prophet to marry a prostitute, and, unless my memory is off, I think God commanded another prophet to remain single (he did not permit the guy to marry).
Here is how the argument against virginity, celibacy, and sexual purity arises or plays out in these “Early Marriage” contexts among ex Christians, liberal or emergent Christians, secular feminists, and atheists:
You’re on a blog or online group that routinely likes to make fun of evangelical, Christian attitudes and practices. (Yes, some aspects of Christian culture are indeed laugh-worthy. I don’t hold that against these groups.)
The group moderator or blog owner links to a pro- Early Marriage editorial by some Christian person.
Immediately, the comment section under said link starts typically with guffaws, expressions of incredulity, and an attitude of, “Look at the imbecilic, backwards, idiot, hay-seed Christians telling people to marry before they turn 25 years old, har har, what morons!, what simpletons, ha ha, har har har.”
Invariably, wait long enough, and some atheist, secular feminist, or liberal Christian erects this straw man argument in the comments:
“I can’t believe these “early marriage” Christians believe that people should marry the first person they date!”
I am not saying such Christians do not exist. There very well may be one or two crackpot people of faith out there who do indeed teach that Christian youth should marry the first person they date.
However, out of all the Christian, early marriage advocacy material I personally have read, I have yet to read any Early Marriage proponent make that absurd claim.
I am going out on a limb here and take a stab at why these blockheads claim they believe Early Marriage proponents advise girls must marry the first boy they date. I could be wrong about it, but here goes my theory.
Just as Christians incorrectly conflate the phrase and concepts of “family values” with “biblical values,” (see (Link): this post for more on that, and (Link): this post), so too do Non-Christians or liberal Christians conflate sex with dating, or, they assume dating a person necessarily entails having sex with the date.
It is not true that dating a person can or always will lead to sex, or that the definition of, or practice of, dating requires sex.
Even in Non Christian culture up to the 1980s and a bit later, a normal secular date between teen agers (or even college students) would entail the boy picking the girl up at her home, taking her to a movie and maybe out for fries and a Coke, dropping her off at home afterwards, and, optionally, if he’s brave enough, giving her a kiss on the cheek good night on the front porch (or the girl kisses the guy), and the date ends.
Notice, no sex was involved in any of that at any time.
That was a normal, standard date for a lot of people in American culture, even for Non Christians.
Or, go watch the movie “Grease.” Dating for teens – and hell, even for plenty of adults, in regards to a first, second, or third or beyond date – in the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s was not all terribly different from the 1950s, the era when the Grease movie was set.
I’m not even totally advocating that people date today like they did in the 1950s, I’m merely observing that was how it was for a good, long while.
In that film, even the high school student Danny waited over several months, or a year or more of knowing Sandy, before he began putting his arm around her and trying to make out with her at Drive-In Movie theater dates. He didn’t try to jump her and have sex with her on the first date. (Or even the second, third, fourth…)
Sometimes, Hollywood does not accurately portray real life, but as so far as depicting dating, I’d say “Grease” was fairly accurate for a lot of people from 1950s American culture up to the 1990s or early 2000s.
I am not entirely sure what has shifted in American culture lately where atheists, secular feminists, and liberal Christians now assume any and all dates, even first dates between 14 year old kids, mandate sex, or will end in sex, unless it’s the rise of “hook up” culture among slutty college kids in the last 5 years.
Just because YOU personally may live in a slutty, anything goes, casual sex, “hook up” environment when you were in college two to five years ago, does not mean the rest of America below age 18, or over age 25, lives that way, or views dating that way.
Not everyone who has a date or two – whether Christian or Non Christian, under age 18 (or over 18), has sex.
Some people might date 5, 10, 35 times, or whatever- times- in- a- row, and still not have sex.
Dating does not always equal having sex.
Dating does not require having sex.
Do some people have sex on, or after, a first date? Yes, they do.
I am not disputing that some people do have sex on a date, or after a date, or only after a first or second date.
What I am saying is that this is not necessarily behavior that any, or that even most, people engage in.
Some people still go on dates with no intention of having sex with the date. All they want is a night out on the town (dinner and a show), or to chat and get to know the person better, and that’s it.
If someone tells you she had a date last Friday night, especially if it was a first or second date, it would be in error to automatically assume, “Aha, she had sex with the guy she went on a date with!”
I think part of the confusion may come in, too, in that Christians claim to be against pre-marital sex (they claim they are against it, but they are not really against it; see other posts on my blog that discuss it).
So, to curb the amount of fornication (pre-marital sex), older Christians are telling younger Christians to marry very young. They assume this will lessen the chance of fornication.
I’m afraid that the self appointed Anti- Virginity and Anti- Sexual Purity Police I see on other online groups and blogs wrongly extrapolate from this view that these Early Marriage supporters are saying a girl should marry the first boy she dates.
But that is not what they are teaching at all.
Early Marriage supporters are not saying a girl should marry the first boy she dates. They are not even suggesting a girl should marry the second, third, or fourth boy she dates.
The real kooks, the real weirdos – the Christian Quiverfull, Dominionists, and Reconstructionists who might agree with such an outlandish, extreme view – do not even believe in dating.
Such wacko pro- patriarchy and theonomical groups believe in “courtship.”
They believe that the father of a young woman gets to choose whom she marries. The women in such families does not even get to select who she courts and when she starts to court (is my understanding).
Your evangelicals who are promoting Early Marriage, so far as I have seen personally thus far in their articles and blog posts, do not believe that the girl’s father should choose whom she dates, nor do they suggest she must marry the first guy she dates.
It is possible for a girl to date a boy for a period of days, weeks, or months and not have sex with him, because she chooses not to have sex, or the boy chooses not to, or they decide together not to.
I do not wholly agree with Early Marriage, but it is untruthful, as some of its critics do at times, to claim that Early Marriage Advocates support the idea that a woman must marry the first man she dates.
There might be one or two crackpots out there who teach that (I’ve not come across one myself), but Christians who are otherwise mainstream, and trying to actually keep their views aligned with the Bible, are not going to teach this idea.
The Bible is silent on the topic of dating. It neither condones or condemns dating.
But the Bible does talk about pre-martial sex being wrong, especially in the New Testament.
(Link): Weak Argument Against Celibacy / Virginity / Sexual Purity by the Anti Sexual Purity Gestapo – Sexual Compatibility or Incompatibility – (ie, Taking Human Beings For Test Spins – Humans As Sexual Commodities) (Part 2)
Other related posts, this blog:
(Link): How the Sexual Revolution Ruined Friendship – Also: If Christians Truly Believed in Celibacy and Virginity, they would stop adhering to certain sexual and gender stereotypes that work against both