Another cruddy Christian “Have We Made an Idol Out of Sexual Purity?” editorial (this time, from Relevant magazine) – And An Analogy For Married Christians Who Don’t Get It
The analogy is way, way down the page. I might put it in a separate post in the future.
First, a word about terminology. This is a somewhat minor point I make in passing, but it’s recurrent on various Christian blogs I visit, it drives me nuts, so I wanted to point it out.
Other Christians are very confused about the phrase “sexual purity.” They want to argue that “sexual purity” is not the same thing as “virginity,” but in articles like this one I link to below, they go on to equate “sexual purity” to virginity themselves.
The lady who wrote the following insists that sexual purity is not the same thing as virginity, or should not be thought of as such, but then says that you are not damaged goods, or your sexual purity is not lost, over a single act (ie, having sex, ie, which is defined as, or understood as, losing your virginity prior to marriage).
So… authors like this one argues ( the symbol != is computer coding / scripting language for “is not equal to”),
sexual purity != virginity
sexual purity = virginity
Christian authors who are trying to say that virginity is not all that important in the end scheme of things cannot themselves even stay consistent on the point of whether or not to consider
virginity = sexual purity (or as a sub-set of).
They flip flop on this point a lot. If you don’t believe that sexual purity = virginity, why bother lovingly patting the heads of fornicators to reassure them that losing one’s virginity before marriage is nothing to feel ashamed about?
Why not just write a big old editorial denying that sexual purity is the same thing as staying a virgin until marriage, or why not try to argue that the Bible does not prohibit pre-marital boinking?
The link to the odious editorial by a Christian publication (I have additional comments below the long excerpt):
(Link): Have We Made an Idol Out of Sexual Purity? Why purity is so much more than virginity. BY DEBRA K FILETA
If you grew up in church, you’ve likely heard one of these horrific analogies somewhere along the way:
Your sexual purity, once it’s given away is like…
“Tape that’s lost it’s stickiness.”
“Paper that’s been torn.”
“Gum that’s been chewed.”
“A gift that’s been unwrapped.”
While I get the mentality behind these messages, my problem with these analogies, and in fact, this entire discussion, is that it presents “purity” as a one-dimensional physical act.
First you have it, then you don’t. Vanished. Gone. Over. Done with. In a blink of an eye, the prospect of being “pure” and holy has been wiped away.
This mentality is so dangerous because it fools us into believing that our entire worth as believers and as “eligible” bachelors/bachelorettes is wrapped up on this one, single part of who we are.
Please don’t misunderstand, I believe it is important to honor God with our bodies, but since when did our holiness have anything to do with who we are, instead of everything to do with who Christ is?
— end article excerpts—
I left a few comments on that page, including:
No, Christians have not made an idol out of sexual purity, not even when using analogies about chewed up gum and so forth. I’m over 40 years of age, still a virgin, because I was waiting until marriage to have sex but am still single.
In the past several years, Christians (seemingly influenced by secular feminists and “slut shaming” rhetoric) have been criticizing virginity, virgins, and celibacy and mocking these concepts and saying they are unimportant.
We’ve now arrived at a situation where Christians (and Non Christians) demand and expect everyone to respect all forms of sexual behavior and sexual expression EXCEPT FOR virginity and celibacy.
Adult singleness is also under attack, from everyone from Al Mohler (who slams singleness in his interviews) to guys like pastor Mark Driscoll who blogs the unbiblical view that single people cannot and should not serve as preachers.
Driscoll also wrongly teaches in one of his blog posts that older, adult celibate adults lack sex drives because God supposedly, magically removed their sex drive (this is false; single adults over 30 still experience sexual desire).
Further, Driscoll holds the unbiblical, wacko strange view that if a person is still single over 30, that God has destined them for singleness, and at that, to martyr them off for spreading the Gospel in some deep jungle, in some remote nation. None of this is supported in the Bible.
Christians are attacking singleness, virginity, and celibacy; they are most certainly NOT making an idol out of any of these things, and I wish Christian bloggers, magazines, and authors would stop arguing otherwise.
The reverse is true – Christians have made sex into an idol, and any adult willingly abstaining, or any adult who has not managed to marry because they cannot find a partner, is regarded as being an odd ball, loser, or freak.
When you bend over backwards to assure the fornicators (the men and women who have sex outside of marriage) that God loves them, that their sexual purity does not really mean anything, you are in effect spitting on adult virginity and adult virgins such as myself.
In attempting to console the sexual sinners, you are inadvertently, at the same time, discouraging those who have walked the walk and who have stayed sexually pure, and I strongly object to that.
7/29/2014 1:53 PM
— end copy of my comment—
To which a guy or two replied:
Wayne Grier replied to christianpundit’s comment…
Thank you for saying that! I totally agree with you.
I am a virgin as well.
We should talk about sex more in the church but we should not paint being a virgin as some type of moralist as well as people who had sex as damage goods.
reply7/29/2014 2:26 PM
— end comment by other person—–
I don’t have much to say about Wayne’s comment, I essentially agree with it.
This Zach guy wrote:
Zach Hall replied to Wayne Grier’s (and christianpundit’s) comment…
@christianpundit – I don’t think anywhere in this article did you read anything that hinted at the mocking of virgins. I myself am a virgin, and even though I’m half your age and less than two weeks away from being married, I think the American Christian church has done anything but shaming virgins.
All this article and the author is attempting to do is help those who HAVE lost their physical virginity to understand that their physical and spiritual purity is a present-day occurrence and that they are no less “marriage material” than someone who is a virgin.
Bless you and for being able to remain a virgin into your forties. I think that’s an incredible gift and one that I hope you will be able to give your future spouse, if you so choose. I don’t think any Christian, especially not Ms. Fileta, would encourage you to lose your virginity and I’m quite positive you didn’t read that anywhere in this article.
reply7/29/2014 3:18 PM
— end comment by other person—–
See, this is the problem I frequently run into when leaving comments on other people’s blogs about this topic.
They will sit there and say, “But, but, the author SAID she (or he) approves of virginity and celibacy!!!”
I know. Christians usually do in fact “pay lip service” to the concepts in editorials about sexual morality, but when you get down to it, their other commentary affirming fornication and fornicators negates any pro-sexual purity or pro-virginity commentary they make.
It would be like a Christian writing a blog post about the sin of theft. Imagine they start off in a single sentence saying how it’s wrong to hold up a bank or steal candy from a baby.
However, they spend the next ten pages constantly reassuring any bank robbers reading the page that God will love and forgive them.
They then go on and on about how stealing is really not so bad after all, we can count on Jesus’ honesty to be our honesty, so hey, it’s not a problem if you once stole $50 from your granny or that you repeatedly robbed a bunch of banks, and none of your past actions really has any significance or defines who you really are.
Imagine all the emphasis going into consoling the thief and downplaying the seriousness and gravity of being dishonest.
That is basically what these Christian bloggers do when writing about sexual sin. They try to downplay sexual sin to cheer up the fornicators who feel guilty or ashamed about fornication.
Some of them whip out the ‘we’re all sinners’ card. Maybe so, but some sins are worse or more serious than other sins. All sins are not equal.
An adult stealing a block of “post it” notes from his office supply cabinet at his job is not any where near the same league of sick, warped, and wrong as the man who kidnaps, repeatedly rapes, and smothers to death a nine year old girl (which actually happened (Link): see this page).
Even Jesus recognized that some sins are worse than others (see John 19:11)
My response to Zach,
christianpundit replied to Zach Hall’s comment…
@ Zach. Constantly telling the fornicators that their sexuality or sexual sins are really no biggie, is, in a manner, slamming virginity.
As her article basically says it’s no biggie to fornicate because your purity is in Jesus, I see no reason why I cannot and should not start fornicating.
I mean, take a second look at her sub heading on this page:
“Why purity is so much more than virginity.”
– Oh. So virginity is not so important after all, not to be valued. She’s sort of spiritualizing virginity away, saying in the end scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter if one maintains one’s physical, literal virginity or not.
You’re also assuming I’m going to marry. I may never marry. I may die single.
The author may be aiming this article at fornicators, but virgins like me read this material too – and apparently, authors who are anxious to soothe the feelings of the sexual sinners don’t care an iota that their devaluing of our virginity (or the concept of virginity) offends us, or hurts our feelings.
All the concern these days by Christians (who are usually married and having sex themselves) is for the feelings of the fornicators.
— end comment—
One way I can tell I’ve hit the bull’s eye on this stuff is that any time I leave a comment on these blogs that besmirch virginity (they say oh no, they think highly of virginity- but they don’t), is that inevitably, when I go back and visit the blog page, at least ONE other virgin will leave a post saying,
“Thank you, thank you, YOU GET IT!! You see what I did, but you were the only one to call the author out on the virginity-shaming.”
Most other virgins know exactly what I’m talking about. They too spot the anti-virgin, or anti-virginity views that are bubbling under the surface of these posts by Christians that are trying to reassure the sexual sinners that their losing their virginity is nothing to be upset about.
It’s interesting and quite sad that it’s the fornicators themselves, or the 50 year old married people (who have been married for 20, 30 years, and who are typically behind writing these sexual ethics blog posts for 20 or 30 year old sexual sinners) who don’t understand it, or who do not see the anti-virgin bias inherent in their sexual morality postings.
AN ANALOGY FOR MARRIED CHRISTIANS
I’m not sure how else I can explain this differently to get the 35, 45, 50, and 60 year old married Christians to understand this point.
The closest analogies I can think of to this situation:
How about me, a never-married 40 something woman, writing a blog post excusing extra-marital affairs, by saying something like,
- “Hey, I know the Bible is not cool with adultery, but you know what?
Cheating on one’s spouse is really not a big deal if you’re a married person having an affair, because your sexual purity is IN JESUS. Sexual purity is so much more than staying sexually faithful to your spouse!
So don’t feel any shame, remorse, or guilt over cheating on your partner in the past. Your purity is so much more than being faithful to your spouse.”
Notice how I can claim on the one hand to condemn extra-marital affairs, but then turn around and negate that by downplaying the seriousness of affairs? Christians do this all the time in the realm of virginity, sexual purity, and celibacy for un-married adults.
If I were to write such a blog post reassuring adulterers that their adultery is really no biggie, how do you think a 55 year old woman, who was married at age 23, who has ALWAYS been faithful to her husband, but whose husband slept around on her with ten women per year for 30 years, would feel about it?
It would crush her and make her feel as though all her years of staying true to her husband are all for nothing.
He got extra nooky on the side for years, and is being consoled by Christians for it.
While, on the other hand, she stayed pure and gets told, is condescendingly lectured, by Christians on their preachy blogs, that her sexual fidelity to her spouse over decades (when she was so tempted to bang the UPS delivery man, who flirted with her and came on to her, and who was a ringer for actor Hugh Jackman to boot) really amounts to nothing, that she’s a sinner too so she needs to get over her husband’s unfaithfulness, and that she’s making marital faithfulness into an “idol” or “fetish” or “being prideful” about her fidelity.
At any rate, I’ve been down this road before; I have seen similar posts and attitudes in the past and have blogged about it. See these posts:
(Link): More Virgin and Celibate Shaming in Article: How the New Abstinence Movement is Trying to Reshape Our Views on Sex (from Relevant Magazine) Another Christian Anti Virginity Hit Piece – Fornicators Need To Repent of Their Pride in their Fornication Testimonies Maybe?
(Link): Stop Rewarding People For Their Failure – Christians Speaking Out of Both Sides of Their Mouths About Sexual Sin – Choices and Actions and How You Teach This Stuff Has Consequences – Allowing Sinners To Re-Define Biblical Terms and Standards
Off Site Link:
(Link): Where are America’s virgins? Discouraging the virtuous By Julia Duin
Edit. Tweet. Link to Tweet.
In a nutshell:
(Modified, by me, of a quote originally by RHE):
- “We can have grace for sexual fornicators, yes. But not at expense of grace for adult virgins.”
RHE was quoting about bullies, but I took her quote and used it here as a commentary about sexual sin. I once left a comment very similar to this at RHE’s blog about sexual sin.