Sometimes Shame Guilt and Hurt Feelings Over Sexual Sins Is a Good Thing – but – Emergents, Liberals Who Are Into Virgin and Celibate Shaming

Sometimes Shame Guilt and Hurt Feelings Over Sexual Sins Is a Good Thing

If I see one more “Christian” writer blogging or podcasting about how Christians need to abandon virginity- until- marriage (a.k.a. sexual purity or celibacy) teachings and standards, which are biblical, I may puke.

It has become quite de rigueur in some Christian circles to bash virginity and celibacy these days.

Oddly, Christian emergents, such as Rachel Held Evans, post-Evangelical or ex-Christian writers, and some spiritual abuse bloggers, who usually try to be hyper-sensitive to people’s feelings, who will twist themselves into pretzels to defend homosexuals or homosexuality, will hypocritically often give no thought to trampling on the feelings of adult, Christian hetero virgins.

I would imagine that adult, Christian homosexual virgins might be offended by some of this same rhetoric aimed against celibacy sexual purity, and virginity as well; there are some Christians who have S.S.A., same sex attraction [homosexual leanings], but who have chosen to stay celibate.

How do you suppose the rants against sexual purity teachings and the whole-scale acceptance of homosexual behavior by fellow Christians makes them feel? I guess their feelings do not matter because they don’t neatly fit into the little politically correct box of the Christian homosexual agenda pushers?

I have a lot of respect for Christian homosexuals/SSA who are abstaining from sexual activity, who are celibate, due to allegiance to biblical teachings about sex. (And they do exist. I periodically come across an interview with Christian homosexual/SSA celibates on Christian podcast shows or in blogs.)

Some emergents and theologically/doctrinally liberal Christians go so far as to defend fornication (both homo and hetero varieties) and to advocate it, never mind bashing virginity and celibacy, such as:
(Link): Emergent Christian Guy Says Christians Need to “Celebrate Pre Marital Sex” (Fornication)

I recall reading a small article several years ago in a secular paper about secular culture. The author (and I’ve no idea what her religious views were), said part of the problem with American (secular) culture is that we have lost our sense of shame. I agree with this assessment.

The author said one reason we see so much trash and vulgarity in the media, why we see pop singers dancing around half naked on music shows, is that people have lost their sense of shame – and that is not always a good thing.

I portend the same thing has happened in Christian culture the last five or more years, especially when it comes to sex related sin.

Some Christians have been arguing on their blogs, books, magazine articles, in pod casts, and on radio shows, that Christians should cease from upholding biblical teachings on celibacy and virginity because such teachings (and the standards themselves) make people who have engaged in pre-marital sex (aka fornication) feel ashamed, guilty, bad, or flawed.

As a 40 something, hetero virgin -I chose to remain a virgin until marriage- I find this most puzzling.

I have managed to do what most Christians assume is the impossible: stayed a virgin into my 40s; obviously, I prove a person can live without sex.

No, I do not have a low libido; no I am not fat and ugly; yes I have been engaged to a man; yes, I have been flirted with and hit on by men (I am not ugly and fat).

I’m having a hard time seeing why Biblical teachings on sexual ethics should be tossed aside or ignored, merely because some have not lived up to those ethics, or that some who fornicated feel shameful or guilty when they hear such ethics taught.

I can just imagine if people who claim to be Christ followers used that criteria in other areas of life and sin:

    “Hi, my name is John Doe. I enjoy being a serial killer! I love strangling women to death. Every time I hear a Christian preacher mention that murder of humans is a sin, it makes me feel so guilty and ashamed. I think we should all just accept that some people like to murder, they cannot help it, and well, you Christians should drop that teaching to accomodate me and my feelings. I was born with these urges to kill. I have a need to kill. Respect my inclination to murder, and don’t judge me or make me feel ashamed for it.”

If your guilt or shame over murdering another person – or stealing, or having sex before marriage- compels you to cease such behavior, then I think that is a plus, not a minus.

God, if He exists, says in the Bible that He gave humanity consciences, so that when and if you do something wrong, yes, you will feel guilty and ashamed over it.

(Disclaimer: I am not saying someone who commits a sin and repents should feel guilt indefinitely. I’m not talking about “false guilt,” and that carried over a lifetime. These days, I see the opposite: people, including Christians, sadly, who try to hide away from feelings of guilt, shame, and condemnation at all costs.)

Instead of telling homo and hetero singles to go right ahead and feed their sexual desires, why not encourage them to hold on and remain virgins or celibate?

The Bible talks about Christians encouraging other Christians to hold on, hang in there, and complete the race.

The Bible does not tell Christians to tell other Christians, “When the going gets tough, just give up, and give in. Stop the race, go sit on the sideline. Being a virgin is so hard, so cave in, stop fighting it! Everyone else is having sex, so join them.”

However, many emergent Christians are basically carrying the banner for this “Just cave in and do it, then don’t feel guilty or shamed for it!” approach, which seems to be nothing more than the Least Common Denominator Approach, the Low Expectations Approach, or the Quitter Approach, rather than the the Over-comer, or Winner, or I Know You Can Do It approach.

Here is an editorial on the topic of shame:

(Link): Shame Can be Healthy When We Violate God’s Standards

by Trace Embry

There is a common belief among the politically correct “intelligentsia” that shame is not something our kids–or anyone else for that matter–ought to experience.

Even many Christians have bought into this idea.

Scripture; however, seems to make a different case. God has made us, and our kids, with the capacity for many emotions– shame being just one of them.

Confusion about this subject comes when someone attempts to force someone else to feel shame for something that God did not call shameful–like when a young child spills his milk or fails to control his bladder.

Even then, there comes a time and age when even these acts become inappropriate–perhaps even shameful– particularly if done with reckless frequency and without legitimate excuse, i.e., such as a physical or mental condition.

To remind an unrepentant child that he ought to be ashamed of himself for committing some blatant act of foolishness, abuse or other sinful activity can often be just good parenting. Or in the case of two adults, just being a good friend.

Proverbs 27: 6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted; but, an enemy multiplies kisses.” Besides, aren’t there things that we should be ashamed of? The Bible doesn’t have much positive to say about a generation that does not even know how to blush.

Shame is often a component of true conviction which is fundamental to repentance. Shame is a legitimate emotion when God’s standards are violated. We need not be ashamed of who we are, but rather for what we do.

Confusion can also come in when we are made to be ashamed of who we are. Knowing that we are created by God in the image of God should remind us that we should never be ashamed of who we are. As the saying goes, “God does not make junk!” What God has created; however, can create junk–junk that we should be ashamed of creating. And sometimes it takes someone else to remind us that we should feel ashamed for creating it.

When Nathan the prophet told King David, “You are the man.” I doubt he expected David to feel like a winner in that moment. David’s emotions were completely appropriate for that moment.

Shame is actually a good emotion; for, like pain, it is an alarm that tells us something is not right.

And, like pain, it is also a motivator to start heading in the right direction. Feeling no shame is how our society has arrived at its current moral condition.

Pop psychology–not Scripture–is where this notion of shame being a naughty word came from. Views on psychology are continually changing, while God’s Word remains trustworthy through the ages. So, remember that anyone who shames you into believing that shame is a shame is a sham.

————————-
Related posts this blog:

(Link): Anti Virginity Editorial by Christian Blogger Tim Challies – Do Hurt / Shame Feelings or Sexual Abuse Mean Christians Should Cease Supporting Virginity or Teaching About Sexual Purity

(Link):  Why Progressive Christians Are Ineffective and Unpersuasive by P. Heck – Also: How Liberals Can Avoid Turning Off Right Wingers

(Link):  Some Researchers Argue that Shame Should Be Used to Treat Sexual Compulsions

(Link): Anti-Porn Activist: ‘Ethically Sourced’ Porn ‘Sounds Like an Oxymoron’

(Link):  CDC Report: Virgin Teens Much Healthier Than Their Sexually Active Peers (2016 Report)

(Link): Confusing Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse with Consensual Sex and Then Condemning Sexual Purity Teachings – and other, related topics

(Link):  Our Bodies Were Not Made for Sex by T. Swann

(Link): Warning: This Column Will Offend You – by M. Moynihan (Re: Trigger Warnings in Written Material, Terms such as slut shaming, man-splain, etc)

(Link): No, Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity and Sexual Purity

(Link): Christian Double Standards on Celibacy – Hetero Singles Must Abstain from Sex but Not Homosexual Singles

(Link): Sex, Love & Celibacy by Dan Navin [who is a Christian homosexual celibate]

(Link): Are Most Churches Too Judgemental About Sexual Sin? (of the hetero variety)

(Link): To Get Any Attention or Support from a Church These Days you Have To Be A Stripper, Prostitute, or Orphan

(Link): Virgin – and Celibate – Shaming : Christian Double Standards – Homosexuals Vs Hetero Singles – Concerning Thabiti Anyabwile and Gag Reflexes

(Link): Dude Arguing for Legalization of Prostitution Uses Same Rationale as Christians Concerning Celibacy and Sexual Purity

(Link): The Activist Who Says Being Gay Is Not A Sin – double standards for homo singles vs hetero singles

(Link): Christians Who Attack Virginity Celibacy and Sexual Purity – and specifically Russell D. Moore and James M. Kushiner

(Link): Students Discuss Dissatisfaction with “Hookup Culture” [Casual Sex, Fornication, Pre Marital Sex]

(Link): The ol’ Christian myth that married couples are impervious to sexual sin but singles have lots of sexual sin

(Link): Why So Much Fornication – Because Christians Have No Expectation of Sexual Purity

(Link): Rare Reminders from Christians on Recent Broadcasts that Fornication is Wrong and That Older Celibates Exist

(Link): The Trivialization of Sex (a post by A. Hamilton)

(Link): Confessions of a 25-year-old Christian virgin (article) – and related info

(Link): CDC Reports Rare Lesbian HIV Transmission Case

(Link): Slut Shaming and Virgin Shaming and Secular and Christian Culture – Dirty Water / Used Chewing Gum and the CDC’s Warnings – I guess the CDC is a bunch of slut shamers ?

(Link): The Christian and Non Christian Phenomenon of Virgin Shaming and Celibate Shaming
———————————————
Related post, off site:

(Link): Same-Sex Marriage and the Single Christian – How marriage-happy churches are unwittingly fueling same-sex coupling—and leaving singles like me in the dust.

Christians Who Attack Virginity Celibacy and Sexual Purity – and specifically Russell D. Moore and James M. Kushiner

Christians Who Attack Virginity Celibacy and Sexual Purity – and specifically Russell D. Moore and James M. Kushiner

(Note: the specific mentions of Moore and Kushiner and how both are attacking the Bible’s teachings on virginity / sexual purity come farther down in this opinion piece, after my introduction)

Jan 1 2015 update (Nov 2017 update way below):

I just noticed today that Moore has blocked me from his Twitter account, which I never followed to start with (the notice on his page says I cannot follow his Twitter feed, which I never did. I don’t know when he blocked me, but it was sometime over 2014).

I only tweeted at him a handful of times over 2014, with links to this blog page you are reading. And he blocked me over THAT?

————————-

Edit: See the update after you read this post: (Link): Anti Virginity Moore Opines on Dirty Web Sites * Irony Alert *

And related:

(Link): Anti Virginity Editorial by Christian Blogger Tim Challies – Do Hurt / Shame Feelings or Sexual Abuse Mean Christians Should Cease Supporting Virginity or Teaching About Sexual Purity

(Link): Southern Baptists (who don’t TRULY support sexual purity) Announce 2014 Sex Summit

————————-

I am still amazed by emergents, liberal Christians, and even a strain of conservative Christians, who feel as though Christendom has made an “idol of virginity,” when I see so many self-professing Christians these days mocking or questioning the very concepts of virginity, celibacy, and sexual purity, concepts which are taught in the Bible.

Oh sure, I hear the occasional sermon on marriage where the preacher tosses out the obligatory “sex is for marriage only” sentiment (just today, TV preacher Jack Graham delivered such commentary in his broadcast sermon on marriage).

However, in practice and in reality, many Christians do not believe in virginity, celibacy, or sexual purity, and many of them do not practice it.

See: (Link): No, Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity and Sexual Purity By extension, most Christians do not support Christian singles, who are told in the Bible to practice celibacy. Most Christians today, their churches and organizations, are too busy worshipping marriage and the traditional, nuclear family and lamenting the decay of “traditional marriage.”

Singles get overlooked in all the marriage and family worship, or all the hand-wringing over the fall of the nuclear family. Churches and the Christian community as a whole do not support Christians who are never- married, past the age of 30, and who are still virgins.

I became a Christian before reaching the age of ten (lately, though, I have considered leaving the faith, over the sex and singles issue, among other reasons). From a young age, I took Christianity and its teachings on sexual purity to heart.

I made a choice at very young age that I would wait until marriage to have sex. When you are below age 25, the church will applaud you for being a virgin.

Once you get to to your late 20s or into your 30s, the support you see in this area disappears. It dries up. (You will actually be attacked by Christians for being single and a virgin into your 30s and beyond.)

Other than Christianity, I did have one or two other reasons why I was determined to remain chaste (which I will not get into here).

My decision to remain chaste in adolescence coincides with the repeated sermonizing I heard in the 1980s and part of the 1990s of preachers ranting and raving against the sexual immorality of the day, and how a Christian should remain sexually pure. I also read the Bible as a teen, and I could not help but notice all the passages saying sex was for marriage only. I also heard or read works by authors such as Christian apologist Josh McDowell about how sex was for marriage only.

Works such as these, and sermons I heard, were one reason of several, I did not have sex.

Much of Christian dating, sex, and marriage articles and books I read as a teenager, and many of the sermons I heard on those topics, either stated out right, or implied very strongly, that if a Christian female remains sexually pure, seeks after God, stays skinny and pretty, prays to God, and has faith in God for a spouse, that God will send that young woman a “Christian Mr. Right” by the time she reaches mid or late 20s. I did all of those things and still find myself single in my early 40s.

I have seen other never-married Christian ladies in their 30s, 40s, and 50s give the same witness on other blogs: they too were sold a false bill of goods.

They were told by preachers, Christian relationship books and so forth, that if they trusted God for a spouse and did not have sex, that God would grant them, or reward them, with a spouse, and that the spouse would likely also be another Christian virgin.

However, in the last few years, I’ve seen Christians on TV shows, radio shows, and on blogs, declaring that all of us are sexual sinners (i.e. fornicators, who have literally had sexual intercourse).

Or, there is this understanding among some Christians that all people have had sex outside of marriage (or else are porn addicts), so, their philosophy is to present an “Easy Forgivism Sex Gospel” to soothe any guilt or shame feelings sexual sinners may have.

I find these constant appeals of “let sexual sinners off the hook and be all forgive-y to them, because all of us have sexual sin” confusing and discouraging, because I am in my early 40s and have not had sexual intercourse. It is simply not true that “all of us are fornicators.”

These easy forgivism attitudes towards sexual sin amounts to telling Christians they should not judge people’s sexual pasts, or hold their sexual pasts against them, nor should they adhere to biblical sexual standards, or expect others to live by them. Christians are further given the message – by other Christians – that they should not make an idol of virginity, and if you yourself have fornicated (had sex outside of marriage), to forgive yourself and move on.

The thinking is that nobody but nobody can hold out and resist sexual urges into their twenties and beyond, that we’re all guilty of fornicating, or habitually visiting X-rated sites.

Even though all of us are not guilty of these things – it is wrongly assumed all of us are, though.

The liberals and emergents think that Christians should cease with the virginity teachings and sexual purity teachings because some women, who chose to have sex as teens or as college students, feel guilty, ashamed, or dirty when they hear in sermons or Christian programs that sex outside of marriage is a sin.

Then your sexual abuse victims, who were fondled at age six by their Uncle Harry, say these sexual purity teachings hurt their feelings.

According to this “sensitive, delicate flower doctrinal” view point, Christians are to allow their emotions to dictate and influence which doctrines and morals Christians should accept, teach, and practice, and specifically, shame and guilt emotions should regulate how, when, or if biblical standards of sexual behavior are discussed, taught, or maintained.

Christian author and journalist Julia Duin is among one of the few who I’ve seen speak out or about the devaluing of sexual purity teachings and the mistreatment of Christian virgins.

Here is one post where Duin discussed the issue, and where she was rightfully critical of Russell D. Moore’s easy dismissal of virginity:

(Link): Where are America’s virgins? Discouraging the virtuous, by Julia Duin Here is an excerpt, the part where she mentions Moore:

    This past spring in Touchstone, a conservative Christian publication, Russell Moore, a Southern Baptist minister who is dean of Southern Seminary’s School of Theology in Louisville, penned “Like, A Virgin?” His essay criticized a chaste female who wanted her husband to be a virgin like she is. He hinted she was being unrealistic and judgmental for judging a potential mate on his sexual history rather than his Christian commitment. This hapless woman resisted the spirit of the age and yet, her Christian leader denigrated her values. So much for seeking out a pastor’s advice.

–end excerpt–

If I’m not mistaken, Duin was responding to this column by Moore (or one similar to it):

(Link): How Much Do I Need to Know About My Potential Spouse’s Sexual Past? My Response – By Russell Moore

That Duin piece above, was, in turn criticized by this James Kushiner guy:

(Link): Doesn’t Like “Like, a Virgin?” by James M. Kushiner

Here are excerpts from the page by Kushiner, who is critical of Duin for criticizing Moore’s views:

He [Moore] is clear throughout the article about the Christian teaching about sexual activity, that fornication is “damnable”, and the sad necessity that couples even have to have “the conversation,”….

–end excerpt–

The problem, my dear Mr. Kushiner, is that Christians speak out of both sides of their mouth on the celibacy and virginity and all related issues (eg, marriage/ singleness/ gender roles, etc etc). It’s all fine and good if Moore mentions in passing that ((Link): source)

    What’s important for you to know is how he [the letter writer’s fiance] views sexual immorality. A man who will brush off past fornication as “no big deal” from which he’s “moved on” is a man with a conscience trained to do the same thing with future adultery.

–end excerpt–

But then Moore’s next commentary betrays a true support of sexual purity when he condescendingly lectures this young woman that,

    On the other hand, your dismissing him automatically on the basis of immorality is also dangerous. If he is repentant, seeing his past sin as hell-deserving but crucified, then you should receive him (all else being equal), just as you have been received.
    You are not “owed” a virgin because you are.
    Your sexual purity wasn’t part of a quid pro quo in which God would guarantee you a sexually unbroken man.
    Your sexual purity is your obligation as a creature of God. And you have rebelled at other points, and been forgiven. If you believe the gospel, you believe the gospel for everyone, and not just for yourself.

–end excerpt–

It’s very easy for those who have fornicated themselves, or who are currently married (they were a virgin when they wed, but are currently getting their sexual needs met in marriage), and I am guessing Moore and Kushiner fall into either one of those groups, to be so blithe and dismissive of sexual sin, and/or to lecture a single virgin who wants marriage that it is selfish or unforgiving to be concerned about a potential partner’s sexual past or to desire a virgin to marry.

Really, Mr. Moore, if a person’s sexual past is basically “no biggie,” as you make it out to be (despite your “fornication is not good” spiel in the same column), and a person should just drop the matter and let it go as though it’s nothing, if the person has repented of it, what then, is the point in me personally staying a virgin?

The message I receive from these views is that I might as well be having sex right now with various men, or just one steady boyfriend, since according to Moore, if I do get a marriage proposal from a Christian man in the future, he should just overlook my fornication with some other guy. Continue reading “Christians Who Attack Virginity Celibacy and Sexual Purity – and specifically Russell D. Moore and James M. Kushiner”