Impure Motives Of ‘Purity Culture’ Critics by R. Dreher

Impure Motives Of ‘Purity Culture’ Critics by R. Dreher

Before we get to the link and excerpts to the page by Dreher, let’s talk for a moment about the liberal Christian and ex-Christian backlash against Purity Culture:

I’ve seen this as well, time and again from the “anti purity culture” brigade on Tweets and blogs:
They think that dismantling “Purity Culture” means rejecting all Christian sexual ethics, or the “rules” or specific morals of it they do not like, including the biblical teaching that fornication is considered a sin (some self-professing Christians are actually on blogs insisting that God doesn’t prohibit pre-marital sex, but they can’t point to verses that say that God accepts it, either).

But there is definitely a “throw the baby out with the bathwater” mindset among many of the “anti Purity Culture” adherents. They also tend to “look down their noses” at adults over the age of 30 who voluntarily sexually abstain – both liberals and Christian conservatives view adult celibates as repressed, weird, or as freaks.

I’m a woman who never married, was committed to the idea of abstaining until marriage, so I am still a virgin – and I’m currently in my forties. I mention that because one thing I’d like to make clear: not everyone who leaves the faith does so due to sexual considerations.

I myself am not quite Christian and not quite non-Christian – but I remain celibate. I’m now fine with the idea of having sex outside of marriage, but only in a committed relationship – but I arrived at this view years after my faith crisis began.

In other words, having sex was not a reason as to why I’m somewhat walked away from the faith – sex was not the cause or my reason.

So, if you are a Christian who tut tuts and shames people online for leaving the faith, please stop assuming that most who leave the faith do so because they are sexual libertines who want to have sex all over the place. That may be true for some ex-Christians or for some doubters, but it’s certainly not the case for all of them.

(Link): Impure Motives Of ‘Purity Culture’ Critics


Matthew Lee Anderson (Link): makes a true and necessary point about Josh Harris’s apostasy and the subsequent critiques of Evangelical “purity culture.” Excerpts: [omit]

….As I’ve said before, I don’t have any direct experience with “purity culture,” though I have friends who are theologically conservative on sexual matters, but who say that they were damaged by it.

Their point, as I understand it, is not that traditional Christian sexual ethics are wrong, but that “purity culture” distorts them in a rigidly legalistic way that can harm the ability of particular believers to live out these ethics. I accept that this can be true. I have seen this kind of thing at work within non-Protestant religious circles too.

That said, Anderson is certainly right that whatever the problems with purity culture, they can never justify throwing out Christian sexual ethics, tout court.

Continue reading “Impure Motives Of ‘Purity Culture’ Critics by R. Dreher”

The Misguided Backlash Against ‘Purity Culture’ by G. Shane Morris

The Misguided Backlash Against ‘Purity Culture’ by G. Shane Morris

I agree with most of this editorial by Morris, but I have one slight area of disagreement, which I will discuss below the link and excerpts.

All in all, this is an excellent editorial, so you will want to click the link below to go to Patheos, where it’s hosted, to read it in its entirety, but please remember to come back to this blog post to read some of my comments much farther below.

(Link): The Misguided Backlash Against ‘Purity Culture’

by G. Shane Morris
December 2018

[Author Morris discusses an anti-Purity Culture, anti- I Kissed Dating Goodbye editorial by Abigail Rine Favale, and refutes some of her arguments.]

…But one thing I’ve noticed is how many of those complaints come from people who admit they never took Harris’ advice in the first place. Favale is one of them.

She confesses: “I opted for more conventional forms of kissing and bade farewell to my virginity instead.” Nevertheless, she claims, “the ideas in Harris’ book influenced me—if not my habits, certainly my sense of self.”

It’s not clear what she means by this, except perhaps that she felt guilty about having premarital sex. No one needs Joshua Harris to experience the prick of conscience, though. Which is why one detects in recriminations against “purity culture” by those who openly engaged in impurity more than a hint of sour grapes.

Continue reading “The Misguided Backlash Against ‘Purity Culture’ by G. Shane Morris”

“‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ [Book] Told Me to Stay Pure Until Marriage. I Still Have a Stain on My Heart” – Regarding: Dating Book by Author Josh Harris (with other related links about the IKDG book) and Criticizing “Purity Culture”

“‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ [Book] Told Me to Stay Pure Until Marriage. I Still Have a Stain on My Heart” – Regarding: Dating Book by Author Josh Harris (with other related links about the IKDG book) and Criticizing “Purity Culture”

August 24, 2016 update: I added a new link at the bottom of this post: people continue to attack the idea of sexual purity by publicizing backlash against the Harris IKDG book.

I myself have never read the IKDB book, which was written by Harris. I have read about the book on other sites in the past, and it is my understanding the book discussed how to date, and other such topics, and is not strictly about sex or virginity.

The author uses this review of the IKDG book to bash “purity culture,” and in so doing, touches on the topic or staying chaste until marriage.

I am in the middle of this debate. I cannot completely agree with all the critics of “purity culture,” depending on what they are criticizing about it and why.

I believe that the Bible teaches both male and females are to sexually abstain until marriage, so I don’t believe in tossing out this teaching all because some young women feel they have been hurt or oppressed by it.

On the other hand, how some Christians have taught about sexual purity has been lop-sided – males are typically not addressed, only females – and Christians could do a better, or more sensitive job, in how they present the concept of remaining a virgin until marriage.

With that introduction, here is the link, with some excerpts (and note, I am not in complete agreement with all views in this piece; however, I’m not a supporter of a lot of Christian dating advice. Christian dating advice tends to act as an obstacle to singles who want to someday marry):

(Link): “‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ told me to stay pure until marriage. I still have a stain on my heart


July 27, 2016

In 1997, Joshua Harris published “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” a book that was in part a warning about the harm that relationships before marriage could cause. Harris evoked images of men at the altar bringing all their past partners with them into the marriage to reinforce the point that love and sex before marriage took pieces of your heart and made you less.

At the time, Harris was just 21, but he was already a rising star.

…He [Harris] was what we, as young evangelicals, wanted to be. And so we strove passionately to attain the ideal of premarital purity he laid out for us. Now, almost 20 years later, even Harris appears to be questioning whether his advice did more harm than good.

…But Harris’s book was hugely influential.

…On the surface, I am a purity-culture success story: I am a heterosexual woman, a virgin until marriage, now with two small children and a husband I deeply love. We attend church. We believe in God. And yet, for me, the legacy of purity culture is not one of freedom but one of fear.