Learn to Discern, Modesty and Purity Teachings, Todd Friel

Teaching youth about virginity and forgiveness via Todd Friel

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Todd Friel discusses how to talk to youth about virginity and what to say if they fail.

 

 

 

We’ve talked about the purity culture that some of our teens have been taught (Soul Tied: Harmful Spiritual Conclusions about Sex Abuse, Purity Culture, and Sex Abuse Victims).

What do you think about this new video from Todd Friel of Wretched?  It’s only 2 minutes long.

Let’s discuss!

182 thoughts on “Teaching youth about virginity and forgiveness via Todd Friel”

  1. Hester, Julie Anne, is the church not currently the “betrothed” of Christ? Does not the Scripture describe idolatry as fornication? Sorry, but the Scripture does indeed in its context indicate that how we, married or single, interact with the opposite sex does speak to God’s faithfulness in betrothal now, as well as after the wedding of the Lamb.

    I would also argue that this does not argue for the Philipps/Botkin model for a very simple reason; the Bible does not draw this picture when it uses fornication as a picture of idolatry, but one would rather infer that submission of sisters to brothers as if they were parents would be…..idolatry.

    I understand the tendency to see “triggers” here, but part of recovery from spiritual abuse is to see these passages (throughout the Prophets, really) in terms of what they are.

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  2. Carol, I have been a youth leader, and would agree that a huge deal is to get kids interacting with the text. However, there are certain points where a more “flexible” interpretation isn’t tenable, and to allow discussion to go in that direction will tend to harm kids. As most parenting experts will tell you, they need boundaries.

    To draw a picture, I can understand the Titus and TImothy passages on church leadership to point to either presbyterian or congregational polity, and can even point out how some argue for female deacons from 1 Timothy. I can point to a few different interpretations on divorce in the church as well from Christ’s passages and from the Deuteronomy passage. I can admit the possibility of the continuation of the Acts 2 gifts, even if I do not see them practiced Biblically today.

    I just don’t view Matthew 5:28 as flexible in light of its wording–it appears that mental adultery occurs whether or not either party is married–or the greater Biblical context, where fornication and adultery are consistently used as a metaphor for idolatry, and where the nature of marriage (referred to soon after in the Sermon on the Mount) is derived not from culture, but from creation.

    That’s why I warn. Paul says that the sexually immoral–and he clarifies this to be those who persist in immorality despite Christ’s warning–do not have a place in Heaven. That’s a big deal.

    And to touch on the issue of polygamy, one can argue that it was condoned, but if one looks at the context, Deuteronomy 21 actually puts strong limits on the practice involving physical and emotional provision for each wife, and prohibits the practice of using the issue of inheritance to manipulate them. That’s not an endorsement, that’s a rebuke to those who come into money and start thinking with their “lower head”. Same basic thing that Scripture does with slavery–it puts strict limitations on the practice.

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  3. I still disagree, BB.

    Regarding your triggers comment – – everyone’s recovery process is uniquely their own, not yours or mine. We don’t get to hurry along someone’s process. To even read Bible verses is triggering for some. Let’s be very careful.

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  4. Oasis, by all means keep piping up! Your experience is important and I am certain you are not alone in being harmed in this way by the teaching of Friel, et al. I am now wondering how many out there that listen to these guys feel the same as you but swallow it anyway because it is made to make sense to them and they can’t argue against it intellectually, or think they are wrong to feel that way.

    About suicide, that reminds me of a suicide that took place a number of years ago at MacArthur’s Master’s Seminary. You said Friel/Comfort referenced MacArthur positively a lot. I assume then that this sort of thing is regular fare at Master’s/Grace Community. I wonder whether this sort of teaching played a role in that suicide? As I recall the major issue was with nouthetic counseling and anti-psychology teaching. There was something about the guy being on medicine for depression, I think. I don’t remember if he stopped taking it or what the deal was with that. Then again, we will never know the facts in that matter. Perhaps he would have suicided anyway? I know his parents sued Master’s and lost on the basis of separation of church and state, not necessarily because the case didn’t have merit in terms of cause/effect. So it’s all speculation. But I can see how this would really be unhelpful to say the least for folks who struggle with depression and distorted views of God and how it could end up being a contributing factor in an eventual choice to suicide.

    But in the end God is not yes and no. If He says He loves us, and He does, then that is what He means and we can take Him at His word on that and not make up different definitions of love to reduce the quality of it so we can have a God we can be afraid of and keep at a comfortable, or uncomfortable, distance — whichever appeals to the religious flesh. And yes I did just say Todd Friel’s teaching that God does not love us from His heart is a construct of the religious flesh and not the teaching of the Spirit of God.

    I will also say that if this sort of thing is at the heart of the evangelistic efforts of men like Miano, it does explain a lot of things. I do not know how anyone is ever going to be able to get God if you reduce the content of His love to actions without heart. I would think under this circumstance that whatever they do get right they are going to have to do either by accident or by inconsistency, or by the Spirit overriding them which I’m sure He does as a matter of course.

    But thanks for speaking out on this, Oasis. Your voice is valuable, I bet more than you know.

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  5. Thank you for your reply, BB.

    It must be a bit odd for you to interact with someone like me, for whom LOVE is the absolute guiding principle, free from doctrine, dogma, or religious decrees. My religion, if you will, is kindness, compassion, love, and tolerance – and those principles guide everything I am and everything I do. Yes, “unbelievers” can be good, moral, and worthy people who believe fiercely in kindness and tolerance — of all religions, creeds, and even sexual orientations. (Do I accept and love *everyone*? No way – if someone proves themselves to be a jerk, well, they’re just a jerk, no matter what their beliefs or orientation!)

    With youth (yes, my professional specialty), my guiding principles are simple: reach them where they are, with love and compassion, and encourage trust and communication. Only then can I hope to have any influence at all. Handing down a bunch of rules, no matter what book or doctrine they’re based in, will only elicit eye rolls for those you want to most reach. And those who listen, smile, and nod are yours already.

    As I stated before, I am not personally beholden to any written scripture, but I AM beholden to the virtues of kindness, compassion, tolerance, and love. I know that you don’t believe that people like me will go to your heaven… but interestingly enough, I have absolutely no issue with that, as fear is not part of my beliefs about an afterlife. If there is one, I believe that good people, no matter what their religion (or lack thereof) will feel the light. And if that light is reserved for only those of one religion, one belief, one doctrine, one “truth,” well I have no interest whatsoever in that place. If I am to be anywhere perceptible after I die, and if I am allowed the honor of sharing that place with others, I hope those others will be as diverse as possible. Now THAT would be an interesting “heaven”!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Apologies for going off on a tangent. As my post pertains to Julie Anne’s blog: people who are in pain need love, acceptance and a compassionate ear, not judgement and more rules. I didn’t know “spiritual abuse” even existed until I leaned from Julie Anne’s experience what it is and where it comes from.

    I do believe that those who have been deeply hurt by the church can sometimes be helped in the healing process by those who might not have close connections with the church, but DO have love and compassion to share and a non-judgmental hug to offer.

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  7. “went on a mad search that lasted a while, analyzing to death every single mention of love I could find in scripture…looking for any drop of water explaining the love of God…any evidence of a heart, contradicting the picture painted by Todd and his cohort.”

    Oasis,

    Good for you for clawing your way out of the darkness. I understand how hard the battle is to rid oneself of all the toxic & confusing teachings. I think at core, my war today is believing that Jesus loves/likes me. That is fallout from years of trying to please, obey, serve Him. Thanks for sharing, your voice is important to me.

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  8. Julie Anne wrote:

    I really appreciate respectful dialogue. One way that the discussion goes downhill really quickly for me (and is likely to trigger people) is when we read stuff like, “you are in great danger if you believe or don’t believe _________.”

    Learning to live and let live is in my opinion one of the hardest life skills to acquire. Some folks never learn it and will always insist that others believe as they believe. And that’s okay too just so long as it doesn’t get past the ‘insist’ stage and into the aggression and threats of ‘hell’ stage. From there it escalates and morphs into even uglier things. Crusades, Inquisitions, Pogroms, and Holocausts are all products of those who believe they have the only right and true belief system and will advance it at any cost.

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  9. @ BB:

    Hester, Julie Anne, is the church not currently the “betrothed” of Christ? Does not the Scripture describe idolatry as fornication?

    Sorry but I haven’t the foggiest clue how that or anything in your second paragraph relates to what I said.

    Sorry, but the Scripture does indeed in its context indicate that how we, married or single, interact with the opposite sex does speak to God’s faithfulness in betrothal now, as well as after the wedding of the Lamb.

    Concrete examples? For instance, I have platonic male friends. How are they supposed to demonstrate “God’s faithfulness in betrothal” to me as a female? There is no possibility whatsoever of us ever being romantically or sexually involved.

    I understand the tendency to see “triggers” here, but part of recovery from spiritual abuse is to see these passages (throughout the Prophets, really) in terms of what they are.

    I was not spiritually abused or raised in a patriarchal environment, and I still see the idea that all male-female relationships picture Christ and the church as unbiblical and inherently harmful.

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  10. Ann, >>>Young people are looking for relationship, affirmation, and answers. Academic Bible discussions don’t work. <<< I generally agree, but will push back a bit. Young people in church are told to submit to the Bible's teachings, so the obvious question, is what does the Bible say about sex? At some point, I think it's very beneficial to teach young people how to approach the Bible and arrive at answers, and for me, teach them why traditional views are not always the original meaning of the scriptures. To read the Bible historically and decide for yourself on behavior according to Jesus' one law of love, i.e. the Golden Rule.

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  11. Yes, Julie Anne, am very well. I see you’re still stirring things up over here. I’ve meant to write about Mars Hill again, but the recent ongoing events are making my head spin… definitely parallel to how SGM was exposed and made pseudo amends. Keep up the good work!

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  12. MW, I have no disagreement with you! It just seemed a lot of comments were more abstract and academic and not very relevant to the subject of youth and sex! Thanks for your comment. Ann

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  13. Barnabasintraining, thanks for your kindness! You refreshed my memory, about the suicide. As you say, no one really knows all of the facts…but I agree 100% that it would be unhelpful, at the very least. If you ask me, there are plenty of teachings/doctrines coming out of there that can very easily contribute to suicide. Christendom in general is really not much of a safe place for a depressed person, in my opinion.

    Love what you said about God, and reducing the quality of his love. And thank you for the bold statement about what Todd teaches…wish I had read it about five years ago. I would have jumped for joy at the simple but strong support of a contrary idea. I always tell people never to underestimate how much what they say on a blog might help someone (God knows how many have helped/supported me!), and I hope and think your awesome comments here will do just that.

    Gail, not sure my claws were much help that time. I was unsure if the watery image in front of me was a mirage or not, then rain just started falling and falling. But saying this kind of thing bothers me…last thing I want to do is brag about the downpour of love in my own life when some forever search the skies in vain. 😦 Your own personal war saddens me a lot.

    Yep, ridding oneself can even mean hitting the reset button and starting over anew. Christendom is so infected with poison/insanity, I can hardly breathe around any of it.

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  14. Oasis,

    I sent you a e-mail. If you want to respond privately I am fine with that. I love hearing stories about Jesus pouring His love out on people. FWIW, you are not bragging IMO. Just because I have been in a dry place, doesn’t mean that I don’t take comfort of hearing about His faithfulness, and I too have been impacted in lovely ways by the comments, support & stories of people who share here.

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  15. Hester, you ask a good question of how you are to act towards platonic male friends; well, exactly that way, no? The core of sexuality as a metaphor for God’s love for us is that we keep it in its proper place. Platonic friendships are therefore not sexual. Marriage is. Betrothal (engagement roughly speaking) does not involve sex, but involves the anticipation thereof.

    And I’m not saying all male-female relationships image Christ and the Church; I am saying that as they become romantic (or whatever word you like for it), one glorifies God by keeping sex in its proper place. As Paul notes in 1 Cor. 6, are we to unite Christ with a prostitute? In its context, that’s what premarital/extramarital sex is. It is to unite Christ (if we are Christians that is) with a prostitute.

    On another note, many are talking about love and compassion, and I am all for that. What becomes apparent, however, is that my definition of “love” and “compassion” seems to be different from others here, or possibly that others aren’t really thinking through the implications of whether their actions are loving or compassionate.

    And for me, that’s the crux of the matter; I have no more desire to implement rules than anyone else here, but I simply understand that sometimes reality limits our freedom. I can no more fornicate without risking STDs and heartbreak (and more) than I can jump off a building without risking broken bones and death.

    A closing note; I obviously disagree emphatically with a lot of what MW Camp says on these subjects, but I agree with him wholeheartedly on learning from the Scriptures. They promise the reader that God’s Word will not return void.

    Yes, many pervert the Word, some use it for their own purposes, but at its core, it’s still God’s Word.

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  16. BB, you speak of “heartbreak” as a reason not to have premarital sex. Wouldn’t the heartbreak of divorce be far greater than the heartbreak of break-up? How does marrying someone curtail heartbreak? All else being equal, I’d say the heartbreak of “so, this isn’t right; good luck in your life” is *far* preferable to the heartbreak of “I want a divorce. Now let’s talk about custody of the children…”

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  17. @ BB:

    And I’m not saying all male-female relationships image Christ and the Church; I am saying that as they become romantic (or whatever word you like for it), one glorifies God by keeping sex in its proper place.

    Okay, thanks for the clarification. I’m glad to hear that, because that idea (that even nonsexual male-female relationships image Christ and the church) is what I was calling out as inherently harmful and an unnecessary projection of sexuality. I think you may have thought I intended my comments to be part of the discussion about premarital sex. I didn’t; they were a side tangent that just happened to occur in the middle of that discussion. I don’t believe the Bible okays premarital sex, but I wasn’t addressing that issue when I started talking to you.

    Just a suggestion, you may want to consider rephrasing how you talk about male-female relationships imaging Christ and the church, because your initial statement (“I’ve personally been noting to my kids that the way they act towards the opposite sex shows the world a picture of how Christ relates to the Church”) didn’t specify that you were only talking about romantic relationships. Thus, I read it as referring to all male-female relationships, whether romantic or not. So what may have been obvious to you, was not obvious to me, because some people really do think that all male-female relationships image Christ and the church, and I’ve dealt with a lot of those people.

    Thanks for the discussion.

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  18. Carol, the problem with your logic is that the risk of divorce increases with the number of prior sexual partners, from about 10% for virgins marrying to about 80% when N=10. So it’s not premarital heartbreak vs. divorce, it’s premarital heartbreak AND divorce as a risk of premarital sex.

    Plus STDs, plus domestic violence, plus out of wedlock pregnancy and childbearing, and the like. Nothing loving about hiding or distorting that reality. The U.S. spends over a trillion dollars annually dealing with the fallout. Have anything you might like to do with your family’s $7000 or so share of that? I can think of some things I’d like to do.

    Why does chastity reward itself? I think it’s because we’re designed for marriage, plain and simple, as the Bible tells us in Genesis.

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  19. “The risk of divorce increases with the number of prior sexual partners, from about 10% for virgins marrying to about 80% when N=10. ” (BB)

    BB, source, please? (And it goes without saying that your source should be objective, empirical, and peer-reviewed.)

    Thanks.

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  20. BB: “Carol, the problem with your logic is that the risk of divorce increases with the number of prior sexual partners, from about 10% for virgins marrying to about 80% when N=10. So it’s not premarital heartbreak vs. divorce, it’s premarital heartbreak AND divorce as a risk of premarital sex.

    Plus STDs, plus domestic violence, plus out of wedlock pregnancy and childbearing, and the like. Nothing loving about hiding or distorting that reality. The U.S. spends over a trillion dollars annually dealing with the fallout. Have anything you might like to do with your family’s $7000 or so share of that? I can think of some things I’d like to do.

    Why does chastity reward itself? I think it’s because we’re designed for marriage, plain and simple, as the Bible tells us in Genesis.”

    This sounds like creating a problem where there is none, simply to control others’ behavior. Some relationships with a marriage certificate are wholesome and loving. Some are not. Some relationships without a marriage certificate are wholesome and loving. Some are not.

    My husband and I have been happily married for 32 years, together for almost 40. We have NEVER been asked to show our marriage certificate to anyone for ANYTHING. It has been hiding away in a file drawer since 1983 with nary a curious nod. Are you telling me that all the rules and mandates that you stipulate for married vs non-married partnerships hinge upon that lonely, neglected piece of paper? In my experience, what makes a relationship wholesome and “valid” is the friendship, partnership, trust, respect, and love in it. No piece of paper can create or maintain that where it doesn’t exist, and no lack of a legal document can negate it where it does.

    Sometimes I think the Bible is used as a control mechanism, “justifying” those in power within the church to assert that power into the lives of others in areas that really should be respected as private. I’ve never seen people so hung up on the sex lives of others as some extremely pious Bible thumpers. In my opinion, that’s often where spiritual abuse stems from.

    PS: Still hoping to see the objective (that is, not sponsored by any religious or special interest group), scientific, peer-reviewed source articles on which your statements above are based.

    Thanks in advance.

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  21. Oasis, Your comments are beautiful. I was thinking of you when I listened to NT Wright the other night. he says that to be really “human” is to refect God back out into the world. That was the intention of “image of God”. To do evil to others is to be less human. The church teaches exactly the opposite which is more Plato than God in the Flesh.

    You might enjoy this:

    There is a series. The one before this is “How we Arrive at Romans 8” session 1 and the one after is “New Creation” session 3.

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  22. Hi Carolsnider:
    Since you asked for “objective” scientific evidence about the negative effects of sex outside of marriage, you can look this up from the CDC (an Obama Federal agency) about disease rates among homosexuals. Homosexuality is another variant of sexual immorality that God condemns in the Bible. Obama is a national and international promoter of homosexuality, so it is reasonable that his Federal agency would report statistics as favorably as possible on this issue.
    http://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/STD.htm
    After having read those very sad statistics about homosexuality and disease and death, would you say it is “loving” to encourage, condone or “not judge” someone whom you knew was thinking about engaging in that behavior? When did you ever substitute the words “disease” or “death” with the word “love” in a sentence? If God condemns behavior which leads to disease and death, isn’t that a loving warning/condemnation on His behalf to human beings? Doesn’t a loving parent sternly warn their child not to touch a hot stove?
    If he gets around to it, I trust BB will easily provide you with objective scientific studies that support his claims about pre-marital sex and the damage it does to human beings. Sadly, those scientific studies will contain as much disease and death as the CDC statistics referenced above.
    Maybe God does know what He’s talking about when it comes to human sexuality.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Wow, thanks, Lydia! The video’s mysteriously disappeared, but I found a playlist with nine sessions. Will check it out very soon. 🙂

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  24. (Interesting. Was the CDC “a Bush agency” ten years ago?)

    The CDC is an example of an agency which *does* rely on science and objective fact, so thank you for linking to that page. The page that you link to, however, discusses STDs, not sex outside of marriage. Marriage is not mentioned at all, in fact. There is also no reference to the gender of one’s partner on the page you link to. It only says that to minimize the risk of STD’s one should limit one’s sexual partners. Good advice, we both agree, I’m sure. What that page does NOT address is marriage or God. Neither one. So, by posting that link, you did absolutely NOTHING to provide “’objective’ scientific evidence about the negative effects of sex outside of marriage.” What you *did* do was provide a helpful link to anyone wanting to minimize their risk of an STD — and yes, having only one partner (inside OR outside of marriage) helps to do that.

    Oh, and Obama absolutely doesn’t “promote” homosexuality. How is that even possible? Did someone *promote* you to be heterosexual? Could someone *promote* you to be homosexual? One’s sexuality is part of who they are, plain and simple. (You must have meant “Obama is *tolerant” of homosexuality — which you’d be right about. It is the right and loving way to treat others.)

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  25. Hi carolsnider:
    As I thought, you ask questions and when provided with answers, ignore the answers because you are not sincere.
    The point I made was that sexual immorality, using the example of homosexuality, is unhealthy. You argued previously that sexual immorality is good.
    For anyone to say that Obama does not promote a homosexual agenda means you have willfully ignored the last 6 years. Under Obama we have “hate crimes” laws that were based on a lie about Matthew Shephard’s death, we have gay marriage growing throughout the country, Obama refused to defend DOMA, we have open homosexuality, lesbianism and transgenderism in our military because Obama repealed Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell and we have Obama instructing his State Dept. to push for homosexual rights and recognition throughout the world and UN.
    Yes, but Marsha and Carol say Obama doesn’t promote, or cause to grow, homosexuality and acceptance of homosexuality as good. You are both right in your own eyes.

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  26. The acceptance of homosexuality does not cause an increase in the number of homosexuals which is why I say that Obama does not promote homosexuality. Acceptance merely brings people out of the closet. If you are arguing that hate crime laws, acceptance of gays in the military, and same sex marriage causes people to change their sexual orientation from straight to gay, you are wrong.

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  27. Father/Husband,

    BB stated, “The risk of divorce increases with the number of prior sexual partners, from about 10% for virgins marrying to about 80% when N=10. ” (BB)

    I asked for a scientific, factual source for this assertion. BB did not provide one, but you provided a link to a CDC site (which IS factual and objective, so I thank you for that) to “prove” BB’s assertion.

    I pointed out, specifically and in detail, how the CDC link provided absolutely no “proof” of BB’s “fact” whatsoever. I went on to show that the CDC link doesn’t mention marriage at all, nor does it stipulate sexual orientation of “partner.” It takes no moral stand at all, in fact, and states only objective, quantifiable evidence about STDs and how to minimize one’s risk.

    You call me insincere and say that I “ignored” the “evidence.” You know, you can disagree with my stance without calling me “insincere.” I am as sincere in my beliefs as you are in yours.

    You state, also, that I “argued previously that sexual immorality is good.” That statement is just odd. I stated my opinion, which differs from yours.

    Here’s what I think is sexually immoral: having sex outside of marriage, forcing sex on another person or sex that is in ANY way sexually controlling (this includes the stance that a man should get sex from his wife any time he wants it, regardless of her wishes), and a person who is not involved in a couple’s relationship in any way mandating what they can and cannot do behind their own closed doors. I include this because there seems to be an odd perversion in the preoccupation with sex that some “holier than thou” groups have, feeling the need (and the right?!) to tell other consenting, loving, committed adults what they can and cannot do, and with whom, in the privacy of their own bedrooms and relationships. THAT, in my opinion, is sexually immoral.

    As far as your comment about Matthew Shepard, I can only say that your approach doesn’t seem very Christ-like. Shepard was killed for one reason only – because he was gay. How can that be considered in ANY way to be moral? It is absolutely the antithesis of how I learned that Jesus treated others. And as far as Obama, in my opinion, his belief that *all* Americans should be treated equally under the law and his belief in the Golden Rule makes his behavior and his stance more “Christian” than yours. You seem quite hateful.

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  28. Here’s what I think is sexually immoral: having sex outside of marriage, forcing sex on another person or sex that is in ANY way sexually controlling (this includes the stance that a man should get sex from his wife any time he wants it, regardless of her wishes), and a person who is not involved in a couple’s relationship in any way mandating what they can and cannot do behind their own closed doors. I include this because there seems to be an odd perversion in the preoccupation with sex that some “holier than thou” groups have, feeling the need (and the right?!) to tell other consenting, loving, committed adults what they can and cannot do, and with whom, in the privacy of their own bedrooms and relationships. THAT, in my opinion, is sexually immoral.

    I’m not sure I would label some of those as sexually immoral, but I would call them control freaks – lol.

    And btw, A Christian Father/Husband, your words, “You are not sincere” is getting too personal and has no place here. Just debate the topic, please. Carol is very sincere and she wants fact-based studies. I’ve known Carol for over 18 years and when she asks for studies, she means it. She will back up her claims and would expect you to do your homework, too.

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  29. Carol, here’s a link which references two studies along this line. I mis-stated some of the numbers–apparently their best estimate is 75% success (lack of divorce after ten years) down to about 20%–but experience, especially for the woman, is correlated pretty well with divorce.

    http://socialpathology.blogspot.com/2010/09/sexual-partner-divorce-risk.html

    So at least with some studies, there is a pretty clear correlation between sexual experience and the divorce rate. Now, as you note, thankfully there are exceptions–as the Bible notes with the harlot Rahab, for that matter–but overall, the fact of the matter appears to be that premarital sex increases the odds for both heartbreak and divorce.

    And, as I noted above, STDs, domestic violence, out of wedlock children (and associated pathologies like crime and welfare)…..and in that light, I simply cannot see any extra/pre-marital sex as “loving” or “compassionate”. “Fun at the time but cruel as all get-out” is closer to the truth.

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  30. Thank you for posting the link, BB. Please note that the research finding states that “The most salient finding from this analysis is that women whose intimate premarital relationships are limited to their husbands— either premarital sex alone or premarital cohabitation—do not experience an increased risk of divorce.” So this doesn’t state that women who wait for marriage to have sex have a lower divorce rate; it says that women who have sex (PREMARITAL OR OTHERWISE) only with the man they eventually marry have lower incidences of divorce. It is important to know how to read research findings.

    So a piece of paper automatically makes sex that was “cruel as all get-out” one day “loving and compassionate” the next? Hmmmm… I would have thought that factors like love, friendship, loyalty, and respect would be the factors that determine how “cruel” or how “loving” a relationship is, not a piece of paper.

    I was the Director of Training and Professional Development with The Gottman Institute (www.gottman.com), a science and research-based organization which studies marriage, relationships, and divorce, and I must assure you that it takes MUCH more than a piece of paper to create a loving, stable marriage.

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  31. @ Marsha

    “The acceptance of homosexuality does not cause an increase in the number of homosexuals”

    Hi Marsha

    What do you mean when you refer to “the number of homosexuals”?

    I know what homosexuality is. I know homosexuality is practice whose prevalence (defined as the number of people who have practised homosexuality) is variable across a wide range of present and historic social conditions, ranging from very little (close to 0%) through to near ubiquity (close to 100%).

    Whatever you yourself mean by “the number of homosexuals”, how do you reach the conclusion that “the acceptance of homosexuality does not cause an increase in the number of homosexuals”?

    Assuming that you are using the term “the number of homosexuals” to refer to prevalence of homosexuality (i.e. the number of people who have practised homosexuality), then any assumption that the prevalence of homosexuality as a percentage of the whole population would be a constant, that wasn’t affected by social factors, especially the acceptance or non-acceptance of homosexuality, strikes me as counter-intuitive. I am interested in the evidence for your hypothesis.

    We know perfectly well that the prevalence of homosexuality hasn’t been constant in all cultures throughout history. We know that it has varied widely, between less than 1% and not far short of 100%. Are you able to cite any scientific studies that have nevertheless eliminated acceptance or non-acceptance of homosexuality, as a social factors that (correlation suggests) influence the prevalence of homosexuality, upward or downward? I’d be very surprised if you did know of any such scientific studies, but I am will to be surprised if you do.

    John

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  32. Speaking of divorce rates and marriage stability, here are some objective, longitudinal, scientific research studies done by Dr. John Gottman. If you’re looking for what REALLY causes most divorces, you’ll find it here. (http://www.gottman.com/research/published-research-abstracts-articles/marriage-couples-research/research-abstracts-marriage-couples)

    And if you want to give your marriage the best shot at success, make sure it doesn’t contain what Dr,. Gottman calls the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”: contempt (looking down at your partner from a place of perceived superiority… this behavior is the #1 predictor of divorce), stonewalling (the “silent treatment”), defensiveness (“oh yeah, well YOU…”), and criticism (“you never/you always”). If you really want to know what causes divorce, it is THOSE behaviors more than anything else — certainly more than how many sexual partners a woman had previous to marriage!

    More here: http://www.gottmanblog.com/2013/04/the-four-horsemen-recognizing-criticism.html It’s good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. John and Julie often begin their weekend workshops with, “We know that about half of you really want to be here today… and half of you feel that you’ve been dragged here.” It’s a good ice-breaker, but also quite true! The fact that their work is grounded in science and research gives it great credibility for those who are skeptical.

    I know that, even after almost 30 years in a happy marriage, my husband and I learned a LOT from the Gottmans, not the least of which is simply having a mutually understandable vocabulary with which to work! (“I’m feeling *flooded* right now, but let’s come back together in 30 minutes to discuss this.”)

    Did you know, men, that simply accepting influence from your wife is ESPECIALLY important to a happy marriage? More here: http://www.gottmanblog.com/2012/07/managing-conflict-accepting-influence.html

    And as far as things that predict divorce, here are the Big Six: http://www.gottmanblog.com/2014/10/the-6-things-that-predict-divorce.html Interestingly enough, engaging in premarital sex is nowhere to be found.

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  34. Well, Carol, it is worth noting that this study, like others, does note that those who do not engage in premarital sex do have a lower 10 year divorce rate than those who do. Let’s not get too confused with the abstracts and miss other things the study may be telling us. We would be bad researchers if we did. (I’ve got a few published papers myself–engineering stuff)

    And I would presume that you have hit on the primary difference between us; you are viewing marriage as “just a piece of paper.” If it were, you would be correct that we should not infer that extramarital sex is any different than marital sex. You would, as MWCamp and others have been claiming, simply be able to, a la Gottman, chart out a map correlating to love and commitment, or whatever factors the regression determined, and say “aha! This is it!”

    On the flip side, if marriage is actually a contract and covenant between two people, their faith community, and their government with clearly stated responsibilities and privileges of each party during the marriage, and upon the ending thereof, we would expect that the behavior of the married would differ markedly from those who are not. The fact of marriage would serve as a proxy for love and commitment.

    It’s not a perfect proxy for love and commitment, but let’s face facts; married people face the loss of half their assets in the case of a divorce, and often exclusion from their faith community. Those are gut checks that simply do not exist among unmarried couples.

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  35. (Just to explain: my hubby and I have been married for 32 years, but when I worked at The Gottman Institute we had been married for “almost 30,” thus my quote above.)

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  36. I would agree, FWIW, that Gottman’s work is interesting stuff. That said, in my profession as a quality engineer, the rub comes when one engages a “five whys” analysis of his work. To draw a picture from the “Four Horsemen” of criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling, “why” do couples fall into these attitudes and behaviors?

    And to be honest, I don’t see that Gottman attempts seriously to get at why people get contemptuous, defensive, critical, and stonewalling. And that is why he does not find out what other refereed papers have found; that premarital and extramarital sex is also a predictor of relationship failure.

    (honestly, Carol, I can understand your love of your life’s work, but it’s not like John Gottman and his associates are the only guys out there who have published refereed papers in the area, no?)

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  37. BB, they are not the only ones out there, you are correct. I did not state or imply that they were – only that I find great value in their work.

    Regarding WHY couples begin acting out the 4 Horsemen, they definitely DO address this. Have you read any of their books or spent much time on their relationship blog? You will find a great deal of helpful (“how did we get here and what do we do now?”) information there.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. “married people face the loss of half their assets in the case of a divorce, and often exclusion from their faith community. Those are gut checks that simply do not exist among unmarried couples.”

    So, they may continue in an unhealthy, unhappy “marriage” because divorce is expensive and they face shunning by their church? How is this a good thing?

    True story: My parents were in the middle of divorce proceedings for the second time. (Yes, they remarried after the first divorce. Clueless, I tell ya’.) My mother had relocated to a different state. She called my father, and asked if they could get back together.

    My father called his divorce attorney to halt the divorce. His lawyer advised him that, while he was free to do so, my mother had now established residency in a state with alimony. If my father halted the divorce, and my mother filed in the state she resided in, she could collect alimony.

    My father told my mom to come home and they could try again. He said he’d let the divorce go through, but they could just remarry again. He never heard back from her.

    “Not a perfect proxy for love and commitment,” indeed.

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  39. Carol, maybe send a link or two. I’m not seeing what you’re talking about at this point, and have looked through a year of the blog posts and such.

    What I am seeing is more like this; Gottman more or less assumes the relationship is there, whatever history is there, and to their credit notes “if it’s broke, fix it.” OK, place for repentance, forgiveness, I’m good with that. But I’m not seeing a real analysis if things that lead to those four horsemen, and quite frankly have seen some things that lead to them–like the recommendation of watching an x rated movie to spice things up.

    So maybe point out what you’re talking about. I’m just not seeing it.

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  40. BTDT; I actually think your dad did pretty well. Maybe not in his choice of wives–though I hesitate to insult your mother!–but are we to seriously believe that absent marriage, his life would have been that much better? Statistically speaking, he would have been abandoned more quickly and more often had he simply cohabited, and he’d have been more likely to suffer the other consequences of reckless mating, no?

    It’s also worth noting that churches–when they bother to do their duty and discipline members at least–do tend to discipline the guilty parties, not the victimized. So your dad would not have (as far as I know) been at risk of that in this situation.

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  41. John, I define homosexuality as same-gender sexual orientation and it is that which I think remains constant. Obviously behavior varies with environment. For example, there is a lot of same-gender sexual behavior in prisons but those who considered themselves as straight before incarceration continue to do so regardless of their behavior in prison and return to heterosexuality after release.

    Male to male rape may be part of a violent culture or subculture as a way to humiliate an ‘enemy’ but again, these violent men are generally heterosexual.

    Then there is adolescent experimentation which involves a significant minority of youth most of whom do not continue this behavior into adult life.

    It is impossible to get reliable historical references on sexual orientation but the existence of people with same sex attraction in societies which prescribe penalties ranging from social ostracism to prison to death certainly suggests to me an orientation beyond people’s control.

    Milton Diamond’s 1993 study and review of studies from the 40s to the 90s in the US plus some other countries suggests consistency in orientation and behavior over time and culture.

    If people are attracted to the opposite sex, as for example I am, why in the world would they engage in homosexual behavior regardless of whether gay marriage is legal or whether you can be openly gay and serve in the military or Obama’s opinion? I don’t because 1) I am married and 2) I don’t find women sexually attractive so never considered one as a potential partner.

    Are you suggesting that same sex attraction is more widespread than current surveys show or that it is as natural as heterosexuality so that when presented with homosexuality as a socially approved option, more people will choose same sex partners?

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  42. “Statistically speaking, he would have been abandoned more quickly and more often had he simply cohabited, and he’d have been more likely to suffer the other consequences of reckless mating, no?”

    Statistics are bone dry to someone who could have been a poster family for dysfunction. To most people our family appeared to be a good Baptist family. Maybe that’s because there are actually a whole lot more like us?

    Unless you have a properly working crystal ball, there’s no possible way for you to predict what his relationships would have been like without marrying. No. I’m completely over the prophecy shtick, thank you.

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  43. I’d agree that I’m no prophet, and things could be better or worse, but I still think your dad did right. While statistics are not destiny, to be sure, one would be as silly to ignore them regarding our sexuality as we would be to ignore them regarding seatbelts or the polio vaccine.

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  44. So a marriage license is comparable to a vaccine or a seat belt? I don’t think so.

    I have no marriage license. Like Michael Peal, my former “church” didn’t believe in getting state permission to marry. I am common-law married according to my state. So, “statistically” we are bound for failure? I mean, realistically, all we have to do is split up for two years and the state will view it as having never happened. Are you saying that that piece of paper is what holds a marriage together? Has it been imbued with some special powers that determine between success and failure?

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  45. BB, for the sake of your children’s happiness within the family, I hope they are exactly like you, with identical attitudes and biases. For the sake of the world, however, I hope they are less biased and more compassionate.

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  46. Carol, if I’m biased and uncompassionate for citing studies and drawing conclusions, then so are you. Pot, meet kettle.

    Let’s be serious and grown up here; there are certain realities in life that we ignore at our own peril. Your employer rightly points out that certain attitudes and behaviors are startlingly good predictors of divorce. There is nothing whatsoever “biased” or “judgmental” about it. It is simply the facts.

    And in the same way, there are a fair number of studies out there that point out that if you want STDs, divorce, heartbreak, domestic violence, poverty, drug dependency, and welfare dependency, you can do little better than to engage in premarital or extramarital sex.

    Really, if we’re going to talk about bias or a lack of compassion, I’d suggest we look at those who are NOT pointing out these facts of life.

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  47. BB, Arguing that sex outside of marriage is not necessarily bad is not claiming that it’s always good. This is why I’ve tried to differentiate between responsible and irresponsible relationships. So, yes, it’s good to look at stats that show statisically when things like STDs show up and warn teens about it. But again, it’s not just an act outside the institution of marriage that is being considered, but if it’s responsibly engaged in. Finding a large percent of bad outcomes after sex-outside-of-marriage means nothing if you don’t factor in whether those relationships were responsible or not. That’s why you can also have bad outcomes in marriage relationships too. That doesn’t make marriage necessarily bad, just as bad-outcomes doesn’t make sex outside of marriage necessarily bad.

    Again, just because someone has a position like this, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t warn teens about STDs, divorce rates, or teach that there are good reasons to delay sex until you are mature and more responsible. It’s not black and white, like if you don’t agree with the traditional values you are pushing teens to have sex. I (and most, more progressive sex-ed teachers) tell teens they shouldn’t consider sex until their early twenties for some of these reasons. But that is different than preaching it’s wait-until-marriage-or-you’re-sinning type of approach. Studies in European nations like Finland and Sweden show that teens taught non-traditional sex education have fewer STDs and unwanted pregnancies than their American counterparts.

    And of course, someone mentioned that evangelicals actually have higher divorce rates despite being taught, and supposedly following, that sex is always wrong outside of marriage. I’m all for good stats and warning people, but those stats have to be put in perspective.

    http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2014/02/05/evangelicals-more-likely-to-divorce-study/

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  48. BB, Bear in mind that arguing that sex outside of marriage is not necessarily bad is not claiming that it’s always good. This is why I’ve tried to differentiate between responsible and irresponsible relationships. So, yes, it’s good to look at stats that show statisically when things like STDs show up and warn teens about it. But again, it’s not just an act outside the institution of marriage that is being considered, but if it’s responsibly engaged in. Finding a large percent of bad outcomes after sex-outside-of-marriage means nothing if you don’t factor in whether those relationships were responsible or not. That’s why you can also have bad outcomes in marriage relationships too. That doesn’t make marriage necessarily bad, just as bad-outcomes doesn’t make sex outside of marriage necessarily bad.

    Again, just because someone has a position like this, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t warn teens about STDs, divorce rates, or teach that there are good reasons to delay sex until you are mature and more responsible. It’s not black and white, like if you don’t agree with the traditional values you are pushing teens to have sex. I (and most, more-progressive sex-ed teachers) tell teens they shouldn’t consider sex until their early twenties for some of these reasons. But that is different than preaching it’s wait-until-marriage-or-you’re-sinning type of approach. Studies in European nations like Finland and Sweden show that teens taught non-traditional sex education have fewer STDs and unwanted pregnancies than their American counterparts.

    And of course, someone mentioned that evangelicals actually have higher divorce rates despite being taught, and supposedly following, that sex is always wrong outside of marriage. I’m all for good stats and warning people, but those stats have to be put in perspective.

    http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2014/02/05/evangelicals-more-likely-to-divorce-study/

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Dear Bubba,

    I think I understand now why I’ve felt so bothered reading some of your comments, especially to Carol. You remind me of someone, and I’m afraid it’s not terribly complimentary to you.

    Your comments bring to my mind the words of Kevin Swanson.

    Please, hear me out. When you say something like this…

    And in the same way, there are a fair number of studies out there that point out that if you want STDs, divorce, heartbreak, domestic violence, poverty, drug dependency, and welfare dependency, you can do little better than to engage in premarital or extramarital sex.

    …it really is incumbent upon you to back up what you say. Especially when you give specific numbers and percentages, as you did further upthread. Carol and BTDT have supplied studies for you to consider; you linked to the CDC earlier, but I don’t see how it supported the claims you’re trying to make. It’s not enough for you to just say “there are a fair number of studies”. You have to show them to us.

    I also worry that you’re coming close to a kind of fear mongering. The paragraph I quoted above strikes me as over the top. You make it sound as though anyone who has sex before marriage is inevitably bound for a life of misery, violence and disease, with no hope of a lasting marriage or a happy family. I know that there are risks involved with pre-marital sex. I know that waiting for marriage is in agreement with scripture, and I agree that it’s the ideal course to take. But to depict a caring, committed couple as doomed to a life of despair simply because they aren’t married yet? To me, that flies in the face of what even Todd Friel is trying to say in the above video — that not bringing physical virginity to marriage is not the end of the world.

    It reminds me of Swanson’s now-infamous “womb tomb” comment. He trotted out his claims about women who use birth control meds, saying “certain doctors and scientists” confirmed it, yet he never named any valid sources. And he did it, as far as I can see, in a desperate effort to control his female listeners with fear.

    I’m not saying that your comments are anywhere near as bad as his, or that you’re debating Carol and others with the same motives. But I worry that you’re skirting dangerously close to Swanson’s tactics, out of your zeal to protect young people from harm and unhappiness. Please, please reconsider the way you’re presenting your point of view.

    Liked by 2 people

  50. One more point before I retire. (I hope it’s not too far off topic.)

    It’s also worth noting that churches – when they bother to do their duty and discipline members at least – do tend to discipline the guilty parties, not the victimized.

    Bubba, I’d like to believe you. But I’ve read too many stories, both here and at other places like The Wartburg Watch, to be so certain of what you say. I fear that, all too often, a church and its leaders are so enamored of marriage and opposed to divorce, that they’ll punish whichever spouse initiated the divorce, no matter what abuse that wife (or husband) has endured.

    For your consideration:
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2014/09/17/boz-tchividjian-shining-a-spotlight-on-the-shameful-responses-of-churches-to-domestic-violence/

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  51. When I read BB’s sentence above again…

    “And in the same way, there are a fair number of studies out there that point out that if you want STDs, divorce, heartbreak, domestic violence, poverty, drug dependency, and welfare dependency, **you can do little better than to engage in premarital or extramarital sex.**”

    …something else occurred to me.

    BB mentions premarital and extra marital sex together as if they are both equally sinful.

    A loving, committed, loyal, mature couple who has sex before marriage is hurting no one. They are expressing their love physically (as couples do after they obtain a marriage certificate). The same cannot be said of an extra-marital relationship, by any stretch of the imagination. That relationship might be one of love, but by its sheer definition, it is grounded in deceit, lies, and pain for others. In my opinion, premarital and extramarital sex are worlds apart! BB, can you see what I’m talking about here? Can you agree that one is more “sinful” than the other, in terms of what you call “heartbreak,” at least?

    In my own life, I had two boyfriends of over a year each in high school and three boyfriends of over a year each in college and afterwards before I got married. The high school relationships did not involve anything but kissing. Why? Sex or more sexual behavior than kissing just wasn’t an option for us; we simply didn’t feel ready. My relationships in college and after did include sex. Why? Because we were ready — committed, mature, responsible, and of course, in love. (And yes, I married one of them.) Believe it or not, having those experiences DID help me know who was the right person to spend the rest of my life with. It was *part* of the process of making that determination. Sex IS an important part of marriage and just as I wouldn’t marry someone without “testing” things like how that person deals with conflict and stress and how that person deals with family relationships, I also wouldn’t marry them without “testing” our sexually compatibility.

    Interestingly enough, I grew up in Berkeley in the 60’s, the daughter of very liberal “hippie” parents. No one ever told me that premarital sex was wrong (but they sure did tell me, all the time, that sex without love and maturity is). No one ever told me not to have sex in high school; my partners and I made that choice for ourselves. And decisions I made about sex later were also not made based on any black/white, right/wrong rules handed down by others. All the decisions I made about whether to have sex or not, in high school and college, were made by a moral compass that I had developed for myself, with the compassion, communication, and trust of others (including my parents), but without a mandate, a doctrine, or a preacher’s warnings of demise.

    Now EXTRA-marital is sex is COMPLETELY different! That hurts others, that is grounded in a lie, and that betrays the one you vowed to honor your partner AND FORSAKE ALL OTHERS till death do you part. My non-Biblical, Golden Rule-based moral compass says absolutely not! In fact, I think this is one of the most immoral things one can do because it so deeply betrays a promise made out of love.

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  52. BTDT, I’ve put multiple peer reviewed sources, including the CDC, in this thread which demonstrate my contention that both premarital and extramarital sex have some pretty darned scary results these days. So it’s not fear-mongering any more than warning people about the consequences of drunk driving, really.

    It’s just that the facts are pretty darned scary. And any perceived similarity to Mr. Swanson is simply guilt by association. Let’s grow up and start interacting with the data.

    And the reason I mix the data for premarital and extramarital sex is because that’s what my sources do. To modify something Carol likes to say, STDs, heartbreak, and conception don’t care whether you’re wearing a ring. Yes, adultery brings an additional victim into the picture, but let’s be serious here. There are plenty of victims already.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. And unless the couple is someone you know and/or are related to (and I’d say *even* then…), why do you care at all what anyone, especially a stranger, does behind closed doors? Why do YOU care? ( “Well, God cares” doesn’t count here, as you are not God.)

    And, to make things fair, do you want others to inquire as to what YOU do behind closed doors? Or is that only the business of you and your wife?

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  54. “BTDT, I’ve put multiple peer reviewed sources, including the CDC, in this thread which demonstrate my contention that both premarital and extramarital sex have some pretty darned scary results these days. So it’s not fear-mongering any more than warning people about the consequences of drunk driving, really.”

    Unless I’m missing something, here are the two sources you’ve posted:

    http://socialpathology.blogspot.com/2010/09/sexual-partner-divorce-risk.html

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/key_statistics/n.htm

    “You cannot get to an average number of six sexual partners if the vast majority of sexual relationships outside of marriage don’t fail. You’ll also find, if you care to look up the data, that such relationships are more likely to end in divorce if they ever do get to marriage, they are three times more likely to have domestic violence, they fill our prisons with their illegitimate children, they fill our doctors’ offices with STD cases, and they fill the ranks of the poor and welfare recipients.”

    So, you’ve reached some rather overarching conclusions based on two links showing correlation of divorce to premarital sex and a “National Survey of Family Growth.” What do you conclude from the research showing that “Evangelical Protestants are more likely to be divorced than Americans who claim no religion?”

    Hmmm . . . let’s see. Is it that Evangelical Protestants are more likely to engage in premarital sex (with multiple partners) resulting in relationships that end in divorce? (This is tongue-in-cheek, btw.)

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  55. BeenThereDoneThat,
    are you arguing that there are no issues or risks at all with having multiple sex partners, with certain types of sex (eg, anal sex), and/or pre-marital sex?

    Are you saying there are no advantage or benefits at all to staying a virgin over one’s life, or waiting until marriage to have sex?

    If you were in life saving need of a blood transfusion, and the only ones in the hospital room who were a match for your blood type were
    1. me – a 40 something virgin, never had sex, never abused drugs –
    or
    2. a crack and heroin addicted prostitute who has had sex with five different guys a night over the course of the last ten years,
    who would you rather get the blood donation from, and the doctor in this scenario has no time to pre-screen the donation for disease?

    BTDT said,

    Hmmm . . . let’s see. Is it that Evangelical Protestants are more likely to engage in premarital sex (with multiple partners) resulting in relationships that end in divorce? (This is tongue-in-cheek, btw.)

    That evangelicals may engage in more sexual sin more often than other groups does not nullify that the Bible presents sex as being for a married couple only.

    Your point would be like saying,
    “Studies show 90% of evangelicals beat up 85 year old dementia patients for fun and steal candy from babies, ergo, there is nothing sinful or unethical with other people beating up the elderly or stealing from babies”

    Is Premarital Sex a Sin? Bible Scholars Respond

    New Study Claims People Who’ve Had More Sexual Partners Report Unhappier Marriages

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  56. carolsnider said,

    And unless the couple is someone you know and/or are related to (and I’d say *even* then…), why do you care at all what anyone, especially a stranger, does behind closed doors? Why do YOU care? ( “Well, God cares” doesn’t count here, as you are not God.)

    To an extent I agree with you, BUT. However.

    I’m a 40-something year old virgin. I admit to this under a pen name here on a blog (this is not something I go about willy nilly advertising to all in real life).

    The problem is that people do not keep their personal, sexual behavior or choices to themselves.

    People in our culture open themselves up to debate and judgement because they will not shut up about it.

    Our popular culture, in music videos, books, and movies, glorifies pre-martial sex and other forms of sexual sin.

    Militant homosexuals hold “gay rights” parades where they sometimes sashay about in public wearing next to nothing, and in some very, very tawdry “gay rights” celebrations, homosexuals walk about nude, perform oral sex on each other in public, on city streets (google “Folsom Street Fair”).

    You have militant, secular feminists who go out in public on “slut walks” (”Slut walk” info on Wiki), a movement which started out being against rape, but it seems to have morphed into them defiantly proclaiming women are entitled to have sex whenever and how ever often they choose, or to dress as publicly slutty as they want to.

    You have that young lady, named Fluke, who went before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee committee, I believe, arguing that the U.S. tax payer should fund her birth control pills. She is making her sexual choices everyone else’s business.

    And many of these groups, the militant homosexuals and the secular feminists, demand that you agree with and celebrate their sexual choices. They go out in city streets, hold parades, publish editorials on mainstream blogs and news sites, go on radio and TV news programs, to talk about their own personal sex lives and those of their friends.

    I see little to no support for remaining a virgin until marriage in our culture.

    That notion (of staying a virgin until marriage) actually gets questioned or ridiculed in Hollywood films and in liberal magazines such as Salon, which published an editorial by Marcotte a few months ago, who stated that voluntarily remaining a virgin until marriage “is a silly idea,” and she spent the rest of the editorial bashing Christian teachings and social conservative views on this point in particular.

    Most of American culture today says it’s abnormal, backwards, or weird to be a virgin and to be celibate.

    It’s gotten to the point I’ve seen a very small number of secular editorials pop up by 20 something virgins in the past year or two telling people to stop ridiculing them for choosing to stay a virgin.

    But still, these virgins are vastly outnumbered by the rabidly “pro sex” feminists and homosexual rights groups who run about on blogs and TV shows screaming that nobody should be judging them for their sexual choices or behavior.

    There used to be societal shame over having sex prior to marriage, but in the last few decades, the script has flipped, and our society now shames virgins for being virgins.

    Any and all manner of sexual behavior is now celebrated, defended, and tolerated in our society, EXCEPT FOR virginity and celibacy.

    Your average Non Christian fornicator is proud of being a fornicator and loudly proclaims it on blogs and TV.

    Secular, liberal feminists do not believe anyone should have any opinions on moderating sexual behavior at all, and feel that doing so falls under what they deem “slut shaming.”

    carolsnider said,

    BB, who are the victims of premarital sex in a committed, mature, responsible relationship?

    The person who was a virgin in the relationship, that’s one.

    My ex fiance diddled about with other women before we met, and it broke my heart to find out he had boinked around with other women. I had to come to terms with that, and it took some effort and quite some time on my part.

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  57. I accidentally forgot to close my blockquote tag in my post above.

    Carol’s quote ends,
    “Why do YOU care? ( “Well, God cares” doesn’t count here, as you are not God.)”

    And my quote starts at,
    “To an extent I agree with you, BUT. However.”

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  58. “Are you saying there are no advantage or benefits at all to staying a virgin over one’s life, or waiting until marriage to have sex?”

    For the record, my husband and I were both virgins when we married. If I believed there weren’t advantages, then the joke is on me.

    I want my kids armed with good information and common sense. They can make their own decisions just as you and I have. I’m not going to motivate them with fear and shame.

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  59. BTDT said
    “They can make their own decisions just as you and I have. I’m not going to motivate them with fear and shame.”

    Shame and guilt are not always a bad thing, or bad as a motivator. I have several reasons why I abstained, and fear is most definitely one of those reasons. I didn’t have to worry about getting any sexually transmitted diseases, for instance.

    If someone steals five bucks from their sweet gram gram and does not feel a shred of guilt or shame over that, that bothers me. Sometimes shame and fear are appropriate.

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  60. Making a decision on intimacy is not comparable to stealing money. Rape is more comparable to stealing money. Both are crimes committed against another person.

    Liked by 1 person

  61. BB, who are the victims of premarital sex in a committed, mature, responsible relationship?

    Well, Carol, you know well that I disagree with your premise; that sex outside of marriage can be committed, mature, or responsible. And who is the victim in this non-committed, immature, irresponsible relationship?

    Well, for starters, the participants, who are almost certain to suffer STDs, heartbreak, and elevated divorce rates once they do marry. They are also far more likely to suffer domestic violence, unwed parenting, crime, and the like. Their children fill our penitentiaries and welfare rolls.

    Which leads to the second group of victims; you and I. We get to pay the bill for all that.

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  62. This entire thread has been a real education to me. As you have probably ascertained by now, I do not travel in the same circles as most of you — though, as Julie Anne can tell you, I do have the utmost respect for those who think differently than I do and I welcome healthy, respectful debate. I think we can ALL learn from those discussions – as long as we keep an open mind, remain respectful, and acknowledge that no one is ever 100 correct.

    Let’s see, how do I say this respectfully (and that IS honestly my aim)?

    I am truly floored by some of what I’ve read here over the past week or so. Most of the conversation here has been respectful, but I have read some things that make my skin crawl, and that make me realize that there really ARE people out there who, instead of bowing their heads in sadness over the death of someone like Matthew Shepard, actually infer that his death was staged and blown out of proportion by the media.

    Or that “militant homosexuals” make it a practice to “hold gay rights parades where they sometimes sashay about in public wearing next to nothing, and in some very, very tawdry “gay rights” celebrations, homosexuals walk about nude, perform oral sex on each other in public, on city streets.” Um, yes — probably as often as “militant heterosexual” Hells Angels stage violent demonstrations or Christian groups hold up pictures of dead babies…

    Have those of you who type those things made any effort at all to really understand what it is to be gay? To be born that way, sometimes to parents who reject their child because of it…to live in a world where there are those who would beat up a stranger in an airport in Texas (trust you’ve seen this: http://youtu.be/XxWimFepdn4 ?) simply because they are gay?

    Have those of you who believe homosexuality to be such a horrible sin (the Bible also said that wearing two different cloths together was a sin) not HEARD the important messages from gay people like Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen Degeneres who simply want to live peacefully with the one they love like the rest of us do? Have you REALLY LISTENED with an OPEN, LOVING (Christian) HEART?

    Aren’t there more important issues in the world than letting yourselves into the bedrooms of others to condemn what they do in their own loving relationship, be it married, unmarried, or gay? Isn’t there a cause that could help more people in the world than in condemning those loving relationships? How about volunteering in homeless shelters with children whose mothers have left abusive relationships and can barely afford to feed them, or with AIDS infected babies who are here now and need love and physical touch, whether they were wanted or not? There are so many causes (IMO) that are more important than making sure two loving 20-year-olds or a gay couple don’t have sex in their own bedrooms.

    My husband calls me a “hopeless optimist” because I believe that people are basically loving, compassionate, and kind. But after reading some of the comments on this thread, I really have to wonder. I am truly sorry to say that I see far more real compassion and kindness (and tolerance!) on Reddit’s atheist thread.

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  63. BTDT, here’s one on STDs.

    http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats/sti-estimates-fact-sheet-feb-2013.pdf

    No hasty generalization here at all, BTW. If we follow standard infectious disease epidemiology, the likelihood of transmission is a function of the number of contacts. It would follow that those who have the most sex partners will have the most STDs. We take a look at the # of partners information. It suggests clearly that most who have premarital sex don’t just do it with one person.

    Again, STDs, divorce, heartbreak, domestic violence, etc……again, what’s loving about this? I will grant that there are some who seem to escape without significant damage, but the center of the distribution is suffering pretty badly.

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  64. I, my kids, and most of our friends must have dodged that bullet then because, although we have all had sex before marriage (and some of us even cohabited), not ONE SINGLE person “suffers STDs, heartbreak, and elevated divorce rates (… or) suffers domestic violence, unwed parenting, crime, and the like.” Of all us sinners (and I am talking hundreds, as this is, right or wrong, good or bad, the world I live in) there has not been a SINGLE child (in) “our penitentiaries and welfare rolls.” I’m not sure who you are referring to or who you hang out with, BB, but I live in a pretty normal world and I have seen NOT ONE case where this is true.

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  65. BB,

    OK, That’s good information. That’s very important information. That is the kind of information I would want to arm my kids with.

    Now, here’s a big problem. “Eighty percent of young, unmarried Christians have had sex. Two-thirds have been sexually active in the last year. Even though, according to a recent Gallup poll, 76 percent of evangelicals believe sex outside of marriage is morally wrong.”

    http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/almost-everyones-doing-it

    We should be asking ourselves, “How’s that working for you?” On one extreme, we have Patriarchy with its purity balls and daddy shaving. (ick, ick, ick) Beating our kids over the head with the Bible clearly isn’t working. If we can’t scare them with damnation, will scaring them with STD info work? (I’m asking this in all seriousness.)

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  66. Carol, I agree. I grew up in the sixties and I knew very few people who were virgins when they got married. But none of my friends had STDs, none got divorced (except me after 34 years of marriage because of exceptional circumstances), none of us have been on welfare, and none of us had delinquent children.

    My husband and I lived together for four years before we got married. We have always been committed to each other, I just wasn’t ready for the ceremony because of PTSD from the first marriage. Again, no STDs and no welfare. We own our own home, support ourselves, vote, and volunteer. There will be no divorce. I don’t recognize BB’s world.

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  67. @ MissDaisyFlower

    Why, Miss Daisy Flower!

    “me – a 40 something virgin, never had sex, never abused drugs”

    I cannot remember if you and I have ever – er – crossed swords in this place. (I am not your usual SSB clientelle and I have to admit that I did ruffle a few feathers, and got flamed in return, during my early days here.)

    If we *have* “crossed swords” (so-to-speak), then I now regret that, and hope for your forgiveness. For you have just described yourself as my ideal WLTM (would-like-to-meet) of the lonely hearts ad I would dare to place only after reading the passage in Ephesians 3, about God being able to do “more than we can ask or imagine”, several times, to help me to pluck up the courage to ask God for more than I could ever imagine. The woman of my dreams.

    You are a treasure. You had an old head on young shoulders when you were young. Nowadays you therefore still have an as-new (and hygienic) reproductive system in a body mature enough for some of your sex who are of your age to have born a dozen children already! Your market value in the Christian marriage stakes is simply immense.

    But, if you choose to die a virgin, because that is how you conclude that God is leading you, then you will still be a treasure in my eyes, like an unsold masterpiece that failed to secure a bid greater than or equal to its reserve price, when last it was put up for auction.

    Congratulations, my dear sister in Christ. Sincerely.

    (Moderator: I hope ad hominem is OK here when it is only saying nice things.)

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