Two articles from Investigator 48 (1996 May) about sexual morality and the Bible:
1 Interview with Cynthia
2 The Bible, Science and Sex Relationships
Cynthia being baptized
INTERVIEW WITH CYNTHIA
Cynthia Fryar, then 15, was baptized at an Assemblies of God church on February 25 1996. I interviewed Cynthia [with her mother present] about her beliefs on sex and love.
B Have you had a boyfriend yet?
C No, not really a boyfriend. I've had some crushes.
B Did the boys know?
C Some did.
C My friends asked the boys to ask me to go with me.
B Did they?
C They said "No."
B Were you disappointed?
C No. It wasn't love; only crushes. But at Church I met [name censored].
He's so filled with the Holy Spirit! This one is true love.
B How do you know?
C I just know.
Cynthia spoke the following views:
Our youth group had a movie on abortion. I could not believe people do it. They're blessed with a child. Then they kill God's creation – not giving the child a chance. There are other things they could do instead. The child could be given up for adoption.
The Church hasn't taught anything about that.
It's quite disgusting. They're having sex with someone they don't even love. They should get money some other way. They shouldn't sell their body. Jeepers! It's wrong!
We had a film about dating. We learned guys try to talk girls into having sex.
They might say "Everybody's doing it." I would reply, "Well I'm not!" They try to make the girl feel obligated by buying flowers so she'd feel guilty. I don't think you can buy love that way with flowers. It's nice to have flowers but not if he wants the wrong thing in return.
I know two gays. A friend told me not to go to the same restaurant as them. She said "You could get AIDS from the food." But she's wrong. Some say we should judge the sin and not the person. But what about rape? Should we just say the rapist did a bad thing because of sin and forget about it? I think whatever commands anyone breaks he should try to stop it or avoid it. It's wrong to do what gays do. It's a total sin. Some think it's OK in private but not in public – but rape is usually private also!
On Sex Before Marriage If In Love:
It's against God's law. If they do it they are sinning. In my Church I think most teenagers do it. They would get a lecture from a pastor. If they don't stop I think the Lord will punish them. Even if they are in love it is still sex before marriage and wrong according to the Bible.
On How Intimate Unmarried Christians Can Be:
It's wrong even to start with petting or go too far. Otherwise the guy would think he could get away with anything. Kissing for hours is also wrong. The thing is you can't just kiss for hours and then stop. It's a step to having sex.
On Unmarried Couples Going On Holiday Together:
I don't know. It might be OK if they don't get up to mischief – if they avoid having sex.
On Defacto Relationships:
I suppose it's sinning because they're not really married.
On Christians Becoming Nudists:
I don t know. I suppose it's a sin. It's a bit like becoming a stripper and that's a sin.
On Being Touched Excessively Or Intimately And It Is Not Wanted:
That is definitely wrong. If I had a job and that happened to me I would quit. Even if I reported it and it stopped I think I'd want to quit.
On A Minimum Sensible Age For Marriage:
Probably 19 is only just OK. It's a sensible age to wait until.
On The Christian Way Being Better:
Oh definitely it's better. It feels really good to be a Christian. You do bad things when you're not a Christian. You sin a lot. When you become a Christian God forgives you. As Christians we have lots of friends and brothers and sisters. It is like a big family. They love you and also God loves you.
On How Cynthia Will Go In Obeying Her Moral Views:
As a Christian I should follow the Bible. But if I had a non Christian boyfriend I might not be able to.
I asked: "In five years from now can I find out from you how well you succeeded in obeying everything you spoke about?"
Cynthia gave a shy smile, nodded as if to say yes but then caution prevailed: "I'm not sure."
THE BIBLE, SCIENCE and
(Investigator 48, 1996 May)
THE NEW MORALITY VERSUS THE BIBLE
Do you agree that long life, good health, good relationships and good feelings are goods worth having? The sciences of medicine, psychology and statistics prove that living by the Bible's moral standards promotes the attainment of these goods.
Despite antibiotics and other modern treatments sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) currently kill over 2 million people every year, lower the quality of life for hundreds of millions, and contribute to "wonder drugs" becoming useless.
The Black Death in the l4th century killed 75million people. Syphilis has done even worse. From 1900 to 1972 an estimated 100 million people died from various forms of syphilis. Syphilis is an STD.
The Lord's Prayer says: "Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6) Later we read: "For this is the will of God...that you abstain from immorality ... because the Lord is the avenger." (1 Thessalonians 4)
The Bible compares illicit sex with taking fire into one's bosom. (Proverbs 6:27-29)
The front page of the New York Times (1993 April 1) reported: "56 million people in the United States are infected with a sexually transmitted disease."
The book Herpes: Cause & Control is full of anecdotes such as: "Fran was greatly troubled. A one-night stand had given her an infection with painful lesions, had complicated her relationships with room mates, put her music career in jeopardy, and scarred her emotions." (p. 75) Twenty million Americans were estimated to have herpes by 1980 (Leo, 1982) and there is still no cure.
Another STD is gonorrhoea. In just 1972 there were 100,000 gonorrhoea-related hysterectomies in the USA.
Chlamydia struck 3-10 million Americans yearly in the 1980s. Chlamydia can cause sterility but is curable and consequences preventable if treated early. (Wallis, 1985)
Hepatitis B, in part sexually-transmitted, kills up to two million yearly throughout the world.
The Handbook on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (1978) says:
"The numbers of known patients are increasing year by year despite improved diagnostic techniques and the effective drugs available for treatment. About forty million cases of syphilis and 200 million cases of gonorrhoea are estimated to occur each year throughout the world. In addition, even more people suffer from non-specific urethritis, genital candiosis, trichomonosis, genital herpes, genital warts, pubic pediculosis, scabies and other conditions which are mainly or often transmitted during sexual intercourse."
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
BACTERIAL STDs VIRAL PROTOZOAN Gonorrhoea Genital Herpes Trichomoniasis Nongonococcal Urethritis Cold Sores Amoebiasis Syphilis Hepatitis B Giardiasis Chancroid Genital Warts Granuloma Inguinale Molluscum Contagiosum FUNGAL Lympho-Granuloma Venereum Cytomegalovirus Genital Candidiasis Shigellosis Cancer (cervix) ECTOPARASITES Gardnerella Vaginitis AIDS Public Lice Chlamydia Scabies
Penicillin reduced the fear of disease in the1940s. The "pill" reduced the fear of pregnancy in the 1950s. This led to the "new morality", the sexual revolution", the "free love" of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
The sexual revolution promised an erotic utopia of sex without worry or responsibility. For many it was sex without love or caring or even politeness. Many people had three or four partners, some scores or hundreds.
The struggle of Christianity versus immorality including the sexual revolution, is as wide in scope as were the struggles against Communism, Darwinism, the cults, and the struggle to fulfil the Bible prophecy of getting the gospel to all tribes and languages – 5,000 of them!
Proverbs says: "No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord." (21:30)
The book Microbes And Morals says: "The Bible also contains more direct references to contagion itself, relating mainly to what is called leprosy but may sometimes have actually been venereal disease. Indeed, disease transmission by sexual intercourse is rather clearly implied, together with some of the earliest ideas of hygiene..."
The Bible clearly and often condemns sexual promiscuity including adultery, premarital sex, homosexuality, etc. (Romans 1:18-32; 1Corinthians 6:9-20; Ephesians 5:3-8; Colossians 3:5-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7; 1Timothy 1:8-11; 2 Timothy 2:22; Hebrews 13:4; Revelation 21:8; Jeremiah 5:7-9; etc.)
These rules, attributed to God, are not arbitrary. The purpose behind such commands is to promote happy families, guilt-free living, good health, good feelings, good relationships and prosperity.
Regarding the "wisdom" and proverbs in the book of Proverbs we're told:
"They will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk your way securely and your foot will not stumble. If you sit down you will not be afraid; when you lie down your sleep will be sweet." (3:22-24)
Self control in sexual matters is linked to healthier living in Proverbs 4:20-22; chapter 5 and chapter 7; and Romans 1:24-31.
The full consequences of flouting what are claimed to be God's commandments may take several generations. (Exodus 20:5; 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9)
The New Testament lists "the works of the flesh" these being: "immorality, impurity...strife, jealousy, anger selfishness, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like." The implication is that these "works" go together so that if you do some, you will more likely do you others. The works of the flesh are contrasted with "the fruit of the Spirit" these being:
"love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control." (Galatians 5:16-26)
In other words we expect abstaining from sexual immorality to go together with various psychological benefits – the "fruits" listed. Similarly we expect a tendency for immorality to be accompanied by the other "works of the flesh" listed. This claim is testable but I'm not sure whether surveys are available.
The sexual revolution obviously did not solve sexual problems. Besides STDs, people have been running to psychiatrists and counselors in record numbers. In Australia about 20% of the population is either drug-dependent or experience chronic depression or both.
Syphilis appeared in Portugal in 1494 and spread across Europe. Sailors took it to India and China. In the l9th century treatment with mercury was tried but this brought symptoms almost as bad.
Antibiotics including penicillin are prepared from molds or mold-like organisms and inhibit or destroy bacteria. Penicillin became available in 1938 and conquered syphilis in the 1940s. By 1970 the incidence of syphilis rose again. At any one time 2 million Americans had it and 250,000 British. Yet deaths remained few – down to 26 in Britain in 1984.
Infectious diseases were considered a declining specialty. Dr Reuben, author of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask (1970), wanted penicillin doled out like aspirin! This view didn't last.
The Handbook said: "Strains of gonococci, mainly from South East Asia, have been recently reported as being completely unaffected by penicillin." (1978
New strains arise via mutations which make bacteria resistant to certain drugs. The resistant strains multiply. Viruses also transfer genes from one bacterium to others.
With world ecosystems, environments, climate and human behavior changing evolution may be speeding up among micro-organisms. You've heard of Ebola, Legionair's disease, and AIDS.
Disease on a wide enough scale can destroy nations and civilizations! AIDS was quite a surprise in 1980. It threatens the economic collapse of some African countries. Even rich Western countries have had to adjust with advanced cases requiring expensive treatment. In 1992 for example, it was realized that, "THE AIDS epidemic had the potential to bankrupt the nation's insurance industry..." (The Weekend Australian May 16-17 p. 2)
We live in a soup of bacteria and other small organisms. If the race between scientists developing new drugs and micro-organisms evolving new strains was ever lost...! Widescale sexual promiscuity and resultant extra use of antibiotics increases the risks to nations.
HOMOSEXUALITY, PROSTITUTION AND AIDS
1976 First confirmed death from AIDS.
1981 First report of an immune deficiency illness in a homosexual.
1984 AIDS virus identified in the USA
1985 A test for detecting the AIDS virus in human blood released.
1988 Australian HIV carriers estimated at 50,000.
1993 HIV carriers, worldwide estimated at 14 million.
By 1992 about 36,000 papers about AIDS had been published in 3,200 science journals. (Brown 1993) In America alone the cost of research was $6 billion annually.
In Africa the 600,000 deaths from AIDS included many people in their 20s and 30s and many professional people essential to Africa's delicate economies.
A debate about the Bible on homosexuality appeared in Investigator No. 7 and showed the Bible condemned the practice. (Romans 1:24-32; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; 1 Corinthians 6:8-11)
Temple prostitution was common in ancient times. In Roman cities all women were expected to do a stint. Nowadays individual cities such as Bombay (India) have 100,000 prostitutes. (Sattaur 1991) Often such a life is not by choice but because poor rural families sell daughters for work in cities and they stay trapped by pimps, poverty and drugs. The Bible condemns prostitution.
Adultery affects 70% of Western marriages. The psychological damage includes a sense of betrayal and loss of trust, closeness and intimacy in the innocent partner, and in the guilty partner guilt feeling, lies and self justification. Causes may include sexual desire, curiosity, infatuation, possibility of experiencing something new, relief from boredom, etc. A bitter sorting-out process often follows – if not divorce. Even without AIDS and other STDs, quality of life is lost as commitment is replaced with doubt.
Psalm 121:6 says: "The Sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night." The sun "smites" by sunburn, dehydration, heat exhaustion, skin aging, cancer and premature loss of vision. Recent research shows that ultra violet B suppresses the immune system. If the AIDS virus is present this suppression can activate it.
PREMARITAL SEX AND COHABITATION
In a British survey of 4,720 teenage girls, 58% admitted to not being a virgin. 12% lost their virginity at 14, 14% at 15 and 12% at 16. The most usual location (40%) was "at his house." (The Advertiser 1989 October 5)
A 1991 study of l,778 Australian university students by Dr Susan Moore of Monash University (Melbourne) showed that 32% of Anglo Australian 17-19 year old girls were still virgins and 78% of Chinese Australian girls.
Nowadays the problems still include unwanted babies, loss of schooling, loss of employment opportunity, disease and financial problems. Sorensen (1973) wrote that many adolescents reported worry, guilt, embarrassment, sorrow and a being-used feeling after first intercourse.
Clippinger (1979) wrote:
"Adolescent love in its approach to human sexuality emphasizes freedom to the exclusion of responsibility. Less than twenty percent of the adolescent couples who engage in sexual relations use any type of contraception, and three quarters of all pregnancies occur prior to marriage. Further, children born out of wedlock from such unions suffer frequently from social, economic, health, and educational handicaps. In addition, there are the problems of increasing abortions and venereal disease for the young parents, along with child abuse and a suicide rate among teenage mothers ten times that of the general population." (p. 276)
In South Australia the marriage rate is falling which suggests more defacto relationships. (Starick 1996) This avoids the disease risks of casual sex (if the relationships are long term) but psychological drawbacks remain.
Brothers (1986) summarized some sociological studies comparing two groups of married couples – one group had cohabited before marriage and the other group hadn't. Conclusion: "The researchers found…cohabitation held no particular advantage in assuring compatibility in marriage."
Cohabiting couples often failed to explore vital differences and hid their true selves to maintain the relationship. They avoided criticism, repressed anger and behaved cautiously.
The Advertiser (1992 June 20) reported:
"Study shatters myth of trial marriagesLONDON: Couples who live together as a dry run before marriage are courting disaster, according to a report by Britain's Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys.
It says new research shows couples who cohabit before getting married are up to 60 per cent more likely to divorce…
The report destroyed the myth that living together is the modern foundation for the perfect marriage."
Defacto relationships avoid serious responsibility and yet give some immediate advantages of marriage such as sex. In the past the lack of legal protection caused serious problems over property settlement after breakup. The law is changing but people then try more-tenuous relationships. They may live in separate houses. Both still risk missing out on the respect, trust, care and security they should get "in sickness and health" for themselves and their children.
Living together, or otherwise having premarital sex gives tacit or implied approval to such sex. Then, when one partner strays there is no religious, moral or rational basis for complaint. Having given tacit approval it would be inconsistent to call it "wrong" in a second case.
PURPOSE OF ROMANTIC LOVE AND SEX
About 1/3 of modern marriages end in divorce and another 1/3 are lived in unhappiness. Psychologists give many reasons to which I'll now add one more:
Children require 15 to 20 years of rearing. To achieve this it is psychologically and financially best for two parents to cooperate in peace for that period.
Even the most similar couples, however, have many differences at first in beliefs, habits, expectations, goals, hopes, hygiene, religion, etc. The initial attraction/romance which accompanies new love motivates the good will and effort needed to make hundreds of helpful changes. Think how hard it is to agree in anything with someone you are not attracted to. Siblings often fight though having grown up together and 1/3 have a lifelong dislike for each other!
Initial romantic, starry-eyed, love motivates the desire to please the other 100% and this motivates adaptation to each other. The glow wears off after a year or two and the relationship settles down to mutual tolerance based on shared interests, goals and similarities.
What if the "in love glow" is wasted in activities that don't promote mutual adjustment? What if the two always petted and cuddled by the TV and rarely talked things out? The result is that few of the adjustments that promote harmony are made! After the romance wears off the relationship may be one of argument, nagging and even literal fighting as they try to force the changes and adaptations avoided earlier.
Similarly with sex and love play. The tenderness and emotional and physical pleasures motivate mutual adaptation and are also rewards for such adjustments. If there is premarital sex in situations which don't allow for the sort of adjustments required for living together some of the motivating power is used up. Indeed the man who gets sex before marriage may have little motivation left to get married!
The Bible speaks positively of the attraction when people fall in love. Just read the Song of Solomon!
If you want a good, lasting, relationship then use that initial attraction to talk all relevant things out and make necessary adjustments while it's easy to make them!
Note also that the best sex is likely to come within marriage after some practice. A German newspaper report commenced:
"Good news for all married women and men: sex within marriage is the best sex." (BILD 1994 October 26)
This was based on a study of 3,432 women and men aged 18 to 59 by researchers of the universities of Chicago and New York. Marrieds have sex twice as often as singles and have more orgasms.
Similarly Witkin (1995) says: "Sex It Gets Even Better… When it comes to sex familiarity breeds contentment."
Greeley (1981) concludes: "Faithfulness doesn't mean sexual boredom. On the contrary, it offers the chance of a truly exciting and challenging relationship."
SAFE SEX OR GOOD SEX?
In the mid-1970s I attended a university group which met to discuss sex. No one except myself considered self control a serious option. AIDS came later. So did resistance of disease organisms to "wonder drugs."
Government pamphlets likewise rarely mention abstinence or morality. It's always "safe sex" which refers mainly to sex with use of condoms.
Lots of people think that condom-use provides less pleasure – but that's one price now paid because of the disease spreading promiscuity of the previous generation.
Federal Health Minister Carmen Lawrence had a safe sex guide distributed in Cleo. (December 1994) Focus, a church magazine, responded:
"But how safe is the condom, Carmen? Not safe enough to stake your life on it, according to experts. At a World Congress of sexologists quoted in the Melbourne press it seems 800 sexologists were asked if they had available the person of their dreams and they knew the person had HIV, how many would have sex depending on a condom for protection.
After a pause in which to weigh up this vexed question, just one sexologist among 800 raised his hand. Reassuring, is it not, Carmen?"
Practicing homosexuals often say, "God made me this way." Of course a murderer, thief, adulterer or terrorist could also say, "God made me this way."
The Biblical response to this is that everyone has predisposition to do wrong. It is "in the flesh." (Romans 7:15-20) Today we'd say it's "in the genes." Whatever the temptation, the Bible teaches resistance – achieved by prayer, right associations, keeping busy, controlling one's thoughts and avoiding places/settings where the wrong occurs.
The Bible says, "The heart is deceitful above all things", and warns against the self-deception of redefining wrong as right and right as wrong. It also warns against copying conduct in others out of envy or because the wrong has no immediate, obvious, nasty consequences.
(Jeremiah 17:9; Proverbs 12:15; 17;15; 30:20; 24:19; Ecclesiastes 8:11; Psalm 73)
A 1980 a survey of 106,000 American women revealed disillusionment with the sexual revolution. Sex without commitment and love devalues and depersonalises what relationship there is. The best sex accompanies being vulnerable because it includes giving all you can in trust, acceptance, intimacy, cooperation, understanding – and receiving equally: "Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies." (Ephesians 5:28)
The Bible's counsel is the best counsel.
"Excel in purity," the Bible teaches. "Shun immorality." Christians are champions of purity in a decadent world. The Southern Baptists organized the "True Love Waits" campaign in America. The Catholics and the Assemblies of God joined in 1993. Half a million teenagers pledged to stay chaste and avoid sex until marriage.
The 20th century sciences of statistics, medicine, psychology and economics confirm that Bible moral standards promote physical health, mental health and economic wellbeing. The Bible says, "He (God) cares about you." The Bible's set of guidelines for our physical and mental good is a demonstration of that care.
STDs kill millions of people each year and lower the physical, emotional and economic health of hundreds of millions. This in turn reduces the economic fitness of families and nations. Mutations in disease-causing organisms rendering "wonder drugs" less useful could lead to catastrophe.
Many skeptics realize these facts and therefore live by standards compatible with the Bible. This shows that:
"The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations." (Psalm 33:11)
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