Is Morality a Waste of Time?

News reports recently described how research commissioned by Congress casts doubts on the success of abstinence programs. Headlines called abstinence initiatives as a waste of time and money.

Children who took part in sex abstinence classes were found to be just as likely to engage in sexual intercourse for the first time at the same age as children who did not receive these classes. The research was conducted by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. It indicates that on average teenagers first had sex at the age of 14.9 years.

The U.S. government spends $176 million on abstinence programs each year. Some goods news for abstinence programs. They did not result in an increase in the rate of unprotected sex as some critics have suggested. The USA has one of the highest rates of unwanted teenage pregnancies in the Western World.

Find out more about the report at

All of this seems to miss the point. It doesn’t matter if people listen or not. Authorities have a responsibility to encourage people to do the right thing. Casual sex by non-married individuals is not a good idea – just ask all those young, single mothers who thought their lover would stay no matter what.  

In his book, Sex God, Rob Bell asked, “Are we just the some of our urges?” He then wrote, “A human isn’t just a collection of urges and needs, but is a being who God resides in…There is more to life than just the next fix… It really teaches that people cannot transcend the physical limitations of their existence. It views people much like animals. And so many live with a low grade sense of despair that they are helpless and this is simply how it is. 

“No where is this chronic despair more evident than in a lot of sex education curriculum. Many of which are based on the premise that the kids are going to do it. If you deconstruct that, what are you going to get? – A loss of hope. Who decided that kids or anybody else for that matter are unable to abstain? In a lot of settings, abstinence programs are laughed at…The criticism of the sex is for marriage view is generally presented as the voice of realism. Are people actually capable of restraint? But it’s not realism. It is actually the voice of despair. It is the voice that ask, ‘Aren’t we all really just animals?'”

The New Testament depicts Christians as living temples. And a temple is a holy place, where the gods live. It connects this world with the divine. If we are really temples and God really lives in us, wouldn’t we be capable of more than just the animal instinct?

One of the problems is that many “Christian” abstinence programs try to demonize sex. The human sex drive is a God-given, natural urge that is designed to force people to grow up, make a family and continue the human race. Sex is part of God’s design to bring men and women together through a beneficial, pleasurable act. But when some Christians present sexual desire as a perversion,  this makes people feel like something is wrong with them. People tend to run from God due to unnecessary shame. This makes it difficult to respond to sexual urges in proper ways.

There has to be middle ground between the extremes on this issue. It is worth the trouble to find the solution because I believe that morality is not a waste of time.

4 responses to “Is Morality a Waste of Time?

  1. Mitch Newton

    Rob Bell is crazy (in a good way). Is the book you quoted from before or after Velvet Elvis?

    Here is what I see with abstinence programs. If Christian adults, the government, whoever are going to promote these programs, shouldn’t there be abstinence programs that teach “no lying” or “no dishonorable business practices” from professionals? Kids hear there parents on the phone with other adults, gossiping like there’s no tomorrow. How about if we get everyone who has a problem with gossip to sign an “I Will Not Gossip Until I Get To Heaven” pledge card? These kids look at us and see such a double standard, especially when we hold up one sin and say, “don’t do this” when there are so many more important things to teach. Like knowing God. Finding our pleasure in Him. Discipline is a great thing, but until we learn that without God, no good is in us at all, then we are just a bunch of whitewashed Pharisees.

  2. Hey Mitch, you make some good points. I agree that many Christians (including myself at times) tend to play favorites when it comes to sin. We like to make a big deal about one issue while ignoring others.

    I agree that ethics, morals and general decent behavior should be taught in schools. One reason to single out abstinence as a subject to explore is that sexual sin can cause problems for generations. While all sins have ripple effects, some can cause more damage to others. Sexual sin tends to fall into that category. Besides sexual sin can be used as a bridge to hit on many other issues like honesty, relationships, integrity, personal self esteem, social responsibility, etc.

    Your question about the Rob Bell book – Sex God is his latest release. Velvet Elvis was Bell’s first book.

    You can download the audio version from iTunes or buy the print version in stories.


  3. I agree that sexual sin can cause problems and compound from generation to generation. I have seen it too many times and way closer than I would like. I am totally for abstinence until marriage, as I too believe that sex is God designed for a husband and wife. We sell kids short though when we substitute abstinence programs for true knowledge of the almighty living creator of heaven and earth God, who as you pointed out tonight, should be feared. Kids today (and probably adults, too) are allowing themselves to be ripped off.

  4. By the way, thanks for the information on Bell. He caused a pretty good upheaval with Velvet Elvis when he started bringing up the possibility that Jesus might have a Dad named Larry. I believe I understood him clearly to say that he firmly believed in the virgin birth, and I appreciated the evocative question.

    I am glad I found your blog. I read the Pallet Profile, but this is way more important. I trust that iron sharpens iron here.


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