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 http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/PDFs/impactabstinence.pdf
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.