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Is Premarital Sex A Sin?


Neon Genesis
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Christians have traditionally taught that premarital sex is a sin and that you should wait until marriage to have sex which is the only proper form of sex God approves of, but is it really a sin? The only place in the NT where premarital sex is explicitly condemned that I'm aware of is 1 Cor 7 in which Paul instructs unmarried couples not to engage in sex but if they can't control their sex drives, they should get married before they engage in sex. But even in this chapter, Paul later notes that his views on sex come from himself and are not commandments from the Lord. The historical context of this verse also has to be considered. Paul thought the end of the world was going to happen any day now, so of course he would have thought that having sex and risking getting pregnant was a bad idea but this was never intended to be a passage intended for Christians to follow for all time and in all cultures and Paul himself says it doesn't come from God. The only other passages Christians cherry pick to support their anti-premarital sex views only condemn the very vague terms of "fornication" and "sexual immorality" which Christians have used to forbid everything from masturbation to forbidding priests from getting married and Christians can't seem to ever agree on what counts as "fornication" and "sexual immorality."

 

Christianity's own views on premarital sex are completely hypocritical and seem to shift from person to person depending on who the Christians' like. Like when Britney Spears' little sister got pregnant, Christians were absolutely outraged at her for trying to glamorize teen pregnancy, but when Bristol Palin got pregnant, they praised her for it and made her the queen of their abstinence only programs because obviously a failure is the best role model for inspiring teens to be abstinence or something. The surveys all consistently show that abstinence only programs don't work. The most religious states in the U.S. are also the states with the highest teen pregnancy rates and Christian teens who pledge abstinence only are just as likely as non-Christians to engage in premarital sex. The problem is that Christian teens are taught by the adults in their community that condoms are unreliable forms of protection and that birth control is against the will of God, so when they end up engaging in the same amount of sex as non-Christians do, they're more at risk of getting pregnant or HIV than non-Christians are because they're taught to not trust protection. Then you have the pope going around in Africa and telling people who believe that having sex with virgins cures their AIDs that condoms don't work and have little holes for the AIDs virus to sneak into which only makes things even worse. Condemning premarital sex may have made sense in ancient times where they didn't have things like comprehensive sex ed and condoms and birth control, but in our modern day era, I think continuing to prohibit premarital sex and force unrealistic ideals on our youth is unrealistic at best and irresponsible at worse.

Edited by Neon Genesis
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On the question of the thread, "Is Premarital Sex a Sin" i think Paul summed it up nicely.....

 

Rom 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing uncleand of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

 

I am of the persuasion that this is applicable to more than what one man eats. If you esteem premarital sex as a sin, then to you it is a sin. If you judge drinking as a sin, then to you it is a sin, if you judge smoking as a sin, then to you it is a sin, if you believe working on the sabbath is a sin, then to you it has been made a sin when you violate this belief, etc... Perhaps by ones belief and judgement, one has put them self under the law and are now bound by it. In essence, have we not judged ourself?

 

It seems to me, All things are lawful to those in Christ but all things are not expedient. All things are lawful but will you allow yourself to be brought under the power of the things you allow?

 

Jesus is recorded saying.. As you judge you are judged , as you measure you are measured. As you forgive you are forgiven. It seems to me, there is much wisdom hidden in these deep sayings that many Christians may have yet to understand.

 

Joseph

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After reading Borg, Ehrman, Pagels, and a number of other similar scholars they have convinced me the bible is a purely human collection of writings. It is the story of ancient Israel and the early Christian community. It reveals what they thought, believed, and experienced and whether or not it reveals what God thinks or wants is open to a lot of debate and speculation.

 

I am now rather leery when it comes to believing that God has ever spoken to any human being in any sort of direct way and even the thought of God speaking verbally to anyone is difficult for me to accept. I say that because I am also leery of Paul, or anyone else, having had any direct verbal conversations with God. I accept the possibility of visions, dreams, and that sort of aberration having occurred or at least I can allow for that possibility more so than having a chit chat with the Divine Presence of God. It is possible that I've just grown too cynical in my old age though.

 

So, what does Paul mean when he says the Lord told him……..whatever he supposedly told him. Was his insight based on his Jewish training and traditions or did he have a vision? I tend to think he was referring back to his Jewish beliefs and traditions but I certainly have no way of knowing, with any degree of certainty, if that is true.

 

In the OT multiple wives and concubines didn’t seem to be a problem for God, so I have to wonder why God would be concerned with who anyone is sleeping with. God appears to be far more concerned with how you treat your chosen partner than He is with the fact that you’re being intimate with them, at least that's what scripture appears to be saying from my perspective. Loving God and loving others seems far more important to God and sex, premarital or otherwise, would appear to fall into that loving others category, or am I interpreting that command too broadly? :rolleyes:

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Javelin wrote: "In the OT multiple wives and concubines didn’t seem to be a problem for God, so I have to wonder why God would be concerned with who anyone is sleeping with. God appears to be far more concerned with how you treat your chosen partner than He is with the fact that you’re being intimate with them, at least that's what scripture appears to be saying from my perspective. Loving God and loving others seems far more important to God and sex, premarital or otherwise, would appear to fall into that loving others category, or am I interpreting that command too broadly?"

 

I think you are hitting on the important points here. Sex itself, or most anything else, is not the matter of concern, but rather it is the context, circumstances, consequences, relationship it takes place within, that gives rise to questions of right or wrong.

 

Just as for, say, eating. It'sa good and neccesary thing, but eating can become a problem when we overindulge, become obese. Morality also comes into eating when some who can afford plenty are gluttonous and even wasteful of food in front of others that are starving.

 

Sin is described as to fall short, to miss the mark. When sexual behaviors result in problems for ourselves and others, I'd say it might be called sin. For example, risking not only contracting an std through unprotected sex, but passing it along to others as well. All methods of birth control have failures, so there is the question of pregancy, and how we will deal with that if it happens.

 

I don't think any could effectively argue that our society is adequately dealing with these issues, as record numbers of babies are born to single mothers, destined to lives of poverty. Even legal marriage doesn't prevent huge numbers of male parents abandoning their offspring and the mothers than bear them.

 

Sex without deep commitment to a life partnership also leads to a lot of hurt, people feeling cheapened and devalued.

 

So there's a lot more to this question, I think, than just sex in and of itself, being right or wrong, sin ornot.

 

Jenell

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Christianity's own views on premarital sex are completely hypocritical and seem to shift from person to person depending on who the Christians' like. Like when Britney Spears' little sister got pregnant, Christians were absolutely outraged at her for trying to glamorize teen pregnancy, but when Bristol Palin got pregnant, they praised her for it and made her the queen of their abstinence only programs because obviously a failure is the best role model for inspiring teens to be abstinence or something. (snip)

 

Neon,

 

It seems to me that when one speaks or uses the words of "Christianity's own views" , one may be speaking from a very limited perspective. Perhaps individuals in major sectors of churches identifying themselves as Christians can be spoken of as viewing thusly but it is my view that no one church organization, denomination , or any single living person today speaks for Christianity. Perhaps Christianity itself is not definable in terms of one's individual or organizational positions/beliefs at this point in its evolution. Perhaps to use the words i have italicized in bold is not fair or kind to those who identify themselves as Christians but are more progressive in their religion. Therefor it seems to me to be no need to call Christianity's own view on any subject hypocritical. Don't you agree?

 

Joseph

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I think Jenell and Joseph have both made very good points. Does research show that some Christian groups hold a positve veiw of human sexuality?

This is a collection of bullit points from researcher R. T. Francouer (1990, in Schnarch, 1991) on the subject.

 

Various Christian groups express these attitudes:

 

 

A positive, natural, creative energy in our being as sexual (embodied) persons.

 

"Knowing", Communion. Sexuality is an essential element of our personality.

 

Diffused, degenitalized sensual embodiment.

 

Noncoital sex can express the incarnation of Christian love.

 

Contraception can be just as creative and life-serving as reproductive love.

 

Pluralistic - sexual persons must learn to incarnate agape in all their relationships, primary and secondary.

 

 

 

Myron

 

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Myron wrote: "Pluralistic - sexual persons must learn to incarnate agape in all their relationships, primary and secondary"

 

Thanks Myron, you say so much more succinctly what I was trying to say with my many words!

 

Jenell

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Walk carefully...

 

"Christianity's own views"...Christianity is the name of a particular brand of religion. As such, it has neither views, thoughts, or opinions. Anytime it is said "Christians...do or don't/beleive/don't beleive etc etc..." we are assuming a consistent and unified set of beliefs and behaviors than can be stereotypically applies to all Christians

....aaaannnnddddd...then, to speak of those Christians as "others" suggest WE are not among those "Christian"...and that kind of leaves those of us that are Christians, but hold views other than being discussed, hanging off a cliff. I may be hanging onto the edge of that cliff by my fingernails, praying my fingernails don't start breaking, but I AM very definitely still holding onto it...I AM a Christian... :)

Jenell

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest billmc

"If it is good sex, then it´s not a sin"

 

Hi, Akhenaten! First, welcome to the PC message board! When you get time, why not share something of yourself and your journey in our "Introduce Yourself" section of the forum?

 

Regarding your statement, in my opinion there is "sin" and then there is sin. :) What I mean by that is that there are "sins" which violate some religious codes of ethics or purity and then there are sins which are harmful to one's self or to others. For instance, making garments from two different kinds of material was a "sin" in the Old Testament. But that is a "sin" that none of us no longer take seriously as it harms no one.

 

On the other hand, "good sex" is, again IMO, a relative term and could be considered to "feel good" between an adult and a child or between an adult and certain animals but causes physical and/or psychological harm, especially to children and probably to animals also. Therefore, I'm not convinced your statement would be applicable to all situations.

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A better term in non-marital sex or out of marrage sex. Pre-marital sex assumes the couple will get married eventually anyway.

 

In my past I read a lot of Science Fiction. The author I liked the most was Robert Heinlein who said via one of his characters that the only real sin is hurting someone else unnecessarily..... This definition still works quite well for me. Applying this to the question of this thread.... If the sex is for pleasure then it is not a sin.. If it produces a child or has the likelihood of producing a child that grows up in a less than ideal home then we are getting closer to sin. I might add that in bible times any sex had the likelyhood of pregnancy. Disease propagation is another potential sinful outcome.

 

If one now looks at Pauls remarks in

1 Cor 7 in which Paul instructs unmarried couples not to engage in sex but if they can't control their sex drives, they should get married before they engage in sex.
you can see Paul saying don't punish the kid.

 

steve

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The author I liked the most was Robert Heinlein who said via one of his characters that the only real sin is hurting someone else unnecessarily..... This definition still works quite well for me.

Steve,

 

This sounds close to the NBA (National Basketball Association) rule: 'No harm, no foul.' This is a pretty good rule that I think can be generalized to most situations in life.

 

George

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Sin or not the question should be is it smart to have sex before one has discovered intellectually if the relationship is good. As I explain to my 14 year old son, and he gets it, once you have sex the ability to gage the success of the relationship, compatibility, similar interest, sane or insane, is gone.

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Sin or not the question should be is it smart to have sex before one has discovered intellectually if the relationship is good. As I explain to my 14 year old son, and he gets it, once you have sex the ability to gage the success of the relationship, compatibility, similar interest, sane or insane, is gone.

My son would not date past the first date if the his date was not marriage material

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Just about any of our actions could be considered "sin", if our heart and intentions are not good.

 

This is what I love about Progressive Christianity. It not only gets to the real meat of Christ's message, but it takes a message that can be seen (and many DO see) as a laundry list of do's and don'ts, and internalizes the basic principles that guide everything we do. Christ was about the heart, about loving and seeing how we are all connected. What effects me, effects you. It is not just a list of do's and don'ts, but principles to internalize and actually live from..

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Marsha, I think this is very much the meaning of what Jesus said of the commandments, which are the greatest of all....the double love command...to love God, to love others as we love ourselves, and all else contained in the Law hangs from this. I think when He said this, He was relating it to the "original 10"...I no longer accept all of the "Law" as set forth in the OT as God given, becasue just to much of it fails this very criteria, or 'test', if you will.

 

To be valid in this sense, any inscribed or prescribed "Law" must be in this spirit of the law....is it addressed to being the most loving thing? Unfortunately, when a law becomes inscribed, set in stone as it may be said, I think what Paul expressed in a passage, that both the beginning and end of the Law is death, he was speaking to this concept. If we were not dead (spiritually), we would not need a system of Man's laws to tell us not to murder or steal or otherwise act in ways that harmed others. And likewise when the spirit of a law has been inscribed, become set in stone, into some "do" or "don't", the way of the spiritually dead to circumvent the spirit of the law is opened. By that, I mean how it is that someone can find a way around a law, a loophole, that allows them to violate the spirit of a law while staying within the boundaries of the letter of the law.

 

Theological ethicist William Scweiker presents a good analysis of this concept in his book "Theological Ethics and Global Dynamiics."

 

Within the field of psychology, there is a cognitive state termed "rule-bound." This is a state in which a person has so internalized the rules, the dos and don't, of their environment, that they feel so bound by rules, they cannot violate a rule, or at least find it very difficult to do so, even when circumstances would be such that any "functional thinking" person would recognize it appropriate to do so. While it is a state recognized as being a characterisic of certain serious disorders such as autism, it is also a state to which even psysiologically unimpaired people may have become indoctrinated into by their social environment...it has become a conditioned response, as a powerful element of the Superego.

 

As example, as a child, I was raised in a very authoritarian environment, conditioned to absolute respect and obedience to adult authority. In the 5th grade, my teacher was a very stern disciplinarian that I felt very intimidated by. One day following recess on the outdoor playground, she instructed us to work on an assignment, and not interrupt her, while she bent her head over her desk to grade papers. As I brought my bare arm down against my side, I felt a painful sting, brushed my arm against my side again and felt more sting..looking down at my side, there was a small fuzzy catapillar commonly called a "wood asp" on my dress. I knew what this thing was, and also how strongly my parents had warned me of its danger to me...I had nearly died as a 6 month old baby when one of these things had fallen into my bassinet that had been placed in the shade of a tree in the yard. Yet, so conditionned to obeyed authority, I only raised my hand and waited silently for the teacher to look up and notice me...all the while I could feel the aching pain as it spread from my arm to my shoulder and up my neck and across my chest...as the venom made its way through my body. By the time (which seemed an eternity to me) she glanced up and noticed me, I was very pale, had begun to feel dizzy and faint...

 

I have come to equate this "rule-bound" state to what is referred to in the bible as being "under the Law." It is a state that makes Man the servant of the Law rather than the Law as servant to Man. Law, or rules, has become that person's "God." A person is UNDER the Law, below the Law. Law is become the ultimate authority. The spirit of the law, the command to love, is lost,

 

Jenell

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Glintofpewter wrote: My son would not date past the first date if the his date was not marriage material

Uh, and just how does anyone, especially a young inexperienced person, determine that on a first date? The nervousness and natural attempt to impress and not make a stupid blunder makes a first date a highly unreliiable indicator of a person's real personality and qualities and faults. Certainly if the person commits some clearly unacceptable act in the course of a first date, one might immediately know this isn't someone they want to get to know better or let into their life, but beyond that....?

 

Jenell

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Uh, and just how does anyone, especially a young inexperienced person, determine that on a first date?

That's what his parents said. He angered one young woman because he went on a second date and it was clear that their dating relationship was over. He met his wife through an online dating service and followed with many many dates.

 

He took the Purity pledge or whatever - not at our suggestion - and wore the ring until he was married. It was good looking ring and no one knew what it meant.

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I think "discouraging premarital sex" does not represent forcing any intrinsically unrealistic ideal on youth. What is unrealistic might depend on context. Perhaps it is unrealistic, given our current societal values and norms. Our beliefs and the expectations they carry have drastically changed over the last fifty years. I'm not necessarily saying for the worse, just that they've changed. I know plenty of people who never had much trouble abstaining from sex until reaching adulthood, it wasn't an unrealistic expectation for my own life. I'm all for sex education for youth. But at the same time I wouldn't suggest that parents just give the OK to youth to let loose in their schools and neighborhood.

 

That's not to say I think premarital sex is sinful or even a bad idea. In fact I would suggest it's a good idea for a couple to find out if they are sexually compatible before they get married. To make a lifelong commitment to someone you don't know if you're compatible with might lead to a divorce later on. This problem represents a tradition that touches an older view of sexuality and marriage. It may take a few relationships to find someone you're compatible with on all levels. The only thing is, I would think that such relationships should be responsible and meaningful, not just giving in to one's hormones indiscriminately. But perhaps that's just the values I was raised with. I would concede that sexual activity can be very free so long as it is responsible.

 

Peace,

Mike

Edited by Mike
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