Sex Education: The Lack Of Religious Influence Essay, Research Paper
Sex. Just reading or saying the word demands attention. Sex is the one of the most important things in our species. Humans rely on sex for reproduction, affection, and pleasure. The surprising thing is about sex is the amount of responsibility and consequences involved. The largest part in the responsibility aspect is the decision of when to have sex. One of the greatest issues for a lot of people and politicians is sexual activity by teenagers. Yet through my research I believe society has lost focus on a more important issue in sexual relations. Our society has seemed to over look the moral responsibility of sex. Whether it is a religious or family based sense of morality, sex is an issue for more than just teens. I do not know of any religion that condones sex before marriage, at any age. It seems that morals of all kinds look down on premarital sex, yet it is one of the greatest epidemics that plagues modern society.
Teenagers are definitely a great concern when speaking of premarital sex. I would like to believe that society’s concern for these teens is out of a moral and religious attitude. Yet politicians as well as society seem to care more about the problems after the fact, like health and welfare costs. Ten percent of all 15 to 19 year-old females become pregnant each year. More than 80 percent of pregnant girls under age 17 who give birth and keep their babies end up on welfare, costing society a staggering $21 billion a year. Three million new cases of STDs among teens are reported each year. Every 10 seconds a teenage becomes sexually active for the first time. All the concern over pregnancy and STDs doesn’t seem to be deterring sexual activity. With out a focus on religious or moral responsibility teens will not be discouraged. I mean 55% of students surveyed had sexual intercourse with another student during their high school years. Forty-six percent of those used no form of contraception. Every 26 seconds a baby is born to an unmarried mother. Seventy-three percent of all teens say that the reason they engage in sex is due to the social pressure. Social pressure! By the age of 13, 43% of “churched” teens had experienced sexual intercourse and 65% of the youth had engaged in fondling breasts and/or sexual intercourse. “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” [I Corinthians 7:9]. Seems to be that our teens do not know or care about there religious responsibilities.
Again the main focus is to help prevent teens from becoming a burden to themselves, their possible children, and society. What about the LORD? Who is going to teach the unselfish thinking of the religious responsibility to wait for marriage? “ No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” [I Corinthians 10:12-13]
Premarital sex will always be a part of society’s issues, but with proper influences beyond the physical aspects (i.e. pregnancy, STDs) we might be able to create a healthy discussion about it. I recently took a survey, asking four simple questions in regards to people’s opinions about premarital sex and religious influence. I was surprised at a lot of the responses. My four questions were:
1. What is the value of sex in a relationship, married or not? I asked this question because I wanted to know how people viewed the act of sex. I was curious as to whether people believed that sex was just a physical act of intimacy or a deeply personal form of communication. The responses were various but seem to portray three things. One was that sex is just as it is said, sex. Another was that sex represented closeness between two people. Last was that sex is a special bond for married people.
2. Is it ok to have sex before marriage? I thought this was the perfect follow up question for a couple of reasons. First, because I was interested in responses that showed a religious or moral background. Second, I was wondering if anyone had a personal experience to conflict his/her beliefs. The responses I attained were very simple. Some thought that sex should wait for marriage because of either a religious or moral influence. Others thought that premarital sex is dependent on love and commitment rather than marriage or morals. Yet the responses that intrigued me the most were regrets of not following religious beliefs. That is to say that some people appeared to think one way and act another.
3. Do you feel premarital sex affects intimacy after you become married? Why or why not? I asked this question in anticipation of regretful responses to the previous question. The majority felt that there would be no negative effects if the partners stayed the same. An almost, but not quite, equal amount suggested that a certain amount of trust is lost by not waiting for marriage. Others viewed things as promiscuity being a greater opposition than simple experimentation.
4. How important is your religious beliefs in regards to premarital sex? This was my most relevant question. I asked this last because I wanted people to reflect on their previous answers and maybe look at them different. I was extremely disturbed at these responses. They seemed to be very casually for religious/ moral attitudes, yet very accepting of the contrary.
Americans, at least tacitly, have all but given up on the notion that the appropriate premarital state is one of chastity. The Bible may have warned that like the denizens of Sodom and Gomorrah, those who give “themselves over to fornication” will suffer “the vengeance of eternal fire.” Yet for most Americans, adult premarital sex has become the “sin” they not only wink at but also quietly endorse. Most people, about 74 percent, have serious problems with teens having sex before marriage, more than half believe it is not at all wrong, or wrong only sometimes, for adults to have premarital sex. Yet when it comes to the negative social consequences of premarital sex between people, there is a very serious lack of a strong religious/ moral backbone.
Throughout the centuries, the Lord has declared very clearly that sexual relations outside of marriage are sin (cf. Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18; 22:13-30; 2 Sam. 13:12; Matt. 5:27-30; 19:18; Acts 15:20; 21:25; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:18-20; Alma 39:3-6; D&C 42:22-26). Recognizing that the “new morality,” which advocates that consenting partners may do whatever their appetites urge them to do, is nothing more than the “old immorality,” many religions reject the popular view that sex before marriage is not sinful and is justifiable as “normal and natural.” Rather, they teach that sex should be a sacred expression of love between a husband and wife and that both men and women should abstain from sexual activity until their marriage. They teach that sex before marriage is an expression of lust, not love, and discourage people not to participate in it or in any other kinds of activities that excite sexual desires.
Crucial moral battles are being fought in our culture. Nowhere is this seen more vividly than in the present sexual attitudes and behaviors of modern society. The fact that some standard must be chosen cannot be ignored. Sex is here to stay, and it remains a very basic force in our lives. We cannot ignore its presence any more than we can ignore other ordinary human drives. Each of us needs to think through the implications of sexual alternatives and choose a personal sexual ethic based on intellectual and moral factors, not merely biological, emotional, or social ones.
Our society is starving for intimacy. And many of the lies we believe in our culture have to do with our hunger for relationship. We want acceptance, loving relationships and deep intimacy, and yet we believe the lie that sex will satisfy our hunger. It’s true that we are profoundly sexual beings, but it’s time to examine some of the lies we feast on: the lie that premarital sex is one of our unalienable rights, the lie that sexual intercourse is the route to intimacy, and the lie that premarital abstinence is obsolete at best and repressive at worst. These are all lies. The biblical standard that puts sex within the fidelity and security of marriage is the most responsible code that has ever been developed. You are justified in following it without apology as the best standard for protecting human, moral, and religious values that has been devised.
9. Kahn, Joan R. and Kathryn A. London, “Premarital Sex and the Risk of Divorce,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 53, 1991, pp. 845-855.