Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tearing apart a ridiculous argument

A friend of a friend on Facebook the other day posted an article titled, "I Waited Until My Wedding Night to Lose My Virginity, and I Wish I Hadn't."

It is one of the most absurd and poorly-argued stances I've heard. One part of my just wanted to roll my eyes and say, "THIS is what happens when someone with no education writes an article," but then I realized that people were actually taking it seriously. So I thought I would just take it apart, bit by bit.

The article starts with a girl talking about taking a purity pledge at the age of 10, an age where she loves Barbies and tea parties and hated boys and didn't even have her period--an age where she was incapable of making such a commitment. I would agree with her here, and I think such church strong-arm tactics are a poor substitute for actual Biblical education. So at this point, I was okay with her article.

That's when things came off the rails a bit.

The church taught me that sex was for married people. Extramarital sex was sinful and dirty and I would go to Hell if I did it.

Nope. I call BS #1 here. No Baptist church in the world tells people that they will go to Hell for having sex; it is not a works-based theology. I find that impossible to believe. It's more likely that she assumed that but there is not a church in all of Christianity which teaches that sexual activity is an unforgivable sin.

More likely, she was told "sin leads to Hell" (which, apart from Jesus' work on the Cross, it does). And then she heard that extramarital sex was a sin (which it is), and therefore turned that in her mind to, "The church teaches sex leads to Hell."  But by that logic, the church equally teaches that cursing leads to Hell or a single lie leads to Hell.

I learned that as a girl, I had a responsibility to my future husband to remain pure for him. It was entirely possible that my future husband wouldn't remain pure for me, because he didn't have that same responsibility, according to the Bible.

Nope, BS #2. No church said that. There is not a single church doctrinal statement in the world which says that, nor a single quote of Scripture which can be used to back it up. The same standard--abstinence until marriage, fidelity until death--has always been the Christian standard for both males and females. (Though it IS true that males have, historically, broken this law more than women!)

I lost my virginity on my wedding night, with my husband...Sex hurt. I knew it would. Everyone told me it would be uncomfortable the first time. What they didn't tell me is that I would be back in the bathroom afterward, crying quietly for reasons I did not yet comprehend.

Because that certainly only occurred because you waited until marriage, right? No one has EVER felt shame upon losing their virginity before marriage, right?

I hated sex. Sometimes I cried myself to sleep because I wanted to like it, because it wasn't fair. I had done everything right. I took the pledge and stayed true to it. Where was the blessed marriage I was promised?

1. No where in the Bible does it promise that if you follow God's laws you will have a great sex life.

2. By this logic ("do everything right = great sex life"), you inherently imply that those who can't have a great sex life (due to injury or disability or erectile dysfunction or sexual abuse) have somehow done something wrong.

3. Again, waiting until marriage did not cause this. There is no reason to believe that she wouldn't have had the same reaction had she slept around at 16.

Waiting didn't give me a happily ever after. Instead, it controlled my identity for over a decade, landed me in therapy, and left me a stranger in my own skin. I was so completely ashamed of my body and my sexuality that it made having sex a demoralizing experience.

1.  Again, waiting until marriage doesn't cause this. I know lots of people who waited until marriage. I'm one. My wife is one.  Nothing about waiting until marriage requires this kind of neurosis.

2.  No Christian theology would ever say that "avoiding sin X" should control your identity or shape your worldview. We are a people who believe most of what we do is sin, and we are forgiven only by Him. We remain virgins not because this is our identity, but because HE is our identity. Our identity is shaped by Jesus and what He did for us; things like virginity are natural outpourings.

3. Obviously there is a serious amount of self-shame going on here, which again has nothing to do with choosing to abstain from doing something.

This is essentially the author saying, "I am anorexic because someone told me dieting was good." There is a deeper problem here which is either totally unrelated to virginity, or was made worse by her pursuit of virginity. But the underlying issues were there, regardless.

I don't go to church anymore, nor am I religious. As I started to heal, I realized that I couldn't figure out how to be both religious and sexual at the same time. I chose sex.

Obviously she's never read Song of Solomon. Songs 5:14 has Solomon's wife refer to him by saying, "His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli." OK, that sounds nice, right? Nothing sexual there, she religiously loves her husband's body like a set of jewels.

But what does it say in the Hebrew? Well the word used for "body" here actually refers to the "belly" or "womb" of a person; the word for "polished ivory" actually means an elephant's tusk. The words lapis lazuli are usually used to refer to sapphires and their beauty.

In other words, the Bible has Solomon's wife saying that his "womb area" is "like an elephant's tusk" and is beautiful. There is no other way to say it: the Bible records a woman enjoying her husband's endowment. And encourages this.

You cannot read the Scriptures honestly and not conclude that (a) God created sex, (b) sex is meant to be enjoyable, and (c) there is no need for shame in it.

HOWEVER, that does not mean that sex should be had at the drop of a hat. Like anything, it is enjoyable only within its appropriately designed boundaries. We love to swim, but if we tried to live by swimming like the fish, we would die: it is a good feeling and nothing wrong, but only if done in the appropriate way. The same is true of sex, food, entertainment--anything. Things must be done properly if they are to be enjoyed fully.

But it is ridiculous to say "I couldn't figure out how to be both religious and sexual at the same time." If that is true, the problem is with the individual, not religion.

And IF that were true...then she is saying here essentially:  "Christianity may be true, but for me its Christianity or sex. I choose sex."  If Christianity is true, then you just made the craziest decision ever.

You would think at this point, any reader would say to themselves, "Wait a minute, though. Nearly everyone I know who IS religious has sex! In fact, studies show that they have on average the happiest sex lives. So maybe this is a problem with an individual and not with religion."

But more than anything, this clearly shows the real reason:  she is not religious. She is a "none", who was raised in the church but never actually embraced what it taught. Her faith was not hers, but her parents'. As a result, she bowed to her parent's demands regarding virginity not because of her belief, but because of her desire for their love.

I'm now thoroughly convinced that the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality.

If my eyes rolled any harder, I'd get a headache.

First, I love when someone makes some outrageously bold worldview claim with not a single argument behind it. She just says, "I believe X" and then moves on, with no feeling of a desire to demonstrate it.

Second, virginity in the Christian sense is about learning to control your own desires, protecting yourself from unwanted pregnancy and disease, and--most of all--to grow into One with your partner because you two learn everything together as you age, from sex to parenting to old age.

Third, this statement actually makes no logical sense. You are BORN a virgin...does that mean that nature wants to control female sexuality? Virginity is not a CONCEPT which can be used to control something; it is a binary state. This is like saying, "The sky being blue is a concept to keep the color red down!" It is nonsense, in the trueist meaning of the word.

In short - this article is absurd. I wish I could get my time back reading it and then writing about it. But the sad truth is that I hear similar arguments in youth groups from time to time.

I blame the education system--we no longer teach people how to THINK. There are no philosophy classes any more. We teach them how to memorize and regurgitate facts. And they never learn to actually think through anything.

And thus, you get drivel like this:  a woman who (sadly) got sex really mixed up in her mind; tied to wrongly to theology as she understood it (rather than as it was written); and then when something went wrong used it to justify abandoning her parents' faith. It is an argument from emotion, not from logic.


  1. And yet, sadly, there is often a difference between the stated teachings and pulpit preaching of a church, and the codes that get conditioned into their members' minds and behavior. Even with all the preaching about grace, the actual practices of many churches seem to portray a more works-based salvation belief. For an interesting series of blogs on "modesty culture" and how it relates to the conditioning that this young woman suffered, read .

  2. To "Anonymous", whose post just got deleted: you violated rule #2 and #7 of my Commenting Rules (see link at top of page). If you want to actually have that discussion please feel free to email me, but I'm not going to let you hijack the post here.

    For what it's worth, you (Anon) are wrong and I'm glad to have the discussion via email if you want to have a discussion. Of course even in email I'll want you to follow the basic rules of good commenting - open minded, calm, on topic, etc.