What is Purity?

I recently heard someone compare a young woman to a rose. An attractive analogy until it was explained.

Every time the young woman did something slightly intimate – deep kissing, long hugs, petting – the rose lost a petal. The implication was that after a while the “rose” had lost so many petals that it was no longer appealing.

I guess it’s a more attractive analogy than chewing gum, but still …

What is this thing we call “purity”? Is it a quality? an energy? a force?

What is it about purity that makes comparing young women to inanimate objects seem reasonable?

Christianity is almost defined by the fact that Christians reject the purity codes and holiness laws of the Old Testament. So why is it that we hear so much about purity from these very Christians?

Some Christians, like Rachel Held Evans, want to move away from fraught words like “purity”. But they end up moving towards words like “holiness,” which is no less a loaded and controversial term.

  • Yoav

    In a culture that treat women as property it’s not a big leap to thinking they’re devalued by “wear and tear”, like an action figure losing it’s value once you open the box. That’s why the bible awards monetary compensation to the father of a raped virgin.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Not that I play with action figures, but to me, an action figure still in a box is a waste of potential. It’s a product, a cold hunk of plastic and paint, and ultimately as useful as a pebble on a beach. It is dead and without life. Take it out of the box, however, and it becomes something else entirely. That’s when it gains its true value and utility.

    • Cake

      I was thinking that they Purity like something that was consumable.

    • Guest

      Wear and tear….oh my….and mean are devalued by their wear and tear in exactly what way or method.(no answer necessary or expected) So if a female has sex….she has wear and tear each time…after a few times she has lost her petals…hmmmmm..it is just difficult to not throw up…at this time, 2013, and there are STILL discussions about females in this limiting non loving way. The life you are living is yours…your body is yours…church and governments and ideas may try to control what you do or say or choices you make…but today..thank goodness…your life and your body beyond to you..both males and females.

    • Guest

      Wear and tear….oh my….and men are devalued by their wear and tear in exactly what way or method.(no answer necessary or expected) So if a female has sex….she has wear and tear each time…after a few times she has lost her petals…hmmmmm..it is just difficult to not throw up…at this time, 2013, and there are STILL discussions about females in this limiting non loving way. The life you are living is yours…your body is yours…church and governments and ideas may try to control what you do or say or choices you make…but today..thank goodness…your life and your body beyond to you..both males and females.

      • JohnMWhite

        but today..thank goodness…your life and your body beyond to you..both males and females.

        Not valid in Texas.

  • Jim Charlotte

    It’s all about using fear, guilt, and shame to control young people. Fear that they will get an STD (they preach that condoms offer little more than 0% protection from STDs), Guilt in any lustful thought or action. I remember other young men tearfully confessing they had one masturbated. Shame that if you made out with your girlfriend that you would be shunned by the group as you spend time making “yourself right with God.”

  • GubbaBumpkin

    If a rose does not kiss or pet, it still wilts, dries out and loses its petals.

    And if it loses all its petals, it’s still good for rose hip tea.

    Analogy busted.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    What is it about purity that makes comparing young women to inanimate objects seem reasonable?

    As a biologist, I object to roses being characterized as inanimate. Plants are people too.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    The more I see of this “purity” crapola, the more it seems they’re actually saying “you have only so much love in you. Only spend it on those worthy of it”.
    I don’t know about anyone else, but that looks to me to be the EXACT OPPOSITE of most of the teaching ascribed to Jesus of Nazareth…

  • LesterBallard

    It simply means you’re female; you don’t belong to yourself, you belong to men; first your father, then your husband; they own you.

  • evodevo

    Well, for most of Christianity’s history, it has had to do with sexual issues. And while celibacy was celebrated during the early years, it was honored mostly in the breach, especially by male adherents Females had always been treated as chattel, first under Jewish law, and then under Roman Xtian custom, so much so that lesbianism, acknowledged in Greek literature, was never mentioned in either the Old or New Testament. The Old Testament went on and on about homosexuality among males, but the Law concerning females had to do with virginity and adultery. Funny that.
    And they are still preoccupied with “chastity” today. It’s been 2000 years and their beliefs are still those of an immature 15-year-old.

  • bamaics

    F purity…I want experience!

  • Pofarmer

    I have been having a conversation about this on another blog, christians just don’t getnhow teaching yourself to be ashamed of normal feelings might just be a bad thing,

  • grindstone

    On another blog I read, and fully intend to steal: take a $20 bill, crumple it, step on it, spend it, tear off a corner, fold it……still worth $20.


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