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.