It’s not easy to tell the difference between a survey reporting a change in behavior patterns and a survey reflecting the same behavior, but a change in respondents’ willingness to be honest with pollsters.
The latter is my guess as to what’s really revealed in the studies cited in Tyler Charles’ Relevant magazine article “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It” — subtitled “A surprising new study shows Christians are having premarital sex and abortions as much (or more) than non-Christians.”
“Surprising” to whom? Well, to CNN’s John Blake, for one, who says “one of the biggest surprises” in the article is that:
80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults (18 to 29) said that they have had sex – slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adults, according to the teen pregnancy prevention organization.
The article highlights what challenges abstinence movements face. Movements such as “True Love Waits,” encourage teens to wear purity rings, sign virginity pledges and pledge chastity during public ceremonies.
What Blake describes as a “challenge” for “abstinence movements” might rather be interpreted as a consequence of those abstinence movements. It may be that “Don’t — and that’s all you need to know” doesn’t work as a substitute for actual sexual ethics.
“Love is the fulfillment of the law” may need a bit more fleshing out, as it were, to provide what we need from a sexual ethic. But it’s a much better starting point for that effort than is “Sex is a dirty, dirty sin that you should save for the one special person you marry.”