Sam is one of my favorite pagans. He reports on what ought to be concerning more and more churches, and hopefully motivating them to change their approach with their kids.
Rosenbaum matched students who had taken a virginity pledge with those who hadn’t. After five years of follow-up, those who had taken a pledge did not differ from teens who hadn’t taken a pledge in rates of premarital sex, oral or anal sex, or sexually transmitted diseases.
So, there you have it.
Who, exactly, imagined that something like this would work?
To which I respond in the comments:
Heh. Virginity pledges. I never took one, though I was a virgin when I got married, and so was my wife. As a matter of fact our first kiss was at the altar. Yes, we’re weird, get over it, we did.
But the idea that a contract of sorts will promote abstinence is illustrative of so much that is wrong with Christianity.
Youth groups and churches preach all sorts of consequentialist arguments against immoral behavior. The idea is to provide a good reason not to participate.
The real motivation is to preserve good social standing for parents. “Don’t embarrass us in front of our church friends!” is the real message.
But arguments from efficiency and consequence have the problem of probability to deal with. You see, fooling around with your teenage girlfriend is about as likely to expose you to AIDS as swimming in the ocean is likely to get you eaten by a shark. Sure, it happens, but I’m still going to swim at the beach. (And I’m gonna do the backstroke, and the breaststroke, and the butterfly, and the crawl,….)
The real reason Christian kids should be abstaining is because they are Christians, and as such they have adopted a peculiar ethic, which involves, along with dedication to caring for the least of these, a sacramental view of sex.
Whether kids can be expected to adopt this ethic voluntarily at a certain age is something we can discuss. And, so long as parents are footing the bill, I suppose they have the right to insist on whatever rules of behavior they like, just don’t call it Christianity, for Christ’s sake!, and don’t make up lame excuses or stupid justifications for what honestly amounts to a selfishly motivated set of rules.