Purity Pledges and Faithlessness
“I wish I knew God like you do, Mom, but I’m just not sure.” According to David Kinnaman of The Barna Group in You Lost Me, “nearly three out of every five young Christians (59%) disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15.” This doesn’t always mean they lose faith, but sometimes it does. I’ve been wrestling with this data for a few weeks in thinking about talking to teen girls about purity. One popular purity pledge states, “Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate, and my future children to a lifetime of purity including sexual abstinence from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship.”
So often our arguments for why teens should not have sex before marriage are contingent upon faith in God and belief in the Bible as the authority on such matters. Or, we present scare tactics of unwanted pregnancy and STD statistics hoping that if the fear of God doesn’t compel them, then the fear of consequences will. Unfortunately, studies have shown that fear is not the best motivator (see Change or Die) and that teens respond to pleasure, not pain and we need to parent accordingly.
What other reasons do we have to offer to encourage healthy sexuality?