Abstinence doesn’t work today, the article suggests, because biblical ideas about premarital sex came from an epoch of arranged teen marriages, while the average American is almost 30 before he or she marries. Religious studies professor Scot McKnight is quoted as saying the sociological difference between the eras is “monstrous” and that the demand that evangelicals remain sexless throughout their entire young adulthood is “absolutely not realistic.”
I have always questioned premarital sex being a sin. The idea of sex being the sole province of married couples intent on procreation always struck me as sanctimonious and obnoxious. Also, I have a big problem with holding the ideal of marriage and parenthood over the everyone’s head. I hope to get married and start a family someday, but I know that that life is not for everyone. I cringe whenever the unmarried and/or childless are pressured or shamed by their families and communities for living how they want to live. There is nothing virtuous or Christian about gratuitous marriage and procreation. I have seen the results and they aren’t pretty.
Considering how Evangelicals and other Christians have ignored verses forbidding haircuts and eating shellfish, I don’t see why we shouldn’t cast rules against premarital sex into the same scrapheap. I don’t believe that disregarding these sections of the Bible is disrespectful. If anything, it brings us closer to God: we’re working hard at differentiating between what God truly wants from us, and what are simply laws of ancient man.