What started as a debate between me/my brother and my parents ended up becoming this article on Biblical abstinence. A little backstory on this: my parents are Christian Conservative Traditionalists, and therefore hold the belief that I would like to think most other parents hold in America that having sex before you're married is wrong, sinful, immoral, (insert negative term here), and their basis for this is that the Bible claims that you need to be married before any kind of sexual intercourse can occur. While I do respect their beliefs, I actually did some real research on the topic and found that their interpretation on Biblical Abstinence is so heavily flawed that I can only consider it to be wrong, but instead of straight up calling them out on it, I decided to do what I do best and put it in written form.
Just to be clear on this before we begin, I'm not against abstinence, but you have to be the one to decide to do it, not for other people to guilt trip you into it for the sake of an otherworldly scare tactic of burning in Hell for all eternity. I should probably also point out that this article mostly applies to Americans and anyone in a country with similar marriage laws (license, taxes, insurance, etc), and the reason will be revealed in the article as I refute the argument of "legal marriage" to defend abstinence.
What my real point here is that when Christians use the Bible to say "you have to be married before you can have sex," they don't have a clue what they're talking about and are only parroting what they've been told from people who haven't researched the Bible.
That being said, enjoy this religiously controversial number my Curious Scholars.
Sex Before Marriage: Why the Church is Wrong
We have all heard that sex before marriage is a bad thing. Whether it be from high school health class, sex education class, Sunday School at our local church, or any other source of media, the lesson that we all either practice or have had imposed upon us at some point in our life is that we can't have any kind of sexual contact with someone of the opposite sex until after we tie the knot before God. The church specifically, both within one's congregation and as the whole of Christianity, has preached that you must have a ring on your finger before spending a night with your significant other. Some may have practiced this more harshly than others, and through this we have both Christian parents and even the government itself refusing to teach kids about sex or how to practice it safely, and this has directly led to hundreds of teen pregnancies, possibly the rise of legal abortion, STDs plaguing American citizens, all because these major groups haven't realized that whether or not you teach sex education, kids are going to have sex anyway.
This has nothing to do with my argument. While I could go off on some four hour rabbit trail about how we need to teach sex education and how most negative situations regarding sex are directly caused by a lack of education, it really has nothing to do with what I am going to talk about, so I'm going to ignore that topic. I'm also going to avoid anything regarding homosexuality for the same reason.
No, what I'm referring to here, and what this article is going to be about is the idea of sex before marriage.
I'm sure that all of us are aware that humans are flawed creatures. All of us are emotional, illogical, often inconsistent, can be easily manipulated, and want nothing more than to find some kind of comfort within our lives primarily through physical means. As a matter of fact, we can have two different humans look at the same piece of existence, such as a geometric polygon, and have them argue if it is a circle or a square when the polygon is actually a triangle, and neither of them look at the evidence to discover truth. It goes without saying that humans can easily corrupt truth. Anyone within any church has at one point heard the term "false prophets" for example, and while a lot of people understand that this type of person could be someone consciously attempting to manipulate people, very few realize that a false prophet could very well genuinely believe what they say. They don't understand that a false prophet could be so successful at spreading misinformation that what they preach could turn into the consistent belief of the congregation despite evidence to the contrary.
Catch the theme yet? What I'm saying is that the church's idea that sex before marriage is a bad thing is heavily flawed even though they fully believe that concept. They even use dozens of verses all throughout the Bible that they claim back them up. However, just like you, myself, and every other sentient being reading this article, preachers, priests, and pastors are all human, and therefore, subject to corruption and to spread that corruption. The truth of the matter is that they don't look at the evidence. Imagine that.
Let's be clear here before I get any further: the Bible does in fact state that premarital sex is something humans should avoid. I'm not questioning that and its not a battle anyone will ever win. However, what no christian church in the world understands, the evidence they don't look at, and what their entire argument actually hinges on, as well as my own, can be summarized in one single question: What constitutes Biblical marriage?
Please, enlighten me. Define for me what Biblical marriage actually is, and please, be sure to use as much evidence from the Bible that you possibly can. Be sure to provide references too so I can cross check. I may be a very snide and opinionated individual at times, but I really do care about truth in every regard, so if you can prove to me how the Bible defines marriage, I would be more than happy to admit defeat. I'll wait. Take as much time as you need.
The problem here is that the Bible simply doesn't define marriage. There is not a single place in the Bible that gives any clue as to when two humans are actually married to one another in the eyes of God, so what people do in this case is follow the "spirit of the Bible" under the assumption that if it isn't directly stated, then we can use other references to discover the truth of the topic. In this case, we have marriage. Since the Bible doesn't explicitly give any kind of clear, concise definition on if my parents are married or not, how can we discover what God will agree with as a holy union? For this purpose, three primary stances have developed.
The first one is a bogus claim for what should be obvious reasons but that many teens rationalize as true, so I want to get this out of the way right now. This stance is that humans are married the minute they have sex. Now, I understand the logic behind this, and while it may be true to some extent, this is still a very unbiblical rendition of the rule since it still goes against God. Sadly, the Bible does draw a line that sex does not constitute marriage. (1 Corinthians 7:9, Matthew 5:8). If this stance did hold true, and sex did equate to marriage, it would be the same as breaking and entering into your neighbor's house instead of them inviting you inside- you still got married, but you didn't do it properly, thus you have sinned.
The second one, however, is the most commonly held one, the the one held by the government and the Christian Church through the eyes and hands of a coalition of corrupt prophets, is that your marriage is decided through the legal union of a ritual performed by a church individual before God, and then having a legal document that lets the government and everyone around you know that you are legally married by law with legal approval by legal means and methods. "Legal" seems to be the trending theme here. Church officials and individual Christians are under the assumption that because we live in a country (America) that tells us we need their permission to marry, that that is what defines Biblical marriage, their evidence being held in Romans 13:1-7. However, this where the church screws up. By opening up the door to the discussion of "legality," they have made the mistake of allowing opponents of their abstinence rule, like myself, to scrutinize it. By bringing the government into the equation, they have given the government the obligation to hold up to Godly standards. They have brought legality into a discussion of morality, sin, and religion. In short, they've lost the argument.
Bringing the "Laws of the Land" argument by using Romans 13 gives us an entirely new area of discussion to scrutinize, examine, and analyze for nothing more than to make sure their argument remains consistent and holds any kind of truth. Plot twist: it doesn't. The first problem is that by bringing up Romans 13, they have narrowed down the argument to the country that they live within, which in my case would be the good ol' U.S. of A, thus removing any kind of global objectivity of marriage entirely. Now that we know we're just looking at these 50 states, I'm going to list a few verses before I continue:
Each and everyone one of these verses are very clear that you have to serve God before you serve anyone else, and occasionally, that means going against the government if they go against the Bible. Don't worry, I'm fully aware that a few of those, and many others that I didn't list, have more to do with wealth and taxes, however I assure that those verses still have relevance to Biblical marriage. For now, there is something else you need to be aware of. The Bible may not be clear on marriage, but the government has still made two major calls on the topic that have made Romans 13 entirely irrelevant to people who are pro-abstinence. The first one is that the Bible has taken God out of marriage. The Bible condemns homosexuality in many different places, either implied through story, or stating that it is an unholy, sinful practice, and the government has directly blasphemed God by allowing gay people to marry. Again, I'm not arguing for nor against homosexuality, but the USA has turned their back on God because of it when concerning marriage. That alone should tell you that the American government no longer has any say over whether two Christians are married to one another, but if that wasn't good enough for you, then I will remind you that marriage is supposed to be a Biblical, spiritual, Christian principle, and yet just like Christmas and Easter, the government has commercialized it so now a Christian wedding under the Law is no different than an atheist wedding, or a gay wedding, a muslim wedding, a buddhist or daoist wedding, or a wedding between those of mixed religions. Once again, the government has turned their back on God, and cannot decide Biblical marriage.
There is a bigger problem that I'm not addressing. Like I said earlier, using Romans 13:1-7 to say that DC gets to decide if you are married or not brings up an entirely different concept that we as scholars need to scrutinize- the legal system. Saying that Donald Trump, Obama, W. Bush, all the way back to before even George Washington was in office get to decide if your marriage is valid goes against everything this country was founded on for many different reasons. The first problem is the First Amendment. The very first rule on the Bill of Rights expressly states that we have the Freedom of Religion and that the government cannot take that away from us or interfere (as long as we're not hurting people, of course), so even by its own rules, Washington DC can have no say in whether or not two Christians are married. Besides that, we have separation of Church and State which means that, as long as no secular laws are being broken, religion cannot interfere with the government nor can the government interfere with religion. Couple that with the fact that the US government reserves the right to revoke your marriage license, and you bring me into the TL;DR of the entire problem with Romans 13 as a pro-abstinence argument.
The United States government does not see marriage as a religious topic. Marriage, to them, isn't Biblical. They're the ones who get to decide if you're married, not God, so they can tax you on it every chance they get. Once again, the US government has turned its back on God, and if read those verses I listed again, you will remember that Christians have to serve God first before the government, no matter what, which means that because the government blasphemes God, they have no say in God's eyes if we are married, nor should we allow them to. They are not Godly. Christians have to serve God. Christians should not serve the government in regards to marriage, and that's even without the fact that the government itself, stated its very own Constitution which are the building blocks and infrastructure that even makes America an independent country by international law, can have no say in religious and spiritual concepts.
If I haven't been clear, I'm saying that who truly decides if you are married is God. Not the American government, not the interactions of your genitals- God. This is the third stance. Since getting married through sex alone and getting a legal marriage license do not decide your Holy Union before Christ, only you and your partner can decide upon your marriage in the eyes of God. Whether this be through a ritual glorifying Him, or just saying, "hey Babe, are we married?" and agreeing to it, only God can approve of your Union. Not sex. Not the White House. You, your partner, and Christ.
The Church's stance on Biblical marriage is that you cannot have sex until the government has legalized you two as a married couple through a secular ritual, and this is false. Because of this, many teenage couples have argued that they love each other, that they will be together forever, and that having sex wouldn't be a sin due to those reasons, and while many would view that as a rationalization, including those teens, they aren't. They are not justification to sin, they are the One Biblical Truth, and need to be treated as such. Sure, you can disagree with me, but then you would be the one rationalizing your beliefs in the face of true evidence while you remain you echo chamber and shut out the real world.
To close, when you're ready to get off your unicorn and join us down here in the real world, let me know. I'll be happy to greet you.