Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?

W.A.Mozart

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I would say that there are two levels of this problem which we define as premarital sex... the first 1 is the church level or the christian level... on it- one can find strict pieces of advice and a straight line which is in concordance with the bible and the fathers... there is not much space (strictly speaking) here... the other level I like to refer to as the personal level of every christian... it is our personal relation with God and what we do in our lives- our deepest motifs and fears... everything we put in front of God's feet... here there is much space which often stays unallocated  ;D

This is because the Bible is not a set of regulations but rather a living word of God which tends to reach its fulfillment in us... in life... this stands for the church canons too... they do change in time and although I know quite a few christians who think that canons are un unchangeable category and that the same canons have the answer to all our problems- I relly think that the bottom line of all that is our brain in a jar...

And I think we all agree that a brain in a jar is not the true message of Christ,our Lord...

The paradox here is that these 2 levels I have mentioned r not diametrically opposed at all... they are being reconciled in Christ and we do this when we take the responsibility for what we do... sometimes I think it's better to make a mistake and use your God given freedom than to obey every word and be a robot....  :angel:
 
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I hear you say two things, Mr Acts.

You don't like when others change without you (like the millions of dead who lived before you).  But you want to change everyone for yourself.

You also won't accept that Marriage is Martyrdom and not only sexual union.  "Sexual compatibility" is unnecessary.  Besides, if your partner lies about an STD, or has an affair, or had a sex change, the Church allows divorce.


No need to defend your divorce here.  What's done is done.  Repentance is a lifestyle, not a debate.
 

choirfiend

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acts420 said:
The question is what does "play the whore" mean.  You're saying it means sleeping with someone else before marriage.  However, I'd rather derive the meaning from the passage itself than just take you're word that it means whatever you want it to mean.  The passage itself deals only with a woman who's lack of virginity was discovered on her wedding night.  If "playing the whore" was simply premarital sex, then all who had premarital sex would be punished regardless of whether or not they were honest about it to their fiances.  However, there was no punishment ever proscribed for non-virgins for simply being non virgins (in other words, for those who married honestly).  Therefore, "playing the whore" does not mean what you say it means.  It most likely means she tricked a guy for wealth (in this case, marriage).
There WERE none who had pre-marital sex. Any who were discovered to not be a virgin on their wedding, which is the ONLY time they would be having sex for someone to discover that, was punished. No man married a non-virgin. Women who were non-virgins were either prostitutes or like the passage says, stoned to death.

Have you read any secular historical information about sex in biblical times? The practices, the standards that were upheld by the culture and supported by their scriptural content? No women were having sex outside of marriage, ever, without taking on the threat of being killed if discovered. We certainly don't encourage stoning, but even Christ said "go and sin no more" to the woman who was caught in the act. In modern times, in countries in the middle east, women are STILL not even allowed to be alone with men who are not of their immediate family. This is to absolutely prevent them from having sex and "shaming" the family. While we would not agree with the method or the punishments, this is all clear historical evidence of what everyone is saying---there is no sex outside of marriage.

How about St. John Chrysostom on sex? What about even Fr. Tom Hopko, to give you a modern writing which would reference plenty of fathers?
 

W.A.Mozart

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if we want to be a God-like beings,we must control our instincts and not only them but also their gifts, desires and all the other features. Sexuality as a gift from God, should be to the glory of God, or to serve for the salvation of man not to enslave us. this sounds simple but it isnt.We should not condemn a man if he or she had sex before marriage, but it is bad  he or she  wants it  at any cost, because it takes the form of idolatry.
It is difficult to discern what's what. From the time he tasted the fruit of knowledge of good and evil,  man is no longer able to clearly discern what is right and wrong, and often what he thinks is good  turns out  to be bad. That is why man must have Christ as the measure of things...

btw sex can bring destruction in marriage as well...

there is much about what the bible said about this.. is that the only answer to a question like this...
 

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W.A.Mozart said:
if we want to be a God-like beings,we must control our instincts and not only them but also their gifts, desires and all the other features. Sexuality as a gift from God, should be to the glory of God, or to serve for the salvation of man not to enslave us. this sounds simple but it isnt.We should not condemn a man if he or she had sex before marriage, but it is bad  he or she  wants it  at any cost, because it takes the form of idolatry.
Well said.
 

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acts420 said:
No Fathers that I've seen recommend that couples wait until after the wedding ceremony either. 
Please forgive me if this statement has already been sufficiently addressed in this thread.  I admit I haven’t had the time to read each post carefully.  Nevertheless, I did want to pass on a few quotes on the subject from the Fathers, since it seems that such quotes are of interest here.

Below are some canons (rules) from the Holy Fathers which equate sex before marriage with fornication, a serious sin that is considered equal with sodomy and bestiality.  Those guilty of this sin would be deprived of Communion for a considerable length of time, but while the disciplinary measures presented here are uncommonly applied today, the point of presenting the information is to demonstrate that the Fathers did consider pre-marital sex to be the sin of fornication, as typically distinguished from adultery.  No distinction is or should be made between pre-marital sex between dating, courting, or engaged couples, as none of these states represent the binding commitment of marriage (“cleaving”) which is the only lawful context for sexual union. 

http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/canons_fathers_rudder.htm


St. Basil the Great

Canon 26. Fornication is not matrimony, but is not even the beginning of matrimony. So that if it be possible to separate persons joined in fornication, this would be the best course to take. Rut if they insist upon marriage at all costs, let them pay the penalty for fornication, and let them have their way, lest anything should happen that is still worse.

(Ap. c, LXVII; cc. XXII, XXIII, XXV of St. Basil.).

Interpretation.

After allowing those who have been raped before the wedding to contract a marriage in his cc. XXII and XXV, the Saint finally in the present Canon decrees this generally and more exactly, to wit: that as for those men who fornicate beforehand, either with a virgin or with a whore, and after the fornication seek to marry, the truer and better course is for them not to marry, but even if they should succeed in marrying, it is better that they be separated, since it is for this reason that marriage is called honorable and the marriage bed undefiled, namely, because it is free and clean from any previous sin and rape, whereas, on the contrary, fornication and rape are neither marriage nor a beginning of marriage. But if the fornicators themselves will on no account consent to being separated, let them be punished as fornicators, with a seven-year sentence, that is to say, but let them remain unseparated, in order to avoid having any more serious thing happen, or, more explicitly speaking, in order that after being separated they may not keep on secretly indulging in fornication, or, in order that while both of them are united with other persons they may not secretly commit adultery with each other, or in order to keep them from committing suicide because of their being unable to put up with excessive love and separation. Read also Ap. c. LXVII and the Footnote thereto.


Canon 38. Maidens who without the consent and advice of their father run after men are guilty of fornication. But if the parents can be reconciled, the matter would seem to be susceptible of remediation. But they are not to be restored to communion directly; they must, on the contrary, be sentenced to three years.

Interpretation.

The present Canon prescribes that all maidens and virgins who are under the control and authority of their father and run after men, or, in other words, willingly and of their own accord have offered themselves to their lovers, are fornicating and cannot be married. But if thereafter the parents of such virgins become reconciled and consent to let the lovers and ravishers of their daughters cohabit with them, it seems that what happened in the beginning of the affair may be remedied, and that their fornication may be changed into marriage and matrimony. Nevertheless, when men and women do such things, they are not to be pardoned at once and forthwith allowed to partake of communion, but are to be canonized three years.

Concord.

Canons XL, XLI, and XLII of the same St. Basil make it plain that marriages of the daughters and slave girls that have been made without the consent and approval of their fathers and masters, respectively, are to be considered cases of fornication and are to be dissolved. But after their consent has been obtained, they may be validated, and in that event they become true marriages. See also the Footnotes to cc. XXVII and XLII of Carthage.


St. Gregory of Nyssa

Canon 4. As for sins done for the satisfaction of desire and for pleasure, they are divided as follows: It has pleased some of the more accurate authorities, indeed, to deem the offense of fornication to be tantamount to adultery; for there is but one lawful state of matrimony and conjugal relationship, namely, that of wife to husband and of husband to wife. Everything, then, that is not lawful is unlawful at any rate, including even the case in which a man has no wife of his own, but has that of another man. For only one helper was given to man by God (Gen. 2:20), and only one head was set over woman. "That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor," as divine Paul says (I Thess. 4:4-5), the law of nature permits the right use of it. But if anyone turns from his own, he will infringe upon another’s in any case; but another’s is whatever is not one’s own, even though its owner is not acknowledged. Hence it is evident that fornication is not far removed from the offense of adultery, as has been shown by those who give the question more accurate consideration, seeing that even the divine Scripture says: "Be not too intimate with another man’s wife" (Prov. 5:20). Nevertheless, inasmuch as a certain concession was made by the Fathers in the case to weaker men, the offense has been distinguished on the basis of the following general division to the effect that whenever a man fulfills his desire without doing any injustice to another man, the offense is to be called fornication; but when it is committed by plotting against and injuring another man, it is to be called adultery. Copulation with the lower animals, too, and pederasty are considered to belong to this class of offenses, because they too are a sort of adultery, or in the nature of adultery. For the wrongfulness consists in infringing upon what belongs to another or acting contrary to nature. This division, then, having been made also in connection with this kind of sin, the general remedy for it consists in the marts becoming purified and being made pure as a result of regret for the passionate madness for such pleasures. But inasmuch as no injustice has been made admixed with the sin of those polluting themselves by fornication, therefore and on this score the length of time fixed for the return of those tainted by adultery has been double that fixed for the other forbidden evils. For, the penalty for copulation with lower animals and for the madness practiced upon males has been doubled, as I have said, because such cases involve one sin consisting in the enjoyment of a forbidden pleasure, and another sin consisting committing an injustice with what belongs to another man, after the manner of abusing another marts wife. The difference between cases testing upon repentance, and offenses committed for the sake of pleasure amounts to the following. For any man who on his own initiative and of his own accord proceeds to confess the sins, the mere fact that he has condescended on account of secret acts to become an accuser of himself as a result of an impulse of his own, is to be considered proof that the cure of the disease has already begun, and since he has shown a sign of improvement, he is entitled to kinder treatment. One, on the other hand, who has been caught in the act of perpetrating the offense, or who has been exposed involuntarily as a result of some suspicion or of some accusation, incurs an intensification of the penalty, when he returns; so that only after he has been purified accurately may he then be admitted to communion of the Sanctified Elements. The canon, therefore, is such that as for those who have polluted themselves by fornication, they are to pray along with kneelers for three years in a state of return, and are then to be allowed to partake of the Sanctified Elements. But in the case of those who have made better use of their reversion and life and are showing a return to what is good, it is permissible for the one entrusted with the management of the matter, with a view to what is of advantage to the ecclesiastical economy, to reduce the length of time of listening and to allow a quicker reversion’, and again he may even reduce the length of time and allow Communion to be administered sooner, as he may by actual test be persuaded to approve the condition of the person under treatment (Matt. 7:6). For precisely as it has been forbidden to throw a pearl to swine, so too it is a piece of absurdity the man in question of the most precious Pearl through indifference and insistence upon purity. A transgression committed after the manner of adultery, or, in other words, after the example of the other kinds of filthiness, as has been said previously, shall be treated in all respects in the same way of judgment as is the abominable sin of fornication, but the length of time shall be doubled. But the disposition of the person being treated shall be observed in regard thereto, in the same manner as in the case of those who have allowed themselves to be polluted by fornication, so that sooner or later they shall be allowed the privilege of partaking of the essence of the good.


St. John the Faster

Canon 12. Upon every Monk or layman that has committed fornication we impose exclusion from Communion for two years, provided he consents to submit to xerophagy after the ninth hour and to do two hundred and fifty metanies; but if he neglects to do so, let him fulfill the whole term fixed by the Fathers.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes every monk or layman that fornicates even once to abstain from Communion for two years and every day to do two hundred and fifty metanies, and after the ninth hour of every day to confine himself to xerophagy, or, more explicitly speaking, to the eating of bread alone and the drinking of water alone; but if he should neglect or refuse to do this, let him abstain from Communion for as many years as the divine Fathers have fixed. See c. XLIV of the 6th, c. XXII of Basil, and c. XVI of the 4th.


St. Nicephorus the Confessor

Canon 35. Any man who even once only has committed fornication ought not to be made a priest, even though he has given up the sin. For Basil the Great asserts that such a man cannot be made a Priest even though he bring dead men back to life.


St. John Chrysostom

Homily XXXIII on the Epistle to the Hebrews
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf114.v.xxxvii.html?highlight=undefiled#highlight

“Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your conversation be without covetousness: being content with such things as ye have.”  See how large is his discourse concerning chastity. “Follow peace,” he said, “and holiness; Lest there be any fornicator or profane person” (Heb 12:14); and again, “Fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Heb 12:16) In every case, the prohibition is with a penalty. “Follow peace with all men,” he says, “and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: But fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”

And having first set down “Marriage is honorable in all men, and the bed undefiled,” he shows that he rightly added what follows. For if marriage has been conceded, justly is the fornicator punished, justly does the adulterer suffer vengeance.
Of course, much else could be provided, but the matter should be very clear to anyone who reads the Scriptures or the Fathers.  The Scriptures clearly speak affirmatively about sexual union (becoming one flesh) only within the context of marriage, or of “leaving and cleaving”.  The Scriptures and the Fathers distinguish between adultery and fornication, with adultery generally describing sexual acts between two people where one or both are already married to another person, and fornication pertaining to nearly every other kind of sexual activity by an unmarried person or between unmarried people, from pre-marital sex to masturbation, sodomy, pederasty, etc.  This distinction between fornication and adultery is reflected in the Scriptures, for instance in St. Paul’s letter to the Galations where he says:

Galations 5:19-21

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before , as I have also told you in time past , that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The Scriptures also are very clear that through the sexual union, a man and a woman become “one flesh”, such that to become one flesh with any person who is not one’s spouse, who one does not intend to “cleave to” forever, is indeed a great sin, that of fornication. 

St. John Chrysostom, Homily LXII on the Gospel of St. Matthew
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.LIX.html

How then doth He answer them? “Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh? So that they are no more twain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

See a teacher’s wisdom. I mean, that being asked, Is it lawful? He did not at once say, It is not lawful, lest they should be disturbed and put in disorder, but before the decision by His argument He rendered this manifest, showing that it is itself too the commandment of His Father, and that not in opposition to Moses did He enjoin these things, but in full agreement with him.

But mark Him arguing strongly not from the creation only, but also from His command. For He said not, that He made one man and one woman only, but that He also gave this command that the one man should be joined to the one woman. But if it had been His will that he should put this one away, and bring in another, when He had made one man, He would have formed many women.

But now both by the manner of the creation, and by the manner of lawgiving, He showed that one man must dwell with one woman continually, and never break off from her.

And see how He saith, “He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female,” that is, from one root they sprung, and into one body came they together, “for the twain shall be one flesh.”

After this, to make it a fearful thing to find fault with this lawgiving, and to confirm the law, He said not, “Sever not therefore, nor put asunder,” but, “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

But if thou put forward Moses, I tell thee of Moses’ Lord, and together with this, I rely upon the time also. For God at the beginning made them male and female; and this law is older (though it seem to have been now introduced by me), and with much earnestness established. For not merely did He bring the woman to the man, but also commanded to leave father and mother. And neither did He make it a law for him merely to come to the woman, but also “to cleave to her,” by the form of the language intimating that they might not be severed. And not even with this was He satisfied, but sought also for another greater union, “for the twain,” He saith, “shall be one flesh.”

Then after He had recited the ancient law, which was brought in both by deeds and by words, and shown it to be worthy of respect because of the giver, with authority after that He Himself too interprets and gives the law, saying, “So that they are no more twain, but one flesh.” Like then as to sever flesh is a horrible thing, so also to divorce a wife is unlawful. And He stayed not at this, but brought in God also by saying, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,” showing that the act was both against nature, and against law; against nature, because one flesh is dissevered; against law, because that when God hath joined and commanded it not to be divided, ye conspire to do this.
The fact that a man leaves father and mother and then cleaves to the woman, representing a commitment to remain with the woman forever, precedes becoming “one flesh” with her, is of great significance here.  That becoming “one flesh” with another is involved in the sex act itself and not by mere marriage is clear also from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:

1 Cor. 6:16

What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he , shall be one flesh.
It should be clear from all of this that to unite with one’s girlfriend or even one’s fiancé before marriage is condemned by the Fathers and the Scriptures as fornication, the becoming of one flesh with another person before marriate.  If fornicators wish to marry each other, according to St. Basil’s canon, they should still be disciplined as fornicators even if after becoming “one flesh” they do not “put asunder” this union but rather choose to marry rather than to commit further fornication by separating and uniting with others.  That those who have not “cleaved” through marriage sin by uniting in the flesh prior to cleaving should be obvious since without the “cleaving” of marriage there is little assurance that those united in the flesh will remain together afterwards, which may set both parties up for putting asunder the union of the flesh and committing further fornication with others in the future.  If two people say that they intend to “cleave” and therefore their pre-marital fornication with each other is not condemnable, they deceive themselves because if they truly intended to “cleave” in marriage then they would crown this intention with action and proceed to the “cleaving” in order that such a union of the flesh would be lawful and without sin.

To use the Song of Solomon to justify pre-marital sex is a particularly strange venture for a Christian, as the New Testament is very clear about this issue, and that which was permitted by condescension in the Old Testament is shown by the New Testament to be not in accordance with God’s will.  If one wishes to discard the New Testament and return to the Old Testament as a basis of determining what is or is not considered sexually immoral or in the category of fornication, one could just as easily justify polygamy along with pre-marital sex. 










 

Quinault

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Sexual compatibility is simply an excuse people use to make premarital sex OK. I lived a fairly wild life before I met my husband, I did things I am not proud of and I was not a virgin when we wed. I am sad that I simply gave away an aspect of myself because I could. My husband was a stronger person and came to our relationship completely pure despite being a gigging musician.

My husband and I dated or "courted" for three years. In those three years we didn't even come close to having sex. We waited until our wedding night to have sex for the first time. I had plenty of people asking me about sexual compatibility. How could I know it would "work" if I didn't try things out? My answer then is the same as it would be now;

1) We have compatible working sexual parts.
2) We have the rest of our lives to perfect sexual compatibility.

If the sex life in a marriage isn't mutually satisfactory then the couple needs to COMMUNICATE to make it better. You tell each other what you like/dislike and what you want/don't want. Sexual experience doesn't necessarily mean sexual pleasure. If there is an issue with the marriage bed it is often a symptom of poor communication. Sex is the icing on the cake of marriage. If the icing is falling apart then it could be a sign that the foundations of the marriage are crumbling beneath.

And other than the 2 deployments in 3 years I haven't had any disappointment with our marital bed. I didn't need a test drive to know that this was a union that would work quite well.
 

Doubting Thomas

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Quinault said:
Sexual compatibility is simply an excuse people use to make premarital sex OK. I lived a fairly wild life before I met my husband, I did things I am not proud of and I was not a virgin when we wed. I am sad that I simply gave away an aspect of myself because I could. My husband was a stronger person and came to our relationship completely pure despite being a gigging musician.

My husband and I dated or "courted" for three years. In those three years we didn't even come close to having sex. We waited until our wedding night to have sex for the first time. I had plenty of people asking me about sexual compatibility. How could I know it would "work" if I didn't try things out? My answer then is the same as it would be now;

1) We have compatible working sexual parts.
2) We have the rest of our lives to perfect sexual compatibility.

If the sex life in a marriage isn't mutually satisfactory then the couple needs to COMMUNICATE to make it better. You tell each other what you like/dislike and what you want/don't want. Sexual experience doesn't necessarily mean sexual pleasure. If there is an issue with the marriage bed it is often a symptom of poor communication. Sex is the icing on the cake of marriage. If the icing is falling apart then it could be a sign that the foundations of the marriage are crumbling beneath.

And other than the 2 deployments in 3 years I haven't had any disappointment with our marital bed. I didn't need a test drive to know that this was a union that would work quite well.
Very good points.
 

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times are different my friend. in the early days the orthodox population was NOT 300 million... bishops did not have nearly as much responsibility and so they could still 'submit themselves to their wives'. however, what kind of a husband will travel all the time visiting all different churches in his duristiction having almost NO time for his wife? i do not think he can truly submit himself to his wife and so, the church would rather have the bishop not marry rather than marry and be in direct violation of the word of God :)

also, he is married to the church and he submits himself to her :)
 

ignatius

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Grace and Peace,

I'm confused... If we commit adultery if we even look on a woman to lust after her, then we have already committed adultery. What is adultery? To argue that relations with a woman outside of marriage isn't wrong... I don't know what adultery is?

You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart. ~ Mat 5:27-28

I'm very sorry that you had a bad experience with your first marriage and because of that experience you feel you need to blame this teaching for ruining your marriage but I think you're overreaching.
 

Daedelus1138

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   I've read similar things to what Mr. Acts is saying among some Anglican writers.  I believe he would be happier there, though in Anglicanism the attitudes to premarital sex differs widely, on the whole you will find few clergy people endorsing a "try before you buy".   I have an online friend who is a fairly liberal Episcopalian priest (favors the blessing of gay unions) and yet I doubt he would be very OK with making up an endorsement of premarital sex.  Unlike Orthodox though, Anglicans are very much into questioning traditions and trying new things, whereas Orthodoxy favors consensus... avoiding scandalizing the faithful, and strong continuity across time and space.

One tragedy doesn't make a norm.   I think Mr. Acts situation is a pastoral issue.   The whole point of the rules in any church focused on penintence, is to learn we cannot live by rules.  Live by grace and not the law.  The Baptist tradition sometimes focuses on outward conformity but this is the least thing that we should be focused on as Christians, this grace has to be extended to others in forgiveness and suspending judgement, which is why there are rules- to learn that if God should count iniquities "who could stand?".  Wheather any particular sin leads to guilt and condemnation is a pastoral issue too, since God does not reward us according to what our sins deserve- he deals with us as unique persons and knows our weaknesses.  

  I know what it is to feel hurt, and to feel maybe a response you are getting from the Church is not particularly sensitive, sometimes i have felt in the past even a bit frustrated at the Orthodox Church in my quest.  But one thing about the Orthodox tradition, my pain and sorrow are welcome there.   In Orthodoxy life is always touched by sadness, you see it in the icons, its a reminder of the fact we live in a world tarnished by sin.    The Fathers of the Church say a life of "ceaseless mourning" is not uncalled for.   In a sinful world, we all have crosses to bear.
 

Daedelus1138

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Quinault said:
Sexual compatibility is simply an excuse people use to make premarital sex OK. I lived a fairly wild life before I met my husband, I did things I am not proud of and I was not a virgin when we wed. I am sad that I simply gave away an aspect of myself because I could. My husband was a stronger person and came to our relationship completely pure despite being a gigging musician.
 That's OK just realize not everybody feels the same way.    I myself, well, i'm a 35 year old virgin and have deep regrets about it.  I have Aspergr's syndrome, for me my virginity is a sign of social failure.  It grieves me.   You can talk all you want about virginity being a blessing but...  I don't feel it.  It cuts me off from most people for one thing, and hardly makes me any holier.   Its one thing for teenage kids or young adults to just give their virginity away casually, its another thing to tell somebody in their thirties that premarital chastity is some kind of bliss (I've had that happen from well-meaning Christians).   Be realistic:  people can potentially have alot of regrets with them in life, regardless of what we choose.

  I don't believe that the Patristics are totally wrong about sex but, they lack the experiences we have had in a millenium and live in a very different culture.  I believe in our present culture their views of sexuality are not completely realistic.  The Church should not be in the business of being a  counsellor, therapist, or sexologist for that matter.  Ones spiritual life is distinct from ones psychological life and the two must be delt with differently, sometimes concessions must be made in the name of keeping the total person in balance.
 

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Daedelus1138 said:
Ones spiritual life is distinct from ones psychological life and the two must be delt with differently, sometimes concessions must be made in the name of keeping the total person in balance.
In Orthodox spirituality we believe we are single body-soul-spirit beings. We cannot be reduced to separate elements.

Since we are spiritual beings, that aspect of our lives is affected by all the others, and so, everything is spiritual. Because of this, the Church absolutely has the right—and obligation—to tell us how to live our lives.

Furthermore, the Church does not lower her standards simply because our culture is going all to hell. The Church is in the business of saving souls, not necessarily making us happy or giving us what we want. Heaven knows there are things I desire that the Church has determined are not good for my salvation, and that's what this life is all about.

We can "eat, drink and be merry", but tomorrow we die, and that is when we'll find out whether we used our lives wisely. There are a lot of people who are having a lot of "fun", but it's actually destroying their souls. And as hard as it is to sit on the sidelines of life while others are living it up, it is far better to do what pleases God, because God is who we'll be facing on that Day.
 

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Daedelus1138, you are mourning the idea of something. You don't actually have any evidence that losing your virginity at an early age outside marriage is a positive thing. I have twin brothers that are 37 and virgins. One has the symptoms of Aspergers due to some birth complications. He has all the symptoms/signs/behaviors of Aspergers due to prematurity, oxygen poisoning and other complications. His twin didn't suffer the same side effects from the complications. It is more like he acquired Aspergers rather than having it genetically. The effects are the same, but can't be assisted with any medications to manage the symptoms since his symptoms derive from lack of sensory/brain ability. Both of my brothers struggle with the same issues regarding sex/sexuality and modern culture.

It sounds like you should seek counseling on your feelings rather than think that the secular world view of sexuality is better. Your issues with it have as much to do with do with the current cultural ideas of sexuality and sexual health as anything. The sexual climate of today is not more lax than the society that people have dealt with in the last 2,000 years off and on. We like to think that today is the pinnacle of sexual depravity, but it really isn't close to certain other eras. The words on sexuality by church fathers/mothers shouldn't be discarded completely because "they just don't understand." That is a complete cop-out. Even pornography isn't a new innovation.
 
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I think we're being a bit unfair on Daedelus.

Let us not forget that the church's preference is for all of us to marry young and start experiencing our sexuality thereafter if we feel a calling to the married life. Paul and the fathers are clear that one of the purposes of marriage is to create healthy conditions for the expression of sexuality.

Being single and/or virginal in the world can be a great cross to bear. Virginity can manifest as a feeling of rejection rather than a state of exaltation. It can feel like, if everyone else is worthy of the intimate touch of another, what is so wrong with me that I am not?

I agree that part of the pain of singleness/virginity comes from buying in to secular logic about sex and its place in our lives, but I think there is also an element of that pain which is simply human.

I am not the first person to point this out, but right now, many of us Orthodox Christians are living in a (sub)culture which has one foot in the Christian tradition and the other in the secular ethos. None of us want our children committing fornication, but how many want them marrying at 18 or 19? I agree that asking someone who is not a monk and not married to remain virgin into their 30s and 40s is probably something we are bound by the force of scripture and the tradition to do, but we should do so acknowledging that this situation is not and should never be normative.

There is very little support for single people in Christian ministry. Everything is about families, families, families. A priest, in preaching on the great blessing that childrern are, can also alienate a person who is longing for martial intimacy and parenthood but just can't seem to make any progress in that direction.
 

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Daedelus1138

Nothing that I say here is meant to imply that I fully understand where you're coming from. I had a different experience, so the most I can do is try to understand (intellectually, if not experientially). I was a virgin until I got married at the age of 23. After that, well let's just say that I swung in the opposite direction and we didn't exactly have a traditional marriage. And at times I regretted waiting that long, and  I wondered what I'd missed. I now find myself at the age of 32 again not having a relationship, and I'm wondering what the future holds. While monasticism itself is not really an option for me, celibacy might very well be the route I go. Somewhat related to what you and akimori have said, I wonder what it would be like to be "single" for the rest of my life. As akimori was saying, the Church does seem to stress family (or if not family then monasticism). I know my situation is different, having been married and experienced all that sex stuff, so I don't really know what you're going through. But for what it's worth, at least in my opinion, there's no need to regret going without a serious relationship (and all that goes with it, including sex), until the right situation comes along. Even if it's hard to accept what the Church says... still, don't despair. Struggles, yes, I can only imagine they'd be natural, not only in an Orthodox culture, but especially in a western culture... but there is light at the end of the tunnel, I think.
 

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akimori makoto said:
Being single and/or virginal in the world can be a great cross to bear. Virginity can manifest as a feeling of rejection rather than a state of exaltation. It can feel like, if everyone else is worthy of the intimate touch of another, what is so wrong with me that I am not?  
 Yes, that's pretty much it.  I come from a WASP protestant background (nominal Wesleyan/Methodist background, coupled with years of unbelief), marriage and family life are normative, but different from the Orthodox ideas:  a spouse is not a procreating outlet for sexuality that fits into a religious ideology or icon for the Church, a spouse is a "soul-mate" that helps you fulfill your purpose in life.  

  It is not just about genital lust, for me even this may not be that important.  Just not having anybody close to me physically/intimately sometimes bothers me.  After years of struggling to get to terms with having people near me and touching me, I'm finally OK with it to a certain extent, and I find sometimes touch helps me stay sane.

I aree that part of the pain of singleness/virginity comes from buying in to secular logic about sex and its place in our lives, but I think there is also an element of that pain which is simply human.  
 I am in the world, I have to deal with being a wordlly person, to some extent, until the day I die.  Maybe sometimes I've entertained the idea of monasticism as an "escape" from this.   I'm afraid this is something if I did, i would hold against God forever, i would not feel I was making a real sacrifice, just accepting something grudgingly.  Not a good place to be.

There is very little support for single people in Christian ministry. Everything is about families, families, families. A priest, in preaching on the great blessing that childrern are, can also alienate a person who is longing for martial intimacy and parenthood but just can't seem to make any progress in that direction.
I struggle with it alot, being upset and jealous at other peoples seeming happiness.  I go to an OCA church full of converts and young families.  I feel like St. Anna lamenting that she's barren to God, looking at the other creatures that seem to be fulfilling their natural ends, exceept for her.  As you said, a great deal of this is not cultural, its just human.  

Thank you for your understanding perspective there.  FWIW, I do go to a therapist about this.   It's difficult to find ones that say unequivocally supporting things about the Orthodox faith though.
 

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bogdan said:
In Orthodox spirituality we believe we are single body-soul-spirit beings. We cannot be reduced to separate elements.  
 But you can certainly distinguish between between these different spheres of ones life.  

Since we are spiritual beings, that aspect of our lives is affected by all the others, and so, everything is spiritual. Because of this, the Church absolutely has the right—and obligation—to tell us how to live our lives.  
 We are not just spiritual beings we have obligations to our fellow human beings, to family, that are beyond those obligations to a religion.   It is true that Jesus Christ asks for alot, to leave family and friends behind if necessary, but my own priest told me that the Church's asceticism should not become an excuse to divest oneself of these responsibilities.   If salvation is saving the whole person, that must also include my relationshps in which i find myself.    Part of the responsibility to my fellow human being and my family is to keep guard over my psychological health, to not live in a way that harms myself psychologically.    And here perhaps the Church does not have the expertise, wheather or not it has the right should not be the issue.

 Heaven knows there are things I desire that the Church has determined are not good for my salvation, and that's what this life is all about. ...  There are a lot of people who are having a lot of "fun", but it's actually destroying their souls. And as hard as it is to sit on the sidelines of life while others are living it up, it is far better to do what pleases God, because God is who we'll be facing on that Day.  
  What about "Christ is risen and life is freed"?   I thought Christ came into the world to redeem <i>this world</i>, not to whisk us away to another one.  I left a religion that I ultimately decided was too often distorted into a nihilistic death cult, despite the lofty claims (Buddhism), I don't see the Gospel as compatible with an otherworldly vision of life at all.   There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid.   Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.
 

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Daedelus1138 said:
  What about "Christ is risen and life is freed"?
We can choose to be free or we can choose to be slaves to our passions.  The Church exists to heal us and help us get back on the path to theosis; which is the ultimate goal for an Orthodox Christian.

Daedelus1138 said:
I thought Christ came into the world to redeem <i>this world</i>, not to whisk us away to another one.
You have to carry Christ's cross to do that.  Your (and our) reward, on Judgment Day, will be the world where there are no tears and everyone walks with the Lamb on their foreheads.  We have to struggle to get there in this world.

Daedelus1138 said:
 I left a religion that I ultimately decided was too often distorted into a nihilistic death cult, despite the lofty claims (Buddhism), I don't see the Gospel as compatible with an otherworldly vision of life at all.   There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid.   Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.
You are creating your own interpretations of Gospel and declaring them as Scripture.  That is doomed to failure....
 

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I can understand how lonely it must feel in a community where there is such a great emphasis on family. But on the bright side, it really does feel like a safe refuge from the world outside, where people often get divorced at the first sign of trouble.

As for premarital sex, it reminds me a little of getting drunk. Sure, it feels great when it's happening. But the next day the guy doesn't call you back, or you get a phone call from the guy's girlfriend who you didn't know existed, or three years later you realize he still never wants to marry you (that's the hangover). It's not that sex is inherently bad. It's a gift! But after years of heartbreak and finally in a happy, healthy marriage, I really believe that any prohibition from premarital sex is not to restrict human enjoyment but to protect us from the kind of heartbreak that we can't even imagine would result from offering ourselves at our most vulnerable to someone who is not absolutely committed to us.

There seems to be some idea in society that losing one's virginity "makes" a man. We have this stereoype of the cool guy who has lots of wild sex and the nerdy guy who just can't get a girl to save his life. But it's really not like that. (My husband was not a virgin when we met, but to this day he's still plenty awkward and nerdy! ;)) Virginity is not just another sign of failure. It's a sign of success!
 

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Daedelus1138 said:
  That's OK just realize not everybody feels the same way.    I myself, well, i'm a 35 year old virgin and have deep regrets about it.  I have Aspergr's syndrome, for me my virginity is a sign of social failure.  It grieves me.  You can talk all you want about virginity being a blessing but...  I don't feel it.  It cuts me off from most people for one thing, and hardly makes me any holier.  Its one thing for teenage kids or young adults to just give their virginity away casually, its another thing to tell somebody in their thirties that premarital chastity is some kind of bliss (I've had that happen from well-meaning Christians).  Be realistic:  people can potentially have alot of regrets with them in life, regardless of what we choose.
What if it doesn't work?
Daedelus1138 said:
We are not just spiritual beings we have obligations to our fellow human beings, to family, that are beyond those obligations to a religion.
Then leave whatever religion that is and become Orthodox.

Daedelus1138 said:
There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid.   Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.
Even the demons have something they call love.

If you were married and felt compelled to cheat on your wife, would you view your marriage as a tyranny, as joyless self-denial? Would you want to avoid your wife in this life and the next?

 

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Daedelus1138 said:
What about "Christ is risen and life is freed"?  I thought Christ came into the world to redeem this world, not to whisk us away to another one.  I left a religion that I ultimately decided was too often distorted into a nihilistic death cult, despite the lofty claims (Buddhism), I don't see the Gospel as compatible with an otherworldly vision of life at all.  There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid. Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.

You have a huge hole in your logic here. That passage doesn't speak of only marital love. And sex is no more love than eggs are a cake. Yes, there are eggs in a cake, but you can make a cake without eggs and it will still be a cake.
 

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Daedelus; you are prescribing yourself premarital sex for your mental health? You are only a catechumen and you are already picking and choosing what aspects of Orthodox theology to adhere to? Are you sure you even want to be a catechumen? Either Orthodoxy is the truth, or you can choose what you want like those in the Protestant church do. Talk to your priest about your struggles, it is obvious that you aren't going anywhere spiritually or emotionally healthy by your current train of thought.
 

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http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Morality-Contemporary-Greek-Theologians/dp/0881410284


someone shoul take a look at this... and read it,as well
 

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HumbledDaily said:
It's not that sex is inherently bad. It's a gift! But after years of heartbreak and finally in a happy, healthy marriage, I really believe that any prohibition from premarital sex is not to restrict human enjoyment but to protect us from the kind of heartbreak that we can't even imagine would result from offering ourselves at our most vulnerable to someone who is not absolutely committed to us.
Just thought that this needed to be repeated. This is excellent and very much to the point.
 

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Daedelus1138 said:
bogdan said:
In Orthodox spirituality we believe we are single body-soul-spirit beings. We cannot be reduced to separate elements. 
  But you can certainly distinguish between between these different spheres of ones life. 
Of course. But you cannot say "This is in area X, therefore the Church has nothing to say about it." We're Christians—the Church has jurisdiction in every part of our lives.

Daedelus1138 said:
  We are not just spiritual beings we have obligations to our fellow human beings, to family, that are beyond those obligations to a religion.  It is true that Jesus Christ asks for alot, to leave family and friends behind if necessary, but my own priest told me that the Church's asceticism should not become an excuse to divest oneself of these responsibilities.  If salvation is saving the whole person, that must also include my relationshps in which i find myself.    Part of the responsibility to my fellow human being and my family is to keep guard over my psychological health, to not live in a way that harms myself psychologically.    And here perhaps the Church does not have the expertise, wheather or not it has the right should not be the issue.
Celibacy (or any other similar thing) will only hurt one's psychology if one becomes so fixated and obsessed with what they can't have that they become mentally ill. The day a person accepts their station in life and lives for God's will instead of their own, it will not become such an overriding need that it interferes with other things.

I don't mean to make that sound easy. That is the struggle of our lives. But it is true. God gives us what we need in his own time. If we attempt to do it our own way, then we're on our own. God will accept us back if we mess up and repent, but it's a lot easier to simply obey from the outset and not become obsessed with what we can't have right now (or ever, in those cases).

One could say the same with a married person. If a married man falls in love with another woman and becomes obsessed with her, it will hurt his psychological health too. His other relationships, especially with his wife, will suffer. But that would be his own doing; it's not the Church's fault for telling him not to commit adultery.

Daedelus1138 said:
What about "Christ is risen and life is freed"?  I thought Christ came into the world to redeem <i>this world</i>, not to whisk us away to another one.  I left a religion that I ultimately decided was too often distorted into a nihilistic death cult, despite the lofty claims (Buddhism), I don't see the Gospel as compatible with an otherworldly vision of life at all.  There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid.  Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.
Christ is redeeming this world, but it will only find its fulfillment after the Second Coming. If we are looking for ultimate joy and fulfillment in other people, including a spouse, we will be sorely disappointed. (I personally believe that's part of the dismal state of marriage today—everyone is searching for The One who will make them happy, but they're looking for a spouse, not Christ. When it gets old, marriages often suffer because it's built on a bad foundation. Marriage is a means for our salvation; it's not some end-all destination, nor is anything else in this world.)

Christ calls us to be his slaves. We can only be free—living the way we were designed to live—when we are slaves to Christ. This is not a tyrannical relationship, any more than a father is tyrannical for stopping his young child from running into the street. God prohibits us these things because they're not good for us. It doesn't matter how joyous and fun they are in the moment, they are not good for us.

You're right about 1 Cor 13. But love does not mean having sex outside of marriage. That is uncommitted lust, masturbation, not love. Love sacrifices, takes pains, makes commitments, etc. Love is about the other, not about the self.
 

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Okay, so technically this isn't an argument FOR premarital sex, per se, but here are some reasons why I don't see premarital sex as being a big deal in modern Western culture. Here's why:

In the time of the New Testament, and indeed for much of human history, marriages were arranged. There was no dating beforehand, no "getting-to-know-you" phase, no living together, no time to really do anything. Marriage had nothing to do with love and instead was an economic union between the two families. Sure, arranged marriages could conceivably blossom into love, but that wasn't the main point.

However, nowadays, in modern Western culture, this type of marriage is inconceivable. Indeed, I can't imagine it any other way, but this is only because I've grown up in this culture my whole life. Now, marriage is about getting to know someone beforehand. The ultimate end goal is being together with someone who makes you happy emotionally (and physically), not necessarily economically.

So, with this distinction in mind, it's easy to see why premarital sex was a big deal in NT times. It completely shattered the union between the two families, especially if you had sex with the "wrong person". Whereas now, there is no economic union to worry about. Now, everything is based on love (supposedly) so having sex with your girlfriend or boyfriend isn't frowned upon. There's no shame being brought on the family, no risk of doing it with the person you're not supposed to marry, etc. As long as it's based in love, I don't see the problem.

Also, birth control has significantly improved in the past couple centuries. Now, chances of contracting STD's are pretty slim, IF you practice safe sex. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but your chances are much lower now than they were in NT times. Having sex then was an unsafe practice. Imagine if we still followed the OT law of not sitting on anything a woman touches when she's on her period. That's ridiculous now, because we have tampons, sanitary pads, etc. The risk is virtually zero of contracting anything if the woman practices good sanitation habits. Same with sex now. We have condoms, birth control, etc.

Now, I'm still formulating my opinion on this which is why I'm awaiting your responses. But as far as I'm concerned, it's like masturbation. I actually seek out things that tell me that practicing masturbation or premarital sex is NOT a good idea. But instead, I get the opposite. Masturbation and premarital sex are completely normal practices, as far as studies have shown. There's really no reason to think otherwise other than outdated beliefs. Please don't mistake me here. I'm not one of those incredibly over-sexed people who masturbates 20 times a day and has one-night-stands with all the women in town. Believe me. That is definitely not who I am. But I simply don't understand how the Church can hold to these beliefs when literally every bit of evidence is to the contrary. Can't the Church abandon beliefs in light of new evidence?
 

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Nigula Qian Zishi said:
So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.
No. I am simply saying that modern technology as well as the type of society we have constructed have made this a non-issue. In NT times this was a big deal. With the advent of "safe sex" and Western cultures emphasis of a "love-based marriage", the original reasoning behind the issuance of this commandment is lost.
 

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RyanS said:
Also, birth control has significantly improved in the past couple centuries. Now, chances of contracting STD's are pretty slim, IF you practice safe sex. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but your chances are much lower now than they were in NT times. Having sex then was an unsafe practice.
Employing birth control happens to cut out one of the major results of sex--having children.

Imagine if we still followed the OT law of not sitting on anything a woman touches when she's on her period. That's ridiculous now, because we have tampons, sanitary pads, etc. The risk is virtually zero of contracting anything if the woman practices good sanitation habits. Same with sex now. We have condoms, birth control, etc.
I'm no expert on Jewish law, but my understanding of such practices was that the motivation had nothing to do with the fear of "contracting anything."

Now, I'm still formulating my opinion on this which is why I'm awaiting your responses. But as far as I'm concerned, it's like masturbation. I actually seek out things that tell me that practicing masturbation or premarital sex is NOT a good idea. But instead, I get the opposite. Masturbation and premarital sex are completely normal practices, as far as studies have shown.
Good luck finding spiritual feedback in academia.

There's really no reason to think otherwise other than outdated beliefs.
You haven't proven that such beliefs are outdated. You have simply indicated that academia has not produced a study that indicates the negative effects of such behaviours.

But I simply don't understand how the Church can hold to these beliefs when literally every bit of evidence is to the contrary. Can't the Church abandon beliefs in light of new evidence?
What new evidence?? The church has 2000 years experience that says sexual behaviour is only spiritually healthy when it takes place between one man and one woman living together in the sacrament of Holy Marriage.


 

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RyanS said:
in modern Western culture... marriage is about getting to know someone beforehand. The ultimate end goal is being together with someone who makes you happy emotionally (and physically), not necessarily economically.
And in Orthodoxy, it's about being crowned a martyr.

Here's a question for you. If Christianity only advocated sex within marriage for economic/social/health reasons, then why did Christ, the founder of Christianity, seek to "unnecessarily" add to this limitation?

"And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, 'Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?' He answered, 'Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.' They said to him, 'Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?' He said to them, 'Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."

For our Lord Jesus Christ, the sanctity of marriage seems to be an issue of the heart, not of money or status.

The Holy Apostle Paul adds,

"Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, 'THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH."

RyanS said:
Now, everything is based on love (supposedly) so having sex with your girlfriend or boyfriend isn't frowned upon.There's no shame being brought on the family, no risk of doing it with the person you're not supposed to marry, etc. As long as it's based in love, I don't see the problem.
What is love?
 
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Dude, I don't mean to be flippant, but can't you see that your entire argument is not an argument for pre-marital sex but rather an argument against modern western notions of romance and love?

Rather than conform the scripture to modern notions of romance, sex and love, we should seek to conform our ideas of romance, sex and love to the scripture. Not in a stupid, fundamentalist way, but in a nuanced and thoughtful manner.

Kh. Frederica Matthewes-Green, as inexplicably unliked as she is around these parts, has the right idea on this matter: asking the vast majority of people to remain celibate into their late 20s/early 30s (which is what we are essentially doing by buying into the modern, western notion of marriage) is both unscriptural and unnatural.

You are comitting a fundamental error by seeking to impose your own mindset on the scripture. Rather, do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your heart/mind/nous.

PS: by the way, every argument you have made is also an argument for homosexual sex -- it, too, is ubiquitous, widely approved of, mostly safe, doesn't cause pregnancy, &c., &c.
 

Jason.Wike

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RyanS said:
Nigula Qian Zishi said:
So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.
No. I am simply saying that modern technology as well as the type of society we have constructed have made this a non-issue. In NT times this was a big deal. With the advent of "safe sex" and Western cultures emphasis of a "love-based marriage", the original reasoning behind the issuance of this commandment is lost.
You're making the wrong assumption that it is based in ontological materialism and reasons set within that context (its for health, its for economics, etc), rather than being the divine order (that is how things are supposed to be, how they were made to be, according to Gods purpose).

If that doesn't make any sense, in other words, you're trying to conform the truth according to your own desires, with a world view that doesn't actually admit a spiritual reality or God which could take precedence over what we want, or understand. And there's all kinds of problems with that.
 

Orthodox11

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It's quite normal that a person moving from a culture where pre-marital sex is not only accepted, but promoted in every possible way to the point of obsession, to one where it is absolutely forbidden would feel the need to rationalise and justify it. I held similar views when I initially encountered real Christianity.

As you immerse yourself more fully in the life of the Church, and try to understand Biblical precepts with a Christian mind rather than a secular one, you'll find that the need to justify modern Western attitudes slowly withers. Until you're convinced, it's better to err on the side of caution. It's difficult, but worth it.
 

SolEX01

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RyanS said:
Nigula Qian Zishi said:
So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.
No. I am simply saying that modern technology as well as the type of society we have constructed have made this a non-issue. In NT times this was a big deal. With the advent of "safe sex" and Western cultures emphasis of a "love throwaway-based marriage", the original reasoning behind the issuance of this commandment is lost.
I had to correct that for you.  Marriage has become a throwaway item in the secular West - people want to call pets "animal companions"; what's next, legal bestiality?  ???
 
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