Monday, March 31, 2008

Single college women and sex...

The New York Times magazine published this article on abstinence clubs at Ivy League schools. Janie Fredell, a Harvard student (and most often cited in the article), insists that abstinence can be argued from a secular point of view. Certainly there is new awareness among secular audiences that perhaps an overly-free-sex culture is not good for women (or men).

Be that as it may, more often than not Christians have been the ones seen as pushing abstinence in sex education and as the sine qua non for non-married people. Teaching about abstinence among Christians fails, I think, unless Christians can talk about abstinence in terms of a virtue - the virtue of chastity. Chastity is a virtue for all Christians, single or married, or divorced, or hormonal teenager. Chastity is the virtue that, in part, reminds us that sex isn't all about ME. I've got to pay attention, at the very least, to the needs of the other person involved. To practice chastity well requires a community of people who agree that chastity is a virtue and who are willing to help each other live that kind of life. It is not the kind of life that a secular culture can sustain - and that, I think, is a great difference between secular abstinence and Christian virtue.

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