Home » Ethics » Let’s Think About This Practically: A Response to “I Lost My Purity (And I Haven’t Had Sex)” Part 1

Let’s Think About This Practically: A Response to “I Lost My Purity (And I Haven’t Had Sex)” Part 1

It is common to find certain posts on social media that have gone viral. They are usually something provocative that challenges (at least in my circles) the standard Evangelical Christian sense of things, and almost always have some ensnaring title that promises titillation.

I’ve been sitting on this one a while, trying to think of just the right way of responding that will help people recognizes its truths while penetrating its weaknesses. This article, you see, uses a truth as an accidental vehicle for something dastardly. It presents a way of thinking about sin that while technically true from a certain perspective, seems built on some common false notions about sin, and fosters an unhealthy practicality, that, if fully embraced, will worsen the situation it purports to be trying to help.

The article, “I Lost My Purity (And I Haven’t Had Sex)”[1] is well written, provocative, has a titillating title, and advances the true notion that sexual purity is bigger than virginity, fornication, and physical adultery. Who could argue with that? NOT ME, that’s for sure.

The internet has radically altered the sexual landscape from my own impressionable years and, as is the standing pattern for radical cultural shift, the dialogue of the church has not necessarily caught up yet. Just so, the young have a tendency to sit in judgement on the past, lacking any sense of the historical realities facing people living in those days and having a rather weak sense of the long-term consequences of their own good ideas.

She says true things like, “Sexual sin is not the sin of some people, but a sin of all people.” And “ Purity is not the same as virginity. Virginity has to do with our bodies. Purity has to do with our hearts.” This is true to a point… so long as one does not imagine that what happens to the body is inconsequential for the soul, for the mind, for the heart.

She notes, We sin with our eyes, our minds, our bodies, and our loves. We sin when we look lustfully at people whether on the street or in a movie. We sin without seeing anything at all – our invisible imagination is enough to feed our craving for something erotic. Sexual brokenness is a male problem, female problem, gay problem, and straight problem. It’s a problem for virgins and a problem for prostitutes. It’s a problem for the married, the divorced, the singled, and the widowed. The old, the young, the child, the adult – no one is exempt. All sexual sin, whether secret or known, committed solo or with another person, is proof of our intrinsic brokenness and need for restoration.”

She notes that this restoration is to be found in Jesus, and all glory is to go to God, and we are all to find our hope in the salvation from our common sin in the Cross of Christ.

That is excellent.

So, what’s the problem? Am I just being picky to find fault with the larger tone of this article? I don’t think I am being too picky. There is something practical that ekes out of articles like this that proves counter-productive. The problem isn’t in her theological assertions, it is found in her “therefores” in her criticisms of the church, in her villainizing of traditional standards in favor of something she imagines to be better. While acting like she is raising the bar for Christians, she, unintentionally, I believe, eradicates meaningful lines in the sand that have great practical value for life, and proven statistical viability. By lumping all sexual sin into a single pile, by suggesting, intentionally or unintentionally, that sins are not graded or distinct from each other practically, she does not actually raise standards for behavior, rather she raises one’s sense of them so high that they become a practical impossibility, and, as such, must either crush the soul, or fall to practical meaninglessness.

She writes, “According to popular Christian thinking, purity is something that I have that I can lose. I’m born with it, but once I sleep with someone, it’s gone. There’s a problem with this type of thinking: I can’t lose my purity because I’ve already lost my purity – and I haven’t had sex.”

Sounds wise, doesn’t it… but it’s not… not in a practical world where Christians are forced to live ‘til Jesus comes.

Children are non-sexual creatures. If they live long enough most will become sexual creatures. By her definition, I imagine that it is our first sexual thought that steals our “purity” and it’s gone.[2]

Apart from the difficulty this causes with deciphering legitimate sexual existence, with which God created us, from sinful sexual existence, she causes a bit of a problem when she says, “But like with all sin, there is a remedy. There is an answer. There is hope to be made whole again.”

When does this sexual “wholeness” come? In what form? Not in any form that I know this side of eternity, given her definitions of sexual sin. Forgiveness yes, but true purity by her definition??? No.

She even smacks compassionate, saying, “Allow me to speak some hope to my brothers and sisters who have spent years feeling guilty for their sexual wrongs: God does not hate you for your sin. Jesus came for you. Jesus died for you. If you have faith in him, Jesus has made you pure. Yeah, pure. I don’t care if somebody somewhere told you that once you give yourself away you can’t ever regain your purity. You may not be able to regain your virginity, but the Bible tells us that God looks at the heart, not the outside. If in Christ your heart is made new, then in Christ your sexuality is also made new.” [3]

Now… If sexual purity is lost by even one wanton thought, then it is not regained so long as we struggle with wanton thoughts… unless we lose it and gain it again on a minute by minute basis. She surely isn’t suggesting that we get sexual purity back no matter what we do sexually in some once for all restoration of heart that is divorced from our thoughts and actions thereafter… certainly not. So, if not, then what is she really saying about regaining purity? It is rather hazy feel good talk with little practical measure or even orientation.

We can get forgiveness. We can, from this position, and through Christian discipleship dedicate ourselves to changing the way we think about sex, the way we engage in sexual activity, but we do not regain sexual purity in any meaningful sense, and, to be honest, practical meaningful senses are rather important in life. We need something tangible and practical that keeps us from destroying ourselves, our relationships, and the reputation of our God in the real day to day world of flesh and blood human beings… given that her definition of impurity is an impossible standard.

All sin is NOT equal, save in the most vague theological sense. Mental lust is NOT the same as adultery… its ramifications for practical life, while real and, at times, complex, are still different. Homosexual, or even pedophilic, temptations are NOT the same as giving in to those temptations in the real world where others are destroyed, and flood gates are thrown open in our own souls. The very act of striving against temptation is a noble act of discipleship. Greed is not the same as theft, hate is not the same as murder. They may all be sins, they may all leave us vulnerable to various forms of dysfunction, but they are not equal in their practical devastation, and Jesus never claimed they were. One should not say, “Well, you’ve had sex with 500 people, but I’ve had 500 lustful thoughts, so your whoredom is identical to my virginity.” …not in any truly practical way. [4]

So, let’s not forget that, even in Christ, our past continues to affect us, our habits often continue to plague us… and to imagine otherwise shows a lack of experience in the real world.

The author creates a muddle of theology and praxis, but we are still not to the deepest problem with this article.

Stay tuned… I’m not done yet.

[1] https://adrawofthecurtains.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/losing-and-finding-purity/

[2] If one worries what the reaction will be to a loss of virtue in a loss of virginity, [Well, I’ve got nothing left to protect, I may as well have a free for all.] they should be equally worried what the reaction will be to the idea the all hope of purity is lost before we even got out the gate.

[3] It is often the case that people wax compassionate for some, but not for others. In our desire to deliver some people from a perceived injustice or victimization we easily set up situations that victimize others who are not on our compassion radar. Desiring to help the shamed, does she set up a dynamic that injures those struggling with temptation, striving to maintain meaningful practical standards that she disrespects. I fought the fight for virginity and, as part of that struggle, fought to travel roads that preserved purity of mind and body. My practical orientation toward one, was an important anchor in my striving for the other. To be told that all is lost already, but that it wasn’t that big of a deal because there is no such thing as real purity, and besides we have shameless access to a clean slate in Jesus, would not have empowered my struggle, but would, rather, have weakened my resolve significantly.

[4] This is not to suggest that private mental struggles do not impact our ability to exist in wholesome, healthy, intimate relationships… they certainly can. A smearing of all the lines, however, to equalize everyone, to include everyone, to leave everyone in an “I’m okay; you’re okay” state of existence is not helpful.

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