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The following e-mails I received in 2000 commenting on the article Is Pre-Marital Sex Always A Sin? The e-mailers' comments are in black and enclosed in greater than and lesser than signs. My responses are in red.
>Subject: Is there such a thing as Private Sin?
Hello. My name is Susan _____, Mulvane, KS. I am new to teaching Sunday School. I teach 7th and 8th grade. I am hoping you can stear me in a direction for subject matter on what I really want to talk about this Sunday. I want to challange them to think that even though something is done in private, something wich may only hurt themselves (ie: adultery, pre-marital sex, drug usage, self-mutilation, etc.) acutally hurts everyone.<
Let's see, adultery definitely hurts the spouse that is being cheated on. that should be obvious. Pre-marital sex is an offense against both people's future spouses. Drug use lessens a person's ability to contribute to society in a meaningful manner. And self-mutilation, along with all of the preceding, can lead to physical problems, which society, through higher insurance rates, will have to pay for.
Otherwise, if the person committing the sin is a Christian, then he and she will experience guilt afterwards. And if one manages to "quench" the promptings of the Spirit that the person needs to repent, his/her witness will be ruined. Even if other people do not know about the sin, the person will. And that nagging guilt will be a detriment to Christian service. Remember The Scarlet Letter?
> I read your sections on pre-marital sex and found them very informative, but I need some copy that speaks directly to the fact that what you do in private hurts everyone in your life as it makes you less of a person after God than you could be and consequently can't minister to peoples needs and help others.
Any information would be a great help.
I hope the above helps some. The bottom line is, actions have consequences, whether done in private or public.
> Thank you for your reply. I think your last point,
>>I hope the above helps some. The bottom line is, actions have consequences, whether done in private or public.<<
says it all!
Thank you so much and God bless,
Suze in KS
I found your web site via Dr. Laura's and would like to pose a question that some friends and I have been debating philosophically. I am a Christian, but my viewpoint makes little difference to a Hindu and a Muslim. We all agree that promiscuity is wrong (or outside of some grand design), but for different religious reasons. What we want to determine is the Divine Logic as to why promiscuity is fundamentally wrong. What I mean by this is understanding something fundamentally and philosophically irrefutable about promiscuity.
My example is from Deuteronomy from where God directed the Jews on laws for hygienic reasons (though they could not prove the existence of germs). Even non-Jews would eventually suffer similar hygienic problems if they continually disobeyed these laws. How do you make the case against promiscuity to the non-believers of the world who have not suffered (meaning self-recognized a physical or metal ailment) from their behavior?
The rate of divorce among those who participate in pre-marital sex is much higher than among those who are virgins when they get married. And the high rate of pre-marital sex in our society is probably why we also have a high rate of divorce. Similarly, people who live together before marriage are more likely to get a divorce than those who do not.
Needless to say, there are many emotional and societal ramifications to pre-marital sex. So even if someone has yet to experience emotional trauma from pre-marital sex, they very well could be setting themselves up for it later.
>Subject: Re: "Is Pre-Marital Sex Always a Sin?"
I disagree with a relatively minor aspect of this treatise, which I saw on the Darkness to Light pages.
Near the end of this article, the essay quotes from Numbers 25:
And indeed, one of the children of Israel came and presented to his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Now when Phinehas ... saw it, ... he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body.
In discussing this text, the article says, "Some try to claim the sin of the Israelites here was engaging themselves with temple prostitutes... But temple prostitution is not mentioned neither in the passage in Numbers nor in the Revelation." I disagree. I think that this text very clearly describes temple prostitution. After all, what tent is discussed here?
This is not the man's private domicile, because he was sinning "in the sight of Moses and .. all the congregation" -- in other words, this tent is the tabernacle itself. During this time of the wanderings, the temple had not yet been built, since the nation of Israel had not yet reached the promised land.
The temple was approximated by the tabernacle, which was quite literally a tent. The people weeping at the door to the tabernacle were certainly witnesses -- though it is not clear from just this text alone whether they were weeping at the sin they saw, or the plague God had sent down as punishment for tolerating this behavior (my inclination is towards the latter).
I therefore do not believe that neither this scene nor the quotation in Revelations that cites it are as generally applicable to fornication as a whole as your article suggests.
On the other hand, I would not say that narrowing what they say in any way justifies the other acts, which are clearly covered by Leviticus and Deuteronomy, as your article ably shows.
Pennsylvania State University
(having arrived here a year after Mr. Zeolla left)
Your exegesis is plausible. I guess I just never read it that way. Interesting about Penn State. I assume you're a professor. God bless you. With the way kids are at Penn State, you'll need it!
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