First, let me be clear. I am not joking about this. I am being as serious as an atheist who believes that real sin lies only in harming others can be on the subject. For religious readers, if I have any, I hope this encourages thought and dialog. I welcome all serious responses regardless of whether we agree on the topic.
So, here are my points about why I believe abstinence is sinful from both a biblical standpoint and more importantly to me why abstinence only education and the encouragement of abstinence pledges and the like are inherently sinful.
- Many people today believe that birth control is sinful. This is based primarily on Genesis 1:28 which states in part, “Be fruitful, and multiply”. Therefore, even condoms, which prevent sperm from getting to and fertilizing eggs, are sinful. Therefore, anything that prevents sperm from getting to and fertilizing eggs must be sinful. Abstinence performs exactly the same task. Therefore, abstinence is a sin. I don’t actually agree with the interpretation of birth control as sinful based on Gen 1:28. But, for anyone who does, abstinence, the rhythm method, withdrawal, or any other means of reducing the likelihood of egg fertilization, must be equally sinful. Note: It’s also time to inform your priest that celibacy is sinful. Whether your priest keeps his seed to himself, spills it on the ground, or into the hand, mouth, or anus of a choir boy, his non-reproduction is as sinful as using a condom and very much more so if a choir boy or other child actually is involved.
- Next, the dirty little secret is out. Abstinence doesn’t work. Since a great many people find it hard to overcome their hormones, especially raging teen hormones, abstinence often results in unwanted pregnancy, especially teen pregnancy. And, nothing increases abortion more than unwanted pregnancy. Whether or not abortion is sinful is another question of Bible interpretation since it is never ever mentioned by name, despite having been a common procedure throughout biblical times, even predating the authorship of the Old Testament by many centuries. However, since many people today, especially Christians, believe abortion is sinful, anything that increases abortion must be sinful. Therefore, abstinence, and especially abstinence only education, is sinful due to its ineffectiveness at preventing pregnancy.
How do I feel about all of this sinning? Well, as an atheist, my view of sin is only in negligently or deliberately causing unnecessary harm to others. I don’t believe any form of consensual sex among adults is sinful. I don’t believe abortion is sinful. I do believe that policies that increase the need for abortion are sinful. Why? Well, if unintended pregnancy can be dramatically reduced through education and birth control, then not educating people and giving them access to birth control causes them to go through an unnecessary medical procedure. While that procedure is far safer and cheaper for the mother than childbirth, it is far more expensive and risky than birth control.
Now onto real results. Here’s a good article on the success New York City is having with sex education and contraception.
Here’s some information on just how badly Abstinence Education does at preventing STDs and pregnancy.
This next is a lengthy report. However, reading the conclusion is probably a good start.
In fact, this one paragraph of the above article may be enough if you don’t have time to even skim a long study.
The main objective of Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs is to teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage. The impact results from the four selected programs show no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence. About half of all study youth had remained abstinent at the time of the final follow-up survey, and program and control group youth had similar rates of sexual abstinence. Moreover, the average age at first sexual intercourse and the number of sexual partners were almost identical for program and control youth.
That about says it. Abstinence only eduction does nothing except waste our tax dollars.
The Center for Disease Control agrees.
Implications for Public Health Practice: Teen childbearing is associated with adverse consequences for mothers and their children and imposes high public sector costs. Prevention of teen pregnancy requires evidence-based sex education, support for parents in talking with their children about pregnancy prevention and other aspects of sexual and reproductive health, and ready access to effective and affordable contraception for teens who are sexually active.
And now, I’d like to point out that all of today’s views on sinning do not actually come from the Bible. The views come from preachers who interpreted it to say what they wanted it to say.
As for the bible’s banning of contraception and abortion, please someone show me exactly where either is mentioned by name. Both existed in biblical times. Silphium was so popular as a birth control method and for other uses that the plant was harvested to extinction. The first recorded abortion was in Egypt in 1550 BCE, predating even the Old Testament, and from the same part of the world. So, Moses and presumably Jesus and of course God would have been very aware of it. Yet, abortion is never mentioned in the Bible, either the Old Testament or the New. Nor is birth control. And, the authors of the Bible were certainly not squeamish about matters of sex.
They describe incest, rape, homosexuality, and even bestiality. They laid down laws requiring the parents of the bride keeping the fucking bloody sheet (literally on both counts) from the wedding night to prove their daughter’s virginity. The authors were not prudes. Yet, they left out any mention of birth control or abortion. BTW, Adam and Eve had two children. Abraham had two children with different women. Perhaps the commandment to Adam to be fruitful and multiply meant that he should have the number of children he could support adequately, not a huge herd of malnourished street urchins. Many of the biblical matriarchs and patriarchs did not have as many children as even Roman Catholics do today, let alone orthodox Jews who take the fruitful and multiply command more literally than the Catholic church and hence marry young and have sex only when the woman is most fertile. Yeesh!!
So, now that you know that neither birth control nor abortion is sinful, but abstinence only education is very sinful for causing both unwanted pregnancy and abortion, what will you do?
If you’re a parent, will you teach your children the facts of life? Will you keep a drawer with an adequate supply of condoms for them? Will you advocate that your school teach children how to avoid abortions rather than hoping that yours will be among the few who can keep their hormones in check against many generations of evolution prompting them to do otherwise?
If you’re really opposed to abortion, you should try to reduce it by proven effective means of reducing unintended pregnancy. If you oppose birth control and sex education, it’s time to face facts, you are pro-abortion.
I am not pro-abortion. I am pro-choice.
P.S. I hope this post didn’t come out too choppy. I was trying to make a few related points and may not have segued well between them. The points I hope I’ve made are:
- Abstinence is as much of a sin as any other birth control method. Either preventing potential children is a sin or not. Not fucking is no different than fucking with birth control from that standpoint.
- Abstinence only eduction is sinful two ways. First by teaching the sin of abstinence. Second, by being ineffective and thus causing unintended pregnancy and abortion.
- Finally, the perceived sins of birth control and abortion do not originate in the Bible. Any priest or minister who tells you otherwise has either not read the Bible, is ignorant of the existence of both birth control and induced abortion in biblical times, or is lying.
P.P.S. If anyone doesn’t understand the reason I felt the need to write this post, this is it in a nutshell. It’s all about people like Pat Fagan who ignore the basics of biology and post lies regarding human history to further their delusional beliefs and to enforce them on others. Pat, birth control has been around and in wide use since centuries before Christ. So has abortion. People are biological organisms, not robots.