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Is Chastity Obsolete?

I do not see virginity, chastity, or marriage as things which will disappear but rather that they will endure and triumph.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony
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California Farmer 237:5 (Oct. 7, 1972), p. 27.

A recent article on sexual morality declared that we are in the midst of a sexual revolution which is calling into question moral standards which a generation ago most Americans were in agreement about. Now something new has supposedly appeared—a contempt for virginity, premarital sexual intercourse, babies born out of wedlock and the mothers brazen about it, and so on. The article has one major defect. It is rubbish.

I have lived a few decades, enough to have seen the same things advocated in every one of them. I have read enough books to know that powerful movements in the United States championed all those things in the last century and in Europe back through the centuries. I refuse to believe that suddenly the sky is falling and that our moral standards are changing. I recall reading books and articles saying the same thing many years ago. I also recall that, as a student, I heard the same story all the way through school.

In my opinion, in some areas we have greatly improved, and in other areas, we have declined somewhat. The basic problem, however, which all these writers forget is that in every age, sin has always been popular with sinners. In every age, sinners act as though they newly discovered sin and that it is some kind of gold mine to make mankind free and happy.

Adam and Eve thought that they had stumbled onto a great new thing when they first sinned, but it was far from original even with them. The devil had discovered it first. Adam and Eve also thought that it was a great cure-all which would make them gods and enable them to determine right and wrong for themselves (Gen. 3:5).

Adam and Eve found that their new freedom was in reality slavery, and the sinners of every generation find that their supposedly new and exciting sin is simply the old slavery.

In 1922, when men were talking about the new freedom to sin, that delightful cynic H. L. Mencken expressed his doubts about the whole matter. He regarded the matter as more talk than reality. In his later years, when the Kinsey Report was published, he added, “I see nothing in the Kinsey Report to change my conclusions here. All that humorless document really proves is: (a) that all men lie when they are asked about their adventures in amour, and (b) that pedagogues are singularly naïve and credulous creatures.”

The matter is more serious than that, of course. But the truth is that sin is always popular with sinners, whether they sin in thought or deed. It has always had its press agents to promote it and to spread the idea that sin is the new way of life. In reality, the God-ordained family has prospered in every generation, and it is doing so today. I do not see virginity, chastity, or marriage as things which will disappear but rather that they will endure and triumph. Sinners since Adam and Eve have thought that their way means a new world. They find instead that it destroys the only real world there is, and it destroys them also.


R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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