A few weeks ago I met with a group of Christian college students to speak on the topic of Sexual Atheism. Yes, you read that correctly. Sexual Atheism—there is such a thing—and it is most prevalent among Christian college students.
Sexual Atheists on the outside look a lot like Christians. They go to church, read their Bible regularly, listen to Christian music, participate in mission trips, witness, evangelize, testify, etc. But when it comes to their sex life, it is as if they don’t believe in God at all.
Sexual Atheists will completely divorce themselves from their Christian beliefs and participate in whatever sexual activities they choose—whether it be premarital sex, pornography, homosexuality, promiscuity, etc. When it comes to a Sexual Atheist’s sex life, there is little to no conviction at all about the decisions made within relationships with the opposite sex. Sexual Atheists have learned how to emotionally, physically, and spiritually separate their sex life from all other areas of their lives.
As I made my presentation, the college students seemed and even acted interested in what I was saying. But, like in most of my presentations, I try to give my audience members the opportunity to respond to what they have heard upon the completion of our time together. For the sake of time, I asked each college student to identify his/her specific struggle with sexual sin on an index comment card. Because I was dealing with primarily a Christian audience—call me naïve—I was not prepared for the responses I would get on the almost 200 comment cards. A few of them are listed below. I have changed some of the wording to protect their anonymity. Remember, these are CHRISTIAN college students.
“Sex doesn’t seem like a big deal. So why not have it before marriage?”
“I not only notice the opposite sex, but I also look at the same gender. I never act on it, but it seems to enter my mind.”
“As a virgin in this culture, I often feel as though I am unwanted and ignorant. Even among my best Christian friends who have made mistakes and repented. I feel as though I am treated as a child and seen as someone who doesn’t understand the world.”
“I can’t stop masturbating and watching pornography. I also have had sex several times outside of relationships.”
“I am obsessed with finding my sexual identity.”
“I have issues with masturbating, lust, same-sex attraction and pornography.”
“I am struggling with porn addiction.”
“I read erotic books and novels. I look at pornography. I have the feeling of never being loved, so I seek it out in any way I can.”
“My partner pushes the subject of having sex and says we are going to get married anyway so why wait? He says if I really loved him I would have sex with him.”
“I am a sexual atheist. Pray for me.”
Overwhelmingly, the cards mentioned pornography, masturbation, same-sex attraction and premarital sex. Once I returned home from my presentation, what I read on those index cards and the conversations I had with those precious college students haunted me for days. I could not quit crying. My husband didn’t know what to do with me, and for a while I didn’t know how to articulate what I was feeling. And then, it hit me!
I realized that the majority of the students I had met with had grown up in the church. Most of them had Christian parents, they had been through some sort of Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry and now they were in a College Ministry. These were MY KIDS… just a few years older! You see? Parents, we can do everything, and I mean everything (Hello, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar!), to protect our kids. But ultimately we have to trust that we did our very best, that we taught them everything we knew, that we prayed as much as we could, and then we have to do the hardest thing there is to do.
TRUST the Lord.
Trust the Lord to guide their every step, to protect their every move, to protect their hearts and minds. And then we have to do the second hardest thing there is to do.
TRUST our kids.
Trust our kids to make the right decisions. And guess what parents? They will probably make mistakes just like you and I did, because we are human and flawed. What better way to learn the beauty of the cross than to be able to fall at the feet of Jesus and experience His forgiveness, mercy and redemption? We have all been there. As parents we will at one point or another have to watch our children fall at the feet of Jesus too. But there is no other better place for them to fall.
As I was finally able to get myself together after speaking to this group of college students, I concluded that, as the body of Christ, we must get real and be honest about what is happening in this sexually-saturated culture. If we want our children, first, to function in it and then, second, to survive it, we must get our heads out of the sand about the issues that make us squirm.
God’s Word talks about a beautiful design for sex. God also shares with us how to survive sexual immorality and why it is important that we avoid it. It truly is the death of us. Parents, let’s lock arms and let’s get real about issues that are culturally killing us. We will be accountable to God for how we raise our children—and for how we live our own lives, for that matter.
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12, ESV)
We have such a short amount of time with our kids. Let’s make it count for His Kingdom and for the cause of Christ. Who is with me?