Abstinence without Morality?
My sister and I both enjoy bad movies. Not immoral bad movies—low budget, poorly written, badly acted movies with awful plot lines and cheesy special effects bad movies. When she is home for the summer, we often host our own version of Mystery Science Theater 3000 although no one else finds our witty comments nearly as funny as we do.
Recently, she brought Wait Your Turn over to my apartment with the promise of “This may be the worst movie you will ever see” so it was in the DVD player 1.2 seconds later. She was correct. The actors all had annoying nervous habits like swinging their arms incessantly or touching their faces, the dialogue was forced at best, and I’ve seen better camera skills on America’s Funniest Home Videos. To top it all off, it appeared the producers had some problems isolating the actor’s voices so many of the scenes had been dubbed over. From what I could tell the actors had recorded the entire conversation on video, then gone back and tried to say the same things for the audio recording causing many of the scenes to look like an old Godzilla film.
Unfortunately, after I had time to really think about it, I was much more disappointed with the content of the movie than I was the poor way it was constructed. Wait Your Turn, which was made in association with the Fellowship of Christian Filmmakers, was intended to promote abstinence until marriage. It gave the usual arguments—get to know each other for who they are, it’s safer, your relationship will be stronger—but completely left out any mention of a moral reason to abstain from premarital sex. They never said it was wrong, just not the best option logically.
I understand that the makers of Wait Your Turn probably had a desire to see it played in public schools and wanted to make sure it didn’t have any religious overtones as God and church were not mentioned in the entire movie, but simply saying “your relationship will be better without sex” seems like a really bad strategy. The arguments are completely contrary to natural desire while offering no real reason to abstain other that the risks of disease and relationships based on nothing deeper than physical attraction.
I tried to think of a non-religious way to present the moral superiority of a sexually pure lifestyle and all I came up with was tracing the monogamous practices of humans throughout history in order to prove that it is part of our built-in moral code. In doing so you might be able to provide evidence that mankind knows premarital sex to be forbidden in much the same way we naturally understand murder and theft to be wrong. This would probably be a poor strategy as all evidence is anecdotal and I’m pretty sure there are just as many counter-examples, but at least it attempts to give an explanation for an otherwise unreasonable request to go against your body’s natural desires.
My conclusion is that the problem is much deeper than just finding an acceptable strategy to promote sexual purity. The problem is that modern society has largely rejected the idea of moral absolutes and, therefore, will not accept morality-based teaching. Convincing people that Biblical beliefs are the safest or the easiest is unbelievably difficult and laughable at times, but convincing them that there is an absolute moral code is a necessity.