Church of God, New World Ministries

Love, Marriage And Sex - Part Seven

Dating – and Teenage Morality

Dating procedures have undergone radical changes in the past 75 years. But has it been beneficial progress – or has dating become a lost art?

What about going steady? What about “necking,” “petting,” premarital sexual experience? It’s time to come truly up-to-date with the facts and with the truth!

Let’s have reasons, for or against, that are rational and that make sense!

First, look at today’s teenage world. Realize how it has changed! Not only is a moral revolution in cyclonic progress around the world; there also is a teenage revolution. It is, of course, a large part of “the New Morality” as a whole.

There are those who, in their self-confident uniformed optimism, assure us that today’s adolescents are no different – and certainly no worse than those of past generations. But the facts prove otherwise.

Human nature is the same. But we simply live in a different world today. The emergence of the phonograph, the automobile, the motion picture, radio, television, cell phones, computers, social media, and other productions of the machine age, have brought new influences and changing customs. Human nature, adapting to changing times, expresses itself very differently today.

Some would hush up the naked facts. But the welfare of today’s youth is at stake. Adolescents, drifting with the immorality tide, are speeding past their elders in the downward plunge. There is a trend. It is an immoral trend. It is speeding up at accelerated pace. It is only natural for young people to follow the trend. They want to belong. It’s time to face the facts squarely.

People are like sheep. They all follow the leader to the slaughter. But they don’t know they are being led to the slaughter. They are just a little stupid. Yes, quite a little! But they still want to belong! It’s natural to just go with the group.

Few people stop to realize to what extent teenagers have taken over. They pretty well dominate the world picture.

Isaiah foretold this day. Here is a portion of the prophecy: Speaking of our people – today – in these very last days – God says: “And I will make boys their princes (Moffatt translates it, “I will make mere lads their leaders”), and babes shall rule over them, the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the base fellow to the honorable. My people – children are their oppressors the daughters of Zion are haughty” (Isa. 3:4-5. 12, 16), continue with Moffatt: “holding their heads high as they walk, and ogling with their eyes, walking with their mincing steps” (v. 16). And this latter expression, about ogling eyes, when properly translated, actually refers to painted eyes, makeup on the face, and sensuous manner of walking to arouse boys.

Now look at the facts! Who determines what popular music is today? The teens. Adolescents determine dancing trends, motion-picture themes, radio formats and even advertisements and most fields of entertainment!

What many do not realize is that this teenage influence on the whole society is predominantly sexual influence. There is much more intense preoccupation with sex during these years than in later maturity.

Therefore, sex became the basic formula for motion pictures – along with violence and crime, including murder.

Teenage morality and respect for decency have plunged to an all-time low. Many youths express the attitude that there is nothing wrong with illicit or promiscuous sex. And why?

Take one typical example. A 19-year old boy had been in a certain town only six months. He named to police 11 girls with whom he had engaged in illicit sex. Many from “the best” families. “You can ‘make’ almost any girl in town, on your first date,” he said. In this particular scandal, which got into the newspapers, revealed facts were significant.  Of all involved, not one had received any formal sex education – boys or girls. Every boy had engaged in premarital sex before age 15. Not one was close to either father or mother. The police chief exclaimed that it was too bad he was unable to take a horsewhip to the neglectful parents!

One of the mothers white-washed herself of blame, saying: “You can’t blame me for Janie’s predicament! Why, you can rest assured she never learned a thing about sex in my house. The word was never even so much as mentioned!” Duh!

The fast-growing surge of teenage immorality, drugs and violence is worldwide! Accompanying sexual promiscuity, news dispatches pile up an avalanche of reports of wreckage, destruction of property – especially schools – pillaging, arson, violence and often murder!

 There are facts and statistics on teenage immorality and juvenile delinquency to fill an entire book many times over. But why? What is the cause? The world doesn’t want to hear the true answer! The world refuses to face the tragic truth!

The true answer is this: Something has been taken away from this earth that sorely needs to be restored! That “something” is knowledge of, respect for and obedience to the government and the law of God!

But will any like that answer? Most want to go on rebelling against their Maker, trying to find some other solution to their problems. There is no other!

Once there was peace, happiness, orderliness, joy, on this earth. You don’t have to believe it, but it’s true. Angels inhabited the earth. The Almighty God had placed a top-ranking archangel, Lucifer, to administer the government of God on the earth.  Lucifer was a brilliant cherub. He sealed the sum total of wisdom and beauty. It went to his head. He became vain. Vanity gripped him. His mind swelled with resentment because he ruled only this earth – a mere speck in the universe while God ruled all the universe.

A third of the angels, sometimes symbolized in the Bible as stars, followed him in warlike aggression to knock God off His throne, and take over the universe rule (Rev. 12:3-4). But they were driven back to the earth. Physical chaos struck the earth as a result of this stupendous mutiny. In six days God restored the earth, and created mankind upon it (Ps. 104:30).

God made man mortal, of material substance. But He gave man mind power. When man chose to disobey God – to do evil – his mind became hostile toward God. He imbibed Satan’s attitude of selfishness and rebellion. This became human nature. Human nature includes the attitude that had become Satan’s (Lucifer’s name now changed to Satan).

Human nature is a pull, like the power of gravity, in the direction of vanity, greed, self-love and spirit of competition, hostility, indifference, resentment or hatred toward others. That is man’s natural attitude and tendency. It is a constant pull on man in that direction. It is the way that comes naturally. Because a subtle Satan, still on earth’s throne, begins injecting that attitude during the first year of infant life.

Let’s understand the real basic reason for these present problems. Basically, it is simply human nature. Yet God endowed man with mind power, capable of recognizing the error of this way, if willing. Adam could have obeyed God, resisted Satan and qualified to replace Satan as earth’s ruler, administering the government of God. But Adam disobeyed God, succumbed to Satan. His children have done so ever since.

Jesus Christ obeyed God, kept God’s commandments, resisted Satan, never allowed what we call “human nature” to enter Him. He conquered the devil, and qualified to administer the world-ruling government of God. Then He ascended to heaven until it is time to return to rule the earth. The heavens have received Him until – notice it, Acts 3:19-21 – only “until the time of restitution of all things” – that is, the restoring of what had been taken away, the government of God!

That time is almost upon us now! This very outburst of universal violence is one of the signs! “As it was in the days of Noah,” said Jesus, “so shall it be” just before the days of Christ’s return to restore the Kingdom of God, and bring us peace! Just before the Flood, there was illicit sex and violence! It was not thus 80 years ago. It is a time of illicit sex and violence today!

 Can’t we see the handwriting on the wall? Why all this violence – this immorality?

Here is the cause! Human nature – which is vanity – without any purpose, and absence of parental training and discipline.

There is no sense of purpose today. We are told we must adjust to living in a world of problems with no solutions! Nuclear war – the erasure of human life from the earth – appears to be just around the corner – liable to strike us any second, i.e. Iran, Russia, and North Korea’s constant threats.

Young people today are given nothing to live for! No hope! No future! They are more prosperous than ever before. They’re bored! They are rebellious. The spirit of revolt is in the air! They resent all authority! Yet vanity within them seeks to exalt itself! Do you see what is taking place on the campuses of our colleges and universities, in the streets of our cities?

Why do aimless, purposeless, bored, yet prosperous teenagers resort to violence? Said an article in Reader’s Digest: “Boys explode into violence to prove they are grown up. Some, unable to succeed in school seek status through hooliganism.”

There it is - “to seek status” – plain vanity, but minus any constructive or healthy purpose! Their parents have failed! Too many latch-key children, children raising themselves.

 One father said of his boy in police trouble: “It isn’t my fault! Why, I’ve always given him everything he wanted. I can’t understand why he did this terrible thing!”

Yes, this father gave him money. But he failed to give him right teaching, training, a purpose in life, proper discipline, instilling in this boy a sense of responsibility and respect for authority! And he probably denied him love and true father-son companionship! Also, he failed to teach him the truth about sex!

It is not exactly a paradox that millions of teenagers have had considerable sex experience, and yet possess little sexual knowledge. It is largely because of ignorance – or lack of right instruction in the right manner at the right time – which adolescents seek to satisfy curiosity by experience. And, of course, they are “sheep,” and when it becomes a trend – when “it’s being done” – human nature wants “to belong.” So, they go with the crowd – and parents know nothing of it.

Even when growing children and adolescents do receive some formal sex education, it is always presented from the physical, the material and therefore, the sensual approach.

If teenagers had been properly taught what they needed to know about sex, from the very first and second years of their lives, by informed and loving parents, the frightful tragedies of teenage and premarital sex would have been reduced to the barest minimum.

Today, if you tell the average teenager that “necking” is wrong – that it ought never to be indulged in, that it is a definite sin, that it robs his or her future marriage of much of its possible joys, delights and blissful happiness – the young man or woman will probably look at you rather pitifully, wondering how you could be so naοve!

They would probably reverse the truth and exclaim: “Why, where have you been, that you don’t know the facts of life yet? Why don’t you grow up? This is the 21st century!”

Actually, it is the adolescent who is naοve, ignorant and untaught in the truth about the facts of life!

The basic cause of today’s immorality, of course, is human nature. Human nature is the basic cause of all violence, war, crime – all our troubles in this present evil world!

But, as stated in the beginning of this article, human nature expresses itself in different ways, and adapts itself to changing times.

Human nature is, simply, the subconscious pull of a definite attitude of mind. It is the attitude that became Satan’s. It is the natural attitude implanted from infancy by the invisible Satan. It is the attitude of vanity, of self-concern – of lust and greed. It is the attitude of hostility to others, resentment of authority over us.

Of course, the self, as explained before, expands into the “empirical self” – which includes those with whom individual self is associated, or connected. This may include one’s family, his club, his gang, his church, his country. Patriotism is an example of the “empirical self” expanded to include one’s country. But patriotism is expressed in the form of loyalty to country, as opposed to other countries. It includes an automatic hostility toward other countries, either passive or active. The Bible (Moffatt translation) classified this as “party-spirit” (Gal. 5:20) and one of the “deeds of the flesh” – as opposed to the “fruit of the Spirit.”

The natural tendency to want to belong is merely the expression of this phase of human nature. This leads to the desire to want to go along – with those one accepts as his peer group, team, gang or whatever. This nature expresses itself in young people by the natural pull to want to go along with the teens, as opposed to their elders. If the teens have a new custom, frowned on by their elders, then self-associates with the teens, and feels automatic and natural (from human nature) hostility and resentment toward the opposing elders.

Now what about going steady? This started several years ago as an American custom. The custom spread. It is a new trend started by those in the middle and late teens. But when 18 and 19-year-olds began going steady, 16 and 17-year-olds desired to emulate (Gal. 5:20) and to go along. Then 14 and 15-year-olds responded to the pull to go along, and today even the 12 and 13-year-olds are beginning to go steady.

Going steady brings familiarity, and familiarity breeds a certain contempt – in this instance, contempt for chastity, virtue and honor. This going steady is simply the natural response to the pull of human nature. Human nature is essentially lazy. When a boy or girl goes steady he feels assured of dates. The boy is spared the embarrassment of asking new girls for dates, and the possible humiliation of being turned down. The girl feels a sense of security, knowing she will have dates.

The very familiarity of steady dating makes it easier for the boy to make bolder advances in “necking,” and then going on further into sexual intercourse. It makes it more difficult for the girl to say no. It tends to lower bars of resistance, and increases the temptation to carry intimacies to the limit. The fruits of going steady are definitely not good!

 It is one of the most difficult things in the world to convince someone of the wisdom of doing what he ought to do, instead of what he wants to do. But yielding to what one wants to do is surrendering to human nature. It is traveling the road to sin. And sin is man’s greatest enemy, inflicting on him every pain, headache, suffering and anguish he ever experiences. It inflicts unwanted penalties. But, again, it is hard for people to understand why they can’t put their hands on a red-hot stove and not get burned!

Going steady is not good – for those who do it!

Now what about “necking”? Is “necking” wrong? To even ask the question, “Is ‘necking’ wrong? “would sound rather silly to the average adolescent today. Why?

Because of ignorance! Because of wrong teaching, and a lack of right teaching! Because there are some of the facts of life they have not yet learned!

Is the Bible an out-of-date book? If it is, how does it happen that it so accurately foretells today’s world news – so understandingly pinpoints human nature?

It says, “The carnal mind is hostile toward God (Rom. 8:7).” And that is certainly true. Where God says, “Remember,” everyone immediately forgets! When Jesus said, “Think not I am come to destroy the law (Mat. 5:17),” everyone proceeded to think He did destroy it! If God, in the Bible, said, “observe Christmas, New Year’s and Easter,” then nobody would!

God created humans male and female. God blessed humans with the wonderful God-plane marriage and family relationship. God designed sex, to bring indescribable delights and joys with His blessing, in marriage! In His great wisdom, God created men so that sex arousal and desire often takes place more rapidly than in their wives – and He designed women so that they are not physically or mentally prepared for actual coitus until arousal is brought about by the love embrace, by caressing – by the love-talk and endearing words of the husband! In other words, by “necking” and “petting.”

There was vital purpose in this! Had God made women to be aroused by the same means and the same quickness as their husbands, sexual intercourse in marriage would seldom – if ever – be that supreme expression of love that God intended – in order to bind and hold together the marriage and the home and family! Marriage would be robbed of its blessings, of its supreme joys!

But when boys and girls engage in premarital lovemaking, called “necking,” “petting” and even “heavy petting,” it is not the love that binds more firmly that which God has bound for life. It is mere sensual gratification. It is lust, no matter what you wish to call it! It cheapens, tarnishes, corrodes the entire, wonderful experience God intended as a repeated lifelong experience in marriage! And it detracts from, and robs the participants of the full happiness they might have had in a future marriage!

This lovemaking – this “necking” or “petting” – this caressing – is all a part of, and actually the most important part of sexual intercourse in marriage!

Therefore, when indulged in prior to marriage – or outside of marriage-- it is a capital sin!

Teenage custom, does not determine what is sin! College-campus practices do not define right and wrong! Acceptance by society does not decide what is sin! The majority does not determine what sin is!

God Almighty has already determined what is sin (I John 3:4)! God does not allow humans to decide what is sin, but He forces us to decide whether to sin! He has called this Church to lift up its voice and show people what is sin. That is what we are doing here. We did not devise that law, or set it in dynamic, living, invisible motion, God did!

How can you prevent the tragedy of a premarital pregnancy? How can you prevent the disgrace and terrible predicament of venereal disease? By knowing when to stop? No! By simply not starting the “necking’ in the first place!

If it were good for young people, God would have instructed them to engage in it. But sin is not good for people – sin harms people!

In an earlier article, we described how people are drawn into sin. It is explained in James 1:14-15: “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.”

The temptation is not a sin. Sin is when the mind harbors the temptation – retains it – keeps thinking of it – keeps desiring it, until the desire conceives into the action of sin. How does one avoid sin? By not retaining the desire! By pushing it out of the mind immediately!

But to start in the action of sin, and think you can “draw the line” – that you know “when to stop” is to commit sin! The time to prevent sin is before it starts!

This world’s society and its customs are based on human nature – which is to say, on Satan’s ways – and are diametrically contrary to God’s ways!

Go along with the crowd, and you are stumbling along with the other dumb sheep to the slaughter!  Why not stand out from the crowd of ignoramuses and weaklings, as one who has knowledge, wisdom and character! Any old dead fish can float downstream but it takes a live one to swim against the current!

This is not prudish talk. It is not old-fashioned talk. It is intelligent, rational understanding, based on the instructions of the Creator!

What a shame that the adolescents of today were not taught properly by their parents from babyhood!

It is the God-required duty of every parent – a responsibility for which parents will be held accountable in the judgment – to properly teach and inform their children of the facts of sex. This teaching ought to begin while children are still small.

Has dating become a lost art? It would certainly seem to. Certainly, there is no art to the manner of dating today.

It seems young people no longer know what to do with themselves on dates. Perhaps most dates today are spent either in a car, parked by the roadside in a dark and secluded spot, where the time is spent in “necking,” or in sexual intercourse, or else in a darkened motion-picture theater letting their minds drift with a ready-made daydream.

Dating is no longer stimulating mentally, upbuilding socially and intellectually beneficial. It tends not to build but to destroy character. Some dating, of course, is spent at various kinds of dances. Some of these may be invigorating physically and at least somewhat mentally. Some are downgrading and morally and mentally harmful – depending on environment and character and quality of participants.

Dating can and ought to be made a real art. Some thinking and planning ought to go into the preparation for a date. A date should be an event that adds to the mental, social, moral and spiritual character development of both boy and girl. Such a date is so much more rewarding, and leaves a far more palatable feeling afterward. In today’s warped and perverted thinking I suppose that suggestion seems very old fashioned and naοve. But for those who have a little sense and understanding, it would be wise to heed it.

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