Purity Culture from Retro Report

*Shamed Over Sex, a Generation Confronts the Past

This short video
explores the over-the-top “purity culture” and the harm it can cause to young people, especially women. With its laser-like focus on sex and not much else, women are made to feel impure for even dressing attractively. We meet 21-year-old Joshua Harris, who wrote an influential book called “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” which advised young people to not even date before marriage. (Seriously! And 21 years old–we call that a clue!)

Harris grew older and wiser and learned about the harm he had done to women. To his credit, he withdrew his book from publication and met with some of the victims. He even made a documentary called “I survived ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’”

I decided to stream the documentary from amazon prime. watch it here. It was only about 2 bucks and very interesting.
Harris himself was damaged by the harm he had done to others. He had great shame, became separated from his wife, and gave up his faith. But he did genuinely repent of his terrible attitudes.

I think he gets a lot of the heat, but honestly he was a victim himself and barely past adolescence when he wrote that book. It certainly wasn’t just his doing that made that book second to the Bible in some circles. Lots of people should have seen the foolishness of foisting a psychological experiment on a generation as if it was tried and true wisdom.


At the end of the day, if you want a true biblical marriage you let your parents find a spouse for you. Or spouses if you’re a guy.

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It works in some cultures. A healthy relationship is a healthy relationship no matter what cultural constructs around marriage or gender roles come into play. It’s when people spiritualize their favorite cultural constructs and gender roles into the one right way that it gets destructive.


I’d say any time we impose our intellectual constructs on others it undermines any relationship we might have with them. Nothing wrong with aspirational roles that both buy into so long as neither is infantilized in the process.


Arranged marriages are still a thing in some cultures, and can work out well. It only gets to be a problem when young women, especially underage girls, and forced into marriage.

Considering how a woman was property and a marriage was essentially selling your daughter off in a lot of cultures, I have trouble disconnecting that from arranged marriages, nor the fact that a lot of people were probably forced into marriages they didn’t want. And as mentioned above, women were carted off quite young in the past and probably still are in some places.

The libertarian in me objects to the practice despite them working for some people and cultures. I can see how putting an emphasis on a family over individual freedoms is a good thing though. Not a fan of the modern attitude of entitlement as I would call it. I still think a family should give their children a choice, no matter what. Children should also be willing to do what is needed for their parents and family as well. It should be symbiotic.


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Yeah, pretty sucky. I think arranged marriages are fine as long as both parties have the final veto power on the partners chosen by the parents. And remember that even the privileged princesses of Europe were often shipped to other countries to be brides in order to seal political alliances.

Speaking of marrying to forge alliances, King Solomon desperately needed a kill switch!

Im not into marriage not even thinking about it and will probably dissapoint my parents.BUt theres no need to have a "forced marriage"with some woman you dont know that your parent picked up no.Your church might have a considerable amount of women/men that you might find interesting. so you can look there.Or maybe online.There you go a perfectly Christian marriage.I know the bad reputation these "christian singles "sites have though so yeahhh…

I had an ESL student who was a brilliant aeronautical engineer from India. She had an arranged marriage she was very happy with (to another engineer) and she and her husband had a very supportive, healthy relationship. They had both wanted an arranged marriage. If everyone buys in and is socialized to think it is best, it can be best. Like you say, it’s when something is imposed on one party without their consent and without respect to their feelings, will, and humanity, that’s when it’s problematic.


My marriage was arranged… providentially. I chased my future wife around the country for four years (unplanned by either of us!) from Philadelphia to Nebraska to Chicago, back to Philadelphia and then finally to the same church in Connecticut. We were married eight and a half months later. My romantic saying: “It must have been God – I wouldn’t have thought of it!” :grin:


Likewise, I have known many folks from the Indian subcontinent over the years and nearly all have been in arranged (or assisted marriages). As far as I could they’re marriages seemed like healthy, loving, mutually supportive relationships which were at at least as good (sometimes better) than any other marriage in the church.

Not saying all assisted marriages are perfect. No doubt some are unhealthy, toxic, even abusive. However, if one picks out the extreme examples to invalidate the set then we might as well do away with all marriage everywhere since there are unhealthy, toxic, even abusive marriages in every culture.

Initially I balked at the idea of an assisted marriage but came to see that this reaction had more to do with my cultural value set (self-expression and individualistic self-determination) than any rational thought process. Just because I am cultural predisposed to a courtship model of marriage (date, engage, marry, etc.) does not necessarily make other approaches wrong - in and of themselves.

Personally, I wouldn’t arrange a marriage for my sons, but then I wouldn’t necessarily discourage the Indian couples in my congregation from setting up assisted marriages for their children either (assuming the children are onboard, etc., etc. caveat, caveat, caveat).


What is an “assisted” marriage? (as opposed to an arranged marriage?) Is it just a less strong version of “arranged”? As in, the parents had significant input as to who the partner should be, but the couple themselves also had input?

‘Assisted’ and ‘Arranged’ are synonyms in this context. However, in the UK of late, such marriages tend to be referred to as ‘assisted’ (E.g. by teachers, by the Gov, etc.). The simple reason being ‘arranged’ tends to bring up a host of negative connotations for westerns (e.g. coercion, lack of choice, controlling parents, and/or subjugation, etc.) which may not be reflective of how the actually marriage took place.

In my (very limited) experience, those I spoke to were ‘assisted’ in finding a partner by their parents and their parents handled most of the ‘arrangements’. That is, they, with their parents, chose their potential spouse from a pre-approved shortlist (usually of similar social status). One family then contacted the other to begin the arrangements. In time the betrothed met one another’s families, and each other, in a chaperoned environment. The family’s opinions on the suitability of the match were taken into account, alongside those of the individual getting married. etc.


If only our current generation could see the wisdom herein…

Only three? :grin:

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Complicating things is the fact that picking your own mate doesn’t work for many, many marriages.


Yep, the uncomfortable truth is that arranged marriages can be an effective safeguard against the hormone soup that causes people to make bad relationship choices when choosing a mate.

I talked about this hormone cocktail in my valentines day post a while ago:

science (and experience) show that romantic attraction can cause us to make poor choices in the name of love. When we begin to feel romantically attracted to someone, our brains are flooded with chemicals. Specifically, hormones like testosterone (in men), estrogen (in women), dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin. In other words, when we begin dating someone, we really aren’t thinking clearly! It is no wonder then that as we enter a relationship, we can easily minimize, compromise, overlook, or even hide things that we might not in other circumstances. Many of these things could become a source of tension and conflict later on in a relationship. When Couples Collide: Navigating Relationship Conflict Around Science - Articles - BioLogos

Obviously, assisted marriages are not without problems or fault. But having some objective outsiders in the mix does tend to prevent people from sliding into a bad relationship due to romantic infatuation.


Or hurried ones, which is almost equivalent.

I would gladly consider an arranged marriage with a fabulously wealthy man. Line forms to the right!

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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