By Muzhinga Kankinda
Have you ever solemnly asked your best friend not to read your diary because it’s wrong and they read it anyway in your absence because being your best friend gave them entitlement to do so? Well, this is the same scenario that youth nowadays go through when it comes to the subject of sex.
Sex before marriage is considered as an immoral act in almost all religions of the world. According to the Bible, sex before marriage also termed as fornication is a sin and it is solemnly prohibited in the church because, it defies the body which is the temple of Christ but, what more have the elders done to cement this truth and help people have an in-depth understanding of the topic? Record shows that despite being urged to abstain from sex, youths still engage into sexual activities in secrecy. Why?
The church actually teaches about sex less if they are actually doing it at all. Mostly, you just hear about sexual sin and it’s always the negative about sex like don’t commit adultery, don’t have sex before marriage but, the church doesn’t explain the biological concept of sex. They do not tell you to say actually this thing is a normal process and God ordained it but, you need to understand when to engage in it so most of the youths are left confused hence, making decisions by themselves.
Munandalu Monze, Psychology student, Rusangu University.
Our old folk blessed with grey hair will tell you that a child will only seek to quench the curiosity aroused after being reprimanded without enough reason because he or she seeks justification to obey what he/she has been taught. This is the same challenge that the church faces today because it shuns from in-depth teaching on matters of sex.
The subject of sex is a vast interdisciplinary topic that needs thorough comprehension in order to avoid misconceptions and misunderstandings about it. You need to define it, break it down into its various forms or categories, explain its pros and cons as well as it’s positive and negative consequences. However, the church has failed to give in-depth teachings on this critical topic as many clergy, church elders and deacons; in the church are uncomfortable with the idea of deliberating on sexual matters but, this is why youths do not have a clear understanding of the topic hence, taking the command of abstainence unseriously.
Usually youths are taught that the scriptures warns against fornication but, never explain why. Preachers and teachers of the church should be able to see the need to go beyond what the scriptures says to thoroughly convey the reasons why scriptures speaks against sex before marriage or else risk have youths divert from such lessons because they feel deprived and uncertain of the information being availed to them.
When we walk into church to talk about sexuality, we are constantly advocating for abstainence but, we don’t talk about the real matters that the youths face these days. Then, you realize there is a generational gap between youths and the church coordinators involved in organizing sex education programs. As youths of today, we do not have answers to certain and particular questions that are supposed to be addressed in the church. This is why a young person like me will go to the internet; to TV to find answers. Instead of asking a church elder if masturbation is wrong, I end up typing the question on Google and Google will tell me it’s very healthy and very much okay yet, we know that it’s not allowed in the Bible.
Church leaders should sit down and ask themselves if youths understand the topic of sex properly; think about what exactly youths read about sex and how they view it. We know they are doing their best to tell us to abstain but, there are things that we need them to address from a biblical point of view because each time we talk about such things, we are silenced and we can’t really tell them that this is what is bothering us. We really need to sit down and reevaluate our goals on the matter. Sex needs to be addressed as sex and we need to talk about it.
Rutendo Maturure, blogger and president of RUJA Association
In recent times, sources of education and moral guidance have escalated; religion and culture are no longer the only means by which people seek answers to their clever questions. As a result, loads of contradictory information on sex; from various sources are bombarded on youths at the same time or at different times arousing doubt, deviance and sense of taking self decisions. For instance, the fact that people begin to have sexual urges as early as puberty stage contradicts the fact that this stage is not yet the right time to have sex and this stems questions like why should I feel this way if It is not the right time?. The church should be able to answer such questions in order to help the young men and women with little or no understanding on the matter to acquire this needed knowledge.
Another instance is the fact that religion and science have far different teachings on matters of sex in that the Bible says sex is a gift for married couple but a science school syllabus teaches that sex is a need for every human being just like water, shelter and food; these situations automatically clash on a literal level of understanding. This is why the church needs to come in and clarify issues, explain why sex is a need and a gift; and why a human body begins to change and feel certain urges as one grows up.
Furthermore, we should not forget that the internet is becoming a fast and credible teacher of our children. The fact that we don’t try to create comfortable religious foras where our youths can ask questions about sexual matters freely without prejudice has led to many youths seeking justification for their actions on the internet and what do you know, the internet also has its own views on the topic. Take for instance, the topic of masturbation; all sexual activities without holy matrimony are considered as immoral by the Bible and that includes masturbation but, the internet will tell you that is is very healthy because it is a good way to avoid unwanted pregnancies and contraction of HIV/AIDS and STIs as well as a good way to sexually satisfy one’s sexual urges.
The sex topic in the Adventist church is taught indirectly in what they call courtship and marriage. It however covers little about sex and dwells much on beliefs of someone of the same faith.
“I wouldn’t say they (the church) provide us with adequate information. These topics focus on guiding us to having successful relationships that eventually end in a successful marriage. For clarity sake, I wouldn’t say the church in question is open to discussing sexual matters with youths except for what is provided biblically, which many find monotonous.”
Ollus Ndomu, Chief-Editor at MuAfrica Magazine and Managing Editor at AfricaWorld Newspaper
Truth is if we don’t teach our children about sex in a detailed manner, someone else will teach them; it could be their peers, the internet, movies and books. It won’t matter if the teachings are contrary to what the church or any other religion has taught as long as these other media are able to give an in-depth explanation sex and this is why we have a prodigious number of youth engaging in sex before marriage which in turn leads to early and unwanted pregnancies.
In my opinion, the church hasn’t done much to elaborate on the topic of sex. Yes, we know it’s wrong to engage into any sexual acts before marriage but, what about those that look at it on a biological
perspective, what about those who do not belong to any religion, how do you convince them when they don’t even believe in the teachings of the Church. Simply saying sexual behavior before marriage is a sin isn’t enough. We need to address the dark side of it in order to fully instill understanding in youths.
We need to talk about sexual urges and attractions, body changes, sexual addictions like masturbation and pornography, oral sex, wet dreams, orgasms, sex with and without protection. In fact, I have been to several churches and none of them are comfortable about talking about rape and sexual harassment when we probably have a dozen young men and women that have been victims of these vices and the shocker is that the perpetrators can even be respectable people in church.
It’s high time we started discussing these issues because if we don’t learn in church, we will learn elsewhere and this is why we have youths engaging in all sorts of sexual activities. Let’s talk about why the Bible calls out certain sexual acts as immorality while other sources like educational subjects teach us that is normal, healthy and necessary for our bodies.
The church needs to stop looking at these issues as unchristian and address them as they are. Who knows how many youths will be saved from sin through acts of fornication. Some of us remain silent and keep everything in our minds because we are viewed as weirdos or unchristian when we try to voice out and say what is bothering us. There should be no room for prejudice at church because we are all sinners running to Christ for salvation and when we need help, we should get from the Church without being judged, only God can judge a person.
Muzhinga Kankinda is founder at 100 Mirrors Blog, a lady journalist with vested interest in social issues