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Fornication – What’s the big deal?


I am an atheist. I go to church every week to stay on my parents’ good side. The above question is one I find myself asking quite often and this week’s sermon on 1 Corinthians 6:9-20 raised the same topic.

Confession: I am a fornicator. I am an 18 year old girl and I’ve been getting it on with my boyfriend since I was 16, despite my Christian upbringing and Christian education.

As a fornicator, I was angered by what the speaker had to say. He (no female speakers at my church) described those who are involved in sexual immorality as slaves to sin, as addicts. If you’re not doing it in the godly covenant of marriage, you’re a slave to the devil. This seemed to be consistent with the Bible. He mentioned Romans 6:20, where it talks about how non-Christians are slaves to sin.

The sermon made me think of Mark Driscoll’s neat little alliteration about sex: it is either god, gross or gift. You can watch his sermon here. I certainly don’t think sex is gross, and I don’t believe it’s a gift from God. Fornicators like me end up in the category of “god.” According to Driscoll, this means I am a slave to my sexual desires – it’s everything, an obsession. It’s my identity. Again, I am offended and angered by the nerve of Christians.

Now, I am not saying that people who are involved in ‘sexual sin’ are never in the wrong. Sometimes these things do become negative, controlling and an obstacle to building relationships. Cheating, hiring prostitutes, obsession with porn, sex addiction, may be examples of this.

But my boyfriend and I have a beautiful sex life. It is not okay for these Christians to tell me I am a “slave” to sexual sin. I’m not addicted. It is not the most important thing in our relationship. If we had to stop for whatever reason, we could. I argue that it is possible to have a healthy, fulfilling sex life through the sin of fornication. To most people this would seem obvious, but in my community, it’s pretty fucking radical.

A few years ago, I used to believe the things my church/school/parents taught me to believe. I thought fornication was disgusting sin. Now when I see couples that have been together for decades, but were never interested in getting a marriage certificate, I no longer think of them as dirty, sick, pagan god-worshippers (of course I only hated the sin, not the sinner). I now know that truly, they are normal, healthy people. Now I see that the people that are really hateful and sick are the ones who made me feel nauseous with guilt for wanting to express the normal, human, sexual desires that every teenager experiences.

Sex should be an expression of love. It shouldn’t be given to just anyone, but a piece of paper and a pretty ring on your finger is nothing in comparison to the importance of love and commitment. Surely a couple who have been together for twenty years and love each other deeply, is a better context for sex than say Britney Spears’ 55 hour long marriage. Marriage is overrated in the Christian message and love and commitment are not given their rightful place as the most important criteria for sex.


About Ellen Rose

Blogger curious about how travel helps us to lead more meaningful lives.

4 responses »

  1. I would have to disagree with you on the “Marriage is overrated in the Christian message and love and commitment are not given their rightful place as the most important criteria for sex.”

    I am not sue what your church’s beliefs are and the way they go about teaching things. Sin is sin period; be it fornication, lying, homosexuality etc We should never be encouraged to hate anyone. Christians are to preach love and not hate.

    If you are committing fornication, you’re fulfilling your own desires, giving in to your lusts and disobeying God. I’m guessing that this is why they would use the slave analogy, which is true. I think that the people you know are using “slave” to scare you and make you feel bad about yourself. If it was used in the proper context, it’ll just mean that ; you’re enslaved to sin because you chose to disobey God.
    You’re probably right, it probably is possible to have a beautiful, fulfilling and healthy sex life by fornicating but what about a beautiful, healthy and fulfilling relationship?

    Love is at the forefront of God’s Word . God is love, 1 John 4:8, it’s that simple. I think that you are viewing marriage as a means to have sex, and just that. Honestly when I was younger and a part of a particular denomination, those were also my views. Marriage goes wayyyyy beyond the key to open the door to sex.

    As you said you go to church weekly for your family. Until you do it for yourself, because you love God, you would not understand many things. Just pick up the Bible and study sex and marriage for yourself. The statements you have made are false. Those teaching hate at your church, aren’t Christians. I’m sorry that you had to experience such hatred.

  2. I do have a beautiful, healthy, fulfilling relationship. The sex is just a bonus.

    No, I understand that marriage is much more than just a means to sex. Marriage would almost be pointless if that was it because I can have sex outside of marriage anyway. I want to get married someday, but sex has nothing to do with that desire.

    Aren’t married people that have sex “fulfilling their own desires and giving into their lust” anyway? The only difference is that fornicators are supposedly disobeying God because they lack a piece of paper called a marriage certificate, and to me, that seems like a very minor thing to be concerned about.

    I just don’t think there is any important difference between a couple that is deeply in love and married and a couple that is deeply in love and unmarried, particularly if they have made a lifetime commitment to each other, just without the legal contract. But my church would say there’s a big difference. It’s the difference between morality and immorality, freedom and slavery, Heaven and Hell.

    Commitment and love go so much further than a marriage certificate, and the Christian rules about sex don’t seem to recognise this. It just seems so shallow and ridiculous.

    I’m an ex-Christian, so what God has to say about it doesn’t really bother me, but I don’t like being told that an act of love and commitment is “slavery” according to them. I don’t think teachers at my church intended to offend or teach hate, they have every right to their opinion. Maybe they didn’t suspect that there were any atheist fornicators in the crowd, so they didn’t consider that what they were saying could be a bit hurtful.

  3. What of children of either the man or women ‘in love’ Is it o.k. for mommy to be with a man in her bedroom who isn’t her husband? or is it O.K. for dad to be sleeping in his bedroom with a women whom he isn’t married to? Now please justify fornication.

    • criticofchristianity

      I think it’s a question of consent. If a husband and wife agree to have an open relationship then it’s their right to make that choice. I don’t think it’s okay to be with other people when you’ve made a promise to someone that you will only ever be with them, but if everyone involved is consenting, then I don’t see why there’s a problem. It’s no one’s business but their own.


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