The Sins and Virtues of Sex and Youth today

{ Because of the problems faced by many people in these times, because clergy are ever more become under attack, the following article is all the more important.  And, while no one is exempt from the vices of the physical passions of the flesh, no - not one... it becomes even more important. }

Advances in Technology, but Not in Morality...

During the last 50 years or so, the progress and promotion of science, technology, sociology and art has increased immensely. Progress in many areas of life today is at such a high rate that it exceeds the cumulative progress of many centuries of the past. Longevity of life, reduction of the death rate among children, better health practices, the development of miracle drugs are the results of modern scientific findings, especially in America. Communication and transportation advancements have shrunk the globe, bringing the peoples of distant lands together in one world. Scientific and sociological developments have the tendency to spread to all parts of the world. These developments today are cosmopolitan in character and scope. The roots of the elements of nature are no longer hidden by fear and ignorance. These elements now tend to tear down the fences of prejudice, ignorance, superstition and fear between people, replacing them with bridges of understanding, compassion and love of neighbor.

These scientific and sociological experiences prove that the various races of man, as they are distinguished by national languages, customs and religions, all derive from the same roots of unique oneness and purpose. It is not a mere coincidence that many nations today are closer to one another; they exchange not only material and scientific products, but also their various philosophies, resulting in friendship and understanding. The voluntary actions of most nations today to dwell together under the same shelter in one organization designed to solve the problems of the world, through diplomacy instead of weapons is a phenomenon that best demonstrates this tendency.

Despite scientific, technological and sociological advances, morality has lagged. Moral and ethical codes of behavior arc faltering. The tendency of separating norms of living from Christian precepts in the name of freedom is more apparent today than ever before. The progress of the scientific world should be paralleled by progress in the morality. However, morality is not keeping pace. Man's moral fiber gradually is being perverted.

Scientific and social advances often are used to camouflage immoral objectives of many people and many forces. Most people today have a neutral outlook and position, a state of indifference as far as immorality is concerned. This is an era of compromising values of science with human needs. The commandments of the Bible are compromised by the rationalization that people today live in an environment filled with temptations created by social ills. Today's society is especially more sympathetic to premarital and extramarital sex experience. This is especially true among adolescents who are denied proper and sufficient religious and moral guidance at home and from society.

Lack of Religious Teaching and Evils of Society

The absence of religious and moral background is reflected in the conduct and behavior of people. This is shown in their sexual outlook and behavior. People today have the tendency to separate God's Grace and the moral standards of His Gospel from their lives. Lustful desires are not considered contrary to the standards of the Gospel of Christ. This attitude exists and feeds on religious ignorance and improper moral attitudes. Young people have not been adequately taught religious values in the home, school or church, because some parents, teachers and religious leaders fail to recognize their responsibility in this matter. They have failed to understand the importance of education in this matter because of excessive modesty, the belief that it is not their place to raise the subject and their lack of understanding of the importance of the sexual instinct. "While parents have an increasing responsibility in this matter, the school undoubtedly plays a greater role by providing facilities for adequate and continuous sex education throughout the time the child remains at school". If the schools would understand and undertake this responsibility, they would greatly help to eliminate the ignorance and resulting misuse of sex among the children. Such an educational program would be of great service to the community at large.  The problem in these times is that most Public Schools have failed and are failing to follow this theme of sex education in a responsible manner.  Ignoring many facets that impact a child's sexual impulses by allowing for, even encouraging, bad music, such that increases and motivates children in areas that fosters a lack of self-respect and respect for others.

The lack of Public Schools in promoting what had been promoted in times past; that being religious education by appropriate churches during school hours has lead to a decreasing of moral standards and respect among youth in these later times which increases youth's impression that encourages conformity for their own selfish gain. Again, we repeat "The absence of religious and moral background is reflected in the conduct and behavior of people. This is shown in their sexual outlook and behavior."

Young people today are more aware of their sexual impulses, because they constantly are exposed to the various communications media. In their objectives, impulses, outlooks and radical opinions, they are a phenomenal conformist cult. They seem more mature, more educated, physically more attractive, more independent and adept at selecting friends of the opposite sex.

Young people are encouraged by parents and teachers to become acquainted with the opposite sex. If the children are slow to do so, parents feel there is something wrong with them. So parents keep pushing their children in this direction. Contributing immensely to the anxiety of parents is children's preoccupation with cosmetics, jewelry and clothing, developed by high-pressure salesmanship directed toward youngsters. Almost all media concentrate their sales messages toward young people, emphasizing attractive girls and boys and an obsession with the female body. Young people thus accept this over-emphasis on sex as natural, and regard submission to sexual temptation as an accepted physical and moral expression, even a virtue.

THE EVILS OF THE COMMUNICATION MEDIA

The communications media bring and transmit happenings from all parts of the world, instantaneously, and deeply affect most people. The media present programs and advertisements with excessive emphasis on young people, using the attainment of sex appeal as a bait and attraction for their products. The media exploit human weaknesses. Without their products people supposedly are old fashioned and behind the times. They encourage conformity for their own selfish gain. Young people are the main prey of such pressures, for they have little resistance to these appeals.

Consider the tactics of commercial advertisements. Their aim is to influence people through the communications media to buy their products. With few exceptions advertisements depend on sex to merchandise their products. This use of sex in advertisement helps break down the buyer's resistance. Advertising today not only associates sex appeal with the product, but gives the impression that the use of a particular product will result in the attainment of sex appeal.

For instance, certain hair products do not stop with helping the hair, but supposedly also lead to a successful and pleasurable sexual experience. Thus people become brainwashed about the correlation between products and sexual appeal. Sex is implied even though there is not the slightest connection between the product and the attractive girl or boy used in the advertisement. This exploitation of the weaknesses of people through powerful media makes them prey to the selfish and greedy gains of advertisers.

Another channel which pours forth perverted sex both to adults and children is obscene literature and pornography. This filthy literature has special influence on young people. Although this literature is circulated secretly, because of restrictive postal regulations, it is reaching young people in the school yards and through the mails. This obscene literature nails lustful desires to the minds and hearts of young people so that they become captive to their own weaknesses. It is very difficult for parents to investigate this literature and banish it. This literature exploits the normal curiosity about sex in teenagers of both sexes, and opens the way for them to improperly practice it among themselves, without guidance and without knowing its purpose and consequences.

Obscene literature endangers the moral fiber of the Christian family. Obscene literature and perverted sexual practices have escaped the control of the home, church, school and state. These institutions should combine their efforts for the early guidance of children, building the character, that will fortify the child from within. These four institutions are by nature appointed to guide the upcoming generation in the law, through education and example in love and by the Gospel of Christ. These institutions have the authority and the duty to protect children from becoming prey to obscene temptations. They should take a more prominent part in the struggle between good and evil, a struggle which started with the beginning of the human race. It is a struggle to establish ethical and moral standards in everyday living.

Sources of Moral Standards and Principles of Life

Society should make provisions to protect the rights of its members. In making these standards and the authority to enforce them, there is no better way than the constant application of moral standards which have stood the test of the centuries as norms of life. The Ten Commandments are the minimum standards. These commandments should be taught to children at an early age. These commandments do not demand a sacrifice; they only teach not to destroy the rights of one's neighbor.

The first and foremost teachers are mothers, both by nature and responsibility. Mothers should be prepared to teach these principles to their children. No other person can replace a mother's love and affection for her children. She has been appointed by nature and by God Himself to prepare the armor of moral standards and religious principles in her children. A mother's love, example, words and deeds, should be woven deeply into the being of her child. The mother should be aware of the sexual exploitation of children, and not take her child's innocence for granted and not delude herself into thinking there is no place for such things in her family. A child might be trapped by evil temptation in the street or playground if he is spiritually unarmed to resist them.

Bible teachings about sex should be taught. It should be known that the violation of Bible teachings, pertaining to sex, is a violation of God's Will, as revealed in the Bible. According to the Bible and the Church, the thought of doing wrong is as bad as the violation itself. The knowledge of the violation of God's Will presupposes two things: a knowledge of God's Will and a feeling of guilt in the knowledge that what was done, was wrong. The knowledge of God's Will should be taught to children in such a manner as to impress within their hearts and minds the divine code of ethical and moral standards which should be practiced for a richer, more meaningful Christian life. Children should be taught systematically and effectively with loving care and concern to inspire them with the importance of applying Christian values to their everyday living. As children should be taught not to lie, cheat or steal, they also should be taught not to abuse their own bodies or those of their friends, and not consider sex feelings or the organs of the body a nasty thing.

PARENTS' OBLIGATION FOR CHILDREN'S SEX EDUCATION

Parents should teach their children that love, sex and birth are interwoven. Children should be taught that love is the attraction of the sexes to one another, and that it is one of the important desires of life. This love, related to sex, can be a powerful and tender instinct which molds the characteristics of human beings. Birth is a result of love and sex; it is a continuation of life and the preservation of the human race. If sex energy is lacking, degeneration of the human race begins. Children should be taught that the proper and wholesome practice of sex is reflected in all the other energies the will, intellect, health, etc. All these other energies "derive strength from this surplus sex energy, which has three main objectives": 1) continuation of life (birth); 2) preservation of the species (love); 3) development of man's personality (sex). Parents should impress upon their children that sex energy is fundamental to life, and that a normal sex life is vital to them. More important, parents must point out that sex desires must be experienced only in the wholeness and beauty of love in marriage, not outside this sacramental union.

It is imperative that parents develop sex knowledge in their children at an early age. Therefore, it is essential for parents to be prepared for the opportune moment to explain sex to their children. Children should not be allowed to seek information concerning sex in secret from others, for then it is usually presented as dirty and shameful. Only parents are in a position to properly inform their children of the natural instinct of sex, as parallel to the need for food and sleep. Parents should explain sex only when the child becomes curious and inquisitive; they should not enter into lengthy explanations, for they must be prepared to answer the basic questions several times. "With very young children, birth and the differences between male and female are of chief interest", therefore parents should be prepared to concentrate on these questions.

This preliminary sex education in the young child will enable parents to discuss sex differences in an open and understanding manner during their children's adolescent years. Parents can then discuss with their children such subjects "as the sacredness of marriage and high ideals with regard to the control of the sex side of the boy's and girl's nature". It is important to impress upon the child the dangers of the misuse of sex, especially veneral disease, which has become a wide-spread menace because of the ignorance of young people today. Children who are properly informed on sex are not surprised or unduly aroused, and do not become prey to what other children are illicitly discussing.

CAUSES OF MISUSE AND ABUSE OF SEX DESIRES

The lack of proper sex education in the early years of a child will lead to misunderstanding and sinful misuse of sex. The lack of proper sex education leads to an "infra , that is, inferior sex attitude, which is the absence of coordination between the idea of sex and other normal functions of man". This inferior sex attitude leads people to temptation or sin. It sometimes leads to abnormalities, perversions, abnormal sex desires, abnormal sex abstention, fear, disgust and indifference. The lack of proper sex information and education, which leads to inferior sex attitudes, causes those persons to believe that "sex is surrounded by uncleanliness . . . they speak of sex with unclean words. At the same time they are slaves to sex, and are aware of this slavery. They invent indecent anecdotes, and like to listen to them. But they desire sex, take it for a joke and find something comic in it."

For those persons who suffer from this inferior sex attitude, sex becomes separated from the other functions of life, causing the loss of sex energy. The cause of this inferior sex attitude is ignorance of the God-given sex instinct and its rightful place in the life of the individual. This inferior sex attitude affects not only the individual himself, but society at large; it is a hidden weakness which undermines the normal exercise of this innate desire. This inferior sex is a result of the lack of parental sex education in the early years of the child's life. It is becoming a serious problem in society, as it is common among students on and off campus.

The dangerous and shameful sex acts which pollute the standards of society today could be avoided by young children properly informed of the dangers involved in the perverted use of their potent sex energy. Sexual relationships among young people result in emotional breakdowns for many of them. Emotional breakdowns are rapidly increasing among girls, for whom feelings of guilt are especially strong. The practice of sex among youth outside of marriage not only results in emotional breakdown, but impairs the health of the body and mind as well. This aspect of illicit sex should be stressed by parents to warn their children of the dangers involved.

Efforts for Upgrading Moral Life of Society

Parents, teachers, civic and religious leaders, all media of communication and others should recognize this serious sex situation V as it bears on both perverted and normal practices. They should bring together their efforts to preserve the moral and ethical standards of sex life. In addition much stress should be placed on the fact that sex energy is a blessing when used properly, while its perversion and abuse is a deadly sin, a violation of God's Will.

The whole matter of sex is not only a physiological question but a theological one in that God Himself implanted the sex instinct in man. Sex is the source from which the personality of the total individual is formed and directed. Such a source could not have an afterthought on the part of the Creator, Whose ideals regarding this aspect of man's nature remain the same since Adam and Eve. The characteristics of this sex instinct are expressed with forceful clarity, both in its virtues and its vices, its dignity and degradation as have been revealed through great religious personalities and recorded in the Bible. They also are found in the conscience of the people, a voice from within regarding the proper use of this dynamic force of sex instinct. The reward or punishment for its right or wrong practice, is universally understood.

It is imperative for parents and the Church to stress the correct teaching of the Bible on sex and its practice. It is knowledge of the Bible in regard to this God-given sex instinct that regulates its proper use with dignity, respect and reverence, and points out its wrong use through thought and deed. In other words, the Church and parents should teach young children the meaning of sin in sex life. Sin in sex is a result of lack of respect and proper use stemming from a lack of early sex education. Sin does not affect only the person doing wrong, but also the person responsible for properly teaching children at the opportune time. The results of sin affects parents, civic and religious leaders, reflecting their failure to implant moral attitudes in children by showing a lack of respect for God's word themselves and serving as bad examples. They fail in this respect because they do not pray together with their children, at home as well as at church: they fail to read the Bible with their children. In the Bible are many passages related to the matter of sex which impress children that the right use of sex is rewarded, its misuse punished.

It is God Who created this dynamic sex feeling, and by its nature and divine commission is ordained to serve God's Will. Parents, teachers and agencies responsible for guiding the sex behavior of young people are finding that their efforts have not been enough to direct this energy in the path of God's Will. This task is difficult because difficult are the temptations in today's society which pervert the ideals of young people. They will find that they alone cannot shape young people's sex attitudes and sex behavior. They need more than ordinary assistance. They need assistance of divine character from the Creator Who left to man a divine power, His Grace, which they should acknowledge with deep understanding and sincerity.

THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S WILL

The task of parents in formulating the behavior of their children needs their devotion, love and sacrifice, which demonstrate the sincere interest and concern as a witness of God's blessings and Grace. If the purpose of education is to develop "greatness", how much greater is the purpose of molding the personality and moral character of children? The invocation of the Grace of God does not depend upon outward gestures and words, but on a deep and sincere feeling which should be clothed in these words and gestures. Parents should impress upon their children that the greater their belief in God, the more they will discover what the Will of God is. Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God, Romans 12,2. Young people thus will learn the content of virtues as well as that of sin. The content of sin is realized in the knowledge of faith and Christian morality, For whatsoever is not of faith is sin, Romans 14,23b. Parents should implant in the tender hearts of their children the understanding that transgression of God's Will has its consequences, for the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them, Proverbs 11,3.

Apostle Paul says, for the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, Romans 6,23. There are two areas pertaining to sin which should be carefully considered. First, where the knowledge of sin is found; second, where one derives the strength to resist it. The recognition of sin, implicit in the feeling of guilt, comes from the revealed commandments of God. One could not have the knowledge of covetness if the law did not command "not to covet". Therefore, the Bible, especially in its passages pertaining to sex, makes known the depth of sin, enabling man to recognize sins in his everyday life (cf. Romans 7,7-11).

The greater the knowledge of God's commandments, the clearer the recognition of sin. Therefore, parents and civic and religious leaders should encourage the media to convey the Will of God, His commandments and blessings to the young people of our society. They should refer to the Word of God, not vaguely but with deep conviction, using Bible verses along with their own examples. Parents should bear in mind that delinquent children to a large degree come from delinquent parents and civic and religious leaders.

THE EVILS OF SOCIETY INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE

Youth of today are surrounded by powerful media that influence them by distorting the real values of life, corrupting their moral principles and outlook on life. One of the worst aspects of this corrupting influence in the various communication media is the compromise of legalizing gambling, lotteries, etc., and the exploitation of sexual desires. With an awareness of this bad influence, parents and other responsible leaders should organize their efforts to combat these influences on their children. Otherwise, they will lose their battle against temptation.

The efforts of parents and others should be directed toward building a spiritual fortress in the heart and mind of children so that they will be able to resist from within, and not be ill prepared to meet temptation. This teaching of children to combat temptation from within will bring them the crown of life, for Blessed is the man who endureth temptations; for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him ... each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown, brings forth death, James 1,12,14-15.

Parents should not insulate their children from temptations, but should train them to know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil; impress upon them the spiritual values of moral upright living, according to the word of God; help them understand, little by little, the Will of God so that they create their own resistance against the temptations they will face. Parents should teach their children to be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good, Romans 12,21. Children should be taught the word and Will of God through personal examples and parental love and concern, as a guide to their moral destination. They should be taught to pray constantly for God's Grace as an inspiration in fortifying their own convictions through an awareness that they are not alone in their desire for upright living since they are bolstered by God's Grace and strength to make more steadfast their ideals. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast, Ephesians 2,8-9.

Word and Grace of God Overcome Evil

Christian belief is that through baptism all sins, especially the inherited one, are absolved in the name of Jesus Christ. The Christian also believes that after baptism, an inclination of sex desires remains, to train oneself to exercise . . . rather unto godliness, 1 Timothy 4,7b. The fact is that a Christian feels the tendency to practice his sexual desires in its natural and moral state, which is divine blessing free from abnormalities, which can be deadly sins. The task then is to keep sex desire in dignity in its natural and moral state. This constitutes a sacrament that is a sincere act of love, pleasing to the Creator. This means that Christians, honoring God's Will, exercise this sexual desire in holy matrimony. Parents should teach their children while very young to discriminate between the natural and abnormal use of sex. Parents should stress the point that fidelity, chastity and dignity are pre-supposed in the correct use of sex in marriage, with sex a gift from God and a blessing of His Church. Everything outside of the state of marriage is wrong. Unfortunately, abnormalities and infidelity flourish today in our society.

The word of God recorded in the Scriptures distinguishes between good and evil. The Grace of God provides the strength to apply God's word and Will. These are the two divine sources from which Christians derive faith in God and a guide to moral living. Divine word and the Grace of God are especially needed by the young unmarried people of today. They should become aware of these two sources for their guidance. The struggle of the individual to keep these ideals is presupposed. The unmarried person should live a chaste life. It is a struggle which demands strength from within and without to overcome the evil temptations of society.

One cannot profess the ideals of a chaste life according to the Scriptures, and at the same time over-indulge in social vices such as night clubing, drinking, use of drugs and narcotics, seeing obscene movies and pictures, exposure of body on beaches and swimming pools, the wearing of extreme fashions, etc. One cannot claim a strong conviction in the Christian ideals of chastity, yet desire and practice the lustful passions of the body. Because temptations surrounding young people is strong, the Christian must constantly pray, as in the Lord's Prayer, and lead us not into temptations, but deliver us from evil, Matthew 5,13.

THE PARADOX FAILURES AND PROMOTIONS OF SOCIETY

The paradox is that society not only fails to protect youth from temptations, but paves the way for evil forces to overcome young people. The youth of today are being criticized by religious and civic leaders, parents and teachers, yet they fail to provide young people with the necessary shield to protect the professed moral ideals of society. The evils of society have been so organized as to exploit the weaknesses of youth.

The evils of society are at work through the various media which constantly prey upon young people through obscene pictures, magazines, newspapers, radio, television, movies and most advertisements, all of which use sex and exposure of the body to sell their thoughts and products. Worst of all, society sanctions provocation through the use of the body to tempt the young people by sex appeal. The constant, concentrated advertising efforts of the cosmetic industries alone contribute enormously to the misconception of sex appeal among young people from an early age. Also contributing to the harm of young people are tobacco companies which use advertisements showing glamorous settings based on sex appeal to entice young people to take up smoking. As a result, many start at a very early age.

Parents find it difficult to cope with the large companies and industries that spend millions of dollars advertising their products. This situation, combined with the failure of parents to teach their children moral standards, creates the dilemma of modern society. Although the main fault lies with parents and society at large, the blame is shifted to young people themselves. The standards of moral life as proclaimed in the Holy Scriptures have been perverted, and the perversions have been legalized by society. Ideals and virtues pertaining to sex are ignored, abused and diminished.

WHERE DOES THE REAL BLAME LIE?

Can the Church and parents, in all sincerity, expect young people to keep the Scriptural standards of moral life under the conditions, that exist in today's society? Can parents, in all sincerity, expect their children to live a Christian life without teaching and training them Christian values concerning sex? Can civic and religious leaders, in all sincerity, expect young people to respect the Church's traditional teachings of the great moral standards of the Gospel in an adult environment that has abandoned moral standards? Can young people living in cities, where they are constantly confronted by sex temptations, be criticized fairly by those who chose celibacy and confine themselves in certain places where they can safely deny this sex desire? Can the exposure of young people to the evil exploitations of the commercial industries fail to adversely affect them? Can young people, under such enormous pressures, really resist this temptation, when in fact they are physically more vital and healthy? Can young people today cope with these evil forces without society at large first correcting its own evils, its greedy desires and tempting exploitations? Can young people be expected not to have sex relationships outside of marriage, when advertisements fail to associate sex with marriage? Can society in reality fail to accept the grace of God that bringeth salvation . . . teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world? Titus 2,11-12. Where is the real blame to be placed? Where is the answer to be found?

Several books were consulted in the preparation of this article. A selected bibliography is to be found in A Sex Life to Happy Marriage, by Edward F. Griffith, from which quotations, other than Scriptural are taken.