Southern Baptist leaders -- at least some of them -- have identified a cure to both the marriage problem of less people tying the knot and the drive toward sexual temptation.
Get married young.
Premarital sex is seen as a sin in most sects of the Protestant Christian faith, and the Southern Baptist Convention represents nearly 16 million members, who together comprise the largest denomination of Protestantism in the United States, NPR notes.
Their stand is that there is nothing wrong with getting married young, though no one that spoke to the news site prescribed an exact cutoff where it was and wasn't acceptable.
Andrew Walker, who works in the denomination's public policy division, feels the urge can hit around 12 or 13.
"The reality is, starting at the age of 12, 13, boys and men, growing up into maturity, are hardwired for something that God gave us a desire for and an outlet for. And so to suppress that becomes more difficult the older you get," Walker said.
Much of the justification for avoiding premarital sex comes from the Bible, particularly the book of Hebrews, Chapter 13, Verse 4, where it says that "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral (New International Version)."
There are also references condemning the act in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 2 Corinthians 12:21, Galatians 5:19, and Deuteronomy 22:13-28.
Rachel Ford of the atheist website Patheos condemned the idea of marrying to avoid premarital sex, commenting that it was "good for churches" but bad for the person.
"When it comes right down to it, though, rushing into a lifelong commitment in order to avoid premarital sex seems like a terrible solution to a non-problem. It's just more bad advice meant to mitigate the impact of previous bad advice."Some have also criticized the Southern Baptist position for not taking into account 21st Century culture when encouraging marriage as a means of "escaping" premarital sex, even noting that it dishonors the union to set it up for probable failure by encouraging two 18 or 19-year-olds to marry based on physical impulse.
There have also been declining divorce rates since more people are either not getting married or they're waiting longer to marry.
But what do you think, readers?
Is the Southern Baptist Convention justified in encouraging young people -- particularly millennials -- to get married young, or is that just a way to spike the divorce rates higher? Sound off in the comments section.
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