By Jonathon Van Maren
Back in 2014, a study conducted by the online dating website ChristianMingle.com revealed that 63% of single Christians between the age of 18 to 59 indicated that they would be willing to have sex before marriage. One commentator noted that these numbers prove something that many have been observing for some time: The rise of so-called “sexual atheism,” in which people profess belief in Christianity but ignore its teachings on sexuality and marriage.
That trend appears to be continuing. In a survey recently conducted by Pew Research Center, over 50% of respondents identifying as Christian indicated that they believe extramarital sex is “always” or “sometimes” permissible. A full 62% of Roman Catholics surveyed stated that casual sex is “sometimes” or “always” acceptable, and 54% of mainline Protestants concurred. Those numbers are significantly lower than the percentage of “unaffiliated” people surveyed who believe casual sex to be permissible—84%—but still indicative of an enormous disconnect amongst those claiming to hold to Christian teaching.