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Illustrations of Adam and Eve always cause problems for religious publishers, because Adam and Eve wore no clothes when they were in the Garden. In other words, God's original, perfect plan for the human race involved nudity and a lot of sex. The forbidden fruit in the Garden was not sex as so many people think. Rather it was "the knowledge of good and evil".

PAGE07From this we can assume that true innocence does not rule out sexuality. Sex in itself is not sinful. Nor is nudity. It is our shame about sex that is actually the result of sin.

Very young children have no shame about their sexuality, so you can say almost anything to them without embarrassing them. They learn to feel embarrassed by picking up your embarrassment and that of others as time goes by. After they have started to feel embarrassed, it may be too late to have a relaxed discussion about sex.

A practical application of this fact might be to err on the side of teaching kids about sex too early rather than too late. You can be as explicit as you like with a three-year-old and the reaction will probably be one of boredom more than anything else. Nevertheless, the child will have heard what they will want to know in the years ahead.

Parents who tell their children at a very early age exactly what the difference is between males and females and what goes where during sex will have much less difficulty in making themselves understood during adolescence. And they will have given their children a confidence which other children lack. Too many kids grow up piecing together their understanding of sex through innuendoes and risque jokes, never quite certain whether they have pieced it together correctly or not. Children who are well-informed sexually have a confidence that often puts them years ahead of other children in all areas of social development.

There is a belief that you can protect children from sexual immorality by keeping them ignorant sexually. But ignorance is not morality. Rather, morality is the ability to handle knowledge responsibly. Ignorance is more likely to generate neuroses and other psychological hang-ups which can lead to aberrant sexual behaviour in later life.

PAGE08The kibbutzim of Israel found that total sexual freedom (i.e. mixed nude play and bathing, and sleeping in the same room together) amongst pre-pubescent children resulted in almost sub-normal interest in sex because of the complete satisfaction of their curiosity.

Of course the context in which a person learns about sex is important to their overall attitude. If sex education only comes through rude jokes and whispered remarks, the whole subject will take on a dirty connotation. Which is all the more reason why the church should speak up with the truth about sex. Unless it does, its silence will continue to be one of the greatest contributing factors to the belief that sex is evil, a belief which hurts the people who foster it as much as it does anyone else.

The truth is that the Bible includes many positive references to sex, but they often appear only incidentally in the context of some greater issue that is being discussed. Frank discussions about sex need to be naturally woven into Christian teachings on other topics. On the next few pages is a very good illustration of such teaching, which was written as a class for young children. It combines science lessons, Christian principles, and sex education in an open, positive, non-exploitative manner.

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