Virginity is an important concept in many religions, and it is especially highlighted in Christianity. According to the Bible, virginity is a precious state of being between birth and marriage and it is highly valued by God. The Bible encourages individuals to maintain their virginity until marriage and condemns premarital sex, which is seen as a sin. It is described as a gift that should be given to a future husband or wife.
In the Bible, the ways in which virginity is spoken about are varied. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul speaks at length about sexual purity and urges people to continue in their virginity until marriage. In Galatians 5:19-21, he says, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like…” This passage is a clear condemnation of premarital sex and presents it as a work of the flesh.
In the Old Testament, there are numerous references to virginity. In Deuteronomy 22:28-29, it is said that, “If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.” Here, virginity is seen as something that must be protected and respected, and premarital sex is punished.
The Bible also speaks about the importance of modesty. In 1 Timothy 2:9, it says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” This verse encourages women to dress modestly and not to draw attention to themselves. Modesty is highly valued in Christianity, and it is often seen as a mark of virginity.
Finally, the Bible speaks about the spiritual significance of virginity. In Revelation 14:4, it says, “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.” This verse suggests that by remaining a virgin, a person is spiritually pure and blessed. Thus, the Bible views virginity as something that is highly valued by God, and which should be guarded and cherished until marriage.
Virginity vs. Adultery
The Bible is clear on the immorality of adultery, which it describes as a sin. In the Old Testament, adultery is deemed to be a serious offence and is even punishable by death in some cases. In Leviticus 20:10, it states, “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Here, it is made abundantly clear that adultery is considered a grave sin.
In the New Testament, Jesus tells his followers that adultery is a sin and it is punishable. In Matthew 5:27–28, he says, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Here, Jesus warns against even thinking about committing adultery, thereby reinforcing the biblical view that adultery is wrong.
The Bible also speaks about the differences between virginity and adultery. In Matthew 19:12, it says, “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” Here, Jesus is making a comparison between those who remain chaste and those who have committed adultery, implying that those who remain virgin until marriage have made the right choice.
Overall, the Bible has a strict view on adultery and views it as a sin to be avoided. It also strongly encourages individuals to maintain their virginity until marriage, as it is seen as a gift that should be given to a future spouse. Thus, it is clear that the Bible views virginity as something to be protected, whereas adultery is seen as something to be avoided.
Virginity and Feminism
The view of virginity in the Bible is one that has been heavily contested by feminists in recent years. Many feminists argue that the emphasis on virginity in the Bible is outdated and unnecessary, and that it reinforces harmful gender stereotypes. They point out that the Bible deals with sex almost exclusively from a male perspective and that it promotes the idea of women being subservient to men.
Furthermore, feminists argue that by placing an emphasis on virginity, the Bible reinforces traditional gender roles. It suggests that men have the right to have sex with whoever they want, while women must remain virgins until marriage. Thus, it puts women in a position of powerlessness and reinforces the idea that they are possessions.
Many feminists also argue that the emphasis on virginity reinforces the idea of women’s worth being based solely on their sexual status. By promoting the idea that a woman’s value lies in her sexual purity, it reduces her to an object and takes away her agency. Thus, it can be argued that the view of virginity in the Bible is outdated and damaging to women.
Ultimately, the view of virginity in the Bible has been heavily criticised by feminists, who argue that it reinforces harmful gender stereotypes and reduces women’s agency. It is a view that is increasingly seen as out of touch with modern values, and many argue that it should be re-examined and updated.
Virginity in Other Religions
Although the concept of virginity is highly emphasised in Christianity, it is also commonly found in many other religions. In Hinduism, the concept of brahmacharya is a key element of religious practice. This is the practice of celibacy and sexual abstinence, which has been practiced by many Hindu ascetics for thousands of years. Brahmacharya is believed to cultivate spiritual power and promote inner growth.
The Quran, the holy book of Islam, also speaks about the importance of virginity. In the Quran, it is stated that premarital sex is strictly prohibited and it is seen as a sin. The Quran encourages individuals to preserve their virginity until marriage, and it views virginity as a precious gift that should be respected and protected.
In Buddhism, the importance of virginity is also highlighted. Buddhist scriptures encourage individuals to remain sexually abstinent, and to have a strong moral code. They advise individuals to “not indulge in sexual passions”, as such passions can lead to spiritual deterioration. Thus, the importance of virginity is emphasised in Buddhism as well.
Overall, virginity is a concept found in many religions, and it is highly emphasised in Christianity. However, it is also found in Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism, where it is also seen as something to be respected and protected.
Modern Perceptions of Virginity
In modern society, virginity is often seen as something to be celebrated and treasured. In recent years, there has been an increasing emphasis on the idea of abstaining from sex until marriage, and many people choose to wait until marriage before engaging in sexual activities. There is an increasing acceptance of waiting until marriage as a valid choice, which has resulted in a shift in public understanding of virginity.
At the same time, there has also been an increase in the acceptance of premarital sex in recent years. This is especially true among young people, who are increasingly comfortable with the idea of engaging in sexual activities before marriage. This shift in attitudes has been fuelled by the changing cultural landscape, which is increasingly tolerant and accepting of sexual activity outside of marriage.
Ultimately, modern perceptions of virginity are complex and varied. While there is an increasing acceptance of remaining abstinent until marriage, there is also an increasing acceptance of premarital sex. Ultimately, the concept of virginity is seen differently by different people, and there is no single consensus on the matter.
The Bible has a clear view on virginity and speaks about it at length. In the Old and New Testaments, it is strongly encouraged that individuals maintain their virginity until marriage and condemns premarital sex as a sin. Furthermore, it also speaks about the spiritual significance of virginity and the importance of modesty. Meanwhile, modern perceptions of virginity are complex and varied, with some people choosing to wait until marriage and others embracing premarital sex.