20 Reasons to Avoid Premarital Sex

Premarital (or extra-marital) sex is always a losing proposition! God is clear that His wonderful gift of physical intimacy is to reserved for the boundaries of marriage. Inside of those boundaries, the sexual relationship is a gift that blesses a couple and a family abundantly. Outside of that biblical commitment, the sexual relationship is always destructive, empty, and sinful. God’s word for this is “fornication”—1 Corinthians 6:18 “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

In all of my counseling, I never meet people who are glad that they have committed fornication. After the fact, there is ALWAYS regret. Here’s a short list why fornication is always a really bad idea:


It breaks God’s laws and dishonors Him—search a concordance for the word “fornication.” We could stop here—it’s all we really need to know.


It presents huge physical risk—diseases and illness are rampant among those who engage in this lifestyle.


It presents huge emotional risk—a physical and emotional bond without a spiritual commitment is never a winning experience.


It presents huge spiritual risk—grieving the Holy Spirit and offending a holy God means we forfeit God’s best. We never win by dishonoring God.


It is awkward, guilt ridden, unfulfilling, and not representative of God’s original intent—hence a culture that continually seeks fulfillment with new partners and relationships.

It is disappointing at the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels—the only physical intimacy that exceeds expectations is that founded on long-term commitment and marital growth.


It creates a spiritual/emotional bond without commitment—this only breeds resentment, bitterness, and the feeling of being used. It says something like this, “I don’t love you enough to commit to you, but I love me enough to use you.”


It destroys trust—the best way to have trust in a marriage is to stay pure before you get married. Learning to be committed to Christ (in purity) is the best way to learn to be committed to a spouse.


It creates resentment and frustration—it was designed to happen within a committed marriage of selfless love. Outside of that, fornication just breaks the heart and wounds the soul.


It leaves you empty and searching for real love—physical intimacy doesn’t create a loving, committed relationship, it’s the fruit of one.


It devalues the future intimacy of your marriage—intimacy is “just the two of us.” Premarital relationships destroy that before it even happens.


It prevents the greatest intimacy in marriage—the purest and most fulfilling marital relationship is that which is forever untouched by previous relationships. (If you have failed morally, don’t lose hope. Claim God’s grace, and begin protecting your future marriage today by abstaining from further fornication.) Jesus doesn’t shame you, but He would say, “Go and sin no more.”


It sets a person on a path of unfulfilling sexual experiences—fornication is a downward spiral of perpetually unfulfilling relationships.


It attempts to shortcut God’s plan for marriage and family—it turns God’s great gift of family and love into a cheap thrill and self-centered pleasure quest.


It prevents you from having the most fulfilling sexual relationship—while a person is sleeping around, they are NOT preparing for the wonderful lifetime relationship that God intended.


It enlarges sexual desires and makes them insatiable—thinking with your hormones allows them to become an unruly taskmaster.


It puts the flesh and hormones in control of your life—you are more than a chemical reaction that seeks gratification. Don’t allow your life to be directed by physical desires. Submit those desires to the Holy Spirit, and let them be fulfilled in God’s time and in God’s way.


It creates children without strong homes—God intends this relationship to create a family with a foundation of commitment and lifetime love.


It feeds the abortion industry—illicit relationship creates unwanted children which creates “the abortion industry.”


It cannot be done safely—no matter what culture says—safe sex is one man, one woman, committed in marriage, for the rest of their lives.

If you have never committed fornication, God has a simple message for you—DON’T. (Eph. 5:3) If you are committing fornication, God also has a simple message for you—STOP. (Acts 15:29)

God is the giver of the wonderful gift of marriage. He is the Creator of life, love, marriage, and sex. Obeying His plan is always right and always blessed.

And a life of wonderful, married intimacy is one more thing…

WELL WORTH THE WAIT!

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THREE LIES ABOUT PREMARITAL SEX

Is Scripture becoming outdated and archaic in light of today’s cultural views concerning premarital sex? Here are three important things to consider when making a decision about sex and marriage.

When Cindy met Rob, she knew that even though he attended church, he didn’t share her convictions about premarital sex. Rob thought it was OK — and even good for dating couples to engage in — and Cindy believed it was wrong from a Christian perspective. As their friendship progressed, Cindy and Rob’s opposing viewpoints caused some hot debates. It also forced them both to take a second look at their convictions. As a result, Cindy developed a deeper understanding of truth, and Rob was forced to face the lies he’d always believed. If you’re like Cindy or Rob, and you’ve taken a stand for (or against) premarital sex, but you’re not sure why, here are some things to consider.

Scripture is outdated, right?

Like many singles, Rob thinks the scriptures on sexual purity are outdated and archaic. “Those parts of the Bible aren’t relevant to today,” he told Cindy. “After all, when the scriptures were written, the people during that time got married when they were teens; so they didn’t have to struggle with sexual temptation like we do now.” In response to Rob’s argument, Cindy found verses about sexual purity and showed them to him. When Cindy read 1 Corinthians 6:9, 2 Corinthians 12:21, Galatians 5:19, Hebrews 13:4 and Deuteronomy 22:13-28, all which condemn sex before marriage, she asked Rob, “Are these scriptures relevant to today?” “Nope,” Rob responded. “Do you have a pair of scissors?” Cindy asked. “Why? “Because I think we should cut those scriptures out. After all, if they’re not true because people can’t control their desires, why not completely eliminate them? After all, we can just pick and choose the parts the Bible that we want to believe on sexual purity, right? Give me your scissors,” she said. “You’re crazy,” Rob responded. Crazy or not, Cindy had made her point — there are holes in Rob’s it’s-not-true-because-people-can’t-control-their-desires theology. Why? Because, if his beliefs were based on truth, they would stand up in every circumstance, but they don’t.

For example, if sex before marriage is OK because people supposedly can’t control themselves, then it must be okay to engage in pornography, too, right? After all, the temptation to watch and participate in porn abounds like it didn’t in Bible times. Not surprisingly, when Cindy asked Rob if it was OK to engage in pornography, his theology changed. “Pornography isn’t OK because it’s damaging to the people who are doing it, and it’s not very Christian.” Why does Rob have a schizophrenic view of purity and of the Bible’s commandments? Additionally, if scriptures in the Bible became untrue because people can’t control their desires, then we’d also have to cut out the commandments on stealing, lying, cheating and having affairs. Sure enough, there are holes in Rob’s sex-before-marriage theology, just like there would be holes in his Bible if Cindy cut it up.

Doesn’t sex produce intimacy?

During their discussions about premarital sex, Rob insisted that it was good to engage in sex with a dating partner because “it brings you closer.” Cindy believes that this is true, and not true. On one hand, the Bible says that sex causes “two people to become one.” Therefore, it’s more than just a physical act, it’s also a spiritual encounter (Mark 10:6-9). Additionally, Dr. Patricia Love, the author of The Truth About Love, writes that a feeling of intimacy is created by a “chemical cocktail” that is produced in the brain during sex and stays with each person for up to 24 hours after intercourse. Perhaps this physiological bonding is what Rob was referring to. On the flip side, having sex is no guarantee that the deep emotional intimacy that everyone longs for will develop. Alice Fryling, in an article titled, “Why Wait for Sex?” writes:
“Genital sex is an expression of intimacy, not the means to intimacy. True intimacy springs from verbal and emotional communion. True intimacy is built on a commitment to honesty, love and freedom. True intimacy is not primarily a sexual encounter.

Intimacy, in fact, has almost nothing to do with our sex organs. A prostitute may expose her body, but her relationships are hardly intimate.”
Some experts even report that premarital sex short circuits the emotional bonding process. Donald Joy, a writer for Christianity Today, cited a study of 100,000 women that linked “early sexual experience with dissatisfaction in their present marriages, unhappiness with the level of sexual intimacy and the prevalence of low self-esteem.” So what does this mean? If Rob tries to convince Cindy, or any woman, that sex will actually help their relationship, she might want to think again before consenting. While premarital sex does produce a short-lived chemical cocktail in the brain, there is no guarantee that it will produce long-term emotional closeness or relational satisfaction.

Can’t sex help you determine compatibility?

Rob told Cindy he felt it was unreasonable to expect him to abstain from sex before marriage because no one would buy a car without test driving it; so he couldn’t imagine committing to marriage without taking a “sex test drive.” When Cindy suggested to Rob that his “test drive” mentality could lead him to compare his wife’s sexual performance with his other partners, he denied it. “No, I wouldn’t,” he adamantly said. However, his logic is faulty. Here’s why: If it was true that Rob wouldn’t struggle with comparison, why would he need to “test drive” anything? After all, if he’d never had multiple partners, he would automatically think his wife the best. For example, the man who hasn’t ever seen or driven more than one car doesn’t know what other cars are like; therefore he would be satisfied with his automobile. Partners can also feel threatened if they think their mate could be comparing them with previous partners. When Cindy randomly asked 10 women at work if they would be worried that their husband was comparing them if he’d had intercourse with multiple women before marriage, 80 percent of them said yes. This provides a strong argument to abstain from sex before marriage to protect the emotional safety that your spouse will need to feel in marriage.

Hope and restoration after premarital sex:

Perhaps you’re asking, “What if, like Rob, I’m guilty of sexual sin?” The first thing to remember is that no sexual sin is beyond God’s forgiveness. Thankfully, He doesn’t withhold forgiveness or grace from those who ask for it. First John 1:9 promises that if you confess your sins, that He is faithful to forgive and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Note: This includes all sin, and does not exclude sexual sin. Psalm 103: 12 also promises, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions [sins] from us.” In addition to forgiveness, God wants you to embrace His grace that will help you move forward in life and embrace the promises He has for you with joy. In spite of your choices, God wants to bring you relational fulfillment.

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Foreign Christians Arrested on Charges of ‘Converting’ in Nepal

A Christian from South Korea arrested in Nepal on charges of “attempting to convert” was released on bail on Wednesday (Aug. 7), sources said.

Cho Yusang, a 73-year-old evangelical Christian, posted bail of 150,000 Nepalese rupees (US$1,330) after being arrested on July 23. His health deteriorated after he was incarcerated, and he had been hospitalized, said Tanka Subedi, chair of the Religious Liberty Forum Nepal (RLFN).

On Monday (Aug. 5), Subedi told Morning Star News that Cho had been released from hospital care.

“Though he was out of hospital, he was feeling dizzy this morning also,” Subedi said. “His health is still not good. He does not want to go back to the hospital, because he does not have much money left. He does not have insurance cover to pay his bills.”

In Nepal on a business visa, Cho was also charged with misuse of visa.

The charge of “attempting to convert” under Section 158 (1) of the Nepal Penal Code of 2017 calls for as much five years in jail and/or a fine of up to 50,000 Nepalese Rupees (US$445), according to Subedi.

Cho and two other foreigners working separately from him were found involved in conversion activity in Pokhara, in central Nepal, Raj Kumar KC, spokesperson of the District Police Office in Kaski, reportedly said.

Police arrested Cho for allegedly distributing leaflets and Bibles in the Barachi area of Kaski District, in Gandaki Pradesh Province, KC told the Kathmandu, Nepal-based news outlet Republica. The police spokesman said officers also arrested two Japanese nationals, Jehova’s Witnesses unaffiliated with Cho, in the Ratna area of the same district on the same charges.

KC reportedly said their arrest shows that “some foreigners do not come with good intentions,” and that they would be charged with proselytizing.

B.P. Khanal, national coordinator of Nepal for the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief [IPPFoRB], told Morning Star News that after arresting Cho from his lakeside lodging, police raided his room and confiscated some Bibles and Christian literature.

Khanal, who is responsible for inter-faith relations for the Nepal Christian Society, said possession of a Bible and Christian literature is not evidence of a crime.

“In this case the law is discriminatory, because it is not an offense to have Bibles in your room,” Khanal told Morning Star News. “The recovery of some Bibles and Christian literature from Yusang’s personal belongings is projected as an offense and as a crime Yusang committed. Anybody can have a Bible – it is not a drug or an explosive. Carrying a Bible should not be and must not be a criminal offense.”

The Nepal Christian Society has hired an attorney for Cho, he said.

U.S. Citizen Charged

Earlier, in Basgadhi of Bardiya District, police on June 21 arrested U.S. citizen Bradley Navarro Anagaran on a charge of possessing Christian literature, according to the RLFN.

When local pastor Hira Singh Sunar went to the police station to inquire about his arrest, officers arrested him as well, according to an RLFN statement. Both Anagaran and Pastor Sunar were charged with “attempting to convert,” it stated.

Anagaran was found with two discipleship leaflets designed for use within a church circle, Christian sources said.

“Apart from the literature on discipleship, police have confiscated a few pairs of reading glasses from his backpack, which means that the police did not find him distributing the literature to anybody,” Khanal of the IPPFoRB said.

The two Christians were moved from district headquarters of Gulariya to Bansgadhi police station. They were released on bail on July 3, and Anagaran has returned to the United States, but he must return for a hearing at the end of this month and every court date thereafter, Subedi of the RLFN said.

“I personally don’t know how he will be able to do that, as it is a great financial burden to travel every time for his court date from the United States to Nepal,” Subedi told Morning Star News. “The court procedures in Nepal take several years and are tiresome.”

A team from the Nepal Christian Society in Kathmandu, including Khanal, went to speak with local officials.

“We met with about 60 local pastors and mobilized prayer, as well as formed a task force,” Khanal said. “We met Bradley and Sunar inside the jail and comforted them. We met the police inspector who arrested Bradley, the deputy superintendent of police, chief district officer and the prosecuting attorney to discuss how the charges in the case could be minimized, for there was no ‘conversion attempt’ in the case at all.”

After the initial order for a week’s remand ended, police kept them in custody while extending the investigation for no apparent reason, sources said.

“Both Bradley and Sunar were being kept in a miserable condition while in custody,” read an RLFN newsletter. “They were treated as criminals even though they had not committed any crime.”

The Rev. Mukunda Sharma, spokesperson of the RLFN, was a part of the team visiting the duo in jail. He urged human rights and diplomatic officials to support them.

Khanal issued a plea for foreigners visiting Nepal to refrain from doing anything that will land them in legal trouble. He said that sharing the gospel where there are already local churches should not be taken up by Christians from other countries.

“Their role can be to inspire, educate and train local churches if they really want the bring the gospel to the people,” he said. “Let the local church in their local language share the gospel.”

As the Nepal Christian Society is taking up an increasing number of legal cases, he asked that the international Christian community pray for those accused under Nepal’s new criminal code.

An increase in persecution of Christians in Nepal began after a new criminal code was passed in October 2017, which took effect in August 2018.

Targeting Christians

Pastor Sagar Baiju, a senior Christian leader in the country, said that such incidents make it clear that government officials, police and politicians are targeting Christians.

“Unless this new law is revoked, such incidents will continue to increase in Nepal,” Baiju told Morning Star News. “When I travel to foreign counties, I carry my identity with me – and my identity is that I am a Nepali, but apart from being a Nepali, I am a Christian, so I always carry my Bible with me. How is it a crime, when foreign tourists come to Nepal to tour the country or to visit their friends, and carry their Bible in their hands?”

People of other religions erect huge tents, gather in large numbers and use loud sound systems for worship, and the lawmakers do not question them, he said.

“All the schools in Nepal have their morning devotions according to the faith that the school authorities follow,” he said. “In schools run by Hindus, they make the children perform Saraswati Vandana [a common Hindu mantra] in their morning devotion, and nobody objects to it. Then why is it a crime, if a Christian school makes the children say The Lord’s Prayer in the assembly? Why are objections raised and Christians ghettoized as criminals?”

There is a need for Christians to unite and raise the issue with a single voice, he said.

“A hospital owned by a Hindu has a big Hindu temple inside the premises,” he said. “They are free to write Hindu scriptures on the walls of the hospital and nobody objects. But if a Christian hospital has a Bible inside the hospital or a Bible verse hung on any wall, we are accused of preaching our religion, and the authorities running the hospital are in trouble.”

Nepal was ranked 32nd on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that can orient you on how to get involved.

If you or your organization would like to help enable Morning Star News to continue raising awareness of persecuted Christians worldwide with original-content reporting, please consider collaborating at https://morningstarnews.org/donate/?

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Remarkable Stories of Courage in Crisis and Two Ways to Partner with God

President Trump will visit El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, later today as political conflict over last weekend’s shootings continues. Politicians and the media are also debating the role of gun control in preventing such tragedies.

In a crisis, a secularized culture looks to the resources it has. Political leadership is obviously vital to our well-being, as is effective legislation.

Few, however, are asking about God’s role in the massacres and their aftermath. Scripture proclaims that “God is the King of all the earth” (Psalm 47:7) and that he “reigns over the nations” (v. 8).

So let’s ask: Where was God in El Paso and Dayton? What is he doing in the aftermath of these horrible tragedies?

WHERE WERE GOD’S ANGELS?
God gives us free will so we can choose to love him and each other (Matthew 22:37–39). When humans misuse our freedom, the fault is not the Lord’s but ours: “God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (James 1:13–14).

If God always prevented the consequences of sin, we would not be free. If he had intervened in El Paso or Dayton, or if he protects you and me from the results of our next sins, human freedom would not be real.

ere’s the dilemma: there are times when it seems this is just what he does. For example, King Herod misused his freedom when he imprisoned Peter and plotted his execution. But God sent his angel to free the apostle from his Roman jail (Acts 12:1–11).

It’s natural to ask: Where were his angels in El Paso and Dayton? Why pray for God to protect our children and grandchildren if he allows mass murderers to kill other children and grandchildren?

After Job lost his children, his possessions, and his health, he asked, “Why did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and expire?” (Job 3:11). The psalmist asked God, “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” (Psalm 42:9). Even Jesus cried from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, quoting Psalm 22:1).

ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD BOY MAKES A REMARKABLE DIFFERENCE
Here’s what I do know: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). There is no burden we cannot share with him: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT).

I also know that evil can be used for good. Consider some of the remarkable stories coming out of last weekend’s tragedies.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

—Psalm 34:18
An eleven-year-old boy in El Paso has created the #ElPasoChallenge. Ruben Martinez wants to “challenge everyone to do 22 acts of good deeds in honor of the 22 people who were killed.” His “challenge” has gone viral, reaching people as far away as Germany.

We learned about Glendon Oakley, an Army serviceman who rescued multiple children during the El Paso massacre. He explained later: “That is what the military has taught me to do, and why I am thankful to be in the military.”

And we learned stories of incredible courage, such as the grandfather in El Paso who died shielding his wife and granddaughter from the gunman and the mother who was killed protecting her two-month-old son.

TWO WAYS TO PARTNER WITH OUR FATHER
I know another fact about God: he wants us to work with him. There is a divine-human partnership across Scripture and human history. Noah builds the ark, and God sends the Flood; Moses raises his arms, and God parts the Red Sea; Joshua and the people step into the torrential Jordan River, and God stops the flood.

How can we join God at work in these tragic days?

One: We can be proactive in responding to the crises we see in the people we know.

A grandmother in Lubbock recently took her grandson to a hospital after he told her about his plan to “shoot up” a local hotel and then commit suicide by cop. Officers then searched his hotel room, where they found an AK-47 rifle, seventeen loaded magazines, and multiple knives.

Pray for the discernment to know when you need to intervene and for the courage and compassion to respond. As the hands and feet of Jesus, we continue his earthly ministry through ours (1 Corinthians 12:27).

Two: We can use our gifts and influence to turn others to Christ.

Shortly after the El Paso and Dayton shootings, Max Lucado wrote an op-ed for Fox News that asks, “How are we to respond to this dark season of bloodshed?” After telling the story of Jesus walking on the stormy Sea of Galilee to his disciples, Lucado notes that “the moment they invited Christ into their boat was the moment they reached their destination” (John 6:21).

He then suggests: “Let’s follow the example of the disciples. Welcome Jesus into the midst of this turbulent time.”

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What We’re Missing About Mass-Shootings: Young Men Are in Crisis

The state of our national discourse is, to put it mildly, discouraging and unhelpful, and the reaction to the recent shootings only amplified how bad it is. Once again, everyone took their place along partisan battle lines to pound the same old drums, but it’s past time we admit that there’s something deeper going on in America than too many guns, or too few guns, or violent video games, or the President’s rhetoric, or even the evil of white supremacy.

That’s not to say there are no good policy proposals out there to address these issues, which need to be addressed. As a Second Amendment guy, I could buy into something like what David French proposed last year in National Review: a system for family and employers to report warning signs and separate unstable individuals from their guns.

But, as French admits, the best that policy would do is keep troubled young men from acting on their violent impulses. It doesn’t address the young men themselves, or the source of those impulses. And that’s exactly the issue we can no longer ignore. Yesterday, I highlighted the crisis of virtue across our culture, and how that will lead to the loss of freedom. It’s a historical inevitability. Today, I want to zero in on the problem of men in our culture, especially young men. They aren’t okay.

Writing at the LA Times, professor of criminology Jillian Peterson and sociologist James Densley offer a revealing look at America’s mass-shooters. They’ve studied every shooter since 1966, and the vast majority have four things in common: “early childhood trauma and exposure to violence at a young age”; seeking “validation” in extreme communities, often online; openly admiring the work of prior shooters; and nearly all are longtime loners with an identifiable “crisis point” like getting fired or expelled from school. Oh, and by the way, they are men.

In fact, the young men who appear on CNN’s list of the “27 Deadliest Mass Shootings in U.S. History” have something else in common: almost all of them grew up without fathers.

In other words, with few exceptions, the signs that a young man is headed down a dark road overlap noticeably with signs we see across our culture that young men, in general, are not doing well.

Lacking strong role models and healthy social groups, increasingly left behind academically and vocationally, and floundering for a purpose in life beyond video games, countless males have sought solace in the only communities they can find—usually online—where the foulest kinds of hate, conspiracy theories, and nihilism await them.

Of course, these factors don’t always lead one to become a mass shooter. For every young man catechized into some toxic radicalism (like Dylan Roof or the El Paso Shooter) or into nihilistic unbelief (like Dylan Klebold and the Aurora theater shooter), and then chooses to act on it with a gun, millions of others do not.

Still, that doesn’t mean they’re doing well either. Quite the opposite: our society largely fails to cultivate young men, to teach them about their fallen natures, and to morally form them to choose love over hate and courage over violence. Thus, the epidemics of addiction, aimlessness, depression, irresponsibility, perversion, selfishness, victimhood, and low expectations continue.

Until we face the fact that the root of our problem lies here, the fruit will continue to be bitter. Unless we rebuild the institutions of civil society that cultivate young men, there is no way forward.

We certainly won’t fix this problem through government policies or mindless distractions. Only the church, with its kingdom vision and distributed work force, has the necessary resources to target young men with truth, forgiveness, accountability, and hope.

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Understanding Christians’ Climate Views Can Help Us Talk About the Environment

In their second round of debates, Democratic presidential candidates called for aggressive measures to slow climate change. As Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has said, “We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.”

Politicians realize that many voters care about this issue. A 2018 survey conducted by Yale and George Mason Universities categorizes 69% of Americans as at least “somewhat worried” about climate change, the highest level these programs had recorded since 2008.

But climate is still an uncomfortable subject for many people. I study environmental communication and the obstacles people encounter when discussing climate change. My new book, “Communication Strategies for Engaging Climate Skeptics: Religion and the Environment,” considers Christians and the variety of ways they incorporate the environment into their faith.

Studying Christianity provides important insights into how to talk productively about climate change with a variety of audiences. I interviewed Christians from many different denominations and found that they don’t all think alike when it comes to the environment. Some reject environmentalism, some embrace it, and others modify it to fit their beliefs.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
In 1967, historian Lynn White Jr. argued that Christian beliefs promoted the domination and exploitation of nature, and therefore were incompatible with environmentalism. Almost half a century later, polls showed that fewer than 50% of all U.S. Protestants and Catholics believe the Earth is warming as a result of human actions.

There are notable exceptions, such as Pope Francis, who called for action to slow climate change in his 2015 encyclical, “Laudato Si’.” Another prominent advocate for action is U.S. climate scientist and evangelical Christian Dr. Katharine Hayhoe. A growing number of Christians are joining the Creation Care movement, which combines Christianity and the environment. But as recently as early 2018, they were outnumbered by Christian climate skeptics.

Atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian married to a pastor, has taken climate science to a broad public platform. In 2016 she discussed climate change with former President Barack Obama and actor Leonardo DiCaprio at a White House ideas conference. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Christians hold a diverse range of attitudes about the environment. I divide them into three categories – separators, bargainers, and harmonizers – based on my study of religious organizations (The Cornwall Alliance, The Acton Institute, and The Evangelical Environmental Network), and interviews I conducted. I chose these three groups because they exhibit primary characteristics of the three categories.

Separators believe that faith and the environment are at odds. They tend to think environmentalism threatens their faith. One separator who I interviewed argued that climate scientists use “good causes to further evil agendas.” This person thought environmentalism was an evil force.

Bargainers adopt some aspects of environmentalism, but reject or modify others. One bargainer I interviewed said, “The climate is changing. It’s been changing for millions of years and will continue to do so.” This person changed the definition of climate change to fit the belief that climate change is natural and nothing needs to be done to address it.

Harmonizers see environmentalism as an important part of being a good Christian. Although they are not climate skeptics, they may or may not actively engage in the environmental movement. One harmonizer I interviewed said that environmentalism “begins on an individual basis.” Another argued that you only “have control over your individual actions.”

Harmonizers sometimes limit their environmentalism to personal behaviors. Most of the harmonizers I interviewed did not call for political or public action to solve climate change.

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Chris Pratt Doesn’t Think Hollywood Is Anti-Christian

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People claim the entertainment industry opposes religion “but it’s just not the case,” the “Jurassic World” actor said.

As an actor who often speaks out about his Christian faith, Chris Pratt isn’t convinced that Hollywood is anti-religious.

“I think that there’s this narrative that exists out there that Hollywood is anti-Christian or anti-religious, but it’s just not the case,” the “Jurassic World” star told The Associated Press this week.

On the contrary, Pratt said, Hollywood’s culture encourages people to embrace whatever is authentic to them.

“They are kind of not anti-anything. They are kind of pro whatever is authentic to you. And I like that,” the actor said. “Because it’s authentic for me to be pro-Christian, pro-Jesus. That’s my thing. I like it.”

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Pratt said that no one in Hollywood has ever tried to shame him to his face about his faith. Even if they did it behind his back, he said, “I’m not going to change.”

The actor has often used his appearances on award shows to share his religious beliefs. In June, while accepting the Generation Award at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards, Pratt offered his listeners some spiritual advice.

“God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that. I do,” Pratt said while listing what he called nine essential life rules.

He also advised the audience to be careful with their souls, serve others and learn to pray.

“You are imperfect. You always will be. But there is a powerful force that designed you that way,” the actor said. “And if you’re willing to accept that, you will have grace. And grace is a gift.”

Pratt told AP that he knows this kind of message might not be for everybody. But he thinks there are people out there who are yearning to hear it.

“And nothing fills my soul more than to think that maybe some kid watching that would say, ‘Hey, I’ve been thinking about that. I’ve been thinking about praying. Let me try that out,’” he said.

Pratt, who was raised Lutheran, spoke about his Christian awakening in a January 2017 Vanity Fair article. As a struggling young actor, the Minnesota native moved to Maui, Hawaii. He lived in a van parked on the beach and worked as a waiter at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Though his surroundings were idyllic, Pratt recalled feeling lost.

One day, when he was sitting outside a grocery story, a stranger came up and invited him to church.

“He said, ‘Jesus told me to talk to you …’ At that moment I was like, I think I have to go with this guy,” Pratt told Vanity Fair. “He took me to church. Over the next few days I surprised my friends by declaring that I was going to change my life.”

Pratt said he became a committed Christian two days later and even helped the stranger, who apparently worked for a Messianic Jewish organization.

One month later, according to Esquire, Pratt was discovered by a director at Bubba Gump Shrimp. He was cast in a short film, which eventually led to bigger acting gigs.

Last year, Pratt was spotted in Los Angeles attending Hillsong Church, which is part of an evangelical Christian group of churches known for attracting quite a few celebrities, including Justin Bieber and Kourtney Kardashian.

He feels speaking publicly about his faith has become his calling, Pratt told AP.

“That’s like the only way I feel like I can repay what has essentially been a giant gift in my life,” he said.

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https://www.huffpost.com/entry/chris-pratt-hollywood-anti-christian-religion_n_5ba3e4d8e4b0181540db48c1