Mikako Ishii /age 15 grade 9th/ Topic #4. How can one maintain purity when surrounded by a culture that does not recognize that value/ Purity. Abstinence. Teens hear these words so many times that it now seems like an everyday catch phrase. With today’s society sending out mixed messages as it is, it’s no wonder that a question such as whether or not abstinence is worth waiting for would come up. The values of today as opposed to that of 50 years ago for example, are so drastically different that questions are only expected. When it comes to purity, the main factor that people focus on is that of the physical. To each their own, but for me, it’s meaning delves much deeper. Not only does abstinence mean not having sex, but mentally and spiritually, it’s a pledge to myself to stay pure in all ways; a person’s thoughts are just as guilty as their actions. By choosing the road of abstinence, you’re saying that you’re willing to wait for your future spouse. Many decades ago, this would have been the norm, but nowadays, does it still hold the same value? Religion, being one of the major advocates for abstinence, has different ways of showing it. Whether a person may be Christian, Catholic, or Muslim, purity is shown through methods such as promise rings, workshops/church, arranged marriages, and fasts. With the majority of Americans being religious, one would think that everything would be fine if they followed the “guidelines” of their religion. However, with the number of pregnancies going up in the US, it’s no wonder that people would wonder if abstinence actually means something, regardless of religious beliefs. With today’s society as is, staying pure is one of the hardest decisions that could be made as a teen, as well as an irreversible one. Friends, school, internet, and parties; all four being everyday circumstances that teens comes across, and all equally full of temptations. No matter how many promises you’ve made to yourself and God, temptation will always exist. Words are words until you back them up with evidence, and in this case, if as many teenagers are participating in sexual activity as studies show, the fact that people are questioning abstinence is not surprising at all. In my opinion however, it doesn’t matter who says it or how many times it is said, it comes down to the individual. Personally, I’ve taken part in workshops, signed a pledge, and possess a promise ring. Does this necessarily mean that I’ll wait until after marriage? With all other distractions taken out of the picture, one comes to see that a promise is made to be fulfilled, not only until you meet a boy or girl that you’ve come to like. Regardless of the age, or “time” that we are living in, purity will always be important. Hearing these words regarding abstinence in what seems like daily life, and still having so many people fall from their original plans of waiting, is abstinence in fact, an outdated idea? My answer is a simple “no.” Regardless of race and religion, all that matters is that we are human, and saving yourself for your future spouse is an important decision that needs to be made. To have people of different age, ethnicity, and religion encouraging absolute purity, ignoring the wise and age-old advice would be the mistake of a lifetime.

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