Abstract

This study examines the history and teaching methods surrounding abstinence-based sexual education in the secular sphere while comparing it to education of the same type in modern evangelical Christianity. Through an analysis of these two spheres of abstinence education I argue that secular abstinence-based sex education is informed by and often mirrors the techniques and strategies used in religious abstinence education. This argument is prefaced by detailing the current state of Christianity in the US and its views on sexuality, taking a detailed look at the development of celibacy as a Christian ideal, and describing the process by which current abstinence-based programs evolved and gained traction. This description shows the power that religious morality exerted upon the model of secular abstinence education as it progressed to where we find it is today. I then closely examine several examples of abstinence education from both secular and Christian origins and draw connections between their methodologies. The argument then moves to examining the public reactions to abstinence education in the secular sphere and demonstrating that abstinence education is not truly effective at preventing teenagers from engaging in sexual activity. The intention of this study is to highlight the hidden similarities between evangelical Christian attitudes towards sexuality and supposedly secular model of abstinence-based sex education, proving that it is not as secular as it seems.

Advisor

Rapport, Jeremy

Department

Religious Studies

Publication Date

2018

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 2018 Samuel D. Bauman