Sex, Marriage and Divorce - Christianity and Islam

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  • Created on: 08-04-10 12:18

Sex, marriage and divorce

Religious attitudes to sex before marriage

Christianity teaches that sex before marriage is wrong for the following reasons.

  • Sex belongs within marriage; it is the expression of a deep, loving, life-long union between a couple.
  • Sex is a gift of God demanding responsibility, commitment and total love.

  • It is wrong to use people as sex objects.

  • Chastity is important. For example, ‘True Love Waits’ pledges not to have sex before marriage.
  • Sex can create new life (one of its main purposes - Roman Catholic teaching).
  • St Paul urged sexual restraint and control: ‘You know that your bodies are parts of the body of Christ’; ‘Avoid immorality…the man who is guilty of sexual immorality sins against his own body. Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God?’ (1 Corinthians 6:15, 18-19)
  • It would be irresponsible for a Christian to risk pregnancy or spread sexually transmitted diseases.

No religion is in favour of sex before marriage. It is expressly forbidden in the Qur’an.

Religious attitudes to sex outside marriage (adultery)


  • Christianity teaches that adultery is wrong for the following reasons.
  • It breaks the vows people make when they marry.
  • It is against the commandment: ‘Do not commit adultery.’ (Exodus 20:14)
  • It is against Jesus’ teaching: ‘You have heard that it was said “Do not commit adultery.” But now I tell you: anyone who looks at a woman and wants to possess her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’ (Matthew 5: 27-8). The woman caught in adultery was forgiven but her sin was condemned (John 8:1-11).
  • It usually involves deception, breaking trust - honesty is essential to marriage.
  • It threatens the stable relationship needed for children’s security.
  • Roman Catholics view sex as a sacramental sign of Christ’s love for the Church. Extra-marital sex cannot be that sign.
  • It is against the purpose of marriage.


‘Have nothing to do with adultery, for it is a shameful thing, and an evil opening the way to other evils.’ (Qur’an, surah 17:32)

Religious views towards contraception and divorce


Christian views on contraception vary. All Christians believe in ‘responsible parenthood’; children should be wanted and welcomed. The Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches teach that the use of artificial contraception within marriage is wrong (absolute morality). The Roam Catholic teaching is based on the following reasons.

  • Contraception goes against one purpose of marriage, to have a


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