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sold more than 1 million copies and was passed around many Christian youth groups – including the one I attended here in the UK – throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s.Harris was just 21 years old when was published, but the book quickly became the most popular resource for a growing movement of Christians, which at its best, guided teenagers towards sexual abstinence, and at its worst, heaped shame and condemnation on young people who had been sexually active.Throughout the 77-minute production, which sees him sitting down with his fiercest critics, asking intelligent questions and, perhaps most importantly, listening to their responses, Harris appears contrite, genuine and relatable. He seems remarkably well-intentioned, and has the heart of a pastor (I was surprised to hear he’s since decided to quit full-time ministry for good and is now running a marketing company).: “I no longer agree with its central idea that dating should be avoided.I now think dating can be a healthy part of a person developing relationally and learning the qualities that matter most in a partner.”“To those who read my book and were misdirected or unhelpfully influenced by it, I am sincerely sorry…And to those of you who benefitted from my book, I am so grateful that something I wrote helped you.The fact that a flawed man could write a flawed book and somehow that could help some people is amazing to me.But, to borrow an analogy from the automotive industry, if a car serves some people but a flaw in its design causes damage to others, good intentions by the carmaker and even the endorsement of other customers don’t override the problem.”You were 21 years old when the book was published. I had been in the dating scene, had different girlfriends and had reached a point where relationships were the one area in my life that I wasn’t willing to consider in light of my Christian faith.Many of these ideas were already popular in the home-schooled, Bible belt American context that Harris grew up in.But to the wider Christian world (and the secular media, who were understandably intrigued by Harris) this teaching was brand new, not to mention radical.
Anna, they don’t mean anything to me now, but I’ve given part of my heart to each of them.”.
"I'll never forget the anger and disgust I felt at that moment," he wrote.
Anna stands at the altar on the day she has dreamed about for months. But as the minister leads Anna and David through their marriage vows, the unthinkable happens. Harris also advocated for strict boundaries within this: no kissing, no holding hands and no being alone together before you tie the knot.
But after 15 years went by, people who adopted these ideas and tried to put my book into practice suddenly had a track record.
There’s data – whether that’s people saying: “This helped me get out of an unhealthy lifestyle, and I married my spouse because this book gave me good insight,” or people saying: “Hey, this didn’t work – this actually damaged me.