Devout Christians have sex before marriage

Christian influencerNo sex, but a lot of it

"Hello Guyyyys!" The greeting of the YouTube community is in proper style. Lisa Stowasser, alias LiMarie, smiles shyly into the camera, while her boyfriend Lukas approaches her to give a more courageous speech: "Hello, friends of the very easy conversation."

She is perfectly made up, he has a casual three-day beard. The student room is kept entirely in trendy gray and white. The two meet the cliché of video bloggers on the Internet, also known as influencers, pretty well. But they quickly make their mission clear. Instead of surreptitiously advertising lipsticks, currywurst or yoga classes, they advertise a life that is true to the Bible. Or what they think is a biblical life.

Lukas explains: "Today we're going to make a video why we don't have sex before marriage - bammm!"

LiMaries Channel is probably the most-clicked German-speaking channel by Christian influencers. The 23-year-old graphic designer from Bingen, who studied theology at a private vocational college, calls her professionally shot videos "sermons". At the top of their hit list is the video "No Sex Before Marriage".

"We do that because it is so common in Christianity, but we are not victims of traditions or Christian laws because of that. We do wonder why God suggests certain things to us," she says.

"We always booked two hotel rooms"

Conservative life models in trendy outfits. The skepticism of many YouTube viewers is great, as the comment columns under the videos show - and even theologians have their difficulties with this:

"I like to speak of a modern anti-modernism - and that is so characteristic of this scene. You use pop culture phenomena and still have a very conservative message," says Matthias Pöhlmann, the ideology representative of the Evangelical Regional Church of Bavaria, who specializes in sects and fundamentalists Beliefs. Pöhlmann assigns the Christfluencer LiMarie to the Pentecostal spectrum:

"The beliefs that are spread there are strongly evangelical. That means a very massive Bible orientation, which assumes that the Bible is ultimately a recipe book for all life questions. Point 1. Point 2: They are always the classic ones Topics that are involved. No sex before marriage, homosexuality ... For evangelical Christians these are the test areas for their own faith. "

In the video, LiMarie appeals: "And if it really is only two weeks until you get married, then you can just wait these two weeks and open this gift when the time comes." Because the temptation lurks around every corner, she gives practical tips from her own experience: "And of course, that also applies on vacation or something, then you just book two hotel rooms. We also booked two hotel rooms ..."

Learned from the global players

In fact, there doesn't seem to be a contradiction on LiMarie's channel between abstinence and talking extensively about sex. After all, those affected will find four 15-minute video clips on premarital chastity on this topic. In an interview with Deutschlandfunk, Lisa Stowasser explains this focus as follows:

"Because sex is always somehow an issue for everyone - and always draws."

With this strategy, it hardly differs from other YouTube channels. Sex sells - and sex clicks. And those who are in demand and much discussed, their videos are usually more suggested by social networks or search engines than others. But that is exactly the goal of Givici, the Global Video Church, which Lisa Stowasser co-founded together with the director of her preaching school THS, Inga Haase. The goal: to collect clicks and likes in Christ's name.

Lisa Stowasser says in an interview with the DLF: "Such a normal, classic community that reaches a few Hanseln in the village, in the village or in the city. But really, that we can reach a lot of people with what we want to say What we want to bring out into the world usually doesn't work out so well. Then we thought, okay: How do you do it, I don't know, for example Coca Cola or Audi or something? Everyone knows them. How do they do it? And then we looked at it a bit and realized, okay, they mainly do it on social media. They are present everywhere you look. And most people now just look on cell phones. "

The word of God in YouTube format, based on the benchmark of global players. When it comes to addressing the target group authentically, the Christfluencers also benefit from the do-it-yourself aesthetic, says Lisa Stowasser in an interview.

"Man and woman are a great match"

"Especially with such well-known Youtubers, they have their camera in their hand and then walk around there. And sometimes - I don't know - they just film the floor for a few seconds because they hold the camera wrong. But that's real and comes across well. "

Of course, a tour of the room should not be missing at LiMarie either. But at its core it is about living with the Bible. All life was created by God, she says. Your friend Lukas takes over this idea and speaks out against abortions. There is no video of its own on the subject of homosexuality, it is too controversial. In the interview, Lisa Stowasser's position on this becomes clear.

"So personally, I just think that man and woman go great together: Done. So. And yes, of course, the Bible says that homosexuals - that God doesn't like that, and that He created man and woman. Well, that I also represent. "

The Catholic theologian and Weltanschauung representative of the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising, Axel Seegers, generally rejects this approach to the Bible:

"Ultimately, it is also a misuse of the Bible. Because the Bible is not such a recipe book. The Bible is not a manual from which we simply take our concrete instructions and implement them one-to-one."

In addition, the principle at LiMarie reaches its limits. Because there were no porn films on the Internet during Jesus' lifetime, but the subject apparently needs Christian sanctions, LiMarie uses her own experience here. And on supposed science. Like Michi, a student preacher, whom LiMarie asks about the subject, who admits that he used to be addicted to porn, but has now turned his back on it.

First a lesbian, now a pious family mother

He says: "I read a study there. And it was really interesting. It started, you watched your first porn at the age of 13. The likelihood that you will find yourself in a porn site where children are raped is at 20 six times higher than if you only started at 18. So this number at 18 - I'm not quite sure anymore. But - I was in an anti-porn thing seminar and they said that, and that was really shocking. "

If such a groundbreaking study were to exist, it would be hard to find, at least outside of ultra-conservative circles. And yet LiMarie leaves no doubt on her video channel that she is speaking for all of Christianity.

"If only that's not the case with you in the area - yes, you will get to know a few Christians, I think it's relatively normal there."

The evangelical theologian Matthias Pöhlmann says that the suggestive effect of such biblically inspired life support tutorials, especially on young Internet users, should not be underestimated:

"Above all, there can also be pressure on the individual: true Christianity is shown by rejecting homosexuality - or not having sex before marriage. That means, well, these are values ​​that can be discussed, but what solves that in the individual? - That is the question. "

The Video Church has big plans. Her follower and subscription numbers on social networks are still modest. In the USA, where there are more evangelical Christians than in Germany, Christian influencers are more successful. And at first glance, they seem very progressive. Atlanta rapper Jacky Hill Parry, for example, could be mistaken for a Black Life Matters activist on her profile - if she wasn't proud to announce how Jesus Christ turned her from a lesbian to a pious family mother.

"I used to be a lesbian."

Be recognizable in the secular world

The theologian Matthias Pöhlmann estimates the growth potential of such new evangelical currents to be lower for Germany, but it does exist:

"We are of course still experiencing a strong secularization, a farewell to religion in many millieus. And at the same time - perhaps also as a critical reaction to this, conscious Christian communities that say we want to be recognizable in this secular world are growing."

Recognizable backwards - and yet recognizably adapted to the mechanisms of the YouTube mainstream. Above all, Lisa Stowasser wants to address people from the evangelical milieu - and prove one thing to the world:

"That Christian things can also look beautiful (laughs) and are professional."