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“The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
|Genesis 9:20-29: This is the story of Noah becoming intoxicated and lying naked in his tent. He had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japeth. Ham sees his father, and tells his two brothers. The Hebrew word for nakedness is here "ervah," which connotes a display of the genitals. Shem and Japeth then cover their father without looking at him. When Noah wakes up, he engages in evil sorcery: He lays a verbal curse; not on Ham, but on Ham's son Canaan, and all of his descendants. Some conservative theologians interpret this passage to mean that Ham's descendants were cursed because Ham had observed his father naked. This would imply that nudity with a family is forbidden behavior. Others interpret it to mean that Ham ridiculed his father's nakedness and was being punished for his disrespect. That would be more in agreement with Exodus 21:15 and Leviticus 20:9 which calls for a son to be punished if he curses or shames his parent (the Hebrew word is ambiguous). Others reject the passage as profoundly immoral. By today's secular and religious standards, people are not punished for the behavior of their parent(s) or other ancestor; individuals are responsible for their own behavior, not for others.|
Exodus 32:19-25: At least 3,000 men and an unknown number of women danced while worshiping a golden calf. Various translations of the Bible say that they were "unrestrained", or had "broken loose" or were "committing adultery" or were "running wild." The original Hebrew appears to imply that they were naked. The sons of Levi sided with Moses who disapproved of idol worship and exterminated the worshipers. The worshipers appear to have been punished because they revered the golden calf, not because they were publicly nude.
1 Samuel 18:3-4 "And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt." (NIV) Since people in those days did not wear underwear, Jonathan stripped himself naked in front of David. This is one of many indications in the Bible where David and Jonathan's relationship may have been sexual in nature.
1 Samuel 19:20-24: Saul had sent a group of messengers to capture David. The "Spirit of God" descended on the messengers, and they started to prophesize. Saul sent a second group of messengers, with the same result. Finally Saul went himself and the Spirit descended upon him as well. Verse 24 states: "And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night...." (KJV). The nudity of Saul and his messengers while prophesizing is the first of many similar instances in the Bible.
2 Samuel 6:14: "And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod." (KJV) David engaged in some kind of whirling dance to the accompaniment of music and ritual shouting. An ephod was a type of simple apron that covered his genitals. David was nearly naked. Presumably his genitals would have been exposed as he danced.
2 Samuel 11:2: "...David...went for a stroll on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking her evening bath." (NIV) David and Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, later engaged in an adulterous affair. Bathsheba became pregnant, David sent her husband into a hopeless military situation so that Uriah was killed. This passage appears to reflect the building design in Palestine at the time. The populace generally had no access to indoor bathtubs, and commonly bathed in public in the river. In Bathsheba's case, she was probably bathing in her courtyard out of sight of passersby, but visible from the roof of the palace. Her nudity was mentioned in passing without comment. That would seem to imply that to be naked in the view of others, or to observe a person naked, are not sinful acts. David was later punished by God, not for gazing on a naked woman, but for committing adultery with her and for being indirectly responsible for arranging the death of her husband.
Esther 1:10-11: "...when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded ...the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on." (KJV) Ancient rabbinical interpreters suggested that she was ordered to appear naked, wearing only her crown. She refused.
Job 22:6: "For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing." (KJV) This is a criticism of unrighteous people who are totally lacking in empathy for other individuals. They are so keen to exploit others that they take from the naked what they do not have: clothes. There is no condemnation for the naked in this passage.
Job 24:7: "They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold." (KJV) Same comment as above.
Job 24:10: "They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry." (KJV) Not only do the unrighteous take clothing from the naked, they even steal food. Again, there is no condemnation of those who simply are naked.
Isaiah 20:2: "The Lord told Isaiah, the son of Amoz, to take off his clothing, including his shoes, and to walk around naked and barefoot" (NIV) Isaiah's nudity, which was to continue for three years, was symbolic of the Assyrians conquering Egypt and Ethiopia, when they carted their prisoners away naked and barefoot. Isaiah was clearly acting as a naturist, but not necessarily of his own choosing. And God used his nudity to teach others. Many centuries later, St., Francis of Assisi followed Isaiah's behavior. He removed his clothes in the center of the village. He and Brother Rufino later preached nude in church. 1,2
Isaiah 58:7: "Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?" (NIV) This is clearly not a command to clothe all naked persons. Rather, it is an instruction to care for the people who are in need of shelter, food and clothes in order to sustain life.
Matthew 5:28: "...I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (NIV) Some would believe that more lustful thoughts might be experienced at a nudist facility than at a textile resort. However, it can equally be argued that the suggestive nature of many modern bathing suits arouse greater feelings of sexual lust at a textile beach or clothed resort than in a naturist location. So, the passage could be used to support or criticize naturism.
“Christ Said unto them, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Andy why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”
Mark 10:46-50: "... blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging...And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus." (KJV) It is unclear why he wished to come to Jesus naked. But his actions were not condemned.
Mark 14:51-52: "And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked." (KJV) This verse is a bit of a puzzle. Some theologians speculate that the young man had just been baptized naked and had afterwards put on a white linen sheet. In the early years of the Christian movement, believers and the person doing the baptizing were both nude.
John 13:4-5: Jesus "... riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded." This is a passage from the last supper. After finishing eating, Jesus removed all of his clothes, wrapped himself in a towel and later used the towel to wash the feet of his disciples.
|John 20:5-7: Two disciples visited the tomb where Jesus was interred. They found strips of linen and the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. Presumably, when Jesus was resurrected by God (according to Paul) or resurrected himself (according to the Gospel writers), he was without clothing. See also Luke 24:12.|
1 Corinthians 8:9: "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak." Some interpreters believe that this is a generic statement that a Christian must not engage in any behavior that might cause another believer to falter. They might argue that nudism may tempt some persons to have unclean thoughts. Other interpreters note that the passage is preceded and followed with discussions of eating meat that had been used in Pagan rituals. The instruction may be limited to interaction with animal-sacrificing Pagan groups, as is seen today among the followers of Santeria.
1 Corinthians 12:23: "and those (parts) of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely (parts) have more abundant comeliness; whereas our comely (parts) have no need: but God tempered the body together, giving more abundant honor to that (part) which lacked." (ASV). Paul is apparently saying that parts of the human body which are not presentable are to be treated with special modesty, while the rest of our body needs no such special treatment. He is apparently referring to social practices in his culture, which prohibited nudity in social situations.
There are three other passages in the Christian Scriptures where nudity is mentioned. Two are associated with mental illness, which the Bible attributes to indwelling demons. (Luke 8:27, Acts 19:13-16). The remaining reference is in Luke 10:30, when the man rescued by the good Samaritan was stripped and left for dead by robbers. None of these are related to consensual nudity in public.
The Gospel of Thomas is a recently discovered Gospel that was in wide use among early Christian groups, but which never made it into the official canon of the Bible. One verse reads:
"His disciples asked, 'When will you become revealed to us and when shall we see you?' Jesus answered, 'When you disrobe without being ashamed and take up your garments and place them under your feet like little children and tread on them, then will you see the son of the Living One, and you will not be afraid.' "Nudity in this case appears to be refer to achieving a state of personal innocence.
|"Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."|
One very conservative source, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, suggests that, after death, God might punish those who have engaged in social nudism while on Earth. The author wrote:
"Don't be so naive as to think that you might not tempt others to sin. You will need to answer this question before your God. Consider it carefully. You do not want to be confronted by God on the Day of Judgment with the accusation that your practice of social nudism tempted yourself or others to sin."If one is to apply these verses to social nudism, then one has to conclude that naturism induces sinful thoughts and behaviors. However, many nudists report that naturism generates feelings of freedom, liberation, unity with nature, and not lustful thoughts.
Conclusions: One source lists many dozens of verses in the Bible and interprets each. That author concludes that God abhors nakedness when:
|It means that the individual is lacking in basic needs to the extent that they are unprotected from the harsh elements, without shelter, food, and clothing. 3|
But God also used nakedness positively, in order to communicate the message of some of the Prophets more effectively.
We have been unable to find a passage in the Bible that specifically condemns public nudity, as in attendance at a naturist resort. There appear to be none which condemns private nudity. There seem to be a number of passages that mention nudity in the presence of others as acceptable behavior. There also appears to be many instances in the history of the Christian Church where public nudity was a normal activity. We would conclude that naturism is not disallowed by the Bible, or by church tradition and that Christians should feel free to investigate naturism freely.
The two passages in Roman cited above have been used to condemn social nudity. But this appears to be based on incorrect beliefs about the possibility of lustful thoughts.
Pope John Paul II, while still a Polish Cardinal wrote:
"Nakedness itself is not immodest... Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person, when its aim is to arouse concupiscence, as a result of which the person is put in the position of an object for enjoyment." 4All verses above were found at http://www.religioustolerance.org/nu_bibl.htm
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