14 comments on “The Bible and Nakedness – Part 15 – A Biblical Definition of Nakedness and the Issue of Public Nudity

  1. We found this well written and well thought out, it seems very logical. As for our view seeing someone nude no matter where or being seen nude by others is not a sin or wrong. It’s what happens in ones heart and mind where the sin begins. So simple nudity should in our view be a part of everyday life.

    • I am a Biblical theologian so based on what the Bible says public nudity in and of itself is not a sin Biblically. The real quesiton is what people would do with it and that is a more complicated question. We start getting into what is culturally accepted, what can be socially accepted and so on. That battle is still going on in many western nations including my own the USA. Truth be told it may never be completely resolved. The main issue ot me for nudists or simply people who think women should be topfree is that they not force the issue but persuade. If that person is a Christian, they also need to be mindful of Christian brothers and sisters who are weak as well when it comes to lust and other issues. A man who was formerly deep into porn and other related sins should probably not be around naked people for instance because it may cause him to stumble in his Christianty for instance.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Been following for a while. Your post are very interesting and your theological analysis sound. I do appreciate your work as a follower of Christ so much of the Christian discourse is more dogma than Biblical exegesis. Thanks for the following as well

  3. Is a lost to me and others if the whole Gods words does not make any provision for such. U ask your yourself, the current ways in which most people dress does not show moral and modesty. From Islamic perspective, a person must dress most appropriately. If those who passed before us obey the commands of God and we can’t obey Him as such. As a holy book of God behaviours must clearly be stated in it. A advice the none Muslims who happens to read across my post to make a research into the Quran and see whether is a solution for humanity or not. Thanks.

    • I think reducing modesty to outward appearance reduces an understanding of modesty and does not include a higher form of modesty which is based on humility and quietness of spirit in a Christian context. A woman can be ‘modestly’ dressed but prideful or arrogant of spirit, is she then modest? At the same time if a woman is nude but has a modest and quiet spirit is she then immodest? Dress is in my mind the worst way to judge the true state of spirituality in a person.

      My problem with the Koran and Islam in general is its fascination with the idea that if you control outward expression you can control spirituality and faith and to be honest this is folly to me. Jesus constantly addressed the Pharisees about this very issue and repeatedly told them that such religious rules would neither save or lead to eternal life.

      As a Biblical Theologian my only inclusions as Scripture are the standard 66 books of the Protestant canon of Scripture and does NOT include the Apocrypha and/or the Koran. I am after all a Protestant Christian, but I do try to be friendly with everyone else.

      Blessings and thanks for the comment.

  4. C.S. Lewis wrote something very similar in Mere Christianity. Basically, his views on modesty are that they are defined by culture. All cultures—even pagan nudist tribes—have ways of being modest or immodest. Just like the prohibitions on men with long hair in the New Testament need to be understood in light of the culture, so do the instructions on modesty.

    To give an example of nudist modesty, I watched a documentary about a tribe in South America that never wears clothes, except the men always wrap their foreskins with a type of leaf to bind them shut (except when copulating or urinating), and the women ALWAYS sit with one leg pulled in so their foot covers their vagina. While those in the developed world would find these things obscene, for them it is respectful and modest, and not following these traditions would be quite rude.

    In another example, I heard a missionary speak onetime who said that her church donated boxes of clothes to the almost-nude tribe. The people loved the clothes, but the missionary woke up the next day to find that the women had torn out holes for their breasts so they could still feed their children! To them, there was nothing inherently sinful or sexual about exposed breasts.

    I think in light of all of this, we need to consider the history of dress codes in the Western world. Living so far north, full-body attire is particularly important for keeping warm. As people became richer, clothes went from being necessary to survival to becoming fashion statements and symbols of wealth. This was coupled with the Christian traditions and possibly influenced by Gnosticism, which took a very low view toward the body. It is easy to see how the Western ideals of modesty developed. The danger, then, is when we try to apply those views toward other cultures and judge them by it. If we successfully convert them to our standards of modesty, then are we at risk for indoctrinating them into a badly-misunderstood form of legalism?

    • I have no problem with you observations, in fact it is part of my argument later that nudity and modesty are cultural issues not necessarily moral ones.
      Thanks for the comment.

  5. The area of the body that is identified in the Bible as “shame” and “nakedness” is what we commonly call the “genitals,” the primary external generative organs, or the “pubes” (from the Latin for “shame.”
    The “breeches” of the Genesis account are better described as a “loincloth,” a piece of cloth or other fabric that covers the pubic area in the front and the separation (crack or crevice) of the buttocks. The word “breech” means the backside or rear end, such as the closed end of a gun barrel. These “britches” were insufficient for life outside of the Eden garden, with its harsher climate, brambles, briars and other hazards to the bare skin. No man would want to go about generally with his genitals unprotected. Almost all other male creatures’ penises retract into a protective sheath or are always concealed. Man’s hangs out, exposed to those briars, brambles and other dangers.
    Culture should not be ignored. For peoples who customarily cover little or none of their skin, males nevertheless cover their penises even if females are completely naked aside from ornamentation. They amy not be thought lewd or immoral. But in a society where custom dictates coverage of various parts of the body, Christians should, for expediency’s sake, take the “conservative” path while remaining within that culture’s norms so as not to draw undue attention to themselves.

    • The last part of your comment however indicates that your are given culture a nod instead of the Biblical text. It means then what constitutes nakedness physically is culturally defined. The shame that Adam and Eve felt was toward God not each other.

      As for protective measures and nakedness, there would be many naturists and nudists who would tell you that in general this is overblown. In truth the human body is very adaptive to environmental conditions because it was designed to be naked in the first place.

      The conservative path is a cultural statement like it or not and where is this notion that Christians should not draw attention to themselves.

      I think I have addressed most of your comment in all the other posts of this series and Naked Before God addresses the spiritual concerns specifically.

      Thanks for the comment but I would have to say that I disagree with most of it Biblically.

      Blessings and Cheers!

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