Are You Christian and A Nudist?
Christian Nudist - This is not exactly a confession in the traditional sense, since I believe what I have to tell is not a sin, although it is controversial. I am a nudist. I have not engaged in unlawful sex, nor have I suddenly become perverted in my desires. I do this because it is neither sexual nor sinful and there are benefits to be gained.
Some years ago, I was surfing the Web and stumbled upon a Christian nudist website. I was intrigued enough to explore it and read their statement of faith, and was surprised to find that in nearly every particular it matched orthodox Christianity. The one exception was the last section, a brief statement that they believed the naked human being was good and nudity was not forbidden in the Bible.
Well, I have long believed in studying the Bible for myself rather than blindly accepting the doctrines of any one denomination. So I searched the Scriptures, and was surprised to find what the Bible said about nakedness, or rather, what it didn’t say.
I restudied Genesis 2 and 3. Of course, Adam and Eve were creaked naked and unashamed in the Garden; but it is usually assumed that God somehow changed His mind after our father and mother ate the Fruit. But the text doesn’t support that assumption. When Adam said, trying to justify himself, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked,” God replied, “Who told thee that thou was naked?” (3:10,11) Then, when it became apparent that they had disobeyed Him and were not repentant, He cursed them and the serpent who tempted them; but clothing was not part of that curse. It is not told why the Lord “made coats of skins” for Adam and Eve (vs. 21).
The best speculation I have read about this was that it was to protect the humans against a new, harsher environment, and that it was the first blood sacrifice, a foretaste of the ultimate sacrifice of God’s Son. Nowhere in Genesis 1-3 is there even an implication that God declared human bodies shameful.
Nor is there any subsequent commandment forbidding nudity in all circumstances. The book of Exodus details how priests were to wear linen breeches (ch. 28:42,43) lest their nakedness be seen when they do sacrifices; but I was unable to find any other law regarding this. On the other hand is the story of King Saul, who went down to Samuel’s and David’s hideout to try to capture David.
“And the Spirit of God was upon him also…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.” (I Samuel 19:23,24) The ancient author or authors seemed more surprised that Saul prophesied than at his nakedness; apparently it was acceptable, even common, to prophesy in the nude. The saying was not “Is Saul also naked?” but rather, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (vs. 24)
Perhaps the most interesting passage I found is Isaiah 20. There God commanded the prophet to
“Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.” (vs. 2)
Then, after three years, the Lord explained to Israel that this was a symbol of Egypt’s and Ethiopia’s shameful captivity at Assyria’s hands. Now, does God ever command a sinful act?
I also found that in at least one instance our Lord Jesus was casual about nudity.
At the Last Supper “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” (John 13:4-5.) Most modern translations specify “outer garments,” but the old King James Version, following the Greek, simply says “garments.”
Granted, probably only the Twelve were in the room, but any maidservant might have come in. (He would also have been crucified in the nude, but that was not strictly His doing.) Nor was Peter rebuked for fishing in the nude in John 21. (Again, most modern translations don’t indicate complete nudity, but the Greek and KJV do.)
I was also surprised to learn of the well-documented practice of baptism in the nude. For about the first five centuries A.D., candidates would take off all their garments, be baptized, then receive white robes. It was also common for Christians to visit public baths. If these practices were sinful, why is the New Testament silent about them?
So I concluded that the Bible does not condemn social nudity, at least not in all circumstances.
After this, I did more online searching, this time seeking out nudist sites. Now, the most common reason given today against nakedness is that it will lead to all kinds of sexual immorality. But the nudists tell a different tale.
Nearly without exception, nudists and naturists (the terms are interchangeable) say that their social nudity is neither about sex nor sexual in nature. Story after story tells how quickly one becomes accustomed to the feeling of one’s own nakedness and able to look at other naked bodies without erotic arousal. In fact, several reported healing from addiction to sexual perversions or pornography. (I did find exceptions, but it was obvious that the principals had issues or misconceptions.) And most nudist organizations have strict policies regarding public sex and molestation. Do it once, and you’re out. Many groups even try to maintain a numeric balance between men and women, to make the women more comfortable. (At public nude beaches, these things are much more difficult to enforce, and bad things happen. But the nudist organizations soundly condemn such actions, and many forums discuss how to remove the sex fiends and perverts from these beaches.)
Yet even after this study, I still had to face the possibility that the nudists were either lying or in denial. The only way I could be sure was to try it myself. So I began to go naked in my own home, and quickly got comfortable with my own nudity. I also looked through photo galleries on nudist websites to accustom my eyes and mind to the sight. Since I was familiar with nudity in the visual arts, it didn’t take long. Then, finally, in August 2003, I attended a nudist gathering.
It was all I expected. No sex, no erotic movements, no propositions, no lying, no denial. Within seconds I was entirely comfortable with my own nudity and seeing other naked humans in the flesh. The people were as friendly as any of my brothers and sisters in Christ, although by no means all were Christians. All the good things I had read are true. I found, too, that my body was more relaxed than it ever is in clothing.
So I now consider myself a sometime nudist, while remaining a full-time Christian. If I have erred, and someone can prove it to me from the Bible, I may reconsider. But until I am convinced otherwise, I will continue to accept nudity as “true…honest…just…pure…lovely…of good report.” (Philippians 4:8)Scripture References: Genesis 1-3 Genesis 3:10-11 Genesis 3:21 Exodus 28:42-43 I Samuel 19:23-24 Isaiah 20:2 John 13:4-5 John 21 Phillippians 4:8