Would You Vote for a Nudist Before Voting For An Atheist?

| November 28, 2012 | 30 Comments

Would You Ever Vote for a Nudist or an Atheist?

Are people more open to voting for a nudist or an atheist political candidate?

Would You Vote for a Nudist – Leading up the elections in America every couple of years, a poll is often taken that shows how atheists are the least-trusted people in the eyes of the voting public. As shown in the following graph of results from a 2007 Gallup poll, Americans are way more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who is black, Jewish or female than an atheist.

By the time I was in my early teens, I had figured out two things about myself – first, that I’m a nudist, and second, that I’m an atheist. From a time when many of the things we think we “know” about ourselves turn out to be passing phases, these two belief systems have stuck with me for over 20 years now and continue to inform my views on just about everything.

So it disappoints me that atheists are held in such low regard – at least in America. And for no real reason other than unfounded preconceptions. And it struck me for the first time this year how similar nudism and atheism are in terms of perception by outsiders.

Vote for a Nudist by YNA

2007 Gallup Poll – Where’s “nudist”? Vote for a Nudist?

Fatal Flaws of Nudists and Atheists

Both atheism and nudism are viewed as having one major fatal flaw. For atheism, it is the assumption that without religion a person does not have a “moral compass” to help tell the difference between what is right and what is wrong. For nudism, it is that nudity is equivalent to sex, and therefore any nudist activity leads inevitably to sex.

We know, of course, that this is not true for nudism. If it were, there would be a lot more sexual activity going on at nudist clubs, resorts, nudist partys and nude beaches. It is difficult to explain to non-nudists exactly why nudism does not equal sex. We just know by experience that it doesn’t.

The same applies to atheism – if all atheists lacked the moral compass supposedly provided by religion, it follows that a lot more of us would probably be in trouble with the law.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

While the basic concept of nudism seems quite straightforward, differences of opinion do exist among nudists as to how nudism should be practiced (“nudism” vs. “naturism“, etc.) and promoted. Atheists are similarly divided under a shared lack of belief in a god or gods.

Some of the division relates to what we should call ourselves. Many believe that the term “atheist” is either too vague or carries too much of a negative perception. There are several substitute terms that atheists use, including “humanist”, “secularist”, “naturalist”, “non-believer”, “skeptic” or even “agnostic” for those who prefer to classify themselves as doubters, but aren’t ready to fully declare their complete lack of belief.

Still others are divided over the degree to which it is acceptable to fight back against opposing viewpoints. Like any movement, atheism has both moderates and extremists.

In or Out of the Closet

Perhaps the strongest similarity between nudism and atheism – speaking for myself, anyway – is the willingness (or lack thereof) of people to be open about their beliefs and practices.

A significant portion of the atheist population fears being “outed” as non-believers – either they live in areas that a more religious and conservative, or have family and friends that are religious. They feel that any revelation of their atheism would cause irreparable damage to their relationships or careers – or both.

This dichotomy also exists in the nudist community. There are those who feel that all nudists should be out of the closet and proud, while others are mortified at the thought of anyone they know discovering that they’re a nudist.

Being both a nudist and an atheist has given me something of a unique perspective on this matter. I am very much out as an atheist – however, I am the exact opposite when it comes to my practice of nudism. I’ve never perceived any danger in being an open atheist. For the most part, my friends and family are either atheists or very liberal despite being religious.

But there is something about the display of the naked human body that seems to be one of the last great taboos in American society. And the association of nudity with sex is extremely strong. We know that not all nudists are atheists, and by the same token not all atheists are nudists.

While I’m certain that many of my friends, family or coworkers wouldn’t think any less of me if they found out I’m a nudist, I can’t guarantee that everyone I know would be as accepting. As someone who is openly atheist, I may wish that ALL atheists would be out and vocal, but my experience as a nudist helps me understand and respect why they aren’t.

So, while there doesn’t seem to be any official poll out there regarding how the electorate would feel about voting for a nudist, don’t think for a minute that nudists (or atheists) can’t impact the electoral process.

Given how America’s nudity taboo is often attributed to the religiousness of its population, we were curious to find out how religious nudists are in general. So take this (anonymous) poll!

This guest blog post that asks the questions of would you ever vote for a nudist was published by – Young Naturists and Young Nudists America – YNA

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Category: Religion

About the Author ()

Erik Jakobsen works in New York City, lives in New Jersey and has been an avid nudist for 25 years. He is a frequent contributor to YNA's blogs.
  • mnwwn1

    And I would definitely vote for a nudist. (A true nudist, that is.) I feel like a true nudist, with respect for people and a clean mind, might have the insight, personality and understanding that we need.

  • mnwwn1

    I can see the points made here. I personally am a born again Christian first, and a passionate nudist second. However, I also know that there are misconceptions about atheists as well. Being an atheist doesn’t make someone a bad person any more than being a Christian makes you a good person. As a Christian, I know that my place in life is only through Jesus, and that no one is any better than anyone else. It’s really an individual thing, not an entire group. If only other true Christians would realize that maybe it wouldn’t be so mean or offensive to atheists out there. Atheists are not bad people simply for being atheists. There are good and bad people in every group out there, and if we always look at the bad apples in the bunch and stereotype we’ll never get anywhere.

  • dcarley

    Mehrayin  Do not despair. Most of us who are atheist keep our beliefs to ourselves. But this doe’s not mean we are in the clear minority and glad to note that’s our ranks are growing. One has only to take a look at what people are doing in the name of religion, before it hit’s you with the question, what in the world is the ALLMIGHTY GOD is doing ??? Sitting on his/(Hopefully) her hands or asleep at the wheel? More violence has been perpetrated by the religions which preaches “Peace” than any others!! Does fighting for peace make any sense ? So, at the age of 65 it’s obvious to me that the important thing is Love all, trust a few and do wrong to none. (A quote from my mother) As far as nudity goes, if you have nothing to hide, why bother hiding?. So, stick to your faith in logic and reason and some day we will be a majority. D.Carley.

  • Mehrayin

    English is
    my second language so let me apologise first for not being able to write as
    well as others. I really liked this well written article and liked to comment
    on it. I’m a Middle Eastern guy, an atheist, and a nudist (all possible evilness :) ) .
    I would not openly discuss my belief and my nudist lifestyle back home due to
    the sensitivity of the topics. Before leaving the country, I thought such
    things are resolved in western societies long ago and I wouldn’t need to hide them in the modern world. Too good to be true. Now I live in Canada and found
    that being an atheist is as unacceptable in the public eye as in my country. I
    also was shocked to see even nudists are not as open to accept a nudist who is
    male, single, and Middle Eastern (perhaps for it is associated with voyeurism).  We have a long way to the state of real
    freedom in thinking, breaking clichés and to respect individual way of living.
    The
    similarity between atheism and nudism is the dare factor which makes it
    possible to think and act differently from the crowd and to break a taboo or a cliché.
    I believe one can contribute to another, if you dare to take off your clothes
    and enjoy your time the way you find pleasant, you are possibly more likely to
    be able to think out of the box, you may start questioning the common beliefs.

  • kb2qqm

    I am a born again Christian. I am also a Naturist.  There is nothing in the Bible that tells me I can’t be a Naturist. That’s the way God created me. I have done lots of studying on the facts.  There are lots of sites that explain it like Fig Leaf Forum dot com and the Biblical Naturist Blogspot dot com.  and others as well, like:(edraby.wordpress.com/god-and-nudity/naked-before-god/)        <– Great.
    For people especially Christians to say that it is not morally right, well they need to go study it on their own and not make generalizations based on what they are not comfortable with, because of tradition, or what someone is telling them.  Because It isn’t true.  God’s Word does not limit my freedom to be a Naturist.    For me, I am a Biblical Naturist. :)

  • GaryLayng

    The problem I have with the poll (other than the fact it doesn’t want to load properly) is that you have the options of “atheist” or “agnostic”.  In fact, I consider myself an agnostic atheist – I don’t KNOW if gods exist, but the evidence to support the hypothesis that they do exist is sorely lacking.  Pending any actual evidence supporting the existence of gods, then my default position is that they don’t.
     
    A gnostic atheist is someone who would claim to “know” that there are no gods and is to be unswayable by evidence.  An agnostic theist will believe in gods but recognize it’s based on faith (or more accurately, on hope) rather than knowledge.  Gnostic theists will not be swayed by the fact that nobody’s been able to come up with any  supporting evidence – they know, and that’s that.
     
     I’ve yet to meet anyone I’d consider (or who would consider themselves) a gnostic atheist, but I’ve met plenty of agnostic atheists, agnostic theists and gnostic theists.  And in each case, I’d add that being a Naturist has neither been exclusive to nor exclusive from any one group.

  • Pseudonymasaurus

    For what it’s worth, I think there is a common thread here.
     
    Personally, I am above all else a skeptic. Questions like “Is this true?” and “How do you know this?” and “Why do this?” are among the things I’m always asking, about everything.
     
    The reason I’m an atheist is simply that there’s no good evidence or reason to believe in any god; I questioned it and found the idea of god to be lacking. Similarly, the thing that led me to nudism was asking questions about clothes in general, and realizing there’s no good reason to wear them most of the time; most of the reasons anyone could give just don’t hold up under logical scrutiny. 
     
    When you’re not afraid to question society’s mores, you open yourself up for a lot of awesome experiences that you’d otherwise miss if you just accepted things without critical examination.

    • StuartRyals

      @Pseudonymasaurus Well said, very well said. This, I think, is the most honest way to encounter the world in which we live. Interesting for me is that I arrived at the same conclusion about nudism through the same method. However I have a different conclusion about “the spiritual” because the universe decided that I would have certain specific experiences in this life, which did not necessarily lead to a belief in “God” but have lead to a knowledge that there is much more here than meets the eye.

      • MrSandy

        @StuartRyals  @Pseudonymasaurus Also very well said. I think there are many very-intelligent people who recognize that there are some things that they just don’t understand.

  • AnthonyTewfik

    I was recently having a conversation with an old friend who is deeply religious, the subject of nudity came up and he said that he was opposed to it on the grounds of his faith. I responded that he believed that it was the devil who made Adam and Eve ashamed, that in the name of his god we should all be naked. He said he’d get back to me on that one, Im still waiting.

    • MrSandy

      When John the Baptist baptised Jesus, they wren’t wearing Speedos.

    • ErikJakobsen

      @AnthonyTewfik

    • ErikJakobsen

      @AnthonyTewfik
       This is a great point, actually. The takeaway from the Adam & Eve story for most Christians is that nudity is bad. But God wasn’t mad at Adam & Eve because they were nude. He was mad because they didn’t listen to him. The fact that they covered up was only meant to serve as a way for God to figure out that they didn’t listen. Their natural state was actually nude, and God didn’t appear to have any plans to change that.

      • AnthonyTewfik

        @ErikJakobsen Absolutely Eric, yet satanists worship “sky clad” and christians are ashamed of their bodies and offended by others???

        • GaryLayng

          @AnthonyTewfik  @ErikJakobsen   I put that down to neither Christians nor Satanists are noted for having actually read much of the Bible.  ^_^

        • AnthonyTewfik

          Im not sure Gary, the friend I mentioned holds bible reading groups, I think they probably read the bible to fit in with their pre conceived opinions. @GaryLayng  @ErikJakobsen

  • sugarless

    I see the parallel between nudism and atheism, and similarly find it easier to discuss my atheism than my nudism. Is it that nudism seems trivial or babyish measured against existential issues or sexual identity?
    Anyway, I recommend the writings of Gregory Bateson, a third generation atheist, whose last book, finished by his daughter after his death, was titled “Angels Fear,” an attempt at a rigorous ecological epistemology that is neither superstitious nor materialistic.

    • MrSandy

      I think it’s comparatively easy to talk about one’s atheism because atheism is intellectual (which is, of course, admirable) and it cannot be proven wrong.  But it’s harder to acknowledge nudism because, In the minds of many, nudism is sick, disgusting, psychotic, pedophilic, anti-social etc (all of which is, IMHO, sub-conscious cover-up for fear).

  • Eddie Gamble

    In my state, Pennsylvania, as well as several other states, I recently found out that it is against the law to hold public office if you are an atheist.

    • ErikJakobsen

      @Eddie Gamble
       You are correct. However, these laws are unconstitutional and I have to admit I’m somewhat surpised that nobody has ever taken the issue to court in one of these states. However, since it’s impossible to tell if someone is an atheist just by looking at them, it would be difficult to try to enforce the law unless someone was elected to office, and then declared that they were an atheist.

  • MrSandy

    This is a very nicely-presented article. There is some danger in our with-it culture of concluding that whoever is wise enough (or cool enough) to be a nudist will, of course, also be an atheist. Nope. The article doesn’t suggest that, and in fact it points out that there are plenty of religious nudists.  I think it needs to be emphasized that the ONLY correllation between nudism and religion is that not everyone who practices nudism or isn’t religious is willing to come out of the closet, just like LGBTs. Happily, coming out about any of these things is getting easier, but there’s still a way to go.

  • StuartRyals

    The poll itself is not a good one for me. I am profoundly spiritual, as well as profoundly non-religious and thoroughly naturist/nudist.

    • MrSandy

      @StuartRyals Nicely put. Me too.

    • FelicityJones

      @StuartRyals @MrSandy Ok I added an option – “Spiritual / Believer in Something,” as I figure I did need something else between “agnostic” and “moderately religious.” (If you don’t see it in the poll, refresh the page / delete your browser cache.)

  • nudist_resorts

    I was elected the President of the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce about 10 years ago (it’s a 1 yr term). I know some people did not vote for me because I owned a nudist resort, but most did as I won by a landslide. I think a nudist can win a political office on a local level where people can get to know you, but would have a very difficult time at a state or national level where you don’t have time to meet all the voters. Tom Mulhall

  • All-Nudist

    Would people vote for a nudist?  This might be one of those cases where folks would choose the devil they know rather than risk taking a chance on a new one!.It used to be that one needed to be pretty much a white, Protestant male to be President.  Kennedy lowered the requirements to white, Christian male.  Lieberman went with whitish, Jewish male and lost out, Romney chanced it as a white Mormon male but Obama had already removed the ‘white’ qualification and Mormon may have been too much, too soon.  The next in line may be simply a Christian if a woman gets elected but that’s still a long ways from atheist!
    .
    Where do nudists/naturist fit into the electability equation?  Above atheists, we’d guess, but just barely.  Most thinking people understand that the ‘religious beliefs’ of politicians are more for show than anything else, just like the campaign lies they use to get elected.  We know that they’re not really any better than anyone else because of their ‘faith’ and that most are hypocrites, but it’s a matter of familiarity and group; most Americans profess to being religious and don’t trust anyone who isn’t.
    .
    Nudists, on the other hand, can’t be good Christians because ‘my’ God doesn’t approve of nakedness and the sin that goes with it!  Some may claim to be Christian but how could they be, folks ask?  The Bible says nudity is a sin!
    .
    However, the atheist specifically denies the existence of that which is the foundation of everything else that most people believe in, spitting in the face of their god and mocking everything they believe, and thereby proving that they have no morals whatsoever in the eyes of the electorate.  Nudists, sinners that they are, may still have the spark of salvation within them and at least have some understanding of the fact that this is indeed, a Christian nation!
    .
    So yeah, we’d give a slight edge to a nudist over an atheist in a Presidential election based on the idea that the good religious folk of America would rather elect a known sinner to the highest office in the land rather than turn it over to a Godless Atheist!
    .
    And history proves us right…  ;-)

    • Pseudonymasaurus

      @All-Nudist The problem here is we haven’t defined “nudist” very well. The degree of acceptance is going to depend a lot upon where and when the nudism is practiced.
       
      Americans, I expect, couldn’t care less about a candidate who preferred to be nude in the privacy of their home. They might be slightly bothered by the knowledge that a candidate once went to a nudist resort or beach; but it’s unlikely to be an issue if it’s far in the past (sort of like pot smoking with modern Presidents). I’m not sure how they’d react if it was a more current thing – if a candidate spent their vacation at Terra Cotta instead of Martha’s Vineyard. And I can’t imagine they’ll ever accept someone who planned on walking around the west wing nude.
       
      I do expect that about 20-30 years from now we’ll have a candidate where the following things will be true:
       
      1. There will be naked photos of them on the internet from their youth in 2000’s.
      2. No one will care.

      • All-Nudist

        @Pseudonymasaurus Can agree with that 20-30 years!  For the purposes of this question we’re assuming that a ‘nudist’ would be someone actively and openly a nudist, not just someone who got wet naked once.  Society can accept a childhood skinny-dip or drunken swim and forgive them; but a commitment to ongoing group nudity with other naked people is far too incomprehensible for them to accept as even emotively ‘normal’ and sin-free.  Society will accept and forgive anything to do with money, sex, power or profit but will not tolerate anyone who forces folks to see themselves as the hypocrites they are, wasting their lives in a manner based on ‘moral’ untruths such as those which make nudism a sin.  They will not accept being told that they’ve been fools for depriving themselves of happiness for the sake of some Dark Ages mythology equating happiness with sin.  They’ll sooner kill the messenger than hear the message.

    • AnthonyTewfik

      I was not aware that the bible branded nudity as a sin, I understand that there are passages where people are told to go naked. If christians believe that god made man in his own image, then they are implying that their god is, if not obscene then, flawed. If he is perfect could he not have given us another way to reproduce without attaching these “disgusting” genitles which so deeply offend his followers? @All-Nudist
      @All-Nudist

      • All-Nudist

        @AnthonyTewfik The common perception among Christians, especially fundamentalists, is that nudity is generally taboo according to God’s will as revealed through the scriptures.  That some naturists disagree changes nothing..
        Folks go naked in the Bible not for weekend recreation but rather as penance or as a gesture of humility, since nudity was associated with poverty at the time and not something to be admired.  It is not a valid Biblical basis for naturism, just a rebuttal to the belief that nudity is seen only as sinful in the Bible and therefor, by God..
        You other comments/questions about Christianity would be better addressed in a religious discussion, methinks!