I have received a number of notes with the question "I have been told that I am going to hell for being a nudist" or, "I am in sin for being a nudist". Or the classic "There is noway you could be around all those naked people and not be thinking about sex or just wanting to look". These and other similar questions seemed to be continually hurled at those of us who are Christian Naturists. Who is right? Are we in "sin"? Are we going to hell for being nudists? Can we be a nudist and a Christian at the same time?
Let's begin with some basics. First of all, whenever these or any accusations are leveled at us, our first response is to defend ourselves, our position, and our lifestyle. Why? Why should we have to defend it? We need to remember that we as Christians, hold God's Word, the Bible, as our absolute authority in any matter. The scripture is very clear that in any matter in which another believer accuses us of being "in sin", that they must have credible "witnesses"(Matt.19). Notice here that it says there must two or three witnesses, in harmony and in context, to prove according to God's Word, that the person or persons in question are in sin. There must be specific scriptures clearly stating that our actions are "sinful". If there are no scriptures presented, then it is simply a matter of that person or persons "opinion"(definition:"an idea or judgment held as true or valid"; also can be beliefs, feelings, persuasions, convictions.) and since the scripture is very clear that no one is perfect except God Himself, any and all opinions, beliefs, convictions, persuasions, etc.are each person or persons own personal conclusion on a matter, and therefore not the Word of God.
Let's go back to the beginning and see EXACTLY what the scripture DOES SAY. In the book of Genesis we see that God created Adam and Eve, and up until the point of sinning, they were both nude, and they weren't even concerned about it. I might add here that God knew quite well that they were both naked and it didn't seem to bother Him in the least. Now after serpent deceived Eve, thus causing the downfall of man, Adam and Eve noticed that they were naked and tried to hide from God, not from each other. Then God, knowing that they were naked and saw them hiding from Him, asked them what was the reason that they were hiding. Their reply was that they were naked. It still didn't seem to bother God. He just simply wanted to know "who" had told them they were naked. As many of you know, the story goes on to tell how, at Adam and Eves request, God clothed them, then punished them for their sin of disobeying Him by taking of the forbidden fruit (not for being naked) by banishing them from the Garden amongst other sorrows and hardships mankind has to endure of which we will not go into now.
Moving along in scripture, we come to the most quoted story by "well-meaning Christians" when it comes to telling us that nakedness is "not of God" or is "sin", and that is the story of Noah and his sons in Chapter 9 of Genesis. It appears that here, Noah had a bit too much to drink and one of his three sons saw him "naked". In verse 22 if Genesis 9 it says that his son Ham "saw" the nakedness of his father. I have included the Hebrew definition for "saw" here so that we might see what it is that may have occurred.("saw":Strong's # 7200 ra'ah (raw-aw'); a primitive root; to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitive, intransitive and causative):KJV-- adviseself, appear, approve, behold, X certainly, consider, discern, (make to) enjoy, have experience, gaze, take heed, indeed, joyfully look (on, one another, one on another, one upon another, out, up, upon). As you can see I have underlined areas in the definition that some may have not seen before. Noticing that quite possibly something more than just a casual look occurred here by Noah's son, we can see that their is a good possibility that it wasn't just the nakedness that caused his banishment and curse, but that some type of an "act" may have taken place. I will not elaborate on that as it would only be my "opinion" and we all know that it is God's Word, and not personal opinion that we should rely on. Their are too many "opinions" coming from the pulpits today, causing confusion, shame, guilt and fear.
Let's now look at some different thoughts on the Bible and nudism. In the book of Exodus, we know that when Moses had taken the Hebrews out into the wilderness, God commanded him to circumcise all the males. Did they have an operating room? a cave somewhere to do this? I seriously doubt it. It would appear that since the number of males could easily be over 700,000 that they simply just went down the line and did it. I picture all these men and boys, naked, being circumcised together, and having to quite possibly remain that way until they were fairly well healed. Probably they had to bathe their circumcision in some way to keep the infection down. This also had to be done in masses and we don't see any condemnation of the nudity here. What about the early Christians and baptism? It's a historical fact that in the first few centuries Christians were baptized in the nude and then as they came out of the water they were clothed with a white robe and anointed with oil symbolizing their being "cleansed of their sins". This was done in masses with men, women and children all nude together. Their is no condemnation for this, although if you try to bring this up to your "modern day Christian" they won't accept it, much less discuss it. What about the YMCA? Up until a few years ago most YMCA's only allowed total nude swimming by members of the same sex,. Here, fathers and sons all swam nude together and thus, each boy saw his father nude. Are all these sons cursed? No, we don't see any condemnation of this. Why? It goes back to the story of Noah and his sons and that there had to be something more happen than what was stated. That has changed in some areas today, but it is still practiced at some YMCA's around our country. By the way, let us be clear that YMCA stands for Young Mens Christian Association.
Where then is it "ok" to be nude? If you ask "is it ok to be nude in the doctors office", your told "of course". Is it ok to be nude "at the gymnasium and for fathers and sons to shower together in the locker room"? Of course it is. Well then my question is "where does the scripture say that this is ok"? It doesn't. That's the point. If you look at the reason people are nude in these and similar instances, you see it's because of nothing "sexual or immoral", but rather normal or "natural".
I remember a movie I saw which many of you may have seen, titled "Kindergarten Cop". In several scenes in this movie a little kindergarten boy who's father was a gynecologist had a comment to all newcomers. It was as follows: "boys have penises and girls have vaginas". That statement shows us the purity and innocence of childhood and how we should all think. Our Lord said in Luke 18:17 "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." We need to also remember that God is "the same yesterday, today and forever". And it Isaiah 5:20 "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil". Our Lord loves and cares for each of us in a very special way and we need always to remember that. This world is going to be full of trials and tribulations until Our Lord returns to take us home to be with Him for all eternity, so let's just make the best of it and in all things let God receive the Glory due His Name.
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