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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Christian nudity: The naked truth

(Adam and Eve by Albrecht Durer)
In some ways, Massachusetts has moved far from its puritanical heritage. 

According to Scott Stump, “12 male congregation members ranging in age from 64 to 87” decided to “get naked” in order to “raise about $30,000” for their First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in
Framingham, Massachusettts.  After shedding their clothes, these dedicated souls “posed in tasteful settings with strategically placed props” for the 2012 First Parish Celebration calendar.  Aside from being a fundraiser (at $15 a pop), this calendar is also meant to serve as a reminder that “the older aging body has its own elegance.”

Heresy?  Not according to these examples from Christian history…

The Gospel of John 21:7 (KJV) states that Simon Peter “was naked” while working as a fisherman.  Early Christian art depicts baptism in the nude, and St. Hippolytus of Rome’s earliest-recorded liturgy of baptism concurs.  Church-sponsored artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael and Caravaggio created paintings and statues that included full nudity.  Famous examples of such can be found in the Sistine Chapel.  Wikipedia quotes Pope John Paul II as saying:  The human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve intact its splendor and its beauty…  The human body is not in itself shameful…  Shamelessness (just like shame and modesty) is a function of the interior of a person.

But what about Adam and Eve?  If nudity is okay, then why the fig leaves and animal skins?

According to today’s Christian naturists (nudists), it was Adam and Eve’s foolish error to think that they could cover their sins with fig leaves.  God never mandated this; they simply chose it out of their own ignorant wishful thinking.  What God did do was afterwards clothe them with animal skins.  Christian naturists generally interpret this as God’s association of sin with blood sacrifice, rather than as God’s indictment of nudity per se.


Copyright October 19, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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