QUESTION: I read an article by the Catholic Pope recently, in which he concludes that while lust may be associated with nudity, nudity in itself is not wrong.
The basis for his conclusions seemed to derive from the fact that Adam and Eve were created nude and were declared at same time, to be ‘very good’!
I agree! I have seen beautiful works of art which depict nudity (eg. Goya’s ‘The Nude Maja’) and have not felt the need to lust.
Being a normal male person with a pulse however, I have indeed felt sexually aroused by images of nudity that I have seen in the media.
To deal with this problem, I consulted with a number of my male Christian acquaintances as to what to do.
They all told me that I needed to avoid looking at such images so as not become tempted to lust.
However, most of them have since fallen over by by getting involved in pornography and the like.
In response, I have adopted a different strategy.
Instead of just trying to avoid being tempted, I have made it my practice to go out of my way to meet sexy looking females for example, so that I can practice a number of mental routines aimed at disciplining my natural tendencies to become aroused and lust after them.
I do the same thing with images depciting female nudity.
While the process was difficult at first and I did fall over a few times in the beginning, it is all second nature to me now.
I no longer feel ill at ease and sexually tempted by exotic looking girls, or images of them, regardless as to how undressed they might appear.
I am now regarded with considerable suspician and disdain by many in my congergation however, who see me as being engaged in a sinful process.
I am not convinced however. The strategy that I have used, works a lot better than the ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ type of approach that was first recommended to me.
As far as I can see, all I have been doing is practising how not to lust in the face of temptation, so as to build up an immunity against my natural tendencies to be tempted by female beauty and sexuality.
I can not find anything in Scripture that says that it is wrong to talk to good looking women (especially if I am doing so for the purpose of being accomplished at not lusting after them), or as per the Pope’s view, that there is nothing wrong with nudity in itself (once again – especially if I am using images of it to practice not being tempted or improperly influenced by it).
What do you think?
ANSWER: It is fair to point out that when humankind was created they were nude. But, when they disobeyed God’s one and only commandment, they discovered their nudity and their response was to cover it up and God later confirmed their solution by providing clothes for them. The inference here may be that in their fallen state that nudity would lead to more problems in their lives than they were presently facing. This seems to play itself out in that in the business of religious systems in the ancient world where nudity played a significant part in their worship life and these rituals were condemned by Judaism.
God seems to suggest, in his action of providing clothes, that it is important to have a social relationship where body parts are not the object of being social. One story of interest in the New Testament was the demonized person in the cemetery who was nude when he approached Jesus and after he was released from his demons, he set clothed and in his right mind. One must ask why Jesus didn’t leave the man nude.
It appears that nudity is not a biblically socially acceptable practice.
I don’t think that if you could ask the Pope about your interpretation of what he said about nudity that he would have come to your present strategy. He would not acquiesce that what he meant or what you have interpreted that he meant in the article you read as the same thing. You might want to ask yourself WPDI (Would the Pope Do It)?
Living in God’s Story means living in a story that has a different character about it. So, I would suggest that you should keep your clothes on, keep the clothes on those “good looking” women you are meeting, keep your pants zipped, and ask for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to help you overcome your present practices.
Well, there’s what I think!