This post is not specifically about naturism… although it certainly applies to its discussion.
Every issue has more than one “side” or viewpoint, and every viewpoint is supported by assumptions which form the foundation for the conclusions that are ultimately reached by the proponents of each viewpoint.
Obviously… there is no “god”…
For example, In the discussion about the origins of the universe and mankind, evolutionary scientists assume that there is no agent outside of the observable universe which could have ever had any impact on what we see today.
By contrast, creation scientists assume that it is possible for an outside agent to exist which may have been a causative agent in our universe’s birth.
Looking at the very same physical evidence, the creation scientist finds multiple evidences for intelligent design in our universe, for no amount of time and chance could produce the exquisite order than we see… from the structure of atoms to the celestial interaction between galaxies.
The evolutionary scientist on the other hand is forced to accept the conclusion—despite the astronomical odds against it—that chance and natural processes produced everything we see in the universe. He concludes this because… obviously… there can be no such thing as a “god.” He is literally forced to accept an impossible explanation because his assumption precludes any other.
Any and every evidence contrary to his assumption is summarily rejected and/or explained away.
Alas, though, I fear that we all are guilty of that error… it’s rather human…
Assumptions aren’t bad… unless they are false assumptions!
There will always be concepts which—while they cannot be proven—do impact the conclusion of an investigation. Sound assumptions lead to sound conclusions; faulty assumptions result in faulty conclusions.
Consequently, when people examine an issue with the very same data set but reach vastly different conclusions, the problem is not generally with the data, but with the assumptions that each side brings to the data to start with!
When such is the case, endless discussion about the evidence will never accomplish anything, because the data being discussed is not really at issue… it is the underlying assumptions that are not being discussed where the true differences between the opposing parties lie.
This problem is manifest many times within the Christian community, and especially between those who hold the Bible to be absolutely authoritative, and those who do not.
Just recently, I was talking to a Christian brother who does not consider homosexuality to be wrong, but rather just the way some people are born. I expressed the opinion that no one was “born gay”—in fact, in God’s eyes, there is no such thing as “gay”—because gender is not determined by subjective ideas like “preference” or “orientation;” it is determined objectively by physical attributes. A male body is designed by God to unite sexually with a female body. Clearly, we were not in agreement with one another.
However, in the course of the conversation, he told me that he did not believe that Bible was truly authoritative in everything it taught.
And herein was our true disagreement… For me, the Bible is the authority upon which any conclusion may be safely reached. For him, it is not. Therefore, our differing assumptions about the authority of Scripture led to different conclusions. And until that difference is resolved, no agreement will likely be reached.
Obviously… God wants people clothed…
People hold the same such assumptions when it comes to the issue of human nudity. They hold a belief system that assumes that nakedness is shameful and against God’s moral law. Consequently, when they read the Scriptures, every piece of “physical evidence” is interpreted in light of that assumption.
Obviously, nakedness is wrong.
Obviously, nakedness is shameful.
Obviously, nakedness is sexual.
Obviously, God wants us to be clothed. Why else would He clothe Adam and Eve??
Everybody knows these things!!
But when someone says, “Obviously,” it usually indicates that they hold an assumption that they don’t really have any real evidence to support.
Again… that’s no problem, provided the assumption is correct. But when it comes to morality and knowing the mind of God, we dare not makes such an assumption when there is no concrete biblical evidence to support it. And of course, if there were sufficient biblical evidence, then we wouldn’t call it an “assumption” at all!
“My thoughts are not your thoughts” – Isa. 55:8-9
God tells us plainly by the prophet Isaiah that we have no business assuming what His thoughts are on a subject.
When considering moral issues, we must not bring assumptions about God’s moral standards to the Scriptures, else we may be found guilty of telling lies about God, for we may declare that God is offended by something when in truth He is not.
Obviously… we need to reexamine our assumptions!
When we (or anyone) make statements that are (or could be) prefaced with the word, “Obviously,” we should stop and reexamine the nature of the assumptions behind the statement… regardless of the issue being discussed. We just might find an argument built on a false foundation.
On the issue of nudity, only those who are courageous enough to question the “Obvious” assumptions mentioned above will ever see anything different in God’s Word. If they do not have that courage, they will instead hold tenaciously to the prevailing sentiment in the church today that sees only shame and indecency in the simple and chaste exposure of God’s image as found in human embodiment.
— Matthew Neal (…Obviously!)