Note… I did not say lust was an “unimportant” issue!
But it is secondary to the question of the biblical morality of social nudity… which is the primary issue.
Here’s why this is important…
- If God forbids social nudity, then the question of “lust” is moot. Even if there is no lust involved, social nudity would still be unrighteous all by itself.
- If, on the other hand, social nudity is not forbidden by God, then we must address the issue of lust (which clearly is forbidden by God).
The implications of these observations should be pretty clear:
- It means that if we are addressing the biblical position on social nudity, we must answer that question before we discuss the role of lust and how it should inform our practice.
- It means that in any discussion about the morality of social nudity, if someone invokes the “lust” argument in their attempt to establish a divine prohibition of nudity, they have inadvertently admitted that there is no stand-alone divine injunction against social nudity in the bible.
- It also means that if the attempt to establish a prohibition against nudity is based solely on the “lust” factor, then we must also conclude that if the lust factor can be mitigated, then God would not disapprove of socially nude context.
Indeed, that third point is actually where most people end up in practice, for few have a moral objection to a woman going to a male doctor, even though she may be nude in his presence. We expect the doctor to act with professional decorum, treating her body with dignity and without any lust in his own heart. Consequently, since there is no lust, the nudity is permissible.
But, that reality (that point three is how we truly live) is not acknowledged by the proponents of the nudity taboo. They typically say that “medical necessity” is a morally acceptable exception, but that in all other cases, nudity around anyone other than one’s own spouse is forbidden.
(As an aside here, I have often suggested that if the nudity “exception” could be found in the Bible, then it would make the case against nudity much stronger, even in the absence of a clear prohibition of social nudity. However, both the prohibition AND the exception are missing in the Bible. See my related post, You Can’t Have it Both Ways)
You Want to Talk about “Lust”?
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. “Lust” IS a worthwhile topic to address as a naturist. Sometime in the future I expect to do so here in my blog.
However, if we’re discussing the morality of Social Nudity, then I’m not going to talk about “lust” with you unless you first admit that there’s no specific Biblical prohibition on social nudity itself… irrespective of the “lust” component. Make the case that the Bible forbids social nudity and your point is granted.
If you must talk about “lust” in order to make a case against social nudity, then you are by default, admitting that the Bible does not overtly prohibit social nudity. But in so doing, you must also grant that when lust is not a factor, then the nudity is not sinful. To claim otherwise is not logically consistent.
Perhaps it is possible to make a case that lust is impossible to to avoid when mixed-gender nudity is present, therefore all social nudity results in sin. But that’s a very different assertion than the claim that God prohibits of social nudity in and of itself! Lust is as secondary consideration.
Some years ago, John Kundert of the Fig Leaf Forum once entered into a formal debate with Pastor Mark Roberts regarding Mr. Robert’s assertion that “Social nudism is condemned by the Bible as sinful.”
At the very beginning of the debate, Mr. Roberts immediately invoked the issue of “lust” and asserted that Mr. Kundert could not ensure that lust did not happen in the context of social nudity. In light of what I’ve just explained in this blog post, it must be concluded that Mr. Roberts was, in essence, already conceding defeat in the debate, for he could not support his stated assertion from the Scriptures alone. Rather, was compelled to invoke the “lust” issue in an effort to support his position from the very start.
(You can read the entire debate here.)
Lust is clearly sin according to God’s word. As such, it is absolutely a very important issue. But if one claims that the Bible specifically forbids social nudity, that claim must be demonstrated without invoking the “lust” argument.
— Matthew Neal
For related posts, see: