Christian Naturism

By Lynda Heller

While sexuality seems to be taking over the world, some Christians are fighting against oversexualization in unconventional ways.

One of the best ways to capture the attention of an audience is to mention the word sex. This explains why everything seems to be sexualized these days, and why so many movies awkward passionate scenes. Looking at billboards and magazine ads, it is clear that the advertising industry is capitalizing on people’s interest in anything sexual. I get frustrated as more and more words have a sexual twist, forcing me to be cautious about what I say. For example, the word “fetish” used to just be creepy with magical connotations, now it is creepy with sexual connotations. This is disappointing because it could be such a useful word, but now it must be avoided or else it might be misconstrued.

I know I am not the only one disturbed by the way that sex is taking over society. Once something has been sexualized it can be difficult to reclaim it, but some Christians are going to extreme measure to overcome modern perversity. Christian naturists declare their bodies to not be be sexual objects by abstaining from the wearing of clothing. They live in entirely naked communities, trying to restore innocence to the human body.

The naturist movement spans many denominations of Christianity, including anabaptists. In the 1500s, a group of nudist anabaptists ran through the streets of Amsterdam naked in an attempt to evangelize. Unfortunately, they were later killed for their streaking. (This tradition of Anabaptists running naked clarifies why Messiah College is so accepting of the men’s soccer team’s boxer run.)

Christian naturists use the Bible to defend their lifestyle. They point out that clothing was imposed on humans by themselves after sin entered the world. When God made clothes for humanity, He was performing the first blood sacrifice rather than condemn Adam and Eve’s attempt to hide themselves.

To nudists, clothing is covering the pure (that which is made by God) with that which is made by humans. Any insult to the body is an insult to God’s creation. As Christians, they seek to respect the Creator by respecting the human form as it was made. They do not try and make anything more or less out of the body than what it is. And, I imagine, with a range of ages and body types in a nudist community there will be few illusions about exactly what we are as humans.

Perhaps the most compelling point made by Christian naturists, is that clothing is not working out too well. Humans are beset by psychological disorders relating to body image. Perhaps if we were more open about our flaws we would be less insecure, and place less importance on physical attractiveness. I am certain that we would laugh more. But don’t worry, as much as I respect the Christian naturist movement, I am not personally interested in joining because it would be far too cold.

 

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21 Responses to “Christian Naturism” Subscribe

  1. Cillendor July 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    I’ve been looking into naturism from a Christian perspective for a while. Not necessarily to join a community, but for personal health and relaxation. But your mentioning of Messiah College reminded me of my time at Cedarville University. There is one dorm there called Brock Hall which is known for having more of the upper-classmen guys and athletes. Halfway across campus is a large boulder where messages are frequently spray-painted. Every fall on a random date, they hold a tradition called “Brock to the Rock”. They either run completely naked, in boxers, or in towels to the Rock and back, trying to not get caught. I never took part because I never lived there, but somehow they got away with it, despite the very conservative nature of the school.

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  3. Rev. David L. Hatton, RN September 27, 2014 at 8:24 am #

    Confronted by normal nudity as an RN who grew up immersed in Christian prudery, I finally realized that popular Christian teaching is tragically implicated in this “sexualization” opposed by nudists. Most Christian leaders are blind to the fact that a prudish view of the body is a pornographic one, and that such porno-prudery invariably leads to a culture thriving with pornified sexploitation. In other words, the church’s sex-focused attitude toward the body had a part in creating today’s sex-obsessed social climate.

    This discovery—supplemented by a historical, biblical and cultural study of the phenomenon of human nakedness—showed me the error of Christian “body shame.” But my research revealed that the moral philosophy of traditional nudism had beat me to it. This is why I had to confront my own hostility toward nudists when I decided to write on “body acceptance.” (Google “MEETING AT THE RIVER–A Tale of Naked Truth”).

    Christian nudists are late-comers on a trail blazed earlier by secular nudism. The church always seems to be late, playing catch-up behind secular pioneers who’ve led the way in justly smashing religious taboos that turned out to be nothing more than cultural idols. The widespread so-called “Christian” attitude toward the body is one of those idols that has hampered the church’s effectiveness in any area dealing with our God-given nature as sexual beings. Presently, we are paying a tremendously high price for our long history of this cultural idolatry.

    • justmeinseattle May 15, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

      It was an epiphany to me, as a Christian, when it occurred to me (and I read others saying the same) that although most of Christianity condemns nudity, that condemnation does not generally apply to doctors, nurses, EMTs, firefighters, and others that encounter nudity during their professional work.

      None of the Bible verses that are trotted out to condemn nudity give an exemption for doctors, nurses, etc. yet we commonly (in American Christianity) don’t worry about THAT nudity (in a medical care or emergency setting).

      So, if that can be an exemption, why not simple skinny-dipping? A non-sexual situation at a nude beach?

      As an RN, my wife routinely encounters unclothed people, with no comment or remark. Just today, I was at my urologist, where I was uncovered from the waist down in front of my male doctor and his female nurse (who was wearing a cross and therefore I assume identifying as a Christian); they – and I were not embarrassed.

      After the procedure, the nurse told me I could get dressed, and made no move to leave, so I put aside the draping cloth over my lap and walked bottomless to where my clothes were lying over a chair. I remarked to her that I was not embarrassed, and she said she was not, either.

      It was remarkable in that it was UNremarkable.

      It showed me that in other circumstances, simple nudity could also be unremarkable. My wife and I long ago ceased to worry about changing to street clothes from our bicycling gear, right beside our car. We don’t go out of our way either to be seen or to be concealed.

      The key is what I would call true modesty – not drawing attention to oneself and one’s social status by apparel (or lack of it), or ornamentation.

    • Alan May 2, 2019 at 6:51 pm #

      This is a great response- thoughtful and informed, and free of prejudice or implied assertions. I became a believer in my twenties, when I already was comfortable with nakedness, and so could easily see through the false teaching about it (as well as the inconsistencies about alcohol and tobacco). You are very observant, analytical and accurate.

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  5. Rob Nude October 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    I completely agree with David Hatton’s comment. Religious prudery has led to a sexualization of the human body to the point of corruption. Religion and Nudity seem to be enemies only because we are taught through religion and miss-interpretation of the bible that the human body is the house of sin. As long as society views the human body as corrupt and dirty we will never overcome all the other social ills that affect our lives. Nudist are very accepting of people without regard for race, religion or political afiliation. When you are naked you tend to be yourself and not some representation of your Armani suit or your Tiffany earrings. Christians that embrace the naked human body as a sin philosophy have another God, Sex. Sex is the one thing on their mind when they see another human body and that is why they think of nakedness as a sin. Think about it. It is in your mind and is so strongly attached to your so called morals that is become another God, not the God you supossedly believe in.
    In Illinois there is a Nude Club called Naked Are Us and they are all christians. It is a family club and they practice what they believe not some invented sin in a dirty mind.

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  9. Warren Armstead Jr. May 7, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

    This says, Thanks also to this said writer Ms. L. Heller for that this i of her said columns for the ‘ ‘ Swinging Bridge ‘ ‘ on ” ‘ ‘ Christian NATURISM ‘ ‘ ” with it now here STILL recounts also that ” ‘ ‘ Christian NATURISTS declare their bodies to NOT just be SEXUAL objects by ABSTAINING from the wearing of clothing…. But DON’T worry, as much as I respect the Christian NATURIST movement, I am NOT interested in joining because it WOULD be far too cold…. ‘ ‘ ” for herself, for ANYONE whoever accepts also that this even says also, Thanks also to this said writer Ms. L. Heller for that this i of her said accounts for the ‘ ‘ Swinging Bridge ‘ ‘ on ” ‘ ‘ Christian NATURISM ‘ ‘ ” with it now here STILL recounts also that ” ‘ ‘ Christian NATURISTS declare their bodies to NOT be just SEXUAL objects by ABSTAINING from the wearing of clothing…. But DON’T worry, as much as I respect the Christian NATURIST movement, I am NOT interested in joining because it WOULD be far too cold…. ‘ ‘ ” him/herself for him/herself, for fans, for others also and even for us, too….

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  11. No Longer a Christian Nudist September 15, 2017 at 7:11 pm #

    How have we confused ourselves so badly? I’m a Christian who has witnessed nudity at art school and later went to a nude beach regularly, visited three different nudist resorts and a few other nude beaches culminating in a public nude presence for more than a couple months of time the past 10 years. I’ve wrestled constantly with understanding if nudism as a lifestyle was sinful or not. I had even convinced my wife to join me at a few of the nudist beaches and resorts. I tried to live at home while single and the first few years of my marriage nude at home when possible. But, as I study the Scriptures more and more and compare them to other “Christian naturists/nudists” arguments using Scripture, I find that God’s perspective on the matter is not what some of us were hoping for.
    Many “Christian naturists/nudists” try to use Scripture to justify their lifestyle of nudism as did I, but practically every example that I’ve found of the Bible addressing nudism or what it calls “nakedness” deals with shame after the fall. The only exceptions I find are in the presence of one’s spouse and in the Garden of Eden BEFORE the fall. God sacrificially covered them after Adam and Eve had sinned and they tried to cover themselves with their shameful efforts. Of course doctors, nurses, artists learning anatomy, parents taking care of infants and toddlers are all areas where one will need to see another’s “nakedness” and this should be done with care and respect. I am honestly disturbed by many of the Christians who are pursuing and defending the nudist lifestyle with Scripture.
    How do you argue away Scripture like Leviticus 18:7-16?
    I sometimes have the desire to live as a nudist again (I am nude with my wife and private, but that is all), but I want to submit all of my life under the Lordship of Christ. He gave up everything for me at the cross even baring the shame of my nakedness both physically and spiritually that I would be clothed in his righteousness. I will take His Word seriously because He has loved me and know that He has the best intentions and reasons for me to be clothed now. Please study the Scriptures to see that the lifestyle of nudism/naturism is a shameful act. Know that Christ loves you and longs to redeem you and this world. A new Eden is coming in the now and coming Kingdom of Heaven. If we are literally or figuratively dressed in the next life I do not know, but on this side of eternity since after the fall, I will be wise how I live in light of His Word.

    • Reuben January 18, 2018 at 10:34 pm #

      Lev 18 is simple if you understand what it means. “uncovering the nakedness of” meant having sex with that person. The old english inturpreters were much too prudish to state it plainly. And the deal with Ham seeing Noah nude. That was clearly something way more than just seeing nudity to warrent such a severe curse. Likely a homesexual act. What got me was that God would actually command his prophet to preach nude for 3 years. Obviously God doesnt care if we’re undressed. So why should I care? Matt 20:18 mentions by inferance the common practice of nude field workers. And Jesus tells them to not go back after their clothes, just run the other way. What it comes down to is that we have created the pornographic view of our body by calling nudity lewd. And thats is a terrible affront to our Creator who designed it. Calling the masterpeice of His creation a lewd thing to look on? What must God think of such foolishness. Getting ourselves accustomed to seing nude people while canceling out the automatic lust response we were trained in by society is an excellent exercise in spiritual development.

      • Justin July 6, 2018 at 12:05 pm #

        There are no naked civilization of any repute in the world. They are all small weak, pathetic disorganized, backwards sorts of people. of the the best of them at least it seems they aren’t mutilating their own flesh nor their men sodomizing one another in abominable rituals. none of these peoples exhibit any qualities to cause their ways of living to be attractive or emulatable.

        The fact that some like to go to these consumptive people ranches, called nudist resorts is not proof that living naked is viable lifestyle and nudist’s/naturist’s need to stop acting like it is.

    • Tony January 5, 2019 at 2:31 am #

      Leviticus 18 no longer applies, as it was for Israel, not in the New Covenant. We are no longer under the Law, but Grace, yet with that said the question is what has been retained and what has been done away with? You also have laws against eating certain foods, if you are sick, you are put out of the city. Things like do not mix different types of fabric, etc.

      Yet, the church has no problem with breaking those OT rules. They don’t even bat an eye. You won’t even find an article defending why they break these other rules in Leviticus and the Old Covenant. Why? Because they conviently pick which rules in the OT to use and which to get rid of.

      I don’t think the rules of Leviticus actually apply on a direct level, because its about the spirit of the law now.

      Consider also the fact that Moses’ own parents would be condemned by the rules in Leviticus 18. Did you know that?

      They were related siblings.

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