“I am ashamed, for naked bodies are exposed to lewd glances and lustful looks. There is foolish laughter and foul words spoken among the onlookers.
“Yet it is not the naked body that is degrading, for bodies are things of beauty. In the beginning, God molded the body to its shape, knowing that in the days to come His Spirit would dwell therein when entering the matter of Earth.
“It was shaped slowly, with care and foresight. Loving hands wrought its wonderful form, and the day dawned when it became the abode of a living soul. Then God commanded, ‘Respect this, this vessel of the ever living spirit, for it is a great and delicate thing meant for communion one with another. It is my supreme achievement upon earth.’
“Therefore, though the body be not supreme it is a thing of greatness, it is a glorious temple meant to be the residence of a god. It reflects without the spirit dwelling within; the smile, the laugh, the eyes reveal it. The body is a thing of glory, it is the greatest of all material creations. …
“That which causes man and woman to forget their responsibility, which arouses in them desires and thoughts, which they cannot control, is not a thing of goodness; it is an instrument of evil. Why should men cover their bodies and women hide their nakedness? Not because naked bodies are things to be ashamed of, but because of what the eye of the beholder makes of them.” ~the Kolbrin Bible (MAN:14:1-7)
It is actually quite amazing that people who say we are created in God’s image and our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit think that there is something wrong with being nude. The body is the temple of God, but must be hidden under manmade clothing. Illogic at its best.
Another bit of illogic is how most people accept nudity in art, but nude people on a beach, “No Way!”. It makes me think of the famous tale of the Greek woman who was the widow of a senator and had been allowed to take over his job after he died. This required her to be in areas of the city of Athens where women generally didn’t go. So one morning, when she was walking to the Senate building, three teenage athletes came running around the corner of the building, naked as the day they were born. As was standard for Greece in those days, athletes always performed and practiced nude. But women were not allowed in sporting events. The boys thought it was safe to be running in an area where women didn’t go. But when they accidentally exposed themselves to a woman, they were subject to being sentenced to death for their grievous crime! Fortunately for them, the woman came to their defense, pointing out that she was the mother of several boys, so had seen naked boys before, plus there were nude statues of men and boys all over the city (much like the statue of David used to illustrate this post). She got them freed.
Naked is Not Degrading
As the Kolbrin Bible rightfully says, it is not being naked in itself that is degrading or evil, but the thoughts and desires of others upon seeing them nude. This quote from the Gospel of Thomas goes even further:
“His disciples said, ‘When will you be shown forth to us and when shall we behold you?”‘Jesus said, ‘When you strip naked without being ashamed, and take your garments and put them under your feet like little children and tread upon them, then [you] will see the child of the living. And you will not be afraid.’
But that is allegorical more than literal. The talk of being naked in the quote from The Kolbrin Bible might be more allegorical than literal as well.
As the above quote from the Gospel of Thomas indicates, being naked without being ashamed is a good thing, and makes you more spiritual than those who insist clothing must be worn at all times. Again, this tale is more allegorical than literal, but it applies in both cases. Those who worry too much about what one is wearing, or not wearing, isn’t taking a spiritual point of view. Looking at the external is always a materialistic way.
But with spiritual nudity, or nakedness, we are talking more about revealing our true self instead of hiding behind a mask of civilization and social indoctrination. In other words, it is saying that to grow spiritually, we must “take off” false beliefs and opinions that hold us back. So go ahead and get naked if you wish, but especially be spiritually naked.
For more on understanding being naked from a spiritual point of view, read this older post.