Genesis 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
We are taught that, originally, the act of being naked was in the Garden of Eden was not ‘sinful’. But on disobeying God -the sin of eating the apple, the fall from Grace- Adam and Eve suddenly became aware they were naked and clothed themselves in fig leaves.
I’m not going to get into a theological discussion on what all of that means. What I am going to argue that it’s only on thinking that sin is involved does nakedness become something ‘shameful’.
Naturism separates the learned sin or shame or embarrassment we learn and are taught from a young age, literally strips away that learned condition and leaves us back, without shame, with the state of being nude.
I’ve said before that I’m not a church-goer. That’s not to diminish anyone else’s faith system or try to attack it.
I simply think that, in Genesis, the ‘cover up’ arises because suddenly nudity is equated to sex. In genuine naturism nudity does not equate with sex. We quickly learn that there are two basic models of humanity. One has a penis, the other a vagina, both are beautiful and cease to become a focus. We focus on the person, rather than what lies beneath their clothes -the clothed state being one that can often lead to sinful, impure thoughts. How often do we hear phrases like ‘he has a nice firm bum in those jeans’ or ‘she really fills out that sweater’? Yes, we’re focussing on what lies beneath in a sexual way.
Stripped of our clothes we can see what lies beneath. Am I going to focus on the size of that guy’s penis? It may be a whopping 8 inch long thing, but does it make that man? No. He may be interesting as a human being. He may be shallow. I will judge him, very quickly, on that element of his existence and be drawn to a man with a fierce intellect, great conversational skills, life experience or whatever else is going. His penis size is the least interesting thing about him.
And it works in the opposite direction too. A huge pair of boobs or a ripe, round bottom may be the elements the media fixates on in the 21st century, aspects which are reinforced as a female’s defining attributes. My naturist friends include elderly folk whose ‘sexuality’ is none too apparent (within a media regulated framework of what is ‘sexuality’). They’re shrivelled, wrinkled, paunchy….and wonderful company comfortable in their own skins.
In naturism judgement on a person is much, much less defined on physical attributes, much more on personality, much more on the person.
In naturism there is no ‘shame’. There is, instead, a full celebration of God’s greatest creations, man and woman in their natural state of being.
While not a church-goer, I do find that naturism makes me dwell on the diverse and wonderful nature of our planet, actually dwell on the idea of some sort of Divine plan. Lazing on a beach, totally naked, my thoughts are going to focus on nature. The sea, just a few steps away, will have fish swimming around my feet. A warm breeze, a cloud, the grains of sand I’m running through my fingers, the rustle of the trees behind me, my own body, the bodies of those around me equally ‘plugged in’ to nature and -it comes with the naturist territory- caring for that nature around us.
Shame? No. A gratitude to God for providing us with the skin we’re in and the world He created for us to enjoy in our personal Gardens of Eden? I think so.
And yet those who do profess to be Christian or Muslim or whatever will attempt to shame us about our own bodies. For me, being out in the world God created for us, with the richness of its flora and fauna, marvelling at His works, and ‘clothed’ in the manner in which He created us, is a wonderful thing. I feel no shame. I refuse to allow anyone to project their own body shame (particularly those waving a Bible or a Koran) onto me.
Photos: dressed as nature created us, enjoying the pleasures of nature around us.