The Instigator
johnchrome
Con (against)
The Contender
RonPaulConservative
Pro (for)

Nudity is shameful according to the Bible.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/7/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 249 times Debate No: 95934
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

johnchrome

Con

Format:

1st round - Acceptance only
2nd round - Introductory arguments, no rebuttals
3rd round - Rebuttals
4th round - Counter-rebuttals, closing statements

Source text: The Christian Bible (any translation, including interlinear texts, no Apochrypha)

Definitions:

Nudity - The state of full undress. Partial undress can be included if there is significant evidence that it would be culturally considered a nude state.
Voluntary nudity - nudity which is not forced upon someone by a 2nd party.
Shame - a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

Exceptions: If my opponent agrees, we will not consider nudity inherent to marital sex, as I believe the Christian Bible is fairly vocal in support of such nudity and treats that situation differently. All other cases and examples of nudity are fair game otherwise.

I am arguing for Con, against the idea that nudity represents shame in the Bible.
RonPaulConservative

Pro

Isaiah 47:3 says:
"Your nakedness will be uncovered, Your shame also will be exposed; I will take vengeance and will not spare a man."
So we see here that the word nakedness is synonymous with shame, thus nudity is regarded as shameful. Now, I am obcourse working with the Hebrew Bible, but since my opponent is a Christian he probably meant bible as in the Christian bible, and if this is so I also want to cite 1 Timothy 2:9-10.
Debate Round No. 1
johnchrome

Con

You were supposed to merely accept the invitation to debate in the first round, not present any arguments. Please stick to the format in the future. No rebuttals in this round.

In the religious study of Biblical texts, there are two primary methods of deriving an interpretation; exegesis, and eisegesis.[1]

Exegesis: literally, "to lead out of." To objectively draw conclusions from the text and historical context alone.

Eisegesis: Literally, "To lead into." To subjectively draw conclusions from the text by injecting one"s own biases and assumptions.

Needless to say, exegesis is the preferred method of Biblical interpretation by all scholars and theologians. Though we all, to some degree, have biases that obfuscate undesirable conclusions, it is intellectually dishonest to dismiss those conclusions as incorrect out of hand.

ARGUMENTS:

A full list of every utterance of "nudity" would be needlessly exhaustive, so instead, I will list important verses that set the standard for all others. Occasionally, I may need to reference entire stories, so I will assume that my opponent is familiar enough with them that I will not have to quote overly large sections of text.

Perhaps the most seemingly indemnifying story for nudity is the very first one, the fall of humanity through Adam and Eve. However, it must be understood that there is a difference between prescriptive and descriptive text in the Bible. Prescriptive would be things like "Thou shalt not kill," and descriptive would be "Moses killed the Egyptian guard." While prescriptive texts set standards of behavior, descriptive texts merely describe events, without assigning standards or expectations. I argue that the story of Adam and Eve is clearly lacking in prescriptive content, and so should not be used to determine standards of behavior.

Gen 1:27-31 states that God created humankind in His image and that it was "good." As they were created naked, we can only assume that nudity is part of God's image. God is unchanging, and so God's image is still, and always will be, GOOD!

Gen. 2:25 Adam and Eve were "naked, but not ashamed." This is odd for the author to include, as it had already been established that Adam and Eve were married and "one flesh," which typically has sexual connotations (see Matthew 19:5-6). Modern Jewish thought on the matter says that nudity among spouses is a normal, necessary, and certainly not shameful thing.[2] So why mention at all that they were not ashamed of their nudity, when Jews didn't believe that married couples should be ashamed of marital nudity in the first place?

The purpose for this narrative detail becomes clear later on, when Adam and Eve eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree. As they have gained knowledge of both evil AND good, they now know that their actions were wrong, yes, but also that their nudity was GOOD. Their desire to hide from God and to hide from their nudity, or God's image, is a classic case of repressing guilt. They didn't seek forgiveness, which is something they would do if they were seeking to deal with the problem. Instead, like children, they hid from God and everything that represented God. So while they indeed felt shame over their nudity, it wasn't because nudity suddenly became shameful in and of itself, but because they felt unworthy of expressing God's image through their bodies. Indeed, how can knowledge that nudity is good make nudity suddenly shameful?

I argue that this is a more logical conclusion than the standard interpretation. If nudity is inherently shameful because of the fall, then this story would suggest that nudity within marriage is just as shameful as nudity outside of it, and that is an untenable conclusion.

When God gave Adam and Eve animal skin clothing (Gen 3:21), this should be treated as a descriptive text because there are no commands or anything else to suggest that this is anything more than a description of events. Else, a proper prescriptive reading suggests that God does not approve of clothing made from plants at all, and that we should all be wearing animal skins. What we KNOW is that clothing made from leaves does not last long and does not protect from the elements, while animal skins do. Thus, we should interpret this minimally to be a gesture of goodwill from God, who wanted Adam and Eve to survive the harsh wild outside of the Garden of Eden. The tacit endorsement of clothing for practical and protective purposes does not equate to a condemnation of nudity.

Gen 9:20-24
This passage directly states that Ham was cursed for seeing his father Noah's nudity. The "plain and simple" interpretation is that seeing your family members naked is wrong. However, that doesn't seem to add up, considering that family members see each other's nudity all the time by necessity: a parent much change their baby's diapers and bathe them when they are young. A child must change his parent's diapers and bathe them when they grow old.

What I suggest is that the reason Ham was in the wrong was NOT merely for seeing his father's nudity, but for deliberately going into his father's tent in order to look at his nude father. In other words, Ham was a peeping tom. It is worth noting that Noah is not described as having done anything wrong by being seen naked. Regardless, this passage must also be read with descriptive interpretation, rather than prescriptive, else we must logically conclude that we must not see our family members naked ever, regardless of the circumstance. Good luck changing those diapers with your eyes closed!

Incest laws, Lev. 18:6-23
Notice every law says "uncover the nakedness of"" this is typically understood as a euphemism for sexual intercourse by scholars, and so should not be considered as a prohibition against non-sexual nudity amongst family members. It would be weird to ban nudity amongst family but not amongst strangers, would it not?

Job 24:7-10
Job is describing the behavior of godless men in this chapter, and he states that "they spend the night naked, because they have no clothing: they have no covering against the cold." So should we take this and say "only godless men would walk around naked!"? No, because 1) this is a descriptive text, and 2) this is not describing nudity as shameful at all. In fact, if anything, it shows that people did walk around naked and that was a relatively common occurrence, for poor people. What this and several similar passages describe is the stigma against the poor: clothing was much more expensive and valuable for most of ancient history, so if you didn't have any, you had to have been extremely poor.

In effect, to HAVE to walk about nude is something of a forced choice, and I argue that forced nudity is considered shameful in the Bible, but not the nude body itself. When the Bible says "cloth the poor," (see Isaiah 50:7) they are talking about literally putting clothes on a naked person who has none for themselves. And why? Not to cover up their "icky" genitals, but to give them warmth, as the passage states above! Clothing is seen as a practical, but not mandatory, measure in the Jewish and Christian Bible.

Thus, when the Bible refers to being spiritually clothed in holy garments (Psa 93:1, Eze 16:10-13, 1 Cor 12:23, Rev 7:13), what they are actually signifying is our spiritual richness, and spiritually naked people are spiritually poor (Isa 47:1-15, Rev 16:15). It is a figurative analogy based on their real world experience, and certainly not a literal, prescriptive command to feel shame in bodily nudity.

Isaiah 20
God explicitly commands the prophet Isaiah, a holy man, to walk around naked for three years as a symbol for the future captivity of Egypt and their forced nudity. Of note is that 1) God cannot command someone to sin, so public nudity cannot be sinful, and 2) while Isaiah's nudity was a "sign and a wonder/portent," Egypt's forced nudity is directly stated to be shameful for them. Yet more evidence that nudity in and of itself is not shameful. Of note is that this is is the first prescriptive text regarding nudity, and God prescribed nudity for three years!

1 Sam 19:20-24, 2 Sam 6:14
In both these stories, Both Saul and David worship or prophecy naked. This suggests that we feel closest to God when we remove our clothing! Of course, neither of these stories are prescriptive, so we shouldn't conclude that one MUST take off their clothing.

1 Tim 2:9-10
Paul talks about modesty, but notice that what he prohibits the women from doing isn't what we would consider immodest; baring too much skin. No, he warns them against dressing UP too much in flashy clothing. And even considering that we would consider nudity to be immodest today, our own cultural biases have nothing to do with what the Bible says is or is not shameful. Perhaps one could say that we shouldn't dress immodestly in church, but that is not the same as saying that what we find as immodest today is inherently shameful.

1 Tim 4:8
Paul states that "exercise" has some value. The root word for exercise in Greek, "gymnasia," is "gymnos," meaning naked. Exercise was typically done in gymnasiums, or naked schools for exercise, so Paul is tacitly endorsing the public, social nudity found in gymnasiums in ancient Greece.

Having gone through the Biblical evidence, I would like to point out that the Christians and Jews of the 1st century were certainly not ashamed of nudity. They baptized in the nude,[3] they exercised in the nude,[4] they fished/worked in the nude (John 21:7), and all of these activities were social in nature. If it was impractical to be clothed, then they simply didn't wear clothing.

In conclusion, the overwhelming evidence is that nudity is never condemned in the Bible as a sin, nor was it considered inherently shameful when not forced upon oneself.

[1] https://gotquestions.org...
[2] http://mobile.jewishvaluesonline.org...
[3] http://ccgathering.com...
[4] https://www.britannica.com...
RonPaulConservative

Pro

Bs"d
"You were supposed to merely accept the invitation to debate in the first round, not present any arguments. Please stick to the format in the future. No rebuttals in this round."
Sorry, I didn't read the debate format since I didn't see it.

NUDITY IN GENESIS
First of all, I want to point out to my opponent that this verse saying humans were made in the image of G-d is not referring to the *literal* visage of G-d since G-d is not corporeal. Since G-d is not a man (Numbers 23:19, Hosea 11:9)
Second of all, when 'adam and Chavvah were naked, before they ate of the forbidden fruit, they weren't different from animals since they couldn't tell good from evil. In fact, once Adam and Eve ate of the fruit and saw that they were naked, they were ashamed.
If what my opponent says is true, and nudity is a good thing, then when Adam and Eve were able to tell good from evil and they noticed that they were naked, then they would have embraced this nudity, rather than being ashamed and clothing themselves.
Third of all, when G-d sent Adam and Eve out of the garden, he gave them clothing made of sheep skin, which means that he meant for them to be clothed. If nudity was a good thing, then G-d would have just told them to embrace being naked rather than putting some cloths on them.

WHY NUDITY WAS PERMISSIBLE IN GENESIS
Before Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, they didn't know good or evil, so it wasn't wrong for them to be naked in public since morally they weren't separate from animals. Let me explain; I have a pet male bunny, he can procreate with one bunny one day and another another day, and there wouldn't be anything wrong with it. Why-because he's just a rabbit, he doesn't know better.
But this is why the Torah was given to humanity; to separate us from animals. So while people back in the day could run around naked, just like before the Torah incest was permissible, now they can't since moral law had been introduced. Nudity may be perfectly OK or fuzzy little creatures, but not for us since we are separate from animals.

NUDITY IS SHAMEFUL ACCORDING TO THE TANAKH
Nudity is synonymous shame in the Tanakh, let me show you some examples of this, Isaiah 47:3:
"Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
Yes, your shame will be seen;
I will take vengeance,
And I will not arbitrate with a man.”
As you can see here, nudity=shameful by the law of substitution.

THE PROPHET ISAIAH AND NUDITY
My opponent is taking this verse out of context, because just one verse later in Isaiah 20:4 it says:
"so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt."
So this is a figurative thing that Isaiah did in the middle of freaking nowhere where noone could see him, and it was used to represent how Egypt would be naked, and this would be shameful.
Nudity in the middle of nowhere is a little different than nudity in public, in fact there is a law commanding weekly bathing in the Tanakh, and back in the day you would have to bathe in a river or streak or lake, thus, nudity. Again, middle-of-nowhere nudity is a whole lot different from public nudity, which I believe we are talking about.

CONCLUSION
I believe that there are laws for modesty somewhere in the Tanakh, I'm going to have to read up and get ack to you on that, but in Rabbinic Judaism they believe anything above the knees or further than the shoulder should be covered.

Debate Round No. 2
johnchrome

Con

>>First of all, I want to point out to my opponent that this verse saying humans were made in the image of G-d is not referring to the *literal* visage of G-d since G-d is not corporeal. Since G-d is not a man<<

And I would first like to point out that my opponent has, once again, failed to follow the debate format. There should have been no refutations in the 2nd round.

Secondly, while I don't disagree that God is not a corporeal being, according to the Bible, I see no reason why the Image of God could not include physical appearance and design. I believe, in this case, the burden of proof lies with my opponent as to why the physical human form would not be part of the Image of God. If I made a drawing in the image of my dog, would you not assume that the drawing represents my dog's appearance? And although my dog is not made of paint and canvas, it is still an image of him, is it not? Similarly, though God may be corporeal, in some way we are a representation of him, and I see no indication Biblically that that wouldn't include our natural, nude, physical form. After all, the author of this book deliberately chose the word "Image," rather than "likeness," or "form."

Following the analogy, if I declare that the drawing of my dog is good, and if I, as God, cannot change my mind, how could that drawing ever possibly become bad or shameful? Sure, sin changed some things, but not our physical form. Therefore, I argue nudity is still good in God's mind, even though humans have been corrupted through sin.

>>Before Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, they didn't know good or evil, so it wasn't wrong for them to be naked in public since morally they weren't separate from animals.<<

Adam and Eve were not "in public," seeing as how they were the only two humans on earth in this story. Not only that, but they were married. I guarantee that if you put a married couple alone on a deserted island, they'll ditch their clothes to beat the heat with no shame whatsoever. So the fact that they "weren't ashamed" in the Garden of Eden is a bit of a redundant statement.

Now, as far as being morally the same as the animals, I disagree for several reasons. First, do animals even have morality? If so, can they sin? Animals break every one of God's laws: they sleep around, they commit incest, they murder, they steal, etc. I argue that animals aren't morally culpable for their actions. However, Adam and Eve were clearly capable of sin, and so ARE morally culpable for their actions. Therefore, Adam and Eve were very different from the animals. The Bible says as much here:

"God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground."
Genesis 1:28 NET

Humans were not the same as animals.
Humans ruled over animals.

>>If what my opponent says is true, and nudity is a good thing, then when Adam and Eve were able to tell good from evil and they noticed that they were naked, then they would have embraced this nudity, rather than being ashamed and clothing themselves.<<

First, nudity IS good according to the Bible. EVERYTHING pre-fall was declared good by God himself, and that includes the beauty of the unadorned human form. Second of all, Adam and Eve ran away from the most good thing of all, God! So in fact, you've proven my point: Adam and Eve were running away from all things that were good, out of guilt, and that included their own physical form. Sin didn't make nudity shameful. Sin made us ashamed of what is good.

>>Third of all, when G-d sent Adam and Eve out of the garden, he gave them clothing made of sheep skin, which means that he meant for them to be clothed. If nudity was a good thing, then G-d would have just told them to embrace being naked rather than putting some cloths on them.<<

I could just as easily say "God commanded Isaiah to prophecy naked, so he must have meant for everyone to prophecy naked." I could also say "if clothing was so necessary, then God would have told them to never take it off, even when alone." The problem is, this is a descriptive text, and not every descriptive text tells us how we are supposed to behave!

Eden must have been a nice 75 degrees for Adam and Eve to be comfortable walking around naked, with plenty of shade to avoid suburn. This would not be the case in the wild to which they were sent! Clothing is a necessity to live in a harsher environment, and while Adam and Eve procured plant-based clothing to cover themselves, God provided animal skins to protect them. We're not here to argue whether clothing is a necessity or not, but whether nudity is shameful, and this passage inadequately establishes God's motive for clothing Adam and Eve as anything more than protection from the weather. If God had given them an umbrella, you would assume it's because it was going to rain, not that a lack of umbrellas is shameful.

>>So while people back in the day could run around naked, just like before the Torah incest was permissible, now they can't since moral law had been introduced.<<

Jewish belief states that only Jews are under the law of the Mosaic code (what you call the "moral law"). Everyone else is merely held to the seven commandments given to Noah.[1] None of those laws include bans on nudity or on incest. So it's not that incest was okay until the Mosaic code and suddenly it wasn't: it's that only Jews were banned from committing it. And you're wrong about there not being a moral code before even Noah: the Bible states that humanity was wicked (Gen 6:5), which is why God flooded the Earth in the first place! Clearly, they had some sort of morality in place.

Regardless, nudity was never banned or declared shameful in any of these codes.

>>Nudity is synonymous shame in the Tanakh, let me show you some examples of this, Isaiah 47:3:
"Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
Yes, your shame will be seen;<<

You accuse me of taking verses out of context, yet you do the same thing here. First of all, you can't cherry pick one verse and call it a day. Saul and David worshipped naked and God approved. God approves of marital nudity and nudity when alone. Explain this contradiction.

Secondly, as I stated previously, to "uncover the nakedness" of someone is a Hebrew euphemism for having sex (see Lev 18). Isaiah is talking to "Virgin" Babylon, who was holding Israel captive at this time. This chapter is a prophecy of the nation's downfall. So what Isaiah is saying is that she will have metaphorical sex, and not by choice. Rape symbolizes Babylon's downfall, and as I stated before, forced nudity, and by extension, forced sex is indeed considered shameful. But the nudity itself is not shameful.

So I argue that your substitution ignores both the context and the use of euphemism.

>>So this is a figurative thing that Isaiah did in the middle of freaking nowhere where noone could see him<<

"At that time the Lord announced through Isaiah son of Amoz: "Go, remove the sackcloth from your waist and take your sandals off your feet." He did as instructed and walked around in undergarments and barefoot."
Isaiah 20:2 NET

What makes you think Isaiah was in the middle of nowhere? God announced this message THROUGH Isaiah, meaning Isaiah was talking to someone. Ipso Facto, public nudity was commanded by God and cannot be a sin at the least. I question whether a good god can command someone to shame themselves either.

>>later in Isaiah 20:4 it says:
"so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the"shame"of Egypt."
So this is a figurative thing that Isaiah did in the middle of freaking nowhere where noone could see him, and it was used to represent how Egypt would be naked, and this would be shameful.<<

The shame of Egypt could be referring also to their captivity. It was common practice to force captives to march naked out of their homeland, and indeed this was done to shame them! But again, Isaiah volunteered to go naked, while Egypt did not.

The broader question I ask my opponent is: Can any command by God be shameful? Can God command one to commit something that is wrong or foolish?

>>I believe that there are laws for modesty somewhere in the Tanakh, I'm going to have to read up and get ack to you on that, but in Rabbinic Judaism they believe anything above the knees or further than the shoulder should be covered.<<

Without sources, this means nothing in a debate. Plus, we're not arguing from the Tanakh. We're arguing whether the Bible says nudity is inherently shameful.

RonPaulConservative, as a reminder, this round is a rebuttal of round 2, not this round. You may not use any of the arguments in round three in your next statement.
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by vi_spex 7 months ago
vi_spex
the bible is a religious book
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