——OK if I ask you a question?
——Should Christians join nudist colonies?
——You're kidding, right?
——No. Seriously, what do you think?
——What do you think I think? Of course not.
——Christians shouldn't join organizations that aren't biblical.
——And what's not biblical about nudism? Or better, how does nudism violate biblical standards?
——People are naked around people who aren't their spouses, that's how. It's an invitation to lust and sexual immorality.
——Doctors see women who aren't their wives in their offices, but up until recently that was considered OK. If a doctor can see another man's wife naked, why can't other people? Assuming no one's being coerced or fooled into participating, of course.
——Well, a doctor's office is different.
——Why? Does a doctor cease to be a guy simply because he's got a license?
——No, but he's there for a purpose, to help the patient. He's not there to look at her.
——Well, if he doesn't look at her, how is he going to help her?
——Don't be ridiculous. You know what I mean.
——You're right, I do, but I'm not sure you do. How is it that a guy who has a natural tendency toward lust is somehow given a pass on that lust just because the woman is paying him?
——Be reasonable, would you? His purpose there is to help her, not to ogle her. And besides, he sees naked women so often that it probably doesn't affect him.
——Granted, but nudist colonies are all about affirming each other for who they are and enjoying the sun and wind while you swim, hike, or whatever. One could argue that a nudist would see nakedness so often it wouldn't affect him either.
——Oh, come on. Nudism is all about sex.
——Some is, yes. But there are also incompetent and lusty doctors, so that doesn't help your case. Isn't it reasonable to think that just as you can't paint all doctors with the lust brush, you can't paint all nudists with the sex brush? Some nudist colonies go out of the way to be family friendly, sort of like Disneyland with a different dress code. Staring, sexual comments, and sexual activity are no more welcome there than at Starbuck's.
——Yeah, but do they live up to their PR? Think of the damage that can be done when things go wrong, Think of the children! Isn't there a horrible risk of kids being abused?
——Kids have been abused by clergy and youth pastors and school teachers. Does that mean they shouldn't go to church or school? If you for some reason decided to go to a nudist resort with your fifteen-year-old daughter, wouldn't you be on the lookout for predators the same way you look out for bears when you go camping or carry safety equipment when you go mountain climbing? Is mountain climbing unbiblical because some people get hurt?
——Of course not. But come on: children shouldn't be looking at naked adults at all.
——Were you ever curious about anatomy when you were little?
——Do you think that curiosity was legitimate?
——I'm not sure. It was natural, I guess, but I can't say that God meant for it to be satisfied outside of marriage.
——Did you satisfy your curiosity?
——Well, yes, but I probably shouldn't have.
——The same way you probably did: Playboy and National Geographic. But I wasn't a Christian then. I didn't know we should wait until marriage to satisfy that curiosity.
——Should only married men go to medical school?
——Come on! That's different!
——OK. Did you see any difference between Playboy and National Geographic? Would you say they are equally evil?
——I think both of them were using nudity to boost sales.
——Good point. Did you feel guilty looking at the pictures?
——The Playboys, yes. I never told my parents about them. But my folks kept National Geographic on a shelf in the den, so I could go in there anytime and look. I wouldn't look at the topless pictures if others were in the room. I guess I was sneaking peeks there, too, so maybe that was just as much a sin as the Playboys. They also had books of paintings, and I would look at the nudes there, too, but never when others were looking. It was all just as sinful.
——So you felt guilty about satisfying a curiosity that you're not sure was legitimate.
——But you can't say for sure it wasn't legitimate either.
——Do you think you would have avoided the National Geographics and the art books if you had been a Christian? And if your parents had been Christians and not had either National Geographics or art books at home, would you have successfully avoided them at libraries and friends' houses?
——I don't know. I don't think we're supposed to know about those things until the proper time. But come on, the Bible doesn't say anything good about nakedness.
——That's true. Most people don't enjoy being naked around other people. Isaiah probably didn't go around naked, or however naked he was, for the fun of it. I wouldn't expect most nudists would want to go nude around clothed people. So nakedness is a biblical symbol for deprivation and humiliation.
——And so anyone who enjoys going naked is taking pleasure in something the Bible says we should abhor. They're "glorying in their shame." We're supposed to be working to build the kingdom of God, not spending our time and money on idleness and pleasure.
——You've hit the nail on the head, though that could apply equally to going to baseball games. But let's go back to the magazines for a sec. Is there any difference between posing for Playboy and having your picture taken by a National Geographic photographer?
——Well, the women in Playboy are trying to look sexy, and they succeed most of the time. The women in National Geographic were just going about their business. National Geographic was actually more cynical than Playboy. They were using nudity to boost sales and pretending they were advancing knowledge about other cultures, . . .
——Sort of like a doctor who uses helping beautiful women as an excuse to see them naked.
——. . . and they didn't even pay the people they took pictures of, like Playboy did. I'm not sure the women in National Geographic understood that they were giving red-blooded American boys a thrill, but National Geographic knew the score. And I suspect the reason the women in those cultures don't go topless in public places anymore is that they don't want to be exploited.
——Or maybe they think it's sexier to wear clothes.
——Why do you suppose some women's blouses have darts?
——To accentuate the breasts.
——Have you ever grokked a good cleavage in a church narthex?
——Well, they are there, but I look away.
——Good boy. Have you ever used the tiny writing on a tight T-shirt as an excuse to check out a nice set of knockers?
——Yes, in unguarded moments.
——Ever read the writing on the butt of a girl's sweatpants more than once?
——Yes, I've even done that. But I'm not proud of it.
——Am I completely off base saying that a skimpy bikini doesn't so much cover boobs and pubes as much as call attention to them? Or is that OK because they're covered?
——Well, they shouldn't be wearing clothes like that.
——I agree, but should I never attend a church where girls with nice cleavages show them off? Should I complain to the church elders and have them appoint a dress code patrol?
——Maybe that would be a good idea. For sure those girls need a good talking to.
——Do you think the six-year-old boys in those topless villages of yesteryear walked around with hard-ons all day, . . .
——. . . or do you think boobs were just part of the landscape?
——They saw it all the time, and maybe there's not much sexy about a woman's breasts when as often as not they are being used to nurse babies.
——So boobs don't have to be sexy.
——I guess not.
——And so in a nudist colony . . .
——Look, are you trying to make a nudist out of me?
——No, not at all. I just wanted to see what arguments you'd marshal against it.
——Because I think that any argument against nudist colonies also applies to the military and the police force. You have said that nudist colonies are about activities that go against the Bible; OK, putting thieves in jail goes against the Bible's command that they are to make restitution to their victims, so anyone who participates in the jailing of thieves is acting unbiblically, but no church I'm aware of says people shouldn't join the police force. You said that children get hurt when nudism goes wrong; OK, the Bible says nothing about making criminals of people who grow things in their gardens, so jailing pot growers is unbiblical. How long would a policeman be on the force if he refused to go after pot growers? You've said that nudists don't live up to their own PR; have Medicare, Social Security, or the government education system, let alone the wars of the last fifty years, lived up to the PR? You said that doctors and others might see bodies so often that they become numb to the sexual attraction others feel; could it be that soldiers and police officers become numb to treating people unjustly? You've said that you're not sure that natural curiosity about people's bodies is legitimate; does the natural desire to avoid persecution justify the killing of innocent people who happen to be near those we think . . . Hey, where are you going?
——I've heard quite enough, thank you. Good day.