18 comments

  1. Re. the alt-text: yes, it should be okay to talk about boobs. People do actually have them. They’re not freaking dirty. *Storms off to punch a wall and become increasingly irritated at the humidity*

    1. You bet! They’re only dirty if we make them so. Their design intent was to feed babies. Anything beyond that is stuff we’ve added. We train our society to think they’re dirty. But we all have them. Even guys have nipples. No big deal. Unless we make it so. So let’s stop making a normal thing dirty.

      1. Years ago watching a French period piece (Le Chevalier on the Roof or something) complete with topless females, 2 year old son points and says — snackies, snackies. 🙂

    2. Breasts are not dirty but they are private, and most women tend to want to keep them private (we can see this by considering how most women wear tops and are embarrassed when exposed). It is also no secret how most men react to topless women. Now considering how both men and women naturally tend to react to breasts, I think it is safe to assume that God programmed into us to treat a topless women as partially naked.

      1. Honestly, I think our society programmed us to respond to breasts that way — not God. In tribal cultures where breasts are commonly exposed, no one in those cultures batts an eye. In more reserved cultures today where exposing one’s ankles is considered inappropriate, people in those cultures get … excited … when they catch a glimpse of them too. We tend to react to what ever taboo ideas we’ve grown up with.

        Now don’t get me wrong — in any environment where exposed breasts are considered taboo, it’s not surprising that they get reactions. And if we know that exposing something will get such reactions, it may be prudent to careful about such things.

        My point was simply that it’s interesting how big a deal our culture makes of something that shouldn’t be dirty, and didn’t used to even be considered inappropriate. Pop culture today seems to only be comfortable with those bits exposed when it’s porn. And that somehow seems wrong.

        1. Okay, I understand what you are saying, and I agree that things can get blurry because society can “reprogram” us (and this applies in both ways, both to be more dressed than we need to be and to be less dressed than we should be).

          Hence it is best to consider Adam and Eve which were not influenced by any other culture. Before they sinned they were not ashamed of their nakedness, but after they sinned they became ashamed of their nakedness even before their Creator. Now they made aprons of fig leaves yet they were still ashamed – showing that the aprons did cover their nakedness but not all of it. However when God solved their problem, He made them coats of skins.

          Now a coat definitely covers upper body, and an apron definitely covers lower body; thus telling us that it is prudent to cover both.

          Gen 3 “6 …[Eve] took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself … 21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

          In the opposite direction, it appears that Michal, king Saul’s daughter, is an example of someone programmed to be to posh, see what she said 2 Samuel 6:20 (2 Samuel 6:20 and 1 Chronicles 15:27 make it clear David was clothed with at least a robe and an ephod, but for she cared, he could have been naked).

          1. I think you are drawing conclusions from Adam and Eve that aren’t there.

            If we look at the story as written as a literal, factually focused account, the fact of the matter is that loin cloths (chagowr – http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2290&t=KJV ) were sufficient coverings for them to be in the presence of the Lord.

            Then at this point, the ground is cursed for their sake. In other words, the entire environment was changed for their sake. (It is interesting to note that Adam and Even were never cursed. I even started writing that here. What was done was done FOR their sake; in sorrow and not TO them.) At that point, it was explained how they would survive, with everything from growing the plants themselves to clothing themselves with animal skins (the first recorded deaths). So the tunics ( kĕthoneth http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3801&t=KJV ) were made first for man and then for woman. With this reading, there was absolutely no distinction made for covering girl boobs vs boy boobs. If anything, it shows the men’s chests were covered first. My interpretation however, is that they were being shown that they could harvest from the animals as well as from the grounds.

            I have more to say on this account, but it would only confuse the matter and take us off topic.

          2. Re: Brian Layman
            I agree with most of the things you said. However I believe that with one passage God can show us numerous things. With God clothing them, He showed them a method to obtain clothing (as you pointed out) but also what is proper clothing. He was also giving an example of the fact that some things cannot be fixed with patch jobs; for some things sacrifices must be made to fix the problem. There are several things that this passage proves and several things it gives an example of.

            Now you said that I jumped to conclusions. Note that I am weary of jumping to conclusions and that it is possible I read too much from one passage, so here is my reasoning: I know that there is a right and a wrong in this area, so I asked which passages could tell me what is right from wrong. I could think no passages that could answer that question, except Genesis 3, thus I analysed what it said. Note I am willing to hear other passages that teach one way or the other. All the passages that I can think of either assume that the reader already knows what nakedness is or it is dealing with something else.

            Now our nature was given to show us right and wrong (1 Corinthians 11:14 “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?”) but it can be corrupted (1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”). Hence from the first fact I know that I am allowed to draw conclusions of right and wrong based on our “nature”; but from the second fact I know I must be cautious when doing so because our nature can be corrupted. Hence I considered a couple who were the least corrupted, and looked at their nature.

            Okay I am going to stop now, because I am starting to say things based on what you might say, rather than what you will say (and because this is becoming a wall of text). I do feel justified in my other conclusions as well.

          3. I do notice that God didn’t say why he clothed Adam and Eve. They were cast out of the garden, given hard work, thorns were introduced, etc. Living was less hospitable, so there was a need for protection that did not previously exist. This was also the first time an animal was killed. Was this a sacrifice to atone for their sin of eating the fruit? (“without the shedding of blood, there can be no remission”). Not sure.

            It also doesn’t actually indicate what the clothing God made for them actually covered. It does sound like it covered more than the loincloth made out of fig leaves, but what that more was didn’t seem important enough to point out.

            We do see other examples in scripture of nudity. In Isaiah 20, Isaiah was commanded to go naked by God for 3 years as a sign. I’m dubious God would have asked Isaiah to sin. Bathsheba was seen bathing naked by King David. So she was doing so in public view. David was called on the carpet, but nothing is said about it being wrong for Bathsheba to had bathed where she did. We know that during new testament times, many of the cities the gospel had made it to had a common practice of going to public bath houses. Athletics was also often practiced in the nude in many of these greek cultures. If it was inappropriate for the believers who lived there to participate in these things, I’d think at least one of the letters in the new testament would have mentioned that. I haven’t found it though.

            I do find it interesting that, even though partial, and even full nudity was much more common in various times when scripture was written, scripture seems to have no clear teaching on it. It has various situations where we try to infer things. We do see other things that were commonplace in the cultures around God’s people that He specifically called them to avoid. So why didn’t he make this one clear?

            Could go on. There are resources on the internet that you might find interesting. No claims as to whether they’re right. But there are some ideas worth wrestling with.

            http://mychainsaregone.org/
            Presents a biblically-referenced view of nudity in relation to the struggle many/most have with pornography.

            http://thebiblicalnaturist.blogspot.ca/
            A blog full of rigorous theological study of various topics related to nudity in scripture. Might push you quite a bit further out of your comfort zone, but quite an interesting read none-the-less. May be best read oldest to newest. Haven’t read it all, but there are certainly some thought-provoking articles and discussions.

      2. I agree with Steve’s statements here. While the Old Testament, in Proverbs and the Song of Solomon, does speak from both the woman’s and the man’s perspective about their beauty, I think culture has a lot influence over our view of breasts (so to speak) and what is acceptable and what isn’t.

        In the New Testament, I think Paul’s discussion of long hair on men, wearing gold*, and having your head uncovered so that you appeared to be offer your wares as part of the church services had more to do with combating the appearance of inconsistency*** than the fact that any of those things was wrong in and of itself****.

        *At what purity? Surely it was more about the statement being made than the substance itself
        **As actually happened in the neighboring temples
        *** See his discussion on eating meat previously offered to idols
        **** All things are permissible, but not all are profitable et al

        1. In 1 Timothy 9-10, Timothy speaks of modesty. It’s interesting how he elaborates on what he means by that — “adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” It says nothing about how much or little is covered.

          1. Right! It says don’t bother spending your time on the frivolous stuff that doesn’t matter, but do stuff that makes a difference. Be real. that’s a message that should resonate today and one that too many in “modern Christianity” ignore – which BTW provides great amounts of Facebook fodder and Family Guy and American Dad content..

            (Just FYI: I & II Timothy are letters from Paul to Timothy a kid & best friend Paul was kinda mentoring)

          2. You bet. (Brain fart on the Timothy thing. Knew that.)

            Another interesting passage that I was never taught growing up but speaks to our handling of this stuff: “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” (Colossians 2:20-23, NIV)

  2. The “dirty” part only comes from people’s own inconsistencies and desire to make something “bad” so that it can be “good”.
    On a related topic I will say we were all a little surprised when the bamboo cutter’s old wife, in Studio Ghibli’s Princes Kaguya, stopped mid stride, stood moaning and unmoving for a bit and then suddenly whipped her boob out. Whatever was going to happen, that wasn’t on the short list of our expectations. That said, they seemed to view clothing and undergarments as much less of a requirement in general in that movie compared to our society..

    1. I find it interesting how weird our society has gotten about this stuff. It’s like we’re only prepared to think about it in the context of porn, when for most of history, it’s just been normal. Before the textile industry made clothing cheap, only the rich had more than 1 outfit, and the poor often had nothing. (how would you do laundry if you only had one outfit?) When one-room houses were common, people figured out how to live together with just one room. Before modern swimsuit material was invented, people generally went skinny dipping. Our hang-ups are a new thing, and yet we’re completely blindsided to see other cultures having other ideas.

      1. I do believe prosperity, marketing and media have all been key to bringing about these changes. Media is often like looking into a mirror that shows not only what you could be if only you were better but also all of the bad choices it’s really OK to make because you can see that everyone else in the mirror is doing much worse.

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