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October 05, 2006

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Elin

I can't believe that teacher lost her job over something like this! As Alexandra points out, if her 7 and 5-year olds could "get it", why couldn't the parents? Where is the school board? the teacher's union? Shame on them all for not sticking up for the teacher - particularly a teacher with 28 years experience whose museum trip was approved and even urged by the school authorities.

Liz Neville

I hate to be redundant, but again I must cheer "Brava!" to you Alexandra for your wonderful touch in tackling a sticky issue. To use the idea of an education in the "good" as a way to discern the difference, and then to crowd out a taste for the "bad" is sheer parenting brilliance. It's something I wish we could put in the air or the water to spread it around to everybody. Neatly done!

mike

It is indeed a very sad commentary on the society we live in that mature adults can not distinguish b/w the different types of nudity. Part of the blame must be placed on the great religions who lump all nudity under the rubric of "bad" and immoral. By not distinguishing, they are becoming unwilling and unknowing partners to the porn industry who prey on society's inability to distinguish between the two different types of nudity.

Elin

Um, Mike, despite your slam at the "great religions" I noted that Alexandra actually framed her "good vs. bad nudity" in the context of one of the world's great religions, which, among other things, teaches that "God created the body and it is good." (BTW, may I add my "Brava" to Liz', Alexandra, b/c I thought the way you handled this with your kids was brilliant). I readily acknowledge that, over the last 2,000 years there have been distortions in the way the Church has presented its view of the body, but the fault is not in the religion itself. I would also like to point out that much beautiful art - including nudes - has been created by adherents of this particular "great religion" - Michelangelo's David, anyone?

Elin,

Your point is well taken. I agree that religion in its purest form sees the body as good. However I believe that the overall immature attitude of our society towards innocent nudity can be at least partially attributed to the distortions of the leaders of the great religions that you have mentioned. I would not be at all surprised if those who protested about this teacher in Texas were practicing members of one of the great religions.

Spudmomof6

What's also interesting is that great artists never seem to portray either the hulk-type male or the stick-figure female. They seem to know intuitively that neither extreme is as attractive as a normally muscular man or voluptuous woman. No starvation, implants, or hormones needed. Maybe more exposure to this type of art will prevent the epidemic of eating disorders among our young people.
The difference? The 'oohs' and 'aahs' at art should match those given for a perfect sunset, and not be like the girl in the 'organic experience' Herbal Essence commercials.

Lance Roberts

It's actually tragic that Christians have so bought over to the concept that nudity is ok if it's art. Nudity in public is immodest, and therefore unbiblical, no matter how 'beautiful' it looks. It's because of compromises like this that we have the acceptance of immodesty in our culture today.

p.s. Michelangelo was not a christian, he was a homosexual (like a lot of renaissance painters) that made religious figures, because that's what the church would pay for.

mike

Lance,

Why is nudity in public any more immodest than nudity in private?

spudmomof6

If I recall, it was God who made man and woman naked in the first place, and prounounced his creation "good." It was only after disobedience (and knowledge) that they were ashamed. That's why it used to be ok for little kids to run around naked; they didn't know any better. Too bad it's not safe for them anymore because of the widespread knowledge of evil that can be inflicted upon them. Perhaps we need a discussion of why the euphemism 'uncover their nakedness' was used in the Old Testament.

Lance Roberts

Nudity in public is more immodest than nudity in private because it is in public. Immodesty is showing off what God said not to. The only time nudity is allowed in normal adult situations is between husband and wife.

I have a Christian friend who believes that Playboy is ok and not pornography, because it's so 'high-class' and artsy, it's just showing beautiful objects. What are you going to do when your daughter poses for one of the 'beautiful' nude paintings or statues, or in this day and age, playboy spreads. You told her it was just beauty.

Marriage is the proper context for nudity, since no one is defrauded. When a woman exposes herself to a man, he is put in a position of temptation, but can't fulfill his desires legitimately (outside of his wife), so he is a victim of fraud. You can decry that it's only his desires that will get him in trouble, but God has clearly commanded modesty and shamefacedness, and these are about actions done by the modestee.

This post in no way lets the man off. He is still responsible for his thoughts and actions.

Alexandra Foley

Lance, I liked your second post, but I have to take issue with your first.

Nudity in Christian art is as old as Christian art itself, as can be seen by ancient frescoes of Adam and Eve from the catacombs and early medieval crucifixes (many of which are without the loincloth). These, needless to say, are centuries older than the Renaissance. I will cede that the Renaissance reintroduced a pagan love of all things nude and since most of Christian art is hagiography, nudity isn't appropriate. But you cannot simply categorize nudity as being a Renaissance invention.

Further, you don't sound like a bigoted person, but saying that Michelangelo is not a Christian because he is a homosexual sounds less thoughtful than your other points. Any Christian knows that a sinner can also be a Christian (aren't we all sinners?).

And ironically, that claim about Michelangelo being homosexual is only a theory; in the art history world, the issue is somewhat dead because to art historians, Michelangelo's body of work is what matters, not what he did with his body.

michaelangelo

yeah.

Katrina

I'm going to have to disagree and say that the only nude art or people we see are our spouses. I think that there is no difference between nude people and statues. There was someone standing naked for the sculpture to copy. Who's to say the diffence between a nude painting and a photo? A nude photo and a person? Having a nude sculpture instead of a person is like having a computer generated voice swearing instead of a person. You still seeing or hearing the same thing.

Adam Fleming

Well, this was a really great blog. I mean, helpful. Kudos on how you dealt with your kids. I'm afraid the responses have degenerated the discussion somewhat, so I'll try to chime in with something edifying. (By the way I just found this blog by googling "Christian nudes.")

As a follower of Jesus and a stone sculptor I'd like to point out that a sculpture or painting is an inanimate object and therefore cannot choose to follow or not follow any Jesus. Or Mohommad or Buddha, for that matter. in other words I don't believe there is such a thing as "christian art." A piece of art, weather well made or not, is contextually and communally involved within a process that begins with the creation, a telling of a story, in other words, has a point intended by the artist. That's intent. Intent can be Holy or Profane, but I think art is best when the intent is right there on the edge, somewhere between soul and body. Something that makes you think.
Then, it has a reception by the public. After doing those outdoor art fairs in tents all over the country for a few years, I have to say that our society at large has lost the ability to interact with the pieces being made out there- I've just seen too many eyes glazed over in boredom and not enough people looking for a story waiting to be told. (I think a lot of artists stopped trying to tell stories a while ago and just made junk they could sell quick, and that impacted the public reation we get today.) The public has the opportunity to do whatever they want with someone's art. Ignore, become incensed, enjoy mildly, or find uncommunicative, lust, whatever. Mostly they just make ignorant comments, from my experience. We just don't teach our kids in school to talk about or look at art anymore. Even our movies are mostly junk because studios are looking for the lowest common denominator which brings the biggest buck. (there are quite a few films lately that have bucked that trend, which gives me hope. The Passion of The Christ, Borat, and everything in between, people are sick of the same ol warmed over movies.)
The nude, as I read in another blog last night, is the visual equivalent to a love poem. Song of Solomon comes to mind. As for myself, I've just begun the journey towards sculpting nudes. I'm excited by the prospect. Michaelangelo and Henry Moore and so many of the greatest sculptors understood that the human body is the ultimate crowning glory of creation. Balance, aesthetics, everything comes to us through this "created in God's image." In regards to Michaelangelo's sexual preferences, I've been reading Irving Stone's "The Agony and the Ecstasy" and as near as I can tell after three years of intensive research looking at original Buonarotti family documents Irving Stone determined that Michaelangelo was not gay. As an artist who understands what it means to sit down and draw a nude from a model, I can only think that Stone's assessment of M. must be correct- he didn't have the time or energy for sex most of the time. He was too busy making the greatest art he possibly could. Perhaps the best proof of this theory is that he was actually a heterosexual but from a pure aesthetic standpoint he thought that men's bodies were the stronger beauty. I admit I find that hard to grasp, but I've drawn some men and I can at least appreciate what that means a little bit.

Anyway I thought your way of dealing with your kids was excellent and as I have a three year old and a one year old, both still quite unashamed of their bodies (doesn't Jesus tell us we must become like little children to enter the Kingdom of God?) will soon be asking me, "daddy, why is that person naked?"

Further, I'd just like to say that one of the most worshipful experiences I've had in a long time was about a year ago when I was on a beach in Senegal, Africa, late at night with all of creation booming down on me- the Atlantic, the stars above, and I sensed that I was to humbly remove all "garments" (as churchy folk would say) and recognize my extreme smallness in creation. And yet I had such a sense that standing there naked I was so small and yet so loved. Yes, I was alone, and it was what you'd call really a good naked.
I wished my wife could have been there, and I specifically don't mean for sex. There are some things that you just want to share with your best friend. And I pity people who don't get that about sexuality. It is to be shared with your best friend. But beauty... ah, now there's another thing. We've talked amongst ourselves about beauty since time began- and as long as we acknowledge the Creator I think that's basically a form of worship. The difficult part in this is that the body's beauty is somewhat tied to its sexuality. That's my row to hoe and cross to bear if I want to make some good art someday! I've enjoyed the thought provoking blog here. Thanks. check out my website at www.artzephyr.com if you want a story.

Jay

Though this thread might be long silent, this comment is directed to Spudmomof6.

Michelangelo was, without doubt, a Christian -- specifically, a Roman Catholic. He was born, baptised, raised, educated, trained, lived, prayed, and died a Roman Catholic. Artists were not considered "celebrities" back then; rather, they were laborers like any other guild workers. What set Michelangelo apart from many was what can only be considered a gift; and so he earned a decent living. However, to say this does not negate his working 'pro gloria dei' [for the glory of God]. He did not merely "take orders"; rather, he worked within a thematic framework provided by patrons.

That he engaged in homosexual acts is your small-minded, overly-literal way of reading a Bible so far removed from the original text. How far removed, you ask? From ancient Hebrew and Aramaic to Greek; then Latin; then Old, Middle, and slightly modernized 17th century English (King James); to whatever version YOU read. You're reading a version at least TEN times removed from the original! So what makes YOU so sure YOUR Bible contains the same words adn same spirit as THE original Bible?

Besides, the minute "Christians" get holier than thou about the so-called "Old Testament," I'll point out it's the HEBREW Bible ... only declared "Old" by early Christian forefathers in a superscessionist move to cause the first of many great theological schisms as they expected "Christians" to be 100% Christian. They insisted there be no blending of religious practices which was common in the time of Jesus ... if there ever was an actual man named Jesus. BTW, did you know the name "Yeshu" or variant "Yehoshua" were as common in Judea and Samaria was "John" is in the English language today?

As far as I can tell, he's a fictional man invented nearly 100 years after his supposed death as a means of founding a new religion which, as I see you've adopted, has been good about judging, warring, and killing off peoples the world over. Will you give me an "Amen!" to cheer a God used to justify judging others, conquering others, killing others?

William

Jay, that's really pathetic. Instead of making pseudo-intellectual comments about things you've read on the internet or "The Da Vinci Code", why don't you actually seek out some factual answers to your own questions?

BTW, he's right. Michelangelo, according to most notable art scholars, was not gay. However, Jay, he's not mentioned in the Bible...moron. :-)

CurtisNeeley

Romans 14:16
“Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.”

Most figurenude photographs are NOT evil but most nudes are evil.

Nude art can be done that is a manner of praise. There are people who refuse to consider Christianity and Jesus because of the hypocrisy that surrounds this issue. Not all of the photographers here intended their art to be praising God. Some of them are just well done photos of a nude that fit the definition of figurenude until it gets clarified fully. None of the photographers presented here wee atheists at the time they licensed their photos to be shown. To believe in God does not mean you are a Christian! To enjoy the human body presented nude does not mean you are not a Christian! To model the human body God gave you nude does not mean you are not a Christian! Curtis Neeley tries to be a Christian and most times falls terribly short of manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus. Curtis does REQUIRE that none of his models or any photographers presented on this site be atheists. To believe in God does not mean you are a Christian manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; being Christlike!

God made humans nude. Jesus died nude. God doesn’t make mistakes.

God covered humans with clothes made from the skins of animals after humans sinned. The animals God took the skins off did not sin. Removal of skin usually results in death? The death of an innocent animal to cover the results of sin? God, who created everything, preferred to kill animals to create the first set of clothes instead of having humans grow fur and not need those clothes?


God was demonstrating the first example that sin could only be covered by innocent blood being spilled. .It foreshadowed Jesus’ sacrifice. .
God could have as easily made clothes from cotton, silk, or nylon. God made clothes instead of giving humans fur so that the clothes could be removed and his masterpiece appreciated without obstruction! The artists on the following site show "good" nudes only!
www.figurenude.com

David - a nudist

Must I get into every argument between good nudity and bad nudity? I've been posting on many websites about how I feel about good nudity...that is nudism. Why is this country (I live in USA) and others that ban nudity so prudish that they think innocent nudity must be sexual and therefore, immoral or immodest? You know, in countries that allow simple non-sexual nudity to be normal, there are fewer sex crimes and lower unwanted teen pregnancies than countries that ban nudity. Now, why could that be? Hmmmm...let me think...note the sarcasm here?

Kyle

I believe nudity is nothing to be ashamed of or covered up. I mean we all pretty much look the same under our clothes. I hate how people think its bad and put a taboo on it. But even more is when people say its okay only in art. There is no difference between a picture or sculpture of a naked person and a real one. But that's just my opinion. If nudity wasn't so frowned upon and hidden away we wouldn't have problems with sexting or teen pregnancies. They only do it because it's forbidden.

questions

lance i would like to talk to you

ken

there is no good or bad nudity. how little have we advanced from our ancestors it's just amazing

CurtisNeeley

I appreciate the appreciation of the figurenude.com mission to show the naked figure as pure art. I must now update my comments in this thread as the original creator and owner of the website figurenude.com. I lost the first case and every possible appeal short of the Supreme Court and will not continue to the Supreme Court on the state outrage or federal copyrite claims.

Google Inc alleged spending HUNDREDS-of-THOUSANDS already in Neeley v NameMedia Inc, (5:09-cv-05151) in their recent filing opposing Neeley v NameMedia Inc, (5:12-cv-05074) being allowed to proceed. There is no valid legal rational in the Google Inc opposition but the US Courts are overworked and have now been considering dismissal since 4/30/2012 along with the multitude of other cases before the same courts.

I just checked with the court and there was no decision today. When there is a decision allowing me to proceed or prohibiting it, the beginning of the END to ALL display of nudity to the anonymous will officially start.

United States television and radio were both always censored by the FCC and the conversion to cable generally bypassed this censorship except for the remaining "broadcast" stations. The remaining censorship of these "broadcast" stations is now pending before the Supreme Court in FCC v Fox, (10-1293).

Many feel the old rational for censorship of "broadcast" was justified by FCC v Pacifica Foundation back in 1978 and now believe the Supreme Court will end all censorship of mass communications and let the "free market" dictate decency standards entirely.

All the amici for FCC v Fox,(10-1293) misinterpreted the law remaining on the books when citing Pacifica. Not just one or two amici supporting the FCC or opposing the FCC but EVERY SINGLE ONE on either side!
curtisneeley.com/Google/Booklet-Complaint.htm#page14 is now visible to the Supreme Court with paragraph VI 1 with footnote 8 that follows.

VI.Federal Communications Commission Malfeasance

1. The display of nudity to minors and the anonymous by Defendant Google Inc and Microsoft Corporation is supported by the FCC refusing to perform the statutory mission for protecting the safety of the public on world-wide wire communications. The Pacifica[8] ruling from 1978 was substituted wholly for the 47 USC §151 statutory rational in error of law.
------------------------------------
(8) FCC v Pacifica The “landmark” First amendment holding from 1978 with the “pervasiveness theory,” held that broadcast speech was “uniquely pervasive” and an “intruder” in the home, and therefore demanded special, artificial content restrictions relying on the pervasiveness of radio waves and failed entirely to address the pervasiveness of wire communications when simultaneously available by radio as internet wire communications are though nonexistent in 1978.
------------------------------------

Nudity can be viewed without lust and can be photographed without lust. Creating and presenting the nude form as art, regardless of how carefully done, creates the potential that these naked figures may be looked upon with lust. Creating art with nude figures and presenting the nude human creates potential "stumbling blocks" and should be avoided by Christians.

This obvious fact took me roughly twenty-one years to realize.

Shark

Taking showers is good naked, but walking in the streets nakes is bad naked.

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