Naked Psychology 101 – Pt 5

Nudity and Christianity, Jim C. Cunningham

Nudity and Christianity, Jim C. Cunningham

As I continue this discussion, I want to re-state that the discussion is not about Christianity or religion; nor, is it a critique of religions. The discussion is about the human psyche and the human body. As I work through the material, I am hoping that I am able to find threads that will allow me, and you my readers, to become more conscious of just who we are as individuals and as humans beneath our ego, our collective cultures and our clothing. Since I live in the modern western world, the Christian myths have played an important role in my formation. These same Christian myths have served to keep us, as a collective and as individuals, in the dark about our own nature, having us focus on darkness and the pursuit of escaping the darkness through ritual and death that will reward us with heaven. Now, with that said, I continue on with the search.

Genesis 2:25 “ Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

And so began the story of man and woman, the story of the creation of humanity. The Christian God had created man and woman without clothing. As God saw it, this was all good. Yet, somehow, the modern western world which is founded upon the belief in the Christian religion, has adopted a different belief about being naked. If we bother to check back into the story of Genesis, one finds that it is Satan who introduces the idea of shame in being naked. How is it that all of our desert religions that have this founding story of creation (Christianity, Hebrew, Moslem), have embraced the shadow rather than the light? And in these desert religions, women are relegated to the powers of darkness and are thus feared, fettered and persecuted.

Jesus being baptised nude as was the practice for centuries.

Jesus being baptised nude as was the practice for centuries.

Luke 12:22 “Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes”

Since these are the words attributed to Jesus in the New Testament, the Christian addition to the Old testament shared with the other desert religions, one sees and understands that being without clothing is not something to worry about, not something that will harm the spirit and soul of a human. This idea of the natural state of the human body being something not to be ashamed of was echoed by Pope John Paul II in his book, Love and Responsibility.

Jesus crucified naked as was the practice at the time of his crucifixion.

Jesus crucified naked as was the practice at his crucifixion.

“The human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve intact its splendour and its beauty… Nakedness as such is not to be equated with physical shamelessness… Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person…The human body is not in itself shameful… Shamelessness (just like shame and modesty) is a function of the interior of a person.”

And this, is at the core of trying to bring home the idea of the naked psyche, a transparency that allows one to become more conscious of the shadow which seeks to keep us in the dark, keep us in fear and submission.

If we are to understand our modern day response to the naked body, our fear of the naked body, we need to understand the truth of our history and the manner in which that truth was bend in order to achieve power and control of the collective, a collective that shies away from those individuals that would have them become conscious of themselves and their bodies. That same negative response is given to the work of peeling away the layers of personal unconsciousness to reveal the human psyche as it is beneath the disguised and camouflaged ego.

4 thoughts on “Naked Psychology 101 – Pt 5

  1. As one trained in Christian theology and who has a pretty fierce interest in psychology (especially Jungian psychoanalysis) — and as one who is himself a guy who likes to spend as much time as possible wearing nothing! — I continue to very much enjoy this blog. Thanks especially for the links to a number of Jungian websites that I would probably otherwise not have found. I note that you have the cover of Jim Cunningham’s NUDITY AND CHRISTIANITY, which, I think, a number of people have found to be of help.

    In this vein you might also take a look at the writings of the Canadian Catholic moral theologian, Andre Guindon. Those of his books translated into English approach the theological significance of being naked, privately and communally, in a quite sympathetic way. He has one book dedicated to the subject of being naked, L’HABILLE ET LE NU, which is the most comprehensive treatment of the subject that I’ve seen. Unfortunately it’s not (to my knowledge) available in English; but my French is at least good enough that I feel no qualms about commending it anyone who can read the language.


    • Merci, Allen. Je chercherai ce livre de André Guindon, “L’Habille et le Nu.” J’ai hâte de le lire. As you can tell, I am well able to read in French as I am a bilingual Canadian. Thanks for your comments and for the mention of Guidon’s book.


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