The creation of Adam in God’s image/
In the beginning, as we know it in the modern western world, nudity was considered a state of holiness. The Creator only became angry when Adam and Eve tried to hide their nudity, angry at their shame at being naked. Now, we have somehow turned that around. God would be angry with us for a lack of shame for being naked. Humans are created / born naked. It is hard to dispute that biological fact. For the majority of human existence, clothing has not been a part of life other than when the human body needed protection from the elements or from the conditions created in work.
Clothing became a part of social life as a means of separating classes or castes. Peasants and slaves continued to live and work nude according to conditions of weather and workplace. The upper classes adopted clothing to signify their superiority, their distancing from the base level of humanity. Clothing then began to signify degrees of power and importance within these upper classes. Yet, at the level of religious belief and practices, nudity was still held as important.
Nefertiti and the worship of the god Aton.
In ancient Egypt, the attitude towards nudity was made official as found in “the baked-clay tablet archives of Pharaoh Akhen-Aton (1385-1353 B.C.). It was learned through the subsequent translation of these tablets that the brilliant young pharaoh and his exquisitely beautiful queen, Nefertiti, considered the sun, Aton, to be the true wellspring of life and thus justified the practice of nudism for spiritual and physical advancement.” [Goodson, Nudity, Therapy and Joy].
Nudity in itself is not a moral problem.
Nudity in worship, at least by the priests and priestesses, continued well into modern times as noted in both Greek and Roman histories. Even in our era as late as 1981, Pope John Paul II said “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.”
It makes a person wonder why the great brouhaha over nudity that exists in the modern western world, the idea of nudity being immoral. It seems that there has been a shift in basic human understanding to allow the “shadow‘ or the unconscious to become the arbiter of human morality.
Thou shalt not be nude!
A person is naked – just naked – doing nothing immoral and without intent to cause either to him/herself or to others any immoral behaviour. Laying in the sun to sunbathe or to read a book is about sunbathing and book-reading, not about titillation or invitation for adulterous and/or licentious behaviours. A person who sees a naked human body, either in images or in face-to-face life responds to what is seen and either accepts what is seen for what was intended or that viewing person’s shadow is activated with thoughts that are adulterous and/or licentious. Needless to say that the “bad” behaviour is on the part of the clothed person who views and responds inappropriately – remember the original response of Adam and Eve? – and that inappropriate response is the real moral problem that we are faced with when it comes to nudity.