Nudity in Art

Home / Education / ARChives / Discussions

Nudity in Art


Published on before 2005

Mark Junge wrote: So - without getting into the pros and cons of Christianity as a belief system - what would you say to a teen (or an adult, for that matter) who believes nudity in art is wrong or even that nudity = pornography? Bible verses to support your point would help, since conservative Protestants, especially, love to throw Bible verses around. I'd like to forward some thoughts to my friend.

This is a favorite topic of mine as it goes to something I've termed "pernicious objectification" which really means seeing or using a person as an object of personal gratification. To turn the infinitely deep being of a person into an object for one's use is a perversion. When we do it economically, we call it slavery. When we do it sexually, we call it pornography and/or prostitution. It's the reason why pornography is bad and it is the distinction between art and pornography. The distinction is dignity. In nudes the subject is personal dignity, in naked pictures the subject is flesh. Our system of education coming as it does from our contemporary culture is noticeably lacking in the grounds needed to make these distinctions, a great cultural loss in my opinion.

Of course this does go to what the image is being used for. Hell, the sharia folks in the middle east will get worked up over some ankle skin, so it's not about what's seen, it's about what's done with what's seen.

I don't think there is a consistent religious message about whether a naked body is evil, but I do think my above stamen is consistent with the intent of most religious warnings against being overcome by sensuality.

With teens, I'd bow to parental pressure and mores whether I agreed with them or not. As long as teens are at home, they ought to abide by the restrictions and limitations there. Teens are not usually long on self control and perspective, so I'd be careful there.