10/17/2003                                                                                       View Comments

W.M.



Thanks to http://www.text-image.com/

It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority punishment or reward. In a nutshell, God had to kill Himself to appease Himself so that He would not have to roast us, His beloved creations, in HELL forever. He loves us more than we can ever comprehend, but if we don't return His affections, He will make us regret it for eternity. Now that is AMAZING GRACE!

10/10/2003                                                                                       View Comments

10/09/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Babe and Hunk of the Moment – WHY?

Controversy is nothing new to this site. Much of what appears on ExChristian.Net creates an emotional response in the visitors. This is to be expected when one considers the nature of the content and the mindset of those who would be inclined to stay more than a few moments. I’ve stated on more than one occasion that I started this site initially as a place to post my testimony documenting my exit from Christianity. It began as a personal place to rant and sort out my own thoughts. In the two years since its inception, the site has grown to include articles written by myself and many others about specific points of interest to persons questioning their faith. Later, I added interactivity including the forums. The interactive portions of the site have grown in popularity and participation. I never really viewed the site as evangelical in nature, or as an attempt to undermine the faith of others. I think anyone who honestly reads the Bible, the development of theological thought, and the history of Christianity, will have all the material they need to undermine their own faith. However, with the apparent explosion of interest in the site, it has at times taken on evangelistic overtones. Some of those with Christian friends or acquaintances suggest this site to their associates as a resource to be referenced. Some parents want to use articles posted here to help their children understand why they are not Christians anymore. As such, certain aspects and portions of the site have come under closer scrutiny than I would have anticipated, even by those in basic agreement with the site's foundational premise.

Having said all that in introduction, I will come to the point of this article. Why does this site have a Babe and Hunk of the moment feature? Is it really necessary? Does it have any contextual relevance?

Frankly, nothing on the site is necessary at all, but there is a point to having the feature besides prurient interest. Christianity taught me all my life the sinfulness of nudity. The “world” appears to have little problems with nudity thus confirming to the Chrisitan that Satan is ruling everything. The Christian is fighting against the evil all around, attempting to hold back or attack the gates of hell – or however you want to express it. As Christians we were encouraged to view the differences in views on nudity, as well as nearly everything else, as a heavenly war between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Most Christians would consider any display of nudity or even partial nudity, as a tool of the devil to be resisted, and if possible, destroyed.

Is the Christian cultural view the best or most healthy view? Why do I think what I do about nudity, or partial nudity? Why am I so uncomfortable seeing scantily clad men or women? Since I am not a Christian anymore, is nudity that big a deal or not? Is it wrong, and if so why? Is it actually good and right, and if so why?

Jack Chick was a favorite of mine as a young Christian in the ‘70s. He had just started his tract ministry then, and I thought they were great. I was 11 years old and comic books were cool, especially when they had the message I believed. Obviously I think differently now, but I still find his tracts useful. They vividly and accurately display the inconsistencies in modern Christian thought. Take for example the one linked HERE. What I find interesting about his interpretation of the fall of humankind into sin is that even after all the dirt and filth are cleaned off the repent characters, they still keep their clothes on. Instead of being restored to their original created state of purity, they enter heaven just as ashamed of their nakedness as ever.

This topic of whether human nudity is really sinful or not is of concern to those with both feet firmly planted in Evangelical Christianity and is well covered by THIS ARTICLE. Here, in what is subtitled as "A study of social nudity from a Biblical and secular perspective," the writer of the article has done extensive research into historic perspectives on nudity. He carefully expounds on his subject and concludes quite accurately that cultural norms and biases have much more influence in our thought processes and prejudices when it comes to determining the definition of lewd behavior, than does anything else. We don’t decide for ourselves what is unacceptable as much as we 'feel' what is unacceptable based on our upbringing.

Another article which spends quite some time effectively documenting nudity in ancient to modern cultures, provides more for those who may want more information on the subject.

Obviously most of the frequent visitors to this site are from English speaking countries. The US is the most represented here, and as such share a common background and understanding in what is right and wrong about being nude outside the confines of the bedroom, the bathroom or the doctor’s office. The US citizen, well versed in Conservative Christianity, is often shocked to find out that other modern countries do not hold the same views on the shameful sinfulness of the human body. Here is what one young traveler had to say about a visit his family made to Hungary:
“Native people of Hungary have different norms concerning public discretion about nudity in public areas. Women prance around partially or totally nude in public swimming areas. This was greatly shocking to my girlfriend and I! We could not get over how many women just " bare it all" in swimming areas. Women that do not go naked are looked at like "Oh they must be tourists!!" We could feel the stares as we walked around these numerous public swimming places.

Nudity personally does not offend me-unless the woman is FAT- but this nudity may be detrimental to the normal and healthy development of a young child. Young children should not be exposed to this vast amount of nudity. They are just too young."
The complete article can be accessed HERE. This young person fails to see that his opinion concerning the normal and healthy development of a young child, not to mention his peripheral prejudice against fat people, is quite obviously not shared by everyone. I wonder if he even knows why he has the convictions he has.

In 1981, Pope John Paul II (then Cardinal Wojtyla) wrote: "Sexual modesty cannot then in any simple way be identified with the use of clothing, nor shamelessness with the absence of clothing.... 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 is a function of the interior of a person." (REF)

His Holiness apparently would consider it quite plausible that a naked person is "properly attired" for swimming or sunbathing.

Is nudity a sin in the Bible?

Adam and Eve:
Genesis says God created man and woman in His own image, Genesis 1:26-18 and again in Genesis 5:1-1. Adam begot Seth, in his own likeness and image, Genesis 5:3. To say that a part of God's image is indecent is no less than heresy. God saw that His creation was good, Genesis 1:31. Who are we to say otherwise?

Adam and Eve were naked and had no shame, Genesis 2:25. After eating the forbidden fruit, they discovered they were naked, Genesis 3:7, and made loincloths. However, I read an interpretation that claims a better translation is that they made belts.

When Adam hid from God because he was naked, God was not concerned with nudity. He was concerned with how Adam knew, Genesis 3:10-12. True He clothed them in skins, but he did not command them to wear these tunics, Genesis 3:21. This was to give them minimal insulation against the harsh world they would soon inhabit.

Noah and Ham:
Noah slept naked in a drunken sprawl. Ham saw him and told his brothers, Genesis 9:21-27. His brothers cover Noah without looking. I have found a source that claims the sin of Ham is failing to respect his father, ridiculing his father's moment of drunken weakness and gossiping. Another source claims there's more to the translation and implies that perhaps Ham looked on Noah with lust. Whether any of this is true is beside the point. God did not curse anybody here, Noah did, Genesis 9:24-27. God was apparently not concerned with drunkenness, nudity, disrespect, or gossip.

Leviticus:
Leviticus 18 has been translated wrong in many versions of the bible as a ban on being naked with family. Apparently there are many versions of the bible that are afraid to make God's commandment clear. The New English Bible clearly show Leviticus 18 to be a list of people and things with whom and with which you should not have intercourse with. It is also a ban on sacrificing children.

Deuteronomy:
Deuteronomy 28:48 includes nakedness as a punishment that will be suffered at the hands of enemies for failing to obey. Don't mistake this as a punishment for nakedness. Forced nakedness is still used as a punishment.

Samuel:
In I Samuel 19:18-24 Saul sent company after company to take David. Each of these and finally Saul himself stripped naked and fell into prophetic rapture all that day and night. That sounds like a sacrament.

II Samuel 6:12-23 describes a celebration in which David danced and blessed before his subjects wearing only a vest. He was criticized by Michal for exposing his person in the sight of his servants. David hardly defended his actions because he didn't have to. It is left to the reader to figure out why Michal had no children.

Job:
Job seems content to die naked in Job 1:20-21. Job 24:7-11 seems to express concern for the naked poor. It's hardly a condemnation of nudity. The concern is for being naked and bare. You might just as well say vulnerable to the cold night and rough roads.

Isaiah:
God ordered Isaiah to strip and had him go naked for three years, Isaiah 20. This was to be a sign to Sargon that his army would be defeated and stripped. Parading naked captives was, and still is, a means of crushing their spirit.

Matthew
Mathew, 5:25-34, tells not to be concerned with food or clothes. God will provided all you need. Food and clothes will arrive when needed. do you need food in your mouth and clothes on your back every minute?

Jesus himself had something to say about people making commandments out of traditions, Matthew 15. This is being done with nudity. There were past leaders within the Church who condemned nudity. That condemnation has been adopted as dogma.

Jesus points out that field workers must not turn back for their coats when the end comes, Matthew 24:18. Jesus knew, and had no objections about people working naked in the fields.

Luke:
Luke's description of a possessed man who didn't wear clothes, Luke 8:27, is hardly enough to vilify nudity

Modest Dress:
Women are ordered to dress modestly, I Timothy 2:9. This is not a command to wear clothes at all times, rather it is a command against elaborate clothes, jewelry and hair. This is a command which many women violate.

A collection of secular & religious source quotes on the topic is available HERE.

In conclusion I would like to quote an excerpt from a letter to the New York Tribune, from Mark Twain in 1873 where he describes his trip to Hawaii:
"About the Natives:

These people used to go naked, but the missionaries broke that up; in the towns the men wear clothing now; or if they have company they put on a shirt collar and a vest. Nothing but religion and education could have wrought these admirable changes. The women wear a single loose calico gown (mu'umu'u – A loose gown, so called because in their haste to get the ladies covered up, the missionaries designed them without a yoke so they could be made faster - so many beautiful bodies to cover, so little time - that falls without a break from neck to heels.)

In the old times, to speak plainly, there was absolutely no bar to the commerce of the sexes. To refuse the solicitations of a stranger was regarded as a contemptible thing for a girl or a woman to do; but the missionaries have so bitterly fought this thing that they have succeeded at least in driving it out of sight -- and now it exists only in reality, not in name.

These natives are the simplest, the kindest-hearted, the most unselfish creatures that bear the image of the Maker. Where white influence has not changed them, they will make any chance stranger welcome, and divide their all with him -- a trait which has never existed among any other people, perhaps. They live only for today; tomorrow is a thing which does not enter into their calculations."
I am not a nudist myself, nor am I advocating a nudist lifestyle in publishing this article. What I am suggesting is the benefits of doing a little introspection to determine what we deconverting Christians think and why we think it.

What do you think?

10/05/2003                                                                                       View Comments

The Suffering Savior?

Why did Jesus suffer? We are told that he suffered and died for our sins, but I find the whole concept confusing.

First of all, what is so efficacious about suffering? Is there some secret ingredient to being in agony or privation that is somehow superior to feeling good? Is there a secret power that tends to make physical suffering moral while warning us that physical pleasure is immoral? Perhaps pleasure makes the soul weak while pain makes it strong? I fail to understand how discomfort in another person has any impact on me whatsoever, other than eliciting pity from me towards the unfortunate victim. To imagine that someone else’s pain, such as that supposedly experienced while Jesus was being whipped and gruesomely murdered, benefits me in some way is a bizarre concept.

This whole idea about the benefits of suffering is vaguely reminiscent of childhood confrontations with foul tasting medicine that was said to be good for me while mouth watering sweets were castigated as bad for me. It appears to me that the religious psyche is encumbered with a masochistic tendency in its pursuit to promote pain while at the same time denigrating pleasure. Of course this may help explain why sex is surrounded with such negative connotations in the Christian mind. Since sex feels good, then it must be potentially destructive to a person – right?

I find no redeeming qualities to pain for pains sake if I suffer it personally and even less if someone else suffers it. It might be argued that some types of pain are actually good for you, such as when a person exercises rigorously. Pain can also keep a person from harm, or from greater harm. For instance, the person who accidentally touches the hot burner on a stove will react from the initial pain by removing his or her hand immediately. Without the warning pain, the person may lose their hand. Pain has its uses, but how can anyone think that an invisible spiritual benefit could be gleaned from receiving forty lashes at the end of a whip? Better still, how the human race can benefit when one poor carpenter from Judea is being abused at the end of a cruel whip. I don’t see how that would contribute to the betterment of either the victim or those who hear about it.

Aside from the convoluted thinking that champions pain, let me ask another question: what did Jesus actually suffer?

He was born poor. Excuse me, but there have been untold millions of people who have been born to poor circumstances. Being poor is certainly not something to be envied, but is it all that uncommon in the world? What makes Jesus so special by being poor? If you want to say he is divine and left all his glory to be poor, well so what. If he is deity, then he has the ability to make everyone prosperous and has chosen instead to keep millions poor. They will never be rich, but after a short little camping trip on Earth, this Jesus went back to his glory. It sounds like the king who puts on pauper clothes so he can muck about with the regular folk unnoticed. When he gets bored of the exercise, he goes back to his palace and takes a bath. Besides, the bible really doesn’t have much nice to say about rich people. Rich people are always vilified while the poor are set on a pedestal. A rich god would be a bad thing. Being poor was not part of any significant suffering as far as I can tell.

He was mocked, spit on, whipped, and crucified. How many people throughout history have been treated in a similar fashion? Is there anything really unique about the way Jesus supposedly suffered as compared to so many all over the planet? Jesus was tortured for a day or two and died a day later. How many in POW camps were tortured for weeks and months before they died a horrifically slow demise. How many thousands have rotted away in prison for years as political prisoners, innocent of any crime? How many have died slow torturous deaths by ruthless and unforgiving disease? How many have helplessly watched loved ones waste away racked with pain as cancer or some other mindless disease slowly sucked their bodies of life? Suffering for a day or two is bad, suffering for years on end is measurably worse.

Someone might mention that Jesus bore all the sins of the world and suffered the full weight of the wrath of his Father. How long did he suffer this full weight of wrath, whatever that means? Was it an hour, three hours or three days that he had to suck it up? Either way, it is still nothing. According to most Christians who post on this site, every non-believer will spend eternity in hell suffering the full wrath of God. Eternity is much longer than a few days, so I think my threatened suffering in hell would have to be much worse to anything Jesus ever suffered.

I was taught that part of the reason for Jesus suffering was so he could identify with us. He would understand what it is like to be a human and we would know that he was willing to come down to our level to relate with us. Well bully for Him! How quaint that He who designed and implemented the whole creation including the inevitable death, decay and sadness, who also has the power to change it, who could have made it so it excluded all the terror and tragedy, chose to humble himself for a couple of short years and see how the peasants live. Jesus lived an ordinary peaceful life until he was about 30 and then did the traveling miracle man / story teller routine for at the most 3 years. Finally at the end he endured a really horrific weekend. WOW! SOME SACRAFICE THAT WAS!

I’m sorry, I just don’t see how anything that the mythological god-man went through can be thought to be anything even close to what uncountable men and women have been, and still are, subjected to all across our world and our history. It is time we humans stop blubbering for an ancient non-existent, or overrated, deluded martyr, and start devoting our energy toward those alive today that we can actually help.

Myths are for history class and children.

Adults know better…..

What do you think?