Dos and Don'ts, all we need to know is the Bible; however, not all is covered explicitly. Discuss how Christians should act or what they should do when facing divorce, smoking, and other issues.

Defining Modesty

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Defining Modesty

    What is our dress standard? I was prompted to question this for a couple of reasons, and a major reason is I read that until 1937, it was illegal for men to be topless. Now, society in general and I think most of the church is okay with it.

    First, I won’t accept 1Ti 2:9 because of the context, and the greek. Regarding the context: “modesty” is defined in the same verse: not with gold, pearls, etc. It’s not about the amount of skin showing, but about excessiveness. The argument for clothing could go both ways, if we use this verse. First, dressing with too much on (relative to who/what’s around) could be immodest because it draws attention to us (i.e. if you don’t show enough skin at the beach.) However, it could also be argued that showing too much (shorts that are very short at walmart) is immodest. In any regard, that’s not the primary context of this verse. Second, the greek word that people argue from is not translated as modest, but as apparel (of course, I’m not going to argue from what the translators did.) Apparel is the word καταστολη, and the standard argument is that the prefix κατα on στολη means long/cast down/flowing. Perhaps it does in general, I don’t know greek that well. But first, what would that mean? The στολη was already long, so this serves no purpose to the argument that our clothing must be long (and well-covering.) More importantly, though: καταστολη didn’t have the meaning they make it to. Καταστολη was a specific article of clothing, worn over the στολη, and it only came down about to the waist (see Clark’s commentary, I believe he’s the one that addressed this.)

    Second, causing others to stumble … This is a reasonable argument, but I don’t think it applies. Of course, we’re not to sin and teach others to do the same. We’re also not to tempt another to sin against his conscience by his seeing us do the very thing he thinks is wrong. However, I don’t think this extends to dress standard. For comparison: if I buy a Gallardo Lamborghini and then invite my brother to ride with me, have I tempted him to stumble and am I guilty for doing so? Because, of course – he’s likely to be jealous. Now, if my goal is to incite that – my heart is evil. But, if I’m merely sharing this beautiful creation with him, as I would if I invited him to visit the grand canyon with me during a sunset, I haven’t sinned even though I know he’ll be tempted to covet.

    Third, Genesis 3 … This is the strongest argument, in my opinion. Adam and Eve ate, and then they knew they were naked and they made themselves loin cloths. So, their initial (now ontological, you might say) reaction was to cover their genitals. However, after making these loin cloths, they still considered themselves naked (the reason they hid from God.) In addition, God clothed them with both tops and bottoms. I don’t see the tops being required as clear-enough, because there are other possibilities still. They covered themselves with fig leaves, and it’s possible (even probable, I imagine) they weren’t very well covered. I’ve seen videos of primitive people who cover their genitals with similar things, and if they bend forward -it’s not a pretty sight (this correlates well with the priests who had to wear relatively long bottoms so the people underneath them wouldn’t look up and see their genitals.) They may have seen themselves as still being in a relative state of nudity; as Saul was naked because he wasn’t in his kingly attire, or Isaiah because he was in his underwear (supposedly.) Also, God’s making tops for them may have related to the curse: now there would be thorns to cut them, etc. In any case, these counter arguments relate ONLY TO WHETHER A TOP IS REQUIRED. I think this verse is very clear that the genitals must be covered (and considering the priests wore long bottoms *in order to* hide the genitals shows that this region is either solely sinful to expose, or especially sinful to expose, in my opinion. I’m not sure which of those two, though) and I think that Rev 3:18 (I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.) implies that full nudity is not merely shameful, but also sinful. However, I acknowledge that it’s an implication and I might be stretching. In closing on this point, I’m not stating that Gen 3 is insufficient to prove tops must be required, but I’m throwing out ideas I’d like to have challenged. Right now, I’m not bold on this section one way or the other – and I’d like to be. Help me to understand it rightly.

    Note: I’ve seen no justification for men to be allowed topless and not women. I’m fine with whatever the scriptures teach, I’m fine with banning both men and women from being topless, but none of my studying has shown discrepancy to be allowed here. Either both men and women need to cover their chests, or neither do. Some people quote verses about breasts, but they’ve always been non-sequiturs. Or, they’re taken entirely out of context: a woman’s breasts are fondled and they use that to prove they shouldn’t be displayed.

    Second note: Please do not take our culture into account. That is: don’t tell me that men should be allowed to go topless in our culture but not in a more modest one because it offends the sensibilities of that culture. That may be true, and it may be a correct answer: but it’s not what I’m trying to learn. I’m trying to learn whether the scripture has a minimum standard that applies to all cultures, and what that standard is.

    I was also going to ask about defining lust, but I realized my post is very long. I hope to address that another time, in another OP.

  • #2
    I don't see anywhere in the Bible where nudity is condemned except in various places where it is related to the worship at the Temple.

    I don't care if men or women go topless. I do think the genitals ought to be covered not that it would be sinful to expose them but for sanitary reasons. If someone sat down on a chair naked I wouldn't want to be the first one to sit there next, or even the second one, etc.

    In terms of the points you made:
    (1) 1 Timothy 2:9
    Don't be ostentatious with your clothing to the point it eclipses your good works (v. 10). Women are to be silent as well (2:12) but Paul would not demand women to be silent 24 hours a day just like he would not demand them to be clothed 24 hours a day. Being clothed at public worship is expected (Exodus 20:26; 28:42-43; 1 Corinthians 11:5, 6).
    (2) Causing others to stumble
    a. Joseph was handsome (Genesis 39:6) but even though he was wearing clothes Potiphar's wife still lusted after him (Genesis 39:7, 12). Therefore it is sinful to be handsome/beautiful (?)
    b. Delicious food causes some to be gluttons. Gluttony is a sin (Matthew 11:19; cf. Proverbs 23:2).Therefore delicious food is sinful (?)
    c. Money causes some to covetous. Being covetous is a sin (Romans 13:9). Therefore having money is sinful (?)
    (3) Genesis 3
    Thorns and thistles would be painful if a person did not have clothing on (Genesis 3:18).


    We must also take into consideration public bathing. During the exodus led by Moses there were more than a million people that traveled for years in an open barren desert. There were no private bathrooms or bathing facilities except rivers, lakes and small pools of water. In Leviticus 14-17 and 22 and Numbers 19 there are more than twenty commands from God to bathe. Not one of them forbids seeing others of the opposite gender naked.
    Can you imagine walking with over a million other people? I have walked places with groups as large as 50 or so and that was for less than 2 hours and it wasn't easy. Now imagine doing it for over 40 years. Eating, sleeping, bathing, etc.
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by Faber View Post
      I don't see anywhere in the Bible where nudity is condemned except in various places where it is related to the worship at the Temple.

      I don't care if men or women go topless. I do think the genitals ought to be covered not that it would be sinful to expose them but for sanitary reasons. If someone sat down on a chair naked I wouldn't want to be the first one to sit there next, or even the second one, etc.

      In terms of the points you made:
      (1) 1 Timothy 2:9
      Don't be ostentatious with your clothing to the point it eclipses your good works (v. 10). Women are to be silent as well (2:12) but Paul would not demand women to be silent 24 hours a day just like he would not demand them to be clothed 24 hours a day. Being clothed at public worship is expected (Exodus 20:26; 28:42-43; 1 Corinthians 11:5, 6).
      (2) Causing others to stumble
      a. Joseph was handsome (Genesis 39:6) but even though he was wearing clothes Potiphar's wife still lusted after him (Genesis 39:7, 12). Therefore it is sinful to be handsome/beautiful (?)
      b. Delicious food causes some to be gluttons. Gluttony is a sin (Matthew 11:19; cf. Proverbs 23:2).Therefore delicious food is sinful (?)
      c. Money causes some to covetous. Being covetous is a sin (Romans 13:9). Therefore having money is sinful (?)
      (3) Genesis 3
      Thorns and thistles would be painful if a person did not have clothing on (Genesis 3:18).


      We must also take into consideration public bathing. During the exodus led by Moses there were more than a million that traveled for years in an open barren desert.There were no private bathrooms or bathing facilities except rivers, lakes and small pools of water. In Leviticus 14-17 and 22 and Numbers 19 there are more than twenty commands from God to bathe and yet not one of them mentions anything about seeing others of the opposite gender naked.

      Wow... You have provided by far the most intelligent response, and I have this thread on 8 forums!

      Do you know if men and women would have been visible to one another during bathing?

      Thank you, Faber!

      Do you mind if I PM you about a second issue?
      Comment>

      • #4
        Click image for larger version

Name:	Dignity.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	46.0 KB
ID:	44054

        Originally posted by LostWanderer View Post
        I was also going to ask about defining lust, but I realized my post is very long. I hope to address that another time, in another OP.
        I think you should go on and relate lust to the topic. I look forward to you doing so, and I think it would be inappropriate for even men to go topless under certain circumstances as it relates to lust. No doubt even women are subjected to lust.

        God bless,
        Wiliam
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by William View Post
          Click image for larger version

Name:	Dignity.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	46.0 KB
ID:	44054



          I think you should go on and relate lust to the topic. I look forward to you doing so, and I think it would be inappropriate for even men to go topless under certain circumstances as it relates to lust. No doubt even women are subjected to lust.

          God bless,
          Wiliam
          Yes, I have a problem with christendom putting forth the idea that men are uniquely affected. Men can wear whatever they want, but women have to cover from ankle to neck - that's nonsense.
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by LostWanderer View Post


            Wow... You have provided by far the most intelligent response, and I have this thread on 8 forums!

            Do you know if men and women would have been visible to one another during bathing?

            Thank you, Faber!

            Do you mind if I PM you about a second issue?
            Yes, you can PM me.

            In regards to your question I don't know. But I will say that if it was sinful traveling with that many people, for that long and in that environment it is very strange that there is no direct command to avoid doing so.

            I'll throw this in as well in terms of breastfeeding in public. I've seen it here sometimes (in China) as well as in the Philippines. They didn't "cover up" or do so "properly" whatever that means. My wife and I saw it and thought it was beautiful seeing the baby like that.
            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by Faber View Post

              Yes, you can PM me.

              In regards to your question I don't know. But I will say that if it was sinful traveling with that many people, for that long and in that environment it is very strange that there is no direct command to avoid doing so.

              I'll throw this in as well. It does bother me some that people are annoyed by women breastfeeding in public. I've seen it here sometimes (in China) as well as a few times in the Philippines. No big deal.

              I'm annoyed that men can take off their shirts for any reason, but women can't feed - which is a very useful function. That's pretty backwards.

              I'll see about PMing you shortly - or I might just post it (I was going to ask about lust, but the admin wants me to bring it up. lol)
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by LostWanderer View Post


                I'm most annoyed that men can take off their shirts for any reason, but women can't feed - which is a very useful function. That's pretty backwards.

                I'll see about PMing you shortly - or I might just post it (I was going to ask about lust, but the admin wants me to bring it up. lol)
                I think in large what is considered proper dress has to do with culture. For example, I doubt Missionaries in Africa require women to dress according to American culture. Further related, about what is fair clothing wise, hair styles etc, I believe Scripture only indicates that men should not dress like women. For example, some cultures dress men in "skirts" and others in "pants" but that there is a clear distinction between dressing like a man or woman. However, I know no Scriptures that condemn Africans because the women may not wear tops etc.

                Back to the topic.... looking forward to your reply.

                God bless,
                William
                Comment>

                • #9
                  I constantly take off my shirt because I am terrible in the heat of summer. I sweat profusely. I also run and swim without a shirt.

                  I mentioned public bathing earlier but remember David kept looking at Bathsheeba. That would be sinful. We know the results because of it. I'm sure Potiphar's wife kept looking on Joseph as well before she made her move on him.
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Faber View Post
                    I mentioned public bathing earlier but remember David kept looking at Bathsheeba. That would be sinful. We know the results because of it.
                    I think you nailed a point that would make a wonderful topic. For example in Eastern cultures women are dressed from head to toe and do not unveil themselves. They are not as desensitized as we are. For example, I have read of refugee men from such cultures that have gone to public pools and literally masturbated right there in the hot tub because the women were uncovered, something they are not used to seeing day to day. Hope we can understand this maturely.

                    REPORT: Locals Fled Pool After Migrants Masturbated Into Jacuzzi, Defecated Into Kid's Pool, Invaded Girls Changing Rooms - Breitbart

                    God bless,
                    William
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Yes, I agree.
                      One must also be extremely careful about this because it may lead to rape.
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Faber View Post
                        Yes, I agree.
                        One must also be extremely careful about this because it may lead to rape.
                        Although I agree that it can, I understand it as a small minority of cases. Supposedly, rape is usually about power.
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by William View Post
                          Click image for larger version

Name:	Dignity.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	46.0 KB
ID:	44054



                          I think you should go on and relate lust to the topic. I look forward to you doing so, and I think it would be inappropriate for even men to go topless under certain circumstances as it relates to lust. No doubt even women are subjected to lust.

                          God bless,
                          Wiliam

                          I made my other thread. It's not as well thought out as this one, but I hope it's useful.
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            It seems (correct me if I misunderstood) there's agreement here that "modesty" is largely culturally defined.

                            I had multiple reasons for starting this thread. Let me ask about one of those reasons, now.


                            First, some background info:
                            66% of people on debate.org support women also being allowed to go topfree.
                            There's some indication that our view of naked women is hyper sexualized by our culture, considering how aroused women become by seeing a naked woman (What Do Women Want? - Discovering What Ignites Female Desire - The New York Times) (to be fair, I haven't read all of this; I think I used it in context.)

                            Moving on,
                            I do portrait photography. I'm disabled, and currently this is the only work I'm able to do. Would it be immoral if I did portraits of topfree women? And you can go into specific situations, if you'd like (i.e. is the portrait cosplay? beauty rather than sexual? breastfeeding? boudoir and assumed only going to her husband? equality-promoting (more below))?

                            On the one hand, if I turn down job offers to do this (which may never come), I'm sinning by not working / not supporting myself. On the other hand, I'm to obey God and let Him provide. So, it comes down to this: is it wrong? If it's questionable, do I take the clearer principle (it's much clearer that I'm supposed to work than it is that it's wrong for a woman to be topfree, therefore: obey what's clearer)? Note: I'm using the example of topfree women, but it applies beyond that: what about swimwear shots? What about fitness or clothing modeling shots, when the waist or cleavage are exposed? And these latter types of offers will come, so I need to have an answer for when they do.

                            On another hand, (related to topfree) I also can't in good conscience accept a shoot with a shirtless man and then decline to shoot a topfree woman. It's gender inequality, and I'd be promoting men's unfair domination over women. Men can take their shirts off when it's too hot, women have to stay partially covered. People say: you're cooler with it on! Yes, if you're in direct sunlight, you might be. I'm often in the shade, and I live in south dakota - it's very windy here. I've never taken my shirt off, because I'm embarassed - but sometimes, I was begging myself to. The heat can get to where I can't bear it and have to go home, get shirtless, or maybe get wet (wet t-shirt!! lol :p) ... In addition, women have the purpose of breast feeding - as Faber mentioned . Thus, would doing such portraits be a moral good, in order to promote women's rights?


                            Note: I have a problem with calling any portraits taken with a lot of skin showing as "beauty," because the human body is not beautiful. It's an ugly, lanky, bland thing - but there's something "beautiful" in the bigger scene that can be created... sometimes.
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Faber View Post
                              II'm sure Potiphar's wife kept looking on Joseph as well before she made her move on him.
                              (Genesis 39:7)
                              Last edited by LostWanderer; 07-17-2017, 12:33 PM.
                              Comment>
                              Working...
                              X
                              Articles - News - SiteMap