Does nudity in art depend on how it is being depicted?

Last updated on September 24, 2020


Hey there Jeff,

I think I developed my idea of nudity in art. I think it depends on the context of the photo. If a woman or man is depicted in a way that suggests porn or erotica, then it’s wrong.

Well, to be honest, Jeff, I don’t even know what’s right. Other countries like the UK don’t see nudity as wrong. They always say the US is full of prudes. What is right? It’s just that, I don’t know if we as Americans are prudish or if Christianity has misunderstood nudity in art.


Morality is not established by people or subgroups of people find acceptable. Right and wrong are based on the nature of God. “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (I John 1:5-6). Since God does not change, right and wrong is a fixed commodity.

As explained in Is seeing other boys in the nude all right? nudity is to be considered embarrassing or shameful. Nakedness can’t always be avoided. It doesn’t become sinful unless it is done for sexual pleasure or voyeurism. “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk, that you may look on his nakedness!” (Habakkuk 2:15).

This remains true regardless whether someone wants to label something “art.” To claim that something good can come from something that is intrinsically wrong doesn’t make it become right. “And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”? –as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just” (Romans 3:8).

By the way, Britain does have laws against some forms of public nudity, so there is some recognition that nakedness is not always acceptable, even if their definitions don’t fully align with the biblical definitions.