Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Can Christian's Have Tattoos?


Apparently, over 20% of Americans have at least one tattoo. That's one in five people on the street. Once, tattoo's were about gangs and rebellion, but now they're common among everyday people, and now, myself included (see above).

But is it okay for me, as a Christian, to have gotten a tattoo?

The only place in the Bible that directly mentions tattoos is Leviticus 19:28 (the law bit of the Old Testament). It says "do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves". There are a few things to note about this. It follows other Old Testament rules in the same chapter, such as "do not eat any meat with the blood still in it" (say goodbye to medium raw steak!) and "do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard". The rules are all part of the old covenant - which Jesus fulfilled in the New Testament.

Also note that this passage is in the context of pagan activities, that Christians should not perform. At the time, pagan's used tattoo's or self mutilation as a sort of cult-like mark, or a way of respecting the dead. In other words, it was part of a false religion. That is no longer how tattoos are mainly used.

Another thing to note is that there is an interesting verse in Revelation, it says of Jesus: "On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords". Are these words on His thigh a tattoo? I guess we'll find out one day.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 should also be mentioned: "do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies". You could argue that you should not get a tattoo because it is marking a temple of the Holy Spirit. However, if you want to argue that, then are piercings bad? Is eating fast food bad? At what point do we stop? And at what point do we understand that the body is simply a vessel (oh look, a boat link!), and that the state of our heart and soul is a bit more important?

After all of that information, I think there are three main questions:

Where are you getting the tattoo? Human eyes are drawn to something different, such as ink under your skin. As a Christian, you should consider which part of your body your tattoo will draw attention to.

What are you getting? Getting a vulgar or rude tattoo could cause others to stumble, or communicate a message that is not in line with the Bible's teaching.

Why are you getting a tattoo? You shouldn't get a tattoo out of rebellion or out of some kind of sin.

It's hard for me to explain what my tattoo means to me. I usually resort to it being about a) my family's link with boats/the sea, and b) journeys. It is a conversation starter, and journey's can be talked about it the context of my Christian walk. However, if we were to have a deep conversation about it (which I am yet to do with anyone), I would also bring up that it was on a boat that Peter was called to walk on water with Jesus, and could walk as long as he had faith.

I don't think tattoos are evil, or wrong. It's about your reasons for getting a tattoo, and what you get. It's about (if you are a young person) not getting a tattoo as an act of rebellion. The Bible talks about having wisdom: understand the actions you are taking and think about them. Do not get a tattoo unless you are sure that it will not weigh on your conscience.

What do you think? Would you ever get a tattoo? Do you think it's okay for Christians to get tattoos? Do you think tattoos are okay in general? Would you like a tattoo? What would you get a tattoo of?

If you could help me out by filling out a survey here about Opal Swirls, that would be wonderful, thank you!
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Opal's written a poem about her tattoo. It sort of explains it a bit. But not really. 

12 comments:

  1. I really appreciate this post, because while I haven't had a problem with tattoos, I also haven't seen it all laid out this logically and clearly before. Your tattoo is really cool. I think someday I'll get one, but I've been thinking for several years about what I might want, and I have yet to come up with an idea that I like enough to wear for the rest of my life.

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    1. Thank you! I'd been thinking about getting a tattoo for about 6 months before I decided I was serious, then another 6 months after that looking at designs, talking to my arty friend about it and so on. It's defiantly not something you can rush :)

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  2. This is an amazing post that I think shows you have an amazing talent for writing. First your tattoo looks awesome! Second I personally believe that tattoos are not against christianity. There are so many places in the bible (as you have mentions) that have rules that we don't follow today. They just don't make sense in our modern times. I forgot where but somewhere in the bible it says that women shouldn't talk in church (it was a specific place and stuff but still). I now have a female pastor. Such an amazing article!

    Nabila // Hot Town Cool Girl

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  3. Excellent argument, Opal, that was awesome :) I agree, I think tattoos are fine for Christians as long as they are appropriate and you get them for a good reason. (Making your parents angry probably isn't a great reason.) I think I might get a tattoo one day. Maybe. We'll see :) LOVE your tattoo by the way!! It's beautiful!

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    1. Glad you like the post Victoria! Thank you :)

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  4. Yess. Thank you for writing this. I agree! Also your tattoo is really cute. :)

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  5. Your tattoo. Is. AWESOME. It's the little boat in your header! It's so cute! And it's the right way up for when you're walking and stuff. I think you might guess my opinion on this. But even as a non-Christian, thinking about a tattoo beforehand is pretty important, and I think it's a terrible idea to get one that communicates some sort of hateful message, although I guess that's hard to define. In the end, the intent is what matters. Looks like the Bible and I have more in common than I thought... :')

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    1. I KNOWWW! Haha, yeah. A lot of the Bible is about living in a way that is positive :)

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  6. Your tattoo is so cute! I've personally never thought about getting a tattoo as a moral issue (my parents are still under the impression that only criminals get tattoos, but that is just a silliness). Still, I appreciate your own reasoning and personal conviction in this post! :)

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    1. Thank you! I think my dad is a bit the same :)

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