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The Great Divide Between Religion and Tattoos

Divide Between Religion and Tattoos

Religion is something that every person around the world is at least aware of. Tattooing is also known by everyone, even third-world countries. There is a divide between religion and tattooing. Some Christians believe tattooing is wrong because the bible, Leviticus 19:28 says, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you.”

This of course can be interpreted that humans should not have tattoos, which would be “printing marks upon you.” Often said is that the body is a temple of God and is not to be harmed purposefully in any manner. This goes for a lot of things, and I think the people warning with this message forget about themselves. This phrase covers several biblical issues for mistreating your body or “harming the temple” including: fatty foods, caffeine, cigarettes, stress, piercing, tattoos and others.

Most Christians who do have tattoos have one like a cross or bible verse on them as well. Throughout my life, the most popular religious tattoos I have encountered have been a set of praying hands and the verse John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

There are many people currently in the twenty-first century moved past and realized times have changed. Tattoos can be removed as easily as they were gotten. You just need a little time and money to make it happen.

Some religions use tattoos as a form of self-expression and devotion. The Knights of St John, a Christian-based religion receives tattoos use tattoos to show their allegiance to God. Coptic Christians in Egypt tattoo crosses on their hands, fingers, ankles, forearms and chests. Neopagans receive tattoos as a symbol of their self-expression. Wiccans use tattoos as a form of initiation; not required but an entitlement. Hindus use the marking of the forehead which encourage spiritual well-being. Their marks are on the “third eye” Chakra on the body.

They also have multiple dots that the women will place on their faces, which will ward off evil, enhance beauty, and some use them for distinction between tribes. It is amazing how long traditions endure, and wonderful cultures are being preserved that way.

Although these religions accept tattoos, of course there will always be the resistors. These religions under no circumstances accept tattoos and a couple actually take no stand either way with them.

As I mentioned before, Christianity rides both sides of the fence, so it is all in the believer. I was raised a Christian child who forged her own path along the way and decided what was good for myself.

In my upbringing, I have heard every reason why you shouldn’t get a tattoo if you are of Christian faith. If you harm the temple of God you will just be damned to hell. It’s terrible if you think about that for a minute.

Tattoos are an ancient art form and still an art at that. I always wondered why you would punish someone for interpreting emotions and art in their own way. I am just one opinion though. A lot of twenty-first century Christians believe the same now, so times are changing for Christianity.

In Islam permanent tattoos are forbidden. Oddly enough along with Christians, Islamic people believe that “Tattooing involves the changing the creation of God.” According to Sharia law, tattooing is religiously forbidden along with anything else that will permanently alter the creation. Shia Islam doesn’t believe that there is anything that proves tattooing is forbidden. It is very common to see Shiites with tattoos and symbols.

In Judaism the Tora states the same as the bible in that “You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves.” In all my research, Judaism doesn’t excuse tattoos for any reason. A sin is a sin, and tattooing is permanent, which makes it unforgiveable. The thing about the whole concept is that the receiver of the tattoo is not to blame and be discarded, but the tattoo artist is the sinner.

The Mormon religion does not consider tattoos a sin, but discourages them. They too believe that tattoos alter the perfect creation by God permanently.

Religions are diverse and misunderstood by each other frequently. Funny thing is that one item solidly black or white between them is tattoos. They can agree that either they are a sin, or they aren’t. And as we have learned, the vast majority, all feel that harming the temple of God is unacceptable. Tattooing is an ancient art form spanning back centuries upon centuries; not always appreciated and embraced by all but will always be around and culturally appreciated.

About the author

Heather Hollar

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