Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10.23
Recently, I’ve seen on a friend’s Facebook about a former gang member turned preacher. This preacher has tats. The conversation soon drifts to whether Christian should get ink or not. As soon as I saw the topic, I know all the crazies would crawl out of the woodworks. And sure enough, I was right.
Before I can say “boo”, someone quotes 1 Corinthians 10.23. In the next series of blogs, I’m going to talk the common logic and tact Christians use when dealing with stuff they perceive to be “wrong” (for them). In so doing, we will see that our average Christian is ill-equipped in theology, biblical interpretation, biblical literacy and ethics. I suppose with a failure in all the aforementioned areas, I wonder if Christians can deal with any real life situation at all or whether they’re still living in a spiritual ivory tower. My conclusion from just looking at some of the responses is that faith and culture won’t connect any time soon, especially among certain conservative circles of evangelicals.
When running into such controversies, the Christian response takes on the following forms. First, someone would say, “I don’t like it. Therefore it’s wrong.” I’ve literally seen this silly response. Second, “Maybe he’s doing it for the gospel. The problem is why someone is getting ink.” Third, “the body is the temple of God. By inking it, the owner shows disrespect towards God’s creation.” Fourth, “someone may stumble.” Fifth, “the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible says that getting tats is wrong.” Sixth, “It’s a cultural problem … you don’t understand what tattoos and piercings mean in our culture.” Seventh, “Everything is permissible–but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible–but not everything is constructive.”
Since getting my earring, I’ve literally heard every single objection above. How would one respond to them? I will write a series of blog posts dealing with each kind of objection.
In this blog, I’ll start with the first one, “I don’t like it. Therefore, it’s wrong.” I start with this apparently silly objection to ease my readers into bigger issues in my coming blog posts in this series. The problem with this silly answer is that it really is more profound than stupid. I believe this is the very root of objections and we’ll come back to this. Let’s face it, piercings and tats on men aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, whether you’re Christian or not. That’s a fact. “I don’t like it” is a perfectly fine response to something that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Yet, there’s something entirely wrong and unChristian about such a sentiment because of the second part, “Therefore, it is wrong.” Who is to say that WE get to decide what is right or wrong for our brothers and sisters on things as trivial and cultural as piercings and ink? I appreciate this frank objection simply because it’s the honest objection that underlies the other five objections, but honesty doesn’t make it right. To object in such a way makes the objector himself “God”. Whoever among us can take such a high and mighty place? I dare say, “No one.”
Troubles these days is that many Christians think they speak for God, but they don’t. Many think that they’re the moral police, except no one cares about their law enforcement.