This blog continues on the silliness of Christian controversies. The best place to look at the way Christians talk about tattoos is always the way they quote scripture because after all, scripture SEEMS to be the foundation for Christian practice. I said “seems” because honestly, what is apparent versus what is real is farther than a country mile.
The objections, by the way of review of previous blogs, are. First, someone would say, “I don’t like it. Therefore it’s wrong.” 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.” Today, I deal with the fifth objection, “the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible says that getting tats is wrong.”
Getting the right outfit is always a challenge for me when I go out to speak. Why not? My biggest concern of course is whether my clothing matches. My other concern of course is whether through the course of the conference whether I can mix and match the right combination while minimizing luggage load. What does this have to do with Christian tattoos and piercing? Stay tuned.
Let’s see what the OT (aka the Hebrew Bible) actually says about the matter of tattoos. Leviticus 19.28 is a typical quote. It says, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.” We know what it says, but what did it mean?
The cutting usually have to do with pagan mourning rituals. Surely, mourning via throwing of ashes on one’s head was allowed, but not cutting. The context of Leviticus 19.28 was in terms of worship. The verses that follow seem to talk about ritual prostitution as well. Thus, the best guess of all this discussion about body must be about pagan rituals. So such things apply to our lives today? If one says yes, then we must also apply the previous context about mixed breeding and mixed seeding. Sure, there are verses in the context that we consider relevant today such as honoring parents, but that’s because honoring parents have been repeated in NT teachings. The teaching about the body isn’t. Neither is the teaching about mixed fabric clothing.
Is the above discussion a bit silly? Yes. Those who quote Leviticus should make sure they wear clothing that is 100% cotton or they’d be in grave danger.
As I often say, scripture isn’t the problem, but its interpreters are. Make sure you check your clothing material label before buying next time just in case …By the way, for my image of this blog, I posed a picture of me in my Italian cotton sharkskin suit just in case anyone wants to check on whether my clothing is kosher. The shoes are also 100% Italian leather just in case… It’s silly, I know.