Over the past decades, tattooing has vastly grown in popularity. It has grown to the point that 36% of adults aged 18-29 flatter their body with at least one tattoo in the US. Tattoos are great because they can help individuals express themselves or honor an important memory. But what does religion have to say about tattooing?
Given that Christianity is the most powerful and dominant religion in the world at the moment, it doesn’t surprise us that many people ask are tattoos a sin in Christianity.
We’re going to answer this question below, and give a thorough explanation and history of tattooing in Christianity. Whether the info you’ll read below will encourage you to take that important step in life and ink a part of your body is on you.
The world is getting more open about tattoos. A lot of companies in the past had a lot of problems with people who were inked, regardless of whether the tattoo is visible or not. Nowadays, companies are getting more open about tattoos and won’t look bad upon those people who are inked. However, the rest of the world yet has to open to tattoos, including religion.
When it comes to Christianity, people are split. While the majority of churches and theologists don’t encourage getting inked and consider it some sort of sin, there are also a lot of Christianity experts who are being accepted on the matter. The truth is somewhere in the middle, and below, we’ll detail everything we know about the tattoos in Christianity and whether they are allowed or not.
Tattoos In Christianity And Bible
In this section, we’re going to look at the particular piece of information that hints that tattoos are against the rules of Christianity. As you may probably know, there are all sorts of people with different hobbies and practices who still worship Jesus and Christianity.
Some of those people may also have tattoos without thinking or believing that they’ve committed a sin or anything of that sort in terms of Christianity.
That said, let’s first look at Bible.
The Holy Bible has two testaments, the Old and the New. The Old Testament refers mainly to the tales and rules associated with Moses and Judaism, while the new testament sheds light on Christianity and the uprising of Jesus Christ.
If we look at the New Testament, no verse speaks badly of tattoos or forbids them in any sense. That said, there’s nothing that could potentially indicate that tattoos are a sin in Christianity and that you shouldn’t practice them.
However, the same can’t be said for the Old Testament, but it surely depends on how you interpret what it’s saying inside of it.
The tattoo is mentioned only once in the Old Testament. However, even that one time could be enough to hint that they are forbidden and considered sinful.
Nevertheless, according to the Christian blog davidservant.com, the word tattoo is mentioned once only in the New American Standard Version of the bible. The older versions of it may not specify the so-called verse that forbids the use of ink for tattooing.
But what does the verse say exactly about the tattoos? Let’s take a look.
In the Old Testament of the Bible in Leviticus 19 there’s a verse that highlights that people shouldn’t make tattoos. That part is highlighted as the Law of Moses. According to Leviticus 19:28, God said “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead.”
As you know, the process of tattooing includes tattoo needle piercing through the outer layer of your skin to outline your tattoo, and that can be seen as cutting the skin. Additionally, some people often make tattoos to honor someone who died and carry the memory of them on their skin with ink.
The other half of the verse may give more hints of why there’s such prohibition.
According to the same site quoted above, this verse referred to the pagan culture practiced by the civilization in Canaan’s land, where people cut and inked their body after someone would die, to honor them and worship the memory of them. It was a way for those people to mourn their loved ones and express their grief for them.
However, it’s worth noting that Christians aren’t obliged under the Law of Moses, which means that these verses likely don’t apply to them, although some theologists and other experts on the Bible may refer these verses to the inking culture being sinful in Christianity.
People who respected the Law of Moses were respecting it only for the specific timeframe, which lasted in Israel after Jews were able to escape the Ancient Egyptian tyranny and were delivered to the “promised land” by God.
While Christians don’t stick to the Law of Moses, there are still some rules that continued onto Christianity and were named the law of Christ. Those are the basic rules that you may have probably heard of in the Church, such as the moral rules that carried on such as the prohibition to steal, commit adultery, loving your neighbor, and the other.
Is Tattooing A Sin Then?
If you’re frequently visiting the Church, reading the Gospels, and other material on Christianity, no information could hint at tattoos being forbidden or sinful. Even the apostles who carried on the word of Christ didn’t mention anything about cutting and inking your body.
That said, we believe that tattooing isn’t a sin and that in no way, getting your body inked will prevent you from entering the Heavenly gates when you pass away. We believe it also stems from the fact that tattooing oneself doesn’t do any harm to others, or do something sinful.
Christianity teaches us that stealing, disrespecting our loved ones and murdering is a sin, but tattooing your body doesn’t mean you’ve conducted any of the aforementioned sins.
The verse from the Old Testament likely refers to not practicing what that group of tribes is practicing to honor their dead member.
Perhaps, it was versed in a way that practicing such rituals would make people similar to that pride, and make them step away from the Law of Moses as it is, making their pagan believes more important than the religion.
However, if this concept is read and understood wrong, it can lead to the belief that the tattooing process is sinful for Christians too, and instill fears of going to hell upon death.
Tattoos Aren’t Sin But Some Symbols Could Be
Another thing worth mentioning is that the symbols people tattoo should also be relevant to the religion. For example, people who tattoo potentially insulting or Satanic symbols could be considered sinful, as they are marking their body with symbols that directly go against Christianity.
That’s why it’s important to wonder about what the symbol you’re trying to ink will represent in your life. For example, if you’re going to make a tattoo of a pagan symbol, you’re likely making a tattoo against Christianity, same if you are going to tattoo a sign that potentially hints at witchcraft or glorifying some other religion.
In the end, getting a tattoo with a Christian or some other symbol comes down to whether it’s your personal preference or not. If you think that getting a tattoo goes against your moral beliefs of something else, perhaps you shouldn’t get it.
Did Jesus Have A Tattoo?
In the New Testament, there is Revelation 19:16 that states that Jesus has something that resembles a tattoo, although not explicitly said:
“On His robe and on His thigh, He has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” While this doesn’t directly specify that there’s a tattoo on Jesus’ thigh, it highlights that there’s something written, and for all, we know it could be just figuratively written.
People Also Ask About Tattoos
We explained the meaning of tattoos in Christianity. While there’s no speculation that Christianity forbids tattoos, there’s also no permission saying that it’s permitted. A lot of people like to make an analysis of the Biblical verses and draw their conclusions, so finally, tattooing is an individual choice.
Still, we answered some additional questions about tattooing and Christianity.
Q: Is Getting A Tattoo A Mortal Sin?
A: We don’t think that tattoos are a mortal sin, as long as they don’t promote some of the mortal sins such as wrath, vanity, or sloth. Tattooing does not harm you or others so it’s not considered a mortal sin.