Tattooing in Religion

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Tattooing and Religion

In today’s society, people have many ways of expressing themselves. From the clothes they wear to the activities they partake in. These different things all make up who you want to represent yourself as. One type of self expression is a bit different than these normal ways. This particular type of self expression is called body modification. Body modification is a process where you change your body somehow by modifying a part of it. Some of the different types of body modification are piercing (the act of piercing your skin to adorn a type of decoration to your body. Popular ones are lip, nose, belly-button, ear, eyebrow, and septum piercings), gauging (the act of stretching your ear lobes to unnatural proportions), implants (no, not that kind. These implants involve getting your skin cut open and having a small synthetic material piece inserted into the cut. This piece is usually shaped in some odd fashion to create a 3D effect on the skin), scarification (this one is a bit gruesome. With this one, a design is etched into the skin and then the design is cut into the skin and gouged out, leaving a designer scar.), etc.

One of the most popular body modifications is tattooing. Tattoos are a way of expressing yourself in a more artistic way. Any image, symbol, word, etc, you could ever want can be tattooed onto your body. The process of tattooing starts “by injecting ink into a person's skin. To do this, they use an electrically powered tattoo machine that resembles (and sounds like) a dental drill. The machine moves a solid needle up and down to puncture the skin between 50 and 3,000 times per minute. The needle penetrates the skin by about a millimeter and deposits a drop of insoluble ink into the skin with each puncture.” (Wilson, 2000) This process leaves an almost permanent image on your skin. I say almost permanent because with the technology of today, there are ways to get tattoos removed (laser tattoo removal) or to fade them into almost nothing (Wrecking Balm). Tattoos vary in size and image. Some get what are called “what the hell” tattoos (tattoos that have no significant meaning, the person got the tattoo just for the sake of getting a tattoo) others get tattoos that truly mean something to them (religious symbols, pictures and symbols of their heroes, symbols of importance, etc). Either way, tattoos are a major part of our society and can be seen all over.

Another major part of our society is religion. Religion is EVERYWHERE today. Religion is in our television shows, politics, movies, social events, and much more. We see religion in subtle ways, being edged into conversations and being as forceful and blunt as the Westboro Baptist Church protests and rallies. Throughout the history of the world, religion has reared its head into every sort of field it can, trying to take over and dominate for the “sake” of the people. There is evidence of this in the Renaissance, when the Church tried their hardest to make everyone believe them because it was the “word of god” instead of letting the people think for themselves and try to understand the scientific facts brought on by men like Galileo. It is seen today with the before mentioned Westboro Baptist Church. They stand outside and protest the funerals of soldiers, thinking that they can get people to turn their backs on the people that keep them safe. They protest gay marriage and hurt those people with their words.

Luckily, the scale is not as large when it comes to religion’s view on tattoos. Unfortunately though, it still causes some problems. “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:28) “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.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) These are the passages...
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