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Home: Questions and Answers: Pierced Tongues or Tattoos

Is there any reference in the Bible that is against having a pierced tongue or tattoo and what is your biblical view of these practices?


Yes, there certainly is. In Leviticus 19:28, God specifically told the Israelites that they were not to cut their flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on their bodies. The primary reason the Lord prohibited the taking on of tattoos, and other markings, was that they were pagan practices. For instance, when Elijah confronted the priests of Baal on the top of Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18, the priests cut themselves in order to move their god to answer their prayers (1 Kings 18:28). The Children of Israel were to keep themselves distinct from the pagan cultures that surrounded them and one of those distinctions was to avoid imitating the pagan worship practices that included the cutting and the tattooing of the body.

Now, it is often argued that tattoos do not carry the same meaning as they did in the OT, and that Christians are no longer under the commands of the Old Covenant, so if a Christian wants to get a tattoo or pierce his tongue, then he should be allowed to. I would never argue that we are to enforce the OT law codes God gave to Israel to remain a distinct theocratic nation. However, I do believe a Christians should exercise wisdom when they consider getting tattoos or any body piercings.

First, I would ask any believer to question himself as to why he wants a tattoo or a body piercing. What exactly is the purpose of getting it? The plain fact of the matter is that any tattoo or piercing is a self-centered thing. The primary purpose of tattoos is to draw attention to the person, and a Christian should question whether or not such a practice is for the express purpose of drawing attention to oneís self. Does it truly honor the Lord? Or will negatively affect the body of Christ?

Secondly, though some Christians want to argue that tattoos and piercings are no longer connected to pagan customs, it is not necessarily the case, because the receiving of a tattoo is still primarily a sub-cultural practice. The main groups \of individuals who sport tattooing on their bodies are those people who are outside the norms of our American society. It is the bikers, the criminal gang element, the rock and roll culture, the gothic culture and other groups that act in rebellion toward the mainstream of society that generally have tattoos and piercings. These are folks who donít like to be told what to do, what to believe, and go to great lengths to demonstrate opposition toward those in authority who want to hold them accountable to their behavior. If a Christian wants to get a tattoo, he needs to take this into consideration and determine if whether or not he wants to be associated with these various, worldly groups whose world-view promotes rebellious attitudes.

Then third, tattooing and piercing is often done by young and impetuous folks who want to be trendy, and thus they do not think of the consequences of putting a permanent mark on their body. When they "grow up" and desire to become serious about life, a family and a real job, having tattoos and piercing holes all over their bodies tends to be a distraction for them. I personally know many Christians who got a tattoo when they were young unbelievers and now they regret it something terrible. All Christians need to ponder carefully if whether a tattoo or a body piercing is something they are willing to live with the rest of their life, before they get one.

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