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Is it Really a Sin to Get a Tattoo

We’ve covered misconceptions about tattoo removal, but over the years we have heard more than our fair share of concerns about getting tattooed in general. Misunderstandings often have to do with concerns regarding pain, cost, permanence and so forth. Most of them are cleared up when you consult with a professional studio with reputable tattooists on staff. The focus of today however, is on one that those of a particular faith may still be concerned about – that it is a sin to get a tattoo.

First a BIG disclaimer. We’re not telling you what to believe here. Religion is an important consideration for the life choices of many. Some may feel as if religious text has spoken out against the practice. On the flip side, it’s important to note that tattoos are used to honor one’s faith in many cultures. Ultimately, we just want you to at least consider the evidence. The fact is, is the Bible does not literally state that it’s a sin to get tattooed. It just makes for an impactful headline and is an anecdote that people (i.e. some conventional grandparents) like to drop from time to time. So what does it say, and how is it interpreted in modern times? Let’s review.

Why Some Used to Believe It Was a Sin to Get a Tattoo (and how the perception has changed today)

That Thing the Book of Leviticus Said

You have heard that according to the Old Testament that it’s a sin to get tattooed. This is steeped in a passage from the Book of Leviticus. It is one of the most misquoted passages around. Some go as far as to say that it states “Though shall not get a tattoo” as if it was inscribed in stone along with the Ten Commandments. Here is the actual translation:

“And a cutting for the dead you will not make in your flesh; and writing marks you will not make on you” (Leviticus 19:28)

If you dive deep into the studies about this passage, you will find that experts consider markings to be in reference to slavery. In ancient Mesopotamia, body markings were used to “identify” enslaved people. In this case, a tattoo appears to be sign of submission, to a human master versus the Almighty him/herself. In such a circumstances there would indeed a spiritual violation at play. But therein lies the crux. Tattoos of today are not used in such a manner. The motivation is entirely different. In fact, intent to also referenced in the Bible via Isaiah 44:5:

“One shall say, ‘I am the LORD’s’… Another shall mark his arm ‘of the LORD.’” (Isaiah 44:5)

In this passage, one might say that marking the body is not just permissible, but advisable.

Ultimately, it’s all subject to interpretation, which is really the point here. So what do the higher-ups in this field have to say about the perceptions of tattoos in modern time?

How the Perception Has Changed Today

Of course, the tattoo industry is no authority on the matter, and you could certainly say that the industry has a direct interest in refuting the belief that tattooing is frowned upon. Fair enough, so let’s look at what the Sovereign Pontiff at the Vatican (the Pope) has to say on the matter. When questioned at a recent conference about tattoos, Pope Francis stated:

“”Don’t be afraid of tattoos,” the Pope responded, noting that for centuries Eritrean Christians and others have gotten tattoos of the cross.” (The Pope)

But the Pope went beyond saying that people should not be afraid of tattoos. In fact, he stated that tattoos could be used by the church to connect to the new generation. That’s right, the Sovereign Pontiff is not only cool with body ink, he backs it!

Again, we are not trying to sway you away from any beliefs you may have. Our studios, staff, and tattooists respect the cultures, religions, and lifestyles of ALL people. If you have any questions whatsoever about getting tattooed at Adrenaline Studios near you, please feel free to reach out any time.