Fake piercings and tattoos, often associated with children, are another issue. Near the end of the 20th century, these toys were included in candy or bought very inexpensively. They often reflect carton characters. Temporary tattoos have grown in popularity and sophistication, now being worn by adults. Whether a temporary tattoo is lawful or unlawful from a Biblical standpoint, is determined by applying the principles discussed previously. For example, a temporary tattoo of a high school team’s mascot worn at a game on Friday evening and removed before assembling with the saints on Sunday, professes godliness. On the other hand, a temporary tattoo of a woman in a bikini or a muscleman does not profess godliness and may dishonor God because of the licentious message expressed by the tattoo.
It may be viewed by some that culture and society have changed, arguing that body piercing and tattooing do not have the riotous and rebellious connotations they had a few years ago. They may also argue that society’s view towards body piercing and tattoos has changed, just as society’s view of women wearing pants changed in the last century.
It is true that society changes and that styles (such as women wearing pants) change. A hundred years from now, the rebellious and licentious lifestyles associated with the people popularizing body piercing and tattoos may no longer be associated with these behaviors. But for now, the message a person sends to others when tattooing and piercing his or her body is a questionable message of godliness. A pierced or tattooed body may still associate the person with the licentious pop culture that continues to make these behaviors popular in our society. Therefore, body piercing (except for discreet piercings as previously noted) and tattooing are, at best, questionable behaviors.
Since Christians are not permitted to engage in questionable behaviors, and since body piercing (except for discreet piercings) and tattooing are religiously questioned by many in our society, we must conclude that certain body piercing and tattooing should be avoided by Christians (Rom. 14:23; 1 Th. 5:21-22) for the following reasons:
- They do not glorify God (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
- They do not exalt Christ (Phil. 1:20).
- They do not profess godliness (1 Tim. 2:2, 10; 4:7-8; 6:11).
- They are not honorable and respectable in the sight of men (Rom. 12:17; Phil. 4:8).
- Many are licentious and symbolic of a riotous lifestyle (2 Cor. 12:20-21).
As Christians determine the viability of tattoos or body piercings, one question they may consider is, “does the tattoo or body piercing honor God.” If it does, then it should be pursued, but that’s just my take.
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