Is body art really constructive (i.e.: edifying)?

Back in October I found myself engaged in a friendly blog-comment-debate at another site on the subject of body art.  The discussion thread dealt with the evangelical usefulness of tattoos. 

For regular readers of my blog, it probably is not surprising to you to know that I can find nothing redemptive about body art.  Redeemable yes, redemptive, no.  I don’t understand the motivation for body art, and I don’t see how the permanant marking of the body, could be regarded as edifying for either the wearer, or for the church.  It is a stretch for me to see how one’s faith is developed or grown, or how the church is built up by applying a permanant mark on a human body.  And I hold that view irrespective of the subject matter, meaning that while I acknowledge the difference between a cross tattoo and a skull tattoo, I don’t see how either is really helpful.

To either wearers or supporters of tattoos, I wonder how strongly you defend other forms of body art.  How about the examples below.  Too much?  Taken too far?  The difference between these examples and a small tattoo of a cross, or an ichthus is only a matter of degrees.  All of them are permanent, and presumably have been sought to serve some form of self-expression.  So, where is the line to be drawn?  How far, is too far?

body-art-41

body-art-31

body-art-21

body-art-1

Photos…HT: Don Weeks

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4 Responses to Is body art really constructive (i.e.: edifying)?

  1. mbernie says:

    I think it is very cool you have a page dedicated to body art tattoos. My blog is about various aspects of tattoos, if they are trashy or an art form, and people’s thoughts if they would ever get their boyfriends or girlfriends name tattooed on their body. This is for my class, and I need to get people to reply back in order to get points. So please respond 🙂

  2. […] Is body art really constructive (i.e.: edifying)? January 2009 1 comment 5 […]

  3. These pictures are way extreme. Having a small ichthus is a simple, permanent and great way to express who you are, a child of God.

  4. Chuck says:

    Of course they are extreme. The blog post makes that assertion, but also makes the point that the difference between these freakish expressions and the small icthus you argue for is measured only in degrees. They are fundamentally the same…permanent or semi-permanent body art expressions.

    I’ll grant you that there is no explicit prohibition against tattoos in scripture, but equally, can you find a place where the early church permanently marked themselves to express that they were a child of God? And I will enlarge that to include both prescriptive teaching as well as merely any historical indication that it became a cultural practice. Tattoos were a reality even back in the OT where God forbade His people from getting them, so it is not an argument that they did not exist in the first century…they most certainly did.

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