Tattoos and Religion

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Tattoos have existed for decades. A tattoo is a permanent insertion of pigment underneath the skin with the usage of a keen instrument. Humans tattoo their bodies for cosmetic, religious, and sentimental purposes. In modern day, the practice of tattooing is rather safe due to single-use needles and other beneficial factors. Tattoos certainly secure a reasonable position on a person's identity; however, religion connects with identification to a great extent likewise.


In Judaism, tattoos are predominantly frowned upon due to religious beliefs. It is concluded that the body is a gift from the Lord, therefore, it is sacred. Beth S, M.D states, Making permanent markings on the body shows disrespect. Permanent markings within the body is considered discourteous to the Orthodox Jewish tradition which forbids modifications of the body. As stated, our bodies devotionally belong to the Lord himself. We were placed on this earth without body modifications, thus we should perish without them as well. By desecrating our bodies, we are enraging God and violating his commands. Although many Jews show lack of concern with body modifications, Nazi Concentration Camps and the Holocaust include an additional measure of disgust towards tattooing. Swastikas are culturally relevant due to the fact that it is an emblem to represent the German Nazi party which firmly despised Jews. The placement of a swastika represents a person's identity because it secretly provides their personal position on the Holocaust and their hatred towards this particular group of people.


Hindus do not forbid body modifications/tattoos. Tattooing in Hinduism is performed for traditional and religious purposes. For the most part, Hinduism is the primary source of popular tattoo designs internationally. Although Hinduism enables the practice of tattooing, there are restrictions. Placements of the Tattoo is extremely important, therefore, placing a tattoo of their God below their waist is perceived as disrespectful. Hindus are very liberal when it comes to tattoos as compared to the other Abrahamic religions (1). This represents a person's identity because it establishes the significance of their religious/traditional (cultural) practices that are incorporated with tattooing.


Buddhism is similar to Hinduism, yet it does not hold many restrictions. Numerous amounts of Asian cultures have an extended history of tattooing their bodies for religious purposes. It is stated that tattoos hold a quality of admiration that supplies an advantage when a believer is in conflict. Buddhists believe that the body is impermanent and so are tattoos (Albagdadi). Due to tattoos being perceived as non-permanent, cultural beliefs are undisturbed. This relates to a person's identity because by tattooing Buddha, lotus flowers, dharma wheels, and etc on oneself, one is displaying the religious significance of the design.


In Islam, having a tattoo can inhibit one's opportunity of progressing peace with God. Due to this statement, it's clear that Islam extremely prohibits the practice of tattooing. According to Islamic scholars, ...permanent tattoos are banned in the Muslim faith. This stems from the fact that according to Islam your body is a creation of Allah or god (Albagdadi 1). Tattooing one's body vandalizes God's beautiful creation. To resolve the conflict, Henna, a temporary tattoo was created. Henna being washable is absolutely beneficial. Henna is also beneficial because the interchangeable designs are unique and creative. It represents a person's identity by displaying an aspect of their culture.


Tattoos are acceptable in the Christian faith. A quote from Leviticus 19:28, Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord (Albagdadi 1) is extremely misinterpreted. The statement is not stating that one should not receive a tattoo, it is stating that one should not commit witchcraft or practice rituals. Christians that interpret the bible literally would be greatly astonished by the situation, but overall, tattoos are not a magnificent problem for Christians. A typical Christian tattoo include doves, crosses, and etc. A dove represents peace and a cross symbolizes the victory of Christ's sacrifices. These tattoos have an extent on someone's identity because it gives a peak of their Christian faith or beliefs.


Neopagans extremely support the practice of tattooing. Tattooing for Neopagans are representations or expressions of their beliefs. By permanently marking themselves, they become an outcast to society. Adam Lunoe, a tattoo artist, states, Many Pagans I know are tattooed. Maybe it must has something to do with being an outcast or the willingness to mark oneself as permanently different. This supports how tattoos play a role in identification because Neopagans recieve tattoos mostly to separate themselves from others; in other words, they rather not be compared.


Mormons believe the body is sacred, therefore tattoos are forbidden. By tattooing yourself, you are disrespecting your body. Mormons are strongly against tattoos today (Kemeny). Tattooing and other body modification will be regrettable in future references, apparently, due to mormon's cultural beliefs. Our bodies are temples. Tattoos interrupt the creation of God, therefore their bodies will no longer be creative and unique. Not only are tattoos forbidden in this specific religion, but mormons are also restricted in wearing indelicate clothing. They should avoid extremes in clothing, appearance, and hairstyle and not disfigure themselves with tattoos or body piercings (Williams 1). When mormons modify their holy bodies, they are going against the grain of their religion. The strong cultural beliefs of tattoos in Mormonism definitely holds a position on a person's identity. If a mormon wants others to acknowledge their religion, a tattoo would not be the brightest idea due to their religious doctrines.


In Sikhism, tattoos and piercings are also predominantly frowned upon. Any method of body modifications is prohibited under any circumstance. There are many restrictions within this specific religion. Tattooing, piercing, wearing jewelry, bindi dot, makeup and trendy fashions, etc are restricted (Khalsa). The intentions for the these restrictions include: whether or not the tattoo is attention seeking, a private symbol or personal conviction, spiritual, and etc. This represents how a tattoo deals with a person's identification because it determines on whether or not they are nonchalant about their God's strong statement on how our bodies are extravagantly sacred.


In future references, religions that support the accessibilities of tattoos or other body modification should continue to believe their beliefs) and religions that do not support accessibilities to tattoos or other body modifications should also believe their belief(s). Although it's a lot of controversy on the practice of tattooing, others need to understand that there are different interpretations on the situation. Certain religions demoralize the practice of tattooing whereas others accept it due to religious and/or traditional (cultural) reasons such as Hinduism and Christianity. Tattoos play a role on a person's identity because it establishes the person's characteristics and possibly gives away their religious beliefs. If their religion forbids tattoos, they may not have artwork on their bodies, but for the most part, it is all based on the person's decision. The human decides whether or not they will follow the doctrine. Regardless, if they don't do as instructed, consequences will occur in the long run, so their resolution should be wisely represented.

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Tattoos And Religion. (2019, May 06). Retrieved February 22, 2024 , from

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