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Saturday, September 08, 2012
Why Christians should not get tattooed
Elusite Wapiti has delivered a fatwa against tattooes. wanderling asks: "what about tattoos that profess the person's love of God and Jesus?"
wanderling by mentioning Jesus is asking about Christianity. In Christianity the Jewish Torah is still canonical (leaving aside what "canonical" means); and this - as Wapiti noted - in Leviticus 19:28 bans the alteration of skin, with that famed exception for males. (So a Jew with a tattoo is a contradiction in terms.) So wanderling is specifically asking about the relationship between the Christian and his Old Testament. Wapiti has some good arguments against this one, but I believe that I can go further.
Christianity retains the Law where it deals with what CS Lewis called the Tao, which is moral Natural Law - so, for instance, the ban on homosexuality stays in place but the regulations specific to Judaism do not. Tattooing is - like circumcision - something one does entirely to oneself. So it is not covered under the Tao. That leaves the question as to whether it is covered as operative only for Jews.
I happen to hold that the Jews have a G-d given right to remain Jews, and that each Gentile Christian nation has the right - under Christianity - to retain its own identity. It follows that tattooing (including scarification) is allowable amongst Gentile communities where they are community markers. For instance, in Ethiopia some Christian groups use the tattoo of a cross. I understand that even Lawrence Auster accepts Ethiopian cross-tattooes, and I would expand this to Nubian Christians.
But the tattooing we see on the street - the tramp-stamps and the neck-tattooes and the teardrops on the face and the "Motorhead" skulls with flames - these are not markers of a civilisation. These tattooes are simply marks of egotism upon their bearers.
If the bearer of an individual tattoo claims to be Christian, he is doing much worse. Again as Wapiti noted, the point of Jesus's "lifting of the curse of the Law" is not that everything banned in the Torah is now permitted. It is nothing more or less than to open up salvation to the Gentiles - to allow for a Greek not to circumcise, and for a Nubian to continue marking his skin. Flaunting individuality was not the point.
In fact a Christian with a personal, non-cultural tattoo is flaunting his disobedience to the Biblical Law. He is a walking insult to the Bible.
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