Are tattoo's a sin?


#1

Yeah!! This has been covered before. Some Catholics have said no, and some have said maybe… Do my eyes decieve me… I read somewhere in the Old Testament that tattoos were a sin. God was very clear on his feelings about the subject of “body art”. So how can anyone who call themselves a catholic, go against the Good Book. Are they daring to challenge the command of God. Are they daring to interpret the word of Yaweh when it could not be made clearer that…I say again… He says NO to tattoos.


#2

According to Scripture yes it is a sin. God warns us about putting any markings or holes on or in your body


#3

what about a single ear piercing - one on each ear? is that sinful?


#4

I hope not! I’m a 60-year-old grandfather who has a pierced ear–got it a year ago when my granddaughter got hers:D

Seriously, I think the sinfulness of a tatto has more to do with the reason for getting tattoed and the subject matter of the tattoo.


#5

if that’s the case about ear piercing – then many girls and women are sinning


#6

No. It was a “sin”, under the Old Law, as were a lot of other things that are no more. And I really don’t want to go through this debate again, so I’m going to attempt to kill the topic now.

Are tattoo’s a sin?
No, not necessarily, but yes, they can be.

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Sources:

  1. forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=39833
  2. forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=142290
  3. members.cox.net/jimmyakin/x-archives-040306.htm

And if you want to read through a good debate on it:
4) forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=227778

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I’m going to try explaining this once more, and hope it makes sense.

Tattooing is not a sin per se (as itself).
Tattooing can be a sin per accidens (accidentally).

Example to help explain: A carpenter who is also a doctor builds a table.
The carpenter built the table as carpenter (per se).
You can say “the doctor built the table”, but the doctor did not build the table as doctor (per se). The doctor only built the table per accidens, by virtue of also being a carpenter.

So now, real example: Catholic person getting a tattoo of the devil.
The sin that occurs is not a sin of tattooing (per se).
The sin that occurs is that of idolatry (or whatever), and the tattooing is only a sin accidentally (per accidens)… through association with the sinful action. You can say that “the tattooing was a sin”, but only by virtue of the fact that it is inseparably tied to the sinful act of idolatry.

Tattooing can be a sin… but it’s only a sin accidentally.

It is never a sin per se… but it can be a sin (either mortal or venial) per accidens: if it endangers your health, or is immoderate, or uncharitable, or idolatrous, etc.


#7

Two things -Hebrews were told to refrain from tattooing and piercing primarily due to their usage in and among the pagan nations of the near east and because they were taught that their body was a sacred and only to be used in service to the Lord.that was under the old law- under the new law those holiness rules have been negated heavily.


#8

Leviticus probably said it is. But we can’ follow Leviticus because it says ridiculous things. If you really want to figure it out, just ask yourself what a god would think. Would a benevolent god think to itself, “oh no!! that person has a tattoo on his shoulder that praises me! I shall smite him down for his artistic expression of adoration for me.”


#9

Tatoos are clearly prohibited in the OT but so are a lot of other things that we completely ignore today. Leviticus 19:28 is where the tatooing prohibition is found, but look at what comes immediately before it. Are we prohibited from trimming our beards? On the other hand, are we permitted to make harlots out of our daughters? As Christians, it has always baffled me which laws to keep and which to ignore.

27’You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard.
28’You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD.
29’Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness.
30’You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the LORD.
31’Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.
32’You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the LORD.
33’When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.
34’The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.
35’You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight, or capacity.
36’You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin; I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt.
37’You shall thus observe all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them; I am the LORD.’"

Leviticus 19:27-37.


#10

For women, no.

For men, it strikes me personally as a little effeminate and pretentious. Same with tattoos, except that I think they look horrid and cheap on women. Can you imagine the Blessed Virgin with one?

I’m not saying that it as a point of fact, just my opinion.:cool:


#11

man + earring = effeminate = ticket to hell.

gotta love that Paul: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10


#12

Sorry, but am I missing something… Where does it state in THE BIBLE… Tattooing can be a sin… but it’s only a sin accidentally.


#13

Hopefully, it is obvious to most people that tattooing is not a sin. I guess if you gave one to a little child or an unconscious person, then you have done wrong. But it is ludicrous to suggest that “idolatry” enters into the equation. How many people in developed countries would ever consider WORSHIPING a tattoo? I’m guessing zero. But I guess if you put pictures of Jesus or Mohamed on your chest then you might not consider them to be “idols” in that they are images that aid in your worship… If you put some non-Christian symbol on your body and then use it as an aid to worship some non-Christian entity, then you are of some other religion and the question of idolatry is moot. The prohibition against “idolatry” would be the equivalent of the “no other gods” rule. Unless the Christian god makes a distinction between someone worshiping another god with or without physical manifestations of divine significance.

What some Christians have done (once again) is twist and torture language. If you really, really, really like Volkswagens, and you get a VW tattoo, this would NOT amount to idolatry. In Hebrew, “Idolatry” was used to refer to “foreign worship”. Whenever people like Paul wanted to bad-mouth another religion they would specifically harp on the outward trappings of their worship ceremony’s. The equivalent would be other religions calling Catholics “idolaters” because of all their statues, and paintings, and fish bumper stickers.


#14

couldn’t have put it better. well said friend…


#15

I find it very funny that folks are concerned about tattoos and cuttings (Lev 19:28) silly:p The Hebrews were forbidden because they were NOT to be like the"nations"(pagans)whose practice of cutting and scarring was common.It’s likeEx 23:19 “not to seethe a kid in it’s mother’s milk) it was a pagan practice and that’s what made it anathema( another theory is that the cooking of a kid it it’s own mother’s milk seemed very cruel( when I was a child I thought the"kid” was a baby! Boy that really freaked me out!)When some of the other rules in Leviticus 19- seem to be ignored- like Lev 19:29-36 that have to do with justice for the poor and indigent- Capitalists and America- firsters seem to ignore those - a lot:shrug: Matthew 23:24 "Blind guides who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel’:eek:


#16

It doesn’t. And before you say “aha!”, perhaps you’d to tell me where it says in THE BIBLE that trimming our beards is not a sin. Because Leviticus says it is.

Not everything is explicitly laid out in the Bible. At the same time, my position comes from several of the most respected Catholic apologists alive today, and I have yet to see anyone with higher authority holding a position that is in fact contrary to what I’ve been saying.

I assume that you’re responding to my post, since that’s the only time “idolatry” was mentioned before now. If so, you’re missing the point.

The point was simply that, if someone got a tattoo of Satan, or Zeus, or Aphrodite, or whoever or whatever they place higher than God, then idolatry might enter into the equation. And not because you actually worship the tattoo, but because your intent in getting the tattoo is to glorify that which you do place before God. Getting a VW tattoo because you “really, really, really, like Volkswagens” wouldn’t count, unless perhaps you truly place VWs above God, in which case you definitely need some help. That’s all. It was just an example, and I added “(or whatever)” immediately after I suggested it, just in case it was a disputed point. It really doesn’t matter if idolatry could or couldn’t technically be involved – there are plenty of other sins that I think we agree could be tied to getting the tattoo, such as if it is unnecessarily dangerous to your health, or immoderate, or immodest, or blasphemous, etc.


#17

You will also find commands not to eat pork, not to wear a garment woven from two different types of cloth, and for women to leave town every month for their menstrual cycles. If you can honestly say that you believe we are to adhere to these portions of the old law, I will take up the argument of the morality of tattoos.

…Even though it’s been discussed on CAF until the cows came home, had calves, were butchered, and were grilled and eaten with Pickapeppa sauce.


#18

what’s Pickapeppa sauce?

I just think tatoos arent right because your body is a temple - or however that one phrase goes. You should take care and respect your body because God gave it to you, and tatoos don’t do that. Even if the tatoo is a cross, you shouldn’t have to tatoo a cross on your body to tell everyone you love God and your a Christian, you should already do that by your actions.

If it were me, I’d take the money that I could use to get a tatoo and give it to my parish or a charity. That’s a much better use for it:D !!


#19

It’s the best steak sauce there is. Comes from Jamaica. We use it a lot on the Gulf Coast.

I understand this argument, but I disagree with it. Whether or not decorating one’s body is disrespectful of it remains a matter of private opinion. If the argument is made about tattoos, then why not jewelry, make-up, and ear piercings? Yes, tattoos are permanent, but all of those things still amount to an alteration of the natural state of the body.

As for marking oneself as a sign of faith, here’s what one CAF member had to say recently:

Ghosty* http://forums.catholic.com/images/statusicon_cad/user_offline.gif vbmenu_register(“postmenu_3460404”, true); *
Senior Member
Join Date: June 3, 2004
Location: Seattle
*Posts: 5,773 *
http://forums.catholic.com/images/misc/im_msn.gifhttp://forums.catholic.com/images/misc/im_yahoo.gif

*http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon1.gif Re: tattoos of Catholic images: sin? *
This has been a frequent topic here, especially on the Moral Theology forum. You might want to do a search for tattoo topics and see what comes up.

Briefly, it’s not considered a sin by the Church, certainly not tattoos of sacred images. In fact, back in the days of pilgrimages to Jerusalem one would get a tattoo of a cross by a Coptic priest as a sign you had gone. The Oriental Orthodox/Catholics still practice the art of sacred tattoos to this day, the most famous being the tattoo of a cross on the hand by the Copts, as a way of proclaiming one’s Christianity in a Muslim society (often, when religious violence breaks out against Copts, sometimes their crosses are cut off their bodies by Muslims!)

I myself have an Armenian Cross tattooed on my back/neck, and you can see it in my profile. I think well-done tattoos sacred are quite beautiful and tasteful, and not at all distasteful. Others will obviously disagree. A tattoo of the Virgin, or the Sacred Heart, is quite different from a flaming skull or naked demon!

Peace and God bless!


#20

I’ve never been quite convinced by the “our bodies are a temple” argument. In fact, if anything, I think the argument can be used to say the opposite (that tattoos are okay). Yes, it is true that our bodies are a temple, but don’t we decorate temples and put up artwork in them? If it’s okay to hang up a painting of Our Lady in our Catholic “temples” (i.e. churches), then why is not okay to decorate the temple of our body with the same picture?

And I agree that people should know we are Christians by our love, but that doesn’t negate outward physical signs of our faith. If it did, that would mean we shouldn’t wear crucifixes around our necks, put fishes on our cars, or even wear distinctive clothes (as priests and nuns often do).

As for the use of money, most of us spend money on frivilous things at times. That’s not necessarily a sin. Personally, I would never get a tattoo and would rather spend the money on something else. But I wouldn’t call it a sin to get one.


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