Question about cutting hair. (seriously) :)


#1

I am a Catholic Convert. I have a sister in law that who has Native American beliefs. She and her husband both have long hair. She tells me that "it says in the bible" that "Samson's hair was sacred" and that was why he lost his strength when it was cut. She adamantly insists that it's God's will for us to NOT cut hair. Now mind you, I don't believe her, but I cannot convince her otherwise, and she wants to know "where in the bible" does it say that cutting hair is "okay" or any place that basically backs up her beliefs. I am sorry to ask you all this.. but honestly I don't know what to answer her at this point. Thanks in advance for any help.


#2

Samson was not allowed to cut his hair because he belonged to a particular sect, where the mother makes a promise to God on her son's behalf, that he will never cut his hair. It's called the "Nazarite" sect, and some people in the middle ages thought that Jesus belonged to the Nazarite sect, which is why they portrayed Him with long hair.

But if you don't belong to that sect, and if your mother never made any promises to God with regard to your hair, then you are free to go ahead and cut it. :)


#3

I think there's something in the New Testament about it being shameful for men to have long hair? (long according to the standards of the time... it's very likely that Our Lord and the Apostles had shoulder-length hair but that wasn't considered 'long' back then, like it is now)


#4

1 Corinthians 11:14
Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,


#5

Sounds like she’s picking and choosing bible verses to fit her view, which is dangerous to do b/c for every bible verse you can quote for me, there is probably a couple others that say the opposite. The bible has to be read as a whole.

As others have stated, Samson was consecrated at birth as a Nazarite. It wasn’t so much the hair that was sacred, but the vow.

If they want to have long hair, their is no reason why they can’t. But their view is wrong. If they feel that way, ask them to take a long hard look at the dietary and other laws enacted in Leviticus and other parts of the OT and see if they want to follow those as well too…


#6

[quote="Lemonpoptart, post:1, topic:178618"]
I am a Catholic Convert. I have a sister in law that who has Native American beliefs. She and her husband both have long hair. She tells me that "it says in the bible" that "Samson's hair was sacred" and that was why he lost his strength when it was cut. She adamantly insists that it's God's will for us to NOT cut hair. Now mind you, I don't believe her, but I cannot convince her otherwise, and she wants to know "where in the bible" does it say that cutting hair is "okay" or any place that basically backs up her beliefs. I am sorry to ask you all this.. but honestly I don't know what to answer her at this point. Thanks in advance for any help.

[/quote]

numbers chapter six has the vow of the nazirite which includes not cutting the hair, now wine, staying away from dead bodies. Sampson, samuel, john the baptist and maybe st. paul were under this vow. the vow is volunteery and can be ended any time. I was under the vow for the first three years of being a christian and is common among hermits. Pauls rules about hair length in corinthians is about not becoming obsessive about ones looks. hair length is of no importance when one looks at much greater issues at hand like abortion, drug addiction, promiscuity ect,


#7

Continue to read on to 16 and you’ll find:

But if anyone is inclined to be argumentative, we do not have such a custom, nor do the churches of God.

There is nothing shameful or wrong for a man to have long hair. Nor is there anything wrong with having shorter hair.


#8

Thanks everyone!! I did explain to her. And sigh now she says the Bible "contradicts" itself. I told her that it has to be read as a whole, and that YES there was a difference in NT vs OT, (such as in the OT they didn't eat pork, and so forth). So now she is "demanding" to know why we "have to confess to a man", and then *laughed *about it. Again. As if her "Native American" beliefs are the only "right" ones, and that our Catholic faith is a huge joke. :mad: This has went on for a few years now, and I have finally come to the conclusion she is going to continue to bait me, (yes I am slow to learn my lesson), and make a joke out of everything, as she's been doing. It would be easier if she wasn't a family member. :( But anyway, I want to thank all of you for your help. :grouphug:


#9

[quote="Lemonpoptart, post:1, topic:178618"]
I am a Catholic Convert. I have a sister in law that who has Native American beliefs. She and her husband both have long hair.

[/quote]

I have a couple questions. First, since you refer to her as your "sister in law".. I'm assuming that her "husband" is your brother?

Next.. is your SIL a Catholic too? Or another Christian denomination? I'm part Native American myself (Iroquois) and I'm aware of the spiritual value which the Native American's placed on their hair. They would cut it only during periods of mourning. But in my humble opinion, those beliefs seem a bit superstitious in light of Catholic Church teaching.

There seems to be certain cases where people kind of "mix" old customs, superstitions and practices.. with Christian belief. And I don't think that is a good thing. You can trust whatever the Catholic Church teaches. I'm sorry I didn't know, more specifically the answer.

Thank you for letting me add my :twocents: God bless.


#10

[quote="MarieVeronica, post:9, topic:178618"]
I have a couple questions. First, since you refer to her as your "sister in law".. I'm assuming that her "husband" is your brother?

Next.. is your SIL a Catholic too? Or another Christian denomination? I'm part Native American myself (Iroquois) and I'm aware of the spiritual value which the Native American's placed on their hair. They would cut it only during periods of mourning. But in my humble opinion, those beliefs seem a bit superstitious in light of Catholic Church teaching.

There seems to be certain cases where people kind of "mix" old customs, superstitions and practices.. with Christian belief. And I don't think that is a good thing.

Thank you for letting me add my :twocents: God bless.

[/quote]

Yes, she is my husbands sister. They are mostly Irish, but had one great grandparent who was Native American. Everyone in their family is either Baptist or Methodist. No one in their family was raised with Native American beliefs. As I am a convert to Catholicism, she is a "convert" to being Native American. She slams "the white man" on a regular basis, and insists that she's "Indian". Umm... she is as white as I am. If that's her choice, then fine.

But I am tired of her attacks. Believe me, she is NOT mixing faiths.

She recently married again, (5th marriage), and she married a non practicing Catholic who has not been to mass in years. She now has convinced him to follow the Native American beliefs, and so now he has this long, unkept, curly hair. My 9 yr old is a special needs child, and she asked "Why Uncle "Joe" has long hair "like a girl"." My SIL told her that "Uncle Joe" was Native American, (hello, he's NOT), and that "it says in the bible" that "your NOT supposed to cut your hair". Thus confusing my child. :mad:

Backstory: When my hubs and I were first married, she wanted us to have an "indian" ceremony. Well.. I'm not Indian and neither is my hubby. We married in the Church. She was "insulted" by this, and didn't speak to us for a few years. I kid you not.

Fast forward: Several months ago she came over, and told filthy jokes in front of my kids. None of us are perfect, but she has a HUGE potty mouth and every other word out of her mouth was the "eff bomb" or taking the Lords name in vain. I had to literally explain that not only do I NOT like her talking filth in front of my kids, but taking the Lords name in vain is particularily offensive. She insists she "wasn't". I had to explain that saying "G.D." constantly IS taking his name in vain. Anyway, she threw herself a huge hissy fit because I won't let her tell filthy jokes and swear in front of my kids, and once again stopped speaking to us for a while. She's now "talking" to us again.

I love her, but she is very "in your face" about her "beliefs", and heaven help you if you don't believe exactly what she believes. So now that she's married to a Catholic man, she is full of questions. And then she checks with her new husband to see if I'm "right". :shrug: I find this interesting... because being raised in the Faith doesn't mean you ever studied, or was taught correctly. I say this, because "Uncle Joe"s own mother who is in her 90s and a cradle catholic, told my SIL that St Michael is a "little child.". :confused:


#11

I don’t think hair really matters to God, but someone mentioned that hair length is mentioned in the Bible: See 1 Cor 11: 14

14 Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is degrading to him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her pride? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

But, I think that God sees the inner person you are and reads your heart. I believe we should make our outer selves match our inner selves and be modest in dress. If hair affects your spiritual life, then by all means cut it or don’t cut it as you see fit but remember your soul will live forever and even with applications of rogain it will not grow any hair at all :slight_smile:

Peace in this Advent Season to all.


#12

Well your SIL definitely sounds...interesting. It is good that she is curious about Catholicism and I suggest you always answer her questions despite her rude comments and behaviour. She might want to 'check' with her husband if you are correct, which gives you even more opportunity to explain things further. Lord works in mysterious ways, right? :D

Good luck!


#13

[quote="Lemonpoptart, post:10, topic:178618"]
Yes, she is my husbands sister. They are mostly Irish, but had one great grandparent who was Native American. Everyone in their family is either Baptist or Methodist. No one in their family was raised with Native American beliefs. As I am a convert to Catholicism, she is a "convert" to being Native American. She slams "the white man" on a regular basis, and insists that she's "Indian". Umm... she is as white as I am. If that's her choice, then fine.

But I am tired of her attacks. Believe me, she is NOT mixing faiths.

She recently married again, (5th marriage), and she married a non practicing Catholic who has not been to mass in years. She now has convinced him to follow the Native American beliefs, and so now he has this long, unkept, curly hair. My 9 yr old is a special needs child, and she asked "Why Uncle "Joe" has long hair "like a girl"." My SIL told her that "Uncle Joe" was Native American, (hello, he's NOT), and that "it says in the bible" that "your NOT supposed to cut your hair". Thus confusing my child. :mad:

Backstory: When my hubs and I were first married, she wanted us to have an "indian" ceremony. Well.. I'm not Indian and neither is my hubby. We married in the Church. She was "insulted" by this, and didn't speak to us for a few years. I kid you not.

Fast forward: Several months ago she came over, and told filthy jokes in front of my kids. None of us are perfect, but she has a HUGE potty mouth and every other word out of her mouth was the "eff bomb" or taking the Lords name in vain. I had to literally explain that not only do I NOT like her talking filth in front of my kids, but taking the Lords name in vain is particularily offensive. She insists she "wasn't". I had to explain that saying "G.D." constantly IS taking his name in vain. Anyway, she threw herself a huge hissy fit because I won't let her tell filthy jokes and swear in front of my kids, and once again stopped speaking to us for a while. She's now "talking" to us again.

I love her, but she is very "in your face" about her "beliefs", and heaven help you if you don't believe exactly what she believes. So now that she's married to a Catholic man, she is full of questions. And then she checks with her new husband to see if I'm "right". :shrug: I find this interesting... because being raised in the Faith doesn't mean you ever studied, or was taught correctly. I say this, because "Uncle Joe"s own mother who is in her 90s and a cradle catholic, told my SIL that St Michael is a "little child.". :confused:

[/quote]

Well, with all due respect to your SIL (from what you have told us) it sounds almost like she is creating a system of "beliefs" for herself and her husband. I may be way off base in saying that.. and I'm not judging her. In fact, I feel sorrow for her; and will keep her in my prayers.

As a person of Native American descent.. I cherish the cultural elements of my ancestors.. music, art.. etc. But I do not hold to any of their spiritual beliefs.. as those belief's do not coincide with my belief's as a practicing Roman Catholic.

God bless you.


#14

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:12, topic:178618"]
Well your SIL definitely sounds...interesting.

[/quote]

LOL!! What an understatement!! :rotfl:

It is good that she is curious about Catholicism and I suggest you always answer her questions despite her rude comments and behaviour. She might want to 'check' with her husband if you are correct, which gives you even more opportunity to explain things further. Lord works in mysterious ways, right? :D

Good luck!

True, true. At the risk of sounding rude, and mean, trust me when I tell you that she would test the patience of the Saints!! It's all well and good to "explain" to someone... but she's not exactly the type to stop talking long enough for you to make more than a sentence or two, before she interrupts and LOUDLY tells you the "INDIAN" way. Or asks "WHY?" "WHERE in the bible does it say that?" And then starts "bashing" the Church, which .... I'm sorry but I have trouble not getting angry at that point. The entire thing is mentally exhausting. My husband told me that I should tell her I will NOT discuss "beliefs" with her.. since it's always a no-win situation with her. But I hate to be that way. :(

Last night, (she called me after midnight), she wouldn't stop asking me questions, and then arguing over any answer I gave her. Her incessant barrage of questioning started upsetting me. Then, she asked me another question. She asked me "WHY" we "go to a man in a box" to confess. I told her that it says in the bible we are to confess our sins with our mouths. She still drilled me about why it had to be to a priest. I admit, I was blanking out on an answer. :( And then she informed me, "he's not God, so how can he absolve you from anything?! He's Wrong! He's playing God!" and she continued to go on and on about how horrible priests were. (I will spare you all the awful things she said). :( I was really upset at this point, but I wouldn't fuss back at her. She asked me HOW did I know this was all TRUE? And I told her, "BECAUSE God blessed me with a wonderful gift. He blessed me with faith." And with that, I wished her a goodnight and hung up. I was so mad and upset, I had to do a LOT of praying to calm down enough to get to sleep. :( I know... I am horrible. But oh my gosh... she is just so DIFFICULT!!! :(

I really appreciate all the input and help from all of you. It makes me feel so much better to know I'm not alone!! :)


#15

Then, she asked me another question. She asked me "WHY" we "go to a man in a box" to confess. I told her that it says in the bible we are to confess our sins with our mouths. She still drilled me about why it had to be to a priest. I admit, I was blanking out on an answer. And then she informed me, "he's not God, so how can he absolve you from anything?! He's Wrong! He's playing God!" and she continued to go on and on about how horrible priests were.

:hug1: sounds like it was a very difficult conversation!! If this happens again, tell her that Christ gave the Apostles the power to forgive sin (it's in the Bible ;)) and then leave the conversation. Maybe you could also tell her that it IS God who forgives us, just through the priest. God bless


#16

#17

(1 Corinthians 11:14 NAB-A) Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears his hair long it is a disgrace to him,
(1 Corinthians 11:15 NAB-A) whereas if a woman has long hair it is her glory, because long hair has been given (her) for a covering?

You are probably referring to the above verses, correct?

I would say that these verses must be read in their cultural context. I know of nothing that the Church teaches about men with long hair being shameful.


#18

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.