Marked for life

The body's meaning should come from God

The practice of tattooing has nearly always been rejected in Christian tradition. The usual proof text is Leviticus 19:28: “You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” That verse has been regarded as an injunction against pagan rituals, but also as a call to honor God’s good creation as it is manifested in our bodies. My own theological instinct is to worry that the skyrocketing popularity of tattoos, body piercing and other kinds of body decorations reflect a misguided attempt to give meaning to the body—meaning that should come from God.


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