BODY ART or BODY MODIFICATION

 



 

BODY ART or BODY MODIFICATION

by Fr. Joseph Aymanathil, S.D.B

 

Our human body – raised to a new dignity by the precious blood of Christ – is today slipping into the lowest depths of the underworld of darkness – into lust and sadism. How can people, particularly the young, go to such extreme lengths of converting their bodies into instruments of lewd and masochistic manifestations? Why do they offer their bodies in sacrifice to the evil one, in the guise of heroic or innocent fun? Like in the case of every form of evil, there is no sensible explanation to these upcoming trends that paint patterns of diabolic designs on human bodies, setting apart every part of the human body to be imprinted with the marks of the beast of the abyss. This satanic evil taste that goes by deceptive names like body art and body modification, exhibit truly the claw-marks of the evil one.

This article takes the reader quite briefly to the roots, ramifications and horror gallery of this evil art.

 

  1. What is body modification?

Body modification or body alteration (cf. web site en.wikipedia) is the permanent or semi-permanent deliberate altering of the human body for non-medical reasons, such as socio-religious purposes, or aesthetic or cultural motives or psychological reasons. It can range from the socially acceptable decoration (e.g., pierced ears in many societies for the use of jewellery) and religiously mandated practices (e.g., circumcision in a number of cultures) to sadistic corporal punishments and provocative attitudes by the rebellious (e.g., tongue splitting).

 

  1. Types of body modification

Chris Wolfe, as reported by the web site tribalectic.com, made some startling comments on Body modification, “The body modification movement includes a growing gallery of horrors. BodMod isn’t limited to piercing and tattooing. Other, more extreme forms are also on the increase. Cutting, branding, scarring, even mutilation and amputation, are becoming more frequent. People who cut themselves say that watching themselves bleed makes them feel better. A 14-year-old boy says he wants to pierce his tongue, nose, and more private parts. ‘I don’t really know why,’ he says. ‘In the past I have found that by inflicting pain on myself I could release a lot of anger and emotion without hurting anyone else. For about four months I would say that I was addicted to pain, I would slash my arms with a razor or a knife every time I became angry.’

Why do so many people want body modification? For some, BodMod is a fashion choice. If your friends or favourite stars do it, you may want to do it too” (Chris Wolfe, tribalectic.com).

Body modifications are classified mainly as three types, a) “Mainstream”, and b) Extreme, and c) Modifications of slow transformation. Examples on each category are given below.

 

a) “Mainstream” or simple types of body modifications are seen in forms such as:
  • body piercing for use of jewellery,
  • tattooing (the mechanical placement of ink in the skin),
  • scarification (cutting or removal of skin ),
  • branding,
  • hair removal and hair transplantation.

 

b) “Extreme” body modification takes the forms of:
  • “tongue splitting” or “forking the tongue”,
  • subdermal implant (implanting objects below the skin),

 

 

 

  • transdermal implant (implantation of an object below the skin, but which exits at one or more points),
  • suspension and flesh pulling (the lifting of the body by hooks inserted through temporary piercings in the flesh),
  • extra-ocular implant (wearing of eye jewellery), and
  • extreme lewd modifications on the more private parts the body that are naturally and morally repugnant. Such modifications or mutilations are self-abusive and rise to monstrous or satanic proportions.

 

c) Body modifications of slow transformation:
  • dieting – drastic alterations in eating habits can deliberately result in severe weight loss (as in anorexia nearing intentional starvation) or gain of weight (via force feeding),
  • bodybuilding – resistance training to increase muscle mass,
  • orthodontics – braces or other devices used to straighten the teeth,
  • corsetry or tight-lacing – binding of the waist and shaping of the torso,
  • cranial binding – modification of the shape of infants’ heads, now extremely rare,
  • foot binding – compression of the feet to modify them for aesthetic reasons,
  • non-surgical elongation of organs by prolonged stretching using weights or spacing devices.

 

Body art that covers the whole human being from head to foot is very big business today. Courses, seminars and conferences on body modification attract a big number of participants in the body-crazy world today. Clinics that perform every form of body modification are mushrooming at an alarming rate. The average cost of “Tongue splitting” in the U.S. ranges from $1000 to $2500 when your procedure is performed by a trained medical professional.

“Extreme body modification, though unnecessary, painful and dangerous, appeals to a surprising number of people. Body modifiers desire to change their body so strongly that they perform painful, dangerous and irreversible procedures upon themselves often without the support or knowledge of others. The reasons may be varied and strange, but they are always real and never trivial – few people perform major surgery upon themselves simply upon a whim” (Mc Bain, web site: Kuro5hin.org).

“The leading figures in the recent upsurge of BodMod are people who detest Christianity and delight in old pagan practices of self-inflicted pain and perverted sexuality. Other people may jump on the BodMod bandwagon without being aware of its pagan roots and the modern-day pagans who are driving it. But if we know what’s really happening and what the Bible says about these things, we’ll know that BodMod is not from God” (Cf. Chris Wolfe, Ibid.). Some of the individuals known for extensive body modification are, Cindy Jackson, Michael Jackson, Hao Lulu, Fakir Musafar, “The Great Omi”, Erik Sprague and “Stalking Cat”.

 

  1. Body modification and parenting problems

In the modern society that revives primitive customs, parents have more worries seeing their children going mad after the new fads and modes that are nothing but the dead bones of the pagan past.

“My child is interested in body modification – what shall I do?” asks many a parent today. According to Shannon Laratt, body modification, is a way that people use to express any number of ideas and ideals, some of which are really perverse. Body modification is for most young people a form of communication. Your child is expressing certain inner needs in part through body modification, which should be understood and resolved in a healthy way (Cf. Shannon Larratt, Bmezine.com).

As to whether it is linked to homosexuality the evidence is not much according to Larrat. Some 15 years ago the expression “gay ear” was prevalent because homosexuals used such an identification mark among them. But beyond that there is no evidence to show other types of body modification originate from homosexuals (Cf. Shannon Larratt).

Body modification may be also linked to promiscuity and drug use because children willing to experiment with their body may well be more willing to experiment sexually, according to Shannon Larrat. The author also affirms, “Studies have shown that promiscuous young people as well as young people who smoke marijuana are more likely to have tattoos and piercings” (Cf. Shannon Larratt, Ibid.).

 

  1. The Church of Body modification

Every cult has a Church named after it and so is the case of Body modification. The Church of Body Modification is a nondenominational interfaith congregation that claims to teach “ownership over ones own bodies”.

 

 

 

They affirm, “It is our belief that by practising body modification and by engaging in rituals of body manipulation we strengthen the bond between mind, body, and soul and ensure that we live as spiritually complete and healthy individuals. Modified individuals will no longer be dismissed as a minority in our world.

We have a voice and strong spiritual connection with our modifications. It is now that we will take back our traditions, whether old or new, and own our bodies so that we may practice our body rites. This is our birthright” (www. uscobm.com).

 

  1. Body modification and the Bible

The Bible does not give explicit directions on this topic except in one or two instances like in Leviticus, “Do not lacerate your bodies for the dead, and do not tattoo yourselves. I am the LORD” (Lev. 19:28). Such specific directions do not address all the issues that go by the name of body modification. But we have sufficient teachings in the Bible, especially the New Testament, that strike at the root of this dangerous fad. We quote here just two key exhortations of Paul while making a few other references. To the Romans Paul urges, “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1). To the Corinthians Paul comes out with that sublime teaching that is so familiar to every Christian, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
(1 Cor. 6:19-20). Confer also other references, namely, 1 Pet: 1:18; Eph. 4:17-24; Col. 3:5-6. We need not look for specific references on the dignity of the human body if we understand the meaning of the resurrection. Without this truth about the resurrection, there is no basis in our faith says St. Paul, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching; empty, too, your faith. (1 Cor. 15:14). In such a case our faith too is in vain, “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:16). This thought gives dignity to our body that is to be kept holy.

 

Conclusion

Satan’s multi-pronged attack against the followers of the “Lamb” is to capture the mind through deceit, the soul through the occult, the emotions through vulgar and violent music, and the body through body modifications. In this article we have exposed above only one of these weapons, namely, body modification. Body modification or body art – call it a new art or science, or fashion, it is a real booming industry and rising high in the global market. But spiritually it is a sickening sign of decadence of today’s civilisation. In the wake of “this adulterous generation” going morally corrupt, even parents stand aghast as their children go swimming downstream in the evil world, and drift away only to be swallowed up by the whirlpool of evil. Like their own parents they may have begun with little things of body adorning. Minor forms of body modification and body adorning are indeed quite common. But such practices are not really Christian. But what is to be feared most is the extreme form of it – that is already fast becoming trendy around us. Such extreme perverse manifestations have roots that go deep into certain passions of the flesh. Such extreme ways are sought for a type of pleasure that is cruel, to drink in pain sadistically – that is even at times inspired powerfully by the occult.

The misuse of the body to such extreme limits has definitely no liberating value. On the contrary, it is purely destructive and abusive of one’s own God-given given gift, the body that has a new dignity after Jesus shed his blood and rose again to redeem the fallen man. “He was pierced for our sins”, wrote Isaiah (Isaiah 53:5). He let his blood flow on the cross not for love of pain or pleasure but to wash away our sin. So body modification – whether it be for pain or pleasure – cannot free the inner self. There is no saving power in the flow of sadistic blood. It is the blood of Christ that frees us. For those who take to body modification driven by urges of lust, still there is redemption through the blood of Christ when tears of repentance mingle with it. So cry in the name of his precious blood and his Spirit will descend and do the healing act.

 

References

  1. Body modification, en.wikipedia.org
  2. Chris Wolfe from Des Moines, IA.
    Honour God with your Body, 1 Corinthians 6:20, tribalectic.com
  3. Mac Bain, Extreme Body Modification (Culture), web site: Kuro5hin.org
  4. Shannon Larratt, Body Modification:
    What Parents Need To Know, Bmezine.com
  5. The Church of Body Modification, uscobm.com/doctrine.asp
  6. Tongue-splitting, Infoplasticsurgery.com

 

REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION

Fr. Joseph Aymanathil sdb., editor of Streams of Living Water, Kolkata, holds a doctorate in Canon Law

 

 

 

Tattoos/Leviticus 19:28

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=388

July 21, 2007

Tattoos are becoming a very popular form of body art. Some people choose tattoos of demons, depictions of evil, Satan, etc. I would like to know, do tattoos of this nature draw evil to that person, even though they may have no more thought of it rather than it’s just cool body art. –Kerri

The subject of tattoos comes up periodically. The question is usually whether or not a Christian should have a tattoo in the first place (is it a sin?), and secondly, about the kind of tattoo.

Tattoos are primarily an issue of vanity rather than an objective sin in-an-of-themselves (unless the tattoo is vulgar or blasphemous, or it promotes/glorifies sin or the demonic).

The bible to my memory does not address the issue of tattoos nor does the Church. To consider it mutilation as some people suggest is a bit much. The Bible, however, does talk about vanity in general and vanity specifically in terms of bodily adornment.

Vanity is an issue that many in our society ignore as a problem and often will glorify. Vanity can lead to various sins and therefore can be very dangerous.

Another aspect to this (although somewhat off topic) is that tattoos are often things that many people eventually regret getting. There are untold millions spent every year in cosmetic surgeries to remove things that seemed like a good idea at the time.

Bottom line: unless the tattoo is vulgar, blasphemous, promotes/glorifies sin, the demonic or the occult, or encourages or promotes any other immoral or unChristian act or thought, it is not in-an-of-itself a sin.

The issue to consider is the pride and vanity. We must examine ourselves to see why we want a tattoo or, for that matter, why we want to wear decorations that come off, like rings, necklaces, ear rings, etc. Ostentatious displays and decorations are generally not consistent with Christian modesty and decorum; and as Christians we are to be modest and to avoid vanity and pride.

So, examine yourself to see why you want this and whether this is merely an expression of vanity, or whether there is a good reason for it within the bounds of modesty and humility. This goes for all jewelry and fashions we wear as well.

As to specific tattoos of demons, evil, Satan, etc., this is outright improper. St. Paul tells us that we are not to even have the appearance of evil.

I think there is a serious question about the person himself who wishes to have tattoos of that depict evil theme. Why would a person want such a thing? Evil is NOT “cool.” The “benign” depiction of evil is NOT “cool.”

Whatever clothing we wear, jewelry we wear, or tattoos we have is an expression of something about us. It is a message. What message does a tattoo of evil give?

No, there is no justification for a tattoo depicting an evil theme. To those people who want one thinking it is just “cool body art” I would recommend seeing a psychologist. I mean that. There is something deeply wrong when a person thinks that demons, evil, and Satan are “cool” in any context.

Having such a tattoo is certainly contrary to the Christian life. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=402

August 1, 2007

I always thought that Leviticus 19:28 “you shalt not make any cuttings in your flesh, for the dead, neither shall you make in yourselves any figures or marks: I am the Lord” applied to tattoos.

Wouldn’t this word “marks” mean tattoos, and would this not constitute a commandment against such marks? This verse infers, to me, that doing so would be idolatry which is breaking the first commandment. And if so, wouldn’t that mean that tattoos are a sin?
For aren’t our bodies on loan to us from God, and if so we shouldn’t “graffiti” the body.
I would presume that most people who are tattooing themselves, especially to an extreme, are obsessive people and live an alternative lifestyle mostly contrary to the Christian way, and if so wouldn’t this be a slow invite to the evil one who preys on our weaknesses and obsesses? -Jim

The passage in Leviticus 19:28 is not a commandment but a Levitical regulation referring to religious and superstitious practices that were common at the time. It is not referring to Tattoos as such as we typically think of them today. Should a modern day tattoo have superstitious or idolatrous meaning then it would be a sin.

We must be careful, in general, when reading Leviticus and other books in the Old Testament. There are thousands of regulations and rules that no longer apply today. What survives are the commandments and other laws that pertain to the Two Great Commandments of loving God and loving neighbor. Thus, the Mosaic Ten Commandments still apply, the prohibition of witchcraft and mediums found in Deuteronomy and elsewhere still apply (a violation of the worship of God alone and Trust in Him).

But, for example, in the same passage as the tattoo prohibition is found the following:

v19b: …nor shall there come upon you a garment of cloth made of two kinds of stuff (textiles) (I guess cotton blends are out)

v26: You shall not eat any flesh with the blood in it (no more juicy medium rare steak)

v27: You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard (check our hair styles)

 

 

All these prohibitions were not universal commandments, but were directed against pagan customs involving magic and were designed to prevent the Jews from being affected by the superstitions and magical practices (of which includes the tattoo) of the time.

As mentioned in a previous post, tattoos are not inherently sinful as long as they do not depict something blasphemous, vulgar, sacrilegious, occultic, or otherwise something contrary to Catholic Teaching.

There is a real issue of vanity, however. Ostentatious displays are contrary to the Catholic Teaching on modesty and humility. Even if a tattoo is not publicly visible, it can still be motivated by immodesty and ostentatious demeanor.

Anyone seeking a tattoo needs to closely examine themselves and their motivations first.

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=406

August 2, 2007

I still feel that tattoos could teeter on breaking the First Commandment, vanity issue aside, unless it’s a tattoo of the crucifixion. Seeing that wouldn’t bother me. Vanity is sort of self idolatry, I would think. Anyway, your answer makes me feel a bit better about the tattoos. –Jim

I can tell you do not like tattoos 🙂 Neither do I and I do not like the idea of defending the practice, which I have had to do several times. But, we need to avoid scrupulosity.

I am not sure how tattoos, in-and-of-themselves teeters on Idolatry. Idolatry is the worship of false gods. How does having a tattoo worship a false god?

If I have a lapel pin of a dolphin, or a tattoo of a dolphin, does that mean I am worshiping dolphins? Or, if I have a lapel pin or tattoo of the flag of the United States mean that I am worshiping the country.

A tattoo cannot possibly be considered a idolatrous thing unless that was the meaning and intent of the tattoo itself. If I wear a label pin of a dolphin as a symbol of my god, then it would be an idolatrous symbol. Otherwise all it means is that I like dolphins, or that I am an activist against killing dolphins perhaps. A flag may mean nothing more than I am patriotic.

Let us not interpret more into a thing than is there.

As for vanity, I understand what you mean by calling it a form of self-worship, but actually vanity is a subset of Pride. I suppose Pride could also be considered a form of self-worship. In fact, ALL things that lead us away from God is in a way self-worship, but these things are not technically idolatry inherently–formal idolatry.

If having pride and vanity meant we are idolaters then everyone is guilty. We all have problems with pride and vanity. It is part of the human condition.

Now, pride and vanity can lead to an outright idolatry, a worship of a false god — either thinking oneself a god or some other entity as god.

I suppose we can identity a “material” idolatry when people, for example, consider sports to be more important than God.

Anyway, that discussion is making my eyes cross.

Bottom line, I do not think that tattoos are inherently evil or idolatrous. We have to look at what the tattoo depicts, what it represents, what the person intended with the tattoo, what it means to the person, why the person wanted the tattoo, etc. before we can pass judgment.

There is also the scandal aspect. Is wearing a tattoo or especially multiple tattoos good for our Christian witness because of how our society views tattoos? Is it the image we want to present as a Christian? Tattoos are certainly “optional” and thus if having tattoos offended the sensibilities of those to whom we should be a testimony of Christ, then perhaps we should choose prudence. This test also goes for jewelry, clothing, and all other external things in our lives that may serve to glorify or not glorify God in other people’s eyes.

I suppose if one were an evangelist to motorcycle gangs, a tattoo might open some doors. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Tattoos

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=835

December 9, 2007

Before I get any tattoo, I wanted to know if getting the chi rho symbol is wrong… I want something that represents me standing for god and the Catholic Church.

I also wanted to know if getting the Anubis which is an Egyptian god, the thing is, is that I don’t believe in the god. I just like the dog, and to me it symbols death, the next life. Would it be wrong? –Suzanne

The Chi Rho symbol is the symbol of Christ. “Chi” and “Rho” are the first two letters in the Greek spelling of the word “Christ.” This symbol is the one that the Emperor Constantine saw in a vision with the motto: “On this symbol thou shall conquer.” Under this emblem Constantine won his battles. This symbol is also an emblem of my community, the Order of the Legion of St. Michael. There is certainly nothing wrong with this symbol.

As for the Egyptian symbol it would NOT be appropriate for a Christian to use it. Even though you may not believe in the Egyptian gods, it is nevertheless a symbol of those gods. Christians have no business using such symbols.

As for tattoos, this subject comes up periodically. The question is usually whether or not a Christian should have a tattoo in the first place (is it a sin?), and secondly, about the kind of tattoo.

Tattoos are primarily an issue of vanity rather than an objective sin in-an-of-themselves (unless the tattoo is vulgar or blasphemous, or it promotes/glorifies sin, other gods or the demonic).

The bible to my memory does not address the issue of tattoos nor does the Church. To consider it mutilation as some people suggest is a bit much. The Bible, however, does talk about vanity in general and vanity specifically in terms of bodily adornment.

 

 

Vanity is an issue that many in our society ignore as a problem and often will glorify. Vanity can lead to various sins and therefore can be very dangerous.

The Bible does tell us to avoid the symbols of false gods.

Another aspect to this (although somewhat off topic) is that tattoos are often things that many people eventually regret getting. There are untold millions spent every year in cosmetic surgeries to remove things that seemed like a good idea at the time.

Bottom line: unless the tattoo is vulgar, blasphemous, promotes/glorifies sin, depicts or represents false gods, is demonic or occultic, or encourages or promotes any other immoral or unChristian act or thought, it is not in-an-of-itself a sin.

The issue to consider is the pride and vanity. We must examine ourselves to see why we want a tattoo or, for that matter, why we want to wear decorations that come off, like rings, necklaces, ear rings, etc. Ostentatious displays and decorations are generally not consistent with Christian modesty and decorum; and as Christians we are to be modest and to avoid vanity and pride.

So, examine yourself to see why you want this and whether this is merely an expression of vanity, or whether there is a good reason for it within the bounds of modesty and humility. This goes for all jewelry and fashions we wear as well.

As to specific tattoos of demons, evil, false gods, Satan, etc., this is outright improper. St. Paul tells us that we are not to even have the appearance of evil.

I think there is a serious question about the person himself who wishes to have tattoos of that depict evil theme. Why would a person want such a thing? Evil is NOT “cool.” The “benign” depiction of evil is NOT “cool.”

Whatever clothing we wear, jewelry we wear, or tattoos we have is an expression of something about us. It is a message. What message does a tattoo of evil give?

No, there is no justification for a tattoo depicting an evil theme. To those people who want one thinking it is just “cool body art” I would recommend seeing a psychologist. I mean that. There is something deeply wrong when a person thinks that demons, evil, and Satan are “cool” in any context. Having such a tattoo is certainly contrary to the Christian life.

While there might be an issue of vanity that needs to be expressed a tattoo of a Christian symbol such as the Chi Rho would be permissible. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Tattoos

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1048

June 10, 2008

i want to know if having a tattoo of the Virgin Mary is wrong. I’m not sure if it’s good or not right for me to have her on my body. –Suzanne

This subject of tattoos comes up periodically. [Rest, as in the above answer]

While there might be an issue of vanity that needs to be expressed a tattoo of a Christian symbol such as the Chi Rho, for Fish, or Cross would be permissible.

A tattoo of our Blessed Mother, or of our Lord, on the other hand may not be sinful, but I personally think it is rather tacky. I am not sure if it would be blasphemous, but some may suggest that a tattoo of the image of our Blessed Mother, or of our Lord is disrespectful. I am not sure that is the case. I know that I would not do it and I admit that I would be taken back a little if I saw it on someone else.

Which leads to the final consideration. Even if it is not sin, even if the image is permissible, that does not mean we ought to do it. Tattoos have a negative reputation, a worldly reputation. As such I believe Christians should not get tattoos. As Christians we are to be counter-cultural, to have some detachment from the world. Tattoos I do not believe fits the requirement of detachment.

There is also the issue of how others see us, and even of possible scandal.  We do need to consider how others see us. We need to represent Christ to others. While it may no seem fair, being a good example for Christ is more important then us indulging in our desires and preferences.

Tattoos are generally not seen by the general public as something Christians would do. While we do not need to be enslaved by public opinion, we do need to consider it and try to put the best Christian image forward.

Also, we need to think of the possible scandal. Whether it is fair or not, whether we like it or not, others may see having a tattoo as a bawdy and vulgar thing, even if the tattoo is of our Blessed Mother. As a result they may decide to not become Christian if such things are allowed in Christianity.

Also, is the influence of the tattoo in general; while you may have a tattoo of the Blessed Mother, it is a tattoo. This could inspire others to get a tattoo, but they may not get one that is proper.

Also, once in the tattoo arena, one can get influenced by the negative side of the tattoo culture.

Perhaps you are rolling your eyes at all this. We, as Christians, have an obligation to consider these sorts of things, to analyze things as I have done here.

We are ambassadors of Christ on this planet. As ambassadors our demeanor, behavior, form of dress, forms of recreation, etc. matter. People do watch what we do. Hopefully, we model the holiness of Christ. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Tattoos/Leviticus 19:28

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1147

August 31, 2008

I was reading several posts and came across this question and response posted June 10, 2008.

 

 

My son recently got a tattoo along with his girlfriend (of a large cross on their forearm.) He desires to get another one later of a family crest, and I am trying to lovingly discourage him. As you have said, and of which I agree, I have told him along those same thoughts (but not the vanity part – that never occurred to me). I have forwarded him that question and your response and hope that he truly considers your wise answer.

I just wanted to let you know that the Bible does talk about “tattoos” and here is the passage:
Lev 19:28 “You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” (NRSV)
Lev 19:28 “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh, for the dead: neither shall you make in yourselves any figures or marks. I am the Lord.” (Douay-Rheims)
The way I comprehend this passage is that ancient tribes would make tattoos (cut their flesh and/or hair as well) for their dead. It was not so much that tattoos were forbidden by God as that they were used back then for paganistic beliefs. Thus God commanded that these pagan rituals were not to be done. Just as cremation used to be a pagan belief for the dead and Christians were forbidden, today a Christian can utilize cremation so long as it has no pagan ties/beliefs. I understand the same applies to tattoos so long as it has no occult/pagan ties. Some people use a religious tattoo to honor their Christian beliefs just as wearing a necklace of a crucifix is an outward sign of their Christian belief.
Although not a sin to do so, I agree with your response that much of society holds negative connotations tied with tattoos which can have unwanted consequences – especially later in life with job careers. People do tend to judge even though it is wrong to prejudge another. Claire

Yes, I am familiar with that passage, and similar passages such as 1 Kings 18:28 and Isaiah 44:5.

As you mentioned these customs of cutting the skin (tattoo) was associated with pagan rituals. Except with certain tribal cultures and occult groups today tattoos are not sought or given for ritualistic purposes, and was certainly not the case with Suzanne. Thus, I did not consider these passages in my previous answer when I said that I could not recall any passage in the Bible about this. I was thinking about tattoos as body art when saying that. But, you are right, the Bible does mention this in the context of pagan ritual practices.

The primary problem with tattoos, in my opinion, however, is not so much the public perception as it is the issue of vanity. Public perceptions can change and is changing toward the tattoo, but the issue of vanity remains.
–Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Tattoos

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1491

December 2, 2009

Do tigers or wolves mean anything negative in our religion? I’m making a religious tattoo and i want either one apart of it but i want to make sure first. –Suzanne

To my knowledge there is no symbolic universal meaning in Christianity to an image of a wolf or tiger. It is possible that some local culture of Christians may attach some symbol to these images that relate to Christianity.

On the subject of tattoos: Tattoos are not inherently evil or idolatrous. We have to look at what the tattoo depicts, what it represents, what the person intended with the tattoo, what it means to the person, why the person wanted the tattoo, etc. before we can pass judgment.

There two other aspect to consider. First, tattoos tend to be an item of vanity. As such, any tattoo desired for vanity reasons would be improper. (Same goes for jewelry and clothing and even hair style)

Second, there is also the scandal aspect. Is wearing a tattoo or especially multiple tattoos good for our Christian witness because of how our society views tattoos? Is it the image we want to present as a Christian? Tattoos tend to be associated with non-Christian people and activities, and even trashiness sometimes. Tattoos are certainly “optional” and thus if having tattoos offended the sensibilities of those to whom we should be a testimony of Christ, then perhaps we should choose prudence over our desire to have a tattoo. This test also goes for jewelry, clothing, and all other external things in our lives that may serve to glorify or not glorify God in other people’s eyes.

While we cannot be slaves to other people’s sensitivities the Bible does teach us that we are not to be a stumbling block to our weaker brethren.

I suppose if one were an evangelist to motorcycle gangs, a tattoo might open some doors
–Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Penis and breast modification

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1699

July 26, 2010

Are methods of penis enlargement a sin? Would it be considered a form of masturbation? I know in other places you have said masturbation is deliberately stimulating the genitals for sexual pleasure but this doesn’t cause any sexual pleasure. The technique I am doing is calling jelqing. –Nick

The real question is why on earth would you want to do such a thing. Penis enlargement is a ridiculous thing and born out of the pornographic world we live in.

In the first place, if you are not married, no woman should see your privates, so what does it matter. When you do get married, and on your wedding night, if your wife cares about your size, then she is an idiot and cad.

In the second place, penis size does not matter, except to the perverted women who has been brainwashed to think that size matters. Such women are disgusting and not worth your time.

 

 

 

This disgust also goes for men who think that large breasts matters. Any husband who pressures his girlfriend or wife to mutilate herself with breast enlargement should be horse-whipped and run out of town on a rail.

The fact is that genital sexual arousal for women is primarily focused on the nerve endings at the entrance to her vagina. The nerve endings into the vaginal canal are few. Thus, size of the penis has little consequence. The other anatomy of arousal, and the most important, is the clitoris. Penis size again has little to do with it. Stimulating a woman’s clitoris during intercourse is a matter of position and technique not size.

Relationships are not about sex. A relationship is about love. The size of the sexual parts of a man or woman are meaningless for those who love. The pleasure of the marital embrace is is not impeded by size. Love, intimacy, bonding, and children are the only reasons for sex within marriage between a man and women.

Thus, there is no reason to try any technique of penis enlargement.

In the third place, you can hurt yourself, maybe seriously, by doing this.

In the fourth place, the technique requires partial erection (to deliberately cause that requires sexual arousal), thus this technique does include a form of masturbation.

Regardless, of the 4th point, the first two makes this whole idea moot.

I think you need to work on your self-esteem. Your manhood or manliness is not determined by the size of your genitals. Any woman who thinks otherwise is perverted and not worthy of your attention.

I am speaking with some hardness because you need to be slapped to your senses.

Both men and woman need to accept what they are born with. The only exception to this statement that I can think of at the moment, is with women who have extraordinarily large breasts. This can actually be a medical problem and breast reduction surgery may be needed for medical reasons.

Give up this idea. It matters not if you are single anyway. And it matters not with your wife if she actually loves you. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM



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EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church

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