“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.”
The Old Testament explicitly forbids God’s people from getting tattooed. It might be argued that believers in God have refused to get tattooed because they view the body as the Holy Spirit’s temple. But research conducted in 1999 is beginning to suggest that there is more to the issue.
Dr. William Cardasis, a Michigan criminal psychiatrist, sees a possible link between criminal behavior and tattoos. In his study of 55 patients at a maximum security hospital, Dr. Cardasis found statistical links between sociopathic behavior and the tendency to wear tattoos. He found that patients with tattoos were much more likely to have no regard for the rights of others, behave impulsively and lie and steal with no remorse. Another study of cadavers in New York City showed that the bodies of teen drug addicts had twice the number of tattoos compared to the general population. One tattoo artist told the press that he refuses to tattoo the face, neck or hands. He pointed out that some people consider tattoos in these places to be “serial killer territory.” Dr. Cardasis adds that simply having a tattoo doesn’t mean one is a criminal – that depends on what the tattoo means to the person wearing it.
Getting a tattoo is a permanent commitment to the symbol represented by the tattoo. Believers should have a permanent commitment only to Jesus Christ.
Thank You, Lord, for making my body the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“What do tattoos say about the soul?” The Toronto Star, 12/26/99, p. J6. Photo: Latin Kings gang member showing his gang tattoo. Courtesy of Javier Ramirez. (CC-BY-SA 3.0)