Tattoos are becoming increasingly trendy in popular culture and the problem occurs when Christians want to place the label “Christian” on a secular trend. You can see this in the music community with Christian “death metal”, a heavy metal sub-genre that is primary focused on death and the occult. Lyrics are screamed in a guttural growl over intense rhythm and little if any melody. Death and Christianity are opposite, it’s an oxymoron, a figure of speech that has contradictory terms. This can be applied to “Christian Yoga”. Yoga is Hindu meditative practice with positions and stretches to awaken the serpent power or “Kundalini” force. Christian and Yoga are to opposing religions. This is the case with tattoos as well.
While on some TV shows such as Miami Ink, grieving people want to have a portrait of a loved one on their body, this would by far be the minority of all tattoos. Most tattoos revolve around symbolism and most of the symbolism in tattoo art deals with death. Scull and crossbones, tribal art, phoenix, animals representing power are common themes.
Many use the verse to affirm that tattoos are wrong for a Christian:
28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.
Lev 19:28 (KJV)
The problem here is that we’re not under the law, the previous verse states that “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. ”
Taken out of context it looks like having a trim and haircut are also wrong, but these verses go towards associating with paganism. Tattooing has never been a Christian or Jewish practice, but has it’s roots in paganism and the occult. Even today, the subcultures that are most taken to tattoos have connections with occult practices and\or rebellion. Examples being the goth\vampire subculture, music subcultures that focus primarily on rebellion such as heavy metal and outlaw motorcycle subcultures. Tribal tattoos are becoming increasingly popular.
I am a guitar player and grew up listening to metal as well I ride motorcycles so I can definitely understand the temptation to get a tattoo with a Bible verse, but does that mean I should?
An applicable verse against tattoos would be best associated with:
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
1 Sam 15:23
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.