Body Piercing - A Return to Paganism
In some of the most unexpected places we are
confronted by a revival of the old tribal practices of body
scarification, body piercing and body mutilation. Nose rings, eyebrow
rings, belly rings, tongue studs, multiple earrings, nipple rings,
tattoos and other disfigurements are more than an identifiable
sub-culture - it is all part of an aggressive fashion statement which
is challenging the Christian Church.
"Do not cut your bodies…or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am Yahweh. " Leviticus 19:28
Unfortunately, most Church leaders have remained silent on this
practice, even while some youth leaders and Bible College students are
giving themselves over to body modification.
As Christians, we are called to be holy, set apart and different
from the world, consecrated to God. "Everybody's doing it" is hardly an
argument to justify Christian involvement. The very fact that pagans
practice body piercing should be a compelling enough argument against
Christians being conformed to the world. (Romans 12:1-2)
The Scriptures are clear that we must treat our bodies with respect,
they are not our own to do with as we wish. They belong to God, who
made them and who purchased them with His own blood. Our bodies are to
be temples of the Holy Spirit. We are to glorify God with our bodies (1
Corinthians 3:16-18 ; 6:15,19-20)
On the other hand, the Bible records how pagans abused their bodies.
The false prophets of Baal "slashed themselves with swords and spears,
as was their custom until their blood flowed." (1 Kings 18:28). The
demon possessed man of Gadara cut himself with stones and ran around
naked (Mark 5:5).
It was the custom of the Ishmaelite men to wear gold earrings.
(Judges 8:24). Biblically, a pierced ear is a public indication of
permanent slavery (Exodus 21:6, 32:1-3).
Part of the Biblical description of a harlot is that "she decked
herself with rings and jewellery … but Me she forgot, declares the
Lord." (Hosea 2:13).
To draw attention to ourselves with these excessive fashion
statements is hardly in keeping with the Biblical commands to be humble
and modest (Proverbs 21:4; 1 Timothy 2:9-10, 1 Peter 3:3-4).
After God spoke to Jacob, he instructed his household to get rid of
their idols and purify themselves. Along with their stone idols, they
buried their earrings (Genesis 35:2).
Our bodies matter. They are to be presented to God as holy offerings
- in a way that pleases God. We are not to follow the example of the
pagans. Making holes in our bodies is hardly respecting them as temples
of the Holy Spirit. Permanently disfiguring our bodies is blatant
rebellion against our Creator and Redeemer.
The present obsession of many with body modification is a revival of
tribalism. It involves a painful initiation rite, which produces an
identification with a certain tribe, clan or sub-culture. The history
of body modification is evidenced all over the world wherever animism
and spiritism has been the religion.
The Kacipo people in Sudan stretch their lower lips to fit a
saucer-sized pottery and they stretch their ear lobes to create huge
holes and long earlobes. Amongst the Nuba tribes in Sudan, multiple
earrings, nose rings, body scarification and body painting are
prevalent. The Dinka and Nuer tribes in Sudan are easily identifiable
by the pattern of scars across their foreheads.
Amongst the Hindus - nose studs, belly rings, toe rings, tongue
studs and eyebrow rings are common. Tattoos amongst the Amazon tribes
identify the various members of a given tribe. In Papau New Guinea, all
kinds of body scarification, tattoos and body mutilation distinguish
the various tribes.
Among the tribes in Borneo, tattooing is mainly associated with head
hunting (a visible sign of success) for men and the coming of age of
women - in some cases it symbolizes their social status. Tattoos are
part of the "rites of passage."
A pagan view on the subject: "A tattoo is a complex signifier: it
signals class; it signals sexuality; and it has specific content as a
signifier: a depiction of an animal, a person, an abstract tribal
design. The most usual motifs are signifiers of power and
masculinity... But what the tattoo signals above all is the power one
seizes over one's own body… To be branded or tattooed shows also that
you have the requisite guts to join the group...it serves as a sign of
pain and hence of resolution." (Crispen Sartwell) To put this in simple
terms. It is a form of autonomy (self law) which is idolatry.
"Tattooing is often a magical rite in the more traditional cultures,
and the tattooist is respected as a priest or shaman." (Michelle Delio,
Tattoo: The Exotic Art of Skin Decoration) And in the same way, eyebrow
rings, nose rings, multiple earrings, nipple rings, belly rings and
tongue studs distinguish identifiable sub-cultures in New York, London,
Paris and other capitals of what is meant to be civilization ("The look
on their faces testifies agaist them; they parade their sin like Sodom;
they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon
themselves." Isaiah 3:9)
The irony is that while so many Westerners rush into new age
religions, body piercing and occultism, many millions in the tribes
mentioned in Africa, South America, Asia and the Pacific islands, are
being converted to Christ and are abandoning the body piercing
practices of their pagan past. It is very clear who are the Christians
and who are the pagans in these mission fields. The pagans wear little
or no clothing and they engage in a variety of body scarification, body
piercing and/or tattoos. On the other hand, the Christians are easily
identifiable - they wear clothes and they don't engage in any body
modification. Repentance has always been the response of pagan people
when they've embraced the Gospel of Christ (Deuteronomy 6:13-21).
Of course, some older people will still have the scars and the holes
- testimony of the pagan past before they were converted - but all
earrings, eyebrow rings, nose rings and such like have been removed.
And their children are free from these pagan disfigurements. It is
unheard of in these areas for Christians to voluntarily pierce or
tattoo their bodies (Deuteronomy 14:1-2). In fact, they are shocked
when Western men visit them with ponytails and earrings.
As so many Christians have immersed themselves in pagan music,
immoral videos and worldly amusements, it should not surprise us that
so many of our youth are indistinguishable from their non-Christian
friends (James 4:4). The mind-rotting, brain-numbing, soul-destroying
trash that fills the ears, eyes and minds of our youth should be
sufficient explanation for the backslidden, immoral and un-Christian
behaviour, which now even includes professing Christians disfiguring
their bodies with pagan piercings (Romans 3:18).
It is time for youth leaders and pastors to study what the Scripture
teaches on this subject and then to boldly, and without compromise,
preach on these passages and call those people who are defiling their
bodies to repent. We need to take God's Word seriously.
"Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and
spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." 2 Corinthians 7:1
Other useful verses: Leviticus 21:5-6, 1 Peter 2:9, Galatians 5:13,
1 Peter 2:16, Galatians 5:1, 1 Peter 2:11, Psalm 36:2, Lamentations
3:40, Galatians 2:20, 1 Thessalonians 5:23
For information on health hazzards, see http://www.users.bigpond.com/rdoolan/bodypiercing.html
For information on tattoos, see http://groups.msn.com/MLTReceptionGroup/tattoos.msnw
Courtesy of http://www.christianaction.org.za/articles_ca/2003-4-BodyPiercing-A...
An extreme example of body piercing, mutilation and tattooing
Is Piercing Ear Lobes for Earrings OK?
It may not be remotely as extreme as the picture above
but it's still body mutilation and doing to the temple of the Ruach
(Spirit) that which Yahweh did not design it for. So piercing ear-lobes
is not OK anymore that 5 minutes of sexual immorality is more
acceptable that 5 years of it. Sin is sin. If the sisters want to wear
earrings, and their fathers or husbands are in agreement, then they
should be modest, not eye-catching and use clasps, not piercing. The
only time a woman may dress up in order to be eye-catching is at her
MRSA and health hazzards associated with ear-piercing: http://legalminds.lp.findlaw.com/list/personal-injury/msg03151.html
Risks Associated with Body Piercing
- Allergic reaction to ingredients of products used to clean the new
piercing, or of ancillary products used in proximity to the piercing
(e.g., soap, hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol, antibacterial products, antiseptic medicines, makeup, hairspray, swimming pool chlorine,
etc.). This risk can be minimized by cleaning the piercing as
recommended by a professional body piercer (different piercers will
have differing recommendations), by not contaminating the fresh
piercing with irritating products, and by not swimming in chlorinated
- Chlorine from swimming pools may cause the pierced area to dry out, which may cause the piercing to be torn out very easily.
- Allergic reaction to the metal in the piercing jewelry, particularly nickel. This risk can be minimized by using high quality jewelry manufactured from surgical stainless steel or similar inert metals.
- Bacterial infection, particularly from Staphylococcus aureus.
However, this risk is greatly reduced when the piercing is performed by
a professional body piercer using best practice piercing techniques,
and when appropriate steps are taken during the aftercare period to
avoid infection. Blunt force piercing, such as that associated with the
use of ear piercing instruments,
increases the chance of a bacterial infections. For that reason, among
others, piercing guns should never be used to pierce any part of the
body other than earlobes.
- Parasitic and protozoan
infections may occur by swimming in lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans
during the healing period. The best way to reduce this risk is to avoid
swimming in these locations.
- Excess scar tissue,
which can be caused by improper piercing, cleansing, and stretching.
This may result in loss of sensation and difficulty piercing and
stretching that area of skin in the future.
- Keloid formation can sometimes occur, particularly among people who are pre-disposed to this condition through heredity.
to a fresh piercing, usually associated with unintended entanglement of
the piercing jewelry with another object. This risk is always present,
but can be reduced by using jewelry appropriate for the piercing, and
covering or taping over jewelry during sports activities. Also, larger
gauge piercings will tend to resist tearing better than smaller gauge
- Viral infection, particularly from hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. However, it is important to note that although hepatitis has been transmitted through the practices of ear piercing, body piercing, and tattooing, there has not yet been a case of HIV transmission associated with these procedures (see CDC Fact Sheet: HIV and Its Transmission).
As with bacterial infections, the risk of viral infection is minimized
when proper piercing techniques are used, particularly by the use of autoclaved disposable piercing needles and the autoclaving of jewelry prior to installation.
- Erosion of gums (in lip and tongue piercings). In some cases, gum
bleeding can be induced. In extreme cases, teeth may fall out if there
isn't enough gum to hold them in place.
- Piercing may become addictive. Psychologically, one may become
addicted to the experience of obtaining a new piercing, or the response
of one's peers or oneself to the consequent alteration in body image. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_piercing)
Robbing Your Spouse?
Your body is not only a temple of the
Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit - 1 Cor.3:16; 6:19) but a very finely tuned
instrument for sexual pleasure that belongs to your spouse and for your
mutual echad or oneness (1 Cor.7:4). That means, in addition to
Yahweh, your spouse has a say in what you do to your body. Surrendering
your erogenous zones (like ear lobes, sexual organs, etc.) to
mutilation will naturally deprive your spouse of divinely-given
sensitivity and responsiveness and consequently diminish your echad. Have you considered that piercing your body anywhere and attaching to it symbols of slavery gives someone else or something else a measure of ownership? "Do not give the devil a foothold" in anything!
(Eph.4:27). And do you really want to caress your spouses' earlobe and
get a mouthful of metal, plastic, plasma or puss? Rather give all to
Yahweh and to your spouse and rejoice in the gifts that He has given
you for mutual enjoyment and praise.