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"Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:28

This passage is both in the Christian Bible and the Jewish Torah, which share the Old Testament. Traditionalists in both religions speak out against getting tattoos and point to this passage as the reason, but modern times have seen the acceptance of tattoos into most spiritual communities.

   It was said in the past that tattoos were the “mark of the beast” that is referenced in the bible. The devil is said to come and collect all souls that have the “mark of the beast” on judgment day, and tattooing has been interpreted as that mark in extremist Christian groups. Now, however, crosses, rosaries, praying hands and other Christian symbols are better represented in tattooing than any other organization. It is no longer a taboo amongst Christians, but instead has become a source of pride.


   It was once against the law for Jews to get tattooed, and it was a crime punishable by the rejection of being buried in a Jewish cemetery. However, post-Holocaust, after countless Jews had been tattooed with numbers against their will by Nazis, this law was no longer enforced. Getting a tattoo by choice is still highly looked down upon in most strict Jewish communities, but is becoming less so with each generation.


  Pagans celebrate their religion and spirituality with tattoos of pagan symbols. Stars, trees, and the elements are tattoos chosen often by everyone, but pagans take credit for most of the most popular tattoo designs. Buddhists have been tattooing since before Jesus was said to have been alive, and their designs are still in practice today.

Hindus are able to get tattoos, except for pictures of their gods. They can get the names of their gods tattooed on them, but not the actual images. Every other type of image is allowed.


Islam also prohibits any type of body mutilation, much like Christianity and Judaism, and tattooing is included. True believers of Islam follow this rule carefully and stay tattoo-free.


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Author: Scott Jones