As we approach the Christmas season, people all over the world are decking halls with holly branches and donning gay apparel. Trees, lights, nativity sets, snowmen, St. Nicks, and reindeer are symbols that tell the story of Christ’s birth. It is truly good, right, and beneficial to decorate our property in this way. The very nature of humanity is symbolic, as we are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). Everything we think, say, or do is symbolic in some sense. It shouldn’t be a surprise that we are decorative people. Christians have a rich tradition of symbolism tracing back to our Israelite fathers, the flood, the garden of Eden, and even to the six days of creation. Symbols beget symbols. We create images and make associations with them. This is what God does, and we mimic him.
When it comes to body art, however, controversy arises. Tattoos and piercings are common in the broader culture and have become quite acceptable within the church, too. But you still hear claims that they are sinful, childish, and narcissistic. Most of the arguments are genetic fallacies, guilt-by-associations, hasty generalizations, and appeals to fear or consequence. These arguments may express valid concerns but they fail to prove anything objective. Neither do they address the biblical data. Similarly, arguments in defense of body art often lack biblical scholarship. How then should we approach this topic? (more…)