Is Tattooing and Body Piercing a Sin?

This is a new one, that I admit, I haven't encountered before this year. But as tattooing and body piercing get more and more popular, and the appropriateness of it is kinda dodgie, I figure its worth addressing.

First thing to point out is that both tattooing and body piercing are relative to both culture and era - there are some cultures where nose rings have been common for thousands of years, and where tattoos are everywhere.

The Bible doesn't say much about either practice - there is a verse in Leviticus that talks about it being forbidden to cut ourselves in a certain way or mark ourselves in a certain way, but this is followed by a rule about mixing fabrics which clearly doesn't apply any more - we have to understand that the reason for this rule was so that the people of Israel would not conform themselves to the surrounding nations, but would be distinct - special, which is what "holy" means. Note here that the issue is CONFORMITY - CONFORMITY is BAD.

So in this case, and in ALL morality cases, determining if something is a sin depends on WHY where doing it. In the cases of tattoos and body piercings, we also need to consider WHERE they are being applied, and WHAT is being drawn or attached, etc., but these answers will usually again refer back to the WHY.

So, WHY get a tattoo? WHY get a nose ring, or belly ring, or something like that. Well, here are some illustrative cases:

-If a person wants to get a tattoo of Jesus to show their belief and devotion to Jesus, then that's probably okay.

-If a person wants to get a tattoo of Satan, well, WHY Satan? To show that you're a bad-ass? To show that you like Satan? Its hard to come up with a legitimate justification for a tattoo of Satan.

-If a person wants to get a tattoo, or a piercing, just because EVERYBODY ELSE IS - well, there's conformity. Conformity is bad.

-If a person wants to get their tongue pierced - WHY? If it has something to do with enhancing sexual experiences, particularly experiences that are already questionable in morality, well, that's far from ideal. However there may be other motivations for a tongue ring (although I have NO IDEA what they would be). The same can be said of piercing in the nipples or genitals. Come on guys. What do you think?

-Nose rings and belly rings are new to our culture, but if they are WRONG, then why wouldn't earrings be? which practically every woman gets after a certain age. So, having them to enhance beauty, that seems okay, so long as it doesn't become an occasion for vanity - then it becomes a matter of finding a balance.

-Getting a great big safety pin through your left cheek (on the face) - well, might not be a sin, but is it a good idea?

One last thing to bear in mind - tattoos and piercings are very popular right now. But they will inevitably become unpopular again; they'll go out, just as fast as they came in. One needs to remember this, and measure the prudence of putting a permanent mark on themselves that one may later regret.

My favorite example - Johnny Depp, when he was engaged to Winona Ryder, got a tattoo on his arm that said, "Winona Forever." Then they broke up. So he changed it. Now it reads, "Wino Forever."