The Understanding of Viewpoints: Religion and Art Collide

To date, previous research has examined two different perspectives of tattooing on American society- one being the negative viewpoint that religious persons possess and the other being the positive viewpoint from individuals that value art. Likewise, research that has been completed gives evidence of generational divides within the community of tattooing and shows how both acceptance and significance, of most everything, but specifically tattooing, has changed over time (Anne Brenoff 2015). This special edition magazine strides away from the positive and negative viewpoints and rather proposes the way in which religion and art may collide. Furthermore, this magazine focuses on both extremes to obtain a better understanding of the intersection of viewpoints that the two different types of people have. Lastly, this magazine touches on the generational divides that come from changing acceptance and significance within society and explains how such aspects have caused tattooing to become what it has today.



  • Second Screen Viewing
  • Social media and activism
  • Art and story telling

  • Remembrance- Is it only okay if you are getting a tattoo to remember someone rather than something?
  • Honoring- is a tattoo better if it’s to honor rather than random?

  • In English if we class speak of popular topics in society to get the students attention (tattoos)
  • illustrations

  • Media- is it popular
  • Advertisement- studios advertising what they think is a right tattoo
  • Networking

  • Custom
  • Unique- different
  • Expression

  • “The world of sports has become the world of tattoos”
  • The “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”
  • The “thrill of tattoo artistry and the agony of the tattoo needle.”

Complicating it

Shelby stated that maybe tattoos are a much bigger deal now than they were in the 90’s due to lack of media and tattoos being exposed to the world through media. That draws me back to the way people view the different ink movement that there is. Do you think that people would really complain and judge a cross on your arm if you were to be walking down the street verse a random monster looking tattoo. Would media be more to pick up a story on a tattoo about a cross or a random sick, monster looking tattoo? But what is that “random sick, monster looking” tattoo was significant to you, would it be looked down upon and mediated just because it’s different and stands out more?

Lauren found that Native Americans used tattoos to symbolize their unity and represent their different tribes. But isn’t this what Christians, Jew, Muslims, and other religions do as well to show their unity and what the believe? Individuals are to express themselves in a way that makes them feel unique. Art is a growing thing in the world, we just need to “accept” that tattooing is now apart of what we call art. But why are people still so against it if it’s not necessarily a sin through their religion and it was here long before they were even alive?

Still Digging’

“The word tattoo comes from the Tahitian “tatu,” which means, “to mark something.” Tattoos were educated by Ta’arora, the two sons of God, it was called a “tapu”, also known as a sacred art form. Training took place on how to perform these tattoos and what the meaning of designs were. It says here that tattoos have always had an important role in ritual and tradition. Might they be important to some now, why are they being judged? Did the context get taken out? Is it because not everyone gets a tattoo in correspondence with their religion? Have tattoos been taken too far?

What do some illustrations that are in-graved in your skin actually mean? Could a rose just be a rose or is it “romance”? Is a horse really just a horse? A barbed wired fence just a fence or a sense of protection, maybe a sign someone has been in prison? What symbols, illustrations could have gang association? Do you ever really know? Maybe that’s what the “wrong” is in tattoos that religions look down upon. Here on NPR I have found an article that relates to the meaning of tattoos and what they might just mean. They are concerned about professional football players involved with ink movement may be having them for the wrong idea. Reading someones tattoos is a way of reading someone. “Tattoo collectors often wear art that speaks to them personally, whether it be their culture, religion, even tributes to loved ones.” Marisa said, “The phoenix has been a longtime tattoo favorite and continues to grow in popularity, as people identify with the mythology surrounding this bird who rises from the ashes, renewed in life. It often represents that a wearer has overcome some adversity.” But what if someone has a phoenix with a different meaning? Are they still judged? Or are they not just because it’s a phoenix and from a religious standpoint that could be okay and viewed as a religious tattoo?

This article states that individuals with the ink movement may improve their interpersonal relationship with their self and self identification if they are actually able to express on their bodies what they are apart of, where they came form, and what they believe in (Religion wise). But what about the people who get a random quote that still means something to them that has nothing to do with religion? What if a tattoo is based off religion but doesn’t come off that way?

What about Christian tattoos? Someone sins, and they get a tattoo of “Blood Bought” to symbolize that they are renewed of their sins. Is this hypocritical? Or is it okay because tattooing isn’t necessarily viewed as “sinful” but as “wrong.” Maybe we need to reconsider the idea of tattoos. If you’re religion says they are wrong, but not sinful isn’t it still somewhat sinful? It’s your choice but it’s also your choice to disobey or obey. Maybe their motive for tattoos is in the wrong direction. They see others getting them so they want them and think that their “okay” and not “sinful” because they are symbolizing their religion and their God?

But Where Does it Say it’s Wrong?

small-christian-tattoo-design Black-And-White-Flower-Tattoo

Is the first picture a “appropriate” tattoo because it’s symbolizing Christianity?

Is the second picture “inappropriate” because it’s only just a flower?

I’m Christian.

I’m for tattoos.

Does that mean I’m a horrible person?

I believe that tattoos have a way of expressing who you are and what you believe, rather it’s a cross, bible verse, flower, quotes, or a random basic infinity sign that every teenage girl wants inked in their bodies. It’s what YOU want and strictly what YOU want only. It’s inked in your skin, not in anyone else.

“Here’s a line in the Bible that says, Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:28)”… But, is this to funeral rituals or ordinary tattooing? Is it okay to have “Christian like” markings? What if it’s a cross? What if it’s a bible verse? Or doves? Does it make tattoos okay then?

“The KORAN also forbids tattooing, depending on how it is translated.”….But, if i interrupt it one way am I still wrong for getting a tattoo? If I was to be cremated by fire before entry would it be okay? My tattoos would be rid of. Does that make it any better? Does it make it okay since I technically won’t be going in front of my God with markings?

“Others who disapprove or approve of tattoos as a social phenomenon may cite other verses to make their point.”…But, isn’t every verse in the bible Gods word? How do you take it? How do you interrupt the verse?

“The opinion of tattooing in all of the major bible based religions is that it is wrong to get tattooed.”…But, it’s okay to get symbolic markings that symbolize your religion? What’s the difference? Isn’t a marking a marking?

“Tattooing is becoming more and more popular everyday and no matter what the religious views are people are still going to get tattooed.”…But is it even necessary? What happens when we don’t want it there anymore? Will God shun us for this? Are we not accepted by him anymore?

“Fab or Fad”

There are more opinions in today’s society than there has ever been on tattoos. Some say a needle and ink in your skin is a sin and others believe it’s the best way to express who you are and what you believe. In today’s world most religions agree that tattoos aren’t sinful but they are wrong. So how do other belief systems (such as religion) weigh in on how one perceives the inked movement? In the “major” religions such as Christianity, Jews, Catholics, Islams, and Muslims all seem to agree that tattooing is wrong. “” Christians believe that tattooing is a pagan practice, though it does not say in the bible anything about tattooing. Jews believe that the Old Testament is God’s word and nothing is more important that following the ten commandments, therefor tattooing is highly wrong in their religion. Catholics view their beliefs towards the Old Testament as well, they lean towards the verse of Leviticus 19:28 that reads “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves…” Islams believe that if you are to get a tattoo you are disrespecting God’s word and making permanent change to the body. Lastly, Muslims believe that when tattooing the body you are making changes to the creation of Allah, making changes to the creation of Allah has no exceptions and Muslims believe that anyone who makes these changes should be cursed. Although each religion has a different view, they all can agree that tattoos are wrong one way or another. In today’s society it doesn’t matter the beliefs anymore, if someone wants a tattoo they’re going to get a tattoo, they are becoming more and more popular and no word is going to stop the ink movement.

This leads us to the question of what can the history and significance of tattoos for other cultures and nations tell us about our own culture’s perceptions? Tattoos came from Polynesia, “the word tattoo is said to have two major derivations- from the Polynesian word ‘ta’ which means striking something and the Tahitian word ‘Tatau’ which means ‘to mark something.” “” Many cultures were knocked out or changed when tattoos were discovered. Tattoos existed in ancient Europe Cultures and thousands more, who all had a different purpose and meaning of their ink movement. As I stated before Christian beliefs were through the Pagan Practice and tattoo movement began to slow down when Christianity rose. “” We all may have different beliefs and thoughts on tattoos but from the start tattoos were just ink to express ourselves, rather or not your religion is okay with the ink movement it’s never really up to your religion; it’s up to you and what changes you want to make to your body and what you believe is right verse wrong. When tattoos were first discovered the opinions of right or wrong were never there, why are they now?

What really is THE American Dream?

I chose my proposal to be on the topic of the American Dream. This is something that I always struggled with throughout grade school activities to really be able to understand my peers and even my own thinking process of how we want or expect our lives to be lived. To me the American Dream is to have unconditional love, support, and guidance from my family. I know others American Dream is all about the luxury of money, cars and fame. But is that really all you want out of life? How is that billionaires, movie stars, and famous song writers still aren’t happy with their lives and chose to go down the wrong path or even take their lives when they have everything some of us have ever thought the “American Dream” was? My question is, when is enough, enough? How can someone with so much money, so much fame and so much love from people they don’t even know they exist still be so unhappy with their lives? Something they dreamed about from the day they are born, they receive and still end up so unhappy? Then there are people who all they need and have ever hoped for is the simplest things in life are so happy and are living out their “American Dream” so simply.

I think the main issue on the American Dream is, some people finally reach what they once thought was their “American Dream” and are so greedy they want more. All they want is more, more, more and enough is never enough and never will be enough. They crave attention and they crave fame until it gets too much to handle. But how is it too much to handle when it’s all they ever wanted? How is it that you can get everything you want and still be so unsatisfied, so depressed?

I think people who already have their American dream achieved and want more are the ones who care about the issue the most; the ones who have already reached fame. But sometimes I think it’s the less fortunate who all they want are the little things and sometimes those things can’t even be given to them. They sit and watch these famous people go on about their lives wishing and hoping for me, more than likely getting it just for them to sit there and wonder where did they ever go wrong to not get what they have hoped for.

Everyone has a different definition to what they believe is “The American Dream.” There’s not one that is the same, so how are we to say what it really is and who is really living it? What do you think the American Dream is, how do you go about it, and who is really living their own American Dream and who is really living “The” American Dream?