Musings on Body Piercing

The subject of “piercing the body” relates to the ancient custom of “body art”. This historically has been proven to be a pagan custom from ancient times, i.e. Botocudo, African, Egyptian, Mayan, Aztec, Indian, etc. Many and/or most times body piercing was ritualistic and gory and has notoriously been labeled taboo for hundreds of years.

Body piercing falls under the category of jewelry. Body piercing is a form of body modification. The practice of piercing has traditionally been for religious or other cultural reasons, while many individuals, particularly in the modern West, choose to be pierced for spiritual, ornamental or sexual reasons.

Some Old Testament scriptures concerning jewelry and body piercing are:

And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, [and] go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou [art] a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way. And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments. For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye [are] a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee. And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb. And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, [that] every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which [was] without the camp. And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, [that] all the people rose up, and stood every man [at] his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood [at] the door of the tabernacle, and [the LORD] talked with Moses. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand [at] the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man [in] his tent door. And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

(Exodus 33:1-11 KJV)

Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing [as] they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of [their] tinkling ornaments [about their feet], and [their] cauls, and [their] round tires like the moon, The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels, The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. And it shall come to pass, [that] instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; [and] burning instead of beauty. Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she [being] desolate shall sit upon the ground.

(Isaiah 3:16-26 KJV)

In certain passages it appears as if the Old Testament scriptures allow for jewelry, e.g. Genesis 24:22. It is possible that God permitted many things in apparel and other things which are now forbidden especially when they do not suit a New Testament Christian who is to be moderate, humble, and not vain. For example: divorce for any cause, and polygamy. These were allowed in the Old Testament but are to be abstained from in the New. The same may be said of jewelry in excess.

These are some New Testament passages that deal with jewelry as well:

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

(1 Timothy 2:9 KJV)

Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

(1 Peter 3:3-5 KJV)

Notice in the texts the emphasis is on modesty, moderation (shamefacedness) and soberness or self control (sobriety), meekness, and humbleness. These are traits that are directly attacked by excessive jewelry. Jewelry puffs up pride and creates haughtiness and centers personal attention and the attention of others upon self and not God. In all that we do there must be modesty and balance. Basically, earrings or body piercing can be considered excessive and without a real function to a Christian as opposed to a watch or wedding ring which can serve a legitimate function.

Another text that implies a very negative emotion toward “body piercing” is:

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

(1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV)

Our bodies are the temple or sanctuary in which the Holy Ghost resides. We are also now “bought” by the blood of Christ and therefore are His. We are not our own anymore. Instead, we move, operate, grow, and exhibit fruit and characteristics in and by the Holy Ghost.

Finally, below is a revealing excerpt from Wikipedia Encyclopedia:

“Attitudes towards piercing continue to be divisive. Some regard the practice of piercing or of being pierced as spiritual, sometimes embracing the term "modern primitive," while others deride this approach as insulting, as cultural appropriation, or as faddish. Some see the practice as a form of artistic or self-expression, while others choose to be pierced as a form of sexual expression and/or for sexual stimulation or the perceived increase in sexual feeling that certain piercings are thought by some to create. For some people, piercing is part of an S&M lifestyle or relationship, or is incorporated into SM play.
Some people choose to be pierced for symbolic reasons. For example, some survivors of sexual abuse have said that they experience piercing as allowing them to retake control over their own bodies. Some people choose to be pierced to symbolize certain relationships.

While some people consider body modification to be a sign of non-conformity, others deride body piercing as faddish. This can at times lead to prejudice or cognitive bias towards those with piercings or visible signs of past piercings.”


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Adversus Trinitas

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