Is body piercing a sin?
Body piercing and modification, in general, is a topic of contention even in modern-day society due to religious and/or conservative beliefs.

Christianity
In the context of Christianity, many people believe that body piercing is sinful, whereas others believe it is allowed in their religion. Within the Christian community, there are debates around interpreting passages of the Bible to either allow or forbid body piercing.

Some Christians who are against body piercing use the “Book of Leviticus” to support the view that body piercing is a sin, arguing that you “should never mark your body”. While others read the same Book and interpret the marking of the body as more figurative than literal.

In a similar vein, there is much debate around the Christian concept of seeing “our bodies as a Temple” to be treated with respect and kindness. Some, again, interpret this as not marking or changing your body with modifications such as piercings. Whereas many Christians don’t see piercings as “disruptive” or negative to the body, but rather as something that adds to the body’s beauty.

There is a Christian belief that partaking in activities or a lifestyle that one believes to be a sin indeed makes the act a sin, even if it’s not objectively clear or “fact” than the act is a sin. Believing body piercing is a sin and doing it anyway, makes it a sin – essentially, a self-fulfilling prophecy. This highlights the subjectiveness of piercing attitudes in a religious context.

Ultimately, much of the Christian debate around body piercing, tattoos, and other modifications boils down to personal interpretation of scripture and concepts. Some see piercings as self-expression and not “marking your body,” whereas others see piercing as a sin that goes against the Bible’s teachings. Neither opinion can be right or wrong, merely personal preference and interpretation.

Cultural Stigma
That said, views of piercing as “sinful” can have a knock-on cultural effect in the West and lead to discrimination against those with tattoos and piercings. Even non-religious anti-piercing opinions are popular in modern-day UK, particularly in professional and business contexts.

According to Salary.com in 2019, 76% of survey respondents felt that piercings and tattoos can/will hurt a job applicant’s chances of being hired, with 55% of respondents reporting that visible body piercings are always inappropriate at work. The same survey concluded that older age correlates with intolerance of body modification, with the younger generation more likely to have piercings and be more tolerant of colleagues with piercings and tattoos.

With more young people getting body piercings, especially with celebrities getting in on the trends, the taboo is starting to break.

Non-Western Views
It’s important to note that this is an extremely Westernised view of piercing taboo. In many cultures, piercing is part of traditions dating hundreds or thousands of years back, and not taboo at all. Ear and nose piercings are the most globally popular piercings, even dating back 5,000 years with mummified remains found to have ear piercings. Tongue and lip piercings are growing in popularity in the modern day, but did you know that African and Native American tribal cultures have incorporated these piercings into their cultural practices for many years?

Is Body Piercing a Sin?
The most accurate answer to “is body piercing a sin?” is perhaps “it depends on who you ask.” Remember that what you do with your body is your business, no one else’s. If you want to pierce your ears, nose, face, bellybutton, wrist… do it!

If you ask yourself “is body piercing a sin?” and you answer “not to me” – that’s all that should matter.
Written by Wayne Grant