I love a good Facebook debate!  And last week, I got to join one that really rubbed me the wrong way.  My good buddy Ryan Himes is a minister and routinely fields questions from his parishioners and others about his views on matters of life, love, religion, sin and salvation.  Well, last week, Ryan fielded this question . . ."Dear Ryan, are tattoos a sin or how do you feel about them."  And the response that followed opened up a huge debate that I felt compelled to join.  Take a look!

To the question, "Dear Ryan, are tattoos a sin or how do you feel about them," Ryan responded with this . . .

Leviticus 19:28
28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord. -- this is old testament writing so I know people will say it's not relevant to new Christian living (you decide what you think about that one). Our bodies are not our own- they are the temple of the Holy Ghost. When people look at you- will they see Him or see that tattoo? To me- the problem is not a simple tattoo- but when they start getting multiple tattoos.. Tattoos are wordly things- what good would a tattoo do for the kingdom of God or the temple of where he dwells?

And then, the debate raged.  Here's how it unfolded on Facebook.  I have included every single response that was posted.  Some are brief.  Some are impassioned and lengthy.  Some, by the folks who thought Ryan was being attacked for answering the question, are totally off task.  I don't think that was the case at all.  Ryan was simply doing his job.   But this was an interesting dialogue no matter how you slice it.  Read it over and let us know which side you're on!

  • Bob Armes Well Said Young Man!!
  • Ryan Himes I try to be somewhat careful with over 3,000 friends. But people ask my opinions so it opens up the opportunity.
  • Missy Owens Then couldn't we say the same for ear piercings?? I'm not a tatoo fan, but not sure how I feel on saying it's a sin... that's pretty harsh. As far as wordly things... all clothes, make up, and everything we do to establish our look could be considered sin according to this. And what if the tatoos are religious?lol
  • Cheyenne Harris U r not supposed to get a tat in remembrance of the dead.
  • Lottie Sanchez its what in your heart and soul and not on your skin...just saying don't judge.
  • David Waters Missy, I totally agree with you. I don't believe tattoos are a problem, until you create the tattoos to be un-God like. If you want a tattoo or a few, I don't see anything wrong with it. When you are marking yourself up, for the dead as the bible says, or in dishonor of Him or blasphemy against Him, that's where the problem occurs.
    Personally, I don't currently have tattoos, but several of my family members have them.
  • Ryan Himes Missy you are suppose to be on my side lol. And I think tattoos and piercings are in the same boat. The word says stray from the very appearance of evil. The word tells us how to dress modestly- alot of people do dress Worldly. Why do you need a tattoo to be religious- live a life before men not show them your body marks.
  • Kristi Dockery Monroe I have 2 tattoos, and I still have a relationship with Jesus! I believe its a personal conviction. I love music so I have a music note on my wrist, and my baby girls name behind my ear. I don't feel that tattoos like that are a sin. But as I said, its a personal thing!
  • Ryan Himes I think if I had a bunch of tattoos- (notice I say a bunch) - they would keep me from
    Getting employed (I've personally seen that happen) and theres alot of churches I've preached at where people gave their life to jesus that if I had visible tattoos- I would have never had the opportunity to minister there- so what good would it do me to have a whole sleeve?
  • David Waters For this situation, Ryan, I completely agree with you. I do have a coworker that has a full sleeve on his arm and must ALWAYS wear long sleeves, no matter the weather/temperature. On an aircraft working hard can be a problem because that brings on high temperatures and sweating, but he can't do anything about it because he has the sleeve.
    A lot of girls are now getting the tattoos behind their ears and aren't supposed to have them visible in the airline industry, but still pull up their hair to be visible. This is a complication that management is fighting against.
    Very hard to fire them just because they got a tattoo, but it's also hard to keep up with making sure they're keeping them covered as well.
    As well, some people are STARK against tattoos and piercings and therefore won't allow ones who have them around and do the things necessary to better others, so it's important that you know your limits, personally and professionally.
  • Missy Owens I don't think anyone is saying that someone SHOULD go out and get a whole sleeve... it's not that it does anyone any GOOD, and in some cases it could be detrimental, but that depends on the person's situation and choice of work, etc. It really depends on personal circumstances. If they make you happy, and haven't held you back in life, and you are close to God, then I don't see the problem.
  • Cheyenne Harris My tats and everybody that has a tat or more in my family has them to show their testimonies. Ryan y don't u ask Lonnie Hatfield or Patti Hatfield about it. Yes our bodies r temples that hold the Holy Ghost but its ok to get tattoos. And piercing' r not unholy!
  • Kristi Dockery Monroe Professionally, I do agree that people shouldn't get them where they are so visible. Christopher has 2, but will not get one, below his shoulder because its not professional.
  • David Waters The bible also does say that EACH PERSON, with fear and trembling, must work out their OWN salvation between them and God. So, the salvation you have can't be the same for me. We all have situations in our lives that only we and God know and we work things out with God and what works between us and God, not us and others.
  • Kristi Dockery Monroe I agree with you, David Waters! Well said.
  • Lottie Sanchez what do u consider worldly tv computers anything that you can use as a devil deivice bible says set no evil thing before thine eyes, i mean you can use the bible to kinda make your own rules and say it means this.. everyone interprets things differently and the bible also talks about judge not less ye be judged...to much of that in churches around the world and everyone thinks their religion is true, but i think every person religion and soul should be respected. I will pray for you
  • Ryan Himes Mrs. Lottie I was not judging I was asked a question and I gave my opinion. Go back and ready my status again and I'll think I made it very clear that it was up to that person- like kristi said- a personal conviction.
  • Lottie Sanchez i gave mine as well and i agree about the conviction.
  • Chadwick Jerame Benefield Here's a thought. Why don't people worry about something that actually matters?
  • Ryan Himes I said a while back I would post any question they sent me-- may have to stop.
  • Lottie Sanchez makes for good blog
  • Jeremy Curtsinger I have 15 tattoos and I'm deeply in love with Christ, I honestly feel like God has that same love for me. I feel in no way that tattoos are sinful unless we tattoo sinful things. If we go by the Old Testament, men shouldn't cut their hair, shorts would be inappropriate and piercings would be out of the question. But I do believe in personal conviction. I love you Ryan.
  • Ryan Himes And I love u buddy.
  • Chadwick Jerame Benefield For the record, I have 5 tattoos and 2 of them are routinely visible. Also, those tattoos have never stood in the way of anything I do professionally because that would be absurd. Despite the fact that I am marked and have defaced my body, I raised about a half million dollars for charity last year. If anyone out there is wasting time worrying about tattoos and needs something more important to do, I can put you to work on any number of committees me and my tattoos reside on. Sincerely...
  • Jeremy Curtsinger Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me” (Isaiah 49:13-16).

    God says I am engraved in the very palm of his hand! The Hebrew word means “tattooed”—that is, indelible, inerasable. He cannot stretch out his hand without being reminded of me.
  • Ryan Himes You sure do alot of work for the community Chad. And I'm honored to call you a friend. I hope I haven't offended anyone- the point of the letter where to hear different opinions. Never meant to get out of hand or rile anyone up.
  • Chadwick Jerame Benefield Oh...not offended. Just always amused by what people will waste time worrying about.
  • Lacie Lynan Tuttle Tattoos are a touchy subject with people cause I consider myself Christian and I have tattoos like you said in your status it's for us to decide you weren't passing judgment just stating your opinion I could never imagine you judging anyone Ryan.
  • Ryan Himes Thank u lacie.
  • Melissa Rose Galations 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of God. Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. Amen! and Jeremy I love that scripture... my spirit was delighted when I first read it, and I was like thinking the boof of life? has anyone ever thought that, thats what the book of life is? our names written on the palm of His hand? thats just a awesome thought!
  • Josh Baker God spoke to Moses: "Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them that from now on they are to make tassels on the corners of their garments and to mark each corner tassel with a blue thread. When you look at these tassels you'll remember and keep all the commandments of God , and not get distracted by everything you feel or see that seduces you into infidelities. The tassels will signal remembrance and observance of all my commandments, to live a holy life to God . I am your God who rescued you from the land of Egypt to be your personal God. Yes, I am God , your God." (Numbers 15:37-41 MSG)

    It's Old Testament, but perhaps we should follow this one as well......
    Again, tattoos are just another soap box for Christians who look for a way to elevate the "sins" of others so that we can feel better about how "holy" we are........it's a pathetic topic
  • Melissa Rose sin is sin in Gods eyes...no sin is greater or smaller than the other... amen! for all have fallen short of the glory of God Amen! Proverbs 28:13 He thats coverth his sins shal not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy Amen!
  • Jordan Hippler So do you live by all Old Testament laws, or just the ones that are easy to keep under control (ie, tattoos and piercings, killing, stuff like that).

    I don't ask this to be a jerk.. But to get someone to think. Anyone.
    These laws were intended for and used in order to obtain holiness and righteousness in the eyes of God.
    Once Jesus came, no laws could do that anymore. I'm not saying we shouldn't respect and honor those laws.. It is still the word of God.. but as far as declaring it wrong or a sin, I don't think that is a fair call for any human to make.
    While I don't see anything wrong with tattoos, I think one should get them with caution. There could be some spiritual warfare involved with tattoo shops or even things being engraved into your body if you don't take the time to learn meanings of things.

    Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Ghost, yes. Absolutely. The things we do should be an overflow of he who dwells inside of us. If I get a tattoo, which I do want at least one, the purpose is to express what The Lord has done in my life. It may pose a question to other people and get them wondering the story behind my tattoo. Ryan, you said, what good would a tattoo do for the kingdom of God?
    Do you know anyone who has a tattoo about Jesus or their testimony? At all? One time at church a man stood up after the sermon and after praying at the altar and showed the church his tattoos and told us a story of how he used them to lead multiple people to Christ. They are able to reach a new group of people that hasn't been reached as much as the "clean cut Christian looking" people have. A lot of times, these people are neglected because people assume they have hardened warts and aren't open to receive the Word, when this is yet another judgment made by Christians. So I'm sorry if I have offended anyone, but yes. Tattoos are capable of opening doors and being gateways for conversations that lead to salvation or a stirring in someone's heart.

    You have to look at the history of the Old Testament, and the people living then. We have something that they didn't have, and that is freedom through Christ Jesus.
    That being said, if prayerfully considered and with pure motives, I personally see nothing wrong with tattoos.

    I can't wait to get mine!
  • Jeremy Curtsinger Super like Jordan!
  • Jordan Hippler Btw, my brother did foreign missions for a few years to tribes in panama and costa rica.
    He's totally tatted up..
    And still getting more.
    But I can assure you that God doesn't love you any more than He loves my brother because you don't have tattoos.
    (Speaking plainly to anyone here..)
  • Melissa Rose Jesus said to make righteous judement...the word of God is a sword, so if it cuts ppl take it up with Him and step up. I dont have an opinion, only what Gods word says, And Yes we have to study the word of God, and pray understanding what things mean, and yes we go by Genesis to revelations... we have new better convenant Jesus Christ Amen! Another thing ppl twist what judging is, and they also twist the word of God to fit them, the word of God tells us this...by their fruits we shall now them... dont judge by appearence but judge with righteous judgment... basically is the heart of man, we cant tell if someone belongs to God by appearence but my spirit, spirit will bare witness just as the word says. Yes the word says to dress modest but alot of ppl that arnt Christains dress modest...haha There is ppl that are not Followers of Christ, just basically fans, and they have tatoos of Jesus and scriptures but dont profess to be christians... so it goes both ways, the things is, what does Gods word say about it? He said He is the Lord thy God, right after that verse about tatoos...and also Yes we are to obey His commandments from the old testament, they go right over into the new testament, Jesus teached on them, and there is plenty bible scripts to back it up...haha The bible says to seek after the things of the spirit, not of the flesh... we are new in Christ Jesus, Jesus said, Let our light so shine before man, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven... Amen! God is the judge, ppl will stand before Him not man but when I give Gods word thats not judging that taking heed to show what He says to us, the bible says to be spiritually minded is life, but to carnal minded is death! Tatoos are fleshly and have nothing to do with Spirit and truth, so are we truly spiritual minded? or carnal? do we seek things of the flesh? or Spirit? this is where we grow in Christ... seek Heavely, Spiritual things not earthly nor fleshly! amen God bless! praying!
  • Melissa Rose Jesus died for us yet while we where sinners He loves everyone... but we cant be luke warm, either hot or cold... so yea people need to worry about their soul and start speaking the truth about Gods word and stand upon it without waivering for any man. Amen!
  • Melissa Messer-Dong Ryan I think ur posts r GREAT..!!!!!! Don't stop..!!!!
    .. I myself am a minister.. I have 2 tats.. They don't bother me..!!! But that's me... My favorite is a drawing my brother drew.. I got this to always have a piece of him if sumthin were to ever happen to him..!!!!!
    I kno what the word says I the old test..
    But in rev.. Chap 19 verse 16...
    And he hath on his vesture AND on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS & LORD OF LORDS..!!!!!
    But I think it's a personal conviction.. If pple judge u for havin them they need to pray.. It's not a righteous judge it's a personal judge.. Just like smoking.. Do I..?? No.. Can I say it'll take u to hell..?? No..!! But then if ur body is a temple of the Holy Ghost where he dwells y would u wanna choke him to death..??
    Just sum things I feel :))
    Have a blessed day brother
    And again don't stop ur ? Posts.. Lots of pple enjoy em :))
  • Mike Abner Keep it up Ryan! I like reading these! And I agree that I believe it is a personal conviction as well I don't have any tattoos but have wanted some for a while! And anyone complaining about his opinion; well someone wrote him asking his opinion and here it is! Don't get all offended if its not the same as your opinion!
  • Josh Baker If your body is the temple of god then perhaps we should all go by the Old Testament diet as well instead of eating all this food that is extremely unhealthy!! After all......didn't ppl in the Old Testament live to b like 300 years old.....or is that just another part of scripture that we don't have to follow anymore??
  • Jennifer Baize Casteel Ryan delete the negatively, like u said u answers a question. Love u son!!!!!
  • Jennifer Baize Casteel I'm the mother of ryan an I have tattoos, he don't judge me! One is an angel that says Ryan an I love it!
  • Karen Pearl The beautiful thing about a tattoo, a piercing, a scar, etc.... is that God can use any of us, tattooed or not, to bring glory honor and praise to Him! Praise God each and every one.
  • Angela Porter-Stewart Its all about love.......
  • Tracy Baize Ballard I think your posts are great. They make people think and explore the Bible and their own convictions. We are all not going to agree. That's why there are so many denominations. Each person will have to answer for themselves. In the meantime, these conversations are great. They really make me think. Keep it up, Ryan!
  • Phyllis Baize Ryan you are called from God and answering personal questions from people wanting answers, which will not always be the popular thing to do, but you are using the bible scripture as you interpret them, not your word but Gods. I know you are not judgin...See More
  • Linda Warren Ryan, I commend you for giving that a try! You did a great job! That is a subject that no one is going to win!! Just as you have seen in all the above opinions, everyone has one!! We each have to read the Bible and decide that for ourselves. Someti...See More
  • Jeff Daugherty Ryan, keep up the good work buddy. I don't think anyone was offended by your comments. I know as a tattoed person I wasn't. If they were offended then they are possibly questioning themselves. Many things in the Bible can be interrpruted in differe...See More
  • David L. Daugherty These fleshly bodies don't go to Gods kingdom,we will have a new body.glorified to live forever