Tattoos Are A Form Of Art

Tattoos Are A Form Of Art

Self expression through tattoos shouldn't be frowned upon.
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After landing at the Denver International Airport several days ago, one of the first things I noticed was the many people in Colorado who have tattoos. From the waitress at a local vegan restaurant in Boulder to passerby on the street, to the young college students and middle-aged bikers alike, a much greater number of people in Colorado seem to have chosen to be inked than where I'm from South Carolina, the heart of the Bible Belt.

People choose to get tattoos for many reasons. Some get a tattoo on a whim simply because they think it looks nice, some get one to commemorate something important to them, and some to pay respect to a lost loved one.

Many have chosen a semicolon tattoo, for example, to raise suicide and mental health awareness.

Are any of these people wrong? No, I don't believe so. Of course, I do think some measure of consideration should come before permanently inking your body.

However, my first tattoo was a small flower on my ankle gotten more or less on a whim my second day as a freshman in college. It's a symbol from one of my favorite books in high school, and I'm still just as happy with it nearly two years later.

Still, certain religious beliefs condemn tattoos.

As for Christianity, Leviticus 19:28 says "do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord."



This leads some Christians to have strong opinions against tattoos. I once attended a church with a fundamentalist Christian who wanted me to cover up my tattoo, even though it was only a small tattoo of a flower, and hardly noticeable (I refused to do so.)

After researching the subject, I learned that many Christians have varied opinions. Some do not see tattoos as a problem at all, and some have tattoos which represent their faith. Some argue that when looking at the language and context of this biblical verse critically, our modern word "tattoo," meant something different in that time period.

There were no tattoo parlors. It would have meant something much more violent, closer to slashing the skin. Others argue that the verse seems to address a Pagan tradition of the time and that the verse therefore only addresses Pagan tattoos.

Some believe that it is just another Old Testament verse Christians no longer need to follow, such as not cutting your hair (Leviticus 19:27) or not wearing clothes made of more than one fabric (Leviticus 19:19) and many more.

For those who are not religious, some still make the argument that "you'll regret getting a tattoo when you're sixty!" But if the tattoo was meaningful to you at some point in your life, why should you regret it later on?

Tattoos are a unique form of self-expression, art, creativity, and free-thinking. If you don't want one, then don't get one: but certainly don't shame others for having one. And if you want one, then get one! Don't let the negative or outdated beliefs of others stop you. Tattoos are a beautiful thing.





Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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A Second Person Has Achieved Long-Term Remission Of The HIV Virus

A second man has had long term remission of the HIV virus.

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Over a decade after the first man, known as the Berlin Patient, was declared HIV-free, another patient may also be cured. Though it's too early for scientists to say for sure, the London Patient has been in a long term remission for around 18 months without the help of medication. Both men were treated with a bone marrow transplant. However, these stem cells carried a rare mutation in the genes that affect the production of the CCR5 protein, which HIV viruses latch onto to enter the cell. The virus cannot latch onto the mutated version of the protein, thus blocking its entry into the cells.

With the transplant of these HIV resistant genes, the body effectively builds a new immune system free of the virus.

After the Berlin Patient went into remission, scientists tried and failed to replicate the cure and were unable to until the London Patient, whose HIV count has reduced into undetectable numbers. While this is extremely helpful, bone marrow transplants are not a viable option to cure all HIV infected people, as it is an extremely risky process and comes with many side effects. Even so, scientists are developing ways to extract bone marrow from HIV infected people, genetically modifying them to produce the same mutations on the CCR5 gene or the inability to express that gene at all, and then replacing it back into the patient so they can still build resistance without the negative effects of a bone marrow transplant. There have also been babies whose genomes have been edited to remove the CCR5 gene, allowing them to grow up resistant to HIV.

This does not eliminate the threat of the HIV virus, however.

There is another strand of the virus, called X4, that uses the CXCR4 protein to enter the cell. Even if the editing of the CCR5 allows immunity against one strand, it is possible for a person to be infected with the X4 strand of the virus. Despite this, immunization against one strand could save a countless number of lives, as well as the vaccine that is currently in the stages of development for HIV. Along with the London Patient, there are 37 other patients who have received bone marrow transplants, six of which from donors without the mutation.

Of these patients, number 19, known as the Dusseldorf Patient, has been off anti-HIV drugs for 4 months. It may not be a complete cure, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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