Making sense of the body-hacking movement

Kory Plockmeyer

Kory Plockmeyer
April 11, 2016

A theologically sensitive approach to body hacking, or transhumanism, must begin by affirming the goodness of our created bodies.

Owen Abrey
April 11, 2016

All of these "modifications" have been around for at least a generation.

Jack Dodge
April 11, 2016

What say you about tattooes?

April 12, 2016

Owen - while some have been around longer, it seems that many are just now beginning to gather steam and become more "mainstream"

Jack - I would include tattoos among the sort of "low tech" body modifications to which I have no objection.

The only verse in the Bible that mentions tattoos explicitly is Leviticus 19:28 - "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves." Given the context, what is commanded here is not opposition to body art or self-expression but opposition to religious ritual and, particularly, worship of the dead.

I would subject tattoos to the same concern I lay out above: was the tattoo received in a way and for a reason that honors God with your body? I would have no qualms about receiving a tattoo from my friend Tim's parlor - he is a highly trained, skilled artist whose facility is clean and professional (I almost did get one from him, actually, and have still not ruled it out). Tattoos can be a wonderful way of celebrative self-expression, of remembering pivotal points in one's life, and of telling one's story.

More could be said but I'll leave it at that.

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
April 12, 2016

In Reply to Jack Dodge (comment #28063)
Jack, you might also be interested in this earlier TC piece: "Tattoos and resurrection".

Len Hjalmarson
April 12, 2016

Interesting. From one point of view any surgery is interventionist - and in particular, a surgery that implants something, like an ICD or pacemaker, is body-hacking, as well as some solutions to deafness. Tough issue. And different folks will draw the lines different places. What makes this tougher for us is our weak theology of creation, and our gnostic leanings. I'd be looking outside evangelical circles for a helpful biblical approach - maybe Anglicans!

Len Hjalmarson
April 20, 2016

Incidentally, the scholar/theologian doing some great work in this area is Stephen Garner at Laidlaw in Auckland.

May 28, 2016

Would you say that this topic is included in the Theology of the Body conversation? Also with resurrection of the body discourse?

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