Question: "What is the Church of Body Modification?"
Answer: The "Church of Body Modification" is a group of individuals with tattooing, piercings, and other body modifications as their common bond. The Church of Body Modification is not a church in the biblical sense of the word. They are not a group of people gathering together to worship God. According to the website of the Church of Body Modification, they are “a collection of members practicing ancient and modern body modification rites. We believe these rites are essential to our spirituality. Practicing body modification and engaging in body manipulation rituals strengthen the bond between mind, body, and soul. By doing so, we ensure that we live as spiritually complete and healthy individuals.”
The “statement of faith” of the Church of Body Modification does not mention God, Christ, sin, salvation, or any other orthodox Christian doctrine of faith. Among their beliefs are that their bodies belong to themselves and they can, therefore, alter them at will for “spiritual and other reasons.” Furthermore, they believe the physical defines who they are and that body manipulations “test and push the limits of the flesh and spirit.” So in reality, the Church of Body Modification is no church at all. Rather, it is a group of people who have in common activities that border on the bizarre, if not the sado-masochistic, going beyond tattooing and piercing to include “firewalking, binding and corsetry.”
One primary motivation for the “church” seems to be to intimidate employers who require employees to remove excessive piercings before coming to work. In such cases, the “church member” is advised: “If you are in conflict with your employer over your modifications, advise your employer of your spirituality and your religious affiliation.” The other motivation would seem to be to try to establish “spirituality” through the abuse of the body to an extent that would induce some sort of spiritual experience.
That a Christian should not be involved in such a “church” is obvious. The bodies God has given us are not to be abused because they are the temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (1 Corinthians 3:16). We are to do everything in our power to care for them, not to push them to ridiculous limits in an attempt to achieve a spiritual experience. Christian spirituality, according to the Bible, is a consciousness of fellowship with the Spirit of Christ, uninterrupted by carnality and sin. Christian spirituality develops when a born-again believer—one who has come to Christ for salvation from sin—makes a consistent and ongoing choice to surrender to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Modifying or manipulating the body has nothing to do with true spirituality. Rather, it is the spirit of this world, Satan, who deceives people into believing spirituality is attainable apart from Christ. This is just another lie from the “father of lies” (John 8:44) who prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
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