From time to time here at ENV we’ve featured ID fans who have taken their enthusiasm for the design hypothesis so far as to have motifs derived from intelligent design arguments tattooed in their skin. (See here and here.) I have some conflicted feelings about these, but you can’t help but be impressed by the artistry. Now along comes our colleague Wesley J. Smith, who surprised me by sending along his post today at First Things, “My New Tattoo.”
I knew Wesley with his wife Debra has been on a trip to Israel, a pilgrimage in fact, since Wesley was a first time visitor as an Orthodox Christian. As I told him before he left, I trusted that he would write about this very meaningful visit — and I hoped to share that with you. Go read his essay and see. He does not disappoint.
The tattoo isn’t ID-themed, but is instead a tasteful Armenian cross with the year 2015 printed beneath, the work of a Palestinian Christian tattoo artist operating beside the Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. Wesley explains that tattooing is a tradition among some Orthodox Christians to commemorate a pilgrimage. Very interesting.
As our readers will know, Wesley is a gifted, prolific author and a passionate and compelling advocate of human dignity and exceptionalism. On the other hand, you may not know that this week’s Torah reading contains the prohibition against tattoos, which I was thinking about just this morning and had long understood as an affirmation of our exceptional status as humans. That is, you might brand your animal, but not yourself.
Of course I know Christians and Jews have different ways of understanding such matters. But doesn’t the universe have a fine sense of irony? For myself, I take little coincidences like this as food for thought.
Draw your own conclusion. But never let anyone tell you that the ID community isn’t diverse in our perspectives! I admire Wesley’s commitment and daring in getting his first tattoo. My friend, may you enjoy it for many years!