"I'm curious what other people think. Are the nonreligious more likely to tattoo?"
Not that I've noticed. If anything it's the opposite.
Overall,I think it's more a matter of peer pressure,context and mental illness than belief.
Most guys I knew in the army had at least one tattoo. I had one done,and have regretted it ever since. Tattoos are also part of prison culture many countries.As a rule of thumb, most people I've known with a lot of tattoos,especially on hands or face/neck tended be a little,umm, nuts or quite stupid.---Now I'm not claiming this is universally true only that it's been my experience over the last 40 years or so..
I live in a very godly area (whatever that really means), and there is a lot of ink on people in Virginia. I would venture to say half of it is religious in content (lots of floating Jeebus heads surrounded by thorns and guns... and that boggles my mind). I've seen lots of sleeves and full torso tats that are nothing but religious iconography and family (they are often intertwined). Given that there is a fairly hefty Hispanic population in the area where I live, this shouldn't be so surprising.
However, the sheer number of tattoos I see is rather refreshing. Body art is alive and well. Speaking of which, I have to get another (to add to other three).
That's a cool tat!! I have three and each has special meaning as well. I think the godly do not want to desecrate their holy temples, the bodies in which their souls inhabit. But there are some ungodly who are just not attracted to tattoos. However, there are a lot of godly people who have tattoos with the virgin Mary, or Jesus, or King of Kings, or some such nonsense. My next one may just be an 'A' or something having to do with my beliefs, or lack thereof. It's just a matter of taste, and balls....
I would be willing to bet that there are more rebels of many types with tattoos than those without...however, to me it seems that people who choose to tattoo and pierce still have a sheep like mentality by following trends that might be cool now, but perhaps not in 20 years. I find it especially interesting as a nurse in the ER that many patients who have no job, money and on "disability" or welfare can afford some really beautiful tattoo body art, but who is really paying for it? In looking after overdosing strippers and prostitutes, they have some very interesting strategically placed tattoos for obvious marketing reasons.
I admire the art and think people should be able to mutilate themselves in anyway they want. I was a punker 25 years ago, had loads of fun with fashion and hair colour, but now as I approach 50, I'm glad I did it as it was a fun time of aristic expression.
I find the psychology of why people tattoo interesting, but personally I just don't get it.
Gosh. I'm beginning to think I'm mentally disabled or something. I am not one to follow trends at all. But my tattoos hold something special for me. I'm glad they are a part of me. While they may be trendy, mine make me who I am-different. I have no body piercings though. Not even earrings.
okay, ex punker from 25 years ago who doesn't understand tattoos. awesome.
"many patients who have no job, money and on "disability" or welfare can afford some really beautiful tattoo body art"
yeah, because they're brand new tattoos and they're splitting their income between drugs and tattoos, HA! Have you looked at the tattoos? they'd be murky as shit, old, decrepid, AND even if they weren't, perhaps they had more money at one stage in their life than another, and maybe that point in their life happens to be now?... come on, I'd like to think by joining this site I'd be able to hear opinions from people who live outside their own box.
I'd add tattoos to your list of many other things it sounds you don't get.
There are some people that follow trends and get say tribal tattoos that were popular in the early 90s, and there are some people that get tattoos because they always want to be reminded of something. You stated, “people who choose to tattoo and pierce still have a sheep like mentality by following trends that might be cool now” (very Christian of you). Doing something because everyone else is doing it is being a sheep, even if you were NOT getting a tattoo because of the stigmata of it; but doing something TO YOURSELF for your own personal reasons shows autonomy.
I've never understood the appeal of tattoos. I'm not against them, I just don't have any personal desire to get one. It is the same with piercings, jewelry, etc. To paraphrase what George Carlin said about flags, I consider tattoos to be a symbol and I leave symbols to the symbol-minded.
I don't think there is any connection to religion, though.