This is something I've kind of been torn about lately and I just wanted to get some opinions on it.

My paternal grandmother just recently passed back in August. I was always much more fond of her and my paternal grandfather than I was of either of my mom's parents (both for very different reasons).

Anyway, she died almost exactly one year after my grandfather. I went and got a tattoo in tribute to my grandfather a couple of months after his passing back in 2010 and I've wanted to get one done for my grandmother as well. The "problem" is that the tattoo I've come up with for her are a couple of excerpts from the song that she had requested be played at her funeral, which was "Softly and Tenderly" (obviously a Christian song), because it was one of her favorite songs. Here are the two excerpts of the lyrics that I want to have done:

"Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,

Calling for you and for me."

and then...

"Come home, come ho-o-ome,

Ye who are weary come ho-o-ome."


Being raised by two musicians, my idea is that I would have both the lyrics and the sheet music done.

My question is now... Would it seem wrong or weird for me to have such an obviously Christian tattoo on my body when, in contrast, I'm a long-time atheist?

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it doesnt have anything to do with religion, you are honoring your grandmother, and I think if you want to honor her do it regardless of what anybody says or thinks

No it's not wrong. I actually have a "religious tattoo", I got the tattoo when I was 18 (I'm 24 now) after one of my friends died of brain cancer and another who committed suicide. When I designed the tattoo I designed it 100 % with my friends in mind, but at that time I was a confused christian so I based it off the lyrics from one of my favorite christian bands, Underoath. The tattoo is a cross with a man nailed to it and Angel like wings coming from behind the cross w/ two doves flying out from the bottom of the cross with the lyrics "Sweet Angel Of Mercy With Your Grace Like The Morning Wrap Your Loving Arms Around Me".

It kind of bothered me at first when I finally realized I'm atheist, but eventually I remembered why I really got it and how much of a struggle I was going through at the time spiritually and emotionally and now the tattoo has even more meaning to me then when I got it. 

My advice, get the tattoo. Hope this helps! Have a good day.

Thank you so much for this, Tyler! It really did help!

Also, your tattoo sounds beautiful and you seem to have put a whole lot of effort into making it special for your friends.

Well, in my mind it seems that the tribute is to them so as long as you know that who cares what anyone else thinks, your grandparent believed in that song. An alternative idea, however, is to get the melody of said song on musical paper so that you know it and anyone who can read music can, make it a little more personal.

IMHO it really doesn't matter where the song is from or which fictional character is mentioned in it. If you were to get a unicorn tattoo it would hardly be statement of belief in unicorns, most important thing can only be how you and she felt about the lyrics of the song I they obviously challenge your beliefs and that's all they remind you of I wouldn't but as long as they feel like a tribute to her it couldn't matter less what they say.

 I think it's even more special that you have got something to show love for her which hasn't got significance for you spiritually, but for her only..it shows your unselfish devotion to her,which is a wonderful way to honour her memory.

See, that was what I was thinking. The thought of having a religious tattoo doesn't bother me at all because the religious aspect has no meaning to me, but it meant everything to her and she meant everything to me. That's basically my chain of thought in a nutshell.

I guess what I was really worried about is what people (who know I'm an atheist) would think. I know that seems stupid and it shouldn't matter... Which I guess it really doesn't. Plus, the area of my body (my side) where I was going to have it done is completely covered unless I'm in a bikini. Just wanted some outside opinions. Thanks so much guys!

The one individual who'd get to see it often presumably knows how you stand on these issues.  (He's a regular here too, for those reading this who don't know.)  But if it's really itching you, how about only the second excerpt that you quoted?  At least that one doesn't mention the mythic by name.

To honor your grandmother, why not take the cost of the tattoo and send it for relief of the victims of the recent Oklahoma tornados? Then make a sign to wear around your neck.

Be sure to find an artist who specializes in calligraphy or you could be disappointed w/ the result.

Thanks for the advice, Ed! There's a great artist in my hometown that I plan on setting the appointment up with. He does amazing work no matter what type or style.

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