Saturday, April 30, 2011

Circumcision

I am going to write about circumcision. I don't personally have an issue with being circumcised; but, I know someone who does and I think their position is worthy of discussing.

Circumcision has been around a long time and done for a variety of reasons. As a Christian I don't see a need for it. The New Testament directly addressed the issue and it was determined that Christians did not need to be circumcised. "Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you." It is important to remember that Paul as a Jew was circumcised and he was saying it was not necessary. It also says to circumcise our hearts. What does it mean to circumcise one's heart?

I am circumcised so I don't know what it is like to be uncircumcised. I can tell you that it is not an issue in my life. Having said that, if I had a son I would not circumcise him. That is my choice. The Jewish people instituted circumcision as a contract between God and Abraham. It says that if one in uncircumcised they will be separated from the other Jews. What was the meaning behind it?

Lets go back to what it said about circumcising one's heart. The foreskin covers one's most private and sensitive part. To remove it is to expose the sensitive area. In regards to our hearts I believe the reference means to open one's heart to God. For the Jews this was done symbolically through physical circumcision and that is where it ended. The Jewish nation by the New Testament times hid their hearts and relied on the physical circumcision. That is what Jesus was condemning.

If one thinks about it the nation of Israel was always focused on the rules rather than the intent and that is why they kept going into exile. Now personally I would think that God should have said that people make the decision for themselves when they are at an age and ability of consent; but, God said it should be done eight days after a child is born. I don't agree; but, that is what it says.

So ethically I take the position that boys should be allowed to choose for themselves. I believe Jesus was our saviour and that we are freed from the Old Testament rules; but, that doesn't mean that the Jews are free from their covenant. I wrestle with this because of my relative for whom this is an issue. I think he has valid points to a degree.

There are many points he has discussed with me, he dismisses any health benefits and believes it lessens the sexual experience. Truth is, I am not convinced that either of those is correct, I don't think we know definitively one way or the other; but, in the end I believe he would be against it even if there were minor health benefits and it did not effect pleasure. I think he would still be against it because of the choice issue, he is free to correct me on this; but, I think he would still be against it.

I have poor eyesight, not terrible just poor, it kept me from being a fighter pilot and I really wanted to be one when I was younger. I don't get laser eye surgery because I am long past being able to be a fighter pilot and wouldn't want to be one anymore, pacifist you know. I don't really think about my eyesight, heck it is now permanently damaged because of a stress injury (central serous retonopathy). My eyes cannot be fixed and I have a permanent grey dot in my eyesight. It doesn't bother me; but, I do understand why others would get the surgery for poor eyesight. It is sort of the same with circumcision, it doesn't bother me; but, I can understand how it could and does bother others.

San Francisco wants to outlaw circumcision, they want to put it on the ballot. This is where I have a problem. In Europe certain countries have outlawed spanking your child, I feel that is wrong. I don't believe government has the right to involve itself in parenting as much as it does. We have to strike a balance between religious freedom, personal freedom and freedom of choice. This balance is different in each person's mind; but, it is central to the relationship between citizens and their government.

If I were Jewish and not Christian I would probably circumcise my child. My relative may be mad at me for thinking that way; but, I have to be truthful. Is it inconsistent with the fact that I don't believe in circumcision as a Christian, not really, I was saying what I would do if I were Jewish and I am not Jewish. This has been an ongoing conversation and my views are not finalized; but, instead continue to evolve as I look at different aspects. The views on government involvement in our lives continue to be against control. Government should only control what is absolutely necessary.

I have previously said that I am against Europe outlawing the burca, still am. I am against the government telling me what I can teach my children. A law was passed mandating the teaching of gay history, I have a problem with that. Mandating that my child be taught that homosexuality is okay is a little intrusive. I don't have a problem with gays; but, I have a problem with mandating what morals my child must believe.

I have previously talked about the Polynesians, I really like their achievements. One thing they did was tattoo. In some of it's socieities a man was not given full rights until he had undergone a very painful and long period of tattoing. They decided when they would undergo it and they knew exactly what they were in for. If I were not against tattoing for religious reasons, I would have gotten a Polynesian tattoo and have done it the old fashioned way as a means of having an acceptance by the Polynesian community. And that is the logical problem for me, I like the idea of choice, personal decision making to be part of a community. Eight day old boys don't get to make the decision for themselves.

I might retract what I said partly. If I were jewish I might not circumcise my son. I might choose choice over a commandment. That is a tough one, it would mean being ostracised by my people, my society and refusing a command of God; but, he did give us that choice and stated the concequences. In fact, if I were Jewish there are a lot of rules I probably wouldn't follow, I would make a bad Jew. The Jewish people when they went into the desert for 40 years asked for rules and they were given plenty of them, they also failed all of them. God did not get mad at them for failing to follow all the rules, he got mad at them for not taking the lessons to heart, for not caring about each other as they cared for themselves.

Yes, I think if I were Jewish I would let my son decide for himself. My son's choice is more important than being part of any community for me; but, I still would not let government outlaw it. Well, I guess my thinking on this matter has changed again, didn't know what I was going to say when I began this post. I really just wrote it so my relative could push me further in my thoughts on the matter. He has a tendency to interrupt me on this subject and I don't feel I get a chance to work through the issues sometimes while we are talking, I need time to think out things too, I haven't studied it as much as he has.

I was interrupted and have lost my thought. I am sure I will get a chance to discuss this some more. Be well.

2 comments:

jacob nuesca said...

I am so surprised, but really happy you wrote about this!

i liked how you changed your opinion towards the end of your post.

my question for you is do you think it should be illegal to circumcise a female, for religious reasons, without her consent?

you might want to read this before you make your decision.

"Lightfoot-Klein (1989) studied circumcised and infibulated females in Sudan, stating, "Contrary to expectations, nearly 90% of all women interviewed said that they experienced orgasm (climax) or had at various periods of their marriage experienced it. Frequency ranged from always to rarely." Lightfoot-Klein stated that the quality of orgasm varied from intense and prolonged, to weak or difficult to achieve"

http://www.fgmnetwork.org/authors/Lightfoot-klein/sexualexperience.htm



where should the line be drawn, and under what criteria, between a persons autonomy over their body and another persons right to practice their religion?

do you ever interrupt your relative when he is talking? lol

Pimpernel said...

I might flip my opinion; but, I am considering all aspects. I will read the suggested article later. Hope you are well.

For the other readers, hey, we can discuss anything on this blog, I never know what I am going to write about till I write it. And yes, I do interrupt him also, LMAO.