Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
12 Jan

To Circumcise or Not To Circumcise?

circumcisionOnce a proverbial given in this and a number of other countries, circumcision has become a hot button issue, intensely debated in both family and medical circles. For decades it was standard procedure for hospital births, but the numbers are quickly declining. Today, 56% of newborn boys are circumcised, although the rate varies considerably by geographic region in the U.S. In 1999, the American Pediatric Association revised their statement on circumcision to acknowledge the “potential medical benefits” of the procedure but concluded “these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.” Most of Canada has “de-listed” circumcision as a necessary (i.e. paid for) procedure.

In truth, the decision to circumcise isn’t purely medical even as it becomes increasingly controversial. Intangible aspects play as much or more of a role in parents’ choice as scientific research. For some families, circumcision is an age-old rite celebrating religious covenant. For others, it’s a venerated custom that manifests cultural identity. Families who aren’t influenced by religious or cultural values might choose circumcision for social or aesthetic reasons in an effort to allow junior to look like the other boys at school or like the father. However, other families and experts argue that the practice is a painful, unnecessary procedure that violates the physical dignity and even legal rights of the child.

The history of circumcision is imprecise, but the practice is thought to have its roots in the Middle East. Experts suggest a number of potential reasons behind the initial practice of circumcision, including figurative sacrifice, virility ritual, and cultural hygienic custom. In many tribal societies, circumcision was observed as a cultural rite of passage into manhood. Although circumcision predates religious directive, it eventually became a sacred practice in the early Jewish faith and for the followers of Islam. At various times in history, circumcision was also used to designate social status as well as religious identity. On an odder note, Western societies, particularly in the 19th and early 20th centuries, practiced circumcision to discourage masturbation. In these same centuries, the issue also became medicalized around tenets of basic hygiene. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, the rate of newborn circumcision increased as hospital births rose and the public accepted the medical argument for standard circumcision.

For our part, let’s delve into the medical side.

These days, one of the most commonly cited health reasons for routine circumcision is decreased STD risk. Numerous studies based in Africa show that circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexual HIV contraction by 50-60%. In response the assembled research, the World Health Organization/United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS issued their official recommendation of circumcision as one method to prevent the spread of HIV. Critics caution that the “context” of the African epidemic, which is as high as 25% of the population in some areas, is so different from the disease rate (as well as cultural and hygienic practices ) in the West that the protective factor of circumcision isn’t nearly as high in Western countries. Some experts estimate a 10% risk reduction in Western societies (PDF). Other Western-based research demonstrates reduced risk for other sexually transmitted disease like genital herpes and HPV as well as a decrease in bacterial vaginosis risk for female partners of circumcised men. Research exploring the impact of circumcision on infection reduction in homosexual men has been more limited but so far shows a mixed picture of protective influence. A review published this month indicates that circumcision appears to reduce risk in primarily “insertive” rather than receptive partners.

The physiological logic behind circumcision’s reduced infection risk involves the bacterial ecology of the inner foreskin itself, which harbors anaerobic bacteria that appears to fuel inflammation and infection. The inner foreskin is home to the highest concentration of so-called Langerhans’ cells, which facilitate HIV transmission and replication.

A less dangerous but more common problem for uncircumcised males, particularly boys, is recurrent urinary tract infection. Circumcision is considered a standard treatment option for those with recurring UTI or serious complications from an initial case of UTI. Some experts have questioned the usefulness and cost efficiency of routine circumcisions to prevent infections in a relatively small number of boys. According to a British study, 111 routine circumcisions must be performed to prevent a single UTI. However, other experts suggest that there’s more at stake than simple urinary infection risk. Another study found that 18% of young boys in the study who had UTI showed signs of kidney scarring. Follow-up circumcision in these boys substantially reduced subsequent UTI occurrence. As a research commentator noted (PDF) in light of this picture, “[I]f the circumcision had been done in the newborn period would the kidneys have been protected from damage in the first instance?”

In response to these infection-related findings, critics of the procedure counter that diligent safe sex and hygienic measures more reliably protect both the man and his partner from infection. Opponents say that circumcision (or at least the public message about its lower infection risk) can give men an inflated sense of protection against life-threatening diseases and discourage use of condoms, testing and other safe sex methods. Nonetheless, many physicians and public health experts maintain that circumcision is a practical strategy for reducing disease in males and their respective partners.

As for the other physical conditions circumcision is meant to prevent, many experts say that the evidence just doesn’t support the need for routine circumcision in every boy. The nonretractable foreskin in childhood is often a misdiagnosis, since separation of the glans happens over time (a protective feature) and may not even be noticeable until puberty. Common infections can be treated with a plethora of modern medications like antibiotics and steroid creams. As for penile cancer, the risk is so low (approximately 9-10 per million men) that circumcision choice shouldn’t be based on this concern.

Then there are the medical complications. They can be everywhere from aesthetic-based to functionally impairing. Infection rates hover close to five percent. Significant narrowing of the urethra occurs in anywhere from 5-10% of circumcisions and must be addressed with follow up treatment. Injury to the urethra can occur. The least common but most dramatic complications include partial to full penile amputation or even the rare death from serious infection.

On a considerably lighter note, critics also suggest that circumcision compromises sexual pleasure. They argue that the foreskin, as host to a dense network of nerves, is a functional erogenous zone in itself.

Although it’s likely impossible to reach any definitive conclusions regarding the issue, self-report research on men who are circumcised in adulthood show mixed results. In one such study, the majority of men did not experience a decrease in libido or pleasure. Eighty-two percent reported the same (44%) or enhanced (38%) penile sensitivity. A smaller study (PDF), however, recorded patients’ written comments about the impact of the procedure on their sex life and calculated that nearly half of respondents experienced less penile sensitivity after circumcision.

Now that we’ve laid out some of the arguments and medical research, we want to hear what you have to say. What is your thinking on the subject, and what factors have or would influence your choice to circumcise or not circumcise? Thanks for reading and contributing.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. According to YOUR reasoning, I guess God’s a bipolar sadist, too, Charles. Great arguement.

    MsMinne wrote on December 23rd, 2010
    • If this was MY reasoning, I would not have bothered with this whole Bible-angle at all. This is your absurd addition to the debate. I just chose to debunk it using the very same source with which you proposed it.

      Want Old Testament then?
      http://bible.cc/genesis/1-26.htm
      “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…”
      So your theory of a bipolar God is that:
      a. Men are not in fact created in his image – and need trimming
      b. Overall, men are not actually optimally designed <> and, rather, in fact we know better than <> and must “correct” what our very genes are encoded to give males.

      If you want to bother inserting God into the debate AT LEAST give him credit enough as a Designer to not make something so useless and even dangerous that it need to be chopped off at the earliest opportunity.

      The God of your imagination is not only sadistic (requiring all God-fearing believers to harm their male offspring) but is clearly incompetent as well (can’t even design a being in his image without alterations required).

      And, yes, you did imply that was trivial by wondering why this is even a hot-button anyway [using strange logic that babies won't remember it anyway - we could likely punch babies in the face or do lots of other stuff they "won't remember anyway" jeeeeez.... how on Earth does that mean that some practice is legitimate?!]. Let’s forget it is circumcision and the cultural history that has somehow given this barbaric practice legitimacy… and just imagine that it is something else: let’s say, chopping off the top of a baby’s smallest left toe for some or other historical/religious/health reason. You would likely also be aghast at such mutilation and – even – call people who trivialize its practice “sickos”. So, yes, some of us will get worked up when we see defenseless babies mutilated – as crazy as that may seem.

      If you really thought this was what your sadistic, incompetent God wanted, then how about letting the child reach an age when he could make the choice himself? Forcing permanent religious-based decisions on a child hardly seems a path to that child’s salvation – maybe, rather, trust them to read the applicable Biblical verses and come to a conclusion on their own? Or is that too much to ask?

      Charles wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  2. And by the way, I didn’t at all imply that circumcision was something “trivial” in my earlier post… only that there were reasons behind even the OTHER things that sometimes may seem trivial to us… things we may not entirely understand. But I really DON’T know why this has become such a “hot-button issue” as I first stated… it’s a PERSONAL CHOICE for every family, and each needs to do according to their beliefs and conscience. I’m not going to change your mind, and you’re not going to change mind. Debate is healthy, though. Usually, anyway. But I think we can be polite and respectful to each other regardless of where we stand. Minus the name calling… sicko and sadist, and such. Just because my views differ from yours, it doesn’t make me a sicko or sadist. Quite an immature way to handle it if you ask me.

    MsMinne wrote on December 23rd, 2010
    • Hmmm, my posts haven’t shown up … let me try responding to this one of yours instead…

      Most American Christians believe that Christians have always circumcised. Here are the facts that most of us don’t know:

      – The circumcision that God commanded was only cutting off the tip of the foreskin that extended past the glans. During Greek rule, many Jewish men were trying to pass as Greeks during athletic events and such by pulling the remaining foreskin forward (as you can tell, such a thing would be impossible with modern circ). By the second century *AD*, rabbis implemented a new rule in response to this that the circ had to remove the *entire* foreskin, including the frenulum and all the nerve endings and the entire mechanism for lubrication that comes with the foreskin, to make it impossible to hide one’s Jewishness. This was a new practice, and had nothing to do with what God commanded. Notice when it occurred – AFTER Christ, AFTER Paul, as so well quoted above, decreed that Christians need not circ, and that, in fact, if they did, they would be nullifying their own baptisms.

      – No Christian circumcised for religious or medical reasons for nearly 2000 years after that. This is historical fact.

      – In the late 1800s, the medical establishment, in a fit of pseudo-scientific silliness, declared that circumcision would end masturbation in the military. It began to grow in popularity, and the method they used was the ones Jews had now been using for 1700 years – the (relatively) new brit per’iah method. Only the US & UK really bought into it, though

      – By the end of WWII, the UK began to stop circumcising, just as it really began to pick up steam in the US. (At his death, my family learned for the first time that our WWII vet patriarch was not circumcised, just like most Christian boys born in the US in the 1910′s. So much for “looking like Daddy.”)

      – Christians began to assume that the practice was a long continuation of religious practice. The facts are otherwise.

      I urge you to ask every minister you know what the Bible says about circumcision. I’ve yet to meet *any* who have actually researched the matter who will say that the Bible supports it for Christians.

      Christians need to know that billions of devout Christians over the centuries have not circumcised, that in fact it was banned for many centuries, and that even if it had been done, it would be nothing like what is done now, which indeed has MANY complications, including for your son’s future wife (my years of UTIs were directly caused by the need for commercial lubricant caused by this “harmless” procedure done to babies who will “forget all about it”).

      MamaGrok wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  3. Well MamaGrok, I can certainly respect that. And I appreciate the politeness of your input. I don’t pretend to know all the medical technicalities of circumcision… yesterday vs. today. Only that God commanded it as a sign with his covenant people. THAT is the circumcision I would want to have done on my sons. I still believe that there are medical benefits to it, and that God knew this when he originally instructed it. And if the way we circumcise has changed from then to now, we ought to go back to what was originally intended. I appreciate the information you provided… although I am still most certainly in FAVOR of circumcision, I will research the matter further to better understand the differences you mentioned. I thank you. (See? Far more is accomplished when we stop trying to slam each other. Well done, MamaGrok.)

    MsMinne wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  4. I can certainly understand where you’re coming from, MsMinne, since I came from that place myself. Circ opponents made incredible claims about the harm it does, but I could not believe that God would command something so harmful to “the least of these.” When I learned about the change in circ techniques, though, that what Christ himself underwent in His perfect fulfillment of the Law was entirely different from what is done to our infant boys today, my heart was opened to considering other arguments made regarding the issue. I saw, too, that many of the common complications, nearly all of the rare and very serious complications, and most of the universal problems (loss of protection, lubrication, nerve endings, etc.) were caused only by the modern circumcision technique.

    And once I read the history (undisputed, so far as I’ve found, and believe me, I looked!) of how Christians came to believe that circumcision was a Christian thing to do, I really started digging into the medical claims. Once I saw that there was clearly no religious obligation to circumcise, and that what passes as circ today in no way resembles what was commanded… basically, that we have a choice in the matter … how could I make that kind of choice for my sons? By grace, not works, are we saved, and for the early Christians, and all those who followed for the next 1900 years, not circumcising was a testimony to that fact.

    Google “brit peri’ah” for more info on the differences. The fisheaters link that pops up has another link (“this page”) with a very helpful diagram for understanding the change in methods.

    MamaGrok wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  5. To others out there, and specifically Charles… I still believe there was wisdom and benefit in God’s original instruction to us concerning circumcision, and that it remains to this day. Circumcision is no longer necessary from a SPIRITUAL standpoint, but PHYSICAL benefit can still be gained when done PROPERLY (as pointed out by MamaGrok). I will forever believe that God is SMARTER than us humans, and that his motives are always only LOVE… even in topics such as this. Nothing sadistic or mutilative about it. New Testament scripture, as quoted above, is not an argument AGAINST circumcision itself… only an ATTITUDE of the HEART concerning it. The grace and faith of the New Testament doesn’t nullify the Old Testament… it just removes the burden from us and allows everything to be perfectly fulfilled through Christ. We don’t have to circumcise to be accepted by God, but there is something to be gained through the practice of it. It is only “wrong” if you are using it as “works” in place of what Christ has already done — through YOUR OWN methods instead. That is what the New Testament scriptures are talking about in my view. I don’t think God intends for us to forget the past, or throw away traditions that He started in the first place (even regarding feasts and whatnot), and I will personally always view circumcision as a sign or symbol of God’s covenant people. Again, thank you MamaGrok for the additional links to help me in my research as to the origins of the practice (the CORRECT methods)… I’m finding your experience to be insightful and helpful, as well as interesting. (And your attitude refreshing, especially after my earlier run-in with Charles. Nothing like getting slapped in the face with the Bible — which is precisely why many in the world RUN from Christianity and anyone/anything having to do with it. More important than the topic of circumcision is the message, heart, and attitude of Christianity which speaks of LOVE. Try it sometime, brother, it will get you farther. Don’t be so quick to judge and condemn, or show off your “smarts” by running off your mouth. There’s a proverb somewhere that speaks of such things… but I’ll let you find it on your own.) Blessings to all… do as your conscience leads you.

    MsMinne wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  6. The above ignorance is staggering. How can one argue established fact against unsubstantiated claims derived of unsubstantiated beliefs when the “believer” assumes that established fact and unsubstantiated belief/faith are synonymous?

    It was a simple matter of using a search engine to debunk MsMinne’s initial tirade, even within the context of her beliefs.

    In my experience, more people run from christianity because of such obvious examples of the quality of thought that it typically produces, than because of hurled bible verses.

    “Try love” indeed. How far did it “get” you, MsMinne? Clearly it isn’t enough to keep you from asserting your intention to chop off your future babies’ foreskins. Changed your mind? That was quick. Phew! That was close; a just-in-time correction.

    And by the way, since you don’t seem too keen on assessing based on established facts, I’ll give you this one: an observation is derived of data collected using the five senses. It can be interpreted through the closest available words in a language to describe the actual data, but nothing more or less. Subjective assertions, whether or not intended to have been based on earlier observations, are called “evaluations,” or, “judgments” (not “observations”). They can be false, even if the observations were accurate. Judgments and evaluations which are not directly corroborated by observable data are not facts either.

    So saying, your beliefs are not facts. Anything you believe god said, is assertion, or evaluation/judgment without corroborating observational evidence. It is your faith. If it were provable through incontrovertible evidence, it would be fact, not faith. If what you have is fact, then many people would love to be privy to it. Otherwise, you have faith, and faith and established fact are mutually exclusive, which you should know if you’ve read your bible.

    Best not to mix the two. Believe what you want, but beliefs are rarely of any use in a factually-based discussion.

    I’m glad you have been convinced to look into the facts. It’s a good practice to employ when cross-checking beliefs.

    imogen wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  7. Well, my friend… I can’t even begin to know what you’re talking about. I guess you’re just too smart for me, as proven by your over-use of “big, impressive lingo” and never-ending tirade… which I think you could have accomplished in a single paragraph, by the way. I haven’t changed my mind about anything regarding circumcision… I really don’t know why you would assume that from my post. I still intend to circumcise my sons… I simply agreed that there is wisdom in studying the ORIGINAL practice as specified by God, and kindly pointed out by MamaGrok. I never claimed to be an expert, and no one can be privy to ALL information out there ALL of the time– aside from GOD, that is. Life is a continual education, and it never stops. Even the Word says, “my people perish for lack of knowledge,” and that extends to about EVERY subject under the sun, and excludes NO ONE — you too, dearie. I don’t think I was being unloving in my response at all… if YOU felt that way, then I think you need to grow a thicker skin, my friend. But now YOU’RE going to be the shining example of Christian love by harshly and unfairly insulting and criticizing me? Be my guest if it makes you feel better about yourself. I think Charles was being rude in his response to my original post, but do I think ill of him because of it? No. I simply pointed out that he’ll get farther in the future by taking a different approach… you’ll catch more flies with honey and all. I cannot take my faith out of the debate, it’s central to the issue. Agree with it, don’t agree with it… that’s entirely up to you. But my faith DOES happen to be backed up by plenty of scientific and medical fact, in addition to simple common sense… which is the approach I like to take, because I find that more people can stomach common sense a lot better than a person who already “knows it all” and can’t be convinced otherwise. Not EVERYONE, mind you, before you go off on another tangent. Do I think circumcision is a “pleasant” experience for infants? No, I don’t think so. But do I know of any circumcised adult men who now need to go to the shrink because they are traumatized from an event that they don’t even remember? Again I say no. That’s not an argument FOR it, only a response to some of the silliness out there. Tirade about that all you want. I’m sure it will impress SOMEONE out there. :) Have you convinced me of anything from your post or changed my mind with all of your “intelligence” and “fact” Imogen? No, I’m sorry. (What was your point again? It got lost somewhere!) But I’m sure that’s because you’re out of my league. Bravo, lol.

    MsMinne wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  8. Lol. :)

    imogen wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  9. Wait, let me guess… god was right about eating grains, too, right? Lol.

    imogen wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  10. I do have an answer for that, Imogen! But that’s an entirely different forum, and you’ll surely just turn circles around me… :) Instead, I bid you Merry Christmas and officially sign off! It’s been fun. Blessings to all you out there, circumcised and uncircumcised alike!

    MsMinne wrote on December 23rd, 2010
    • Don’t feed the JesusTroll…

      There’s no arguing against “God Says” with these people.

      MrMinne wrote on December 23rd, 2010
      • The funny thing is that I just learned about trolls not too long ago. I used to think they didn’t exist!!! LOL!

        Aaah, but for evidence. :)

        imogen wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  11. I don’t believe in evidence. I have too much faith for that kind of rational nonsense. ;)

    Kane Augustus wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  12. Lol.

    imogen wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  13. I keep getting email updates — I have to unsubscribe or I’ll be sorting through my inbox ’til Christ returns. LOL. “MrMinne?” –Clever! “These people?” Whatever do you mean???(Feigned indignation.) “Don’t feed the Jesus troll?” You guys are hilarious! :) I’m certainly not afraid of a little debate; I think it’s great! There’s nothing wrong or offensive about a healthy discussion with people of differing viewpoints every now and again. Do you realize how incredibly dull and boring life would be if we all just agreed with each other, no questions asked? (Snooze-fest! And that goes either way.) I think it’s important to realize that even Jesus felt more comfortable hanging with people of differing views than with the religious folk… He was great at keeping it real, and He never shied away from discussion, either. I happen to love my “worldly” people… never a dull moment. I just appreciate when we can disagree, AGREEABLY. Don’t underestimate what “God says” however… He accomplished quite a lot with just his “spoken word” as I do recall… “Let there be light!” And by golly, what happened? There was light! LOL. Yes, I’m “silly” enough to believe that… but I’m also just kidding with you right now so please don’t tear me a new one. Try not to close your hearts and minds to ALL things God… “religion” sucks but when you get to know the REAL God, apart from all the empty stuff that MAN came up with, He’s actually pretty amazing in all the right ways. Nothing like what many churches often teach, and nothing like the bickering, back-biting, crappy representatives that often attend them. Hey, we ALL have our moments… myself included. :) That’s just honest. I once found this PERFECT church to attend but it wasn’t so perfect anymore after I got there… (Sigh.) :) But now I’m outta here for reals, as I’m sure the “other side” will try to run me out now! LOL. As for evidence, there’s plenty out there (from history to science) to support God and the Bible, and all that’s contained within… don’t take MY word for it, all you have to do is LOOK. (Try not having your mind made up ahead of time, though, as that makes a pretty crappy scientist. Be objecive.) If you think this world came into being by pure happenstance, then you’ve got a helluva lot more faith than I do! Try getting to know him personally… can’t argue with PERSONAL EXPERIENCE when it’s YOUR OWN, now can you? His arms are wide open, waiting, and He’ll give you the education of a lifetime! Now THAT’S straight from the SOURCE, and you can’t be THAT! “Call unto me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you know not…” Have the courage to find out for yourselves. But wait, I think we changed forums again. Peace, my friends, I’m outta here. Now be kind. :)

    MsMinne wrote on December 24th, 2010
  14. Since my comment is stuck in “moderation” limbo, I will try again:

    JesusTroll wrote:
    According to YOUR reasoning, I guess God’s a bipolar sadist, too, Charles. Great arguement.

    I responded:
    If this was MY reasoning, I would not have bothered with this whole Bible-angle at all. This is your absurd addition to the debate. I just chose to debunk it using the very same source with which you proposed it.

    Want Old Testament then?
    http://bible.cc/genesis/1-26.htm
    “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…”
    So your theory of a bipolar God is that:
    a. Men are not in fact created in his image – and need trimming
    b. Overall, men are not actually optimally designed – by God/Nature/evolution/whatever – and, rather, in fact we know better – than God/Nature/evolution/whatever and must “correct” what our very genes are encoded to give males.

    If you want to bother inserting God into the debate AT LEAST give him credit enough as a Designer to not make something so useless and even dangerous that it need to be chopped off at the earliest opportunity.

    The God of your imagination is not only sadistic (requiring all God-fearing believers to harm their male offspring) but is clearly incompetent as well (can’t even design a being in his image without alterations required).

    And, yes, you did imply that was trivial by wondering why this is even a hot-button anyway [using strange logic that babies won't remember it anyway - we could likely punch babies in the face or do lots of other stuff they "won't remember anyway" jeeeeez.... how on Earth does that mean that some practice is legitimate?!]. Let’s forget it is circumcision and the cultural history that has somehow given this barbaric practice legitimacy… and just imagine that it is something else: let’s say, chopping off the top of a baby’s smallest left toe for some or other historical/religious/health reason. You would likely also be aghast at such mutilation and – even – call people who trivialize its practice “sickos”. So, yes, some of us will get worked up when we see defenseless babies mutilated – as crazy as that may seem.

    If you really thought this was what your sadistic, incompetent God wanted, then how about letting the child reach an age when he could make the choice himself? Forcing permanent religious-based decisions on a child hardly seems a path to that child’s salvation – maybe, rather, trust them to read the applicable Biblical verses and come to a conclusion on their own? Or is that too much to ask?

    Charles wrote on December 24th, 2010
  15. Good god, and holy hell. You just don’t quit, do you?

    This isn’t a debate. This is you asserting that we should mutilate our baby boys because you read in some old book that a bunch of uneducated men wandering around in the desert thought that they could get closer to their god by chopping off some skin on their penis.

    Yes, mutilate, as in:

    2. To disfigure by damaging irreparably

    [Snip] the rest of it, which is just plain old prosthelytizing.

    MrMinne wrote on December 24th, 2010
  16. MsMinne,

    I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I think you’re somewhat uninformed.

    First, personal experience can easily be argued against. For example, it is the personal experience of people with dissociative identity disorder (DID) that they are many people, even though they are just one. A single person is experiencing a distorted life through many personalities, sometimes as a result of their mind being partitioned, or quartered in some fashion or another.

    As another, less extreme, more everyday example, read an excellent fiction. When you sympathize with the characters, you are not experiencing what the characters have experienced, but are manufacturing an experience via the information the author has given you. The main character may have experienced a horribly disfiguring car-wreck, and even though you may sympathize with that character’s travails, you have not experienced that character’s car-wreck and disfigurment.

    The same holds true for your ‘personal experience’ with God. It is entirely possible, even probable, that whatever you think you are experiencing is based entirely on the expectations you have accepted from what you have been told by others in your Christian community, by your own observations of what the godly life should entail, and what you read in Scripture.

    Sadly, this does not make what you experience objectively real, transferable in any empirical sense, or even healthy in some cases. If you’re going to claim the real existence of the Christian God you cannot bank on easily misconstrued, subjective extraordinary claims.

    Second, your claim that “As for evidence, there’s plenty out there (from history to science) to support God and the Bible, and all that’s contained within…” is simply not true. What is true from history is that the people of “the way” (cf. Acts 19:23) eventually became known as ‘Christians’. What is true from history is that people became fervent supporters of the notion that a man named Jesus resurrected from the dead.

    And you’re right that science supports all those historical facts (i.e., that people eventually called themselves Christians, and that there are certain claims within the writings of Christians about a supposed resurrection).

    What is not supported by science is everything else. And that’s quite a lot, if you ask me.

    Yes, Christians claim there is all sorts of evidence. In fact, in my 20+ years of study in historical theology, and in my time as a minister (I’m not one now), I encountered the phrase “mountains and mountains of evidence” quite a lot. My wife (Imogen) and I affectionately call that phrase the argument from MAMOE. But when pressed, even the foremost evangelical luminaries like William Lane Craig, or Ben Witherington III cannot produce anything reliably beyond anecdotal evidence, and back-referencing the source of their original claim (i.e., circular reasoning).

    In the end, the evidence just simply isn’t there. At this point, I would ask you to read the book A History of God by Karen Armstrong. It was a groundbreaker for countless numbers of people, including myself. In its pages you will learn in no uncertain terms about the actual history of your religious claims.

    Which brings me to my third point: Christianity is a religion. Yes, you can claim that it is a relationship, but that does nothing to remove Christianity from being a religion anymore than mass marriage ceremonies amongst the Moonies removes the Moonies from being marriage-focused. The facts remain that Christianity requires of its adherents that they belive a minimum number of propositions (e.g., belief in Jesus as the only son of God, who died and rose again for everyone’s sins; belief that God is triune but one; that God exists), and that Christianity (in all its variegated forms) has specific practices useful in the worship of the Christian deity. It is, ergo, a religion. Even if its followers want to contemporize the message of Christianity by claiming it is a relationship, it is still a religion, officially. No popular use of bywords like “relationship” will erase the fact that it is a religion.

    That’s all for now.

    Cheers!
    Kane

    Kane Augustus wrote on December 24th, 2010
    • I share your lack of enthusiasm for such theologians and their circular logic, or lack of any logic whatever, in many cases. I do not want to get into this debate, which I think is disrespectful of our host’s intent for this page, but just encourage you towards Aquinas, in his own words, if for no other reason than to know that there are many Christians who do value reason, and who consider it one of the two wings (faith & reason) on which to take flight to the same, non-contradictory truth.

      Peace be with you.

      MamaGrok wrote on December 25th, 2010
  17. I had intended to unsubscribe from this but my curiosity keeps getting the best of me… lol. It’s like a train-wreck that I just can’t take my eyes off of. :)

    MrMinne: At least you’re acknowledging that God is good, hallelujah, that’s a great start! ;) Holy hell seems like a contradiction of terms to me, but one thing at a time, right? No, my friend, I never quit. NEVER!!!! LOL. About this or ANYTHING ELSE that’s important to me. It’s just not in my nature. Don’t like it? Don’t respond — that’s simple enough, don’t you think? OF COURSE this is a debate… any time you get a bunch of people together saying, “this is what I believe and here’s why…” you end up with a debate. Regardless of the topic. But contrary to what you believe about me in regards to circumcision, I honestly DON’T CARE what a bunch of “uneducated men, wandering around in the desert” did in the past. I only care about what GOD INSTRUCTED, and there’s an IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE. Frankly, MOST of what’s being offered on this forum is OPINION rather than FACT… and NEITHER of us are the exception. Just as you say about me, I have yet to see YOU offer any real FACTS on the matter. Only a single copied and pasted Webster’s definition supplied to fit your agenda. If you think circumcision is wrong, that’s your OPINION. If you think it’s mutilation, that’s still your OPINION. I think it’s a surgical procedure. That’s MY opinion. (Cuz people are always going to define even the SAME THINGS DIFFERENTLY, because WE OURSELVES are different. Potato potato, you know the expression.) Is the procedure a pleasant one? I don’t think EITHER ONE OF US believes so, but that’s just OUR opinion. Is circumcision damaging to the individual? I don’t think so, but that’s MY opinion. I actually think there’s benefit to it, again my opinion. You think it’s a terrible offense, but that’s YOUR opinion. See the pattern? It’s all relative, and one person’s medicine is another’s poison. Upon rare occasion, there may be genuine negative side-effects, as with just about ANYTHING out there… but most of the time, it causes no harm and in fact, has many benefits. So NEITHER scenario really flips the pendulum one way or the other… Really, these are the only FACTS: circumcision is an elective procedure that has many reasonable arguments FOR it, and just as many reasonable arguments AGAINST it. In the end, it’s up to the INDIVIDUAL FAMILLIES to decide what’s right for them, based on their own personal experience and beliefs… which are based on any number of things — and religion (or lack thereof) will most definitely be ONE of them. And it will be a VALID one. If you don’t like that, I’m sorry!???? But that’s not really going to change anything, now is it? So [snip] the snippiness! :) If something one person says is able to resonate with another person in the forum, whether FOR or AGAINST it, then it has VALUE. Even if YOU don’t agree with it or think so. Or I. So TALK about it… put it out there… speak for yourself… let other’s speak… regardless of what it is. Be respectful and it can only be a GOOD THING. Knowledge is power. Experience has benefit. Even opinion has its place. The only reason to LIMIT that is fear or close-mindedness. If you’re a mature adult (not you specifically, just anyone in general) you should be able to handle it. Invite it, even. Your OPINION doesn’t make you wrong or unintelligent. MY opinion doesn’t make ME wrong or unintelligent, either. It just makes us who we are. And “who we are” is BEAUTIFUL, either way. I can APPRECIATE your personality, even if I don’t agree with your ideas. Your responses, though laced with frustration and exasperation with me, tickle me to no end. LOL. I can’t help it! Maybe I just need the interaction, I don’t know… I seem to be too “churchy” for the world, too “worldly” for the church, and I also happen to be the black sheep of my own family… just trying to find a place, I guess. It really doesn’t bother me that we don’t agree, it just makes life interesting. I enjoy hearing other people’s thoughts, as much as I like to share my own. I won’t apologize for it.

    Kane: I don’t think anyone will ever run out of arguments… even GOOD ones. But sometimes I think we eventually end up making an argument, just for argument’s sake — and we end up missing the point. I know even I’m guilty of it upon occasion. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone make an argument (on an unrelated issue) that was TECHNICALLY right, but wrong in every OTHER way. I’ve also had people make an argument, and although it was BRILLIANT, it just didn’t apply to the situation. My ONLY point here is that there is ALWAYS an argument to be made… but in the end, you just can’t argue with TRUTH. ULTIMATE truth, that is… NOT the “truth according to MsMinne,” or the “truth according to MrMinne,” or the “truth according to Imogen,” or the truth according to Kane,” or anyone else. You get the point. I don’t think ANY ONE OF US gets it ALL right, ALL of the time. (That’s why I love discussion!) I guess all ANYONE has is the “truth as they see it,” at least until they get confronted with the “real deal,” WHATEVER that is. (For argument’s sake. LOL.) And, of course… there are always exceptions to the norm (not exceptions to the TRUTH, just what we define as “normal’), but that’s what it is… an exception! (DID, etc. Although I’m not really convinced that the argument really takes away from the value of personal experience. YOURS is real to YOU, and that’s the only one that really matters — to YOU. Same with me. Shrug.) But we don’t base EVERYTHING ELSE on those one or two exceptions anyway. Look… I don’t just BELIEVE in God, I DO have a relationship with him… It’s not “all in my head,” and I’m not basing my experience on what some other person or group “told me” to believe. I didn’t go into it with an agenda, or expectation, or preconceived idea or notion… I sought God directly, I asked to know him, I asked him to teach me. Sometimes I can identify with some of the same things that are taught in the church, that’s to be expected. But many times we actually disagree… not on the REALLY big stuff, but in the details. I don’t base MY experience on anyone else’s… how very disappointing that would be! Rather, I talk to God, and He talks to me… in a variety of different ways, all of them of equal value and importance, all of them equally exciting. It’s not what I WANT it to be or what I’m MAKING it to be (I only WISH that were the case, it would make things so much EASIER!!!) It simply IS what it IS. I don’t define IT, it defines ME. And it’s REAL. Of course you can argue against it, but that doesn’t make it LESS real. Prove to me that LOVE exists… you’d be hard-pressed to do it, but we both know that it exists. The evidence is all around us. So why the God of the Bible? Cuz that’s the GOD who reached out to me, and that happens to be the book He authored. It wasn’t the God of the Quran, or any other sacred texts. (But you can’t put that on ME…!) I’m sure the others have their value, I’m sure the others contain good. But the God of the Bible is the God who reached out and said, “come and know me, come and walk with me.” (And I’m still walking, haven’t arrived yet.) If that makes me a Christian, then so be it, but I don’t subscribe to any labels. You can call me a “sea blue buger-licker” for all I care, as long as a “sea blue buger-licker” shares the same beliefs and experiences and we’re on the same page. I KNOW Christianity is a religion… I never tried to say that it WASN’T. But REAL Christianity can’t ONLY be a religion. It has to be a RELATIONSHIP as well, or that’s ALL that it is… just another religion. People who only go to church for the sake of going to church, and recite empty creeds, and pray thoughtless prayers, and sing emotionless hymns, and just go through the motions to simply “put in their time” or “pay their dues…” They may CALL themselves “Christian,” but I would be hard-pressed to believe that they REALLY ARE by the TRUE DEFINITION of it. That’s just EMPTY religion, whether you call it Christianity or something else. And that’s precisely the kind of stuff that I can’t stomach. If it works for someone else… more power to them, I guess. But it’s not enough for me, and I don’t think it’s gonna help anybody or impact the world. Not the “world ” as in those “big, scary sinners” out there, just the world as in “the planet.” I don’t pretend to know everything about God, I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I just know that there IS a God, and that He’s is too wise to make a mistake, too loving to be unkind, and if He were small enough for me to fully comprehend, He’d be too small for me to worship. Forget the church. GOD IS GOD. God is GOOD, and anyone can KNOW that if they WANT to. (Of course, that would require a degree of humility and openness, and a laying down of personal agenda and ego — but sooo worth it!) You really CAN’T argue with personal experience when it’s your own… and since you’re not one of those exceptions that you mentioned earlier, but rather and intelligent person with a sound mind, you CAN find out for yourself, and I guess that’s all that matters. It will be real to YOU, and that’s not relative or make-believe. OR… you can take the easy way out, call me crazy and uninformed, dismiss what I am saying entirely, and perhaps miss out. But please don’t mistake my tone in saying that. Yes, I happen to love God. I don’t always UNDERSTAND him, I don’t always AGREE with him (timing and whatnot), I don’t always TRUST him (my fault, not his), I don’t always even LIKE him. (Oh, what blasphemy! LOL.) We are complex beings! But I forever LOVE him. And I always RESPECT him. And I will always CHOOSE him. And even when I’m MAD at him (I’m so unruly), I still know that He’s RIGHT, and I’m actually GLAD for that. It doesn’t always SEEM like He’s good (when you look at all the pain and suffering that exists), but things are not always what they SEEM. (And how foolish to blame him for things He’s not even responsible for.) I still KNOW that He is (good). And I know that He is big enough to handle my frustrations and doubt, and wonderful enough to still welcome and embrace me ANYWAY. (You think He doesn’t understand where we’re coming from?) Now why would I turn that down? Even when everyone else turns their backs on me, God is still faithful. Even when people falsely call me an unintelligent, sadistic sicko, lol, God still speaks the truth of who I am to me… I am a child of the Most-High God, a daughter of the King… I have value and worth. As do ALL of YOU. I just don’t understand all the RESISTANCE! Wouldn’t you want that too? I mean, set aside whether or not you even think that’s POSSIBLE… don’t you even WANT that? Please, I’m not trying to convince you of anything… I’m really just ASKING!??? I’m curious… I want to KNOW. I’m not trying to proselytize… that’s just not “my thing.” I’ve simply found something that’s amazing and beautiful and profound, and I’m certainly not going to HIDE that or DENY it to make you feel more comfortable… OF COURSE it’s going to come up if I’m around, because it’s the most IMPORTANT PART of me! It affects every area of my life! I can’t SEPARATE myself from it! But I DO want you to have the opportunity to be blessed by the same! I didn’t find it in religion, I didn’t even find it in the church… I found it in an infinite Being, simply as I was walking through this thing called life. Or He found ME… because my heart was longing for something more and He knew that, so He sought me out and took me under his wing. Receive that if you want to, turn it away if you don’t. But please don’t mock me for it… I’m not trying to force anything on you, or tell you that you’re wrong and I’m right. I’m just saying, “Look here… I’ve found a really great thing! You can have it too!” I’m not here to tell you to go to church… I’m not here to even defend Christianity. (Or “sea blue buger-licking,” for that matter. LOL.) I’m just saying… there’s a God who looks at you through a Father’s eyes and wants you to know him, so He can lavish his love upon you in the midst of all the trials and difficulties we face in this world! Cuz that’s simply his heart, and his character, and his desire! Whether we can understand or believe that or not. (But He never withdraws the offer.) And that’s all! It is a process, getting to know him… and we get transformed from glory to glory along the way — not overnight. But it’s a PERSONAL journey… so it doesn’t even matter what MY experience is or anyone else’s, except to realize that you can have YOUR OWN, should you want it. If you don’t, that’s fine. Again, I’m not trying to change YOU, so don’t try to change ME either. My faith is an integral part of WHO I AM. I get excited about it and enjoy talking about it. Just smile and nod! :) I don’t mind if you have other beliefs… I’ll still listen to yours. I LIKE to know what you think and why you think it. I just don’t like to get beat up by it. (Not that you SPECIFICALLY are doing that…) We don’t have to “agree” to “get along.” (ANY of us.) Why would you want to hang out with someone exactly like yourself anyway? Never any question, never any challenge… boring, stale, and predictable. No, not the person… just that kind of scenario. What would you even talk about? “I think the world is round. ‘Me too!’ My favorite season is summer. ‘Mine too!’ My favorite subject is Algebra. ‘So is mine!’ I think protein rules! ‘Couldn’t have said it better myself!’ I don’t think there’s a God. ‘Me neither!’ Circumcision is evil. ‘I agree!’ …” Is that really the spice of life? I’d go crazy with that! So Kane, Imogen, MrMinne, this is where I stand… I think you’re all interesting. I think you’re intelligent. I think you’re amusing (whether you mean to be or not, lol). I think you have a lot to offer and contribute. I can’t say that I agree with you about much SO FAR, but I’m okay with that. If YOU’RE not, then ignore me… you won’t hurt my feelings. (Although, lets not forget that I DO have them…!) So again I say… it’s been fun! I do value your input and experience! I think you have something of substance to bring to the table! You offer a unique perspective! I STILL wish you peace, I wish for you to be blessed on WHATEVER road you decide to take, I wish you ONLY GOOD… whether you’re FOR circumcision or AGAINST it. LOL. (Thought we should bring that back into the discussion.)

    By the way, MrMinne, I didn’t join the forum to convert anyone… it was simply a topic that interested me and I joined in the conversation. Like everyone else, I stated my beliefs and the reasons behind them, and one thing led to another. Conversation is like that, it ebbs and it flows. Big deal, I say. It’s really not my job to defend Christianity or the church, I don’t even want to. Not in here or out there. I’ve been more beat up in the “church” than anywhere else. Until this forum, that is… (just kidding.) That’s not the way it’s SUPPOSED to be with the church (or this forum, lol), that’s just the way it IS sometimes. So I’m in favor of GOD. That’s it. (And if He’s in favor of circumcision, that’s good enough for me. Cuz He’s shown himself to be trustworthy too many times to discredit him now. But again, He no longer requires it. I just still believe in it’s original value. My opinion, my right. It’s no more silly than your own.) But instead of putting me in the position of trying to defend HIM… why don’t you all try to DIS-prove him if you’re so keen on it. Put the responsibility back on yourselves. I think it will be harder than you believe it to be. Or don’t. That’s okay too. Again I say, be blessed! And have a very, Merry Christmas! If you have friends and family who appreciate you… love them, hug them, and hold them…. they are your greatest gift of all. (And your son’s will still love you back, whether you circumcise them or not.) :)

    (I’m already bracing myself for the next wave of backlash from all ye posters! But don’t make that your goal. Really. Don’t try so hard to be the intolerant bunch that so many like to credit us Christians with. Or in my case, a “sea blue buger-licker.” LOL. Don’t ask, I have no idea where that came from.)

    MsMinne wrote on December 24th, 2010
    • Just for the record, MsMinne, CAPITAL LETTERS are the internet equivalent of constantly shouting in the middle of your sentences.

      And as a fellow Christian, I like your spunk but I think it makes us look bad when we spend a whole lot of time “not proselytizing” by spilling great deals of religious ink (not ink. bytes?) into forums that aren’t addressing our religious issues.

      Finally, the burden of proof in any religious discussion is on the one who talks about an invisible God, not the guy who doesn’t believe in him. To say that we believe in a big invisible merciful God who allows evil in the world, and then to try to show how right we are by asking others to try to prove us wrong is backwards and unfair.

      Mitchell Powell wrote on December 25th, 2010
    • MsMinne – if you want people to read your sh*t, then at least learn to type in paragraphs…

      Sarah wrote on December 29th, 2010
  18. Huh. I guess there’s no character limit on comments. Good to know.

    imogen wrote on December 25th, 2010
  19. Well no one’s ever accused me of being short on words, that’s for sure. :) I’m glad that’s what you got from it.

    MsMinne wrote on December 25th, 2010
    • There was a reason I didn’t get involved in religious debate earlier in this comment thread, b/c I believe it’s disrespectful & futile to proselytize for or against religion on a page about circumcision.

      For those interested in the historical Christian perspective on circumcision, scroll up to my previous comments. It would be a shame for more Christians to miss those facts b/c of pages of off-topic debate, and a shame for more non-Christians to think that MsMinne represents all Christians. Of course, it would be equally in error to think that I represent all Christians, either, on this issue or on any other, but at least the variety of perspectives will be available.

      MamaGrok wrote on December 25th, 2010
  20. Well no wonder Jesus exclaimed, “O unbelieving and perverse generation, How long shall I stay with you! How long shall I put up with you!” We can ALL be pretty exasperating at times, or so it would seem. :) (Now don’t get all offended, I’m saying that in humor.) But for those of you who have no use for God and the Bible… to mock me for my beliefs is a little close-minded and hypocritical, if you ask me. Whether it’s about circumcision, or anything else. And for OTHER CHRISTIANS out there to do it as well… it seems more than a little arrogant and condescending (not to mention a contradiction to what we BOTH believe), to think that “your version” is superior to mine. Based on what, might I ask? Your opinion! :) I guess we’re back to that again. What’s with all the personal attacks, anyway? Do you really think that accomplishes anything? Exactly WHAT about me, or my faith, or my beliefs is so unreasonable or unsound? And what makes YOURS the answer to end all answers? I don’t think ANYTHING I said was unfair, illogical, contradictory, uninformed, or unintelligent. And I think I’ve been MORE THAN patient and understanding of the OTHER BELIEFS that were put out there, despite the fact that they have little if anything in common with mine — and despite the fact that they are no more factual or scientific, either. And I’ve MAINTAINED a respectful attitude even when many of you have been less-than-friendly in making your own beliefs or opinions known. I don’t think I’ve disrespected even ONE person here. I look to God as my source (of ANYTHING)… so for me to look to another man or scholar (whether on this forum, or even well-known in the world) to form my belief system isn’t necessary. Now don’t hear me wrong… I’m not opposed to research or study from a variety of different sources, and in fact I think that people should gather as much information as they can about ANYTHING. It can only be beneficial. But at the end of the day, I’m gonna take whatever information that I gather, and take it back to the Word of God. If it agrees, I’ll keep it… if it doesn’t, I’ll keep it in my knowledge bank but not allow it to influence where I stand. If you start to replace God’s wisdom with “man’s wisdom,” you’re doing yourself a great disservice and you’ll only get yourself into trouble — as in you’ll get off-track and make yourself vulnerable to wrong thinking. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” Again MamaGrok, whenever I take a stand in FAVOR of circumcision… I am taking it in favor of the ORIGINAL practice as prescribed by God — not our flawed, updated version. I am still grateful for the information you brought to light, I intend to research it further, and if possible, have THAT version performed on my infant sons. I have in no way tossed your information out the window. As far as disrespecting the forum, I really don’t think the forum has been in any way tainted or devalued. If you don’t like something you see, simply breeze over it and continue on with the next person who has views more to your liking. (And I’m not at all saying that with an attitude; so much gets lost through written communication.) I don’t presume to speak for Mark (our host), but I’m pretty sure I remember hearing him talk about his own faith, even on television… I used to watch him as a guest on Doug Kauffman’s show on FamilyNet, and not once did he shy away from his belief in God as our creator, and the role He plays in our lives… especially our health. This discussion got side-tracked because I was defending my original stance after being mocked for it… I really didn’t TAKE it in that direction, I only RESPONDED. Long-windedness is apparently just a part of the fabric that makes me who I am… we all have our quirks. :) I’m not embarrassed about it, it actually amuses me when I realize it after-the-fact. I don’t PURPOSE to be that way, and I don’t believe it to be good OR bad, it’s simply what is. But regardless, I’ve noticed I’m not the ONLY ONE with that trait. Mitchell… I do realize that ALL CAPS can be perceived as the “typed equivalent” of shouting… but that’s not my intent at all. (Although I DO speak with a healthy dose of expression and animation in the actual world.) I simply use it to let you know where I’m putting my emphasis, as I’m sure most people have figure out. (Considering how ‘brilliant’ everyone on the forum seems to be, lol.) If I had the option of using italics, I would opt to do that instead. And since it was never my purpose or intent to convert anyone to Christianity, but rather, was put in the position of simply defending it after being attacked for it… the burden of proof doesn’t need to be on me. I didn’t say that anyone else had to AGREE with my position, I’m not in the business of convincing ANYONE of ANYTHING. Christianity or otherwise. So to expect ME to do that is UNFAIR, not vise versa. But for heaven’s sake, don’t anyone base your opinion of GOD on MY ability to defend him… I’m far too inadequate. (But don’t confuse that with unintelligence.) I can only say, “this is where I stand and here’s why.” Do with it what you will. Now fortunately for you all, my holiday is over and I have to get back to work, so I won’t have time to send any more long-winded responses. Consider me “officially” unsubscribed. :) Go ahead and praise the Lord, or WHATEVER God you subscribe to, or mother earth, or even self… lol. I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas, and I wish you much happiness and success in the new year. Try not to take life so seriously… laugh, smile, and have a good time in the midst of it all. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Especially if you slip up and eat grains.

    To my fellow Christians: even when we don’t agree on a certain aspect of the faith we purport to share, let’s not forget the one thing we DO have in common… Christ’s message of LOVE.

    “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing… Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

    “now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.”

    Peace. I’m outta here… :)

    MsMinne wrote on December 25th, 2010
    • Just to clarify, what I believe is disrespectful is having a prolonged conversation that is completely off topic (regardless of whether I agree with it) when someone else (here, Mark Sisson) is gracious enough to host our commentary. Merry Christmas, MsMinne! That is all.

      MamaGrok wrote on December 25th, 2010
  21. I don’t think anyone has mocked you, MsMinne. Surely you must realise the oddity of being offended by others’ opinions while stressing diversity of opinion on religio-philosophical matters, no?

    And on that note, when you convey the notion that everyone is free to think what they’d like, to believe what they’d like, and that it really doesn’t matter to you, you have set up a relativistic notion of right and wrong. That is, you have essentially suggested that it is not the particular beliefs that people hold that is important, it is the presentation people give to those beliefs that is important. Such a subjectivist way of thinking is first, unbiblical (cf. John 14:6); and second irrational: you either believe that Christianity is true or is not. There is no room within the Christian metaphysic to suggest a plurality of truth dependent on the perceptions of its adherents.

    Third, if you’re going to claim that based on your religion (Christianity) that circumcision is right, then you’ve made a claim that is objective to your personal influence on the topic. Therefore, the burden of proof is on you to establish vis-a-vis your religion that circumcision is right. And it is encumbant on you to do so beyond the notion that you just think it is.

    Merry Christmas to you, too!
    Kane

    Kane Augustus wrote on December 25th, 2010
  22. A LITTLE mocked… the Jesus troll? Having too much faith for logic? LOL. There’s been some mocking attitudes and comments, all you have to do is scroll back up. Some of it in good fun, some of it a bit more harsh. But I would say I’ve been more ATTACKED than anything else… since every time I turn around there’s SOMEONE accusing me of being a sicko, sadist, ignorant, uninformed, circular-thinker, etc… there have been a multitude of names and comments thrown out there, both TO me and ABOUT me (or people LIKE me). And there’s a general “attitude” about the situation as well. Not EVERYONE. I pretty much take it in stride, though, and fortunately I have a pretty thick skin. And I can’t even deny the humor in SOME of it. :) So I wouldn’t say that I’m OFFENDED… more surprised and perplexed than anything else. I really DON’T mind that people disagree with me… I know that each person has to do whatever resonates with them, and I’M not the person to change that. The only thing I really object to is someone belittling me, and then trying to make THAT a valid argument. “I’m just too stupid to get it, unlike the rest of you who are so much more superior and advanced in your thinking than little ‘ol me… stuck back in the stone ages.” (Okay, so that was paraphrased. LOL.) Whereas MamaGrok, for example, originally brought some actual DATA to the discussion that could be used to back up her position… “I don’t think you’re stupid and I know where you’re coming from, but I still disagree with you, and here’s why based on these facts.” (Again, paraphrased.) I respect THAT more than, “I’m right and if you don’t agree with me, you’re just an ignorant fool!” Because that’s kinda how it comes off. Of course it MATTERS to me what other people think… I really didn’t mean to imply otherwise, because I do care about what will happen to them because of whatever belief system they subscribe to – now or down the line. But I also know that I’m not going to change it, and I don’t feel the need to reject them or belittle them BECAUSE of it. And frankly, I still think I’d enjoy them as people. I still think they have a lot to offer and contribute. I still think they have their own unique beauty to bring to the table. And the last thing I want is to come off with the attitude that, “I’m right, you’re wrong, end of story, we can’t be friends.” That’s beyond ridiculous. I personally don’t believe that there’s any way around God’s truth in the end… but I also happen to believe that there is great value in what others bring to the table… beyond just what they SAY or BELIEVE, but more in who they ARE… their talents, and gifts, and strengths. One doesn’t contradict the other… at least the way I’m MEANING it. But I’m also lacking the words right now to effectively express what I’m TRYING to say, as it’s been a long day, I’m tired, and I’ve got to get up in the morning. I enjoyed your last remark, though. Got a good chuckle out of it… you make a good point about that specifically. I guess when I made my comment earlier about the burden of proof, it was about proving GOD in general, in response to Mitchell… since that’s not really what I set out to do. Still, you make a good point, in light of circumcision and this forum. Thank you for the holiday wishes. :) Yes, I’ll still probably read the responses that come in yet tonight, but I’ll probably be too tired to respond. After today I go back to life as usual… and I’ll leave the debating to the rest of you again. My best to everyone out there…

    And thank you for the clarification, MamaGrok… I respect your position.

    MsMinne wrote on December 25th, 2010
  23. Hmmm. Maybe I should (quickly) say this one last thing, just to clarify, cuz I’m thinking that it may have been lost from the very begining… I don’t actually believe that everyone SHOULD circumcise their sons because “my God said so.” I guess the only point I was REALLY trying to make was that I don’t believe that it’s a BAD thing if you CHOOSE to… and *I* came to that conclusion BECAUSE: (generically this time…) “This is my background and experience, it involves my faith, that faith tells me that it’s NOT a harmful or damaging thing, but rather, may even produce several healthy and beneficial results — when the procedure is performed correctly and as originally intended, of course.” (And see? Even I learned something from this, thanks to MamaGrok’s information.) And SOME of the benefits that I’m referring to have already been referenced, and they were based on ACTUAL scientific studies and research. If you’ll remember, I only ever said that I believed circumcision to be a good and beneficial practice… not that it should be a MANDATORY one or anything… or that you SHOULD come to the same conclusion, although you certainly COULD if my experience or reasons happened to resonate with you. Maybe that’s why I’m so perplexed by all of the backlash… perhaps a bit of a misunderstanding. Or maybe that HAS been clear from the very beginning, and it just doesn’t matter to anyone because I’m “too ridiculous” since my reasons don’t agree with yours. Guess I may never know… :) Take care, all. Happy debating.

    MsMinne wrote on December 26th, 2010
  24. MsMinne,

    Yes, you are right that you were mocked a little bit. I have not mocked you, so I will not apologise for that portion of the debate.

    In any case, that you would say, “[my] faith tells me that it’s NOT a harmful or damaging thing” is really what concerns me about your thinking. Why? Because ‘faith’, definitionally, is not a content-rich position. That is, faith is not an information-filled premise upon which to base your conclusion that circumcision is not harmful. The basic facts bear this out quite well.

    First, faith is, definitionally, a ‘hope’ or ‘basic trust’ in a proposition (in this case, God). The Greek word for ‘faith’ used in NT scripture is pistis (noun, used 244 times). It is the name/noun given to the quality of a person that can ‘hope’ or place a ‘basic trust’ in the claims of the apostles, Jesus, and scripture.

    Second, because ‘faith’ is essentially a compulsive quality that enables a person to believe certain truth-claims, it does not follow therefore that a person can utilise faith for whatever topic, issue, or subject they fancy. Faith is not a scapegoat that allows you to place all your reasoning on hold for the simple expedient of relaxing your responsibility to reason things out.

    Third, because you are not excused from reasoning just because you have faith, you are in the position of having to consider that the first action of circumcision is to harm the male phallus by slicing off its foreskin. This involves inordinate amounts of pain, long-term suffering, and possible pain in the future if the foreskin is cut back too far (e.g., it hurts some men to have a full errection because they were cut back too far).

    The point is this: whenever the human body is somehow harmed, depleted, altered, or even augmented (e.g., deviant piercings), it is mutilated. Plain and simple. Therefore, circumcision, because it involves harming the male phallus in a way that disfigures it from its natural state, is abjectly immoral and wrong. This is basic logic informed by simple observation, irrespective of a contentless position like ‘faith’.

    If the first action of circumcision is injurious to the male phallus, and therefore the male who undergoes it, it is undebateably harmful. And where harm is inflicted against another’s will and natural sanctity; where harm is inflicted without the utilitarian measure of doing harm to save a life; where harm is invited on a person in such a way that potentializes long-term psychological, emotional, and physical effects (which circumcision does do), it is therefore wrong, immoral, evil, and ungodly.

    That some Bronze-age agrarian polytheists took a fancy to Yahweh, one of the Canaanite gods, and lopped off the dangly bit of their penis to show him contrition does not make such a stupid act respectable, healthy, or worthy of propagation. Abraham’s story is just that: a story. It is an embellishment protracted through centuries of oral repetition, and enforced upon untold millions of people all in an effort to appease their vengeful god. They may as well have thrown the most beautiful virgins into a volcano. The mentality would’ve been the same: hurt people to please God. It’s patently irrational and not worthy of being a faith-issue. Faith has a certain dignity that is smudged, distorted and sullied when measured against such ruthless and insipid practices as circumcision.

    Kane Augustus wrote on December 26th, 2010
  25. MsMinne,

    Here are a couple of resources from Christians who advocate wholeness.

    Acts 15

    Catholics Against Circumcision

    Enjoy your reading!
    Kane

    Kane Augustus wrote on December 26th, 2010
  26. Well, my friend… I have MUCH to say in response to your first message, but I think we’ll have to find another place to continue the discussion — since my views on circumcision are intertwined with my faith, and too many people on this forum are only interested in a secular point of view. However, I do want to suggest that you stop focusing so intently on my exact “word usage,” and instead focus on the “heart” of what I’m saying. I don’t really see the benefit of arguing about what the definition of “is” is… if you get my point. :) Not that I would back away from my word usage anyway, as “faith” entails MANY things… not just the mere belief, or hope, or expectation that God does exist, etc. No one (here) is using “faith” as a scapegoat or an excuse to abandon all reason. A + B = C in Algebra, A + B = C with God as well. That’s reasonable. :) I could go on… and on, and on, and on. LOL. (Just poking fun at myself.) But out of respect, I won’t do it here. If you (or anyone else, for that matter) would like to (respectfully) continue this (or any other) discussion outside of this forum (as time permits), please feel free to email me directly… my “name” @live.com. I will check out the links you sent. It’s been fun, it’s been interesting… I’ve enjoyed the interaction. Thank you for at least THAT much… :)

    Remember, we don’t all have to THINK alike or BE alike, in order for us to RESPECT each other and GET ALONG. Diversity is the spice of life. To deny that would be to MISS OUT! :) I wish you ALL the best.

    MsMinne wrote on December 26th, 2010
  27. Okay, I must (I MUST!) respond to AT LEAST your last comment, and here is your quote…

    “That some Bronze-age agrarian polytheists took a fancy to Yahweh, one of the Canaanite gods, and lopped off the dangly bit of their penis to show him contrition does not make such a stupid act respectable, healthy, or worthy of propagation. Abraham’s story is just that: a story. It is an embellishment protracted through centuries of oral repetition, and enforced upon untold millions of people all in an effort to appease their vengeful god. They may as well have thrown the most beautiful virgins into a volcano. The mentality would’ve been the same: hurt people to please God. It’s patently irrational and not worthy of being a faith-issue. Faith has a certain dignity that is smudged, distorted and sullied when measured against such ruthless and insipid practices as circumcision.”

    – That’s not even FACTUAL, my friend! And it saddens me… I mean, really SADDENS ME‼! That you actually see it that way and believe that to be the TRUTH! That’s a HIGHLY INACCURATE depiction of who God IS, what the Bible says, the reason behind circumcision, etc. And I only HAVE to say something about it because I don’t want some other person on this forum to read your quote and take it in as TRUTH, because it is NOT. I’m not saying that you are PURPOSING to mislead anyone… I really do believe that you believe what you’re saying. But this time, it is YOU who is MISINFORMED. (Which can actually be PROVEN.) And I say all of that with the utmost respect, TRULY. Again, if you wish to discuss this further, please email.

    Shalom.

    MsMinne wrote on December 26th, 2010
  28. OK, huge amount of comments here, so I know I’m whistling in the wind a bit, but here goes.

    Please DO read this post. If you have any interest in the subject then it’s important.

    First, I’d like every man here with a foreskin to touch it, play with it a bit. While still limp, run a finger over it.

    Feel that? Exactly. You see, even most of us men don’t realize it but THAT is the source of most male sexual pleasure.

    Now retract the foreskin and try rubbing your finger across the glans like you did the foreskin.

    You’ll notice only the area when the glans attaches to the foreskin is sensitive. The rest can only feel heat, pressure and pain.

    Don’t believe me? Try again. Try a gentle fingernail, see if you can feel anything other than pressure, then pain?

    You see, the glans is there for the foreskin to slide over, which is where the pleasure comes from, the foreskin, NOT the glans.

    In the opposite sex it’s the opposite, where a woman’s clitoris is more sensitive than its hood.

    Tip – next time you experience fellatio, ask her to not pull the foreskin back but to run her lips and tonque over the foreskin itself.

    Second tip – warn her you’re about to ejaculate!

    I’ve studied this subject a lot and this is probably THE most misunderstood issue.

    Because the glans (knob) is so big and obvious, with that “bit of skin” covering it, both men and women tend to presume that it’s the glans that provides the majority of the pleasure.

    It’s the complete opposite!

    It’s the rolling and unrolling (unfurling) of the foreskin that provides most of the stimulatory pleasure. It’s where the nerves are, not in the glans.

    I’m talking about the specialist SEXUAL nerves, not just the usual hot/cold pressure and pain nerves.

    Men still acheive orgasm due to being mentally turned on – and due to the remnants of sexual nerves left behind.

    Be aware modern circumcision removes about 95% of those nerves…

    So yes, a circumcised man can feel the vagina, he can be turned on and, with sufficient time and stimulation, he can orgasm.

    The INTERIOR nerves of the glans feel extreme pleasure during orgasm, reinforcing the false belief that it’s the glans that provides pleasure.

    The pleasure of orgasm is from a different and special set of nerves deeper within the penis, prostate etc. So yes, circumcised men enjoy their orgasms, they just don’t enjoy the sex beforehand anywhere near as much as they would do if intact.

    I firmly believe this is why American men seem so fixated on anal sex, for the greater simulation.

    Try looking at European porn and then American porn? American porn features vastly more anal sex. It may not happen so much in actual relationships but it certainly does seem to be a fantasy that American porn caters to.

    Be aware the foreskin is the only part of the human body that detects moisture. Your fingers can feel ‘cold’ or ‘slippery’ and so on but cannot detect moisture the way the foreskin can. It is a major part of sexual pleasure for a man to feel his partner is wet. However for a circumcised man it’s the opposite, as “too wet” reduces the friction he needs to feel much of anything.

    It’s also a major reason intact men enjoy oral sex, though they, along with women, usually get it wrong about where the pleasure comes from!

    Even when a man is circumcised as an adult, he may mistakenly think “Well the glans feels as sensitive as before..?”

    Yes. For now. Eventually the lack of covering will make the glans dry an less sensitive but ironically enough, that’s not really a problem. The glans isn’t very sensitive anyway, so losing some sensitivity there won’t make much difference.

    I recall many years ago a Nigerian friend joking about mastubating and talking of soap. Soap? It seems circumcised men need, or at least prefer, some form of lubrication. That’s totally unnecessary with an intact foreskin, because that ‘gliding’ motion is what it’s for.

    Sorry for such a long post but this issue is important to understand. Removing the foreskin is exactly the same as removing the clitoris. Sexual pleasure is still possible and if you never had one you won’t miss it.

    That does NOT mean the same as not missing something. In the event of a foreskin amputation you’re missing:

    200 ft of specialst nerves, with around 20,000 to 70,000 nerve endings.

    Around 6 sqr inches of super-sensitive tissue (yes, when erect it’s that big)

    The gliding mechanism itself

    Also that gliding mechanism reduces friction on the woman, increasing comfort, while retaining her lubricatory secretions. Some ancient text promoting circumcision warn that if a woman is allowed to sleep with an intact man she may not be willing to return to a circumcised one (especially if older and doesn’t lubricate so easily)

    Sorry again for the long post but it’s an area so many people misunderstand.

    Alan

    Alan wrote on December 27th, 2010
  29. Sorry, typo, it’s about 16, not 6, square inches.

    That’s because both the inner and outer layers come into play when erect, and because it swells with the penis.

    Alan

    Alan wrote on December 27th, 2010
    • Wow, Alan! Thank you so much for all your helpful information.

      Another question related to the subject but not dealing with the mutilation end of things: do you know much about the success of foreskin restoration?

      There are sites on the internet that describe the process and provide easy-to-use contraptions that help persuade the remaining foreskin (if any) to stretch and re-envelope the glans. Is this kind of restoration actually possible? Or is it also a good money-making scheme (just like foreskin removal)?

      Thank you in advance for any information you may have.

      Cheers!
      Kane

      Kane Augustus wrote on December 27th, 2010
      • I’m not Alan, but I do personally know people who have restored without any contraptions (although those work, too). There’s no replacing the lost nerve endings or lubricative functions, of course, but enough extra skin makes an ENORMOUS difference in comfort for the woman and pleasure for both. Google NORM for more info.

        MamaGrok wrote on December 27th, 2010
  30. Yep, what MamaGrok said.

    She mentioned the lubricatory element and yes, above and beyond the gliding mechanism the foreskin secretes a lubricant.

    That substance also has anti-bacterial properties – good old fashioned smegma. Like armpit sweat it’s not smelly when fresh and like armpits needs bathing regularly.

    As an aside to the ladies complaining about smell, here’s something to ponder…

    Women actually produce more smegma than men. However it’s not enough. When a man goes too long without bathing he just smells of stale urine and, eventually, cheese – when a woman goes too long without bathing she smells like dead fish, i.e. bacteria.

    You know the cliche where a woman gets drunk, wakes up in someone else’s apartment and wonders if they had sex?

    A man knows – because his cock stinks.

    Before any ladies worry, please don’t. We may rarely admit it but we kinnda like it, for a few minutes anyway ;o)

    Back to the question, I’ve been told by some that they’re extremely happy with their ‘restored’ foreskin, so I certainly wouldn’t discourage it. It’s true though that you cannot regain those sexual nerves.

    They were amputated.

    A.

    Alan wrote on December 27th, 2010
    • Alan said:
      “…a “restored foreskin” (stretched penile skin)… doesn’t produce smegma …”

      Surely you can’t believe that. It presupposes that smegma is the product of a (now removed) real foreskin. In fact, I offer some years of personal proof that it isn’t. My real and complete (uncircumcised) foreskin, kept thoroughly and permanently retracted, produces no smegma.

      Charles II wrote on January 2nd, 2011
      • I don’t just ‘believe’, I know that.

        You seem to be reacting negatively to the idea that you’re producing smegma but that’s like saying ‘My armpits don’t produce sweat’.

        Presuming you follow normal hygiene procedures, ie you wash, then you’ll barely notice it.

        However it’s there. It’s your body’s way of supplying lubrication and anti-bacterial protection. Smegma is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing – unless you go for long periods without bathing.

        A.

        Alan wrote on January 2nd, 2011
      • Alan said: “I don’t just ‘believe’, I know that (a ‘restored’ foreskin does not produce smegma).
        …the idea that you’re producing smegma (is) like saying ‘My armpits don’t produce sweat’.
        Presuming you follow normal hygiene procedures, ie you wash, then you’ll barely notice it.
        …Smegma is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing…
        —————————-

        If smegma is one of the reasons to consider circumcision, then most people, at least in informed societies, must agree that smegma is not a good thing. If oral sex is considered acceptable and desirable, smegma is most definitely not. If “normal hygiene” allows smegma to return in as few as two hours, smegma is probably not a very good thing.
        But that wasn’t my point. You have an erroneous idea that a “restored” foreskin, presumably as opposed to an uncircumcised real one, does not produce smegma. Wrong. Any skin keeping the penis head buried away can create the environment that breeds and produces smegma. Smegma is dead and rotting skin cells from the penis head (not foreskin), combined with the kind of unclean moisture and temperature to be found in that area. In a word, smegma is disgusting. Ask any circumcised boy or man if he needs or wants it. “Oh how I miss the smegma. I used to scrape it up and smear it under my nose for hours and hours of thrills. The stench had girls and boys alike fighting over me…” Yeah, right.

        On another note, I tire of you people with the long diatribes about religious implications. If you submit to a religious belief that dictates circumcision, no decision process for you is allowed, and therefore no need for discussion.
        And on that note, if RIC is a violation of a child’s right, then so is mandatory religious circumcision of a minor.

        Charles II wrote on January 4th, 2011
        • I suggest you actually look into a subject before spouting your opinion and telling someone else they’re wrong.

          “production of smegma increases from adolescence until sexual maturity when the function of smegma for lubrication assumes its full value, and from middle-age production starts to decline and in old age virtually no smegma is produced.[4]

          Or see this:

          “Smegma is probably the most misunderstood, most unjustifiably maligned substance in nature. Smegma is clean, not dirty, and is beneficial and necessary. It moisturizes the glans and keeps it smooth, soft, and supple. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties keep the penis clean and healthy. All mammals produce smegma. Thomas J. Ritter, MD [co-author of Say No to Circumcision] underscored its importance when he commented, ‘The animal kingdom would probably cease to exist without smegma.’”

          Or:

          “Infant Smegma: Skin cells from the glans of the penis and the inner foreskin are shed throughout life. This is especially true in childhood; natural skin shedding serves to separate the foreskin from the glans. Since this shedding takes place in a relatively closed space — with the foreskin covering the glans — the shed skin cells cannot escape in the usual manner. They escape by working their way to the tip of the foreskin. These escaping discarded skin cells constitute infant smegma.” / “Adult Smegma: … Adult smegma serves as a protective, lubricating function for the glans.” (“Care of the Uncircumcised Penis,” American Academy of Pediatrics, 1984)

          “Analogous to tears, smegma is the compilation of secretions by ectopic sebaceous glands located in the prepuce, the seminal secretions of the Cowper’s gland and the prostate, the mucin content of the secretions of the urethral glands, and the sloughed epithelial cells.”

          If you “suffer” from smegma, try washing more often, like most men do.

          A.

          Alan wrote on January 5th, 2011
  31. Oh, forgot something.

    With the experiment I described earlier, very lightly running a finger across the foreskin, you’ll notice the bunched-up bit at the front is *extremely* sensitive.

    Pleasure, not pain.

    That’s the section that has like an elasticated drawstring effect, closing down around the glans. It’s the stretching or “unfurling” of that tissue that stimulates those specialist pleasure nerves.

    A restored foreskin does not have that “drawstring”, or elastic effect, meaning it does not hold onto the glans. As such it does not protect against rubbing or chafing as much as the original.

    In short, a “restored foreskin” (stretched penile skin) isn’t so elastic, doesn’t produce smegma and contains far fewer of the the specialist pleasure nerves.

    However if I were forcibly circumcised would I attempt restoration?

    Yes, absolutely.

    A.

    Alan wrote on December 27th, 2010
  32. Charles:

    Unfortunately, I don’t really see how you debunked what I said. For God to be in favor of circumcision in the Old Testament, only to turn around and tell us that it’s a “wrong” practice in the New Testament — would kind of make him a bipolar sadist. Sadist because of your assertion that He actually “enjoys inflicting pain.” (That was YOUR argument, not MINE.) But as I mentioned earlier, that’s NOT AT ALL what happened. God did not “change his mind” about the practice later in history, nor did He “suddenly realize” that He had made a mistake on the issue to begin with… the act was simply “no longer necessary” because Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law. And contrary to your OTHER argument, God didn’t just “come up with the idea” of circumcision because He made a “boo-boo” with the original male anatomy — even though we are “created in his image.” The act of circumcision FIRST AND FOREMOST held SPIRITUAL significance… There are two primary reasons why God commanded us to place the symbol of our covenant on the male sexual organ (sorry — nothing to do with the part being “useless or even dangerous, and in need of chopping-off”): 1) God wanted this sign to be in the very part of the body which symbolizes pleasure. This is supposed to be a constant reminder to us that we should be focused on our special relationship with God and not get lost in life’s pleasures and vices. Basically, we should always keep in mind that which is important and that which is trivial. 2) We place our sign on the male reproductive member because we pass on our covenant with God to our children. (At least that is what I have learned so far.) There are also PHYSICAL benefits to circumcision, as referenced earlier, but one needs to research the ORIGINAL practice since it has changed over the course of history — please reference MamaGrok’s information. My assertion that God would not ask us to do something if it would actually cause us harm — since his motives toward us are only GOOD and LOVING — is perfectly valid and reasonable. Circumcision, as prescribed by God, is neither dangerous nor harmful. (So NO, He is not mean, or sadistic, or even vengeful, etc.) If WE mess up the procedure… it’s on US, not HIM. Also, I’m not callous to the discomfort that babies sometimes experience… whether it’s regarding the act of circumcision, or something different entirely. I just get a little tired of the “general attitude” that our culture is picking up over a BROAD SPECTRUM of issues, such as: it’s “child-abuse” if we in any way discipline our children, or that it’s “damaging” if we offer any criticism at all – even the constructive kind, or that we have to get rid of our current “grading system” in schools because it will hurt kids’ self-esteem if they don’t get “A’s,” etc. I don’t think people should go OVERBOARD with that kind of thinking, because it IS a sissy mentality that will likely weaken and harm our society if we take things to that extreme. But that portion was an AFTERTHOUGHT to my original post, not one of my “arguments” pertaining to the discussion. I probably could have worded it a little better, but sometimes I get impatient in my frustration with certain things. I’ll have to be more careful about that specifically. So contrary to your assertion, there is nothing absurd about anything I brought to the forum. God is not imaginary, incompetent, or sadistic. Some people are just too proud, arrogant, and condescending for their own good. And ignorant to topics they have such strong opinions about. (Since we seem to be so fond of throwing around such words.) If it is YOUR assertion that I am ignorant about the topic of circumcision in general, it is equally fair for me to assert that YOU are ignorant about God and his ways – pertaining to the same subject. (I’m only being matter-of-fact.) But again, if you wish to discuss religious issues, we’ll need to take it to a different forum. If you’re NOT interested in doing that, then it’s probably best to just “agree to disagree” and leave it at that. Because this has become fruitless and unproductive. By the way, parents make decisions about what’s in the best interest of their children EVERYDAY. To NOT do that would, in fact, be highly irresponsible and even abusive. Regardless of the issue. I respectfully disagree with you, Charles, on pretty much everything. But that’s okay, I’m still offering an olive branch.

    MsMinne wrote on December 27th, 2010
    • But again, if you wish to discuss religious issues, we’ll need to take it to a different forum.

      Hehe. Thank goodness we have you to keep us from talking about religion on an inappropriate forum.

      Mitchell Powell wrote on December 28th, 2010
    • I won’t counter more of your religious rambling – others have more than adequately.

      But this:
      “By the way, parents make decisions about what’s in the best interest of their children EVERYDAY. To NOT do that would, in fact, be highly irresponsible and even abusive”

      Please tell me how circumcising a baby meets any CRITICAL CHILDHOOD need. For instance, you could argue that a child needs to be vaccinated so as not to get a debilitating or deadly CHILDHOOD disease. You would argue the pain of the injection or the risk of vaccine side-effect is justified for the sake of the child who CANNOT act in order to protect himself. But what benefit does circumcision offer the child that the parent needs to intervene on their behalf while they are children?

      If an ADULT uncircumcised male sees the spiritual, cleanliness, disease, whatever other benefits you or others imagine, then why not give him the power and free will to decide for himself? You have still not addressed why this in any way NEEDS to be forced on someone. Forcing something spiritually speaking – since you imagine you are some kind of expert in this domain – on someone is extremely problematic; God is not the idiot you think he is by thinking that an involuntary action somehow is in service to him.

      Bottom line: if your sadist, incompetent God thinks circumcision is so great, how much more pleasing to God would it be if an adult male voluntarily decides to do this to honor Him? Or, if you prefer, the reverse of that: what is the spiritual or physical benefit of involuntarily having a child circumcised?

      Charles wrote on December 28th, 2010
  33. Oh, for the love of God , Charles… I can’t reason with the unreasonable. If you only want to argue about anything and everything I say, that is your prerogative — but it is neither constructive nor productive. Or even intelligent, for that matter. Parents make decisions for their children every day, and rightly so. It is for their own good. Whether it’s about getting circumcised, getting vaccinated, going to church, or even going to a silly little weekend party. ALL of which is going to affect their growth and development. If parents DIDN’T make those decisions on their behalf, they’d be pretty crappy parents. It’s their right, it’s their responsibility, even their DUTY to make whatever decision they feel is in the best interest of their children/family unit. I could argue that VACCINATIONS are dangerous, since I was vaccinated in the military for “everything under the sun” in a 30 second time-span (short of anthrax) and it DESTROYED my health for ELEVEN YEARS. I’m ONLY NOW getting back onto my feet because of it. I guess someone else’s decision concerning the “safety of vaccinations” affected MY life, too. And I have to LIVE with that. Am I bitter about it? It was HELL for a while, but I rose above and conquered. And I’m still gonna find success in this world, and I already have much to be thankful for. Sometimes that’s just what’s required of us. (And yes, God is STILL Good. — Smiling at your reaction.) So again I would say… each family has to do whatever their experience and conscience leads them to do. One person’s medicine is another’s poison. Some reasons will be medical, some will be philosophical, some will be spiritual… ALL of which are VALID. Your way of thinking is just as absurd as you accuse MINE of being. Are you proposing that children just raise themselves then? …since the adults they were born to are too stupid, inadequate, and incompetent to make the decisions they feel are right concerning the one’s they LOVE? We should just let a child decide what’s best, based on their LIMITED knowledge and understanding, even though THEIR decisions will have lasting consequences as well? SHOULD we then, let children decide whether or not they get vaccinated? Cuz the only thing they’re going to consider is the initial pin-prick. But if we let them wait until they’re adults to make that decision, one would argue that they might get a disease in the meantime. Or how about whether or not they should take medicine when they get sick? Should we let them decide that too? Even though they’re going to probably let the “yucky taste” be the deciding factor? And maybe if they turn down the medicine they will only get sicker and suffer irreversible damage? Or what if they dislocate their shoulder while playing? Should the parents just “let it be” at the child’s request? Or would the more reasonable “thing” be to set it back in place right awy, despite the fact that it’s gonna hurt like the dickens at first… before it is able to heal properly. Or a broken finger, for instance. If you don’t take care of it right away because the child doesn’t want it touched, and it heals incorrectly, you’re actually gonna have to purposely BREAK IT AGAIN so it can heal properly this next time. But oh, if you did that, you would be inflicting pain and therefore be a sadist, right? Now before you go and get your “undies in a bunch” over these specific examples, simply consider the heart of the message behind the words. The way we raise our children is guided by our personal belief systems, and that’s not even specific to religion. We do what we feel is in their best interest… spiritual or physical, or otherwise. And our children abide under that until they are able to go out on their own. If circumcision is important to the parents, for WHATEVER the reason, they’re going to make that executive decision. But on a side note… BECAUSE of how they were raised, the children are most likely going to SHARE those beliefs anyway. That’s not an argument FOR or AGAINST anything, just a simple observation to say that the children probably aren’t going to resent those decisions. In MOST cases. If a child grows up and DOES resent their parents for, let’s say, letting the dentist pull out their wisdom teeth even though they WANTED TO KEEP THEM‼! (rolling my eyes) Then I guess that’s life and they’ll just have to be pissed at the world and go see a shrink. But it’s not abusive for a parent to decide to circumcise their kid. It’s not unreasonable for parents to pass teachings and traditions along to their children, or make executive decisions — religious or otherwise. I suppose a Buddhist kid could grow up and resent his or her parents for not raising them as a Muslim, if they find that more to their liking… and then society could accuse the parents FORCING something on their children, and being MEAN and VINDICTIVE, and CHEATING them of something… Or, I suppose you can resent your parents because they didn’t let you go to the Suzy’s party when you were fourteen and she ended up dating and marrying Bobby-Joe instead of you, and now you’re alone and that’s STILL all your parent’s fault, right? …But that’s just ridiculous. As is your mentality on the entire subject. And your assertions about God, and me. I’m not “imagining myself to be an expert” on matters of spirituality as you say… in fact, I think I’ve said quite the opposite on more than one occasion. But I AM aware of some BASIC TRUTHS that you appear to be completely oblivious to. Even natural, common sensical ones. I would think being circumcised as an INFANT would be more MERCIFUL than being circumcised as an ADULT, anyway, or would you beg to differ on that as well? I suppose the child who WASN’T circumcised and grew up WANTING TO BE could be pissed at their parents and society for THAT. (Exasperated sigh.) If God were REALLY the evil sadist that you believe him to be, then why haven’t you been “zapped” off the face of the earth yet? Could it be that you are WRONG about him and that you really don’t know of what you speak concerning him? Whether it’s about the subject of circumcision or something different entirely? Maybe He really IS loving, and merciful, and patient, and kind? Maybe He wants to give you “as many opportunities as possible” to see the TRUTH and KNOW him? Because He DOESN’T like to condemn or see the children He loves suffer? …Often because of their own ignorance and misbeliefs? I have to say, if you want to disagree with MY beliefs concerning circumcision and my reasons behind them, that is fine. But I have to take issue with you constantly disrespecting the God that I love. If *I* constantly berated your wife, or mother, or sister, or anyone else that you carried in your heart… you would take me to task, and you’d be RIGHT TO DO IT. You do not have to mock and disrespect ANYONE to make a reasonable point. Unless you simply have no point. Or the skills to intelligently debate. If you just lack “facts” then it’s really NOT better to simply fill the computer screen with ANYTHING, just to say SOMETHING. My view on circumcision is as REASONABLE as the next person’s. My REASONS are just as valid, even if you cannot relate. It’s completely appropriate to bring ALL beliefs and angles into the discussion… but since I WILL have to speak of spiritual issues in order to BACK UP my point of view — and a good number of people on this forum do not wish to delve into that area… I am happy to respect those wishes. (No need to poke fun at me, Mitchell; your wishes are among those I’m trying to respect.) SO… if you no longer wish to discuss this, then LET IT GO my friend. Because continuing to throw out unfounded, disrespectful comments about my God (or me) will not win you ANY debate. It will only make you look unreasonable and intolerant.

    Proverbs 17:14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

    Proverbs 17:16 Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom, when they are not able to understand it?

    Proverbs 17:24 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.

    :) Alright, Charles… let’s respectfully “agree to disagree” and let the matter drop. Go relax and have a protein shake. The sun rises, the sun sets, the earth still spins… it’s a good day. Enjoy yours.

    Funny thing is that I was only ever gonna say, “I read Mr. so-and-so’s opinion, and Mrs. so-and-so’s opinion, and Mr. so-and-so’s opinion as well…. Hmmm. Well this is what I think, and here’s why… Now isn’t it interesting how we all can have such differing views on the same subject? And have such contrasting reasons behind them? Still, at the end of the day, each family has to do what’s right for them; it’s a personal choice.” And I was going to leave it at that and move on with my life. I really hadn’t planned to talk about God specifically, other than to say my relationship with him affects where I stand on the issue. I figured people would read it, relate to it or dismiss it, and move on with THEIR lives. I guess I didn’t see THIS one coming a million miles away. (Shrug.) Silly me. I can’t say that I’ve appreciated all of the negativity, but I’ve enjoyed the interaction, nevertheless. But I DO think it’s time for everyone to PEACEABLE move on from this specifically. If you want to respond, then respond. But don’t do it if your ONLY GOAL is to simply get in your last “digs.” Like I said before, we each have something unique and valuable to bring to the table… we each have our own unique beauty and worth. Outside of this forum, we’d probably get along just fine. I’ll leave it at that. Shalom.

    MsMinne wrote on December 28th, 2010
    • My my Charles. I dost think thou has touched a nerve.

      How does one even begin to parse such a voluminous vomit of verbiage?

      MrMinne wrote on December 28th, 2010
      • MrsMinne, I am not even going to attempt to read your full post, just a scan is enough to make my head hurt, can you maybe keep things pithy and on-topic?

        I know from the very first lines that you cannot comprehend even the most basic statements, so I will try once more.

        You say:
        “Parents make decisions for their children every day, and rightly so. It is for their own good. Whether it’s about getting circumcised, getting vaccinated, going to church, or even going to a silly little weekend party.”

        And – guess what? – I AGREE – but with this limitation: for all matters related to a CHILD’S well-being AS A CHILD, a parent or guardian SHOULD make the choice. So stop arguing with me about something I did not even say (this is called a strawman – a voluminous vomit of strawman verbiage in your case, as the the Mr pointed out). The part I am disagreeing with you in the circumcision part – so go back and read my post. Taking SpawnOfMinne off to the dentist is for the CHILD’s benefit AS A CHILD. I am still waiting for ONE BENEFIT or NEED of circumcision AS A CHILD.

        I cannot dumb this down any more than this simple question, what childhood purpose does circumcision serve? (health or otherwise)

        And if you manage to answer that correctly by some amazing stroke of luck (the answer is there is no childhood purpose – health, spiritual or otherwise), then why can circumcision not wait until the child can make that decision on his own behalf?

        An aching wisdom tooth is NOT comparable to a perfectly health foreskin, btw. One does NOT need fixing. See if you can comprehend which one I am talking about.

        Charles wrote on December 28th, 2010
    • By the way, MsMinne, if you need to get into this my God vs. your God garbage, my God is perfectly rational, logical and humane.

      Your God is the insane, illogical sadist.

      My God does not give a child a foreskin just so adults can chop it off in honour of Him. [What kind of madman even thinks of these things? Can you maybe sit back and even contemplate the absurdity of this position?]

      So no need to label my God as a sadist – he does not require or want you to mutilate young boys, how is that sadistic?

      Charles wrote on December 28th, 2010
  34. Oh I do hate to intrude on conversations that are not mine, But I find I cannot resist!

    I used to be a very shy teenage girl. Now I’ve a very much not so shy teenage girl. This is important for 2 reasons, the first being I have seen 2 penises in my life. Both uncut, both lads happy to be so. (Actually, here in England, I’ve never heard of anypne being circumsised) The second reason, is that being part of the generation with a short attention span, I will confess to not having read all of these comments. In my defence, There’s a lot.

    But I do have 1 thing to ask MsMinne, It’s rather befuddling me. I mena this in the least offensive way possible, and again, I will admit that I am rather poorly edcucated in most religion due to blocking it from my life after a long, tiring ‘friendship’ With a Jehovah’s Witness. This is also completely off topic, so again I apologise.

    But, as a believer of creation, Surely going to a lifestyle plan of a man who lived before there was even whispers of a god is in itself sacreligious? I mean my JoHo friend-turned-impossible-to-even-look-at-person made us flunk our animal behaviour grade because she insisted on doing the evolution section then spent 20 minutes preaching about how it was complete bollocks and that it was a theory. My group just stood there thinking ‘well maybe you feel the same of the theory of gravity… and might just float the f*** away so we can save our grade!!’
    Sorry.. ranting. I’m still sore from the entire ordeal I guess!

    PixieKitten wrote on December 28th, 2010
    • Your question is quite circuitous, but if I understand it correctly to be, “Why adopt a primal lifestyle if you don’t believe in evolution,” then for me, the answer is that the majority of Christians on earth accept the possibility of evolution as the way in which God may have brought us to where we are today, and consider it very important to obey the “natural law” – the law written into our own bodies.

      The Pope has written and spoken much on this topic. There is no mandate, but many options on how to look at and implement these topics, from diet to circumcision. Only a small percentage of Christians believe that evolution (or an earth older than 6000 years) is wholly incompatible with their faith.

      Since we’ve gotten a lot further down the page, lol, I refer any Christians who come here with the belief that God wouldn’t have mandated a procedure as harmful as opponents claim, to my posts above and to google “brit per’iah.”

      Blessings,

      MamaGrok wrote on December 28th, 2010
  35. Proverbs 17:24 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.

    What an odd insight, coming from someone who has used 10,733 words so far, while, among other things, blasting people for what she calls “never ending tirade.”

    Mitchell Powell wrote on December 28th, 2010
    • Mitchell,

      I believe there is a proverb which can be applied here, and its this: –

      “An empty vessel doth maketh the most noise.”;o)

      Sarah wrote on December 29th, 2010
    • Another thing, Mitch (something we’re all guilty of)

      “Never argue with a f*ckwit – they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience…”

      Sarah wrote on December 29th, 2010
  36. I enjoyed your humor, PixieKitten… I take no offense. :) But there’s nothing contradictory or sacrilege about embracing this kind of lifestyle plan! God gave us permission to eat the flesh of animals all the way back in Genesis. And He encourages us to use the common sense He gave us in ALL THINGS… even pertaining to diet. There’s a lot of common sense to this way of living, and you just can’t argue with what works. I don’t think God ever intended for us to shovel all of that processed and over-sweetened garbage down our gullets, as so many of us love to do. God wants us to be good stewards of the bodies He gave us. Besides, who created Grok? :) Who created Grok’s playground? Who created the “steak” he roasted over the fire-pit? God existed before Grok. And God (or the Bible) doesn’t contradict science. This world has EVOLVED and come a long way! Species simply don’t evolve into other species. As in, a fish will always be a fish, a monkey will always be a monkey, a bird will always be a bird, and a man will always be a man. Naturally, that is. Now Grok can evolve into MODERN man, but fish can’t evolve into Grok. What’s so wrong with that? Keep the humor. :)

    Wow, Mitchell, you actually counted them? LOL. I’ve blasted no one… I’m just direct and to the point. That’s not a bad thing. I already admitted to my long-windedness. But that’s different from a tirade. Okay, my last response to Charles might have been a bit of a tirade, but I’m saying it with a smile on my face and laughter in my heart. I get exasperated at times, but I’m not angry. In case that is getting lost.

    Shalom.

    MsMinne wrote on December 28th, 2010
    • MsMinne, it’s people like you that give religious people of any persuasion a bad name.

      Based on your writings here, I highly doubt that you are “too worldly” for the church.

      Please take your propaganda elsewhere.

      Lindsay wrote on December 28th, 2010
    • “And He encourages us to use the common sense He gave us in ALL THINGS…”

      Well, unfortunately, some men can’t use that ‘common sense’ in all things because, as this conversation has pointed out time and again, some men don’t have all their things.

      So what would you like to say about your snip=happy god now?

      Kane Augustus wrote on December 28th, 2010
  37. I really can’t for the life of my figure where you’re coming from… I would really love to know!??? Is there anyone who can calmly, rationally, politely, and respectfully explain your point of view? I really don’t understand what’s been so offensive and distasteful from my end… I would consider the feedback valuable, IF you can leave out the personal attacks. What propaganda am I spreading, anyway? How am I giving anyone a bad name? I’ve only stated my opinion along with the rest of you. And??? So what? I mean, this is really amazing to me. Anything I said, I said in good fun. Is that just getting lost, or what? My last response to Charles was the first time I really got exasperated with the issue, but still, I wasn’t angry or anything. Even now I’d be willing be friends with Charles or anyone else who actually WANTED to be… but yes, I already know, the feeling’s not mutual. My my, this is really something…

    MsMinne wrote on December 28th, 2010
  38. I really just don’t think you understand my personality or sense of humor. Even in my response to PixieKitten… I was joking about Grok and what not. I’m not backing away from my belief in God or anything, but I think you’re taking this too seriously.

    MsMinne wrote on December 28th, 2010
    • First, what I, personally, have found offensive is your tactless ability to avoid direct questions and counter-arguments. I also find your placating tones offensive. More, I find your ability to sermonize to others about your relativistic nonchalance while simultaneously expecting others to just let you be, or argue rationally; yet you offer no respite from your own blatant irrationality. You insist that others “really just don’t… understand [your] personality or sense of humor” but don’t see how your very own self-proclaimed relativism might be the cause of other’s misapprehensions.

      Your thinking is mixed up, despite your so-called indifference to other’s opinions. If you were truly interested in debating the subject of circumcision, you wouldn’t be so exasperatingly flippant about the religious connections to the issue, and why others may take umbrage with those religious connections.

      If you’re going to enter this conversation then contribute in a relevant manner. If you want to take sides to defend your religion as it pertains to your religious inclinations, then be prepared for feedback. It’s part of debating. As the old maxim states, “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

      Kane Augustus wrote on December 28th, 2010
  39. Well, Kane… I thank you for the feedback but I am still perplexed as ever. I’m speechless, in fact… and I’m sure the multitudes will rejoice. (Half-smile.) At this point, I’m having as difficult a time understanding or relating to you all as apparently you are to me. Guess I was born and raised in a barn. (An actual saying from where I’m from, in case someone were to misinterpret THAT somehow…?) I suppose I can be a bit flippant and sarcastic in my humor at times? But it’s never meant to contain any malice or ill-will. I dunno, maybe I’ve been in a “fighting” or “defensive” mode in my ACTUAL life for such a long time that I’ve picked up some habits without even realizing it. They’ll just have to be “loved” back out of me, I suppose. (Had to be feisty just to survive.) But I really don’t take things too seriously or hold grudges or anything… I’m pretty welcoming in general, accepting of people, and that usually makes up for it. It’s usually a GOOD thing in the real world. (And it’s SINSCERE.) But maybe not such a good thing online…? Just trying to figure this out, as something’s getting lost here. If I was offensive, even unintentionally, then I offer my sincerest apologies for at least THAT much. (I think a lot is getting jumbled because of the form of communication… can’t see my expressions or hear my tones, or be aware of my moods, etc.) Will purpose to be better about that. I do think you’re misunderstanding me a bit if you think I’m relative or indifferent, however. And as far as debate… a lot of people have thrown out words, opinions, attacks and accusations… but very few have made a positive contribution to the actual discussion from what I can see. (So I guess I’m in good company?) Frankly, I think SOME just like the sound of their own voice. (My humor again — not meaning to be disrespectful.) Didn’t think I was avoiding any issues but maybe I’m just too tired these last few days to even notice that I may have glazed over something. Guess I’ll have to check back. MamaGrok has made some good, factually-based points. I believe Alan? has made some pretty graphic but valid contributions as well. There are others. But for the most part, I’ve basically just heard a lot of ranting from the other side, especially as it pertains to me. How would you have me respond to such, especially when the others are no more factually-based or rational? I don’t know. I’m exhausted. I’ve gotta get some shut-eye if I have any hope of getting up on time in the morn. Can’t even see straight right now I’m so tired… my words are blurring on the screen. (Another half-smile.) As you wish, then. I was actually enjoying this forum… I really didn’t see it as a negative thing. Until now… which makes me a bit sad. :( Fun-factor gone. God’s arms have never seemed so inviting… glad I still have HIM. (I know, I know… how ridiculous and foolish am I.) Can’t be liked by everyone, I guess. (Resignation.)

    I honestly wish you well.

    (I can only imagine what the responses will be… not sure that I’ll bother to find out.)

    MsMinne wrote on December 28th, 2010
    • Here, dearie (and I have to say when anyone resorts to such condescending language it is clear that they have lost the argument…) you’re not liked by ANYONE!!!

      (Not that I mean that in in a nasty way, or anything, just an honest statement of fact…)

      Sarah wrote on December 29th, 2010
      • Sarah,

        I don’t dislike MsMinne because I find her approach to this topic evasive and irrational. I have no opinion of her, just of her approach to the topic.

        I have no idea who she is, and what she is like overall. For all I know, we might get along quite well were we to spend time with each other.

        I suppose my point is, Sarah, that I don’t think you speak for me, at least. It would be dishonest of me to say that I dislike someone I’ve never met and don’t know. It’s more honest of me to say that I cannot appreciate her method of argumentation in this debate, or that I don’t appreciate her religious stance.

        Cheers!
        Kane

        Kane Augustus wrote on December 29th, 2010
  40. Hmmm, I’ve only read through the first couple of responses… I just don’t see the point in continuing any further. So if I don’t address a particular comment that may have been posted, that would be the reason. Let me reiterate one last time… I did NOT join this forum to discuss God or religion. I didn’t even join to change your mind about circumcision. I simply joined the discussion to offer yet another point of view. I simply said, and let me paraphrase, “I don’t think circumcision is a bad thing, and here’s why…” And I was honestly gonna leave it at that. I thought others would simply read it and say to themselves, “Well that’s different…” and then shrug their shoulders and move on. OR they would say, “Yeah, I can identify with that, I already have a similar view…” and then move on to the next post. So maybe I’m a bit naive and wet behind the ears… if that’s the case, then so be it. Well, a couple of people responded, and then I responded back to them… simply because I love discussion, I enjoy it, I think it’s fun. And I responded with a care-free attitude, and a small touch of humor in the mix. That being said… whenever people have a provoking attitude in their interactions with me, it brings out the side of my personality that is a bit flippant and sarcastic. That’s true. But even in the midst of that I’m not taking anything too seriously, and I’m still coming about it in good-natured fun. No malice, or ill-will, or disrespect intended. I’m willing to consider that perhaps THAT part of my personality needs a bit of refining. That’s fine, okay. Opportunity for growth. Moving on… I never claimed to be an expert on ANYTHING. In fact, I repeatedly stated the opposite. All I can EVER do is say, “this is what I’ve learned SO FAR…” But I can also say that, “Even though I don’t have all the answers… when it comes to this particular issue, I DO know that you’re coming to certain conclusions based on some misinformation or beliefs.” Yes, there reached a point where I started to get exasperated. Not with the debate itself, but with all of the attacks against me personally — and more importantly, against the God that I LOVE. I think it would have been far more constructive and productive for you to simply say, “I really don’t understand where you’re coming from, MsMinne… because when you say (such-and-such), it makes me think that (fill-in-the-blank), and I’m finding it difficult to get on board with that. Could you maybe try to explain your position in a different way?” But instead, most just MOCKED me and my beliefs, and went on the attack against God. Which is INCREDIBLY disrespectful, might I add. You are mocking someone you clearly don’t even know or understand… if you did, you couldn’t say the things that you’ve said; you couldn’t call him a sadist, incompetent, etc. (I won’t even repeat everything that’s been thrown out there.) That’s NOT skillful debate. That’s not even reasonable discussion. Maybe I should have just shrugged my shoulders and moved on… but for better or worse, I do have that spark in my personality that wants to say, “Hey buddy, that’s just not RIGHT.” Or whatever. I’ve never been afraid to confront things like that. And I DO feel compelled to dispute misinformation pertaining to God and his heart/character, because I don’t want to see someone else lead astray BECAUSE of that misinformation… because despite how things may APPEAR to you, God is really very loving, and gentle, and merciful, and kind. Back to the subject… If you want a better understanding on circumcision as it relates to God and the Bible, so you can have a more TRUTHFUL and ACCURATE opinion on the matter (especially after all of this mess)… then I suggest you go talk to a Rabbi. I’m not the one to explain such things or change your minds – about THAT or ANYTHING ELSE. As I’ve already stated. It was never the intent of my original post to debate issues of God or religion; I really just got backed into a corner with it. So that responsibility needs to fall on shoulders other than mine. But unless and until you’re willing to go have that discussion to find out for yourselves… you’re really just throwing out a bunch of judgments and accusations based on a lack of real understanding – and again, you’re coming to the wrong conclusions because of it. If it’s not important to you, then RESPECTFULLY move on. Without all of the ugliness. Because it’s silly to have such strong notions about something when you’re clearly lacking the facts… and in this instance, I AM speaking of God. Anyway, I clearly don’t mind talking about God, but it’s not my business to DEBATE or EXPLAIN him. Not that I lack the intelligence or information (although there’s always MORE to learn)… I apparently just lack the communication skills. Can’t be an expert at everything. (Shrug.) There are some things that are simply already settled for me; I’ve already visited those issues and concerns in my own walk, and I’ve gotten my answers. I no longer need to ponder, or question, or debate them. If they were important to you, too, I’m sure you would have sought them out on your own by now. So I doubt ANY amount of debating or explaining would change your mind anyway. I will address a couple of things specifically now, in response to just the last couple of posts I read, and then I’m simply moving on with my life; I’m spending way too much time and energy on this, and it’s not benefitting you OR me at this point. And regardless of anything I say, you’re not going to relate because you don’t share the same faith, beliefs, or whatever “word” you want to use. CHARLES: you are misunderstanding me when I say, “my God.” It’s not a “my” God verses “your” God thing. But I don’t presume to know who “your” God is anyway. Of course I take ownership to Him… in the same way that a person would say, “that’s my father” or “that’s my friend.” Well, “that’s my God.” Simple as that. COULD be the same as yours or someone else’s, it’s not an exclusionary statement. It’s not meant to assume that it’s a DIFFERENT God, only that I am his and He is mine. I’m speaking for myself. Anyway, back to circumcision and why on infants… and I already know ahead of time that you’re not going to relate, because apparently religion (even when its real) doesn’t make sense to you? I don’t know… I’m not trying to be insulting, I’m really just asking – because of what I’ve observed through your responses. Anyway, here it is – and I’m sure there are other (better) things to bring to the table, but this is my simple take… In the Old Testament, God has chosen to make circumcision a sign of his covenant people. (That right there is your answer. Go back and read that again, just so we’re clear. Infant or adult, if you’re a part of that group you’re going to carry that sign.) But I have already cited two reasons as to “why” the male foreskin. If God expects or commands that… then of WHAT VALUE is there in waiting until adulthood? (Like the Ten Commandments… are they commandments or suggestions?) The people aren’t going to take issue with it, even as adults… it’s an accepted and assumed practice. A WILLING practice. An EMBRACED practice FOR THAT GROUP. One that goes BEYOND just the physical. It’s a part of the customs relating to their faith, and there is REASON behind those customs. God-given reasons. GOOD and VALID reasons. (Again, go talk to a Rabbi if you wish to understand them. And not even to necessarily “get on board” with them; just to add that information to your knowledge bank.) So if you are a part of this group, God’s chosen people, then circumcision is a given. It’s going to be done either way. BY YOUR CHOICE, because you belong to him. And you’re HAPPY to belong to him. So you’re happy to circumcise or BE circumcised. And since that’s the case… it’s far BETTER to do it while an INFANT. Pretty simple and common sense to me. (But there are even many modern-day studies citing why infant circumcision is better than adult circumcision, anyway.) And that’s just history. Yes, things are different today. God no longer requires it, because Jesus has fulfilled the requirements of the law. (Now don’t just reject that because you don’t understand it. You can’t take things at just the surface level, you have to go a little deeper.) Circumcision is NOW an elective procedure. All I ever said was that if there was ORIGINAL benefit to circumcision (and there WAS, both spiritual and physical) then there is STILL benefit to be gained from it today. And modern science has proven that, at least pertaining to the physical benefit. And I would personally choose to go that route. Again, personal opinion, personal choice. (There’s nothing wrong with that!) If it’s not for you, then don’t. But mocking me isn’t going to make MY position LESS legitimate, and it’s not going to make yours MORE. This IS one of the areas where we can “agree to disagree” without drawing the conclusion that I’m relativistic or indifferent, or whatever. If you think God is silly, or the Bible is silly, or Judaism is silly, or even Christianity… then I guess you think it’s silly. What can I do? That’s your opinion, that’s your choice. I WISH you would pursue the answers for yourself, but I can’t convince you to do that, so I don’t make that my goal. (Shrug.) I’m human. I personally don’t have any superpowers. I can’t make that decision FOR you. I do CARE (‼!), but again, what can I really do? Except embrace you as a PERSON (with your own unique gifts, and abilities, and strengths) while accepting our differences, but focusing on our commonalities. Or focusing on the GOOD. I apologize if I got frustrated with you (mostly with your attacks)… but I harbor no ill-will. When I say I’m offering an olive-branch, I really MEAN that. I’m being completely sincere in that. I would be delighted for you to accept it, I’ll understand if you don’t. And Kane, if you can’t relate to THAT… I’m sorry. Again, what can I do? What would you HAVE me do? I’m being sincere. I still respect you. In response to your belief, Charles, that God is mean and sadistic because of the sign of circumcision (and again, please realize that today’s version is not the same as what God prescribed anyway)… let me give you a “dumbed-down” illustration, as you like to say… Let’s say a father wants to buy his child some ice cream. Well Charles views ice cream as a terrible thing. So even though the father only wants to bless his child, Charles is only ever going to view the father as a big meanie. Because the father wants to give his child ice cream, and in Charles’ mind ice cream is bad — even though it is not. Got it? Now I’m not comparing circumcision to ice cream… don’t you dare accuse me of that. : ) Once again, I’m asking you to focus on the POINT I’m trying to make, rather than the simple example I’m using to illustrate it. As I was doing in my previous response to you… which you apparently missed. YOU have already made up your mind that circumcision is a TERRIBLE thing, and therefore can only assume that God is terrible and sadistic. But that’s a wrong conclusion based on false information. Circumcision, as instructed by God, is not a harmful or dangerous practice. God’s version of circumcision is not the same as what’s being performed today; we’ve apparently mucked it up over the years. So GOD does NOT view circumcision as a bad thing, and there was a PURPOSE behind the original instruction in the first place. Real and legitimate. When God commanded his children to circumcise, He was in no way advocating harm or mutilation. Everything that God does, or commands, or expects from us… comes ONLY from a foundation of LOVE. There is SOOO much that we just aren’t aware of, so much that we simply don’t understand. (We see in part, He see’s in full.) But we CAN understand if we WANT to… those answers are AVAILABLE to those who will dig for it and seek it out. (Study to show thyself approved.) Circumcision and otherwise. But if you don’t want to do the homework, just TRUST. : ) Okay, to wrap everything up… I don’t speak for God, I don’t speak for the church, I certainly don’t speak for other Christians. I speak for myself, and only myself. I can tell you what I believe, I can tell you what I’ve experienced, and I can tell you how I got there. That’s it. I don’t want you to reject God, however, because of MY inadequacies. I’m not unintelligent (as I’ve been accused), this is just not my gift… as in, explaining everything to YOUR satisfaction. But just because *I* can’t give you “all the answers” doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. I already have an understanding of certain things in my heart, I don’t always know how to EXPLAIN them, but they are still real and still there. You needn’t attack or criticize me for that. I’m merely human. And I am gifted in OTHER areas. I really didn’t go about this to explain or debate, or convince anyone of anything… I really can’t stress that enough. One thing lead to another and this somehow became one BIG, jumbled up mess. Which would have been fine if people would have kept the fun and humor of it, instead of lashing out with such hostility and meanness. But there is still something valuable to be learned here, for EVERYONE. Even beyond the subject of circumcision… What’s MOST important is how we treat each other as people, in ANY area of life. Whether we AGREE or DISAGREE. There are better ways to handle our differences. And I’m in no way excluding myself. We should ALL purpose to offer a little more patience, understanding, acceptance, mercy, and grace. [] So *respectfully* continue on with your debate then, I’m moving on to better things. Peace to you all.

    MsMinne wrote on December 29th, 2010
    • 14,000 words, in just one thread of comments! That’s definitely a record. And yet so little is actually said…

      tl;dr version of the above comment:

      1. “I never wanted this to be about god or religion” (even though that’s all you ever talk about and your first comment was entirely about god)

      2. “I wanted to post my god comment and not get any responses. I just wanted people to say, ‘hey, that’s a different point of view and I completely accept that’”.

      3. More false-modesty

      4. “I was trying to be fun and care-free, but people attacked me I can get sarcastic and flippant” (ie: I hit my wife because SHE makes me so frustrated)

      5. More rambling about claiming to not know all the answers

      6. More “I’m a persecuted Christian”.

      7. You really don’t understand god, so shut up.

      8. ?????

      9. Want to know more? Don’t really read my 14,000 words, go talk to a Rabbi. (Appeal to authority).

      10. More unsubstantiated “You don’t know god”, “you don’t know what you’re talking about”.

      11. “I no longer need to ponder, or question, or debate them.” << That about sums it up, doesn't it?

      12. More "This is my last post! Really! I mean it this time!"

      13. More rambling about "god says" so it's true.

      14. More unsubstantiated assertions. "Science proves it's good!"

      15. "I pity you because your minds are closed to the glory of god".

      16. Something about ice cream?

      17. blah blah blah god, blah blah blah circumcision, blah blah blah god is love

      19. "I'm really leaving this time! I mean it!"

      Now that's compression! Nearly 2500 words down to less than 250… and yet those 250 don't really say anything relevant either, do they?

      tl;dr the above:

      Let me sum up MsMinne's entire argument: GOD SAYS.

      There. You don't have to read any other previous comment. I just condensed the relevant portion of 14,000 words to 2.

      MrMinne wrote on December 29th, 2010
      • I honestly cannot bother reading your response – holy crap – is typing some form of therapy for you? I just scanned for my name and took it from there:

        “In the Old Testament, God has chosen to make circumcision a sign of his covenant people. (That right there is your answer. Go back and read that again, just so we’re clear. Infant or adult, if you’re a part of that group you’re going to carry that sign.) But I have already cited two reasons as to “why” the male foreskin. If God expects or commands that… then of WHAT VALUE is there in waiting until adulthood?”

        a. God does NOT command it. We have been over this. Go read the New Testament.

        b. The VALUE is that it is then YOUR personal choice, you do not have someone ELSE make the choice FOR YOU (the covenant with God etc). This is a fairly simple concept you are missing. Waiting until you are old enough to read the passages and ACCEPT them, and buy into this whole covenant thing seems perfectly reasonable. A reasonable and rational God would want individuals to make their OWN choice about following Him (or not) and chopping off body parts (or not).

        “BY YOUR CHOICE, because you belong to him. And you’re HAPPY to belong to him. So you’re happy to circumcise or BE circumcised. And since that’s the case… it’s far BETTER to do it while an INFANT. ”

        WHAT choice??? Waiting until you are 13 for circumcision as they do in some African cultures possibly allows for “YOUR CHOICE”. Circumcising babies is NO choice at all. And who are you to say that a child and later an adult will be “happy” with such a decision imposed on them?

        Sure, I find your “God says” approach offensive (even though He really does not, which is the sad part about this whole thing – you are stuck in the OT), but your rabid insistence on mutilating a child before he can make that choice for himself is more disturbing. Imposing your will on a child when they are defenseless and there is no medical necessity can rightly be seen as child abuse. You are simply harming them at that age because YOU CAN. Go approach an 18 year old guy and try to force him to have his foreskin removed – see how far that gets you.

        For your unfortunate male offspring: his foreskin is not going anywhere – if you are “lucky” enough to indoctrinate him with your crazy views he will gladly want it lopped off as a covenant to God when he is well and ready to MAKE THAT CHOICE ABOUT HIS OWN BODY. You cannot somehow save someone on their behalf, so don’t make covenants with God on their behalf – let them make decisions on their own body, bodily integrity and spiritual life – in the ways they CAN (i.e. perfectly reasonable to give them vaccine shots, totally unreasonable to be making covenants with God for them using their body parts)

        Charles wrote on December 29th, 2010
      • MrMinne,
        I appreciate the summary – and actually it is very accurate.

        The wild thing is once summarized to:
        GOD SAYS

        Along comes the NT and MsMinne would quickly see that:
        GOD COULDN’T CARE LESS
        It has nothing at all to do with salvation.

        But she is stuck in the OT, where in all likelihood some semi-crazy old men likely got too much sun and/or wine and came up with some fantastical ideas about mutilating children as a covenant to God.

        And I can understand people who dismiss both the OT and the NT (and the bible altogether), but MsMinne, just willfully ignores passages from the very source she invaded this comments thread with.

        Charles wrote on December 30th, 2010
    • Now for the specifics:

      > I did NOT join this forum to discuss God or religion.

      From your first comment: “I believe that circumcision is a good and beneficial practice. Why? Because God instructs his people to do so in the Bible.” And then you spent the rest of the comment talking about how great and wonderful god is. God and religion were the whole point of the first post. God is perfect, he says to circumcise, so we should.

      Did you really think that “God says” wouldn’t provoke a debate about god and religion? You really must be naive as you said.

      > I thought others would simply read it and say to themselves, “Well that’s different…” and then shrug their shoulders and move on.

      Welcome to the internet. You can’t say anything about religion or politics (or even about LOLCATZ) without expected a torrent of comments addressing/attacking it from every angle. That’s the internet. ようこそ。

      > But instead, most just MOCKED me and my beliefs, and went on the attack against God. Which is INCREDIBLY disrespectful, might I add.

      “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.” – Thomas Jefferson

      And verbally “attacking” god is disrespectful? To you? To god? What, god is so insecure that he’s going to get offended when you dis him? What, you are so insecure that you feel bad when people attack what you believe in? I have no use for people feeling “offended”. If you are sure about what you believe, you should be able to withstand any amount of ridicule.

      > if you did, you couldn’t say the things that you’ve said; you couldn’t call [god] a sadist, incompetent, etc.

      You keep talking about learning about god and the bible. Have you actually read your own bible, in it’s entirety, including the old testament? I couldn’t get through the first half dozen books of the OT, but it played a part in my realizing I’m an atheist.

      Point being… you tell us you’ve made up your mind and so don’t need to learn any more, but that WE should learn. I have learned, and one guide was this site: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

      Now YOU learn.

      A couple of choice stories? How about drowning all the unborn children in the flood? Sending bears to tear up a bunch of children just for teasing a bald man? Directing men to mutilate their sexual organs to prove that they love him? Numerous stories of him directed his “chosen” people to kill a whole other tribe, but to keep the virgins and riches for themselves.

      Yeah, it’s the “Old Testament”, but it’s THE SAME GOD.

      Sounds pretty sadistic to me, and that’s the briefest of samplings.

      As for the “incompetent” aspect, let’s just take the story of Eden. How could an all-knowing god, who can see time from end to end, not see that Eve would be deceived by the snake? But I digress…

      > despite how things may APPEAR to you, God is really very loving, and gentle, and merciful, and kind.

      Yeerrrrrr…. read your old testament cover to cover and get back to me on that one.

      > If you want a better understanding on circumcision as it relates to God and the Bible, [...] then I suggest you go talk to a Rabbi.

      I don’t need a Rabbi. It’s right there in Genesis 17. http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/gen/17.html

      Short story: God bribes Abraham into establishing a covenant with him by promising him lots of children that will go on to be rulers of nations. In return Abraham has to slice up penises.

      Ah, here’s another choice quote: “He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised.” You catch that? Circumcise your slaves as well (“he that is bought”).

      > I’m not the one to explain such things or change your minds – about THAT or ANYTHING ELSE.

      So why even open your mouth then? If you had no intent to explain why you believe what you believe, or to try to change other people’s minds, why not mind your own business? If you wanted your comment to basically be ignored (ie: not responded to), why didn’t you just ignore this whole page? I’m actually curious what search or link brought you here anyways… and what were your intentions when you did the search or read the page in which that link appeared. If you answer nothing, I’d love that answered.

      > Because it’s silly to have such strong notions about something when you’re clearly lacking the facts… and in this instance, I AM speaking of God.

      Pffft. “If your opinion about god, the bible and religion differs from mine, it’s because you don’t really understand god”. That’s the “no true Christian” fallacy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

      > I apparently just lack the communication skills.

      Yes. Your comments are unnecessarily lengthy, unstructured, wandering in thought, and poorly punctuated, with a completely lack of understanding of dividing discrete thoughts into distinct paragraphs.

      > I no longer need to ponder, or question, or debate them.

      As I said before, this totally sums it up. Let’s say I took this approach regarding diet. If I stuck to my teenage thoughts about food (which were very few), I’d be eating all frozen oven cooked food right now. If I stuck to the unsubstantiated assertions of vegetarianism that I read when I was 20, I’d still be a vegetarian. If I didn’t yet keep reading and learning, being open to new evidence, I’d still be an Atkin’s style low-carber, eating all kinds of fake bread and protein bars and other highly processed junk. By being open to new evidence, and being able to critically examine both the old things I thought I knew, and the new things I am learning, I now am able to adopt of primal/paleo approach. Even still, I am open to debates about how detrimental things like potatoes are in the primal/paleo context, or any other debate. I am in the search of that which I find to be most likely true, given the most evidence I can find. Hence, I am also an atheist.

      > So I doubt ANY amount of debating or explaining would change your mind anyway.

      It would if it was evidenced and coherent.

      > Circumcision is NOW an elective procedure.

      Not elective to those subjected to it as babies before they could understand the full scope of the unnecessary procedure. Were my parents really religious (instead of just “spiritual”, whatever that means) and had me circumcised without my consent as a baby, I would definitely feel betrayed today.

      > And modern science has proven that, at least pertaining to the physical benefit.

      References please.

      > Again, personal opinion, personal choice. (There’s nothing wrong with that!)

      Personal opinion of the adult, and not the child. Personal choice of the adult, and not the child. I know, you’ve spoken about this before (parents make all kinds of decisions for their children), but mutilating (“To physically harm as to impair use, notably by cutting off or otherwise disabling a vital part”) a baby for a procedure which is entirely optional (remember, most of the world is NOT circumcised) and can wait until an age of consent is sadistic and defies the will of the child.

      Bleh. I’m going to end it here. I’m tired of trying to parse the remaining 500 jumbled words or so. If you are truly gone, goodbye, and maybe my bored Wednesday response will provide some insight to whomever may follow you with the same intentions. If you aren’t gone. Hello.

      So yay. This was my big comment in this thread. I got home tonight and saw the lengthy comment and thought, “Why do people keep feeding the Jesus Troll?”. Yet here I am. Perhaps I was just bored? Perhaps I wanted to try to construct a couple of logical arguments outside of my head and see how they sounded?

      Slalom.

      MrMinne wrote on December 29th, 2010

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