I normally walk on eggshells with this subject. After all, I haven’t always been on this side of the debate and I know there is a process to cleansing your own brain from cultural misconceptions and lies and swallowing that big red pill of truth. But lets get blunt.
I understand most people and can relate to where they are at when it comes to circumcision. After all, had my oldest been a boy, she would have been amongst the circumcised and I’d be among the moms wishing I had known better then. I know what it’s like to be in support of circumcision and to believe it is a good thing.
But let me ask you something.
If you are a mom who has had a home birth, or even fought for a super natural hospital birth– Why is it you can see that your body is meant to birth naturally and births best when not interfered with, but you cannot see that your sons body is meant to be kept the way it is at birth and functions best when left alone?
If you don’t vaccinate or do an alternative vaccine schedule– why is it you are willing to see that immune systems are strong when built naturally and that messing with your child’s body can have serious consequences- but you can’t accept that cutting off part of your sons penis is effecting his body’s health and can have serious consequences?
If you are a Christian and believe that God made us in his image– Why do you think you should circumcise your son when God created him with a foreskin and the New Testament tells us that circumcision is worthless?
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If you are Jewish or a Jew turned Christian- and a doctor is performing the circumcision, Why are you not having a real Jewish circumcision if it’s for religious reason? You do know that a medical circumcision does not meet all the requirements for the religious ritual done at a Bris, right?
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If you are a mother against circumcision and leaving it up to the dad– Why aren’t you fighting for your son? Why do you not just put your foot down? Marriage is 50/50 these days and if anyone, including my husband, tried to let a knife cut any one of my kids- Id flip my lid. It would not happen.
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I know that there is a process to learning. There is a process to adjusting to a new understanding. There is a process to having your eyes opened to the fact that circumcised penis’s are not “normal penises” but intact penis’s are normal. When parents who have opened the door to being educated, Parents who do question cultural norms and doctors and grandparents and do research for themselves decide to circumcise- I question. And my heart aches for you too. That you are so so close to being ok with natural and comfortable with how our bodies were created to be. I feel for you because I am so sure you will some day look and see a mom-mistake. Maybe today you don’t see it. Maybe today your tail feathers have been ruffled and you’ve been thrown into defense mode about how your sons body is yours to what you want with. You’re the mom and how dare I. I feel positive, though, someone as open to truth and learning as you are will someday regret that you didnt trust his body to be perfect. That you, his mom, felt he needed cosmetic surgery to be complete. That you, his mom, felt you owned him and had the right to make such permanent alterations to your sons body. Your son who will grow to be a man. A man who was raised by a smart, open mom, who will teach him to question life and research and , as a result, may regret the choice you made over his body for the rest of his life. Because you are a good mom. You want what is best. And though the rest of moms are good, well desiring moms too- they are so far from the truth on this issue that they will have that excuse to ease their hurt one day if they come to regret their sons circumcisions. But you were so close. You were so knowing. You were so “there”. My heart hurts for you moms.
Circumcision is a highly confrontational topic amongst today’s parents. In America we are very desensitized to the concept of male circumcision. And As Christians, we know that it was at one time a God mandated act for all Jewish men to show their commitment and to mark them as his people. We Christians often have the perception that honoring that Old Testament command honors our Jewish heritage (our Savior was a Jewish man, after all) even if the act is no longer a mandated one for us. Yet, when we go into the New Testament we discover that it is not an encouraged practice to continue.
Part 1. What The New Testament Says
First we see that Circumcision means nothing for our salvation. We probably know this, right? After all we are to speak with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord and we are saved, not speak with our mouths, believe with our hearts and remove a part of our penis’s.
27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker. Circumcised or intact does not matter when it comes to if you follow the law or not. The circumcision of the body makes no difference for condemnation
28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.
God no longer values a circumcised penis. It went from being symbolic to being nothing but removing a part of a penis just because. And since the “medical benefits” are all dis-proven myths (read on for info on health), all circumcision is cosmetic surgery on an infant, who can’t safely be under enough anesthesia to not feel the procedure, just for their parents penis preference.
29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.
Circumcision has been transformed from physical transformation to circumcision of the heart. Which means, to remove the sin and wickedness from your heart and follow Christ.
3 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?
1 Corinthians 7:19
19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.
Part 2: Biblical Circumcision vs Today’s Medical Circumcision
Today we hear a lot about whether circumcision was or was not promoted or advised but little about what circumcision was. We know that today’s common medical circumcision includes the removal of all of, or most of the male foreskin. What we read about circumcision in the bible, it is often assumed that we are referring to the same procedure done in a similar fashion. With further research we find, it is not. The original biblical circumcision, starting at Abraham’s time, was called the “Milah”. It was a much smaller removal of skin, only actually removing the very tip of the foreskin that extends beyond the penis, leaving most of the male foreskin intact. The glands that connect the foreskin to the penis remained intact and would have been left to retract on their own as a child got older, the way an uncircumcised child’s is. This type of circumcision continued through into the New Testament and would have been the same procedure that Christ endured as an infant.
A second step was added to the religious ritual in, 140AD, after it was already declared that circumcision is no longer something necessary for men to be burdened with in the name of salvation. So we need to be mindful of what we are comparing. Apples to Oranges. Circumcision today is nothing like the procedure once mandated by God. Also, God removed that mandate and the New Testament clears up any doubt that the removal of any percentage for foreskin means anything to God for Christians.
Though Jewish families still ironically refer to circumcision as a Brit Milah, most groups follow the form of circumcision that came after 140 AD, the Periah- which is not the biblical supported circumcision of the Old Testament
Part 3: The Illusion of Health and Cleanliness
Lets start this by saying that Americans are really good at coming up with a reason when they need one. When circumcision originally became popular in the U.S. it was to prevent boys from masturbating by removing the most sensitive and sexual part of their penis (Yes, the foreskin is where the majority of their nerve endings are and the removal of it greatly effects sexual activity for both the male and his sexual partner). Worked well, eh? When that crazy talk was disproved they went on to other things like, “Circumcision cures epilepsy!”. With our science today we can see just how crazy that is but now that we have reached beyond that we have new myths that are constantly being proven wrong.
The argument that circumcised males are more protected from HIV, for example, is from a study performed in Africa where we took 1/2 the participating males and circumcised them and the other half of them and left them intact and then watched to see which group got HIV the quickest. The clock started as soon as they got their assigned position, meaning that those left intact got to go right on out and start spreading it around while the group assigned to be circumcised had to wait for their procedure and then wait 6 weeks to heal before they could become active. In that period of time, the intact males were already off catching their diseases, giving the illusion that intact males get HIV quicker than circumcised males. TA-DA! Study performed. This is the study that we are basing this stat off of. Other studies done shows there to be no difference in HIV between circumcised and uncircumcised males.
The issue of cleanliness is a bit nuts too. Infant males foreskin is attached to the head of the penis (the same way fingernails are attached to your finger) so when boys are young their penis only needs to be wiped cleaned just like a finger would be wiped clean. No retraction. As the male gets older the foreskin naturally becomes more pliable and loose. The only person who should ever retract his foreskin is the male himself because he can feel how comfortable it is and how far it goes back on his own and pulling it back further can damage the cells keeping it attached. Once it is retractable the male just washes it in water while showering or bathing. No soaps, no scrubbing, just like women don’t scrub down their labia’s. Just rinse.
When it comes to infection rates in males, the issue of infections in intact males is very tied into this cleaning process. When a young male, whose foreskin is still adhered to the head of the penis, is forcibly retracted, it causes a wound on the penis. See, the foreskin is protecting the penis from bacteria and germs but when that protection is ripped off, it becomes a breeding ground for those germs. The high rates of infections for males are a direct result of improper care and causing a wound in an area where urine and feces can end up (remember, their wound bandage is a dirty diaper!) . When males are left alone and not forcibly retracted, there is no higher risk of infection in males.
All in all, There really is little to no good reason to circumcise as an American Christian. God created males bodies to be and function as they are meant to and if he didnt want boys to have foreskin he wouldn’t have given it to them. After all, it isnt like he made a mistake that he afterwards said “oops, whack that thing off! I didn’t mean to put that there”. The foreskin has important functions for men from infancy through adulthood.