Circumcision....Perfect Adam....Uncircumcised....1st century Christians...circumcision ont required
I recall an article (can't remember if WT or AW) in which the writer explained that he and wife decided against circumcising their premature baby.
One thought that stands out starkly is the fact that they were going to instruct him very carefully in matters of hygiene.
My JW sister referenced that article when she also chose not to have her preemie circumcised.
In all my time as a J W , I do not recall any direction to do it . Culturally in some places it may be an issue and I dare say there would be no objection if it were done without religious ceremony. Come to think of it, there was one bro once, of Turkish nationality who had his boys done , to appease his relatives ... it was done at a doctor's , I was told
Yes, I know that WTS did not say it should be done officially to adults, only unofficially tonewborns or when deemed medically ready. Around here in the Midwest, people of a certain age feel it is the thing to do for "good health" jws and non-jws. If there is no problem, how many male jws raised in it from birth still have their foreskin...had to know? I just know from the doctors and nurses I know.
Please read Watching the World June 22, 1989 Awake page. 28 for the WTS acknowledgement that circumcision is better medically for men.
I can't get it to copy but here is a place it can be found:
According to The effect of male circumcision on sexuality “Masturbatory difficulty increased after circumcision in 63%.” There you have your answer, uncircumcised males would spend all their time sanding wood (i.e., self-pleasure), resulting in lower birth rates, or it put the survival of the tribe at risk. Of course, I’m kidding; however, it does beg the obvious question concerning the physiological effects.
I have read, although difficult to measure, the assertion that over 20,000 specialized erotogenic nerve endings are packed into the foreskin. Surveys on the same seem quite subjective, and debated. Although the following links do provide a good amount of supportive references for the coloration of nerve density and erogenous zones. http://www.noharmm.org/advantage.htm, and http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/winkelmann/
Concerning the argument in favor of circumcision most site immunological benefits. There again, there is evidence to support just the opposite that the “protective effect of the natural anatomy.” provides mechanisms against infection. Therefore, this contradicts the hygiene argument, and presupposition that the people of that time were too ignorant to keep their junk clean and free of sand. http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/HIV/
As a differential mark, I agree with the comments, I’m not sure where this would practically be demonstrated.
What I struggle with is the theocratic justifications. I believe one can make a strong argument given the current understanding of medicine, and science, concluding that keeping the foreskin intact has merit in uncompromised anatomy’s, albeit the procedure is still contested. Personally, I feel shortchanged (not shorted mind you) knowing several inches of highly sensitive skin was removed without my consent. But why was god so concerned with nudity, sex, and the penis in the first place? Why not pick another body part or feature to change for the purposes of sealing the deal, and marking his people? I’m thinking back hair would have been a much better selection if we had to remove anything. Or for that matter, why not add instead of subtracting, who would turn down adding a few more inches to ones penis 😊
"In the Bible, being unircumcised was usually connected with impurity and being obstinate."
Yes, but that is not the reason for the command to get circumcised. On the contrary, the bible's negative talk about being uncircumcised is a result of god commanding the Jews to get circumcised. Circumcision preceded and gave rise to, negative talk about being uncircumcised.
"The WTS has also suggested that it is a health issue."
Generally not true. There are only a few relatively rare conditions in which circumcision would be recommended for health reasons. One of them is a condition where the foreskin's circumference is prohibitively small making it painfully difficult or impossible to peel-back the foreskin to clean the glans; or makes it difficult during intercourse.
There is no medical or scientific basis for widespread circumcision of boys as a norm as is advocated in some countries. The claim that it affords health advantages in unproven and is likely actually based on cultural and religious customs while being disingenuously touted as having health benefits.
I in the first opening post by me, I tried to make it clear that the WTS has never come out advocating directly that circumcision is for health reasons. They have danced around that issue though many times. I have a few quotes from WT publications that jw parents today would find in their research in making a decision to have their boy baby circumcised.
Please take the time to read it, please. I have underlined and bolded pertinent points and hope that does not offend anyone.
If I were a believing, faithful jw parent living in a culture that routinely circumcises baby boys in the hospital, I can see why so many choose to do so. But it is not the decision of that child and there is no way to undo it when they get older. (I always wonder if the WTS believes it will grow back in the new system and males resurrected then will come equipped with a new foreskin?)
This is not so much about circumcision, but how the WT manages to straddle the issue with one figurative foot on each side.
Love, Blondie (I know several men who had circumcision held off at the hospital and then at the age of 8 their parents decided the child had to be circumcised....)
**w64 11/15 p. 696 par.25 HOW THE ORGANIZATION SHOULD VIEW CHASTENESS
Consequently we need to have mental hygiene as well as physical hygiene. (1) Among the ancient Jews under Jehovah’s law through Moses the circumcision of the flesh of the males proved to be very hygienic and helped to safeguard the health of both male and female Jews. Christians who have been relieved of this law of circumcision do, however, have to practice the ‘circumcision of the heart.’ No Christian could be a spiritual Jew in God’s sight unless he had this circumcision “of the heart by spirit.” (Rom. 2:28, 29) God’s spirit is certainly needed to get such circumcision.
(Note: This same line of reasoning has been applied to Female Genital Mutilation as pointed out in the next excerpt.)
**g79 11/8 pp. 21-14 SHOULD OUR BABY BE CIRCUMCISED?***
—How one couple answered the question
IF YOU are expecting a baby, you may be considering this question. As the parents of two sons, we too had our season for thinking, reading and talking about it. And as Bible students, we had a special interest in the subject, remembering that circumcision was for many centuries an inviolable law given to the descendants of Abraham by the Great Physician himself, Jehovah.—Gen. 17:10.
Due to this very special aspect of circumcision, we have viewed with interest a recent trend in some circles to question the wisdom of routine circumcision. Although about 90 percent of all United States males are routinely circumcised at birth, several articles have appeared in recent medical journals advocating a cessation of the practice.
Upon examination, it seemed to us that some of these articles voiced rather extreme opinions. Others, however, seemed serious enough to merit our parental attention. These refer to the risks involved in circumcision. Some also quote certain child psychiatrists such as the late Dr. Rene Spitz, who said: “This is one of the cruelties the medical profession thoughtlessly inflicts on infants.”
These suggestions interest Bible students whether they are parents or not. After all, did Jehovah give his chosen people a mandate that, in the light of modern science, involved grave risk and even cruelty? We wanted to know more about it.
Origin of the Practice
A review of the history of circumcision reveals that it is an ancient practice indeed. Some authorities believe that except for omphalotomy, the severance of the navel cord, circumcision is probably the oldest type of surgery. The word circumcision is formed from the Latin words meaning “around+cut,” and refers to the cutting off of the prepuce or sleevelike foreskin of the penis. This surgery has been practiced by many tribes and peoples other than the Jews.
(5) But modern science has provided fresh reason for our faith that circumcision was divinely prescribed to the Jews; for their practice of it was unique in one particular aspect: the timing. Commenting on this unique factor, the noted Dr. Alan F. Guttmacher says:
“It is noteworthy that the early Jews, who made many interesting observations in both medicine and hygiene, fixed the operation for the eighth day. This was probably arrived at by trial and error. Not an inconsiderable number of those done before the eighth day probably bled dangerously, while those done on the eighth day rarely bled excessively. Modern medicine has found a possible explanation in Vitamin K. This vitamin . . . contributes to the process of blood- clotting. . . . At birth the level in the baby’s blood is relatively low, and it drops even lower during the first few days of life, since the child cannot manufacture its own Vitamin K until it swallows a healthy supply of germs. The baby’s intestinal tract then begins to produce its own Vitamin K, and the supply gradually rises until it reaches an adequate level when the baby is a week old.”
Of course, Bible students will dispute one point with Dr. Guttmacher. The “many interesting observations” made by the early Jews, such as the diagnosis and treatment of disease, the importance of clean water, quarantine, the value of frequent washing and bathing, and precautionary measures in the handling of blood, cadavers, wastes, and sexual matters, including circumcision on the eighth day, were not arrived at by “trial and error,” but by divine revelation.
Nor is Vitamin K the only factor involved in the divinely prescribed timing of circumcision. Another necessary blood- clotting element is prothrombin. Summarizing data that appear in H o l t P e d i a t r i c s , Dr. S. I. McMillen notes that “on the third day of a baby’s life the available prothrombin is only thirty percent of normal. Any surgical operation performed on a baby during that time would predispose to serious hemorrhage . . . the prothrombin skyrockets on the eighth day to a level even better than normal—110 percent. It then levels off . . . It appears that an eight- day- old baby has more available prothrombin than on any other day in its entire life. Thus one observes that . . . the perfect day to perform a circumcision is the eighth day.”
(2) These medical discoveries made thousands of years after Jehovah’s mandate to Abraham to circumcise precisely on the eighth day are significant. We are once again reminded that Jehovah not only knows what is best for us, but applies his knowledge for our good.
Today, however, medical circumcisions are almost all performed before the eighth day of life. Why? Well, it is more convenient to do it before the baby leaves the hospital.
We concluded that circumcision, performed at the time prescribed by the Creator, did not involve any extraordinary risk. Nevertheless, opponents of routine circumcision do refer to “risks.” How great are these risks of modern circumcision?
Weighing the Risks
(8) Captain E. Noel Preston, MC USAF, lists such possibilities as hemorrhage, infections, the removal of too much skin, accidental lacerations, incomplete circumcision (resulting in the formation of adhesions and secondary penile deformity), and even accidental amputation. (Note: Awake! even admits the risks.)
As parents, we were frankly overwhelmed by such a list of horrifying possibilities! But after discussing the matter, we began to gain some perspective. We reasoned that, although we live in a country where 90 percent of all boys are circumcised, we personally had never heard of a single complication—not even a little infection, much less a mutilation. What do the statistics say?
(9)According to one report, an average of 16 children died annually in England and Wales between 1942 and 1947, as a direct result of circumcision. On the other hand, we have the observation of Dr. M. S. Eiger, a pediatrician, who states: “In ten years of practice at two large New York hospitals, I have never seen a complication of circumcision that I would consider of serious proportions.” Several studies made in the U.S. would seem to corroborate this later observation. In one New York hospital there were six complications and no deaths in a series of more than 10,000 circumcisions performed between 1933 and 1951; three cases of bleeding requiring stitches and no deaths among 1,878 cases reported from California in 1951, and only one death in more than half a million circumcisions performed in New York city from 1939 to 1951. (Note: What exactly does the good doctor mean by the above statement?)
Now, even one death in more than half a million is a terrible loss ; but we wonder if even these rare cases might be eliminated if the operation was performed on a scientifically sound day. After due consideration, we decided that, if performed on the eighth day by an experienced physician, circumcision was probably one of the smallest risks our sons would ever face, and that the possible risks were overshadowed by the probable benefits.
Since mandatory circumcision was divinely abolished during the first century, we realized that our sons could boast no religious merit through circumcision. (Acts 15:1- 29; 1 Cor. 7:19) We also realized that the foreskin is a part of Jehovah’s creation and that he did not require his servants prior to Abraham to have it removed, nor does he require it of his Christian worshipers. We knew that the prospects of our sons as servants of the Most High would depend on the more important ‘circumcision of the heart,’ that is, the removal from the heart of that which is superfluous and would contribute to the growth of uncleanness.—Rom. 2:29; Col. 3:5- 11.
However, that there is practical value in circumcision was explained in S c i e n c e N e w s L e t t e r , Oct. 31, 1964: “The reason for circumcision is cleanliness, to prevent accumulation of an irritating mixture called smegma in the narrow space between the male glans and the overlying foreskin.” An article in T o d a y ’ sH e a l t h explains that “smegma . . . if it is not removed . . . becomes a malodorous breeding ground for bacteria which cause irritations and infection.”
Opponents of routine circumcision suggest that “if a child can be taught to tie his shoes or brush his teeth or wash behind his ears, he can also be taught to wash beneath his foreskin.” That is no doubt true of many children. But, I regret to say, our boys have never been diligent or thorough at any of these tasks! And while the worst that one may expect from improperly cleaned teeth is dental decay, a good deal more may be involved in the case of an unclean foreskin.
Studies made in America, Europe and Asia have disclosed a much higher incidence of cancer of the penis in uncircumcised men than in circumcised. In fact, as M. S. Eiger, M.D., observes, “Cancer of the penis virtually never occurs in a man who was circumcised in infancy.” These studies have been so conclusive that even an outspoken opponent of routine circumcision in the U.S. admits: “Poor sexual hygiene, inadequate hygienic facilities, and venereal diseases tend to i n c r e a s e t h e i n c i d e n c e o fg e n i t o u r i n a r y c a n c e r s i n t h e e t h n i c g r o u p s or populations t h a t d o n o t p r a c t i c e c i r c u m c i s i o n . In these groups, then, circumcision would seem to be indicated.”
This same doctor, however, does not feel that routine circumcision is necessary in the U.S., where a high degree of personal hygiene is convenient (for most people). An article in W o m a n ’ s D a y states that “adequate hygiene confers nearly as much protection against cancer of the penis as circumcision.”
(3) However, cancer of the cervix, the third most common cancer killer of American women, is virtually unknown among Jewish women. Many authorities feel that the fact that Jewish men are circumcised is a factor contributing to this.
A study made in Yugoslavia compared circumcised emancipated Moslems and uncircumcised non- Moslems. They found twice as many pre- malignant cervical lesions in the wives of the u n c i r c u m c i s e d non- Moslems as in the c i r c u m c i s e d emancipated Moslems (11 per 1,000 in the former, 5.5 per 1,000 in the latter). Interestingly, they found that in the Orthodox Moslems (who practice adolescent circumcision a l o n gw i t h o t h e r f o r m s o f s e x u a l h y g i e n e ) the occurrence of this malady was n i l .
But is circumcision cruel? Well, to us the protection afforded by circumcision seemed to more than compensate for the momentary pain. We remembered that, in many of life’s better investments, “better is the end afterward of a matter than its beginning.” (Eccl. 7:8) We weren’t afraid of causing scarred personalities in our sons, remembering the many desirable personalities among the ranks of the circumcised.
It Was Our Decision
(Note: Unless it is YOUR body, it is NOT YOUR DECISION!)
We realize that not all parents agree with our decision. Whether parents opt for circumcision or not, their decision merits the respect of others. Particularly if they are Christians, we may be sure that they have not lightly made any decision involving their children. One Christian father explained their decision in this way: “Gabriel was born prematurely, and we felt that we shouldn’t add to his difficulties the wound of circumcision. Of course, Jehovah’s reminders have made us aware of the importance of genital cleanliness; so we have carefully instructed him in this regard.”
Other parents may feel that they cannot afford the expense of the operation, or it may not be readily available to them. Finally, some may reason that if Jehovah had thought circumcision to be indispensable, he would not have caused the termination of the ancient mandate.
This, then, brings our discussion full circle, leaving the decision right where it belongs, with you, the parents.— C o n t r i b u t e d .
***g89 6/22 p. 28 Watching the World***
ADVANTAGES OF CIRCUMCISION
The American Academy of Pediatrics has had to reverse its position on the matter of circumcision. In 1971 the group held that there were “no valid medical indications” to warrant circumcising newborn males routinely. (4) However, recent studies have shown that circumcision may help prevent kidney and urinary-tract infections, which can be quite dangerous. In one study, uncircumcised boys were 11 times more likely to suffer urinary-tract infections than circumcised boys. The pediatric academy now says that circumcision “has potential medical benefits and advantages.” While Christians are not bound by the Mosaic law requiring circumcision, the new findings do suggest that the law was of practical benefit to the ancient Israelites who obeyed it.
(See also: http://www.circumstitions.com/Utis.html, http://www.aafp.org/afp/980401ap/ahmed2.html -recommends treatment with antibiotics, http://www.urologychannel.com/uti/index.shtml - female UTIs are far more common, but does that make FGM a good idea?)
***g93 6/8 p. 28 Watching the World***
Circumcision and AIDS
The practice of male circumcision appears to be an advantage in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS, says the French magazine L a R e v u e F r a n ç a i s e d u L a b o r a t o i r e . The magazine cites three independent medical studies that show male circumcision (the removal of the foreskin) to be a factor in curbing the spread of AIDS. Research on laboratory monkeys has shown that the tissues of the male foreskin contain a higher number of cells susceptible to infection by the AIDS virus than other tissues. Furthermore, a Canadian study conducted in 140 different regions of Africa revealed a higher incidence of AIDS among groups not practicing circumcision than among those who do. Another study found fewer cases of the infection among American heterosexual men who were circumcised. (Note: It has also been suggested that FGM may also help stem the tide of AIDS transmission. Does that make FGM a good idea? See http://www.ias-2005.org/planner/Abstracts.aspx?AID=3138 )
(Note: Even when research that intended to provide support for routine infant circumcision has been debunked, the Watch Tower Society has never admitted it. They do have a long track