Melkite/Might 4 Right
#11
(12-21-2015, 02:21 PM)PrairieMom Wrote: Well, you're right that it isn't absolute, and circumcision is sometimes very necessary - I personally have known 3 young boys that have had it medically indicated and it was better than the alternative. But that's 3 out of how many? Probably hundreds by the time I count up all the nephews, friends' son and kids I have babysat over the years.

But what do you mean by "lesser good at best"?

I was about to ask that as well.  What do you mean by lesser good, Papist?

(12-21-2015, 01:41 PM)Might_4_Right Wrote: Wow! it looks like PrairieMom beat me to it! Does her post answer your misgivings with circumcision? If so we should move on to what I think is a much harder question this idea of  Yahweh being a genocidal, racist war god.

No, it doesn't.

(12-21-2015, 12:33 PM)PrairieMom Wrote: Melkite, I'm going to assume your read Tracy's page on circumcision based on your reply. For others, what is practiced now is NOT what was practiced in antiquity, and was changed to prevent Jews from masquarading as non-Jews:

Quote:The Biblical rite of circumcision, called brit milah (or brith milah or bris milah), entailed the trimming of just the very tip of the foreskin, only that amount that could be pulled down over the tip of the glans. It did not destroy the entire foreskin, it did not affect normal sexual functioning, it was not the brutal rite that baby boys undergo today. The procedure was so less intrusive than what is now practiced that many practitioners of the Old Testament religion could, by pulling on the foreskin that remained, easily make themselves appear to be uncircumcized -- and many did (1 Machabees 1:11-15, 1 Corinthians 7:18).http://www.fisheaters.com/circumcision.html

My son is intact, and I can tell you that what was described above could very easily be accomplished without effecting penile function. There's a lot of skin there that's just skin, and from changing baby boy diapers for nephews and friends that seems to be more or less the norm. The fact that it was changed BY MEN tells you something.

Circumcision in it's modern form really has a quite nefarious history, promoted to curb male sexuality. This is well-documented, and YES it effects the function of the penis - that's the whole point. But you cannot and must not equate it with what God commanded the Jews. It would be like comparing trimming your fingernail to amputating your finger joint. Trimming your nail also effects your finger's functionality, but it's fairly minimal.

I agree with you that it does not affect basic function.  I completely disagree that it does not affect proper function, although in some ways I agree that it does not affect proper function as much as modern circumcision does.  I disagree with the comparison to trimming finger nails.  I'm sure you probably weren't taking it this far, but fingernails are dead tissue, the foreskin is not.  That aside, again, even circumcision of the old testament would completely destroy the ridged bands, as they are at the tip of the foreskin when it is pulled forward, so they are completely amputated.  I mentioned earlier that depending on the style of circumcision, between 50-80% of nerve endings arw amputated.  About 50% of the nerve endings are located in the ridged bands, so with their elimination alone, the sensitivity of the penis is significantly diminished.  When the frenulum is ablated as well, it reaches 80% and beyond.  The in between is when the frenulum is not completely removed but partially.  Beyond the removal of sensitivity, the ridged bands act as the elastic to close the foreskin over the head and hold it in place.  They are part of a continuous whole with the frenulum, so when the ridged bands are gone, the remaining skin cannot close over the head.  The frenulum acts to draw the foreskin down over the head, so when this is severed, even if parts remain, the foreskin, or remnant thereof, no longer can be drawn down towards the head.  Because the frenulum and the ridged bands are really just two sections of the same structure, it is impossible to amputate the ridged bands without severing the frenulum.  Even with the old Jewish style, the head and inner foreskin remnant will always be exposed and the remaining sensitivity diminished due to constant abrasive exposure.  Jewish circumcision is JUST AS MUCH a mutilation as modern circumcision, even if some of the effects are not as severe.  Jewish circumcision still renders the penis properly dysfunctional.
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#12
(12-21-2015, 02:21 PM)PrairieMom Wrote:
(12-21-2015, 01:49 PM)Papist Wrote: I think the danger here is treating non-circumcision as some absolute good. It is lesser good at best.

Well, you're right that it isn't absolute, and circumcision is sometimes very necessary - I personally have known 3 young boys that have had it medically indicated and it was better than the alternative. But that's 3 out of how many? Probably hundreds by the time I count up all the nephews, friends' son and kids I have babysat over the years.

But what do you mean by "lesser good at best"?

Well, Melkite is circumcision as evidence against the Judeo-Christian God. The underlying assumption of his argument is that if God is good he wouldn't allow circumcision. What Melkite is failing to understand that is that God might require circumcision for the sake of higher/spiritual goods as in the case of the Old Testament. Unlike non-circumcision, spiritual goods are good in an unqualified sense.

I like Melkite quite a bit, but there something amiss when someone grants this level importance to he foreskin.

And to make matters clear, I don't think circumcision is a good idea, but I also don't think that the fact that I was circumcised has negatively affected my life in a meaningful way.

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#13
Papist Wrote: Well, Melkite is circumcision as evidence against the Judeo-Christian God. The underlying assumption of his argument is that if God is good he wouldn't allow circumcision. What Melkite is failing to understand that is that God might require circumcision for the sake of higher/spiritual goods as in the case of the Old Testament. Unlike non-circumcision, spiritual goods are good in an unqualified sense.

I like Melkite quite a bit, but there something amiss when someone grants this level importance to he foreskin.

And to make matters clear, I don't think circumcision is a good idea, but I also don't think that the fact that I was circumcised has negatively affected my life in a meaningful way.

No, I didn't quite say that.  A good God would have to allow circumcision.  To not allow it would be to violate the wills of evil and/or ignorant people.  I am saying, though, that a good God never require it.  He could never command it, because, whether or not being intact is an absolute or lesser good, the destruction of something God created is an absolute evil.  There may be mitigating circumstances, such as the exceedingly rare instances where it is truly necessary to preserve the life of the rest of the body.

I think trying to defend circumcision for the sake of higher spiritual goods is a baseless argument when there is no logical way to defend it.  It begs the question, then, if there are spiritual goods that would demand circumcision, what about earlobes, fingers, toes, feet, eyeballs...how much of the otherwise healthy body are we permitted to dispose of for intangible and ephemeral benefits?  No, circumcision carries no spiritual good.  It is a blasphemy of the one true God.
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#14
(12-21-2015, 03:03 PM)Melkite Wrote:
Papist Wrote: Well, Melkite is circumcision as evidence against the Judeo-Christian God. The underlying assumption of his argument is that if God is good he wouldn't allow circumcision. What Melkite is failing to understand that is that God might require circumcision for the sake of higher/spiritual goods as in the case of the Old Testament. Unlike non-circumcision, spiritual goods are good in an unqualified sense.

I like Melkite quite a bit, but there something amiss when someone grants this level importance to he foreskin.

And to make matters clear, I don't think circumcision is a good idea, but I also don't think that the fact that I was circumcised has negatively affected my life in a meaningful way.

No, I didn't quite say that.  A good God would have to allow circumcision.  To not allow it would be to violate the wills of evil and/or ignorant people.  I am saying, though, that a good God never require it.  He could never command it, because, whether or not being intact is an absolute or lesser good, the destruction of something God created is an absolute evil.  There may be mitigating circumstances, such as the exceedingly rare instances where it is truly necessary to preserve the life of the rest of the body.

I think trying to defend circumcision for the sake of higher spiritual goods is a baseless argument when there is no logical way to defend it.  It begs the question, then, if there are spiritual goods that would demand circumcision, what about earlobes, fingers, toes, feet, eyeballs...how much of the otherwise healthy body are we permitted to dispose of for intangible and ephemeral benefits?  No, circumcision carries no spiritual good.  It is a blasphemy of the one true God.

The statement in bold is false. God commanded the Hebrews to slay animals for sacrifice. It is not evil for God to command us to destroy something he has made, since everything he has made has belongs to him.

Also, the benefits of circumcision were not emphemeral. It was used to set the Jewish people apart from surrounding nations, and they were set apart because they were to serve as a sign of God's coming redemption. This is an eternal sign. The adoption into the Hebrew family of God was so profound that it was inscribed in the flesh of Hebrew men.

It' interesting that you compare the foreskin to an organ like an eye. An eye cannot be removed without serious disfunction. The foreskin, on the other hand, can. Men's penises still work without foreskin. Eyes don't work if they are seriously damaged or removed.



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#15
(12-21-2015, 03:13 PM)Papist Wrote: The statement in bold is false. God commanded the Hebrews to slay animals for sacrifice. It is not evil for God to command us to destroy something he has made, since everything he has made has belongs to him.

This isn't really a contradiction for me.  Yahweh commanded the Hebrews to slay animals for sacrifice.  He commanded the Hebrews to slay the Canaanites and take their land.  It is not surprising at all that a war god would demand genital mutilation to show loyalty.  I don't believe that Yahweh is the one true God.  At best, he is a man-made deity like the other members of the Canaanite pantheon.  At worst, he is pure, sadistic evil.

Quote:Also, the benefits of circumcision were not emphemeral. It was used to set the Jewish people apart from surrounding nations, and they were set apart because they were to serve as a sign of God's coming redemption. This is an eternal sign. The adoption into the Hebrew family of God was so profound that it was inscribed in the flesh of Hebrew men.

It's interesting that the mark that was supposed to set the Jewish people apart was also on a place to be covered so that Jews would never see the intactness of the Gentiles and the Gentiles would never see the mutilation of the Jews to compare.  A sign that is not permitted to be shown is not an effective sign.  Lamp-under-basket kinda logic there.  For the second point, how then were women adopted into the Hebrew family?  Either Yahweh saw women as not valuable compared to the men - not something the true God could hold - or he accepted them without bodily mutilation.  If they were acceptable without mutilation, so were the men.  The True God did not ever command anyone to mutilate their bodies.

Quote:It' interesting that you compare the foreskin to an organ like an eye. An eye cannot be removed without serious disfunction. The foreskin, on the other hand, can. Men's penises still work without foreskin. Eyes don't work if they are seriously damaged or removed.

We're just going to be at an impasse on this one I guess.  I've already explained how circumcision causes a serious dysfunction.  You are thinking on the pump-and-dump paradigm of penile function.  If you are unable to recognize the serious and significant diminishing of sensitivity as a serious dysfunction, then there is nothing else I can say to bridge our gap.  We're going to have to agree to disagree.
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#16
(12-21-2015, 04:09 PM)Melkite Wrote: We're just going to be at an impasse on this one I guess.  I've already explained how circumcision causes a serious dysfunction.  You are thinking on the pump-and-dump paradigm of penile function.  If you are unable to recognize the serious and significant diminishing of sensitivity as a serious dysfunction, then there is nothing else I can say to bridge our gap.  We're going to have to agree to disagree.

No, I'm just unwilling to allow something so minor as circumcision affect my relationship with God. Melkite, I really like you as a poster here, but I am going to say something that I have said before: most people would see your aggrandizing of the foreskin as something that needs to be addressed in counseling. An extra skin flap is simply not as important as you are making it out to be. I seriously suggest yous speak to a counselor so as to determine what past trauma is leading you to be so heavily invested in your missing foreskin. Most men get along just fine without it.
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#17
This is a M vs. M4R fight, so I just stopped by to point out that what seems to be going on is the heresy of  Marcionism. To quote a writer subjected to that OT divinity (aka God), nothing new under the sun.

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#18
(12-21-2015, 12:33 PM)PrairieMom Wrote: As for the whole God of War thing, I admit that's harder to reconcile. I will need to think about how to address that.

I'm ok with discussing multiple sub-threads at the same time on this thread if everyone else is ok with it.  So, for reference, let's keep sub-threads in different posts; i.e., I will make separate posts to talk about circumcision from posts to talk about Yahweh as war god, unless one point pertains to the other for the sake of that post.  Ok, here goes...

According to the archaeological evidence, the Canaanite pantheon consisted of multiple gods, several of the main ones were listed in the Old Testament.  El was the father of the pantheon, El Elyon (God Most High), Baal, Asherah were some of the main gods worshipped by all the Canaanites, and there were lesser village and household deities as well, just like paganism in other nations.  It also shows that Israel itself was pagan at one time, and slowly became monolatristic, which it was during most of the first temple period, and only became fully monotheistic at the time of the Babylonian exile, when they had to find a reason to continue worshipping a god of the particular land outside of that land.  The archaeological record also shows the Torah as being written at different points in history, as they were written in increasingly evolved forms of ancient Hebrew.  The Ugaritic archaeological evidence mentions Jah, a war god that worshipped in particular among the Midianites, not so much at the time by the other Canaanites.  If memory serves me correctly, Baal was the god of thunder, harvest and fertility, so he also served as a war god to some extent for the other Canaanites.  But, back to the OT, this goes into my belief that the OT could not be inspired by God.  A)Moses didn't really write it, because he didn't live for 500 years and he didn't speak different varieties of Hebrew that were hundreds of years apart from each other at the same time.  B) There are bits of different types of Hebrew mixed into each other in some of the books, which led to the beginnings of the documentary hypothesis.  I'm taking this on the word of the author that I read, I haven't had a chance to read it for myself yet, but apparently, when you separate out the parts that are written in different ages of Hebrew, they separated texts return to a smooth, flowing narrative rather than the disjointed mess one gets if they read the Torah straight through.  I'm willing to take the author's word for this until I'm able to read it myself because the book (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/006073065X/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2/185-1939991-2825239?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_r=0GM1ACTEKHMRA8J2WTJQ&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_p=1944687462&pf_rd_i=0060630353) is well cited and documented, not written by some krank off the top of his head.  So, for example, the creation narrative in Genesis is written in a style of Hebrew that dates to the time of the Babylonian exile, not at the earlier date that most of the rest of Genesis was written in.  It's no coincidence, then, that the creation narrative closely resembles that of the Babylonians and doesn't have a comparative among other Canaanite groups.

So, the biblical evidence.  Most of the stories of Abraham refer to God as El, before he was merged with Yahweh.  There are other older sources that refer to him as Yahweh, and these are often mixed together.  The things that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did to show their fealty to God were the things that pagans of the time and area did.  So, for example, Jacob set up a cairn of rocks as a memorial to him making El his god.  This is what pagans do.  He was not denying the existence of other gods, but rather choosing to make El his god - the one he would worship over others.  This is the monolatrism of the original writer written back onto the story, since even by traditional standards, this wasn't written down until the time of Moses.  El is generally a peaceful, loving god.  There are a few instances of him doing horrendous things, like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (surprise, surprise! this story doesn't have a parallel, but is written only about Yahweh, and in a later form of Hebrew, after the Israelites had culturally merged Yahweh into El.)  God doesn't really, fully become a war god until Moses begins presenting him to the people.  Moses.  What's special about Moses?  He fled to Midian.  He married the daughter of a Midianite priest.  The same Midian that the archaeological records states was the home of the cult of Jah.  So it's no coincidence that Moses spends years with this family, comes back to Egypt and preaches a god of war to the Israelites.  What is it that they did as they left Egypt?  After the 40 years in the wilderness, they began making war on the peoples of Canaan.  They slaughtered, they raped, they pillaged.  They followed Lord GOD Sabaoth - Yahweh, Lord of the Armies - how many of us say this during our liturgies even today and don't know what it means?  Lord of Hosts.  Hosts of what?  Legions.  Yahweh is a militaristic god and that has carried over even into Christian liturgies today.

But even with all that, Yahweh was still worshipped polytheistically.  He began to be worshipped monolatristically when...Josiah came into power.  When he wanted to consolidate power over Judah and Israel.  When, according to the Bible, the kings of Israel were worshipping Baal and Asherah.  Well, they were worshipping Baal and Asherah, just as the Judahites were.  The reforms of Josiah changed that, to worship of Yahweh only, in Jerusalem only.  That comes from deuteronomy - the lost book of Moses, "re"discovered in the temple during the reign of Josiah.  Funny thing is, it's written in the style of Hebrew that was spoken at the time of Josiah.  It wasn't a lost book of Moses.  It was political propaganda written by the scribes of Josiah to give him evidence he needed to consolidate power and destroy the cults of Baal, Asherah and El.  Deuteronomy was just as inspired as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the Donation of Constantine - forged political propaganda.  Deuteronomy was Josiah's Reichstag Fire, and the Northern tribes were his Yids. 

Ok, I know that was all spastic and probably more than a little diarrheic verbally, so I apologize.  I'm going off of memory on this one and haven't studied this as long as I have circumcision (15+ years for the latter).  I'll just leave off with this as an example of the multiple compositions of the Bible.  Check out Psalm 14 and Psalm 53.  Read it for yourself in English.  It's the same damn Psalm.  Did King David really write the same song twice, one time using Elohim and one time using Yahweh?  No. 

[Image: psalm14_53_tea_zpso5vcdiav.gif]
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#19
(12-21-2015, 04:12 PM)Papist Wrote: No, I'm just unwilling to allow something so minor as circumcision affect my relationship with God. Melkite, I really like you as a poster here, but I am going to say something that I have said before: most people would see your aggrandizing of the foreskin as something that needs to be addressed in counseling. An extra skin flap is simply not as important as you are making it out to be. I seriously suggest yous speak to a counselor so as to determine what past trauma is leading you to be so heavily invested in your missing foreskin. Most men get along just fine without it.

It's not an extra skin flap, that's the whole point.  I appreciate that you think I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, but I've already explained why what you call a molehill has been shown through various studies to not actually be a molehill.  The foreskin is not an extra flap of skin.  Most men think they get along just fine without it because they are completely oblivious to the fact that it isn't a simple flap of extra skin.  :deadhorse:
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#20
(12-21-2015, 05:01 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(12-21-2015, 04:12 PM)Papist Wrote: No, I'm just unwilling to allow something so minor as circumcision affect my relationship with God. Melkite, I really like you as a poster here, but I am going to say something that I have said before: most people would see your aggrandizing of the foreskin as something that needs to be addressed in counseling. An extra skin flap is simply not as important as you are making it out to be. I seriously suggest yous speak to a counselor so as to determine what past trauma is leading you to be so heavily invested in your missing foreskin. Most men get along just fine without it.

It's not an extra skin flap, that's the whole point.  I appreciate that you think I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, but I've already explained why what you call a molehill has been shown through various studies to not actually be a molehill.  The foreskin is not an extra flap of skin.  Most men think they get along just fine without it because they are completely oblivious to the fact that it isn't a simple flap of extra skin.  :deadhorse:

And yet, a molehill remains a molehill. You think you have proven that it is a big deal, but you simply have not. The only way that it would be a big deal is if the perfect attainment of sexual pleasure were some unqualified good without which it life would be meaningless. You have yet to prove that point.
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