Is it wrong for Christians to be Circumcised?

Jay Dee

Is it wrong for Christians to be Circumcised?

Jul 15, 2019

A few weeks ago, I received a question through our Have a Question page. Normally I would just answer them in our monthly questions round up, like this one, but this question had so much history to go through and it’s so polarizing in Christian

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A few weeks ago, I received a question through our Have a Question page. Normally I would just answer them in our monthly questions round up, like this one, but this question had so much history to go through and it’s so polarizing in Christian culture that I thought I’d dedicate an entire post to it. Here’s the question:

Is it wrong for Christians to be circumcised? Why do some Christians circumcise their boys? Did Christians always practice circumcision? Why do they do it today? What should you do if you have been?

Good afternoon Jay Dee,

I have a question about circumcision.  I feel that it is unchristian, yet it is not talked about how it actually goes against God’s design of our bodies. Unfortunately, I was circumcised as a baby, as many American boys are, I have seen a lot of people online and in social media that are intactivists trying to bring awareness about this to try and get parents to stop doing this.

I was wondering if you had heard about foreskin restoration? I have read about it online, it is not the same as having your actual foreskin but man men have reported after completely restoring either through a device or through manual methods just by stretching your slack skin that is left over your glans.

I was wondering if it would be considered morally correct to do this to get your body back to what God made it to have a closer relationship with your wife and to have more sensation in your body part that was harmed by the circumcision?

Sorry if this is a confusing question but thank you for your time and consideration!

There’s a lot in here, but I think it breaks down to a couple basic questions:

  1. Is circumcision immoral?
  2. If it is, and you’ve been circumcised, should you seek to undo it?

Now, Christianity is all over the place on this and the reasons given are all over the map.  So, I’m going to first share some history, and then what I believe.

Because Christianity is so at odds on this topic, many people are going to disagree with me. Of that I have no doubt.  The vast majority of my readers are in the US, and the US by far leads the world in circumcision rates.  You’ll see why further down, but the reason I bring it up now is that my readership is heavily leaning in one direction here, so I’d frankly expect a large percentage of the people reading this to come to it having an opposing view.

But, it’s a discussion that needs to happen.  People have questions, and too often we tend to simply rely on tradition and man-made doctrine rather than actually talk about it. As well, the rest of the world has questions and are judging Christianity by our actions, and when we can’t give a rational reason for why we do something other than “well, I was…” then Christianity looks foolish.

So, I’m going to stick my neck out, rightly or wrongly, in the hopes that it can start a discussion so people can hopefully decide rationally.  If you disagree with me, I welcome your views and comments below for all to read.  You are of course welcome to circumcise or not as you see fit.  Just know why you are or aren’t doing it.  That’s all I ask.

Let’s start with what circumcision is, a brief recap of history to see where it started, and why there is such a polarization about it among Christians.

What is circumcision?

Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin from the human penis. In the most common procedure, the foreskin is opened, adhesions are removed, and the foreskin is separated from the glans. After that, a circumcision device may be placed, and then the foreskin is cut off.

Wikipedia

Or if you prefer Fray Tuck’s explanation from Robin Hood: Men in Tights:

Basically, a section of the foreskin is removed from the penis.  

Why do circumcision?

This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

Genesis 17:10-14

God asked Abraham to circumcise himself, the males of his family, and all his offspring.  In short, in order to be considered a Hebrew, you had to be circumcised.

Sidenote on the topic: there’s an accounting in Genesis 34 wherein Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah was raped by a Cananite.  Her rapist decided he wanted to marry her, so her brothers told the rapist that he, and his entire household, had to be circumcised if they wanted to marry Hebrew women.  That seemed fair to the Cananites, so they performed the circumcision, and while they were still healing, Dinah’s brothers came into their house and killed all the men and took the women, children, livestock and everything.  

So, the Jews have continued with circumcision since that time, and it wasn’t really a problem until the gospel started being spread to the gentiles.

Gentiles and Circumcision

If you don’t know, gentiles are most of us.  Basically anyone who isn’t a Jew.  So, those who were born Jewish and converted to Christianity (if it can be called a conversion at that point, it’s more of a continuation in my mind) felt that in order to be included in God’s promises, the gentiles had to be circumcised.

Paul, the apostle tasked with bringing the gospel to non-Jewish people was teaching against circumcision.  It got him into a fair bit of trouble.

Paul addresses the issue with the church in Corinth:

Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision.

1 Corinthians 7:18

In short, if you’re circumcised when you come to Christ, it’s fine.  Don’t try to hide it.  If you aren’t, that’s fine too, don’t bother getting circumcised.  

Why?  Because there’s a new covenant:

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Luke 22:19

Our covenant is about Jesus’ death and resurrection.  

Paul also didn’t make Greek disciples become circumcised:

Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.

Galatians 2:1-3

Now, some did get circumcised, so that the Jews would talk to them, but it wasn’t out of an obligation to the law.  They were willing to make the sacrifice to win souls when they were preaching to non-Christian Jews.  But when preaching to the Greeks, there was no need to do that.

In fact, Paul even argues that if you do practice circumcision out of a desire to keep the law, then you’ve rejected the grace that comes from Jesus’ sacrifice:

Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

Galatians 5:1-11

He explicitly states that for Christians, circumcision counts for nothing.

After these letters, Paul is warned about the Jews getting upset that he’s teaching parents not to circumcise their children:

You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come.

Acts 21:20b-22a

They suggest doing some purification rights to quell the anger of the Jews, but before he could finish the week long ceremony, they had him arrested for teaching things contrary to Judaism.  Actually, they were beating him with the intent to kill him when a cohort of Roman soldiers happened by and broke up the lynch mob.  The Romans actually arrest him, seemingly for disturbing the peace, and he spends pretty much the rest of his life in some state of arrest (imprisoned, being transported, shipwrecked, then under house arrest).

Point is, he really upset the Jews by teaching this, but, to me, it seems clear that Paul spent a fair bit of energy in teaching Christians they don’t need to circumcise their boys.  Arguably going so far as to say they should not.

Circumcision in Christianity after the first century

After the accounting in the Bible, it doesn’t get mentioned too much it seems.  I did find this statement from the Council of Florence in 1442 by Pope Eugene IV in a public decree:

Persons who practice circumcision risk loss of eternal salvation.

So, the official view of the church at the time seems to have been against circumcision.  Other than that, it wasn’t discussed because it wasn’t an issue.  The Circumcision Reference Library stated this:

The Roman Catholic Church has never issued an official policy specifically regarding non-therapeutic neonatal male circumcision as it has been practiced primarily in the English-speaking nations in the Twentieth Century and now the Twenty-first Century. The Church, however, has a strong moral statement on amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations.2 Circumcision falls under both amputation and mutilation, so it is clearly covered by this policy. Catholics generally are required to respect bodily integrity.2 Lack of respect for bodily integrity is viewed as a violation of the Fifth Commandment, Thou shalt not kill.3

The new (1994) Catechism of the Catholic Church at paragraph 2297 states in part:

“Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.”

The Circumcision Reference Library

In short, before the 1900s, no one was talking about it in Christianity, because no one was doing it, and even after that, it was only in English speaking nations.  Basically, it was considered non-existent for most of Christian history.

Circumcision in the modern age

That all changed in the early 20th century.  And here’s what often happens in people’s minds.  Something massive changes, but after a couple generations, it becomes “the way it’s always been”.

So, here’s what happened as near as I can tell.

Firstly, early in the 20th century (1900s for people who have trouble with centuries) they started noticing that the Jewish people were getting fewer diseases than others, particularly sexually transmitted types of diseases and infections.  At the time, one theory was that it might have to do with circumcision.  This lead to the theory that circumcision is healthier.  

These days, the prevailing theory is that the Jewish tendency to keep a close community – not have sex with non-Jewish people, or really even commune with non-Jewish people, helped insulate them against the infections and diseases the rest of the world was getting.  But, again, at the time, the idea was circumcision.  Not that circumcision doesn’t help against STIs and STDs, some research shows it does, just not enough to explain the differences they saw in the Jewish communities.

Secondly, surgery was starting to become fashionable and the wealthier families were having their babies delivered by doctors rather than midwives.  Midwives wouldn’t perform a circumcision, but a doctor was likely to recommend it based on the contemporary theory that circumcision helped protect against diseases and infections.  So, circumcision became a sign of wealth.  

During the 1930’s about 50% of American boys were circumcised as a result of this trend.

Then in the post-war economic boom, jobs started coming with benefits that covered delivery and circumcision by a doctor.  Of course, since circumcision was a sign of wealth by now, everyone wanted their boy to have an upper hand in society.  Plus, it was free surgery (all the rage at the time with the invention of new anesthetics).  

During this period, the rate of circumcision in America jumped to 90%.  And when 90% of the population is circumcised, there’s a massive bias towards keeping the status quo as well as rationalizing the decision.

That continued for a little while.  Largely just in the UK, US and Canada – English speaking countries.  I’m not sure why just them.  Perhaps the theory of circumcision helping ward off infections didn’t cross the language barrier well.  

Then, in the UK, the government came out with the National Health Service – government health benefits.  When trying to decide if circumcision was covered or not, new data had come out showing there wasn’t any correlation between circumcision and sexually transmitted diseases and infections in non-Jewish populations, and the doctors couldn’t reach a consensus on whether or not it made a medical difference.  So, the government decided not to cover circumcisions.  As it was now an out-of-pocket expense, the fashion waned.

However, in the US, this was still covered by job benefits, and so the fashion continued.  Canada followed the UK and it’s not covered, at least in my province (Ontario).  As such, rates in Canada dropped as well.  In fact, in 1996, The Canadian Paediatric Society opposed routine circumcision of newborns.

Back in the US, well, doctors get paid a lot for circumcisions.  The going rate, from what I can tell is about $150-200 per and you can do 4 to 5 in an hour if your schedule is booked.  It’s not in the medical industry’s best interest in America to give up a potential $1000/hour rate and tell you it’s not necessary.  

Nevertheless, the rates are dropping slowly.  I believe in the US, it’s somewhere around 50%.  Canada is around 30% and the UK is somewhere around 10%.

Is circumcision a net health benefit?

It’s hard to say.  People can’t agree.  Doctors can’t agree.  Countries can’t agree.

The UK health system says it’s not worth covering.  The American Academy of Pediatrics says the benefits outweigh the risks … but the benefits are not great enough to recommend doing it for all newborn boys.  We already saw Canada’s response above (not recommended), and Germany has actually outlawed ritual circumcision without specific medical cause as of 2012 and Iceland is considering following suit.  

Does circumcision have a medical benefit?  Yes.  How much of a benefit is highly contested and the benefits shown are not always as great as they seem.  For example, circumcision is correlated with lower risk of penile cancer.  But the risk of penile cancer is already very low.  So, that’s not a huge benefit.  It may also help with herpes, and HIV.  In some African countries, this is a huge benefit.  Here in Canada and I’m guessing in the US, it’s not as large a risk.  So, the health benefits are different depending on where you are.  Also it depends on your lifestyle.  I’ve only had one sexual partner – my wife.  She’s only had one – me.  I don’t really worry about STIs, STDs, HIV or HPV.  Never have.  My hope is that my children will follow suit.  Time will tell.

Does circumcision have risks?  Yes, everyone agrees there are risks.  Circumcision accounts for 1.3% of neonatal deaths in the US.  There is a 1 in 500 chance of infections or hemorrhage.

So, do the benefits outweigh the risks?  You have to decide for yourself.  

Is circumcision immoral?

Is it wrong for Christians to be Circumcised? I believe Paul's writings show that the covenant requiring circumcision doesn't apply to Christians and that choosing to follow that law is a rejection of the grace we receive through Christ. History shows Christians only started Circumcising relatively recently, and out of health, status and financial reasons rather than theological ones.

So, that’s the how and why of circumcision.  On to the hard question: Is it immoral?

For me, choosing to circumcise for religious reasons would be a rejection of grace.  

For me, choosing to circumcise because the father is, seems like a needless surgery, like giving a baby a nose-job just so it will match their mother’s nose when there’s nothing wrong with the one they have.

For me, choosing to circumcise because it’s “fixing a design flaw” is calling God a bad creator.

For me, choosing to circumcise because it helps against STDs and STIs is hypocritical in a lot of cases because parents generally don’t talk to their kids about sex, but they’re willing to surgically alter them to protect them from it.  I’d rather teach my children how to pursue a single partner for life and teach them about how STDs and STIs work, because circumcision, while it may help a bit, isn’t 100% effective.  Nothing is, except monogamy for life by both spouses.

For me, yeah, I think it’s immoral.  I couldn’t do it in good conscience.  That said, I know others can and do, and they feel right and justified in their choice.  I won’t judge you for your choices based on your beliefs.  I have no right to hold you accountable to something you don’t believe in.  I just disagree.

But if you’re a new parent considering it, I ask that you actually consider it.  Don’t just go along with tradition or what your parents did or what the doctor offers.  Make a decision for yourself, so you can explain to your son why you did it, if he asks.  Because if he asks one day and believes it was wrong, you better have a better answer than “Oh, I don’t know, because the doctor offered.” or you may have a very angry son on your hands.  Or worse, you’re one of the unlucky few whose son dies from complications just because you went along with it.  That would be devastating.

Should you undo your circumcision?

If it were me, I probably wouldn’t.  Medical intervention always has a risk associated with it.  You may already be experiencing the risks of one.  Do you want to try for another?  You’ll have to decide for yourself.

Did circumcision make a difference to how sex feels?  Who knows.  There isn’t really a good way to test that.  If it did, you could lose even more feeling with more surgery.  Or, it could improve the feeling, I don’t know.

But unless it doesn’t feel good now, I probably wouldn’t risk it myself.  Again, your choice.

In another email exchange, the reader brought up that there are non-surgical ways to stretch the foreskin again using a device, or your own hands.  His research indicated that it can take years to get your foreskin back.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying that.  Just seems like a lot of time to spend for potentially no gain.

As for trying to restore it to feel closer to God or your wife, to me, it is a waste of time.  For one, God is not going to keep away from you for something your parents did, assuming it was wrong.  He’s interested in your heart more than your penis.  I can’t quote a verse for that, but I feel pretty sure on that principle.  The closest I can find is Paul’s words:

Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision.

1 Corinthians 7:18

In other words – leave it alone.

Likewise with your wife.  Couples have amazing sex lives and intimacy even if they’re missing a penis entirely, or any feeling below the waist.  A small piece of skin is not going to change your ability to have a fulfilling marriage.

So, there you have it.  A history lesson and my thoughts on circumcision.  I hope it can be of use to someone.  If you disagree, you’re welcome to comment below, if you can be civil.  If you can’t, just close the browser and walk away.

If you have a question of your own you’d like discussed, you can email me at Jay@UncoveringIntimacy.com, or submit it anonymously on our Have A Question page.

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89 thoughts on “Is it wrong for Christians to be Circumcised?”

  1. Paul Nuest says:

    Some recommended circumcision as a cure for masturbation.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Yeah, I was considering putting that in there, but that theory failed so miserably I didn’t think anyone still subscribed to it.

      1. Yeah so I'm a Christian! says:

        I actually know a couple of guys it worked for, I wouldn’t say that makes a rule but I think there is legitimate claim for suggesting if masturbation is a problem.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          How do you know the circumcision is what made it work? Were they not circumcised and then got circumcised? Even then, the data is circumspect because it might be because they got circumcised later on and that can increase nerve damage which could lead to a lack of masturbation due to pain and/or it not feeling as good.

          1. Yeah so I'm a Christian! says:

            They claim they before the foreskin was rubbing and causing arousal, it worked for them. It is also possible that it is do with lessened sensations. Neither complain that sex doesn’t feel as good, I don’t think that the “sex is less enjoyable” argument stands up any more than the “circumsicison prevents masturbation” one does.

            1. Reyos says:

              I don’t know how much weight my experience will be given here, or how much you’ll just want to decry me for sins without attention to what I say, but I think as a gay man I have more experience on what the foreskin does and does not do with regards to sex. The problem with saying less enjoyable is that’s a subjective thing, how much you enjoy something is unique to you, however I can say without a doubt that circumcised men are less physically sensitive, and have much less powerful orgasms than those who were not circumcised, I won’t go into specifics but my sample size is much higher than two men more than ten times higher, pretty close to 60/40 cut to not.

              1. Jay Dee says:

                Thanks for sharing. I may disagree with your lifestyle, but I don’t believe it invalidates your experiences. I appreciate you being willing to share, especially considering the fear of rebuke.

            2. petra2201 says:

              As a man who was circumcised as a child and started restoring in my mid thirties I must that circumcision has a big impact on sexual sensations. The glans of the penis is mucosal tissue. It was not designed to be exposed to open air. It starts a process called keritinization (sp?). The skin cells of the glans and just below the glans thicken and harden. Its kind of like trying to feel something that is under a blanket verses something under a sheet. In my practical experience, I’ve been restoring for over 4 years and have reached a stage where the glans is covered almost all the time. My skin has changed color and texture along with being moist throughout the day as opposed to being dry. Sensation wise, this is the best it has ever felt. My wife has even noticed a difference in my response and sensitivity. Its changed a lot in my bedroom because things are more sensitive now. The difference between my twenties and now us vast.

      2. Kala says:

        It was Dr Eugene Kellogg. I would love to send you my research. I wrote a paper for it in college.

  2. Johnie Fredman says:

    While Paul did not have Titus circumcised, he did have Timothy circumcised (Acts 16:3). While clearly not a command or requirement of the new law, this example proves that it is not sinful or immoral because Paul would not have had Timothy do something that was. In the Christian age, it is simply a matter of personal preference.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      He did, but for a very specific reason. Timothy’s mother was Jewish, so he was considered Jewish by blood. But his father was Greek and the Jews knew it, so the assumption would be that Timothy was an apostate. Timothy went to go preach to the Jews, but they wouldn’t talk to him unless he could prove he was a Jew in practice. He went through great personal pain to get circumcised as an adult without anesthesia so he could have an opportunity to teach them about Christ.

      And I think for a lot of Christians it’s more than just personal preference.

      Though I still don’t quite understand choosing to perform elective surgery on an infant for personal preferences. Then again, I don’t think many get told of the risks either. Plus it’s become normalized in the US, so I’d guess it seems more reasonable there.

      1. Gordon says:

        My wife and I are believers (Christians) who researched and researched and researched this topic when we found out we were going to have our first boy. We also discussed the topic with our doctor and pastor and close friends. It was a tough call. We came to the position that it is not immoral in the sense that scripture morally prohibits the act. It appears to us that Paul frames the issue as a heart matter first and foremost.

        I will say that (sticking neck out) we did end up circumcising our boys. And that all research and mental pro/con sorting aside, it was done as a sign and dedication unto the Lord. It was a decision where we prayed and fasted, asking the Lord to be very specific with us over. (Not just whether we should choose circumcision, but for the right Doc, the right time, and for outcome that was only from His hands). He spoke into all these issues. Our boys are fine and happy. They bear a mark of dedication unto God. This is very counter cultural I know.

        I pray often that it will be an outward sign of an inward reality. Not just of a God who calls them (intimacy is what He calls us to and as such sex is a deep symbol!) to Himself from the core of their being and identity but that He holds sway over all and is worthy of their all. Just think of the world changing effects that men, who have faced down their adversary Satan and fought to victory, can live out in the arena of Godly sexuality. But all this is every man’s calling whether or not they are circumcised. I digress.

        The Hebrews did this to separate themselves. The very core of their physical identity was given to the Lord. All the world knew it throughout history too. In Roman and Greek dominated cultures the bath houses and gymansios were often nude or had a portion of the building where all men were nude. One glance down and people knew who you followed. It’s a pretty hardcore message. One that God called men too. And then later gave the Jewish religious leadership fits when they buried it in legalism and lost the message.

        There are two other bits of info that may inform this choice for MY family.
        #1 We are to some extent of Jewish lineage. I know of no specific spiritual factors in play as to why the Lord led us in the choice.
        #2 I will say that in my marriage there are no issues with intimacy tied to physical non-intactness. Joy and belonging are there first and so freedom and enjoyment flow to the physical and are a blessing. The physical doesn’t determine the other way round. I would offer this thought to the gentleman who wrote the question. If you have not done so (and you may have), settle the matter first before the Lord. Give Him opportunity to speak. He can provide you the answers you seek about restoring foreskin and your sexuality. He may also lead you to answers. It is His first. Your physical condition is no mistake. He has plans for good for you in this.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          Thanks for sharing!

  3. Travis says:

    This would fall under Christian liberty. “Make no law where there is no law.” Paul’s point in condemning it in Galatians was because the Judaizers had tied it to salvation. If you don’t make it a prerequisite or a condition for salvation, then it is not a rejection of grace.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I don’t believe I know that saying. Wouldn’t that invalidate much of the New Testament? Paul spent the bulk of his ministry codifying laws where there were none before.

      Point is though that some Christians do tie it to religious reasons, and ultimately either everything is a salvation issue, or nothing is. Because if it’s not a salvation issue, well, then why do it? The only salvation issue is our decision to follow God or not. So, if it’s a religious reason, then either this is following God, or not. So how is it not a salvation issue?

      1. Yeah so I'm a Christian! says:

        If everything is a salvation issue or nothing is, what is “the sin that does not lead to death?” Does this not then show that there are things that have nothing to do with salvation. Pretty sure the decision I made about what I had for breakfast this morning or going on a quick vacay to my homeland for the last two weeks aren’t. I don’t think that stands up to scrutiny, even in salvation we are allowed points of view and our own opinion, why do we always feel the need to force others to agree with us? I don’t agree with you on this and a couple of other posts you’ve written, big whoop. We are both still saved and accepted in the beloved. Disagreement is allowed.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          Yeah, 1 John 5:13 or so. Good question.
          All sins leads to death – Romans 6:23, so it can’t be the specific sin that’s different. Rather, I’d submit that it’s the heart that changes.
          If you see someone sinning and you know they are a believer and don’t want to sin’t hen you should confront them, because they may listen and repent, thus retaining their salvation – that is, continually choosing to accept Christ as saviour.

          But if you see someone sinning and you know they aren’t open to the word, they don’t ascribe to the Bible. They’re completely uninterested in what is or isn’t a sin, then there is no sense in rebuking them. You’re wasting your time and potentially even getting in the way of reaching them later. So you should let them continue to sin, which is leading them to death, because they don’t accept Christ as saviour. They may never.

          But all sin separates us from God, just as all repentance draws us towards Him. What you had for breakfast could certainly be a salvation issue. If I feel God is telling me to be a better steward of my body, and I decide to have ice-cream for breakfast in spite of the conviction not to, then I may start or continue a pattern of turning away from Him. In that way, breakfast can certainly be a salvation issue. Arguably every choice we make all day long is either for, or against God. We choose to serve Him, or ourselves.

          And we’re not talking about vacations or breakfast in this context. We’re talking about biblical interpretation. We’re expressing opinions and points of view about absolute truth. Clearly there is a right and a wrong. Arguably, since we’re all sinful none of us probably have it right. We’re probably all wrong to some degree or another.

          And of course disagreement is allowed. I’m expressing by view because I was asked. I also invited others to express theirs so they can have a chance to add to the conversation so people can make a more informed decision. Ultimately it’s not our job to convict them. Only present them with a choice.

          1. tke865 says:

            Jay Dee, now you’re breaking down differences within Christianity in your last comment here. As a confessional Lutheran I certainly don’t subscribe to the “decision for Christ” theology, and that’s kind of the way you’re leaning there. The HS called me, gave me the gift of Faith freely, not of my own accord or “decision”, whether this morning upon waking, at lunch, or when I lay my head down tonight. Travis is correct in that there were some that were tying the Jewish laws or the continued practice of them to salvation, Paul corrected them on that point. I think you even said that above somewhere. I’ve heard/read that saying somewhere, but can’t pin point it right now. But the underlying point is still correct. Don’t make a law for or against circumcision because the simple physical act doesn’t have a bearing on salvation.

            I don’t necessarily think circumcision is immoral in any way. If it is simply for changing one’s body, than tattoos, breast augmentation or reduction would also be immoral, as would Lasik eye surgery. Would it not?

            1. Jay Dee says:

              Sorry, I’ve not heard of confessional Lutherans before, so you’ll have to educate me. Am I right in understanding (based solely on your response) that you believe that you have no say in whether or not you are Christian, and since you are predestined, you cannot fall away from God?

              As for Paul’s statements on the topic, how do you interpret “I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.” and “Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision.” If you had no choice and God called you, not you accepting a call, (I assume from birth or before), then wouldn’t everyone be called while uncircumcised? I’m genuinely curious. I’ve never had an interaction with a confessional Lutheran before.

  4. Don says:

    I had my son circumcised for his health, cleanliness and for his future wife. Without circumcision you have foreskin trapping material. It is both unhealthy, unsightly and smelly. Talk to a woman who has performed oral on an uncircumcised man and she will likely tell you the same.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I’m not circumcised, and I find all of that to be unfounded propaganda. My wife simply said “that is bullshit”.

  5. Katie Richard says:

    I appreciate this quote haha. “He’s interested in your heart more than your penis. I can’t quote a verse for that, but I feel pretty sure on that principle.” I realize this is also a serious statement but it amused me.

    Thanks for addressing this and giving such well thought through points!

    I don’t think that circumcision is immoral, but see the importance of making sure that you have good reasoning to do it and do it with good conscience. I have not heard any satisfactory reason to do it.

  6. Ray ⁸ says:

    The world is need of what we as believers have to offer and we are fight about this

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I believe these discussions are important. If they don’t occur, we just get Christians following traditions without cause or reason. Then people look at Christianity and see a lack of consistency, a dead religious based on traditions and one without any logic to it.

      Christians should be seen as logical thinkers who choose their actions rationally. Then, maybe they’ll listen to us. But much of the world just sees us as crackpots.

      So, if we can get on the same page, or at least be able to offer logical reasons for our differences, then I think we’ll be better suited to reach people.

      1. :-) says:

        Agree wholeheartedly Jay. Christians should certainly be logical and critical thinkers. That’s my entire reason I think circumsicion is a good thing but not a necessary one 🙂

        1. Jay Dee says:

          That’s all I want, for people to think through it. If you believe it’s good, then act in accordance with your beliefs.

  7. Luke C says:

    It’s a divisive topic and I wonder if the original questioner was really just attempting to make “kick a hornets nest” and watch the carnage. A veiled attack from the enemy to put off topic a wonderful resource and website for Christians seeking greater intimacy with their spouses. He might as well have asked “Is it immoral to paint your walls yellow as a Christian?”.

    I only wonder this as I don’t see anything in the question or post relevant to this website. I also note he spelled the word un-Christian with a small c. I also note the only uncivil comments (if they can be called that) came from your wife.

    Mission accomplished from Satan’s point of view. Of course your wife holds the view she does based on all the history and facts you’ve shared. Would she be so quick on the defensive had you been circumcised? If she’s honest with herself, she knows that’s very unlikely to be the case. She could very likely hold a different view.

    But it’s irrelevant anyway. Though the topic relates to the penis – it has nothing to do with happy marital intimacy!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      It’s a divisive topic and I wonder if the original questioner was really just attempting to make “kick a hornets nest” and watch the carnage

      We had a few emails back and forth. He seems genuinely concerned about this. I thought others might be too, so I decided to answer it publicly. I don’t believe there’s any ill intent.

      As for my wife, she hasn’t read my post. Her views are based on her own research, not mine. We do agree, but we came to that agreement separately. Her response was to what I would consider an already uncivil comment declaring all uncircumcised men are “unhealthy, unsightly and smelly”. He suggested I ask a woman with particular experience in that area, so I did and relayed the response.

      But I don’t see it as irrelevant at all. There is much speculation about whether or not circumcision ruins sex. I think it’s a good and healthy discussion to have. You’re welcome not to be a part of it if you disagree.

  8. Yeah so I'm a Christian! says:

    The World Health Organisation says the stats show compelling evidence for circumcision and is on an active campaign to get as many guys as possible snipped. https://www.who.int/hiv/topics/malecircumcision/en/

    Circumcision also benefits women immensely as the virus responsible for cervical cancer lives under the foreskin.
    https://www.webmd.com/cancer/cervical-cancer/news/20110106/male-circumcision-cuts-womens-cervical-cancer-risk#1

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5728090/

    Seeing as God told Abraham to circumcise his son I don’t think God has a problem with it and God is not an idiot either so I don’t think He’d recommend doing something that is actually detrimental. Jesus was circumcised. As a woman the idea of having sex with a man who isn’t circumcised actually makes me feel ill however I think it’s just as wrong for me to insist that is is “right” despite my opinion on the matter, it is certainly not necessary for salvation and I would never say such a thing neither accept it but it is hygenic and I think should be up to the parents.

    I am disappointed that you have taken the stance of it being “immoral.” There is no Biblical basis for that and is actually rather offensive. My husband is circumcised and so is my son and it’s saddening that you imply we are immoral for doing what we believe is right for our son, I would never imply or even think such a thing of anyone who didn’t circumcise their boy -including you and your wife. I agree that we have the freedom in Christ to choose, I don’t agree that anyone should be passing judgement on the matter. Also by making such statements and people being so ridiculously against it, it makes it hard for those who wish to have it done to find a safe place. I think it is extremely important that should it be done that is it undertaken by skilled professional who can advise on and provide (if necessary) aftercare for the child. In the UK it has been decided that whereas the NHS does not provide circumcision routinely it is available for those who want it but you have to pay, this was decided to prevent botched procedures and unsafe practices and it’s a move I wholeheartedly agree with. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/jul/11/doctors-urge-circumcision-on-nhs

    I refuse to feel bad that my son is circumcised and I refuse to be made to feel uncomfortable regarding my decision to do so either. Whether someone does or doesn’t, is or isn’t they are accepted by Christ because of what HE did not because of what they did.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I know the studies the WHO is references. They’re pretty much all based in third world countries where HIV is not only rampant but also a death sentence. It’s a little different in the rest of the world. But that’s largely their focus, so of course they focus on things that can help them. As a result, circumcision rates in Africa are on the rise whereas some first-world countries are moving towards banning the practice as they consider it assault on a minor.

      As for God asking Abraham to do it, it was clearly for religious reasons, not medical ones. If it was, he would have told Adam and Eve or Noah. Why wait for Abraham? It was a sign – something weird that clearly sets you apart. Otherwise you’re stuck with God creating a design flaw in all males that then had to be fixed through circumcision.

      As for my stance of it being immoral, I was quite clear that FOR ME, I consider it immoral because I:
      1) Don’t believe the Bible suggests we do it – I believe it suggests we don’t do it for religious reasons in fact – as per Paul.
      2) I don’t see the medical benefits outweighing the risks where I live.
      3) I don’t think it should be done purely for traditional or cosmetic purposes.

      If your base assumptions are different than mine, such as you believing the medical benefits apply where you live, then you should of course work in accordance with your convictions. I’m not suggesting you should do otherwise.

      And I agree that their acceptance by Christ will depend on their relationship, not on the state of their body. I think I was quite clear about that in the post.

      I’m sorry you felt judged. I’m not judging you. I disagree with your beliefs, but that’s not the same thing. How can I judge you by standards you disagree with? That would be wrong. I only hold people accountable to the standards they have agreed to. I’m just sharing my views because it was asked. Thank you for sharing yours.

      1. Yeah so I'm a Christian! says:

        Jay thank you for explaining what you meant. I really appreciate it because although I read the “for me” bit I didn’t see it as a personal viewpoint and I was actually quite saddened at this post as I honestly thought I was going to have to part ways with this wonderful ministry, however now I understand that this is your personal viewpoint and that this is about your stance on the matter, I wholeheartedly accept what you say. Like you, for me this is a choice I believe is correct for health and hygiene. It has nothing to do with my faith in God and as much as I support circumcision I do NOT support those who claim it is a necessity for salvation or those who do not respect the choice of others. Thank you for respoecting my choice. I am so glad we are in agreement in our disagreement. God bless you my brother. 🙂

  9. Kent says:

    I think you need to re-read what yo wrote as it does come off a bit judgmental and condemning. I have read it three times now and I can see how someone could feel that way even if we all know you didn’t intend it that way.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Oh, I think anything I write could come off as judgmental if someone disagrees with it. I’m quite sure it does in fact. But I’m not sure how to better get the point across that I’m making a judgement on the practice, not the person. Open to suggestions.

      1. Yeah so I'm a Christian! says:

        Just my suggestion Jay (sorry have not re-read the whole article), I think the upset comes from the feeling (which is what I felt) that you are saying circumsicision is immoral. Maybe you could re-word it to say something like “because I believe that circumsicion is wrong, for me it would be immoral but for those who think it is a good thing, it is important for them to stick to their convictions.” I just felt reading the article you were bashing the practice, I know you weren’t but it felt a bit one sided and adding the word “immoral” to the mix just felt like a judgment. I posted a link about the corrolation between circumsicion and cervical cancer. Out of interest, what were your thoughts on that? 🙂

        1. Jay Dee says:

          On the study, the first is that they pulled the data from a study in Uganda. The second is that the title of the post is misleading. It doesn’t prevent cervical cancer, it prevents HPV and “possibly” cervical cancer, and even then, only in countries where a vaccine isn’t available. Also, the chose not to cite the data nor the numbers, which makes me wonder how big a difference it made.

          I found another study that showed it dropped from 19.6% in uncircumcised men to 5.5% in circumcised men. That’s a significant drop. However, it didn’t factor our religious affiliation as a possible cause. It could be, since many Muslims get circumcised as well as some Christians, that those who are circumcised tend to also have viewer partners and be choosier about those partners. That would skew the results drastically and could easily account for that 5.5 to 19.6% variance.

          I mean, you could probably run a study that showed owning a Bible daily drops HPV rates by 20% or something, but it wouldn’t owning the Bible that drops the rates. It would be that you have a higher percentage of people being monogamous.

          1. Yeah so I'm a Christian! says:

            Thank you Jay, being honest I think that monogamy also had a factor but I will say that I don’t think the findings can be so readily dismissed. The WHO study is promoting circumsicion because it does actually work, sure in the west we have other options and I accept that some would say those options are better than circumsicion but I think it’s wrong to dismiss circumsicion and say the findings are not “significant” because they clearly are. It’s a bit like Willow Bark is good for headaches, this was proven and because of it the compound that did the job was isolated and aspirin was made so now we have aspirin and paracetomol to cure headaches so we no longer need to chew on willow bark but that doesn’t mean we get to dismiss it as an old wives’ tale. It is important because sadly in the West people are promiscuous and once in a mogonous relationship it’s unlikely barrier contraceptions will be used meaning that things can be passed on. I am happy for people to disagree with circumsicion as I have said but I’m not happy for only part of the facts to be considered, it DOES lower disease rates signficantly but there are other options for these now, not just circumsicion. I think that is a more balanced and honest statement.

            1. Jay Dee says:

              But not everyone is. So, in my case, had my parents circumcised me, they would have put me through both the potential short term and life-long risks for no benefit because I’ve never had another sexual partner and neither has my wife. That’s our hope for our children as well, that they be monogamous, not become monogamous one day.

              So, let those who decide to be promiscuous get circumcisions as a method of risk management, just as some get birth control pills, devices, etc.. for those reasons. But those who are deciding to be promiscuous are also not in line with Christianity, and so this post doesn’t apply to them.

              1. Yeah so I'm a Christian! says:

                I think the point that is being missed/overlooked here is that there are clear benefits to circumcision so saying there are not is not correct, however the need for those benefits is minimised due to modern medicine. As I said before there is nothing wrong with circumsicion and there is nothing wrong with not being circumcised, it’s a preference but I tend to find that those who are “against” it dismiss the facts and findings to support their viewpoint. I also don’t think there is anything to be “against.”

                I like what you said about monogamy, I don’t think I have ever met a person who regrets monogamy (maybe I’ve not known enough people) but so many regret promiscuity, it’s a shame monogamy is not championed more, it’s so beautiful.

                Have you ever written a post on how you feel monogamy has benefitted your relationship? If not, I think it would be a great read. 🙂

                1. Jay Dee says:

                  I disagree that there are clear benefits considering I’m monogamous. The benefits given are an avoidance of risk, assuming a lifestyle of unprotected promiscuity.

                  I don’t think I have a post in how monogamy has benefitted my relationship. I’ll add it to my backlog.

                2. James says:

                  “..it’s a preference but I tend to find that those who are “against” it dismiss the facts and findings to support their viewpoint. I also don’t think there is anything to be “against.”

                  But whose preference? Certainly, if there is nothing wrong with being circumcised and nothing wrong with being uncircumcised, as you suggest, then the only preference that should matter is the person being circumcised, since he is the only one that has to live with it for the rest of his life/all eternity.

                  Those who are for circumcision also dismiss those facts that are inconvenient to their argument. Such as that the US has higher rates of every male genital malady than any Western uncircumcised nation.

                  There is plenty about circumcision to be against. You may not agree that they are significant things to be upset about, but there are real, substantive losses. Anyone who thinks that a circumcised penis is exactly as good as an uncircumcised one, and doesn’t suffer at least minor dysfunction, can only voice that opinion from ignorance.

  10. Taylor says:

    I am a woman, so since I don’t own the equipment my opinion probably doesn’t mean as much.

    I’ve also been a nurse for over 20 years. I just wanted to add that men get circumcised throughout the life cycle. Some as a matter of choice, others for medical necessity.

    I will also say that you can see the trends with circumcision regrading men. When I first started as nurse there were more men that were not circumcised now there are fewer. While this is not a reason for circumcision, some older and some disabled men definitely have a harder time keeping things clean.

    I’m not sure that I agree with your model of making $1000 an hour doing circumcisions. In the hospital it is usually the OB that does the procedure, there is no assembly line. He/she might do a handful a week but not in the way you describe. I have no idea what a urologist would charge an infant,a child or a grown man for the procedure.

    I sort of agree with the design flaw argument, but on the other hand humans alter their bodies in so many other ways.

    I don’t know about all parents. I used to belong to a mom’s message board where a lot of the moms disagreed with circumcision and could give a lot of reasons why.

    My husband made the decision to get our son circumcised. I left the decision to him, since I felt he would know best. Maybe today we would have discussed it more.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I don’t think you have to have the equipment to have an opinion in it.

      The $1000 figure was based on an average rate of $250 per circumcision in the US and the ability to do 4-5 in an hour. While there may not be that much demand, point is the profitability is high and so there is an incentive to suggest people get it.

  11. Hannah says:

    There’s a lot of good thought in here, I’m glad you’re encouraging people to at least think about this issue instead of doing it blindly.

    You’ve done a great job of showing that circumcision isn’t part of Christian spiritual practice. For those wanting their children to have an outwards sign of God’s covenant promises, that would be, for the history of Christianity, baptism (whether you baptize a child or your child decides to be baptized as an adult).

    In my opinion, that means we need to make this decision based on our Christian beliefs about the human body and Christian medical ethics.

    I know your article didn’t focus on the medical side very much and that’s fine, but I believe that readers may come away thinking that the medical information is murky or unclear and therefore people can make the decision based on other factors. I’d like to tell those readers, no medical organization in the world recommends that your infant boy be circumcised. The AAP *used to* have a policy that the ‘benefits outweigh the risks’ (but that statement is expired without being renewed by them, and they also added that the ‘benefits’ they were weighing in included cultural ‘benefits’ such as matching family members, something I don’t think should weigh in). Canadian, Australian, Dutch and other medical organization speak out that circumcision has a definite risk and no real benefits and discourage it.

    There are significant risks other than the small but real risk of bleeding to death from the circumcision procedure- these include meatal stenosis (narrowing of the urethra) which is quite common, adhesions (also quite common), ‘botched’ circumcisions, cutting off part or all of the glans, and other risks. Some of these can show up much later in life or affect a man for his whole life.

    There are Christian (or even secular) medical ethics principles that guide whether or not we remove a healthy body part. Basically, don’t.

    A Christian believes that God made the body very good. A Christian believes they should be a steward and care for God’s creation. A Christian typically professes that practices that unnecessarily endanger human life are not in keeping with God’s will. I can’t reconcile circumcising an infant for generic ‘health’/’hygiene’/cultural reasons with Christian belief. I think many genuine Christians circumcise their infants without *realizing* that it doesn’t fit with their core beliefs. That doesn’t make them not Christians, or their circumcised child worth any less in my eyes or God’s, but I believe that infant circumcision ought not to be practiced by Christians.*

    *medical exceptions including frostbite, gangrene, severe injury etc. sometimes require surgery to the penis but I’m speaking of routine infant circumcision here where a doctor cuts off the foreskin without any diagnosis

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Thanks for sharing! Yeah, I focused more on the biblical side because that’s where the question seemed to be focused. There’s a whole world of medical debate surrounding this as well that I haven’t had the time to dig into yet. But most of the pro-circumcision medical reasons I’ve seen seem to be to avoid potential risk in the future in high-risk locations. Like the WHO still promotes it, but they’re heavily focused in African countries that are dealing with life-threatening HIV outbreaks. From their perspective, it’s easier to suggest circumcision than to get people to use condoms. Unfortunately, because they’re the “World” health organization, this recommendation gets spread a bit too far to areas where that benefit is minimal.

  12. tke865 says:

    I think the “immoral” word is where it gets hung up. Certainly I agree with your comments on the third world nature of the WHO studies, and even your numbered arguments above. But immorality implies sin and sinful nature. You’re telling those of us who choose differently you believe we’re all sinful. Maybe you believe that, but it didn’t seem like that in your post.

    I ask what is sinful about it? Just like other topics and practices discussed in this blog, the Bible certainly doesn’t prohibit it among Christians. If it did, Paul would not have had some disciples do it just to be able to speak to some groups. That’s like saying it’s ok for a Christian to murder someone as a right of passage to get into a murderous gang so he/she can then try to proselytize them.

    I think instead what you’re saying or should be saying is “it’s not ‘right’ for you and your family”, but not necessarily that it is immoral and hence sinful. Maybe I’m way off here though….

    1. Jay Dee says:

      If I believe it’s wrong for me to do it, then it would be immoral for me to do it. Perhaps I’m missing some subtle point.
      But I tried to be very clear with all the bolded “For me”s that I was talking about my own choices. I also said I won’t judge others for their actions. I don’t know how to make it clearer.
      My opinion is that it’s immoral and sinful based on both the medical and biblical evidence I presented. To me, the Bible flat out says “do not do it” and that choosing to for spiritual reasons is a rejection of Christ. I see the medical reasons as having more risk than benefit, and so if I did, I’d be intentionally putting my child in harm without adequate cause. I would consider that immoral.

      But if you believe the medical reasons are justified, then your calculations are different then mine. Then you believe the risks are justified. So, that wouldn’t be immoral. Likewise if you interpret scripture differently as see it as requiring circumcision, then you are doing your best to follow God. I personally don’t see it, but it’s not my call to make. I think God is more interested in you doing your best to follow Him than in getting everything perfect.

      So, as always, act in accordance with your convictions.
      Does that help?

  13. Jolene says:

    I have read that circumcision, as medically done now, is much different than what was prescribed in ancient times – i.e it was more of a ceremonial and symbolic tiny cut than the complete removal done now. Did you find anything reputable about this?
    I’m very thankful that our OB (2005) informed us that if we were having a boy and wanted circumcision, we would need to seek out another doctor to perform that operation. It was three more years until we had a son, but by then it was clear to us from our understanding of medical science and faith that circumcision was entirely unnecessary. Thank you for your careful research and thoughtful presentation.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Yes, its very different today that it used to be. The cause is that there were Jews who were trying to undo their circumcision to pass as non-Jews in the way that the reader who originally asked the question stated – by stretching what was left of the foreskin down to cover. So, at some point in history, they started cutting much further back to the point of actually separating some layers from others so that it was harder to do this.

      This article has a summary of the change:
      https://www.i2researchhub.org/articles/historical-and-scriptural-evidence-milah-and-periah/
      This one is a bit more in depth:
      https://www.i2researchhub.org/articles/brit-milah-a-study-of-change-in-custom

  14. petra2201 says:

    As a Christian man that is restoring I have a couple of thoughts to share.
    First does restoring violate what Paul said when he said be not uncircumcised. Paul was talking to Jews here, They were circed purely for the covenant. I’m not a jew and it was done because of faulty medical advice. I see this as damage done to God’s original design so I don’t think it’s and different than braces for babies with leg deformities. It’s restoring to a more natural state.
    Second, is t worth it. I was circumcised so tightly that erections hurt. The skin on occasion would crack and bleed. When I started restoring I fixed that problem within 6 months. So short term this was a terrific gain.
    I’m now 4 years into restoring (using my hands or various devices) and I have coverage most of the time. I have observed a return of mucosal type texture behind the glans. This has lead to a few benefits, I don’t need lube as often or as much with my wife. I appear to be making my own ad the skin is softer, think inner labia vs finger pad for consistency. It has also increased sensitivity for me as well. It honestly feels better now (late 30’s) than in my early 20’s.
    There is a definite difference between before and now.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience!
      I think it would be wrong to undo it for religious reasons because then the focus is on your body rather than the relationship. As if undoing it can restore your connection to God or something. But for practical reasons like you mentioned, that makes a lot of sense.

  15. tke865 says:

    I don’t believe that scripture requires it at all. But I don’t believe it prohibits it either. It does say don’t do it if you believe it is for salvation reasons. But that’s different than prohibiting it, or saying flat out, don’t do it. I guess that’s what I was getting at.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Sounds like we’re largely on the same page here then.

  16. James says:

    Your article implies that circumcision originally began in the English-speaking world as a health measure. It did not. It originally began as a means to curb masturbation (I believe, by removing the mechanical possibility – a chastity belt, of sorts – not so much the intent of diminishing libido – if the latter, it definitely doesn’t work!). It took hold because of the prudishness of Victorian culture – this is why it became widespread in English-speaking countries but did not make gains in other Christian countries.

    In reading some of the comments to your article, I would caution parents here who believe they may choose to circumcise their sons under Christian liberty, that they are making a permanent and irreversible decision, not over their own body, but over someone else’s, without knowing at the time if they will appreciate the decision or not. Even if there is no sin in making this decision (I disagree that there is not), parents ought to at least be prepared from the blowback they may receive from their sons as adults.

    I would like to add here, that I cannot begin to express how devastated I am that my parents had me circumcised. Someone else decided for me that the body God designed for, and gave to, me, wasn’t good enough, and decided for me that I will never know what it’s like to have a whole body, as God intended it. Knowing that this act, which causes me great mental anguish, was a part of God’s covenant, even at one time, has become the greatest stumbling block to my faith that I have ever experienced. It’s a blessing that I was not raised in a religious household, because if, as an adult, I linked my circumcision to my parents’ faith, I would have rejected their faith, along with them, wholesale. Because of the sexual nature of the foreskin, at best, it will be superfluous in the resurrection. Given how little we know of the nature of the resurrected body, it’s even possible that we won’t have genitals at all, since there will be no need for them. Circumcision causes not only a permanent and irreversible loss in this life, but to some degree, an eternal one as well. No person should ever think they have “Christian liberty” to make such a decision for someone else.

    My circumcision causes me emotional suffering, to the core of my being. Because, at least, something, is lost to me forever, I sincerely believe there is nothing God can do to fully remove the suffering this causes me. Even if I should make it to heaven, even if the joy and happiness of that place is more than I can imagine in comparison to what I experience here, there will always be that thorn, however small, of pain and suffering in my side that is caused by a loss in this world that cannot ever be replaced or undone. I’ve tried therapy; it doesn’t work. The only thing it has helped me do is to keep the suffering from affecting other areas of my life that are completely unrelated. But therapy hasn’t helped the suffering diminish one iota.

    I realize that most circumcised men will never feel as awfully as I do about what has been done. I also believe that most men won’t feel it because our country and culture is largely ignorant on this issue, and that if more men accurately understood what they had lost, there would be more men as devastated by it as I am. I beg any Christian parent reading this: spare your child from what I’m going through. I know that it’s very unlikely that it will bother them as much as it bothers me. But you can never know when you’re having them circumcised how they will respond. If there’s even a 1/1000 chance, you’re locking them into this pain for the rest of their life. For what? For nothing. I promise you, there is a greater chance that your son will be devastated by their circumcision, than there is that they will ever experience a UTI, or penile cancer, or any STD because they were left uncircumcised. And even if they do, is a lifetime of emotional pain worth avoiding an infection that can be treated with antibiotics, or a cancer that rarely occurs before one is elderly? Please, don’t make this choice for them.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I didn’t mean to imply it started as a health measure. Only that it became popularized as one.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. If it’s any consolation, we’re promised in the Bible that in heaven we will have no sorrow or pain, including that which comes from remembering our life here.

    2. Yeah so I'm a Christian! says:

      The fact that circumcision is seen as a “routine” operation in the UK I think shows that the amount of men needing one in later life is actually quite high and I was shocked to learn that I actually know quite a few older men who have had to have it done and they were in AGONY. It is much harder and more painful when a man is older and the recovery time is far longer. My friend thought her dad was putting it on and milking it a bit but I assured her he really wasn’t. I am sorry your circumsicion made you feel so bad and without wanting to come across as rude I think maybe it’s about taking the focus off of it. As children our parents make all sorts of reversable decisions for us, it can be painful to think that we “missed out” on something because our parents didn’t seem to care. My mother made the decision to take me off of her health plan when I was pregnant at 17 as a result of this many things in my first pregnancy were ignored and as a consequence my second son died. I could be very angry with her but what would it achieve? The end of the matter would be forgiveness. God would expect me to forgive her and I have. Your parents did what they thought was best for you, give God thanks you had parents who loved you that much that they made a decision they thought would benefit you and even if they did it out of their own ignorance, forgive them for as Jesus said “they knew not what they did.” That is the mark of our relationship with God, how we forgive others. The pain that this causes you is nailed to the cross and as Jesus “paid our debts” I pray that He will make up to you the sexual satisfaction you seek. Without your foreskin you are still whole in Christ and I pray that you will feel whole and fulfilled and full of joy and wonder when you look at your body, which is still perfect. My husband is circumcised and to me is he is absolutely perfect. Bless you. xx

      1. Jay Dee says:

        According to Dr. David Cornell of The Circumcision Center in Atlanta, George “For my practice, over 95% of men seeing me for circumcision are motivated by cosmetic, aesthetic and social reasons.”
        I’m not sure just because it’s routine means it’s needed. I mean, that still leaves 5% that need it for medical reasons, but to circumcise 100% of the babies for a 5% risk they might need it as an adult seems out of proportion. Would be a bit like putting pacemakers in every baby just in case they need it later on.

  17. tke865 says:

    James, Your experience is quite emotional and I have sympathy for you. I’m not sure if you are claiming to be a faithful Christian or not, but your statement ” I sincerely believe there is nothing God can do to fully remove the suffering this causes me”, is quite telling about your faith and understanding of the power of God, and what he has and will truly do for you. Your obsession with this small part of your existence has affected your life clearly, and I pray you can be spared of this mental anguish you have and that doubt Satan has implanted in you.

  18. James says:

    I realize I am focusing a lot of hope and despair on one little thing. But I liken it God being able to perform the illogical. God can do amazing things, but he can’t perform the illogical. If a person put all their hope in God being able to create a boulder that is too heavy for him to lift, then that person is going to experience a devastation not even God is able to console or remove. I know that I am choosing this to an extent, but part of my hope, and thus unhappiness, is in this never having happened to me. I don’t just want to be relieved of the suffering in the next life. I want it to never have happened to me in this life. This isn’t a mere wish, but a desire of the heart. God can no more (or will no more – so “can’t” as far as it concerns me) rewrite history than he can create a rock too heavy to build. While I don’t focus all my hope on my earthly life being rewritten, the reality is that it is, and will always be, a desire of my heart. And it is a desire God can never fulfill. If I make it to heaven, my happiness and joy wouldn’t be entirely, or even mostly, dependent on this one thing, but it would still be a part of me. I am no more able to make the desire to never have been circumcised in this life cease to be a desire of my heart than I am able to make myself cease to exist.

  19. James says:

    Yeah so I’m a Christian!, do you live in the UK? I have a few friends that live there, and from what they tell me, along with official statistics the UK puts out, it seems that the circumcision rate is very low there, so not routine. Or do you mean routine in later life?

    In the US, lots of people say that “they knew somebody” who needed it to be done later in life. Just by sheer numbers, most of these are probably lies. There just aren’t enough uncircumcised adults in this country for everybody to know somebody that needed to have it done.

    I’ve forgiven my parents, and am still struggling to forgive my parents. It’s unfortunately something I have to do frequently, not once and done. Pray that I can forgive the doctor that did this to me! The things I would do to him if I could get my hands on him…that might actually send me to hell.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Killing him will land you in jail. Wanting to kill him will land you in hell. It’s not quite that simple, but I’d be worried as.much about the desire as the act itself from a spiritual point of view.

    2. Yeah so I'm a Christian! says:

      Yes I live in the UK and yes I mean later on in life. I hear what you say about uncircumcised men being rarer in the US but one of the people (in the UK) who told me its extremely routine was a urologist who told me it was actually the bulk of her work! Just for the record as I have read a number of things about it, when I got my son “done” I took him to a medical doctor and it was done under local anasthetic. He was three months old and if I were to do it again I would pick that age because it’s the youngest you can give them painkillers, after the procedure my son whimpered a bit and we gave him the painkillers and that was it. Afterward he was absolutely fine and completely healed up within a week. At first I thought the doctor hadn’t done it properly but learnt that actually the doctor had left enough room for him to “grow into it.” I am a big advocate for the procedure to be done safely and correctly which is why I believe parents should be allowed a choice.

      Jay is right in his response. I say you CAN forgive the doctor. I had a LOT of anger towards my mother she was extremely abusive to us growing up and I in particular suffered a lot because of neglect and being hit etc etc. I really, REALLY struggled to forgive her especially as people always seem to not understand maternal abuse because their mothers are always angels so as soon as you mention yours they filter the information as though you are talking about theirs. One day I was praying (AGAIN) that God would take my pain away and I started to understand what Jesus actually did on the cross. The reason for my anger is that I kept looking for my mother to do for me what she actually couldn’t. Jesus paid her debt, why I am bothering her “for the money” as it were? Why am I not going to Jesus, my mum no longer owed me…HE DID! So I went to Him and I called to Him and said: “Lord be my mother! Heal the pain of not having a mother! Do all the things for me that my mother should and make me WHOLE” and literally instantly I felt better and have done ever since. For you, you need to understand that the doctor was doing for you what he was asked to do and deemed best. He didn’t do it off his own back, he did it on behalf of your parents. If they could have done it themselves they would have so if you have forgiven your parents by extension you should have forgiven the doctor. I do wonder, if I am honest, what this REALLY about. If you have forgiven your parents why are you angry/about being upset about being circumcised? I don’t say this in a tone of judgment more as a quest to understand, I think that by understanding what is really hurting you then you’ll be better able to let it go.

      I was trying to find some stats on older guys getting circumsicions rather than just giving anecdotal evidence. I coudn’t find much but found these links which I felt made interesting reading. Strength to you in Christ. In Him you are whole and complete, you are accpeted and you are loved. xx

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/circumcision-rates-declining-health-risks-rising-study-says/

      https://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/circumcision

      https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/health/2018-08-14-medical-male-circumcision-is-the-hiv-prevention-claim-wrong/

      1. James says:

        “I do wonder, if I am honest, what this REALLY about. If you have forgiven your parents why are you angry/about being upset about being circumcised? I don’t say this in a tone of judgment more as a quest to understand, I think that by understanding what is really hurting you then you’ll be better able to let it go.”

        I apologize if my replies are showing up as new replies, not comments to your replies. I am clicking on “reply” to the threads, but my comments are showing up at the very bottom of the page, at least on my end.

        What is really hurting me is that I can never undo my circumcision. Whether I forgive my parents or not, whether I forgive the doctor or not, whether I forgive God or my country, it will never be undone. There is no real reward for me in forgiving them. I will continue to experience the same pain and suffering, to no lesser degree. I’d like to smack the person who said “Forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for you.” Of course it’s for them. My parents and my doctor owe me a debt they can never repay, and the only reason I release them from it is I can never expect God to release me from the debts I, in turn, can never repay, unless I’m willing to do the same for others. Forgiveness is just releasing them, but it doesn’t do anything to end the pain I experience, and it usually doesn’t do anything to end the pain others experience for having been wronged.

        My parents had no right to do this to me. It doesn’t fall under parental freedom. It doesn’t fall under Christian liberty. They ignorantly made a permanent decision about my body that no parent has a right to make. That will always cause me pain, no matter how much I forgive them.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          Forgiveness is for both. That may upset you, but Jesus is quite clear in Matthew 18 that our unwillingness to forgive can affect our relationship with God.

        2. Yeah so I'm a Christian! says:

          No worries James, thank you for talking to me.

          Out of interest, if a doctor ever told you “it’s a good thing you have been circumcised or things would have been worse” how would you feel? Would you continue to feel anger? Would you continue to feel as though your rights had been violated? Did you always feel this way or did something trigger those feelings?

          You are wrong about forgiveness, it is for you. It is for you to be free and not have people taking up “space on your internal hard drive” as it were. Jesus also said that he whose sins we forgive the sins go back to them but the sins we don’t forgive are with us so actually when we go to hell for unforgiveness we go because we judged under OTHER PEOPLE’S sins because those sins are still with us. The forgiveness is not for them because forgiving them doesn’t affect their life, it affects yours. Many times people we are angry with don’t even know and are happily getting on with their lives while we are miserable and unhappy. I think you misunderstand what forgiveness is. The debt your parents and the doctor can never repay CAN be repaid to you by God. Like I said about my mum, I was expecting her to give me what she just didn’t have and I realised it actually isn’t her debt to pay any more. Tell God you want Him to pay the debt to you. He will.

          His love for you is far greater than you can imagine, it supercedes this unhappiness you have. I pray you will start to experience that and feel wholeness. xx

          1. Jay Dee says:

            “Jesus also said that he whose sins we forgive the sins go back to them but the sins we don’t forgive are with us so actually when we go to hell for unforgiveness we go because we judged under OTHER PEOPLE’S sins because those sins are still with us. ”

            Where is that verse? I’m not aware of it.

          2. James says:

            “No worries James, thank you for talking to me.

            Out of interest, if a doctor ever told you “it’s a good thing you have been circumcised or things would have been worse” how would you feel? Would you continue to feel anger? Would you continue to feel as though your rights had been violated? Did you always feel this way or did something trigger those feelings?”

            I would no longer respect that doctor’s intelligence. There’s really no way he could know that things would have been worse. The chances of contracting any of the diseases associated with being uncircumcised are so ridiculously low that it is safe to assume that, had I never been circumcised, I never would have had any issues, just like I’ve never had any issues with my tonsils (it was common in the US in the 50s and 60s to remove childrens tonsils prophylactically as well). Penile cancer chances drop from 0.5% uncircumcised to 0.25% circumcised. I’m not sure what the percentage is, but you have to circumcise 100-200 boys to prevent one UTI. Circumcision is completely unnecessary in a Western medical context.

            The reality is, if I had been left uncircumcised, my genital health would only be as bad as boys in Europe, Latin America and East Asia; that is to say, not worse in the slightest.

          3. James says:

            Sorry, I realized I didn’t answer your other questions. I think I would feel just as hurt by the loss, at least somewhat still betrayed by my parents, and just as much that my rights had been violated, even if I believed the doctor was correct. I would rather have gotten an illness and have had to have been circumcised later in life. At least then I’d know what it was like and have gotten to experience wholeness at least a little while. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, as the saying goes. You could say the same about experience.

            I have felt this way since I first became curious about what the difference was between being circumcised and being uncircumcised. Once I investigated it, and discovered how much I have lost forever – there is no way to heal that pain at this point.

  20. Reyos says:

    You mean Dr. John Harvey Kellogg of Battle Creek Michigan

  21. TLCTugger says:

    There can be no mistaking that circumcision alters sex dramatically.

    There can be no argument; forcing genital reduction on a healthy non-consenting person is unethical.

    Thou shall not steal. Did I miss the asterisk where someone else’s healthy normal body parts were exempted?

  22. TLCTugger says:

    Most of the world is intact. They’re enjoying sex in all its variety. Washed genitals are clean. Unwashed; not so much.

  23. James says:

    It’s important to remember with the African HIV studies, the circumcised cohort weren’t having sex while they healed, while the uncircumcised cohort still did. This explains at least *some* of purported decrease in HIV rates among the circumcised in Africa. Additionally, (at least anecdotally; I’m not sure there is research to back it up yet) the men being circumcised aren’t being educated enough, so they think circumcision is an HIV vaccine, and that they won’t get it if they are circumcised. They think they don’t have to use condoms to prevent further risk.

    1. Yeah so I'm a Christian! says:

      But the study also showed: “Those circumcised through initiation while they were young, had a prevalence of 16%, showing that getting circumcised younger really does reduce the risk of HIV.”

      The stats really do speak for themselves.

      1. Jay Dee says:

        Assuming you’re going to engage in unprotected sex regularly with multiple partners. I refuse to make that assumption about my children.

      2. James says:

        “But the study also showed: “Those circumcised through initiation while they were young, had a prevalence of 16%, showing that getting circumcised younger really does reduce the risk of HIV.”

        The stats really do speak for themselves.”

        Those stats have to be understood in a third-world medical context. When you look at Western states, you find that the United States, the sole Western nation where circumcision is regularly practiced, has the highest UTI rates, highest penile cancer rates, and highest rates of every single STI, including HIV. If there was any truth to the fallacious idea that circumcision aided in genital health, then the US rates should be lower than all the European nations. Yet we have the highest.

        The stats do, in fact, speak for themselves, but you have misheard what they said.

  24. petra2201 says:

    It’s important to remember if I think or am slightly concerned that a woman may have an sti of any kind, I would never council a person to go unprotected because they’re circumcised. So in my mind that argument is null and void.

  25. James says:

    I wasn’t saying that I am refusing to forgive. I’m trying to. I’m just saying, the forgiveness I’m able to muster, and on days where I think I have truly forgiven my parents, I don’t feel one bit better about being circumcised. I just meant, forgiveness isn’t for us in that we don’t do it to be relieved of the grief. Forgiveness doesn’t remove grief, it doesn’t lessen it. At least, not as a cause – effect relationship. You can completely forgive someone and that is wholly unrelated to whether you still feel the pain that they caused you.

  26. Stuart L. Tutt says:

    I personally am circumcised. So is my son, though I didn’t want him to be. My ex-wife made the decision while I was at work. We had discussed it prior she just didn’t know I would be so adamant about it not being done. Sadly there were a few nights where I did let the sun go down which anger in my heart.

    Great topic, with good biblical and medical research on your part.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.

  27. petra2201 says:

    With this is mind would you recommend un-protected sex for people in an HIV at risk area? If the answer is no, then what benefit does circumcision convey?

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I don’t recommend anything but monogamy. I’m not quite sure what you’re asking.

  28. petra2201 says:

    The cleanliness argument. Let me cut part of your body off because it’ll make it easier to clean. That logic doesn’t play out very well. Imagine telling a woman that.

  29. petra2201 says:

    My comment was meant to be in reply to Yeah so I’ma Christian. I feel that behavior and monogamy are the answer to HIV. If I was a single guy I’d be pretty nervous trusting my health to a circumcision. I don’t know if a condom would honestly give me comfort either. I would never suggest to anyone that they were less susceptible to Sti’s simply because they were circumcised. It makes more sense to preach monogamy and hand out condoms instead. Circumcision doesn’t carry a ral benefit here. Maybe if it was 100% but the statistics are FAR less favorable.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Sorry, on my phone and using the WordPress admin app. It doesn’t show threading unfortunately.

  30. tke865 says:

    Jay, I was seeing this and I see at least two other people have had it, but when clicking “Reply” to a comment, it shows up as a “new” comment rather than a “reply”. I messed around with it and tried clicking other things, but they continued to do that. I’m using Firefox, and I also tried Chrome. Both did it.
    Just thought you’d like to know. Not sure if there is something on the backend that might be causing this.

    1. James says:

      I’ve noticed that they show up as replies if I leave “notify me of new comments via email” and “notify me of new posts via email” unchecked. I still receive emails about them. If I check them off, they post as new comments.

  31. S says:

    In Western cultures we think it’s abhorrent to circumcise girls as they do in other cultures and in fact, consider it genital mutilation. However, it’s a-okay to genitally mutilate boys for non-medical reasons.

    If it were in fact as medically necessary as is claimed, then those first world countries that don’t do it would be all over the media with how ill their men are. This isn’t happening.

    https://www.yourwholebaby.org/articles-research
    http://intactamerica.org/resources

  32. RN says:

    Could you list a reference for your 1.3% stat? I read your article and have been thinking about it for several days. And the medical information you list just kept coming back to me and bothering me. The only place I could find the 1.3% listed was one article by one doctor. (https://www.academia.edu/6394940/Lost_Boys_An_Estimate_of_U.S._Circumcision-Related_Infant_Deaths) Not the CDC, not the NIH. And there are response articles that this one doctor’s conclusions may be inaccurate. At any rate, his conclusion is definitely not considered mainstream. Assuming he is actually correct, it’s important to remember it’s 1.3% of neonatal deaths. According to UNICEF, neonatal deaths are 4 in 1000 in the US. (https://data.unicef.org/country/usa/) So 0.4% of neonatals born in the US, die. Dr. Bollinger’s stat is 1.3% of 0.4%.

    I was not aware of the increased risk of UTI in male infants (and older males, but specifically infants) that were NOT circumcised. A UTI in an infant that cannot express his symptoms can develop into something very serious. I’m NOT saying that this alone is reason that a parent SHOULD circumcise, but it does show that if you are making a medical decision for your child you should not just look at the risk for STIs. I saw a couple people mention UTIs, but again, no studies listed.
    Some study abstracts: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/neonatal-circumcision-risks-and-benefits/abstract/27,
    https://www.uptodate.com/contents/neonatal-circumcision-risks-and-benefits/abstract/18, https://www.uptodate.com/contents/neonatal-circumcision-risks-and-benefits/abstract/17
    Another meta-analysis of effects on sexual pleasure (I didn’t look into this as thoroughly, there are probably studies to the contrary – which is the tricky thing about medical research): https://www.uptodate.com/contents/neonatal-circumcision-risks-and-benefits/abstract/53
    I personally feel that circumcision should be a medical choice a parent makes for their child, with prayer. Many decisions we make for our children will have an unalterable affect on the rest of their lives.
    One other thing that I didn’t feel anyone has mentioned, is this: Why would God ask an entire people group for a couple millennia to do something harmful to themselves? The same God who values human life, judged people groups for harming each other, instructed Isrealites not to make marks on their bodies in other ways (Lev. 19:28), and created sex.
    As you stated, it seems pretty clear that you should NOT circumcise for religious reasons as a Christian. But I don’t think that extends to say, you CANNOT for medical reasons. If a fellow Christian told me they did not eat pork for religious reasons then I’d probably want to have a gentle conversation about their theology. But if a fellow Christian said they didn’t eat pork for medical reasons (they felt it was somehow harmful) I may disagree with their research but I wouldn’t have a problem with it spiritually. Obviously, circumcision is a much bigger deal than eating or not eating pork, and parents should take as many factors into consideration as they can before making a decision. But we need to be careful to 1) carefully present research and 2) not heap guilt where it is not due.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I’m honestly not sure. That’s probably where I got the 1.3% number. Ignore the stat if it’s bothering you.
      I also learned since then that circumcision and SIDS are correlated as well. In fact, it’s so prevalent that in Jewish communities that there is a myth about male infants being taken by Lilith after they are circumcised. They would even dress their boys in girl’s clothing to try and fool her.

      Anyways, as I said, it’s a personal choice. For me, I think it’s unethical and the costs don’t outweigh the benefits. Others may disagree. Each should act in accordance with their convictions.

      Why would God ask them to do something harmful? If we assume the reason He asked them to do it was for health reasons, then we have a bigger problem: Why create foreskins if they’re a health problem? Rather, it seems He asked them to do it as a way to separate themselves from others. It was a mark between God and the Israelites. Now, if it was good for everyone to do, then that’s a pretty terrible mark. It doesn’t set you apart.

      And I’m not saying you can’t. I think there are specific circumstances where it should be done. Just like there are specific circumstances where an arm should be amputated. I just don’t think it should elective surgery on a minor who can’t make a decision for himself. I mean, if we removed the clitoris from all females because we found it helped with UTIs, would you be okay with that?

      And as for the pork issue. I don’t eat pork, for religious reasons. I think the Bible is pretty clear-cut that we shouldn’t. I’d love to have a “gentle conversation” with you about it if you’re interested.

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