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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Circumcision: ' Blade to Bleed Savagery'

Russell Crowe recently remarked: "Circumcision is a barbaric and stupid act. Who're you to correct nature? Is it real that god requires a donation of foreskins?" This (circumcision) is indeed a debatable issue. Orthodox Judaism practises circumcision for males as a matter of religious obligation, as does Islam. Islam also recommends this practice as a form of cleanliness. Western Christianity replaced that custom by a baptism ceremony that varies according to the denomination, but generally includes immersion, aspersion or anointment with water. Because of the decision of the Early Church (Acts 15, the Council of Jerusalem) that circumcision is not mandatory, it continues to be optional, though the Council of Florence prohibited it and paragraph no. 2297 of the Catholic Catechism calls non-medical amputation or mutation immoral (refer to "Catechism of the Catholic Church: Article 5-The Fifth commandment." Christus Rex et Redemptor Mundi. Retrieved on 2007-07-10).

In fact, circumcision has no significance unless recommended by doctors for the removal of prepuce (foreskin) for medical reasons. It came into being as a practical solution to getting rid of the deposition of smegma that causes irritation and eventually infection. We must take into account the geographical origins of Judaism and Islam. Both are actually desert religions where water was not adequately available in those days. Circumcision therefore was the only way to keep the private parts clean. Though Islam and Judaism never got along, Islam borrowed at least 14 practices from Judaism. Kosher or halaal, removal of hair from armpits and private parts (Tafazir/ Tahayyub) and circumcision being most glaring inherited practices. Jesus, who died a Jew, was circumcised. Theologically speaking, Islam and Christianity are cults of Judaism, rather than being two distinct religions.

 Mark Wellbensch explains it lucidly, " The following cults or religions always carry the vestiges of the parental faith, which being Judaism here in the context of circumcision " (Percolating Practices In Semitic Religions, Cambridge University Press, page 23). Christianity could dispense with this barbarism because of its rather modern outlook. It must be noted that many Jewish scholars like Carl Popper, the greatest Jewish philosopher of the last century, Albert Einstein and Carl Marx criticised this obnoxious ritual. Popper wrote, " Cutting a part of an infant's body without its consent is religious highhandedness." Popper wasn't circumcised. Carl Marx aptly called it, " 'Blade to bleed savagery' of primitive faiths." But no Muslim scholar vehemently raised his voice against this ridiculous and antediluvian practice.

 All the claims that circumcision makes a man sexually more virile and endows him with greater staying capacity (in bed) are baseless. Are those who're uncircumcised any way inferior to those, who're circumcised?
                                         ----Sumit Paul


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