Circumcision: Is Identity Received or Achieved?

The New York Times weighed in on the circumcision war with a debate.

So many interesting questions are engaged by this debate:

  1. Is circumcision a permanent intrusion of a parent’s decision upon the flesh of their male child? I would suggest that removal of a foreskin can not be compared to ways parent imprint themselves onto every child they raise.
  2. What is the most important level of human existence? Is the protection of our biological selves of greater importance than the development of the “spiritual” self if any can be conceived of.
  3. It is noted that there is normally no anesthesia for baby boys getting circumcised. I remember my sons and the pain they expressed. I remember the doctor saying something about how they couldn’t feel the pain. That to me seemed like a lie told to worried parents. A better statement is that they won’t remember the pain they feel. But it is a moment of pain. This engages the time and self question. Out a painful but forgotten moment to be avoided, or remembered, or turned into a monument?
  4. Are our children these blank slates that some whose purity (especially in terms of religious commitment) must be preserved until an age of consent? My parents passed along to me themselves, the good and the bad. I received my DNA from them. What might this age of consent be? Is a 16 year old in any position to decide about circumcision? At what age should we make this decision? On what basis?
  5. Is identity ultimately received or achieved?

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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