Circumcision is a very controversial subject to discuss for many people, and why is this?
To elaborate it is only male circumcision that is controversial to discuss, since in the western world we all agree that female circumcision is wrong on every level, heck they even call it female mutilation. In 2006 FGM (Female genitalia mutilation) was outlawed in Denmark, and you risk a fine and imprisonment if you do it.
The WHO has four types of FGM listed, Type I is where only the skin around the clitoris is removed, Type II is where the clitoris is partial or completely removed, Type III is where all external genitalia is removed on a girl and the wound is stitched together, Type IV groups all other non-medical actions on female genitalia together, actions such as nicking, tattooing, and labia stretching.
All four types are illegal in Denmark, but when people talk about FGM, they tend only think about Type II and III, where as Type I and some Type IV can be less of a procedure than removing the foreskin on a male.
Why do I mention this?
Because a lot people tend to say, “You cannot compared FGM with male circumcision…”
As a whole, no, you cannot, however certain types of FGM you absolutely can compare with male circumcision.
A ritual poking of a clitoris with a needle is by far a less invasive procedure than removing the foreskin of a boy, however it is still wrong and outlawed. Even removing the skin around the clitoris is less invasive.
I am not defending any forms of FGM, and I think that it is rightfully outlawed.
What does male circumcision do?
To understand that, we need to understand the function of foreskin.
The inner foreskin is a mucous membrane, like the inside of your eyelid and mouth. It helps keeping the glans moist, and provides lubrication during sex or masturbation.
The foreskin also have many nerve receptors that are sensitive to touch.
When you remove the foreskin by circumcizing a boy, then you remove his ability to lubricate and lowers the sensitivity of his penis, which can affects his sex life later on.
It dawned to me why many American teens have to rely on lotions when masturbating, it is also very common in American teen movies, such as American Pie, where they also make a joke where a guy uses glue by mistake. They are unable to lubricate themselves, so in order to make masturbation easier, they have to use lotions.
Who circumcise and why?
The map above illustrates where circumcision is common, the darker the colour, the more common.
In the Middle East and in Africa it is mainly done due to religious mandate, jews believe it has to be done because it is a pact with their god, the muslims do it because their prophet according to their holy texts was born without foreskin (however there is actually no mandate in the Quran to circumcise, but the Shia denomination has it as a mandate, and the Sunni denomination is sort of split on the issue).
What about Northern America, where the muslims and jews are in the minority, why do they circumcise?
Circumcision was introduced to the general public in the USA by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (Kellogg Cornflakes, yes). Dr. Kellogg was very much an opponent of masturbation, besides using cornflakes in mattresses, he also believed circumcision would stop masturbation.
"A remedy for masturbation which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering anaesthetic, as the pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment."
- Dr. John Harvey Kellogg – 1888 – page 295 – Can be read here
It became a part of the American culture, and is still a procedure many people in the USA would defend.
Some of the arguments I hear in defence of circumcisions are;
“It is more hygienic to be circumcised.” — You could also just take regular showers, it is just a matter of regular hygiene.
“I do not want my boy to get teased at gym for looking different…” — Would you tattoo your child if that was the norm, for him to fit in?
“It prevents diseases…” — No, there is poor evidence that it might lower the risk of HIV transmission when doing unprotective anal sex with a female. Vaginal sex there is no evidence that it lowers the risk of infection. There is no study about risk in male to male anal sex, but it is more likely to be the same as the female anal sex. Yes it does lower the risk of cancer in the penis, however that is true for any body part you amputate.
“I am circumcised, and I do not think it is wrong, or that my sex life is bad.” — It does not matter that you don’t feel it was wrongly done, and if you were circumcised as an infant or young child, then you have nothing to compare with.
Lastly I heard this on the live debate show I was on, “Infants cannot remember the pain…” — So you are advocating that violent acts against infants are okay, because they cannot remember it?
I understand it can be hard to get to terms with the fact that your parents, or you yourself as a parent, got a part of your body removed for no good reason. A part of your body that actually served a purpose.
Even if there was some small benefit, it still does not outweigh the adverse effects, many children die because of circumcision, statistically it is about 100 children in America a year, and even more get complications, such a scarring, and partial amputation of the penis.
Even if it was only few children that died of it each year, it is still ONE child too many.
What I am advocating, is that any form of genitalia alterations should be left to consenting adults, just as we do not allow children to get tattooed on the argument that it is semi-permanent. We should not allow amputation of any body parts, just because of religious or cultural preferences.
Only medically neccesary treatments should be done on a child’s genitalia.
When you are an adult, feel free to remove as much as you want from you genitalia, pierce it, tattoo it, amputate, I do not care, just leave the children alone.
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This is a response to woman named Erica, who contacted me with series of questions.
It has been edited to only include the questions I found interesting for the public, it is used with permission from Erica.
Are you often on TWL Live? I like Mr. Silverman (his logic, his personality generally, from what I’ve seen of him in American media); good guest to have on.
I am not a regular panelist on TWL Live, but I do help out now and then, and I like David Silverman too, and he was great.
The episode with David Silverman can be seen underneath
People that I know who are self-proclaimed Atheists are not evil or mean or arrogant – as they’re labelled here before being quickly dismissed – but rather, very sensitive people; very intelligent, curious and upset at an unfair, corrupt system – and religion IS a system. They, like me, didn’t just DECIDE to turn their backs on their "religion"; their "religion" turned its back on THEM FIRST in some way & failed THEM. Maybe it was the hate their religious leaders preached, the intolerance, the perversion, the corruption, or even something like the Vatican’s choice (Pope John Paul II) to uphold the "law" to refuse Communion to any women using birth control for any reason – NO MATTER THE REASON, dude. My church – my religion – refused ME, rejected ME – why? I was unworthy of "God" because some MAN DECIDED I was somehow unworthy; a sinner, going against the "natural way" of things? Fuck that noise.
I think you are forgetting the massive amount of people who leave religion and faith all together, not because they felt their personal integrity, ethics, or morals were not in line with their religion. Rather they left religion and faith because on further investigation the claims that religions, and various other faiths could not survive scrutiny for proper evidence.
I myself have never been a believer, and I probably never will, since there have been no evidence presented to me that can be empirically verified, to show that their claims are true.
Many get angry at the churches after they left, because after their investigation they feel like they have been lied to, manipulated with, and for the sole reason to further a worldview that is not in line with reality.
As it is with many other extraordinary supernatural claims, it is hard to figure out if someone is a fraud or actually believe the bullshit they are trying to sell to the public.
On the internet there is a thing called Poe’s Law, which states: “You cannot do satire of extreme views without someone will mistake you for the real thing.” Which holds true for creationisme, anti-vaccers, climate-denialist, and many other conspiracy and anti-science groups.
I was already away from Christianity anyway, truth be told, when that decision was made, seeking some sort of Universal Truth in other ideologies such as Buddhism, only to see the corruption & flaws in THAT, TOO, which was disappointing. My degree in Anthropology & my own research & curiosity exposed me to many ideologies (religions), all flawed, all corrupted, all contradictory.
Anything that human beings control can be corrupted by greed, by selfishness… religion & the concept of God (or Gods) is no exception.
Which should not come as a surprise, but for many believers it does, there have been millions of schisms within hundred of thousands of religions, since all religion and supernatural things, by my opinion are manmade, and whenever a major disagreement appears within a group, it has a tendency to split into two or more subgroups.
Errare Humanum Est – Which also holds true for all religions, especially the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), they have all had many and major schisms, which also goes to show, if there was a god, it is an incompetent god.
I meditate, I do Yoga, I am humble and I believe that we are all interconnected. I do pray. I pray to "the source," "the light," that THING that connects all living things & all matter; the energy that flows through everything that IS. I pray to honor the Continuum, which, to me, includes positive energy & goodwill that somehow exists but also I respect nature (without worshiping it). Is this my innate, human NEED to believe in something bigger than myself? Maybe.
I do neither meditation or Yoga, however I also believe, or more precisely know that we are all interconnected. Not in the in my opinion meaningless “spiritual” sense, but in a more real sense, that we are all cells, that are made of molecules, which are made of atoms, atoms which we can trace back to the death of suns. As Carl Sagan said, we are star stuff. In that sense we are all interconnected.
Praying for me seems like a rather useless, but for some perhaps a good psychological mechanism to cope with hardship. However there is also many disagreements in various circles on how prayers are suppose to work or are answered. Most popular I have heard, is that the higher power mostly answer with Yes/Maybe/No, and when it involves a tradegy it is scuffed off with “X works in mysterious ways.”
It is nonsensical and an insult to humanity.
You talk about The Continuum, which I have no idea what entails, seems like a placeholder tag for any sort of vague spiritual definition of a higher power.
The positive energy not sure if you are refering to that as an allegory for human actions, or if it is an actual energy source.
My main objection to what you believe in, is that they have no evidence that can be verified empirically.
Have you ever had to face your mortality, Christian? Or perhaps the very real chance that someone very close to you could die? Or, have you ever watched someone die?
I ask these things because until you REALLY HAVE… it’s all theoretical. Something happens in our brains when we watch someone die, or watch someone as they lay in a hospital bed near death, or – and this one wasn’t as bad for me, but it shook me a bit, the 3rd time (as I never learn the first time around) – when they face the possibility of death themselves. Have you ever almost died, Christian? I have. And I’ve watched people close to me die.
Yes to both, but it never has made me spiritual or made me want to believe in a higher power.
So my beliefs, my meditating, as it were, my prayers to the energy that flows.. is to honor LIFE itself; the beginning of it, the end, the continuation of it always – long after Earth disappears or we’re all ancient history. I believe that it IS possible for human consciousness to live on somewhere else, or perhaps even being replayed on this plane of existence, recorded on the fabric of Time. Is that weak? I don’t think so, especially when one considers how much we DON’T KNOW about how certain energy REALLY works. I don’t mean like psychic shit either.. I mean all of the forms of energy and all of the layers/levels (sub-atomic, etc.).
The keyword in that sentence is, “I believe…”
You will have to elaborate, “we DON’T KNOW about how certain energy REALLY works.” I am pretty sure I can get you in touch with a scientist or two that would help to explain how energy REALLY works. I am looking forward to possible future elaboration of this.
People like you, I would imagine, would laugh at someone like me and call me a weak-minded hippie or something. But I could be wrong because I have Atheist friends who, as I said, would never judge another human being harshly; compassion is their religion.
I wouldn’t say that I would never judge another human harshly, I am of the “school”, that respect is not automatically gained, but it has to be earned. However I wouldn’t call you weak-minded, especially when I do not know why you believe as you do.
So, you see, by modern conventional definition, there’s no place for people like me; we’re not completely Atheists, because we don’t completely rule out the possibility of some deity – MAYBE – but we’re not Christians. We fit into no particular mold or definition. That’s why many people may feel the same way you do about many things, but they don’t want to associate themselves with the IDEA of Atheism, because it’s a dirty word and *it tends to be defined in its narrowest sense.*
What I have read so far, you fit rather nicely into a pantheistic group. With your comment about spiritual energy and that we are all interconnected.
Also atheists do not rule out that there may be a god, that is a common misconception, I have done many posts and videos to try and help people understand, atheism is a question regarding belief, with the a- prefix it shows it is a lack of belief in god[s]. The question of knowing if there are any god[s] is what is called gnosticism <> agnosticism (Greek work for knowledge, the Latin is Scientia) with the a- prefix again shows that agnosticism is a lack of knowledge. And agnosticism is not tied to a god question, but to all questions.
So you can be an agnostic atheist, as I am myself, I do NOT KNOW if there are any gods, but I do NOT BELIEVE there are any gods. Not knowing and not believing are two seperate things, and are also not mutually exclusive.
MY POINT IS, Christian… that many, many, MANY people all around the world agree with many of your sentiments & those of other active Atheists, BUT the WORD & the negative connotations it implies is what makes people turn away or tune out the message. Maybe Atheism needs a re-branding? Or better still – a different NAME? Think about it. Haha.
Atheism does not need a rebranding in my opinion, however many have tried, Richard Dawkings tried with the term “Brights”, and most recently is the Atheism+ movement .
The reason why many have troubles with atheism as a word, and have negative connotations, are because they are often introduced to so-called strawmen of what atheism is, a cheap mockery, especially from preachers, or other non-atheists.
What we need to do as atheists is to educate the public, tell them that they only thing that it entails to be an atheist, is not to believe in a god, no more and no less.
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It was time for a change, change for the better I hope.
I have made and implented a new design, it is more plain, brigther and easier to read.
There have also been added social media sharing options in the bottom of all posts, so if you find some you like, you can now easily share with friends and the world.
Hopefully I can make some content that the people appreciate.
Since I began my fund for new PC parts I have reached 13.5% of my goal of 879 USD. If you want to help out you can donate in the upper right corner.
This is the related post for my PC fund.
With that, I will end this post with this great video by Melodysheep
- Mariam on Romanian witches no longer allowed to cheat.
- Updating & 13.5% to goal - Tylzen's Thoughts on Now accepting donations
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- Christian Thostrup on Why I think secularism is important…
- CosmicJoghurt on Why I think secularism is important…