I was reading an article in the "Atheist Revolution" blog and I came across this snippet:

When I encounter a parent telling her children about Santa Claus, I may find it unfortunate that someone would lie to one's own child merely for entertainment purposes. The potential for harm here seems trivially small. I cannot say the same for the Muslim parent instructing his son in the virtues of martyrdom or the Christian who tells her daughter that her Jewish friends will go to hell because they have not been "saved."

Could we not add something like the following to the last sentence:

...or the jew who tells his kids that he's "chosen" and has a covenant with god that entitles him and his "people" to the land of Israel, and then uses that as justification for a bloody occupation of Palestine.

The one-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead is approaching (Dec. 27th) and I think we should take a look at where we've come since then. The Goldstone Report: buried. Settlements: expanding. Palestinian house demolitions: continuing.

As atheists, we should be appalled whenever religion is used to justify actions that result in suffering or death. We do not seem to hesitate to speak out when a child dies because a Christian Scientist eschewed Western medicine in favor of prayer. We do not seem to hesitate to speak out when a Muslim nutjob finds motivation in his religion to grab some firearms and gun down some people. Why are we silent when an ethnic group uses a story about chosen people and covenants in The Big Book of Jewish Fairy Tales (aka, the Old Testament) to justify what is looking more and more like a slow, methodical ethnic cleansing campaign? Why do the Jews need to have Jerusalem all to themselves? Why is it so important to them to have a Jewish majority that they'll turn Gaza into a prison camp and The West Bank into Swiss cheese where the Palestinians are forced to live on smaller and smaller plots of land and endure more and more restrictions on their movement? If this were being done to a Jewish population they'd be screaming about a second holocaust.

The bottom line is that all three major religions are guilty of many modern-day atrocities and have a great deal of blood on their metaphorical hands. Why do we only bewail the actions of two of those three major religions?

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I certainly wouldn't argue if there is some medical need for a circumcision.  That pathologic phimosis sounds particularly nasty.  But a circumcision because your imaginary friend told you to?

Back in the Bronze age, desert people needed ritual to fill the gap of knowledge.  Now?  Well, it's either rational decision making or it's "tradition" or both.  I imagine "both."  Tradition does make such things easier to accept.

 

NPR aired a recent story of cultures which incorporate insects in their diets, a disgusting thought to Americans and other westerners, yet, as the story went, insects were great sources of nutrition, including protein.

Incidently, Muslims also circumcise, but they wait until the child is 10 years old, so I've been told.  That's harsh.  Less neuroplasticity, more area to work with, more pain...  And female "circumcision", also Muslim (I've not heard it ascribed to any other cultures or religions), has no medical basis, is done at an age when pain will be fully appreciated, and that pain is exacerbated by fear, since the young ladies aren't prepared or pampered in anyway.  These, IMHO, are child abuse.
Child abuse vs. preventive medicine, depends on how and when it's done.  If the pain and dysfunctional result are comparable to childhood vaccines, I say, go for it, regardless of religious background.  Otherwise, it is, I agree, child abuse and should not be done.

I think we should also remove the gall bladder, tonsils, and appendix, just in case.

You compare apples to orange trees, regarding gall bladder and appendix.    As for tonsils, pediatricians no longer remove them because scientific research indicated the potential risk of leaving them was far less than the previously assumed benefit of removing them.  Research regarding circumcision, however, indicates not only reduced risk of becoming infected, but reduced risk of transmitting infection to one's sexual partner, as well.  I refer you to two separate issues of JAMA, October, 2011.

Circumcision is a very ineffective way to prevent transmission of disease...condoms are much more effective...sexual abstinence and sexual faithfulness to your partner are 100% effective...nothing to do with belief but rather has to do with fact and decision.  Circumcision has more chance of infection and mistake than just leaving male or female in their intact, natural state.  Enough needless surgeries are done and it is best to let that obsolete religious practice go the way of chastity belts and self-flagellation.  By the way, the dangers of leaving the glans without its natural covering is, in fact, very unnatural.  The glans has to be lubricated to remain sensitive and is made of a very special type of smooth epithelial cells which dries out when left uncovered.  The inner foreskin is a mucous membrane like the inside of the eyelid or the mouth.  No one would even remotely recommend removing the eyelid to reduce the risk of infection.  The removal of the prepuce is about as insane.  The foreskin and glans share an mucous layer that fuses the two together.  Just ask the youngster if he enjoys the cutting and tearing of the foreskin from his tender little penis.  The foreskin of a young child adheres to the glans to keep it covered.  Forcibly removing it is about as smart as pulling your fingernails out to be different.  As a man who has been spared the need and expense of foreskin replacement, I applaud my family doctor for not pushing circumcision upon me and my parents.  Wisdom is not a religious value, it is earned.

Doc, I might further add that in all types of circumcision, the inner lining of the foreskin (preputial epithelium) is bluntly separated from its natural adhesion to the glans.  Child abuse is the forcible destruction of a child's body.  Circumcision is not only destroying an integral part of a child's body, it is also a sexual part.  I strongly recommend any man who has been sexually abused by this stubborn practice of unnecessary surgery bring lawsuits to bear to end this stupid medical malpractice.

Alex, your insistence suggests "science be damned!"  I referred you to recent articles from a well respected, peer reviewed journal.  If you insist that something you don't even remember having had done somehow left you with perpetual trauma, though you've no memory from before the procedure against which to measure that trauma, I suggest you compare your "amputation" against that of limbs of small children.  They whine far less.  Ask any physician who has ever treated them -- including myself.  Ask them as adults, after they are aware of what others have that they do not, as I also have asked.  You think because your sex is involved, it is far worse than missing your hands?

Next, you'll say, well, that was of necessity and this is not.  Fine.  The body doesn't care, when it comes to healing nerve damage due to amputation.  The earlier it's done, the less the risk of any sensory consequences.

And now, for a joke to lighten things up, a cute story I heard decades ago:  A friend of mine married a much older man, when she was young.  He had a scar encircling his penis, as she asked about it.  He was too embarassed to confess the need of circumcision in adulthood, so he just told her his penis was too big and long and had to be shortened.  She, naive as she was at the time, believed him, LOL!

Incidently, Alex, have you spoken with any lawyers about suing?  I expect the suit would have to name your parents.  They held legal power over your body, made the decision and signed the paperwork.  The doctor could not have done it, otherwise.  The doctor is safe, should you decide to sue, but your parents would certainly be at risk.

I did not read the article you suggested because I could not open the article.  Perhaps you could kindly put the link.  I never had circumcision and never will have it so thank you.  I referred to a lawsuit because I know of many men who are suing doctors successfully for such barbaric and unnecessary surgeries.  Methinks you are proferring science be damned.  You so callously hide behind your degree but I can guarantee you that for thousands of years homo sapiens have survived quite nicely without this kind of nonsense, and, as a matter of fact, from the research I have done, the medical community is not so adamantly pro circumcision as you indicate.  Keep up the good work doc, I'm sure you will find some unwitting parents who want to circumcise their babies.  As far as your joke, I didn't laugh.

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