Yes, the Abrahamic covenant in Scripture compels those of the Judeo-Christian persuasion to consider whitling the phallus down as a godly action, one that marks a person as God's chosen. Yes, the argument can be made that baptism replaces circumcision because circumscribing the heart (i.e., cutting one's self off from the debauchery of the world) is far nobler. And I will agree that the metaphysic of baptism is far more laudable than the partial emasculation set out in the Old Testament as a means of currying favour with Yahweh.
Nevertheless, I am four-square against the practice of circumcision, and consider anyone who elects to have their children mutilated in such a fashion to be unthinking, inconsiderate, brutish and immoral. Harsh words, I know. And perhaps you may know me, and now understand what I think if you have had your child ravaged by such an invasive, and insidiously injurious barbarism (sometimes referred to vapidly as a "common surgical procedure"). I'm not concerned. I welcome conversation.
That said, I have been debating a woman about circumcision. Her position is essentially this: if you do it, or believe its fine, then it is. She believes, as a Christian, that it is a matter of faith. That is, she has faith in circumcision. I think her position entirely ridiculous. I responded by saying as much, but in more words.
...that you would say, "[my] faith tells me that it’s NOT a harmful or damaging thing" is really what concerns me about your thinking. Why? Because 'faith', definitionally, is not a content-rich position. That is, faith is not an information-filled premise upon which to base your conclusion that circumcision is not harmful. The basic facts bear this out quite well.I'm interested in this lady's response, but since this debate has been rambling out over the coarse of the past week, and her rebuttals have been far from inspiring or persuasive, I'm not counting on much. Perhaps her ability to reason has been circumcised by her faith.
First, faith is, definitionally, a 'hope' or 'basic trust' in a proposition (in this case, God). The Greek word for 'faith' used in NT scripture is pistis (noun, used 244 times). It is the name/noun given to the quality of a person that can 'hope' or place a 'basic trust' in the claims of the apostles, Jesus, and scripture.
Second, because 'faith' is essentially a compulsive quality that enables a person to believe certain truth-claims, it does not follow therefore that a person can utilise faith for whatever topic, issue, or subject they fancy. Faith is not a scapegoat that allows you to place all your reasoning on hold for the simple expedient of relaxing your responsibility to reason things out.
Third, because you are not excused from reasoning just because you have faith, you are in the position of having to consider that the first action of circumcision is to harm the male phallus by slicing off its foreskin. This involves inordinate amounts of pain, long-term suffering, and possible pain in the future if the foreskin is cut back too far (e.g., it hurts some men to have a full errection because they were cut back too far).
The point is this: whenever the human body is somehow harmed, depleted, altered, or even augmented (e.g., deviant piercings), it is mutilated. Plain and simple. Therefore, circumcision, because it involves harming the male phallus in a way that disfigures it from its natural state, is abjectly immoral and wrong. This is basic logic informed by simple observation, irrespective of a contentless position like 'faith'.
If the first action of circumcision is injurious to the male phallus, and therefore the male who undergoes it, it is undebateably harmful. And where harm is inflicted against another's will and natural sanctity; where harm is inflicted without the utilitarian measure of doing harm to save a life; where harm is invited on a person in such a way that potentializes long-term psychological, emotional, and physical effects (which circumcision does do), it is therefore wrong, immoral, evil, and ungodly.
That some Bronze-age agrarian polytheists took a fancy to Yahweh, one of the Canaanite gods, and lopped off the dangly bit of their penis to show him contrition does not make such a stupid act respectable, healthy, or worthy of propagation. Abraham's story is just that: a story. It is an embellishment protracted through centuries of oral repetition, and enforced upon untold millions of people all in an effort to appease their vengeful god. They may as well have thrown the most beautiful virgins into a volcano. The mentality would've been the same: hurt people to please God. It's patently irrational and not worthy of being a faith-issue. Faith has a certain dignity that is smudged, distorted and sullied when measured against such ruthless and insipid practices as circumcision.