A frivolous question

So, it’s long been a thought of mine that any omnipotent creator of the universe who cares what you wear is too silly to actually exist. I mean, really, that ought to set off anyone’s bullshit detectors.

But I’ve been thinking recently, and I think the omnipotent universe-creating deity who wants you to do wacky things to your body might be sillier yet. It’s one thing for God to say “Thou shalt wear skirts of denim and put thy hair in buns,” it’s another for him to say “Hey, slice off that little flap of skin on your penis. Um, verily.”

So what do you think? Is the “everyone needs to wear a tiny hat” God sillier, or the “everyone needs to pierce their noses” God?

7 Responses to A frivolous question

  1. Will Staples says:

    To be fair, most Jews I know are wise enough to give some thought about what they read in Leviticus and decide for themselves what bits can be taken as sound advice and what bits are outdated health-related proscriptions from a bygone age with poor sanitation and no vaccinations, and eat pork accordingly.But yeah, I have a huge problem with circumcision on principle for the same reason I resent people who pierce their children’s ears before they’re old enough to make the decision themselves (and really, who’s going to go through with circumcision once they actually understand what it is).

  2. Akusai says:

    That’s why my answer was a joke, guys…

  3. Dunc says:

    Yeah, sorry – I just keep reading about outbreaks of FGM in the UK…

  4. quantumberry says:

    I was trying to come up with an amusing comment, but you’re stuck with a stuffy one.The visible requirements, like special clothing and nose piercing and such, are about outward signs of belonging – similar to gang colors and tattoos. For that reason, I would go with clothing as less ridiculous, because it is easier to un-belong later just by changing your clothes.The invisible example you give is circumcision, which originally was a health issue. With today’s hygiene, it is not a problem, but in less shower-friendly times, uncircumcised boys were more prone to infections.My final comment is that it is too bad that many religions issue moral, health, and clan-identity requirements all with the same authority and without indicating the reasons for them. If the reasons for the requirements were known by followers, then they could more easily adapt to changing times and circumstances.

  5. Doubting Tom says:

    The invisible example you give is circumcision, which originally was a health issue. With today’s hygiene, it is not a problem, but in less shower-friendly times, uncircumcised boys were more prone to infections.I’m curious about this–it would be interesting to compare non-circumcising cultures (like the Greeks) and circumcising cultures (like the Hebrews) for childhood illnesses. While I could see circumcision having some anti-UTI effects in those dirty times, I wonder if the infections due to unsanitary cutting implements and non-surgical-quality cuts might balance those effects out. Thanks for the comments, all, even if they did get a bit less frivolous than I’d originally thought.

  6. Dunc says:

    Female circumcision (aka female genital mutilation) is equally invisible, and it’s got sod-all to do with hygiene and everything to do with control of sexuality. I am somewhat unconvinced about the hygiene arguments around male circumcision – firstly because the idea that decent personal hygiene is a relatively new idea simply isn’t true, once you look beyond the Christian world of the last 1500 years or so, and secondly because of the infection risks of the procedure itself, as Tom mentions.

  7. quantumberry says:

    Sorry – I am guilty of believing doctors just because they seem to be authoritative. The circumcision story was told to me when my boys were born. Maybe the doctor just didn’t want to be bothered with a circumcision.I asked a microbiologist friend of mine, who had done some research into the matter. She did not know about the original reasons (they may now be lost to antiquity), but she said that in more recent history, circumcision was sold as a health issue to those for whom it wasn’t a religious issue. She also said that the procedure has a very low probablity of infection because it’s all external and easy to clean.But my real point was that I wish people would say why, when they tell you that you “should” do something. Sometimes, of course, the explanation can wait. Please don’t explain to me why I should before yelling, “Duck!”

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