Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Religious Terms Have Material Meaning

Religious terms have material meaning, if they are considered "real". In certain Christian circles,
where a separation or holiness message is important, the term "circumcsion of the heart" or "sanctification" is used. Although the term "heart" is used, the emotional reality of pain, is just as painful as Islam's physical circumcision of their girls.

In "Infidel", Hirshi Ali tells in painful detail about her physical circumcision. Muslims believe that 'purity" is of uptmost importance, so to "protect" their young women from intercourse before marriage, they sew up her vagina area, as well as circumcise her clitoris. The circumcision of the clitoris is to "prevent" pleasure in intercourse. "Pleasure" is considered an "evil".

The "protection" of the Christian believer is no different, as the "circumcision of the heart" is considered to be necessary to "purify" motives and desires. God is to be the only desire and pleasure. Just as the cutting away the clitoris, the "sanctified believer" cuts away every pleasure and desire that his heart is set upon, other than God. Both circumcisions forbid a basic human desire; pleasure in this world.

Pleasure in this world is viewed as "evil" and "fallen". The desire of the heart is to be focused only on God's will and purpose. Although I agree that one cannot be addicted to any one pleasure, there is strong question as to the creation order itself in affirming this understanding. Since these believers believe in the "creation order", why did God take the time to create such diversity in the world? Why do we see in color?

In Sunday's sermon, Timothy was used as an example of the "need for circumcision". Timothy is known in the Christian Scriptures as a disciple of Paul. Since he was born of Greek and Jewish parents, tradition tells us that Paul commended his circumcision, so that he could "reach the Jew" with the "gospel".

Hirshi Ali tells about her Somalian "tradition"'s training and her eventual escape from a planned marriage and the struggle she had in the West. Her sheer will-power to overcome such obstacles, both real and otherwise, are inspiring to read. I admire her for her determination, courage and commitment to seek a way out.

There is something sinister about another person determining another's life. In our country, we are not allowed that determination, as we believe in free moral agency. But, this was not the majority's view in our earliest Founding.

The majority held to various religious viewpoints, but the Founders wanted to base our government on freedom first and foremost, as without freedom there is determination. And America is not a caste society, not by man or by God.

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