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The Truth About Circumcision

Stefan Molyneux breaks down the truth behind circumcision, including details on the procedure, it's history, rate of occurrence, claimed medical justifications, relation to masturbation, negative consequences and it's morality.


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Come on

I believe women should have the sexual right to blitz a penis and slurp away without having to confront fermenting urine or other mysterious surprises that could be found under the foreskin. So in true libertarian fashion, I support penis transparency (circumcision).

"fermenting urine or other mysterious surprises"???

What are you talking about? The foreskin doesn't interfere with peeing and doesn't harbor material anymore than any other skin surface of the body.

Penises drip...

Are you a girl? Penises drip after peeing, and especially after sex.

People can argue all they want about this topic but what are the anti-circumcision people really advocating?

What is your solution?
You want the government to say you can't do it?
That's what the crazy liberals in San Fran have done.

Are you a POT or a PET - Person Embracing Tyranny?


You're obviously snipped. The foreskin doesn't cover the end to the point that it obstructs urinating, it just lessens friction and helps accommodate changes in size. No one gets urine going under their foreskin when they pee.

Anti-circumcision people are advocating to let nature be.

My solution is calling it what it is, so that others don't get suckered into thinking circumcision serves a purpose. No government intervention needed.

wolfe's picture


Just because a form of child abuse is legal doesn't make it right.

Laws don't stop people. If there was a law, there would be a black market for it. If you want to do it to yourself, that's fine. If you want to do it to your child, that is evil, and you shouldn't need a law to f'ing tell you that.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Buddy, you need a lesson on real Evil, apparently.

Calling a traditional, medical procedure, "child abuse", is really radical, and totally misinformed.

You have claimed that circumcision was meant to stop men from masturbating. I mean, you are nuts. Really.

BTW, it hasn't stopped me, or anyone else, from masturbating. LOL!

Your points are ridiculous. If you ever have a son, don't get him circumcised if you don't want to. Period, the end.

Are you a POT or a PET - Person Embracing Tyranny?

wolfe's picture


"You have claimed that circumcision was meant to stop men from masturbating. I mean, you are nuts. Really."

I did not make that claim. It is a FACT that was the reason given to promote circumcision in the US:


Dr. John Harvey Kellogg recommended circumcision of boys caught masturbating, writing: "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."

During that time, it was the predominant argument, because masturbation was considered "unhealthy", and a religious one because masturbation was considered ungodly.

When those arguments failed to catch on, they changed their primary argument to "cleanliness", but the intent if read any of the writing at the time was to curb sexual desire in young men.

Do your f'ing research before spouting off about things you know nothing about.

You condemn female mutilation but accept male mutilation.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

As a libertarian, do you

As a libertarian, do you support the initiation of force on a child? Because that is what circumcision is.

Where do you draw the line on

Where do you draw the line on what you can allow parents to do to their children until they are 18? Do you want all children under the states protection till they're 18 and to ban mean old circumcision?

If you want to ban this, what else do you want to ban, things to make mandatory perhaps?

Southern Agrarian

like i said before

if you want to mutilate your child's genitals you should be free to do so. they should be free to sue you when they grow up. if it's not a medical emergency then you are just a savage barbarian. i consider it child abuse and will shame and refuse to do business with abusers of infants.

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Circumcision is a violation

Circumcision is a violation of the non-aggression principle. It is also an inhumane, barbaric act that results in extremely harmful consequences for a child. Please do not circumcise your children.

FYI, I was born Jewish, and circumcision is obviously an important ritual in that faith as well as in Islam. It is even more important to spread this information to those who believe in the practice for religious reasons.

Circumcision was

practiced in the ME as a health measure because of it's sandy environment. Infection from sand under the foreskin was a killer in small boys. With modern medicine and access to water this is no longer an issue, and now just seems cruel.
It never crossed our minds to have our son circumcised, and I don't know anyone who has done this willingly to their child. (one unwillingly, circumcision was the result rather than the aim, and was done under anesthetic).

Once he starts talking about religion...

Once he starts talking about religion, he loses a lot of credibility. If his other information is credible, that would be notable information. I'm not pro-mutilation, but that guy doesn't seem to be the best source for the information.

Religion is one of the

Religion is one of the driving factors behind this barbaric practice, so it is extremely important that he covers it.


I don't care if he wants to talk about religion, but he should do so in a reasonable way. He seems to have an axe to grind, includes a lot of affect(I mean 'affect' in the sense of the linguistic term in which the 'a' is pronounced as in 'apple'), and misrepresents early Christianity. If he doesn't know theology, he shouldn't pretend that he does.

I noticed that.

He obviously has a bit of personal bias, but what part was of what he said was wrong?

This was a part that stuck out to me.

Thanks for asking rather than just making assumptions.

This was a part that stuck out to me.
After he admits that he is confused by Theology(which is why he shouldn't be talking about it), at around 17 minutes in, he says that circumcision was required for all converts to Christianity, and then mentions Paul as an exception. But really, this is refuted by all of Acts chapter 15. It says "certain men from Judea" thought it was necessary ("certain men", not all of Christianity), and although Paul and Barnabas were the first to confront these men from Judea, when they brought up the dispute at the Jerusalem Council, one or more individuals among a sect of pharisees agreed with the men from Judea, but they met great resistance, and Peter disagreed with them sharply. Peter explicitly says that they never gave any such command of circumcision:

The is a verse where Peter is talking:
Acts 15:24 "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: "

If Peter says "we gave no such commandment (of circumcision)", why does the guy in the video say that all converts to Christianity required circumcision. It's his word against Peter's. Someone as admittedly confused as him about the subject simply shouldn't speak about it.

Also, he sites new covenant theology as the basis for Christian rejection of circumcision, but even without new covenant theology, Christians who reject new covenant theology and believe in a threefold partition of the law (making the distinction between ceremonial, moral, and civil laws), would not require circumcision for Christians either.

If he misrepresents Christianity here, he may be misrepresenting other things as well.

He also hints at female circumcision having been part of Christianity, which it never was, and it was not even part of Judaism.

That's a pretty fair criticism.

Do you think it might be a cultural pressure rather than a stringent rule, though? I kind of think the two might have the same effect in certain circumstances. I had a muslim lady say to me that it was entirely her choice to fully cloak her body and it was not looked down upon by the religion if she did otherwise, but in the next sentence she said it was part of being a good muslim and if you're not a good muslim, people will look down upon you. I also had a friend that converted to Judaism to marry a Jewish women. To be in good standing with the family, it had to be through orthodox channels. He followed (and still follows) some very strict guidelines and it was a long drawn out process. He was already circumcised, but if he wasn't it was not something he could avoid. I think it might be a grey area whether or not circumcision is a religious or cultural pressure, but thanks for clearing it up that it's not specifically a religious requirement for Christians. That may help inform some people.


I don't see a cultural pressure for circumcision having existed as part of Christianity. One reason I don't see pressure as an issue here is that circumcision is not something that's visible to most people, unlike the use of Muslim clothing. But more importantly, the new testament discourages pressuring people to get circumcised and calls circumcision pointless, and tells people not to get circumcised:

Paul says it has no benefit:
Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Paul prohibits the practice of circumcision of converts in
1st Corinthians 7:18 : "Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised."

in Acts 21:21-25 Paul is said to have opposed the circumcision of children, and then confirms the report in regards to Gentiles.

Then Paul has harsh words for those who would enforce circumcision:
Galatians 5:12-14 "I would they were even cut off which trouble you. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

And Peter calls all of Paul's writings scripture in 2nd Peter 3:16.

Foreskin Follies

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That's pretty clear.

So, why do you think the association exists at all? Ill informed Christians, perhaps? Do they only know of Abraham and the Old Testament's take on it?


Maybe some people listen to people like the guy in the video who just makes stuff up. Much like in the days of early Christianity, there are Jews who promote Torah and mosaic law, and sometimes this finds it's way into offshoots of Christianity. There is a respect amongst Christians for Judaism and for Jews, and circumcision may sometimes fall into that. In that case, I think they just haven't studied and aren't familiar with the book of Galatians:

Galatians 5:1-4 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."

Some people will lean towards arguments for health advantages of circumcision, believing that God wanted to bless Israel with health in instituting circumcision there. But that doesn't seem to agree with scripture which says there is no advantage in it. It is not uncommon for the God of the Bible to bless people through things that are not good in themselves but may have other effects not directly related, like when he allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery which lead to saving the lives of many people:

Genesis 50:20 "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."

So circumcision doesn't have to be good for it to have been used for good by God. There were occasions when the existence of Hebrew circumcision benefited the nation of Israel in a tactical way. But there is also a spiritual picture where circumcision points to a spiritual reality of the heart, it was a sign and that's pretty much it:

1Corinthians 7:19 "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God."

Romans 4:11 "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:"

But that sign was for Jews under the law, not for Christians under grace.

It seems to me that there is a strong Christian argument against circumcision, but it is not surprising that people who do not like Christianity will try to portray Christianity in a way which seems most offensive at the moment, even to the point of misrepresentation.

Once he starts talking about

Once he starts talking about religion, he loses a lot of credibility.

for you

Don't they

make an anti-wrinkle cream out of the foreskin?

"If this mischievous financial policy [greenbacks], which has its origin in North America, should become endurated down to a fixture, then that government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off its debts and be without debts. It will hav

Oh brother.

I can find just as many "studies" or "researchers" that state the complete opposite of most of his statements. I think he should post the "studies" that he had sited so that those "studies" can be evaluated for validity. I doubt that we are dealing with blinded studies.

I doubt that you can find

I doubt that you can find such studies.

circumcision is mutilation

It violates the non-agression principle.

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

An uncircumsized penis

looks like a hideous anteater

stop looking at penises then

not that there's anything wrong with that. i support you in your gayness.

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tasmlab's picture

A circumcised one looks like a cock

There's not a lot of room to swing either way in the looks department.

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