This is the proposed question that I made up.

What is the biblical basis for supporting circumcision for medical reasons, performed by licensed medical doctors? Is circumcision in the New Testament rendered meaningless or contradictory to the new covenant?

2 Answers 2


"Biblical Basis" questions are inherently problematic. Sometimes they work alright, but usually they are less well suited to the job than people want to think. It is a hack that gets employed because people can't think through clearly what they are actually trying to get at.

To complicate matters, the few times it really should work as a scope is the same few times when there are conflicting interpretation(s), and the scope of the question really becomes about those interpretations, not any particular passage.

I suggest you spend a bit of time and work out what you are really trying to come away having learned about Christianity.

In the case of your example question I suspect you are trying to get at something more along the lines of "Was the reason for circumcision in the OT scientific/health related or was it ceremonial?" or perhaps "Is there any symbolic conflict with getting circumcised for medical reasons according to a view that holds circumcision as an obsolete ceremonial sign?"

  • Hmmm... I like the second one. The first one sounds too obvious and poorly researched.
    – Double U
    Aug 2, 2013 at 19:24
  • The Stacks Exchange exists as a Q&A site, not as a website where people criticize which Christian viewpoint is "correct" and which is "heresy". Surely, all devout Christians will probably say that they have the "correct" viewpoint on the Bible and accuse each other for believing in doctrines that they perceive to be false. So, you do have a point.
    – Double U
    Aug 2, 2013 at 19:31
  • Is there a way one can ask, "What biblical case can/did/was/should/ideally-would-be made for X?"
    – pterandon
    Aug 3, 2013 at 13:45
  • @pterandon Of all of those possibilities, only "did" and "was" are likely to result in a constructive question. Of course it would need to be evaluated on a case by case basis, there is no way to make a blanket rule based on a single word out of context, but in general none of "can/should/ideally would" are likely to come out constructive. Those are all patterns that indicate people are trying to get right answers to a spiritual issue rather than right answers about Christianity.
    – Caleb
    Aug 3, 2013 at 15:08

The powers that be have lumped us all together so if you want to ask a question about Christianity in general or an interpretation that anyone could have. I think you've gotta do it with a particular tradition in mind to scope the question.

The only time that rule wouldn't apply is when the subject of the question falls squarely within the tradition at hand (not when you're asking what everyone else thinks about why a certain set of folk are wrong).

If this doesn't suit you, we can always try and start a anonymousdenomination.stackexchange.com on area51.

  • What if you are too narrow, as I did in this question? christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/17680/…
    – Double U
    Aug 2, 2013 at 20:02
  • The question was initially about the Jehovah's witness's belief that the Bible was written by forty scholars.
    – Double U
    Aug 2, 2013 at 20:03
  • I don't know why they retagged it, if you meant it in the context of JW, then it should remain there.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Aug 2, 2013 at 20:24

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