Christian Castration – Join islam

A significant problem among early Christian men was that many of them castrated themselves because they believed this was what Jesus advocated. This was such a substantial issue that it was the first canon addressed by the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE.

“If anyone in sickness has been subjected to surgery by physicians, or if he has been made a eunuch by barbarians, this can be considered necessary and therefore such a person may be admitted to the clergy. But if anyone has made himself a eunuch, it is necessary that such a person, even if he is worthy, should be excluded from the clergy, as well as anyone who has intentionally made eunuchs, for this is a wicked deed and unnatural.”

It is peculiar that the canon doesn’t blatantly condemn the practice, but specifically only for those who self-castrte from serving as clergy. It is unclear how pervalent was this act as there are no precise figures or reliable statistics on the percentage of Christians who were castrated prior to the Council of Nicaea. Historical records from that period are limited, and detailed demographic data on specific practices within early Christian communities is generally sparse. Yet, the inclusion of this as the very first canon indicates that it must have been quite a significant issue at the time to warrant explicit condemnation. There must have been enough instances of self-castration, or at least enough concern about the practice, to necessitate a formal statement against it.

But appartly this wasn’t the first time the topic was addressed. About a decade earlier at the Council of Ancyra (314 CE) this was also Canon 1.

“Those who have voluntarily mutilated themselves shall be excluded from the clergy. As for those who were made eunuchs by barbarians or by their masters, if they are otherwise worthy, they may be admitted to the clergy.”

This idea of self-castration comes from Mathew 19 where Jesus gives the following response when questioned by his disciples regarding whether they should marry.

And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” 10 The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” 11 But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by people; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”

Matthew 19

During the early centuries of Christianity, there was a significant emphasis on asceticism and the renunciation of worldly pleasures. Asceticism, which involves rigorous self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, was highly valued among early Christians who sought to live a life of purity and dedication to God. Inspired by their understanding of Matthew 19:12, some early Christians interpreted this as a call to self-castration to achieve spiritual goals. This included one of the most prominent early Christian scholars and theologians, Origen of Alexandria (c. 184 – c. 253 CE). According to Eusebius of Caesarea in his “Ecclesiastical History,” Origen castrated himself based on his understanding of Matthew 19:12 because he wanted to put what he understood to be Jesus’s teachings to practice.

The Quran addresses this innovated practice of extreme asceticism conducted by early Christians in the following verse.

[57:27] Subsequent to them, we sent our messengers. We sent Jesus the son of Mary, and we gave him the Injeel (Gospel), and we placed in the hearts of his followers kindness and mercy. But they invented hermitism which we never decreed for them. All we asked them to do was to uphold the commandments approved by GOD. But they did not uphold the message as they should have. Consequently, we gave those who believed among them their recompense, while many of them were wicked.

 ثُمَّ قَفَّيْنَا عَلَىٰٓ ءَاثَـٰرِهِم بِرُسُلِنَا وَقَفَّيْنَا بِعِيسَى ٱبْنِ مَرْيَمَ وَءَاتَيْنَـٰهُ ٱلْإِنجِيلَ وَجَعَلْنَا فِى قُلُوبِ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّبَعُوهُ رَأْفَةً وَرَحْمَةً وَرَهْبَانِيَّةً ٱبْتَدَعُوهَا مَا كَتَبْنَـٰهَا عَلَيْهِمْ إِلَّا ٱبْتِغَآءَ رِضْوَٰنِ ٱللَّهِ فَمَا رَعَوْهَا حَقَّ رِعَايَتِهَا فَـَٔاتَيْنَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ مِنْهُمْ أَجْرَهُمْ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَـٰسِقُونَ

19 warahbāniyyatan وَرَهْبَانِيَّةً But monasticism / hermetism
20 ib’tadaʿūhā ٱبْتَدَعُوهَا they invented it –
21 مَا not
22 katabnāhā كَتَبْنَـٰهَا we prescribed it
23 ʿalayhim عَلَيْهِمْ for them –
24 illā إِلَّا except (only)
25 ib’tighāa ٱبْتِغَآءَ to seek
26 riḍ’wāni رِضْوَٰنِ (the) pleasure
27 l-lahi ٱللَّهِ (of) God,
28 famā فَمَا but not
29 raʿawhā رَعَوْهَا they observed it
30 ḥaqqa حَقَّ (with) right
31 riʿāyatihā رِعَايَتِهَا its observance.

Additionally, one will find other passages in the Bible where that indicate that marriage and sexual pleasure are signs of spiritual weakness. For example, Paul advocates for his followers to refrain from marrying if they can. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul states:

38 So that he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better. 39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I have the Spirit of God.

While the Bible never explicitly states that Jesus was celibate, passages like Matthew 19 give the impression that he was. Tertullian, a 2nd-century Church Father, described Jesus and Paul of Tarsus using the term spadones, which is sometimes translated as “eunuchs.” According to Tertullian, the term spado was understood to mean “virgin” in this context. In late antiquity, spado could be interpreted metaphorically to signify celibacy. Tertullian extended this metaphor to suggest that St. Paul had been “castrated.”

Yet, the Quran informs us this was not the case for God’s messengers, which would include Jesus.

[13:38] We have sent messengers before you (O Rashad), and we made them husbands with wives and children. No messenger can produce a miracle without GOD’s authorization, and in accordance with a specific, predetermined time.

وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلًا مِّن قَبْلِكَ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُمْ أَزْوَٰجًا وَذُرِّيَّةً وَمَا كَانَ لِرَسُولٍ أَن يَأْتِىَ بِـَٔايَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ لِكُلِّ أَجَلٍ كِتَابٌ

Also, the Quran specifically calls out people who falsely prohibit what God did not prohibit.

[7:32] Say, “Who prohibited the nice things GOD has created for His creatures, and the good provisions?” Say, “Such provisions are to be enjoyed in this life by those who believe. Moreover, the good provisions will be exclusively theirs on the Day of Resurrection.” We thus explain the revelations for people who know.

 قُلْ مَنْ حَرَّمَ زِينَةَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَخْرَجَ لِعِبَادِهِۦ وَٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتِ مِنَ ٱلرِّزْقِ قُلْ هِىَ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ فِى ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا خَالِصَةً يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ كَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ ٱلْـَٔايَـٰتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

[6:150] Say, “Bring your witnesses who would testify that GOD has prohibited this or that.” If they testify, do not testify with them. Nor shall you follow the opinions of those who reject our revelations, and those who disbelieve in the Hereafter, and those who stray away from their Lord.

 قُلْ هَلُمَّ شُهَدَآءَكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ يَشْهَدُونَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ حَرَّمَ هَـٰذَا فَإِن شَهِدُوا۟ فَلَا تَشْهَدْ مَعَهُمْ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَآءَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا۟ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا وَٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ وَهُم بِرَبِّهِمْ يَعْدِلُونَ

The Quran advocates for people to enjoy God’s blessings and use them to grow in appreciation and draw ever closer to God.

[28:77] “Use the provisions bestowed upon you by GOD to seek the abode of the Hereafter, without neglecting your share in this world. Be charitable, as GOD has been charitable towards you. Do not keep on corrupting the earth. GOD does not love the corruptors.”

 وَٱبْتَغِ فِيمَآ ءَاتَىٰكَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلدَّارَ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةَ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَأَحْسِن كَمَآ أَحْسَنَ ٱللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ وَلَا تَبْغِ ٱلْفَسَادَ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُفْسِدِينَ

[14:7] Your Lord has decreed: “The more you thank Me, the more I give you.” But if you turn unappreciative, then My retribution is severe.

 وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِى لَشَدِيدٌ

The Quran calls spouses one of God’s signs and a source of tranquility and contentment.

[30:21] Among His proofs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves, in order to have tranquility and contentment with each other, and He placed in your hearts love and care towards your spouses. In this, there are sufficient proofs for people who think.

وَمِنْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦٓ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَٰجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَـَٔايَـٰتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

Yet, it is the devil who confuses the religion for the people and causes his victims great pain.

[6:137] Thus were the idol worshipers duped by their idols, to the extent of killing their own children. In fact, their idols inflict great pain upon them, and confuse their religion for them. Had GOD willed, they would not have done it. You shall disregard them and their fabrications.

 وَكَذَٰلِكَ زَيَّنَ لِكَثِيرٍ مِّنَ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ قَتْلَ أَوْلَـٰدِهِمْ شُرَكَآؤُهُمْ لِيُرْدُوهُمْ وَلِيَلْبِسُوا۟ عَلَيْهِمْ دِينَهُمْ وَلَوْ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ مَا فَعَلُوهُ فَذَرْهُمْ وَمَا يَفْتَرُونَ


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