How Would You Prove That Abstaining From Blood Is Not Prohibiting Transfusions?

by minimus 53 Replies latest jw friends

  • Mary
    PSacramento asked: Does anyone know how many lives have been saved due to blood transfusions and how many lives have suffered ( healthy wise) due to them?

    Here's a few stats that puts it into perspective. These are figures for the USA only, so you can imagine what the figures would be like for the entire world:

    1. 4.5 million Americans would die each year without life saving blood transfusions.
    2. Approximately 32,000 pints of blood are used each day in the United States.
    3. Every three seconds someone needs blood.
    4. One out of every 10 people entering a hospital needs blood
    5. Blood fights against infection and help heal wounds, keeping you healthy.
    6. Blood centers often run short of type O and B blood.
    7. Shortages of all types of blood occur during the summer and winter holidays.
    8. If all blood donors gave 2 to 4 times a year, it would help prevent blood shortages.
    9. About three gallons of blood supports the entire nation's blood needs for one minute
    10. Blood donation takes four steps: medical history, quick physical, donation, and snacks.
    11. The actual blood donation usually takes less than 10 minutes. The entire process, from when you sign in to the time you leave, takes about 45 minutes.
    12. Giving blood will not decrease your strength.
    13. You cannot get AIDS or any other infectious disease by donating blood.
    14. Fourteen tests, 11 of which are for infectious diseases, are performed on each unit of donated blood.
    15. People donate blood out of a sense of duty and community spirit, not to make money. They are not paid for their donation.
    16. Much of today's medical care depends on a steady supply of blood from health donors.
    17. One unit of blood can be separated into several components (red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, platelets, and cryoprecipitate).
    18. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's organs and tissue.
    19. Red blood cells live about 120 days in the circulatory system.
    20. Platelets help blood to clot and give those with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live.
    21. Apheresis is a special kind of blood donation that allows a donor to give specific blood components, such as platelets.
    22. Donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection.
    23. Donated platelets must be used within five days of collection.
    24. Plasma can be frozen and used for up to a year.
    25. Plasma is a pale yellow mixture of water, proteins, and salts.
    26. Plasma, which is 90% water, constitutes 55% of blood volume.
    27. Healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets.
    28. People who have been in car accidents and suffered massive blood loss can need transfusions of 50 pints or more of red blood cells.
    29. The average bone marrow transplant requires 120 units of platelets and about 20 units of red blood cells. Patients undergoing bone marrow transplants need platelets donations from about 120 people and red blood cells from about 20 people.
    30. Severe burn victims can need 20 units of platelets during their treatment.
    31. Children being treated for cancer, premature infants, and children having heart surgery need blood and platelets from donors of all types.
    32. Anemic patients need blood transfusions to increase their iron levels.
    33. Cancer, transplant and trauma patients and patients undergoing open-heart surgery require platelet transfusions to survive.
    34. Sickle cell disease is an inherited disease that affect more than 80,000 people in the United States, 98% of whom are of African descent. Some patients with complications from severe sickle cell disease receive blood transfusions every month - up to 4 pints at a time.
    35. 94% of all blood donors are registered voters.
    36. 60% of the US population is eligible to donate - only 5% do on a yearly basis.
    37. After donating blood, you replace these red blood cells within 3 to 4 weeks. It takes eight weeks to restore the iron lost after donating.
    38. Granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, roll along blood vessel walls in search of bacteria to eat.
    39. White cells are the body's primary defense against infection.
    40. There is no substitute for human blood.
    41. It's about Life.
  • parakeet

    This topic comes up pretty often, but I think AlanF said it best on this site five years ago. Thanks, Alan.

    (Paragraphing mine)


    Ok Sassy, I'll give you an outline of the proof. Later I'll give you a link to a full article.

    As a side point, in In Search of Christian Freedom Ray Franz makes some excellent points about the Society's misuse of various scriptures to enforce its blood ban. The Society bases its ban on transfusions essentially on three groups of scriptures, Acts 21, Leviticus 17 and Genesis 9:4.

    They claim that Acts 21:25 means that all Christians must not eat blood under any circumstances. Then they make the scripturally unsupported claim that a transfusion is the same as eating blood, concluding then that the Bible prohibits transfusions for Christians. They claim that Leviticus 17:10-14 and related OT passages give Christians a principle which reinforces the "blood ban" in Acts 21:25, namely, that the Jews were prohibited, on pain of death, from eating blood -- even the blood of animals that died of themselves or were killed by predators (the point being that such carcasses had not been properly bled).

    They finally claim that these prohibitions are based on Genesis 9:4, which states (NASB):"Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood."They claim that this statement amounts to a law for all humans to avoid eating blood, and that it's the basis for the explicit prohibition to eat blood by Jews and Christians. You'll see that this claim is specious.As usual, the Society misinterprets many things in this sequence of claims and ignores crucial points and scriptures.

    First, it's clear in context that Acts 21 is talking about what things gentile Christians ought to avoid so as to not offend their Jewish Christian fellows. This centered around the question of circumcision. The Jews had many cultural biases due to the Mosaic Law, some of which were so ingrained that they thought that even gentiles ought to observe them. Circumcision was again the prime example. The account describes how a group of elders in Jerusalem decided on a compromise -- the gentile Christians should observe some of the Jewish cultural bans: on eating blood, eating meat sacrificed to idols, eating things strangled, and fornication as defined by the Jews (fornication as defined by non-Jews could be rather different).

    Galatians 2:14 states: "But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?"" What is not clear from the account is whether this was meant to be just a temporary measure designed to avoid offending Jews until they got over their cultural biases, or was a permanent thing intended to be observed for all time by all Christians.

    This uncertainty is proved by 1 Corinthians 8 and 10, which specifically states that there is nothing inherenly wrong with a Christian eating meat sacrificed to idols, but that it's wrong only if it offends someone with a weak conscience who would view eating such meat as an act of worship. In view of this uncertainty, one cannot dogmatically claim that Acts 21 provides a basis for an absolute ban on eating blood. In reality the Society's only justification for its absolutism here is the claim to spiritual authority of those who claim to comprise "the faithful and discreet slave."

    Second, it's obvious that eating blood is completely different from being transfused. The Society's standard argument that transfusing is just bypassing the usual digestive process is easily defeated. When blood is eaten, it's broken down into its component amino acids and other chemicals. But when it's transfused, it just continues to act like blood. So a transfusion is really an organ transplant, and the blood is no more eaten than a kidney is eaten when it's transplanted. If a doctor told you to avoid eating meat because it was bad for your own health, and later he told you that you needed a kidney transplant, he'd think you were nuts if you complained that he was being inconsistent.

    Third, and most important for my line of argument here, is the fact that the Bible specifically told the Jews that, while they themselves couldn't eat the blood of an animal that died of itself, they could give such a carcasse to gentiles. Therefore, if the God that the JWs believe wrote the Bible is self-consistent and doesn't give explicit permission for a group of people to violate his sacred laws, the statement in Genesis 9:4 cannot be a law against eating blood by all people for all time.

    God gives permission for gentiles to eat blood the blood of dead carcasses in Deuteronomy 14:21:"You shall not eat anything which dies of itself. You may give it to the alien who is in your town, so that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner, for you are a holy people to the LORD your God."This, along with the context of Levitcus 10, shows what the intent of the Mosaic Law was regarding blood: it was to be used by the Jews only in the ceremony of atonement and in blood sacrifices. This was consistent with other capital offenses with respect to eating certain foods, such as fat. While the Law prohibited eating fat, on pain of death, it certainly doesn't apply to Christians.This, by the way, is yet another area in which JW leaders pick and choose the biblical passages they want to observe. They rightly teach that the Mosaic Law doesn't apply to Christians, but turn right around and use it (claiming that Christians must obey what they call "principles of the Law") as a law for Jehovah's Witnesses!

    Since Genesis 9:4 doesn't constitute a ban on eating blood per se, what does it mean? A careful consideration of everything the Bible says about blood leads to a simple conclusion: it means that when a person kills an animal for food he must give a token of respect to the Creator of life by pouring out the blood and not eating it. This is the only conclusion consistent with Deuteronomy 14:21 and with the obvious fact that nowhere does God give any laws in the Bible that require people to pour out the blood of animals when they kill them for purposes other than eating them (excepting of course the specific ceremonial requirements for Jews). So Genesis 9:4 is not essentially about blood, but about showing respect for life and its creator.

    This theme of showing respect for life is shown by a number of Bible passages, where people broke a specific prohibition in order to save life, and retained God's approval.As for whether it can be argued that it's good for Christians to give blood when it can save a life, Jesus stated in John 15:13: "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." It seems to me that if a person can properly sacrifice himself for another (which could be claimed to be suicide, which the Bible seems to prohibit), then sacrificing a bit of blood to save a life would be a fine thing -- especially since it's now clear that there are no biblical prohibitions against transfusions. And even if Acts 21 really does prohibit blood transfusions, Jesus argued strongly that it's ok to break certain laws in order to save life -- even the life of an animal (cf. Matthew 12:12). The point here is precisely what Jesus condemned the Pharisees for not understanding: "I desire compassion rather than sacrifice."



  • tenyearsafter

    I would be interested in hearing what Reniaa has to say about AlanF's analysis of the blood issue in the above post...

  • PSacramento

    Thank you Mary and Alanf, great work.

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