Well, we finally delved into the blood doctrine part of this chapter and I had questions. Truth is, I was not sure how to broach the questions as I did not want to appear confrontational but he knew that there would be some things I would disagree with. We read paragraph 13 with little push back, then proceeded into paragraph 14. At the end of paragraph fourteen he asked the stock question concerning what should Christians do if a doctor says that a blood transfusion is required, this was where it all started.
“Are you asking me what I think Christians should do or what the paragraph says?” I asked.
Brother Hero started laughing as if he knew I would have a different viewpoint, he then asked me to read the paragraph first and then I could tell him what I thought. Very well, I read the paragraph’s answer where it spoke of alternative treatments then I proceed with my reasoning.
I told him that since the chapter concerned the sanctity of life and that the laws were given to the Israelites, Jews, that I did a little background research on Jewish practices today. I indicated that my curiosity came about due to our speaking about meat and kosher products Jews buy today. I even indicated that the Jews were particular about keeping the law, and told him that I had heard that at Jewish hospitals the elevators stop on every floor on the Sabbath so an orthodox Jew would not have to ‘work’ to press the floor button. Yet, in spite of this, when it came to blood transfusions, life took precedence over the law. If a blood transfusion was medically necessary, they were obliged to take it. I told him about Yom Kippur and how Jews who had medical conditions that could be aggravated by fasting were not permitted to fast during this period, etc..
He and I spoke before about abortions and the scenario where is a mother’s life was in danger should she get the abortion. It was a tough one for either of us to answer but the Jews have an answer according to my research. Life takes precedence over the law and the life of the mother is considered more important. Only three laws could not be broken when a life is at stake, murder, sexual immorality, and idolatry (though at the time I could not remember that last one for him). “It would seem to me,” I said, “that these beliefs operate in harmony with Jehovah’s view about life as we discussed earlier in this chapter.”
He came back by saying that the Jews do not follow the law now, otherwise they would accept Christ. The Jews are not God’s chosen people, in spite of what everyone is saying. Their nation is no more holy than this coffee table (pointing to our coffee table). We can’t go by what the Jews do today, we must go by what Jehovah says we must do. During his little rebuttal, I said, “What about messianic Jews?” I knew I was going out on a flimsy limb with this one because I knew that those Jews aren’t considered Jews at all by the general Jewish population. However, Brother Hero did not know this and he just kept right on ranting about how the Jews are not God’s chosen people anymore and how they should not be relied upon for understand God’s will. I just let it go at that point.
Frankly, as I now reflect on that part of the conversation, I have to admit that his remarks struck me as odd because just before we started the study he reiterated how the JEWS and the Gentiles who were coming into the Christian Congregation TM were in dispute over whether or not the Gentiles should receive circumcision. As you know this was the lead up to him explaining how Paul and Barnabus went to Jerusalem to see the Governing Body TM , who existed at the time, to straighten the matter out leading to the laws that carried over today including abstaining from blood. In case you are wondering, yes he did use those “theocratic terms.” Kind of contradicts his arguments concerning the Jews not being God’s chosen ones (though I know if I had brought that up, he would find a Bible verse to counter it), anyhow…
Moving on, we discussed paragraph fifteen and its attempts to indoctrinate the reader to accept this abstaining from blood transfusions law as divine. After all, you don’t want to displease God for a few meager years in this system of things TM do you? Even at the cost of your everlasting life? Hmmm, aside from my views that salvation cannot be lost by merely committing a ‘sin,’ this struck me as martyr-ism and I indicated this by asking, “So you all believe in being martyrs?”
Quick to dispel that thought, he quickly answered, “No, no, we’re not being martyrs. We’re not like those people over in the middle east who strap bombs on themselves and blow themselves up and all.” He obviously did not get my point and I suppose that he was doing this to quickly dismiss that notion for himself and his grandkid. Perhaps. I do not know his real motives but never-the-less, he was all too quick to denounce that.
We looked up the scripture references in that paragraph and I held my place on John chapter 5 while he continued on about how important it is to abstain from blood and how doctors would sometimes lie to get people to accept blood. That did not sit right with me and I expressed that too by saying, “Um, come on. Why would a doctor lie about something like that?” He gave his experience over how his wife needed to have surgery done and they encountered a doctor who was adamantly opposed to performing it without being able to do a blood transfusion. They were faithful and they found another doctor who would and this doctor told her what to do to get prepared, getting her blood count up, etc.. “That’s wonderful,” I said, “but what about countries where the technology isn’t available for performing ‘bloodless’ surgeries? What should they do?” Again, he took me back to paragraph 15 and reiterated how Christians should take that stand even if it costs them their lives. Great, more martyrism.
I was looking at my Bible (as I had it opened to John 5) and I noticed in the beginning of that chapter it speaks of Jesus breaking the Sabbath. I kindly interrupted his spiel of how doctors try to force transfusions on their patients and his examples of his doctors ‘lying’ and what not and directed him to that passage in scripture. “Jesus breaks the law of the Sabbath to tend to a man’s physical needs, does that not harmonize with what the Jews believe today concerning life being above the law?” He stammers (as he did with some of my other questions) and finally concludes that Jesus is above the law and he freed us from the law. Then he went on to point out the hypocrisy of the Pharisee when Jesus spoke of how they would rescue a sheep that had fallen in a pit on the Sabbath.
Finally, we read paragraph 16, and I recognized the contradiction right away. “They will not eat it in any form. Nor will they accept blood for medical reasons.” After reading that paragraph, I interrupted his continuing blather about the blood and asked, “It says here that ‘they will not eat it in any form’ but I thought you were allowed to have blood fractions?” I think that threw Brother Hero for a loop for his explanations were downright comical.
“Well, how can I explain this, say you we’re not allowed to have milk, but you could eat the cream that is in the milk.”
“So I can have some of the blood then?”
“Well, hang on, let me see. Well, just because you take a shot that has blood in it, there is not much there. It is not like taking a lot of blood in a blood transfusion.”
I then told him that “my wife was RH- and needed a shot during her both her pregnancies. I read up on that and learned that it takes 38 to 40 pints of blood to make one dose.” I agreed that obviously that dose did not contain THAT much blood so it must have been taken apart. “However, don’t blood fractions come from blood?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, I thought it did, where else can it come from and if it did, are we not taking in blood?”
“Well, you see, you know if you take poison it can kill you but if you take just a drop… um, wait a minute. Well, you don’t think a drop of poison is deadly, right?”
“Maybe, but if not could it not make you sick?”
“Um, well, well all I know is that the blood fractions in those needles are not enough, not whole blood.”
“Just a part of blood?”
“Well, we aren’t allowed to take whole blood, but we can take what can amount to just a drop,” he said as he was holding up his pinky to illustrate how much is enough.
“Who determines how much blood is too much blood?” I asked.
“Um, well, um… The doctors! They are the ones who give you the fractions, they’ve already measured it out.”
“I see, the doctors determine what it too much and what is okay,” I responded and he responded, “Right!” I tell you, the sheer lunacy of his comments knows no bounds. The doctor’s cannot be trusted and are lying but those same doctors can be trusted to determine how much blood is acceptable. He obviously knows NOTHING about the blood doctrine. I held back, he did well to hang in there this long so I decided not to plaster him on the walls too much. But I had to ask this, “Okay, if I were to become a Jehovah’s Witness, would I be allowed to donate blood so that its fractions could be used?”
“Because, blood has to be…” he wanted me to fill in the rest so I said.
“Um, poured out onto the ground?”
“Well, uh, yes, but it must be SACRIFICED!” Okay, I am like dumbfounded, does he realize what he is saying?
“So, any blood that comes out of my body must be sacrificed?”
“Well, not entirely, doctor’s can draw blood samples but we cannot donate blood because that blood must be…” leading off again and then he finishes it with, “SACRIFICED!”
“I see, well I guess it does not make sense to me because if I were a witness and I needed blood fractions who else can I get it from? Worldly people?”
“I don’t know,” he said.
Wow, all I got to say is WOW. Well, I have to say the conversation was very interesting. I hope his grandson was taking notes as this was his last week in town. The conversation was actually pleasant overall considering. I was a nervous wreck as I was sure this whole thing would become confrontational and end with him assassinating my character similar to what my wife does. My agreeing with a few of his comments about how things are so much better in God’s kingdom than it is here on Earth, I think, helped him realize that I was not trying to dismiss EVERYTHING he was saying. He talks a lot, that’s for sure, but he stayed relatively on subject in spite of him repeatedly saying that doctor’s sometimes lie and that we must use our common sense judgment when examining things. Funny, I thought I was doing exactly that concerning their reasoning on blood.