Blood Ban Not Going Away Anytime Soon

by baldeagle 38 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • Fisherman

    My only agenda is finding the truth. DD

    How does your post vis-à-vis wt debunk 607?

    Also, have you even read "Gentile Times Reconsidered"?

    How does GTR invalidate 607?


    Do some research on the nu-light concerning the "Evil Slave." Once you know where the WTBTS got their "spirit-directed" nu-light, ask yourself if you can trust anything they teach?

    Then do some research about GTR. Find out what happened to an objective researcher when they pointed out errors in the GB's "spirit-directed" dogma.


  • Fisherman

    Invoking an incomplete predicate apart from the context that completes and presenting it as a complete thought is not even honest.

    What do you mean?

  • TD
    What do you mean?

    Complete thoughts require a transfer of action between subject and object.

    --Simple example:

    John caught a fish.

    "John" is the subject. (Nominative) "Fish" is the direct object. (Accusative) "Caught" is a finite verb describing the action that occurred between the two.

    This is a basic and fundamental building block of language:

    John fing einem fisch.

    John a attrapé un poisson.

    John cogió un pescado.

    John έπιασε ένα ψάρι

    In English, "Abstain" is intransitive, which means it neither takes a direct object nor transfers action from subject to object. "Abstain" and its synonyms actually negate action. The fundamental meaning is, " keep or prevent oneself from doing or saying something..."

    --Simple example:

    John abstained from catching fish.

    This is one of many ways in English that we could convey the idea that John did not catch fish. The negated action is clearly understood and the thought is therefore complete.

    Removing the finite verb breaks the transference of action and renders the sentence incomplete:

    John abstained from fish

    This is not a complete thought. We know from this statement that there is something that John didn't do in connection with fish, but we do not know what that was. The best that we as the audience can do in this case is to attempt to "fill in the blank" based on the surrounding context.

    Greg Stafford, who vigorously defended the JW's (Right up until they turned on him...) summarized the issue vis-à-vis the Apostolic Decree thus:

    "In reading the command to "abstain...from blood" it is clear that something is missing: a verb. The Decree does not come right out and say, "abstain from drinking or eating blood." Yet a verb of some kind is needed to complete the thought. For example, if I were to say, "abstain from paint" it might be understood from the context of my statement that I am referring to "inhaling" paint due to its noxious and possibly lethal effect. Or, I might be referring to "touching" paint as it could ruin your new suit! Of course, I would probably phrase my statement a bit differently, perhaps not using "abstain" at all. But I am using it here to illustrate how a verb is needed to complete the thought, and how this verb could and would be understood from the context of the discussion."

    As you're almost certainly aware, Ancient Greek was a highly inflected language and this richness allowed for nuances in sentence structure and word order that are not possible in English.

    The infinitive use of the middle voice: "άπέχεσθαι....και αίματος" was a common way in Ancient Greek to indicate the continuation of an existing restriction. (I have some examples from non-biblical Greek literature if you're interested, but it's frankly a pain to do Greek characters on this forum, so I'm not doing it on a holiday morning if that's okay.)

    In this regard, the NWT is absolutely spot on. -One of the best literal translations of the Decree I've ever run across:

    "To keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality." (v. 29)

    "To keep abstaining..." captures both the infinitive and the middle voice, leaving the reader in no doubt about the nature of the abstentions. (i.e. That they were clearly understood and already in effect at the time.)

    In contexts other than transfusion, this is openly acknowledged in your literature. For example, the JW Bible Encyclopedia, Insight On The Scriptures in the article Paul, under the subheading Circumcision Issue states:

    "The decision then made was that circumcision was not required for Gentile believers, but that they should keep free from idolatry, from eating and drinking of blood, and from sexual immorality."

    However it is not uncommon at all for JW writers to forget themselves and invoke the partial predicate, "Abstain from...blood" as an independent construction:

    “Because we listen to God when he says to ‘abstain from blood,’ we do not allow blood to be transfused into our bodies.” [W97 1/15 p. 21]

    “Jehovah’s Witnesses take seriously the Bible’s command to ‘abstain from blood’ and therefore refuse blood transfusions.” [W90 5/15 p. 23]

    “Jehovah’s Witnesses decline blood transfusions for religious reasons. ‘Abstain from blood,’ the Bible commands [W80 10/15 p. 21]

    This usage conveys the idea of a simple command directly applicable to transfusion but only at the expense of requiring the reader to definitely tie an intransitive verb to a direct object, which is an ungrammatical concept for the reasons I've explained.

    If Jehovah's Witnesses sincerely believe that transfusion medicine violates the principles upon which the biblical injunctions against eating blood were based on, that's fine. Greg Stafford's proposed solution (Which was also endorsed by Rolf Furuli if I'm not mistaken) was that the incomplete wording of the Decree was deliberate so that future generations could reinterpret it as the need arose. I don't agree with that idea, but I can at least respect it for its honesty.

    But to teach potential converts that the Bible directly forbids transfusion via a simple and direct command is ignorant at best and dishonest at worse. In the video linked to by the OP, our young speaker commits this error via semantic legerdemain, which strongly suggests the latter of the two possibilities, as it bespeaks a knowledge of the aforementioned issues and a deliberate evasion of the responsibility of dealing with them. (I understand that he was probably reading from an outline, so the subterfuge may not be his own...)

    My definition of "abstain" and its synonyms was taken from The American Heritage Dictionary, 2000 edition, p. 1468., which you can check for yourself.

    Our young speaker states: "Now that word abstain means in one dictionary, 'To choose not to have something.'" No reference is given, but we don't need one to know that this is incomplete definition. (Or possibly taken from a children's dictionary.) The implication is that, "abstain" would cover any action through which possession is derived, which is a slight improvement on the three quotes I gave above, but still conveys the idea of abstinence from a physical object.

    He then draws a comparison between blood and a simple compound (Aspirin in this case) which is a time-worn logical fallacy that has been deconstructed many times on this forum. Football star, Walter Payton, for example, suffered from a rare liver disorder (Primary sclerosing cholangitis) and in the closing months of his life was strictly instructed to abstain from meat. No sane person would suggest that this injunction would have precluded a liver transplant.

    Similarly, when blood is eaten, it is broken down and destroyed by the digestive system. When blood is transfused, it retains its form and resumes its function in the body of the recipient and in that respect is actually a form of tissue transplant. Comparisons to simple compounds which are broken down and metabolized by the body regardless of the method of egress are therefore false analogies.

  • Fisherman

    "In reading the command to "abstain...from blood" it is clear that something is missing: a verb. The Decree does not come right out and say, "abstain from drinking or eating blood." Yet a verb of some kind is needed to complete the thought.

    TD thank you for your gracious reply to my question.

    'Twas in 1990 at the Pure Language convention that wt discussed the verb or act (any action done) connected to 'abstain' in the related verse in Acts penned by legerdemain, cool hand... Luke, the beloved physician and author of said book. Funny that today doctors use the same figure of speech.

  • Fisherman

    The NWT in not dishonest when it conveys the interpretation: not only eating blood which is at the very least what the author meant, but also all other acts connected to blood : all unauthorized use of blood. Including blood transfusions which is a WT interpretation of what eating can also mean in addition to consuming blood orally.

    But because the author does not state clearly and distinctly what that action is connected to blood, the reader must conclude for himself. Perhaps the author wants the reader to conclude that it is a Biblical axiom that any unauthorized use of blood is prohibited and that is why he left out the verb. (But that would also include using blood for scientific research, antivenom, vaccines and derivative use.) One thing for sure, not eating blood is enjoined.

  • TD


    The NWT in not dishonest when it conveys the interpretation

    As far as the Decree is concerned, the NWT is very honest. "Absolutely spot on" was the term I used above.

    Unfortunately, the vast majority of JW's (Including our young speaker) skip over the word, "keep" as if it didn't exist and completely fail to grasp its relationship to the Greek text.

    'Twas in 1990 at the Pure Language convention that wt discussed the verb or act (any action done)

    I recorded much of the Pure Language convention and have it still today. I don't remember this discussion, but as they say, memory is the second thing to go.

    I would however point out that the JW parent organization has given written guidance to JW's working in hospitals, med-labs and other occupations that involve the use and handling of blood that clearly contradict the idea that any action done would be prohibited.

  • Fisherman
    organization has given written guidance to JW's working in hospitals, med-labs and other occupations that involve the use and handling of blood that clearly contradict the idea that any action done would be prohibited.

    Mishnaic law teaches that a servant's hand is an extension of his master's, and a JW doing his job can do his assigned job for his employer, ask for another job, or quit; if he was in control of the situation he must act accordingly: like if it involved stealing or participating in christmas. I am sure you are aware that JW doctors can administer blood to non JW. So, in the case of handling blood for an employer, he is acting in an extensional capacity.

  • TD


    The idea that the Decree's prohibition regarding blood covers "any action done" fails at every level I can think of.

    In no particular order:

    Medicine The JW parent organization openly acknowledges that preparations and procedures deemed to be matters of conscience involve the use of blood. To illustrate, the March 1, 1989 issue of The Watchtower described intraoperative autotransfusion explicitly as an "autologous blood use."

    "A final example of autologous blood use involves recovering and reusing blood during surgery. Equipment is used to aspirate blood from the wound, pump it out through a filter (to remove clots or debris) or a centrifuge (to eliminate fluids), and then direct it back into the patient. " (Emphasis mine)

    The previous two examples of "autologous blood use" in the captioned article were isovolemic hemodilution and predonation. So here we had three autologous uses of blood, two of which were matters of conscience and one of which was not. Clearly some uses of blood are distinguishable from others.

    This is apparent in other areas as well. The August 8, 1993 issue of Awake! explicitly acknowledges that allogenic blood is used in the production of the hepatitis B vaccine:

    "One other active immunization deserves attention because it is the only active immunization made from blood. It is a hepatitis-B vaccine called Heptavax-B." (Emphasis mine)

    After years of denial, the October 1, 1994 issue of The Watchtower finally acknowledged that blood products are used in the production of childhood immunizations:

    "Many find this noteworthy, since some vaccines that are not prepared from blood may contain a relatively small amount of plasma albumin that was used or added to stabilize the ingredients in the preparation."

    Examples would include MMR II, MUMPSVAX, ATTENUVAX and MURAVAX II by Merck & Co. The growth mediums for these vaccines (e.g. Medium 199, MEM, etc) typically contain both human albumin and fetal bovine serum. Additionally the vaccines themselves contain human albumin as an adjuvant or excipient. Other examples of this include VARIVAX and VAQTA, also by Merck & Co., EOLARIX, INFANRIX, and GLAXO by SmithKline Beecham, PENTACEL by Aventis Pasteur, and Connaught Laboratories IPV just to name a few. The acceptance of some of these vaccines is virtually unavoidable in modern society.

    Since the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses does indeed recognize that some uses of blood can legitimately be distinguished from others, it would be both inconsistent and hypocritical (In day to day life) to claim that the Decree was prohibitive of, "any action done" with blood. The simple act of drawing blood for a routine annual physical would be prohibited under that rubric.

    Interpretation I'm going to re-quote the summary of the Decree given in the JW Bible Encyclopedia:

    "The decision then made was that circumcision was not required for Gentile believers, but that they should keep free from idolatry, from eating and drinking of blood, and from sexual immorality."

    Note how the abstention from, "things sacrificed to idols" is condensed into the finite act of idolatry. For believers, this is necessary to harmonize the Decree with the more emancipated view expressed by Paul at 1 Corinthians 8. Since the Decree contains four dependent clauses all tied to the exact same verb construct, it would be inconsistent to switch horses in midstream via the claim that every conceivable act is prohibited in one instance, but only a single finite act is prohibited in another. That's not interpretation; that's special pleading. Definitions don't change in the middle of a sentence.

    Definition I'm going to re-quote the explanation of "abstain" and its synonyms given in The American Heritage Dictionary:

    "Synonyms refrain, abstain, forbear These verbs mean to keep or prevent oneself from doing or saying something: refrained from commenting; abstained from smoking; can't forbear criticizing them"

    Note that the pronoun here is, "something." (As opposed to everything) This specificity is how the word actually works as a part speech.

    -Simple example

    "At the last Memorial, everyone abstained from the emblems."

    At the JW Memorial observance, everyone in the audience momentarily has the emblems in their possession and in that instant, gets to decide what they will do with them. (i.e. Either to partake or pass them on.) Abstinence is more specific than the simple act of possession. If we wanted to tell someone that they may not "have" something in any way, shape or form, we would not use a situation specific term, like "abstain" to do it.

    Grammar The idea that abstinence would include "any action done" is a simply a repackaging of the same ungrammatical notion I've explained at length above. There is no such thing as abstinence from a physical object.

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