Is the blood doctrine idolatrous?

by Fred Franztone 10 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Fred Franztone
    Fred Franztone

    I'm not a god-fearing individual, but when I was still a believer, many suns ago, it occurred to me that the blood doctrine had an idolatrous foundation; it was one of the initial anti-WT thoughts in my mind that eventually led to me leaving the religion and ultimately (and somewhat ironically) to atheism.

    The bible says that one should 'abstain from blood', and putting aside whether this is a mistranslation of bloodshed (which I've never bought), the WT are quite picky about which commandments they follow; they don't observe the sabbath, and they've even provided justifications for lying, so why the preoccupation with the blood commandment? And why is it so serious a matter that it's a disfellowship-worthy offence? The justification I was always given by elders was that blood is sacred, it's a symbol of life, and whilst the commandment to abstain from blood clearly meant that one shouldn't eat it, it's not unreasonable on the surface to extrapolate it to include transfusions (although some would disagree).

    The problem with this reasoning of course is that by abstaining from blood transfusions, death from massive blood-loss is a possibility, unlike with abstaining from eating it. And so by suggesting that a person potentially sacrifice their life for the sake of maintaining the sanctity of blood, the WT is essentially advising that its followers put the symbol of life ahead of life itself, and putting the symbol of something ahead of what it represents is quite literally idolatry.

    If blood is sacred because life is sacred, then surely life should come first, as in the case of the smoking ban. And in the case of blood transfusions, you're generally better off with one that without, regardless of the risks; all medical procedures involve risk, even a simple anaesthetic presents a threat to life, so the risk-factor is no excuse, not unless the WT bans anaesthetics.


  • Finkelstein

    The justification I was always given by elders was that blood is sacred, it's a symbol of life.

    That is correct as the ancient Hebrews perceived blood as sacred, ie. they made blood sacrifices.

    But the abstention law was a originally a dietary law relating to mostly eating meat from animals and this Kosher way of removing blood from killed animals still goes on to this day.

    There was also situations stated in the bible that certain laws could be broken if someone's life was in peril while on the Sabbath.

    There was no knowledge at the time that blood from one human to another could save a life under certain circumstances. Theoretically blood could still perceived sacred in a blood transfusion since the blood is not taken from a dead human.

    With Jesus's commandment to help the sick, blood is also not digested as a treatment.

    Therefore the no BT doctrines has little ground of viability as even the most Orthodox Jews allow BTs in medical treatment and there are hundreds of Christian based faiths that do not ban BT as well.

    Another screw up by the novice bible theologians running the WTS.

    Unfortunately thousands of JWS have died from this one doctrine alone since the 1940's.

  • TD


    I agree with your take on idolatry, but you should not accept the JW's semantic legerdemain at face value.

    The bible says that one should 'abstain from blood',

    This is actually ungrammatical. (And not exactly what the Bible says either....)

    What, for example do the following phrases mean?

    Abstain from boat

    Abstain from beach

    Abstain from sky

    Abstain from blue

    --They don't mean a damn thing

    The word, "Abstain" is intransitive, which means it cannot take a direct object. When you try to force it, like I did in the above examples, the result is nonsense.

    "Abstain" constructions only work in context.

    If an obstetrician says, "Pregnant women should abstain from alcohol" we would clearly understand it to be a reference to alcoholic beverages. It doesn't mean she can't still use perfume or cosmetics containing alcohol.

    If a dermatologist says, "Persons with sensitive skin should abstain from alcohol" we would clearly understand it to be a reference to the application of alcohol to the skin. It doesn't mean you can't still have a beer.

    Similarly, in the context of a discussion of whether Gentile converts should follow the Law, the Bible says, "Keep abstaining....from blood" which is a clear reference to the eating of blood as forbidden in the Law.

    Transfusion does not fall under the umbrella of this prohibition because it is neither physically nor morally equivalent to eating blood.

  • neat blue dog
    neat blue dog

    Excellent point, they're putting the symbol above the reality. It's also worth noting that blood from a live person isn't really the same principle anyway, that's their fundamental misunderstanding. When they killed or took a life of an animal, they were supposed to 'give it back' by pouring it out on the ground. The blood of a live donor doesn't need to be 'given back'.

  • _Morpheus

    While i agree with your basic premise im not sure id call it idolatrous. It is certainly ill-conceived and flies in the face of everything jesus taught.

    consider: jesus said it was ok to heal a man on the sabbath, breaking a direct law from god about “ working” on that day. He also pointed out that they would save a sheep or a bull that fell into a pit on the sabath, clearly involving work, but the life of the animal called for it. He then added how much more so a mans life.

    But the blood prohibition is some absolute? Never made sense to me and was clearly in contradiction to jesus own teachings.... if you care about that kind of thing.

    Also td’s comments regarding it being a dietrary issues also are in line with logic. It wasnt an available medical practice. It was on the same level as not boiling a kid in its mothers milk, also a dietary restriction jw’s dont care about, along with more than 600 other misaic laws they dont follow. Its all pick and choose with their religion.

  • cofty
    jesus said it was ok to heal a man on the sabbath, breaking a direct law from god about “ working” on that day. - Morph

    Jesus was meticulous about keeping the Law and taught his disciples that they must do likewise. He disagreed with the Pharisees on the interpretation of the Law.

    The law on blood was more than a dietary restriction it was about respect for life. Since no life is surrendered in the donation of blood then transfusions do not contravene the law.

  • Crazyguy

    “Nothing entering into a man can defile him” Jesus.

  • NeedToKnow

    Thank you for your thought. Your point of putting the symbol of life ahead of life itself reminded of the apostle Paul saying the law exists for the sake of men and not men for the sake of the law. The important one in both examples is man and life and not the laws to keep men orderly or the blood that keeps men alive. What good iis a law if there’s no one to benefit from it or blood if there is no body for it to live in?

  • TheWonderofYou

    The number of misused guinea pigs with whom blood substitutes have been tested is large. This happened for a purpose. The only true God who supports scientific progress mostly in this single discipline of biology and medicine uses guinea women an men in the bloodless cult to increase his idol praise. Idolatry yes - for the god who is behind the bloodless industry.

  • Vidiot
    Fred Franztone - "Is the blood doctrine idolatrous?"

    'Course it is.

    But then, the entire JW religion is.

    It idolizes the WTS.

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