While much attention is given to doctrine in sites such as this, very little is noted about the Watchtower Society’s intellectual dishonesty in its publications, especially when it comes to quotations.
Oftentimes the Society’s writers will cite a scholar or author of some repute: "Professor Blank observes that blah, blah, blah." The reader assumes from the quotation that Professor Blank is in agreement with the organization’s position, of course, and that the quotation chosen accurately depicts the author’s thoughts.
Here’s the catch: The words between the quotation marks may be accurate, but the snippet may not at all faithfully represent someone’s actual thesis or position. Much like a newspaper ad for a movie that quotes a reviewer as saying "Monumental!" when in actuality he has fumed about its stupidity and saying it is "a monumental piece of poo." Just one solitary example for now:
In the Watchtower 10/15/00 Questions from Readers about its policy on blood and blood fractions, there appears a quotation from "Professor Frank Gorman," which reads: "The pouring out of the blood is best understood as an act of reverence that demonstrates respect for the life of the animal and, thus, respect for God, who created and continues to care for that life."
Great quote, huh? It's accurate, every word cited correctly. Sounds like he agrees with the Society’s views on respect for the "sanctity of life," right? You’re impressed, yes? A "professor" buttresses the policy and position, Christians should pour out blood rather than accept it. Lofty language that sanctions the death of a child from "declining" a life-saving infusion of packed red cells as an act of reverence. You’re impressed, right?
Guess what, folks. The Watchtower writer omitted Gorman's very next sentence! And he ignored the preceding material as well. Like to know what the author's true argument is? Here’s the true quotation about pouring out blood, directly from his book, specifics further down.
"IT IS A HUNTING RITUAL THAT IS ENJOINED ON [who?] THE ISRAELITES and is distinct from, but not related to, THE RULINGS ON ISRAEL’S +RITUAL+ ACTIVITY IN RELATION TO THE ALTAR. IN POURING OUT THE BLOOD, THE HUNTER ‘PRESENTS’ THE LIFE OF THE ANIMAL TO YAHWEH." (P. 104)
Hunting ritual? Hel-lo! Did the Watchtower writer just not read that next sentence after the one he quoted? Did he just stop reading one sentence too soon?
Let’s start reading at the subheading that precedes the material from which the W writer took his single sentence. Here’s the accurate quotation: "Verses 13-14 ADDRESS THE QUESTION OF ANIMAL BLOOD IN RELATION TO [now get this, dear reader] HUNTING." (P. 103)
Ooops. The W writer must have missed that sentence too. Let’s go on:
"There is a basic ruling (v. 13) and an explanation for it (v. 14). In the explanatory statement, the association of the life of an animal and its blood connects this unit to the previous one. [see below] The blood of an animal or bird killed for food must be poured out on the ground and covered with earth (v. 13). The explanation follows: ‘because the life of all flesh, its blood is bound up with its life.’ (v. 14). This is a restatement of the notion that the life of an animal is in its blood (vv. 10-12). Yahweh has prohibited the consumption of blood precisely because the life of an animal is in its blood. Any person who eats it will be ‘cut off.’"
Then comes the sentence the Watchtower quoted about pouring out blood as an act of reverence! Now you get the context. And then comes the sentence that IT IS A HUNTING RITUAL enjoined on the ISRAELITES. The author is very clear on this. One would have to be braindead to misunderstand his reasoning.
Do you think the Watchtower writer just didn't read the surrounding material? He read just once sentence without looking at the context? At best the quotation is careless and merely misleading. In reality it badly twists and distorts the truth and gives the thought that an authority, a PROFESSOR (they could have chosen to call him Dr. Gorman) is in agreement with the Society on this sacred blood issue. They want you to believe that true scholars, like "true Christians" (in Watchtowerese), subscribe to this view of blood. Dissenters are just out of step.
Where was the governing body when this deceitful gem was put in the "food at the proper time"? Does this strengthen your faith in a 'faithful slave' that is viewed de facto as infallible?
This kind of dishonesty is a regular practice, of which enlightened readers are well aware, and of which more than a few even in Writing are ashamed. ‘Ah, but we make no pretense at infallibility; we’re imperfect. Just wait on Jehovah to correct matters.’ That's getting very old.
The Society’s current policy on the use of blood and blood fractions is horribly inconsistent and dead wrong--and many in high places know it. The QFR was a transparent attempt to portray the policy in a more favorable light. In so doing they really distorted both the facts and the essence of Professor Gorman’s lucid argument, wanting readers to infer what he does not even imply.
More information for those interested, worth the time it will take to read further: The book is "Leviticus, Divine Presence and Community," Eerdmans, Grand Rapids MI, 1997, a 160-page paperback. It presents the holiness code of Leviticus 17-26 very lucidly; it’s very informative and instructive, "practical for our day." (You will find nothing about blood transfusion prohibition, of course.) Its author is Frank H. Gorman, Jr., Chair of Religious Studies at Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia, a school which is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ.
Gorman sees holiness not as an abstract quality but as "a relational category that comes into being in, by, and through enacted relationships based on justice, integrity, honest, and faithfulness." A comment, then more of his material.
I wonder how Gorman would feel if he knew how his well crafted sentence was lifted out of context? Ethics? Bet he has no idea that what he has written about "justice, integrity, honesty and faithfulness" in the Christian community has been distorted in millions of magazines all over the globe, in scads of languages—in furtherance of a flawed, inconsistent policy that lets children literally die to show respect for life symbolically. Someone ought to write him and ask him what he thinks about the Society’s honesty and faithfulness!
"Unit Three" of Leviticus Chapter 17 is vv. 10-12 and stands at the center of the chapter, according to Gorman. You really ought to read the whole book; I’ll snip for space. "Although the text does not explicitly state that life is sacred or that it belongs to God, it is probable that the priests would have attached sacred significance to the life in the blood…. The blood is not to be consumed because it has a RITUAL [caps mine] use. The reason for this statement, however, forms the crux of the interpretive problem: ‘because the blood, by the life, will expiate. (v. 11c)’" (P. 102)
Gorman notes that "the life of an animal is in its blood, and the blood has been ‘set apart’ to address a wide range of problems having to do with sin, trespass, and impurity. Thus, it is in the expiatory power of the ritual process that is emphasized in this text. The manipulation of the blood [by placing it on the altar, et cetera] effects expiation. THAT IS THE PRIMARY REASON FOR THE BLOOD PROHIBITION. The reason it is effective in ritual is because it is ‘charged’ with the life of the animal. In addition, it is probable that the text prohibits the consumption of blood because the life of the animal is considered sacred." [Caps mine.]
And again: "The blood expiates because of the life that is in it. Emphasis is placed on the ritual use of the life in the blood. The manipulation of the (life in the) blood, **in the context of ritual,** [Gorman’s own parentheses and italics] expiates on behalf of the Israelites.
"Thus it is the expiatory power of the ritual process that is emphasized in this text. The manipulation of the blood effects expiation. That is the primary reason for the blood prohibition." —(P. 102)
I posted this on the old H20 and thought I would redo it in a second airing even though it seemed to be received with a casual ho-hum. How do you feel about such egregious dishonesty?
"Veritas Vos Liberabit"