What's Sacred, what's not?
Let's put forth a question here that should provoke some interesting responses. Please feel free to give your thoughts on the matter inasmuch as that is the purpose of these boards.
We (Jehovah's Witnesses) do not accept blood transfusions on the principle that 'blood is sacred'. Of late (relatively so) the acceptance of blood fractions is allowed. (Blood fractions are components of whole blood, just as much as are red cells, white cells, plasma, and a variety of other components which Witnesses ARE NOT allowed to accept.) The argument is made that " ..a serum (antitoxin), such as immune globulin, containing only a tiny fraction of a donor's blood plasma and used to bolster their defense against disease, is not the same as a life-sustaining blood transfusion" (w90 6/1-Questions from readers) Now, in light of the principle in Luke 16:10, how is it justified that if the amount is 'tiny' then i's all right? Where is it written that some parts of the blood are not sacred? Who has the authority to make such an assessment? It this not going 'beyond what is written?
Another point on the matter. I have trouble with the reasoning that went into determining that it was all right to take the blood fractions.
Quote from the same article: "Others have felt that a serum (antitoxin), such as immune globulin, containing only a tiny fraction of a donor's blood plasma and used to bolster their defense against disease, is not the same as a life-sustaining blood transfusion. So their consciences may not forbid them to take immune globulin or similar fractions..." My question is this: Since when does the fact that some persons' conscience allows them to do something make this a matter of conscience for all? Who are those 'others' spoken of here? Was there a poll taken among the brotherhood?
Please give me your ideas on this.
The trouble with any prohibition is where to draw the line, because there are few matters that can be entirely black and white.
Consider the prohibition on alcohol in the United States in the 1920's, implemented by the 18th Amendment. Without knowing how these issues were resolved, how would you deal with these questions:
- [*]Grape juice is non-alcoholic, but may ferment while stored. How do you control how people use grape juice after buying it legally?[*]Listerine became available in the U.S. in 1914. Currently it contains 26.% alcohol, and presumably was similar back then. Is it among the "intoxicating liquors" covered by Prohibition?
A similar problem occurs when multiple prohibitions exist at one time, but one of them changes. If a U.S. official said in 1925 that an action "is just as illegal as the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors," how would someone view the compared action 10 years later, after the repeal of prohibition?
How would early Christians feel about foods containing blood or about fornication after it became clear years later that consuming things sacrificed to idols was only a problem to the degree it stumbled another?
And how should we feel about these comments reviewing the 1987 Conventions in the January 15, 1988 Watchtower, page 8:
After discussing the notable example of David when facing the giant Goliath, the next speaker featured “How Some Have Trusted in Jehovah” in modern times. For instance, 1) there was a sister whose unbelieving husband, with gun in hand, threatened to kill her if she kept going to meetings. 2) Others have demonstrated their trust in Jehovah when told that their life depended on accepting a blood transfusion. 3) Youths have given proof of their trust in Jehovah by resisting pressures to go in for sports or to opt for higher education after completing high school. (enumeration mine)
Certainly, as has been addressed elsewhere, there is no prohibition today on higher education - although this is evidence that there really was one. Also, articles for abused spouses have indicated that dealing with a violently opposed mate is a more complex matter than addressed in the quote.
When told blood is necessary to save one's life, if one believes that that is just a lie and that blood is NEVER needed, then one has no need to trust in God, although his thinking may be fatally flawed. But is one believe that without blood they may indeed die, but that it is the true God's will that they refuse blood, then they really are trusting in Jehovah - to save their life now or to resurrect them for doing good.
But if one lives in an advanced economy and cannot reasonably expect to support themselves and potentially their family without higher education, and they make a decision against higher education, are they trusting Jehovah or testing Jehovah? Some of us, like Jelly, Hume, and myself, thought that we were trusting in Jehovah. Now I feel like I was trusting in men. And yes, dammit, I am bitter that only a number of years into working could I reasonably support myself, and still cannot reasonably support a family.
What about transfusions, then? Two lines of reasoning argue that refusing blood may not be obeying God's will: 1) Regarding transfusions the line is unclear as to what is acceptable and when (e.g. is it wrong to take a substance that would normally only "bolster our defense" is at the time it is actually "life-sustaining"?) 2) There have been other prohibitions / bans / restrictions that have been similarly stated in the past, but have since been removed. This is a difficult subject.
Edited by - Bodhisattva on 10 April 2000 0:21:58
Edited by - Bodhisattva on 10 April 2000 0:23:44
So who else has an opinion on the matter, one way or the other???
Yes, it is a difficult subject. I have posted about this before, its selfish to take blood from the blood banks, but not allowed to give to it. This does not make sense nomatter how hard i pray.
Edited by - claudia on 10 April 2000 19:58:8
Thank you, Bodhisattva and Claudia for your replies. Is there anyone else? Surely someone reading these posts has an opinion. Pro or con we would like to hear it. Everyone here (so far) seems to be reasonable.
So, just a poll, then. Who agrees in full with our stand on blood and fractions?
Abstain from blood means exactly to abstain from blood according to Acts 15 verse 20 How can we not say or justify that all these blood fractions are not from blood? And further more, if you read in Acts in the same verse it mentions to abstain from fornication. So the question comes up, is it ok to commit just a tiny part of what's called fornication without it being called fornication? Doesn't make sense does it?
The faithful slave no doubt had our best interest at heart when they allowed blood fractions, to make our brothers and sisters life easier when coping with emergencies but by even compromising just a tiny bit on this scripture they have created a monumental problem between themselves and Jehovah's view on the sacredness of blood.
The sacredness of blood in the Bible is the correct view. Think of the enormous price that was paid to buy back mankind by Christ shed blood.
I believe when the Bible says no blood it means no blood in any form.
Hello brothers and sisters,
You all gave what I thought to be some thoughtful answers to a most difficult subject that is of utmost interest to me personally. I have a type of anemia that may require a future transfusion as a last resort treatment. Well, that's never going to happen.
I am in agreement with spectromize one-hundred percent. When the Bible says no blood, it means no blood in any form.
This is difficult for me to discuss sometimes, especially when I'm not feeling well-like right now. I am at peace however with my beliefs on the matter. I would be a liar to say that I didn't struggle with the acceptance of fractions. I hope I'll never have to make that choice.
Sorry to hear you're not too well. My wife has a type of anemia called Von Willerbrands which was an issue when she was having both our kids (one cesaerian, one normal).
Luckily everything went OK for us. Hope everything goes OK for you!
I do think that the societies current stance where they are deciding that Jehovah didn't really mean 'blood' when he said 'blood' is a bit untenable and it should be either all or nothing.
I like to believe that IF our ban on blood
transfusions IS scriptural than we should respect it like we respect God's law on blood shed (murder). Nobody seems to object that murder in any way, shape or form is wrong. Why? because it's a law, universally clear and acceptable to all peoples. Our blood stance apparently is not so clear and
acceptable by all people even witnesses. So it should remain purely a matter of personal conscience.BTW this principle should apply to
all doctrine that is unclear in scripture.
As it is I for one would NOT accept a blood
transfusion, ONLY because I could not stand
to hear hundreds of family members
murmuring that I was disfellowshipped for
accepting a blood transfusion. I would
prefer to die on the operating table than to die tortured by gossip.
If Society lifted the blood ban I would
accept it but ONLY as a very last resort.
Martini...who has never needed a pint!
1 Tim 2:9-“ Likewise I desire the women to adorn themselves in well-arranged dress, with modesty and soundness of mind, not with styles of hair braiding and gold or pearls or very expensive garb,” (Peter echoes Paul’s words @ 1Peter 3:3)…and yet the sisters have no problem braiding their hair or wearing gold and pearls and some very expensive outfits. Why is that? The scripture is interpreted, that’s why. It’s interpreted in such a way as to make allowance for things SPECIFICALLY forbidden. Now let’s take another one: 1 Cor 14:33-35 –“As in all the congregations of the holy ones, 34 let the women keep silent in the congregations, for it is not permitted for them to speak, but let them be in subjection, even as the Law says. 35 If, then, they want to learn something, let them question their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in a congregation.” …Again that scripture is violated in every congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the world at every meeting. Why? Interpretation. So why does Acts 15:20 prohibit blood transfusions? Interpretation.
Is the taking of blood (a transfusion is, in effect, a tissue transplant inasmuch as the body does not use it as food but it becomes part of the circulatory system much the same way a transplanted heart [once forbidden but now allowed] becomes part of your body.) really showing disrespect for the blood? How so? If blood is the symbol of life, is not the thing symbolized (life) greater than the symbol (the blood)? Does not the same scripture warn against things ‘polluted by idols’? And yet Paul tells us that an idol is nothing.(1 Cor 8:4) and then he goes on to reason that one would abstain SO AS NOT TO STUMBLE OTHERS. So Paul is qualifying the prohibition against eating things offered to idols. Later on in the tenth chapter, starting with verse 25 he tells Christians to eat and not ask questions. Would all of the meat in a meat market be properly bled? It didn’t matter to Paul. He said to eat without question. That would include eating meat not properly drained of blood. (“Everything” Paul says). Now even in the case where the animal has been properly bled there is still a quantity of blood left in the meat. So if you eat meat you eat blood. So Jehovah clearly makes an exception to his law in allowing us to eat meat. Why not in the matter of a transfusion to save a life? Can ANYONE rightfully take on the responsibility of saying NO, you must die instead, you must allow your child to die in view of how other scriptures are often interpreted? Is there anyone who can honestly say that he knows Jehovah’s mind on this matter? It would have to be someone who is never wrong because Jehovah is never wrong. So someone tells you that it is God’s will that you do NOT take a transplant and then just a few years later tells you that it’s okay now. Do you suppose that one is truly qualified to tell you Jehovah’s mind on the use of blood?
Looking forward to your replies.