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