Thursday, 7 November 2013

Got Blood?

Not a real Watchtower cover (Obviously)

I was reading some literature from the Jehovah Witnesses. Not sure why I was reading it but I was. The publication is entitled "How Can Blood Save Your Life?". You can read it on the official website, but for some reason there is no PDF download on the website. I found a link for the PDF version through Google.

The basis of the publication is the reasoning, and justification, as to why the Jehovah Witnesses do not accept blood transfusions. The publication starts by reminding everyone that God said you must not eat blood in Genesis 9:3-6. They quote the New International Version.

I always have a problem when the Jehovah Witnesses quote a Bible other than their own. After all they claim their Bible is the best translation of the Holy Scriptures. So why quote another version of the Bible?

"Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind." (NIV, Gen 9:3-6)

"Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for YOU. As in the case of green vegetation, I do give it all to YOU. Only flesh with its soul - its blood - YOU must not eat. And, besides that,YOUR blood of YOUR souls shall I ask back. From the hand of every living creature shall I ask it back; and from the hand of man, from the hand of each one who is his brother, shall I ask back the soul of man. Anyone shedding man’s blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God’s image he made man." (NWT, Gen 9:3-6)

The NIV uses the term lifeblood whereas the NWT uses blood. So the reason for the NIV quote is because it is already instilling the idea that giving blood (lifeblood) is giving your life away. But the bigger problem is that if the Jehovah Witnesses think the NIV version is so good why does their translation not use the same wording? Simple - lifeblood is not in Genesis. Read the oldest manuscripts possible and using correct translation lifeblood is not there. The Jehovah Witnesses should know this because they translated their own Bible. So the NIV version gets used, even though they know it is incorrect, simply to push an idea down your throat from the start. Nothing about life-saving transfusions just eating blood.

Next from the publication comes the classic Jehovah Witness passage from the book of Leviticus - Leviticus 17:10-14. This time quoting the Tanakh (The Jewish Bible) instead of the NWT.

"And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that eateth any manner of blood, I will set My face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel: No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that taketh in hunting any beast or fowl that may be eaten, he shall pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For as to the life of all flesh, the blood thereof is all one with the life thereof; therefore I said unto the children of Israel: Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh; for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof; whosoever eateth it shall be cut off." (Tanakh, Leviticus 17:10-14)

"As for any man of the house of Israel or some alien resident who is residing as an alien in YOUR midst who eats any sort of blood, I shall certainly set my face against the soul that is eating the blood, and I shall indeed cut him off from among his people. For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have put it upon the altar for YOU to make  atonement for YOUR souls, because it is the blood that makes atonement by the soul in it. That is why I have said to the sons of Israel: No soul of YOU must eat blood and no alien resident who is residing as an alien in YOUR midst should eat blood. As for any man of the sons of Israel or some alien resident who is residing as an alien in YOUR midst who in hunting catches a wild beast or a fowl that may be eaten, he must in that case pour its blood out and cover it with dust. For the soul of every sort of flesh is its blood by the soul in it. Consequently I said to the sons of Israel: YOU must not eat the blood of any sort of flesh, because the soul of every sort of flesh is its blood. Anyone eating it will be cut off." (NWT, Leviticus 17:10-14)

Once again the idea that their own translation wasn't good enough is a problem. But the biggest problem is that the publication uses an incorrect translation of the Tanakh. I actually had to check this one out. But the majority of texts of the Tanakh state: "eateth any manner of blood" whereas the publication chose to use the version which fits more to their ideal: "partakes of any blood". Why? Because eating blood is too specific, they need to force the idea that taking blood of any kind is a sin according to God. This idea is proven in the text of the publication, where it goes on to say:

"Yes, the chief reason why they were not to take in blood was, not that it was unhealthy, but it had special meaning to God." (How Can Blood Save Your Life?, page 4)

They were told not to eat blood. Nothing in the Bible quotes used by the Jehovah Witness publication states anything about transfusions.

Moving on to page 5, the Jehovah Witnesses quote yet another Bible rather than their own:

"did no wrong, [and] no treachery was found on his lips." (Knox, 1Peter 2:22)

"He committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth." (NWT, 1Peter 2:22)

The passage is talking about Jesus. The publication then goes on to quote Acts 15:1-21, this time from their own Bible, which ends with:

"but to write them to abstain from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood." (NWT, Acts 15:20)

Read the whole bit. Any Bible will do. The general point is the same in all versions and the point is whether or not the gentiles need to be circumcised or not, after discussion it is not. But, and here is the kicker, Acts 15:21 goes on to say:

"For from ancient times Moses has had in city after city those who preach him, because he is read aloud in the synagogues on every sabbath." (NWT, Acts 15:21)

It is saying the gentiles should follow the law of Moses.Well, they already gave the law of Moses, concerning eating blood, in the Leviticus 17:10-14 quote previously stated. And that particular quote concerns eating blood and nothing whatsoever to do with medical, possibly life-saving, blood transfusions.

On to page 6, which is where I finished reading (more than later). The publication gives proof that transfusions are from ancient times. OK I was being somewhat sarcastic. The two examples given STILL deal with blood being eaten or drunk - nothing about a medical transfusion into the vein. The first is the son of King Esarhaddon who drank blood. The second example is a writing from Tertullian. Yet again no mention of blood transfusions, but to cure epilepsy they would 'take the fresh blood of wicked criminals ... and carry it off to heal their epilepsy.' No mention that the blood was most likely drunk. And definitely no mention that the blood of criminals was only used after 400AD because of a prohibition of gladiatorial combat.

King Esarhaddon was king between 681 - 669BC. Tertullian lived from 160AD to 225AD. Nothing even close to first blood transfusion which took place in 1628.

Why I Stopped Reading

As I mentioned I stopped reading halfway down page 6. Because I already knew where the rest of the publication was going to go. It was going to take one publication that said blood transfusions were bad, and no matter how many publications said the risks of modern blood transfusions were minimal, they would stick with the one publication that supported their non-scriptural doctrine.

Also I started reading something else, concerning blood fractions. And that it was OK for a Jehovah's Witness to accept blood fractions. Actually it is a matter of conscience but you cannot be disfellowshipped for accepting blood fractions. This to me is a loophole and completely ridiculous. The Jehovah's Witnesses cannot donate or accept whole blood but they can accept fractions of blood. Where do they think these fractions they accept come from? And don't even get me started on the number of Jehovah's Witnesses that have dialysis treatment.

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