Monday, July 20, 2009

Jehovah's Witnesses and Blood

Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for their refusal of blood transfusions. But they also will refuse to eat meat that has not been properly bled, or even to use any product, food or otherwise, that contains blood.

What they fail to understand is that blood as used in the Bible is a symbol; it is not sacred, in and of itself. That which it symbolizes, life and redemption, specifically the life and redeeming blood of Christ, are what are sacred.

God saw to it that Israel gave high respect to blood because it was an essential part of His redemptive work, i.e., the shed blood of Jesus. But when the pharisee types get their hands on what God has said there are some strange “rules” that can result.

An example is the Watchtower Society answer to a question I asked in 1979, back when they sent their answers on their letterhead. I asked about the blood seepage into the mouth when a tooth has been pulled. Their answer was that “…a Christian, while he is conscious, would be able to spit out what blood has accumulated in his mouth…” (letter to me dated January 12, 1979).

Another question I asked them regarded the storage of one’s own blood for use in a future operation. This is called an autologous transfusion. Their reply was that it “would be a violation of the Scriptural principles that govern the handling of blood) (letter to me dated September 5, 1977).

This lead to questions regarding the use of kidney dialysis machines which take the blood out of the body, clean it, and put it back into the body. What is the essential difference between this process and an autologous transfusion? The difference, as I understand it, is that the dialysis machine maintains an unbroken flow of blood from the body to the machine and back into the body again. However, what would they say if a nurse pinched the tube?

The Watchtower (2/15/64, pages 127, 128 and 6/15/82, page 31) said that Christians should not knowingly feed, or allow, blood to be fed to animals over which they have control. If this reasoning is followed does a Jehovah’s Witness allow himself to enjoy his back yard in the summer knowing that mosquitoes are going to drink his blood? And what about Jehovah creating such creatures who don’t drain the blood before they eat the flesh? Or, why did He create bloodsucking critters?

But Jehovah’s Witnesses will be glad to know that now there is a kosher sausage they can eat. An enterprising Spaniard came up with a bloodless sausage according to this report…