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Broken clocks… February 29, 2008

Posted by docgrubb in religion.

[To elicit more comments, I suppose I’ll need to consider either an off-the-wall or a controversial topic.  I’ll try the former first….maybe two of them.]

I read an interesting article yesterday, “Listening to Leviticus”, in the Feb. 27 issue of JAMA.  (I do not belong to the AMA, but get it nonetheless.)  It was by a surgeon, describing his travail over operating on a Jehovah’s Witness who would not accept blood products if needed.  Though not one himself, he researched the subject that was complicating his comfort-zone.  Among several citations, he uses Leviticus 17:10,11: “If anyone of the house of Israel or of aliens who reside among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut that person off from the people.  For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” 

Now, at least for an exegetically-challenged mind like mine, this scripture raises two questions.  One:  since God is changeless, are not the things detestable to Him in the Old Testament still detestable today?  (Were Yorkshiremen of yesteryear sinning with their blood-puddings?)  I’m sure the broader question has been answered many times before, and that, as far as ‘not being under the Law’, there are differences between Temple ordinances, prohibitions, the Decalogue, &c.  I just haven’t learned the definitive answer yet.  But more on today’s focus is question Two:  if the answer to One is ‘yes’, does receiving a transfusion amount to ‘eating’?  (Does it amount to the same disrespect to this ‘life of the creature’ that apparently consuming it does?)  Further, if it does, wouldn’t donating blood be nearly as blameworthy as receiving?  Were my past visits to Hoxworth detestable, God forbid, rather than charitable?  Then additional issues arise: marrow transplants, &c., &c.

I know that the Jehovah’s Witness sect is unorthodox, even non-Christian to the consensus of the universal church.  But “even a broken clock is right twice a day,” they say.  As I get older, I find myself needing to reassess things I hitherto had always accepted without question.  Is this just approaching dotage, or whiffs of eventual wisdom?  I dunno; and please don’t tell me.  But in re: to the preceding questions, I seek your input.

Up next:  Broken clocks II…


1. celeste - January 23, 2010

Do you think it would be okay for them to bank their own blood, or would that be cannibalism?

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