Of all the religions and beliefs in the world, many are known for some sort of controversial practice.
Of course, the controversial practice is only deemed to be so because Christian society does not necessarily agree with the principle behind it. However, an in depth look into that specific belief will educate you as to why the religion in question holds that practice dear. Take Jehovah’s Witnesses and the role of medicine in their lives for example. The medicine doctrine that Jehovah’s Witnesses adhere to has long been debated by outsiders, including the medical community. A little look into the reasons behind it will give you an insight into the faith though.
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept blood transfusions and can actually be expelled from the religion if they do. That law was passed within the religion in 1961, although the law itself is a little complex and can be confusing. Although they cannot accept transfusions, meaning whole blood transfusions, they can they can accept certain substances made from components of the above of red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma or platelets if they so wish.
They cannot store their own blood for use during a medical procedure at all but that is not to say that they cannot choose to have some form of procedure. For example, some individuals will accept dialysis because the blood technically does not leave the body. This is personal choice but some Jehovah’s Witnesses will not accept transfusions no matter what.
A blood transfusion is viewed as a sin on the grounds that the Bible forbids certain usage of the blood in various sections, the first being Genesis 9:3-4 (“Only flesh with its soul-its blood-you must not eat”) and the second being Acts 15:28-29 (“to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication. If YOU carefully keep yourselves from these things, YOU will prosper”), amongst others. As a result of their interpretations of these passages of the Bible, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that the risk of dying is worth going against the Holy Book. As such, they will refuse all blood transfusions for themselves and other family members regardless of age.
The fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses will not sanction blood transfusions on any grounds often makes other medical procedures incredibly difficult to perform. Take surgery for example. If you go into surgery for certain operations then the likelihood that you will need a transfusion is high but a good Jehovah’s Witness will always choose to sign a waiver in advance stipulating that no blood is to be given during surgery no matter what. This ensures that the doctor is not blamed for any complications. Surgery is more risky without the option of a transfusion but some bloodless operating techniques have been developed now that can help to avoid such complications in the future.
Jehovah’s Witnesses accept that this medical practice is at the core of their faith thanks to the teachings of the Bible. As such, they should not be forced in any way to accept blood from others. Although some children have received a transfusion against the wishes of their parents, the fact that the transfusion was refused by the Witnesses means that it is not a sin. As a result, the children do not suffer. Although there are various aspects to the practice, refusing blood remains at the centre of the faith to this day.
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