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Phil Geiger
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 9:39am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

It is said that the difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.The last couple years has not disproved that to me, as least as it applies to stupidity.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 9:43am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

To borrow from our own Paul Gibney, wouldn't it be great if stupidity HURT?
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 10:42am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Stupidity does hurt... just  not usually the practitioner. But that'd be nice. 

I'm not ready to say that there is no God. But I'm also not willing to say that there IS a God. What I say is that there is no evidence that an omniscient, omnipresent, all loving and all protecting creator/caretaker is with us right now, just due to events in the world - from a singular stillbrith to wars of genocide in Africa. And as Mr. Byrne puts it so succinctly, the Old Trifecta.

Evidence of God, throughout human history, can be explained away by men using the concept of God for whatever purposes they require. Everything is explained in human terms, by humans, and not perfectly clear to every single human. In earlier days, people believed in pantheons, ascribing 'most everything to a number of gods. This died out, but mostly due to lack of believers. And I don't think force of arms is the way that God wants to present His path for us.

And on the other hand, I AM human. If there is a divine being, I may not be able to comprehend His plan and purpose. I might simply have to go along saying, "Well, that's how it is. God said it; I believe it; and that settles it." Some day, our descendants might understand, when All has occurred.

But I'll tell you the deciding factor for me. I don't believe that I am stupid and evil. I don't believe that there's a heavenly plan, but that I'm not capable of understanding it, or not able to pass the test of accepting it blindly. I don't believe that I am opposed to the forces of God, and thus by definition evil; I try to avoid doing anything to hurt others. As for "leading them to the path of the Lord" - that's not my job. That's the way of the Lord, and as men cannot be the Lord, nor can they dictate the Lord's intentions, and enforce the Lord's will.

No one can tell me that the word of God is plain when there are so many words of God, and no single one is patently obvious. Anyone who claims to... I wish them well, and I hope their destiny is a grand one. My path is to wander in the dark, trusting in a scientific method, rather than bask in the faith of a campfire... especially when there are so many fires out there.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 10:48am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

What got me (in my teens) was the whole charade about Abraham 'sacrificing' Isaac to prove his loyalty to God. Putting aside the fact that it's a sick story, shouldn't an omnipotent God have known that Abraham was loyal to him? I thought God could see inside our hearts.

There's also the passages about "ask and ye shall receive" (but you must really, really believe). I could do that. This isn't facetious, if I truly believed in the NT God, and that passage, I would, tonight, put out a non-materialistic prayer for every case of cancer to be cured. I would gain nothing material from that, it wouldn't affect me personally, but I'd be willing to do that. Sadly, it wouldn't happen.
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Stephen Churay
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 11:13am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Anybody remember the old Disney cartoon
about the ants and the grasshopper. "Oh,
the world owes me a livin' "
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Stephen Churay
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 11:16am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Can we make this a complete stupidity
thread? I just saw something that's
killing me.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 12:05pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

The Great Lie is that all our suffering is part of God's Plan. Suffering makes us stronger. No pain, no gain, right?

Whatta pal!

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Dale Lerette
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 12:16pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I don't think prayer changes the mind of the Almighty. Prayer mostly seems to bring comfort to those praying. And in seeking that comfort it should also bring them more in line with reality. Many have read James 5:17 for example with the understanding that if you pray really, really, really hard then you can change the mind of God. I think that is actually an incorrect reading and it anthropomorphizes the Almighty too much. An easier reading would simply allow for God to reveal his will to Elijah through prayer. I donít believe prayer changes the mind of God. I believe your mind is changed through prayer.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 12:26pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I remember singing hymns at Sunday School when i was a
kid, a lot of the lyrics were along the lines of `Please
forgive me for being an unworthy wretch`
Even as a kid, i thought to myself `I`m just a kid, a
fairly good kid too`
If god gave us the intelligence to create vaccines, why
would he not want us to use them?
Also, if Jehovah`s Witnesses must not partake of blood,
why are they not all Vegan?
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 12:34pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Dale L.... if I may quote Mr. Jim Morrison:
"When I was back there in Seminary School, there was a person who put forth the proposition that you can petition the lord with prayer.
Petition the lord with prayer.
Petition. The lord. With prayer.

You CANNOT petition the lord with prayer!"
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 12:37pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

 Bill Collins wrote:
Also, if Jehovah`s Witnesses must not partake of blood, why are they not all Vegan?

Good point!

It is beyond bizarre that they have focused on the "abstain from blood" passage whilst ignoring so much else?

Also, isn't suicide against Christian doctrine? Isn't it akin to suicide to refuse a blood transfusion that could save your life? A strong word, I know, but if I refused a blood transfusion, and passed away, wouldn't family say that I chose to die? Wouldn't that be akin to suicide?
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 2:55pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

 if Jehovah`s Witnesses must not partake of blood, 
why are they not all Vegan?
--------------------------------
Presumably because blood has little to do with dairy products?
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 3:18pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Pedantism! Ok vegitarian.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 3:19pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Oh wait, isn't an egg a bird foetus, does it not contain
the blood of life?
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Dale Lerette
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 7:20am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Eric, I actually enjoy listening to The Doors. And I agree with the main thrust of that message. But I would not disparage those who felt they were actually changing God's mind. I would just try to help them to understand more clearly what they are asking for.

Sometimes the requests are unrealistic. And when this is pointed out to them, some will say "All things are possible with God" and they will pray even harder. I just think this is a very negative way to reach out. And I believe they are just needlessly stressing themselves out. Some have fallen into a psychological breakdown going that route. :'(

I think sincere prayer guides the petitioner closer to God's will. And if they think they are changing God's mind then they are in error. It was going to happen all along. I think the 'answer to prayer' is the divine comfort of knowing something will come to pass.

Edited by Dale Lerette on 10 February 2018 at 7:23am
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 9:53am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Dale, I was just quoting some lines that I remembered. I didn't mean it to be much more than that. (When you get to my age, those little memories just pop out like farts... :)

You noted an incorrect reading and an easier reading, and that's where part of my discomfort comes in. I would not object in the least to anything that brings comfort to the bereaved and suffering (again, without hurting anyone else). And I see what you're describing in prayer enlightening the petitioners as to God's will in causing occurrences.

It hurts me when I see a family praying for a member who has cancer. Or for an infant who is premature, or has some birth defect. Or for all those Puerto Ricans who are still suffering without power, water, food, etc. when that situation could be alleviated. Understanding God's intent in these situations doesn't really help the pain, I fear.

And it enrages me when I see, for example, a school shooting, with a dozen dead, and someone saying, "Let us give thanks to God for these five survivors in critical condition." It seems hypocritical to me, even if unintentionally so. And ten times so for those people raised in a culture where every good thing is ascribed to God, and bad things are glossed over.

Again - if it brings relief and comfort, I'm all for it. But I just can't reconcile this. 
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Dale Lerette
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 10:07am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Eric Sofer: Dale, I was just quoting some lines that I remembered. I didn't mean it to be much more than that. (When you get to my age, those little memories just pop out like farts... :)
________________

I was born in the Summer of 69, so I am getting there, too! ;)

And I think your concerns are valid, by the way.

Honestly, I think some people of faith are too quick to speak. And I think they would be better served holding back and listening patiently before they speak.

Even the phrase the 'Meek Shall Inherit the Earth', the word meek in the original document is Greek and it apparently implies one who is able to retaliate yet restrains themselves.

There are some fellow Christians that are quick to anger that I think would be better served to just listen patiently. I've been guilty of this myself.   

Edited by Dale Lerette on 10 February 2018 at 11:57am
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Sergio Saavedra
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 1:13pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

RP: Beliefs aren't consistent.
I mean, why do Jehovah's Witnesses focus on abstaining from blood by refusing blood transfusions? Blood transfusions weren't around then, anyway, so the passages could clearly not have been referring to non-existent blood transfusions.
Yet for some reason, JWs focus on that, which has led to some dying because of not wanting a blood transfusions; yet they do not seem to apply countless other OT/NT rules.
*****************************************
SS: I think what would be inconsistent is accepting blood transfusions. What the Bible commands is "abstain from blood", not just "don't eat/drink blood". Yes, in those times transfusions didn't exist, but anyway, if I introduce blood in my body by any means, I'm not abstaining from blood.
If my doctor tells me to abstain from alcohol, he's probably thinking of drinking alcohol, but if I injected alcohol directly in my veins, I wouldn't be abstaining from it. 
What I mean is, whether you share our believes or not, I think our position is consistent (also, I'm not aware of other NT rules that we don't follow)
************************************

BC: Also, if Jehovah`s Witnesses must not partake of blood, 
why are they not all Vegan?
***********************************
I suppose you say this because meat may contain traces of blood.
The Bible commanded to bleed the animals before  eating. Everybody knows there are traces of blood after bleeding an animal,  but it is enough with that.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 1:26pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I'm amused by vegans and vegetarians who skip over the fact that those salads they're eating, no matter how well scrubbed, are crawling with microscopic animals.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 2:38pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I think what would be inconsistent is accepting blood transfusions. What the Bible commands is "abstain from blood", not just "don't eat/drink blood". Yes, in those times transfusions didn't exist, but anyway, if I introduce blood in my body by any means, I'm not abstaining from blood.

***

Come on! 

Context is everything, my friend. Seriously. Not patronising, but you have to think of context in something like that.

Acts 15:20 states: ""Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood."

There were many pagan practices around that time that involved eating and drinking blood. Acts 15:20 is clearly instructing Christians to abstain from that, NOT from blood transfusions (which wouldn't have been around, anyway).

You cannot take something with historical context, and which pertains to practices at the time, and apply it to a medical procedure that wasn't around back then - and was centuries away. It surely must be logical.

I'm sorry, Sergio, but many biblical passages speak out against suicide. Specifically, passages that suggest our life is in God's hands, not our own, and that suicide, a form of self-murder, is wrong. Well, isn't it suicide to refuse a life-saving blood transfusion? If Christians' lives are supposed to be in God's hands (he giveth, he taketh away), aren't Christians honour-bound to take that life-saving blood transfusion?

I do get passionate about religion as a non-believer. I am astounded that Jehovah's Witnesses have taken something out of its historical context and applied it to a modern, life-saving medical procedure. If man/woman was not meant to receive a blood transfusion, then I'm sure your God would have been specific about that (foresight, etc). The passage I quoted above, which is based on historical context, is not referring to blood transfusions. 
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Sergio Saavedra
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 3:38pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Nowhere in the Bible we find that the reason to abstain from blood was to avoid pagan religious practices. The rule about blood is repeated at different moments throughout history, and in Leviticus 17:4 we learn that blood is considered sacred because it represents life, which belongs to God. That's the reason given.

Obviously, JWs don't want to die, we love life, That's why we have alternative treatments. I've heard loads of times people talking about this issue as if it were always a life-death situation. Actually, I've been a Witness for some decades now and I've never known of one JW who died as a result of rejecting a blood transfusion. I don't mean that there have never been any cases, I mean that the situation is much rarer that people apparently think. 
But anyway, in the Bible there are many examples of people willing to die rather than disobeying God (Christ being a notable example).

Nevertheless, my intention here was not to write an apologia of my religion, just to answer some allusions and express my convition that our position about blood, right or wrong, is not inconsistent, but rather the opposite.


Edited by Sergio Saavedra on 10 February 2018 at 3:39pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 3:58pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Sorry, but I disagree. Look at the historical context. Look at the pagan practices pertaining to blood back then. It's disappointing that JWs will ignore that historical context, and the historical context elsewhere, and apply it to a medical procedure that DID NOT exist in biblical times.

If some believe in God, and that's fine, they do believe that he gave you an intellect and the ability to accept historical context. Look at the practices pertaining to blood back then.

Also, if you believe God created the human race, then you believe he created only four blood types. Four blood types in an entire race? Perhaps believers should consider that four blood types exists so that people can participate in blood transfusions.

And why do JWs ignore so much else from the OT and NT?

I am aware of bloodless alternatives - I might have opted for them, myself, if given the choice - but as for dying after rejecting blood transfusions, well...



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Sergio Saavedra
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Posted: 11 February 2018 at 2:56pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I agree with you on something: historical context (and context of culture in general) is an important element to interpret a text, and it widens our understanding of the details.

But we canít use historical context to contradict something that is already there in the linguistic context. Linguistic context (or co-text) has priority, not only to interpret the Bible, but any written work. In this case, the Bible itself gives the reason to abstain from blood, as I mentioned in my previous post.

And we also must consider the immediate co-text: there was a controversy about circumcision, and the apostles and elders in Jerusalem informed all the congregations that Gentile Christians donít have to get circumcised. And, as a kind of an aside, they mention that they do have to observe other rules of the Mosaic Law, such as abstaining from sexual immorality and blood.

Since they had ruled out circumcision, it was appropriate to remind them that they hadnít ruled out everything. So, I donít think thereís a reason to circumscribe this passage only to obscure pagan rituals about drinking blood in honor of other gods, in which Christians were extremely unlikely to take part anyway.

If you like historical details, you might find interesting that among the ancient practices involving eating and drinking blood there were some medical practices. Here you can see that turtle or doveís blood, and even the blood of a slain gladiator was believed to cure epilepsy.

Yes, blood transfusions didnít exist in Bible times, but the underlying principle applies. For example, Jesus once said, "Return your sword to its place, for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword." (Matthew 26:52). In Roman times there was a group of extremist ďChristiansĒ (Circumcellions) who decided that this maxim wouldn't apply to using clubs; so they sought out social reform and justice, as well as their own martyrdom, by actually provoking fights with others with clubs. Others might think that the principle doesnít apply to guns, since guns weren't around then, anyway. 

That's silly. Jesus is speaking to an underlying principle at work here regarding violence that goes beyond the exact method and/or instrument of violence being employed. 

In the very same way, the underlying principle behind the scriptural prohibition on blood cannot be so easily dismissed by any thoughtful person in regards to blood transfusions merely because the modern procedure is not specifically mentioned in the Bible.

 

When you say that we ignore the OT, I suppose you mean the Mosaic Law, which we understand is not effective after Christ. So, in that sense, you are right. But again, Iím not aware of any NT rules that we ignore.

P.D.I feel this discussion might be out of place here. If you'd like to continue, we may do it in private.



Edited by Sergio Saavedra on 11 February 2018 at 3:00pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 February 2018 at 3:08pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

A religion that is based on vampire ritualism -- leader rises from the dead and compels his followers to drink his blood -- should hardly be twitchy about accepting blood transfusions.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 11 February 2018 at 3:42pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

With respect, Sergio, I don't know how wise it would be to continue it. There comes a time when two people have to agree to disagree.

You have your faith. That's fine. But I know and am 100% convinced that those passages would NOT have been referring to a practice that didn't exist. Christians ignore everything else (OT and NT!), but JWs have fixated on the blood issue. I have read much history, I know about historical context, and I disagree.

Like I said, Christianity disapproves of suicide, yet I think it's suicidal to refuse a life-saving blood transfusion. No JW I have ever spoken to (and they proselytise frequently on doorsteps!) has ever been able to counter that point.

Those passages would NOT have been referring to blood transfusions. And ignoring a physician's instructions to save your life is deciding that you will die. Yet Christians are forever telling me that only God can decide when you die.

Sergio, this is the problem I have with religion as opposed to science. There's never a willingness to re-examine anything. What is stated, even when misinterpreted, is eternal. No amount of evidence - and I could provide even more passages - will change the mind of a religious person. I have nothing against a religious person on a personal level, but I have NEVER known one change their mind on anything; and I have NEVER known one ever say, sincerely, "You may have a point, let me go off and think about this." Religion is dependent on people NOT doing that.

Also, you may want to look up the year in which JWs started refusing blood. It wasn't that long ago in historical terms. 

And receiving a blood transfusion is not the same as digesting blood. Those blood "rules " are specific to a period of time, e.g. commands given to Noah about pouring blood out of animals. There is NO WAY they would apply to modern blood transfusions.

On a final note, and one could post all day about this, do JW women breastfeed? A woman transfuses white blood cells when doing that (I read about that in a Nature journal once). So if JWs are to be consistent with their "no blood" policy, then JW women should refrain from breastfeeding, too.

Where does one draw the line?
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