16 May 2012

Isaac is bleeding

I always thought the story of Abraham and the binding of Isaac was one of the creepiest and most horrifying stories of the many creepy and horrifying stories in the Bible. I mean, think about it. At the behest of some supposed supernatural being, Abraham is prepared to truss his child like an animal and slit his throat:

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
That's messed up. The fact that it was God's funny little joke and Isaac wasn't murdered doesn't really redeem the story.

I think this is so repugnant because it runs counter to humanity's deepest instinct, to love and care for our children. It's appalling to consider that abstract notions regarding the dictates of a probably nonexistent deity can over-ride this fundamental human impulse, to put the life and welfare of your child above all else.

I was musing on this after a recent case I saw in the ER. A young man, barely old enough to drink, well, went out and got drunk, as young men do. He was involved in a dispute of some sort involving drugs and was administered some street justice. He came in to me quite ill indeed. He had stab wounds to the chest and abdomen, as well as an actively bleeding deep cut to the left arm extending up over the deltoid and into zone 3 of the neck. The paramedics reported a large amount of blood loss at the scene, and his arm wound was still bleeding heavily on arrival.

The resuscitation went very well, considering the injuries. He was intubated and thoracostomied in a jiffy, and I tacked together that big arm wound in a temporizing fashion to stanch the blood loss. But clearly, he was going to need to get to the OR pretty soon. His hematocrit dropped dramatically after fluid resuscitation and he was showing signs of shock so we began to prepare for transfusion.

It was around that time that his parents showed up and informed us that the patient was a Jehovah's Witness and would not accept blood products under any circumstances. Even if that meant his death. They were adamant on this point even after I explained that we were not in hypothetical territory any more — that his injuries were quite life-threatening and the blood loss might be the factor that caused him to die. They were firm and well-prepared and even showed us a piece of paper signed by the patient, fairly recently, expressly refusing blood transfusions.

Now I will parenthetically note that this young man was not so observant a Jehovah's Witness that he wouldn't go out and get drunk and use drugs, so I wonder whether he would have been willing to rescind that refusal were it his own life on the line. But he couldn't speak for himself, so I was bound to obey the parents and his expressed wishes.

As it happened, he got lucky. He had a very rough course in the OR and post op. He definitely would have been at less risk and probably would have suffered less disability had he been transfused. Thanks to a very skilled OR team and our hospital's exceptional blood-conservation program, he pulled through.

The parallel between this case and the Genesis story is pretty apparent, I should think. They're both equally abhorrent. I'm more appalled by my experience, actually, since a) it really happened and wasn't some myth of dubious factual provenance and b) the parents who were willing to allow their son to die did so in the context of modern education, societal mores, and with all the tools of moderns medicine at their disposal. Yet they valued some abstract, imaginary fantasy of the afterlife and their idiosyncratic reading of scripture over the real, actual living, breathing son whom they had loved and nurtured for two decades. That's just sick, and it made me feel sick to be complicit in their withholding of care to their son.

Yes, I understand the legal and ethical obligations I am under as a physician, and I obeyed their wishes. But I do not respect them; in fact I hold them in the deepest contempt.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a medical student and we discussed Jehovah's Witnesses in our ethics course. We even had a representative of Jehovah's Witnesses come talk about their beliefs with us.

I want to respect their beliefs but they just seem so arbitrary. One of my classmates asked him about bone marrow transplants (way more invasive than a transfusion!) as there are hematopoetic stem cells that will eventually turn into blood cells. He said it was perfectly fine as it wasn't whole blood. They even accept fractions of blood products but not whole blood...so how does this make sense? It is simply an extremely literal interpretation of the bible that they have held onto for some reason. I forget the exact bible passages he quoted but they were definitely pretty ambiguous.

Necandum said...

A rather more interesting question than whether these beliefs are respectable or reasonable (they're clearly ridiculous) is what this does to our notion of informed consent.
They young man would probably have been told for the last two decades that, among other things, receiving a blood transfusion was evil and would send him to eternal damnation. Would not this then compromise his ability to make an informed decision about what is best for his health, since he has been effectively brainwashed to believe in claptrap and was likely pressured to sign that form by his parents?
The thing that, for me, separates it from other subjective preferences and decisions, is that the foundational premise is flawed and that makes the whole decision tree suspect.
So the dilemma: you need to do what's best for the patient, but the patient has had a recent and prolonged experience that affects their ability to make logical decisions and they are afflicted by delusions. What now?

Anonymous said...

I'm a social worker who’s been in the field for 28 years. I spent 20 years doing CPS investigations of child maltreatment and had a number of cases where the parent’s religious and philosophical beliefs placed children and infants at risk. I recall at least three occasions where I sought court intervention to ensure a child was able to get a transfusion despite the parents’ wishes. On every occasion the judge allowed the transfusion and we would drop our legal action and return legal control of the child back to the parents after the necessary medical intervention. One set of parents thanked me for taking action and making a decision they did not feel they were able to (yea, I know, can't make a decision to save your infant's life). The two other sets of parents certainly looked very appreciative but either because of pride or due to the presence of other church members or family they did not say they were pleased I’d intervened. In another case a teenage boy ended up dying of a cancer that would likely have been successfully treated if a transfusion had been allowed. In that case the teenage boy was refusing treatment as a result of the indoctrination of his grandparent’s where he'd been placed because of the parents drug use. It seems pretty clear to me that once you jump off the deep end with regard to superstitious irrational religious beliefs you’ve been set up to believe in all sorts of non scientific health quackery as well. So when someone believes that hope despite any reliable evidence of any kind are hallmarks of their religious beliefs and world view it should not be a surprise when absurd beliefs in medical quackery follow in addition to superstitious notions about blood.

Susanna King said...

This story actually came up at Sunday School a couple weeks ago. Our rector said that a lot of the cultures around Hebrews did practice child sacrifice, so this story is intended to demonstrate that the Hebrew God doesn't approve of it. It's an interesting perspective, one I hadn't heard before.

Wander said...

Well, "barely" legal to drink still implies he was an adult and signed off on his refusal of lifesaving treatment as a competent adult, so I don't really see why the parents are involved except to enforce their son's wishes. In that, the story differs from Abraham/Isaac, where dad acted as decision maker and willing murderer of his son.

Sure, JW beliefs are bizarre, but then bottom line has to be the patient's right to refuse treatment for any reason. We have no right as a society or practitioner to provide unwanted treatment when advance directives are unambiguous.

PJ Geraghty said...

Classic Family Guy bit about Abraham and Isaac (warning: uncensored f-bomb):

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I am an atheist, having been raised Catholic and not being able to make the audio and the video match up.
It's frightening to consider what lengths some people go to in the practise of their religion. There was a situation here in WA State last summer, where a 12 year old boy was caught in the undertow (in the Pacific Ocean). He was part of a Bible group, and his entire 'class' stood on the beach, watching the boy drown. They "wailed" and 'prayed for God to spare his life'.
A young girl the same age, NOT a member of the bible group, literally risked her life to go out and drag the boy to safety. Did the Bible people thank HER? OH NO. They said it was a 'miracle from God."
It's scary that the people on the beach would have allowed a young boy to drown rather than cross their god. WHo wants such a horrid god? Not me........

Anonymous said...

Regarding Jehovah's Witnesses: my neighbor across the road was dating a man from the JW. (she's Catholic). When his church found out he was seeing a Non-JW...(she is as gentle and moral a soul as Mother Teresa)they shunned him and told him his children would never see him again.
This isn't religion: it's blackmail, extortion, and whatever else you may call it. It's also a very lucrative franchise (and a jealous and narrow minded one.)

VinceRN said...

I hate these cases, and hate even more that our hands are tied in them. In Los Angeles in the '90s I worked at a place that pioneered (at least in that area) blood sparing programs. We had lot's of such cases at we were well publicized in the JW community and it seemed they all wanted treatment there.

I only saw a couple cases where we had to let someone die when we probably would have saved them by giving blood, fortunately neither were young children.

I agree with letting adults sacrifice themselves for their beliefs, no matter how silly, even if I don't like it. However, no one should be allowed to make such a call for another person. In the absence of a legal document signed by the patient beforehand we should be able to use implied consent and save their life. The fact that someone else says they wouldn't want it should mean nothing.

Allowing a child to die because of his or her parents beliefs in absolutely NOT ethical, regardless of what the law says. In these cases legal obligations force us to be unethical.

A child can not give informed consent, can not understand the consequences of such a decision.

The final irritating thing about this is that nothing in their bible actually says anything even closely related transfusions. They interpret a ban on eating animal blood as a ban on life saving transfusion. No other biblical scholar, no Hebrew linguist, no relevant expert at all can get their absurd beliefs out of any of the passages they refer to.

Dianna said...

Is there any reason why no one is mentioning the cons of blood transfusions & the pros of blood alternatives? Also the fact that no one can promise life if they DO accept blood?

Anonymous said...

At a guess, because that's just bullshit Jehovah's Witnesses came up with so they can feel better about themselves.

Anonymous said...

The "cons" of blood transfusion that I have seen put forth by Jehovah's Witnesses are indeed post-facto attempts to justify their beliefs. I am fine with believing in something arbitrary, but just leave it at that. Religious beliefs don't have to make logical sense, just know them for what they are. As for the bone marrow transfusion acceptance, I asked the same thing to a group of JWs that came and spoke with us about this and I was (predictably) confused by their response that it was considered a whole organ transplant and, as such, allowable. Odd to me, as you do at that point have someone else's blood running through your veins.

Alicia said...

I was raised a JW and am very grateful I never believed any of it while growing up (unlike my sister who did and it took awhile for her to leave). I was out of there at eighteen, but as a child I had an emergency surgery when I was twelve (hip), another one a year later, and then two when I was a senior in high school (knee). My orthopedic surgeon was very patient with my parents for the first two surgeries, worked with them to have the other options in case something went wrong, but the whole time I was scared. Not scared of the hip operations really but in case there were complications and I needed blood. My parents insisted I not have, and while the situation never came up, I really have no idea if they would've said yes or no. That's sad, that a child doesn't know if their parents would save them.

When I had my third and fourth operations I begged my surgeon (I was 17) to agree to give me blood if need be. Thankfully, my parents somehow forgot about the "no blood" forms, plus I went on record that I wanted transfusions, did not agree with parents, etc. (For years I'd kept my no-blood card in my room but always took it OUT of my wallet after they did the whole "signing" thing). Those surgeries were so very much less scary.

I knew families who lost their children because they didn't allow blood, but am glad to know some who didn't cave to the doctrine and pressure of the "it's a conscience issue" and gave their children a chance.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

"Is there any reason why no one is mentioning the cons of blood transfusions & the pros of blood alternatives?"
.
The cons of blood transfusion: you could catch a disease. But hey, if teh alternative is certain death, I think most people would consider the risk worthwhile.
.
The pros of blood alternatives: they're not very good. Ressearchers have been trying to come up with alternatives for a long long time, and it's just hard to beat real human blood for oxygen carrying ability, bio-compatibility, etc.

Atalanta said...

So here is an interesting twist.

I'm a no-holds-barred atheist & believer in evolution. I want to be compost when I die.

But.

I would refuse any kind of organ transplant or bionic implants to keep me alive, if my native systems failed. I consider myself a true Darwinist. I'm volunteering that if I'm too weak or infirm; I should be thinned from the herd.

I had birth defect that would have killed me if I tried to carry a pregnancy to term, so I refuse to procreate to pass the defect on. This is very much a personal choice, in line with my beliefs. It's my contribution to counterbalance the "procreate! procreate! GOD NEEDS MOAR BABIES!" mindset of the religious fundies.

Now, I will accept treatment for things, and in fact have had "bits removed" thru modern surgery, but if my heart fails, I'm ok with that, I don't WANT a new one. This has nothing to do with the bible, or any fictional crap, I just don't see the need for "me" to prolonged artifically. I'm not a daVinci, and while friends will miss me, true friends will understand. Just let me give back to the earth when I'm gone.

As far as I'm concerned, the snail darter is more important than the vanities of californians, and I'd rather the Old Growth forests be preserved intact for (your) childrens' childrens' children, rather than become kleenex.

And if your (3x) children want a heart transplant, that's fine too - but when a patient refuses extreme measures, it might come from a place that is NOT god-based, or arbitrary fiction. It might come from their deeply held personal beliefs that they've examined and re-examined over their lifetime.

David said...

If you believe that there's a better life to come after death then refusing a blood transfusion, even if it means senselessly dying, is worth is. At what point though do we intervene on behalf of the children of these lunatics? Adults have a choice in whether they live or die. A child does not.

Liz Heywood said...

Excellent blog. Just found you through Friendly Atheist.

This issue is close to my heart. I was a third generation Christian Scientist. At 13 I contracted osteomyelitis in my knee (though it was undiagosed for 20 years). I had no medical treatment. We prayed. The practioner prayed. I spent a year in bed (in agony), six months in a wheelchair & eighteen months on crutches. My knee fused itself in a bent position (scarred & deformed from mid-thigh to mid-shin) and I figured out how to walk on it.

The emotional damage was much worse. Still, I clung to the religion for another twenty years because to give up a Perfect Healing was to recognize that I'd suffered for nothing--and that my parents were ultimately responsible. Not long after my first child was born I walked (limped) away from Christian Science.

Twenty years of therapy & meds, here I am speaking & writing about it. 38 states still allow parents to choose religion over medicine. This has got to be stopped. The organization Children's Healthcare Is A Legal Duty (CHILD, Inc.) is working hard to overturn these laws. (In a few states there is a religious defense to murder of a child and neglect resulting in death.)

This is CHILD's website: http://childrenshealthcare.org/

I'm looking forward to reading more. My older daughter is a nursing student & volunteer EMT.Oh yeah--and I had my leg amputated five years ago.

arensb said...

The religious right tells us that, say, Catholic pharmacists should be allowed to ignore your prescription for birth control because it's an encroachment upon their religious freedom.

So by the same logic, shouldn't you be allowed to ignore the patient's wish not to have a transfusion?

SimonPure said...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

-Voltaire

Danny Haszard said...

Thanks for posting and creating an awareness of the Jehovah's Witnesses *blood transfusion confusion*.

In 2012 God's will and scripture got nothing to do with the Jehovah's Witnesses position on use of blood products.

It is 100 percent what will play out in a secular court of law as to the parent Watchtower being held liable for deaths.
Most Jehovah's Witnesses rushed to the ER with massive blood loss will scream NO BLOOD right up to their last breath,The shocker is they can NOW have most of the blood components that will pull them through,but they are so indoctrinated that blood is forbidden that they can't comprehend the loopholes.

The Watchtower has drilled and grilled us that our STAND ON BLOOD IS NON NEGOTIABLE.
The loopholes that allow blood usage is to save the Watchtower corporation money from blood death liability suits.

This is a truly evil organization that would sacrifice tens of thousands of men,women,children for the almighty dollar.
The blood products ban has been in force since 1945 the buzz today about it being a *personal conscience matter* and the hope of new medical advances like artificial blood don't undo all those who have past perished.

The New York city based Watchtower sect is concerned foremost with liability lawsuits for wrongful death.They know that if they repeal the ban on *whole* blood transfusion,that it will open the door for legal examination of all the thousands who have died since 1945.
--
Danny Haszard

Unknown said...

@anonymous 5/16 3:11pm

The thing with the 12 year old reminds me of the classic joke of the guy who keeps praying as the waters rise, and refuses offers of help from passing boats and such with 'my G-d will save me.' He dies, and asks G-d why he wasn't saved, and is told "I sent three boats and a helicopter! What more do you want?"


Here, these folk were in the position to save the kid and stood back. I'm boggled. It would be different if one of them were trying to help and the others were praying that he succeed.

Cat's Staff said...

This is where religion reminds me of the Milgram Experiment where people were told they were in an experiment with another person (who was really a confederate) and that they could quit at any time. During the experiment they believed they were shocking the other person in increasing amounts when they got the answers wrong to questions. When the person wanted to quit the authority figure in the white lab coat kept telling them "The experiment requires that you continue", "It is absolutely essential that you continue" and "You have no other choice, you must go on". Many people went to the max voltage, even after it sounded like the person receiving the shocks was unconscious. Most delivered a lethal shock.

Religion doesn't bother telling you going in that you can walk away at any time, but it does tall you that in order for you to get into Heaven/Valhalla/Kolob/Paradise/Moksha/Nirvana/Elysium… you must continue doing exactly what the authority figure in white vestments tells you too.

Many people think repeating the Milgram Experiment would be unethical, but consider it a virtue to keep following the tenants of a religion that has negative consequences for them or the people around them when they could just walk away.

legally immune said...

I don't see the problem. If the patient is a child get a court order and/or treat them against their will as one would any person with a life threatening injury who is in a delusional state.
If they are adults, hell, who cares, give them a Darwin for thinning the herd....

Anonymous said...

Here's a bitter irony to the whole thing. Those who think 'prayer healing' is the only way to go, or like JW's that transfusions not be allowed no matter what, and have lost children or other family members as a result of those beliefs, are also some of the same who are vehemently opposed to abortion & are extremely pro-life, no matter what. They'll fight tooth & nail to do whatever they can to make abortion illegal, to save every single unborn child no matter what because they believe life begins at conception... yet they won't put up the same fight & use every resource available to them to save their own child, if that child becomes seriously ill or injured. Seems like the only decision they're capable of making is that all babies should be born, but when it comes to the question of what to do if their own child is ill, they'll leave it up to God. What a pathetic cop out.

Randall said...

After the Judge's death, as World War II was ending, and persecution against the Witnesses began declining, along with the attendant drop in news-media publicity, Hayden C. Covington told the author that Fred Franz saw the prohibition against blood transfusions as a way to accomplish two things: to continue to publicize the religion, and to create an uproar in the community. This reaction would convince the membership they were being "persecuted" and "suffering for righteousness sake," a sure sign they were "in the truth."

Before the hysteria began over adapting Scriptures pertaining to animal blood and applying them to human blood, the Watch Tower Society had acknowledged these Scriptures pertained to animal blood only: "The law of Jehovah God is against the intermingling of animal matter with any human blood, as it is stated in Leviticus (chapter 17)." This is proof, using their own literature, that the Scriptures in both the Old and the New Testaments, used by the Watch Tower Society in the blood issue, were formerly understood to be references to the improper use of animal blood.

But Woodworth, joined by the unpredictable Fred Franz, thought nothing of applying all animal blood verses to human blood, and especially in the modern life-saving technique of blood transfusions for humans.

The first statement in which the new blood position was implied (that position originated by Woodworth, supported by Fred Franz, joined still later by President Knorr, and still perpetuated today by the Watch Tower leadership) was prepared by Fred Franz and published In the Watchtower of July 1, 1945.

"Seeing, then, that the Most High and Holy God gave plain instructions as to the disposition of blood, in harmony with his everlasting covenant made with Noah and all his descendants; ... therefore it behooves all worshipers of Jehovah who seek eternal life in this new world of righteousness to respect the sanctity of blood and to conform themselves to God's righteous rulings concerning this vital matter." - The Four Presidents of the Watch Tower Society, p. 75

Randall said...

Author Edmond Gruss interviewed Knorr's right-hand man who was beside him for years, and he knew all the hidden policy stories during Knorr’s reign. None of them contradict what some old-timers at Bethel already knew. The Witness Mr. Gruss interviewed formally posted often on the JWD discussion board before he got too ill... Gruss interviewed him just in time. I proofread the book "The Four Presidents" for Gruss right before it was released, and was amazed to find Fred Franz’ motives in developing the blood transfusion doctrine – what a story that is!

If any Witness actually got the point, it would shake them up pretty bad. But it is only one of many similar stories from Rutherford and Knorr’s reign over the Watch Tower organization contained in the book. One would have guessed it was Knorr or Rutherford who were really the worst leaders of all. Evidence now reveals it was Fred Franz, and for all the wrong motives, none of which had anything to do with the Bible!

Fred Franz was responsible for the death of perhaps tens of thousands of JWs, all a sacrifice to increase persecution on the poor Witnesses and keep them reactive in their opposition to the churches and the Red Cross.

Methinks this will be a monumental year.

Randall Watters freeminds.org

Randall said...

Dispelling Myths

1. There is no such thing as a whole blood transfusion except in dire emergencies. White blood cells at least have to be removed, as they are pathogenic.

2. You are not necessarily shunned. Besides, it is usually kept a secret by the elders because it is usually only done in EMERGENCIES. They want you to be SCARED and THINK you will be, because they still like to use double-standards.
If you go into the store and buy whole milk, do you know it is NOT whole milk? When you buy frozen meats and many foods in the store, they are NOT WHOLE. MacDonald's hamburgers were not mostly beef until just recently. Something is always added or taken out. Yet, WE CALL IT MEAT, MILK, LIQUOR, ETC. WITHOUT HESITATION. Are we lying???

Sometimes, but more often we just don't feel it necessary to say all the things that have been done to it. It's tedious to get down to tiny details and unnecessary.

Jehovah's Witnesses take blood. They eat it and they transfuse it. Maybe it's a little fraction, but more often it goes up to 95% of it is human blood with other things added or subtracted.

Randall said...

Watch these three videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/freeminds?feature=mhee
Randy

Anonymous said...

Hello this is awesome.
One of the arguments the Watchtower often come up with it that there are 'alternatives' to blood transfusion - I'd really like to hear from an ER, a clear explanation of the circumstances of when a blood transfusion is necessary and there are no alternatives (I believe this is a class 3 or 4 hemorrhage)
Then I'd like to head the Watchtowers response.
What's it going to be? Let them die?

Anonymous said...

@Randall

How familiar are you with the JWs, exactly? I've been "out" from them for 2 years, but last I heard accepting a blood transfusion is now considered an act of disassociation from the faith.

Hibernia86 said...

If the child is under 18, I say screw the parent's beliefs and do what you think is best medically.

Anonymous said...

FSwe had a child 8 yrs old who had acute myeloid leukemia,thankfully the hospital he was in took the matter of blood to the authorities and he was transfused as and when.I'm no longer a witness and the horror of looking back and knowing our child could have died without a fight chills me' especially with the ever changing evolving world of watchtower doctrine

bsoist said...

"what this does to our notion of informed consent"

Wow, that really got me thinking. I'm a Christian, but one of my biggest problems with people of faith is that many (most?) believe everything (almost everything?) they are told blindly.

Even for a young adult like the young man in this story, has he been really informed or is he brainwashed?

It's a shame.

DiaK said...

Please see, 'When Parents Say No' by Linnard-Palmer. (I was shocked to learn it's not just JWs who want to kill their kids 'for God'). Regarding blood 'factions' From the child of a JW mom who needlessly lost her life to anemia, I learned that if you add up all the factions that are allowed, it adds up to whole blood. JW kids should realize that it's not over when they grow up. Your JW mom might be your 'nearest living relative' for yourself or one day, your own children (their grandchildren). You can take control over this by signing a 'Health-care Power of Attorney' with a trusted friend. What's it really about? CONTROL of innocent or weak-minded people by the sociopathic 'Watchtower Society', mascurading as 'God' to those who believe them. A person of faith knows that children are a gift from God to be loved and protected by their parents.

DiaK said...

(it's in the Bible) ps - Abraham didn't kill his son. God stopped it.

SK said...

If loving and protecting one's children is "natural", then why do so many parents fail to do it? What if these parents simply failed to love their child?

Religion does not make people do things. People choose to believe and choose to retain or modify their beliefs when they come into conflict with other important values.

When people are motivated enough, they find a way to bring their religious (or secular) values into line with what needs to be done. These parents failed to love their child enough to do that. Blame them, not religion.

Like all great human literature, the Bible is full of horror stories. Real stories about the human condition often shock us, that make us think, and call our deepest values into question.

The story of the Binding of Issac is one of those stories. A father has a vision that is more important to him than his own son. And when given a choice between his vision and his son, the father chooses his vision.

Is that story impossible for us to believe? Or does it happen every single day?

Is the story meant to teach us that Abraham was full of faith? Or did Abraham lack faith, believing as he did that G-d would demand such a horrible act?

Or was the story a simple historical lesson, meant to teach the ancient Hebrews that the Jewish G-d did *not* desire human sacrifice?

I guess if you find religion senseless and ridiculous, you do not need to ask such questions. Instead, you will ask those same questions of other great human stories. I, for one, do not see the difference.

Allison said...

I was raised Southern Baptist. The story of the binding of Isaac caused me to leave the church. It's terrible on so many levels.

Lightsleeper said...

If we try to overrule or circumvent these rules, we thwart the slow good work that natural selection can accomplish. Resources are limited. Your frustration does you credit as a humane individual, but the best thing to do is move on to a patient who wants treatment.

Snowbrush said...

If he was old enough to drink, wouldn't that mean that his parents could no longer make decisions on his behalf and that you could have been held liable had you not given him a transfusion?

Anonymous said...

There is a saying:
"Sometimes its better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission." I think this is one of those cases.. and it works on many levels. Of course, if you have the luxury of time then taking the matter to a judge is an option but one that shouldn't be necessary IMHO.

Anonymous said...

If someone hears the voice of God telling him to kill his son, isn't that schizophrenia?

Anonymous said...

I'm going to guess that you're perfectly ok with abortion because that wouldn't be abhorrent killing of one's own child.

Anonymous said...

was given a link to this page by a good friend and colleague of mine, who happens to be an atheist.

a few things to think about. at the time of this incident, Abraham was about 125 years old and a secular historian puts Isaac at about 25, either case his was strong enough to carry the wood for burning to the place where the alter was to be built, that was a 3 day journey by the way. Isn't it reasonable to conclude that Isaac had the strength to fight off an old man? But he didn't, he remained obedient. Apparently neither of them though it a cruel joke as both of them continued loyal to their God and lived a long and blessed life. In fact in the bible, only one person actually sacrificed their son, God himself, and concerning the his son, the bible states that he willingly gave up his life in exchange for many. (John 3:16, Matthew 20:28) Of course this sacrifice wasn't permanent as living a faithful course has everlasting life as a reward, according to the bible. Another thing to think about, My immediate family (4) are all Jehovah's Witnesses; when my sister fell suddenly fell ill, my parents spared no expense, it took multiple surgeries in 2 different countries for her to get better. They had put everything on hold to be with her every step of the way. Like my family, Jehovah Witnesses strive to get the best medical care we possibly can. That doesn't sound like the actions of brainwashed lunatics to me, they make a stand to refuse whole blood based on their examination of scriptures, who's authority, they choose to live by.

Anonymous said...

first of all I would like to comment that the bible is credited by most historians as one of the most reliable records for history. now they can't all be wrong right? second of all God was testing Abraham's commitment to Him because Abraham was starting to put his own son before God. Please get your facts right before you use a text to back up a point. now the people who refused blood for their son were idiots but please do not bring the bible in to make fun of.

Anonymous said...

first of all I would like to comment that the bible is credited by most historians as one of the most reliable records for history. now they can't all be wrong right? second of all God was testing Abraham's commitment to Him because Abraham was starting to put his own son before God. Please get your facts right before you use a text to back up a point. now the people who refused blood for their son were idiots but please do not bring the bible in to make fun of.

Anonymous said...

first of all I would like to comment that the bible is credited by most historians as one of the most reliable records for history. now they can't all be wrong right? second of all God was testing Abraham's commitment to Him because Abraham was starting to put his own son before God. Please get your facts right before you use a text to back up a point. now the people who refused blood for their son were idiots but please do not bring the bible in to make fun of.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to say that the current attitude to the value and care of children has not always been common practice - child sacrifice has been practiced down the centuries, thank fully no more. And the horrific Isaac story is seen as an act against, not for, the practice. And could well not be historical anyway.
Modern medicine has not always enjoyed acceptance easily - even anaesthetics in childbirth were frowned upon until Queen Victoria 'did it'.
The attempt to live out of a worldview which is not current is not limited to the sect in question.