Here we are at part five of our examination of the Watchtower’s assumptions about blood. (What? You didn’t read the previous parts? Here’s a link to part one.)
Even if you have accepted all of their assumptions thus far, it still doesn’t justify your withholding a blood transfusion from your children or yourself. Why? Because we have a few more important assumptions left to examine, though they’ll go relatively quick.
The Watchtower assumption we’re going to look at here is that Law takes precedence over Life:
We do not want to die. But if we tried to save our present life by breaking God’s law, we would be in danger of losing everlasting life.
— What Does The Bible Really Teach (2005) pp.130-131
To start things off, we’re going to quote the Watchtower yet again. We caught them in a rare moment when their guard was down and they neglected to see how their words contradicted the above statement and ruled out their ban on blood transfusions:
Matthew 12:1-4, NW: “At that season Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath. His disciples got hungry and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. At seeing this the Pharisees said to him: ‘Look! your disciples are doing what it is not lawful to do on the sabbath.’ He said to them: ‘Have you not read what David did when he and the men with him got hungry? How he entered into the house of God and they ate the loaves of presentation, food it was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests only?'”
In these verses and in the ones following Jesus was calling attention to acts of mercy on the sabbath day, that it was perfectly legitimate to render a show of mercy to one who is in need even though it was the sabbath, and that there is, in effect, no violation of the sabbath by such course of action. He had no rebuke for David’s course.
—Watchtower 1952 September 15 p.575
The account that the Watchtower cited from Matthew invokes the rabbinic principle known as pikuach nefesh: saving life overrules God’s law. In the above passage, the Watchtower writers agree with this principle. They acknowledge that “there is, in effect, no violation” of God’s law in the “show of mercy to one who is in need.”
Now let’s imagine the figure of Jesus, just as the Watchtower has represented him above, only this time instead of being out in the grainfields with his apostles, he is sitting at the bedside of a child who has massive internal bleeding. The attending doctor has ordered the nurse to administer blood. Suddenly, in storms the elders from the Watchtower’s Hospital Liaison Committee, with Bibles in hand. “Stop!” they shout, “You are doing what is not lawful!” Based on the above Watchtower passage, what do you honestly suppose Jesus would say to them?
The Watchtower frequently tells us that principles for right conduct can be derived from the Bible. What principle did the Watchtower derive from the Bible in the passage above? It’s obvious that the principle here is: When a law of god’s would cause someone to die, then that law should be broken.
So, even if your Watchtower-belief has somehow managed to survive the peeling of all the previous assumptions, and you still really believe that there is a law of god’s against blood transfusion, the above biblical principle (elucidated for us by the Watchtower, no less) throws the ban out the window and into the trash. Your “no-blood” card and/or “advance directive” should follow (better yet: apply a lit match.)
The Bible and the Watchtower have just made it clear to us that it is “perfectly legitimate to render a show of mercy to one who is in need” even though it breaks the Bible god’s law (such as not working on the Sabbath), “and that there is, in effect, no violation… by such course of action.”
In other words: the biblical principle given by Jesus is one of Life over Law. It is “perfectly legitimate” to break god’s law in order to save life.
You can scratch off the Watchtower’s “Law over Life” assumption, and have a blood transfusion (in any form) if ever you should need one.
Next up: Love over Law.