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 Post subject: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:42 pm 
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Alright, I've gotta doozie for y'all.

Had lunch w/ DW, MIL and SIL this afternoon. Over the course of our little Italian lunch buffet the topic turns to abortion. SIL has just recently started attending a Methodist church with her boyfriend. She is pro-choice all the way.

However, MIL steps in. She believes it is okay to have an abortion up to 72 hours into a pregnancy because the fetus does not yet have blood. Sounds a bit bizarre to me. She supposedly gets these teachings from Leviticus 17:11 which reads, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood..." It gets even weirder when she tells us where she got this idea, "Well, I was watching CSI one night and they were talking about abortion and they mentioned this verse and turned to it, and there it was! It was like my eyes were opened."

At that point DW steps in with her Pro-Life view, but has no Scripture or evidence to back it up. Then the attention turns to me, the ex-minister. I hem and haw for a second before laughing at them all going, "...and y'all wonder why I don't want to be a Protestant anymore." We were getting up from the table so that ended the conversation but I kept my wheels turning on why this verse DOES NOT teach that abortions are okay up until 72 hours. I've come up with the following but I'd LOVE some extra advice...

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Last edited by bumble on Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:48 pm 
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Baby puked...I'll finish it up later.

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:49 pm 
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That's an excellent example of finding what you want to find in a verse.

I would say that the root of this kind of bizarre interpretation is the Protestant idea that the Bible is 'clear' and 'easy to understand' so that 'any plow boy' can easily pick up a Bible and find the truth therein...

Trying to convince people that, in fact, the Bible is an inherently difficult book and that to properly understand the Bible requires knowledge and learning and an understanding of its historical and literary context and so forth is hard....in the past I have referred people to a Bible commentary only to be told that 'the Bible doesn't need a commentary' because it is it's own commentary... :roll:

At this point conversation becomes useless and I give up.

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:58 pm 
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Doom wrote:
That's an excellent example of finding what you want to find in a verse.

I would say that the root of this kind of bizarre interpretation is the Protestant idea that the Bible is 'clear' and 'easy to understand' so that 'any plow boy' can easily pick up a Bible and find the truth therein...

Trying to convince people that, in fact, the Bible is an inherently difficult book and that to properly understand the Bible requires knowledge and learning and an understanding of its historical and literary context and so forth is hard....in the past I have referred people to a Bible commentary only to be told that 'the Bible doesn't need a commentary' because it is it's own commentary... :roll:

At this point conversation becomes useless and I give up.

That was more or less why I said what I said to them... this is why I don't want to be Protestant. Here I sit with three women all reading their Bibles on the same topic and coming away with three different readings. Need I say more?

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:00 pm 
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baptist bumble wrote:
Baby puked...I'll finish it up later.

Baby puke does sometimes get in the way of whatever we are doing at the moment. Poor baby. Poor dad.
(sorry, but I am mentally envisioning you jumping up to take care of it and it is scrolling before my mental eyes ...)

L.

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:01 pm 
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baptist bumble wrote:
That was more or less why I said what I said to them... this is why I don't want to be Protestant. Here I sit with three women all reading their Bibles on the same topic and coming away with three different readings. Need I say more?

Oh wow. So MIL & SIL know too - sort of.
Good for you!

L.

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:04 pm 
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baptist bumble wrote:
Doom wrote:
That's an excellent example of finding what you want to find in a verse.

I would say that the root of this kind of bizarre interpretation is the Protestant idea that the Bible is 'clear' and 'easy to understand' so that 'any plow boy' can easily pick up a Bible and find the truth therein...

Trying to convince people that, in fact, the Bible is an inherently difficult book and that to properly understand the Bible requires knowledge and learning and an understanding of its historical and literary context and so forth is hard....in the past I have referred people to a Bible commentary only to be told that 'the Bible doesn't need a commentary' because it is it's own commentary... :roll:

At this point conversation becomes useless and I give up.

That was more or less why I said what I said to them... this is why I don't want to be Protestant. Here I sit with three women all reading their Bibles on the same topic and coming away with three different readings. Need I say more?



Well, that's gonna happen anyway because there are so many passages of scripture that are unclear....the problem is when the readings are not restrained in any way by Church tradition or even by basic principles of hermeneutics but are allowed to fly off into cloudcuckooland....

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:13 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:25 pm 
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Alright, reasons this whole thing is wacky...

#1: And I mean number one... WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND GETS THEIR THEOLOGY FROM PRIMETIME TELEVISION?!?!?!? Seriously. That is the last place you should be going to for insight into theology. Yes you're right, all these Christian pastors, teachers, theologians, saints and laity who have been studying and praying for centuries have missed this point but SOMEHOW CBS got it right? Gimmie a break.

#2: This has never been a majority or even a respectable view amongst Christians in 2,000 years of history. You don't have to be a Catholic to at least appreciate the near unanimous testimony regarding the fact that this verse has never been seen to teach that. Somehow or another all these Christian pastors, teachers, theologians, saints and laity who have been studying and praying for centuries have missed this point but SOMEHOW one lady from Nashville, TN who has never studied the topic for herself in depth sees it on a TV show, turns to it and gets it right. This strains credulity.

On to more constructive arguments...

#3: If you believe this verses teaches that it is not abortion until there is blood delivered to the embryo because "the life is in the blood" then you'd have to similarly say that you don't die until you run out of blood. I think to be consistent you'd have to. How much blood does it take to be alive? One drop? A pint? How much do you have to lose to be dead? You get the picture. If blood is what counts as "life" starting then you can't merely dismiss it and say it has no bearing on the ending of life.

That is why most Christians have taught that life does not begin with receiving blood, but a soul (ensoulment).

#4: Lastly, this verse is taken WAY out of context. The surrounding context reads...
Quote:
8 “And you shall say to them, Any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who boffers a burnt offering or sacrifice 9 and cdoes not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it to the Lord, wthat man shall be cut off from his people.
Laws Against Eating Blood

10 “If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them deats any blood, I will eset my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar gto make atonement for your souls, hfor it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. 12 Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.


The entire chapter is dealing with sacrifices and ceremonial clean and uncleanness. It is not a teaching on abortion, ensoulment or even human life (it speaks of the life of creatures, but not I don't think humans are creatures in Hebrew... am I mistaken???). The blood is "life" in a sacrificial sense, not some sense of "giving life." I also think the blood referred to cannot be human blood for the later part of the verse says " I have given it for you on the altar gto make atonement for your souls." Obviously human blood is not given on an altar for our atonement (of course then there is the rebuttal that Christ's blood WAS given).

There it is... critique away!

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:07 pm 
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I would agree with your last post. The text is being given an interpretation that isn't supported by the context. The blood of any animal has a sort of symbolism of its entire life. When we "bleed out" we die. And the "shedding of blood" means death. Conversely, then, this blood is its life. But, not in a biological sense. Biologically speaking, we could say the same thing about brain cells or liver cells. If I remove the brain and keep all of the blood in the body, the animal is still going to be dead. If I remove its liver it is still going to be dead.

So, there are other body parts that are necessary for life, but from a poetic perspective the blood just happens to have more symbolism that is useful for sacrifice.

But, to say that this verse is then teaching that unless there is blood there is no life is simply foolish. There is no brain at that stage either, and yet, if you remove the brain of an animal it dies. So, if there is no brain at the embryo stage, does that mean it is dead? NO! There isn't supposed to be a brain at that stage! This verse is speaking of a specific stage of development, and in a poetic way about the biological life of the animal.

The blastocyst isn't supposed to have blood. It isn't supposed to have a brain. It isn't supposed to have a liver. But, this has nothing to do with whether it is alive and whether it is human.

FJ

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:08 pm 
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csi also thinks Jesus is the Immaculate Conception...take that for what you will :roll: :wave

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:29 pm 
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Tell your MIL that King David himself said that "there is no god" so why are we worrying about what they bible says about anything anyway? It's every man (and MIL) for himself... uh, herself.

Source: Psalm 14:1.

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:29 am 
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I once listened to my minister - non-denom - teach that abortion was okay until a baby drew breath because of the whole God breathed on him and he became a living soul passage. :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:10 am 
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:shock:

Ok, you're absolutely right here:

Quote:
#1: And I mean number one... WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND GETS THEIR THEOLOGY FROM PRIMETIME TELEVISION?!?!?!? Seriously. That is the last place you should be going to for insight into theology. Yes you're right, all these Christian pastors, teachers, theologians, saints and laity who have been studying and praying for centuries have missed this point but SOMEHOW CBS got it right? Gimmie a break.

#2: This has never been a majority or even a respectable view amongst Christians in 2,000 years of history. You don't have to be a Catholic to at least appreciate the near unanimous testimony regarding the fact that this verse has never been seen to teach that. Somehow or another all these Christian pastors, teachers, theologians, saints and laity who have been studying and praying for centuries have missed this point but SOMEHOW one lady from Nashville, TN who has never studied the topic for herself in depth sees it on a TV show, turns to it and gets it right. This strains credulity.


I think it would have been appropriate for you to literally laugh out loud. Those kinds of comments don't even deserve a reply. There are many verses in Proverbs that talk about fools; these are three of my favorites:

18:2--A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

23:9--Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.

26:4--Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.

But if you felt compelled to support your position with scripture, Psalm 139 and Isaiah 49:1 are right on.


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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:16 am 
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To me life begins at the joining of the ova and sperm. The Catholic's conception to death, seamless garment, respect for life has always seemed to me to be prophetic in view of the advancements that technology can and probably will make in the future. It used to be that babies were not 'viable' until they came out of the womb, now babies as young as 24 weeks, I have heard of, can be kept alive and helped to mature by technological advances in medicine. I would not be surprised if an 8 week old baby is saveable soon. So it behooves us to give as wide a berth for life, in anticipation of a changing future. The wisdom of the church is that its teachings are prophetic in their scope. Look at the teaching on contraception, who knew someday we'd discover that birth control pills change the memory abilities of women, that they are cancerous, and that we would figure out how to use NFP as accurately as we do. Even when we do not understand the teaching, I have always discovered that eventually the reasons make sense, not just at this moment, but eternally.

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:33 pm 
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I suppose I shouldn't point out that #2 was true up until the 1930s concerning contraception as well....

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:15 pm 
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Come Be My Light wrote:
Psalm 51
For I was born a sinner--yes, from the moment my mother conceived me

What translation is that? It reads very funny

Psalm 50 (51 "protestant numbering")

For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:04 pm 
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mea wrote:
I think it would have been appropriate for you to literally laugh out loud. Those kinds of comments don't even deserve a reply.

It was hard not to, and instead I buried my face in my hands and started moaning.

kage_ar wrote:
I once listened to my minister - non-denom - teach that abortion was okay until a baby drew breath because of the whole God breathed on him and he became a living soul passage.

Sadly, so have I. Its a good thing these non-denom guys read their Bibles exegetically and with sincerity or there might end up being a whole lot of different interpretations.

<sorry guys... the sarcastic, slightly irritated bumble is coming out tonight>

Greg wrote:
Tell your MIL that King David himself said that "there is no god" so why are we worrying about what they bible says about anything anyway?

A good point. Ecclesiastes has passages that sound equally as terrifying when taken on their own and out of context.

faithfulservant wrote:
csi also thinks Jesus is the Immaculate Conception...take that for what you will

It's a shame they can't investigate history and actual Catholic terminology with as much precision as they investigate crime scenes.

ForumJunkie wrote:
The blood of any animal has a sort of symbolism of its entire life. When we "bleed out" we die. And the "shedding of blood" means death. Conversely, then, this blood is its life. But, not in a biological sense. Biologically speaking, we could say the same thing about brain cells or liver cells. If I remove the brain and keep all of the blood in the body, the animal is still going to be dead. If I remove its liver it is still going to be dead.

You made some very good points. And I suppose, technically, this verse never, ever says that "the soul is in the blood." So all things considered, if this verse is taken in the manner my MIL took it, the life may be in the blood... but since life cannot exist without all the other things you mentioned (and many, many more) then really the life (in whatever sense it exists in the blood) would exist in those other things as well... more or less rendering her idea even more ridiculous... well... hang, on...

She can't be taking "life" there to be meaning "that which biologically keeps you alive" at all can she? Because even before the blastocyst receives blood there is "something keeping it biologically alive." So she is more-or-less interpreting "life" to mean "ensoulment" even though she doesn't know what ensoulment is. She can't be thinking life means physical life at all, I don't imagine.

Regardless of what she thinks, I agree with you, I take it more symbolically... or perhaps, more accurately, I take it 'ritually.'

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I suppose I shouldn't point out that #2 was true up until the 1930s concerning contraception as well....

I had thought of that. Of course if one kept using that argument, why eventually they'd be consistent and start using it for all kinds of moral and theological topics like the divinity of Christ, efficacy of Baptist, the real presence... oh wait... :wave

Linsou wrote:
Baby puke does sometimes get in the way of whatever we are doing at the moment. Poor baby. Poor dad.
(sorry, but I am mentally envisioning you jumping up to take care of it and it is scrolling before my mental eyes ...)

It was a sight to behold, let me tell you. Me plopping down the computer and cleaning up yak and giving a bath... :)

Linsou wrote:
Oh wow. So MIL & SIL know too - sort of.
Good for you!

Well, sort of. DW blew my cover early on with MIL and honestly I'm not terribly interested in SILs opinion (which is a rotten thing to say, but its the truth) and she might've known already and even if she didn't she doesn't know enough to be overly concerned. However, I am getting that brazen with some of my comments, mostly because I'm tired of taking little comments that are "hits below the belt" once in awhile over this whole thing. How some of you have endured the nasty things said about you and the Catholic faith is admirable. Its all new to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:08 pm 
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Random... on another forum someone suggested this...
Quote:
Conception occurs when a sperm enters a egg & they divide. Here's something to ponder............ if life begins at that point, the next stage is division beyond 8 cells - But here's the thing, 75% of those embryos never divide beyond 8 cells, or implant of ever become a "life" on this planet. So I've often wondered.........when does the soul enter the "body". If its at conception, 75% of those souls bypass life on this earth. Perhaps thats Gods mercy, & we are, in fact, the unlucky ones............

This is a bit off topic, but if ensoulment happens at conception would this commenter be correct? If ensoulment does not happen right at conception, would that pose any challenge to the Catholic teaching against contraception?

sunmumy wrote:
Even when we do not understand the teaching, I have always discovered that eventually the reasons make sense, not just at this moment, but eternally.

In light of my above question, I think this is a helpful reminder.

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 Post subject: Re: Leviticus 17:11 and Abortion
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:21 pm 
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If life is in the blood, then a great many things we currently believe to be alive are in fact not alive. Plants, trees, sponges, coral, perhaps even insects, could be categorized as non-living if that were true.

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