The issue of blood and organ transfusions combined with faith can be quite complicated.
Some regard these things as very noble acts, while others see them as unnatural things created to undermine God’s work. Interesting, right?
It is this contrast among people of different beliefs that we are exploring today.
Here is how different religious denominations see blood and organ donations.
Anglican: These two things are accepted by the church. According to Blood banker, this denomination believes in sacrificing for others.
Baptists and the Catholic Church: These two share the same view on these medical procedures. Both see transfusions and donations as an act of charity guaranteed to reduce the pain of others. In 2014, Pope Francis described the act of organ donation as a "testimony of love for our neighbour.” However, he does not encourage organ donation for commercial purposes.
Speaking on his behalf, Rome’s mayor, Ignazio Marino said, “The pope authorized me to say that in his view organ donation through generosity must be encouraged, but the commercial use of organs is immoral.
“We need to explain that donating organs is a gesture of love. Each of us, for example, has two kidneys, and giving one of them to a relative or a person we love is a beautiful gesture. Entering into the spiral of trade and sales is a crime.”
Islam: Muslims are okay with these two things as long as they pass two conditions, the offer must be free and there must be proof of consent from the donor. Also, it must really be of major benefit to the recipient. Helping and saving a human life is a big deal to Muslims so they would never refuse to help if they can.
Years ago, this used to be a taboo for Islam. This belief was eventually changed in 1983 by the Moslem Religious Council.
Jehovah’s Witness: It is common knowledge that this religious group does not believe in donating blood or accepting blood transfusions. For them, this is not a medical issue but a religious one. They believe that avoiding anything that involves blood is both an act of obedience and respect for God.
This belief is based on the following verses; Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:10; Deuteronomy 12:23; Acts 15:28, 29 and Leviticus 17:14.
Genesis 9:4: “But flesh (meat) with…blood…ye shall not eat”
Leviticus 17:12–14: “…No soul of you shall eat blood…whosoever eateth it shall be cut off”
Acts 15:29: “That ye abstain…from blood…”
In an emergency, they opt for doctors to use blood-conservation techniques as opposed to blood transfusions.
This belief is so important that anyone that knowingly receives a blood transfusion is seen as a sinner who longer has eternal life. This tainted person is also shunned by other Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Interestingly, the group is okay with organ donations as long as it involves the cornea, kidney, other tissues and bones. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, the fact that the Bible does not comments directly transplants gives room for individuals to decide.
Lutheran Church: Based on a resolution, made in 1984, members are encouraged to donate because it is “an expression of sacrificial love for a neighbour in need.” Members are also advised to “consider donating and to make any necessary family legal arrangements, including the use of a signed donor card.”
Mormons: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is okay with the donation of organs and tissues.
Seventh-Day Adventist: A lot of people believe that this church is like Jehovah’s Witness when it comes to transfusions. This is quite wrong since the church is fine with it. So fine, that they even have numerous Seventh-day Adventist transplant hospitals.
Shinto or Shintoism: This is a Japanese religion that sees a dead body as a powerful thing, thus taking an organ from it is considered a serious crime. So, any form of donation or transplantation is forbidden.