I Get Mail – Biblical Medicine


When you have a dogmatic religion, you are entirely reliant on the dogma being 100% correct at all times.

If even 0.1% of the dogma is proven to be wrong, it casts doubt on the 99.9% remainder.

That’s why people believe in some daft ideas. Let’s take this piece. Biblical Medicine. If you insist on the divinity of your “god” you must believe that all advice provided is 100% accurate even in the face of progress. So with that in mind let’s demonstrate why the Bible is NOT a medical text.

In numerous instances the Bible contains medical information that far predates man’s actual discoveries of related principles in the field of medicine. The medical instructions given by Moses to the Israelites some 3500 years ago were not only far superior to the practices of contemporary cultures, they also exceeded medical standards practiced as recently as 100 years ago. Where did Moses get this advanced information? Following are some examples of the medical knowledge afforded the Israelites in biblical times:

Bollocks. Israeli healthcare at the period was inferior to Chinese, Indian, Greek, Roman and pretty much every major civilisation. To claim otherwise is “just plain idiotic”. To claim that it’s the reason for the veracity of the Bible is not only idiotic but sets yourself up for disappointment especially when claiming that it exceeds the standards of medical practice 100 years ago.

The main flaw here is how practices in one culture are being painted in a positive light.

Sanitary Practices

For centuries doctors denied the possibility that disease could be transmitted by invisible agents. However, in the late 19th century Louis Pasteur demonstrated in his Germ Theory of Disease that most infectious diseases were caused by microorganisms originating from outside the body. This new understanding of germs and their means of transmission led to improved sanitary standards that resulted in an enormous drop in the mortality rate. Yet these core principles of sanitation were being practiced by the Israelites thousands of years earlier.

Yet your Jehovah never bothered to mention anything about them. Not to mention ancient Jews didn’t take sanitation all that seriously when compared to Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Indians.

The Israelites were instructed to wash themselves and their clothes in running water if they had a bodily discharge, if they came in contact with another person’s discharge, or if they had touched a dead human or animal carcass. They were also instructed to wash any uncovered vessels that were in the vicinity of a dead body, and if a dead carcass touched a vessel it was to be destroyed. Items recovered during war were also to be purified through either fire or running water. In addition, the Israelites were instructed to bury their human waste outside of camp, and to burn the waste of their animals (See Numbers 19:3-22Lev. 11:1-4715:1-33Deut 23:12).

1. Indians, Chinese, Egyptians and Romans used to use boiled water or wine to wash wounds. Because “running” water contains bacteria. And any river near a city is undoubtedly polluted with bacteria from faeces.

2. Indians, Chinese, Egyptians and Romans were fastidiously clean and would regularly take baths. To the tune that Indians would bate twice a day. Most Indians would have considered the laws of the Bible as “insanely unclean”.

3. The cities of Mohanjodaro and Harrapa had something cool in them. Closed Clay Pipes ran throughout the town and ran downhill. These were linked to kitchens and indoor toilets and led to the city pits outside where they were use in the soil. These are the first recorded sewers in the world and their modular and universal construction meant that they are designed to be easily repaired (should a pipe break, they remove the broken section and put a new one in.) Are you honestly telling me that Indians 4500 years ago were able to defaecate in a lavatory in the comfort of their own homes and then “flush” away their waste? Like the Romans did with their public bath-houses where effluent was washed away by the “continuous flush”.

4. Burning the waste of your animals? Seems to me that “Jehovah” doesn’t understand “farming” and the value of animal fertiliser.

5. A few Australian Aborigines used a fungal mud poultice to keep wounds free of bacterial infection. Must be a sign of superior technological development due to their gods! Or you know. People noticed something and did something that gave a positive benefit without realising what it is.

These sanitary practices without question saved countless lives in the Israelite camps by protecting them against infection caused by unseen germs. Meanwhile, their Egyptian peers were dying by the thousands due to “remedies” that almost always consisted of some amount of human or animal dung1. As mentioned earlier, the sound sanitary practices that we take for granted today only began to flourish about a 100 years ago.

Funny how Egyptians built a massive civilisation that built pyramids despite all that and didn’t even bother mentioning the “Mighty Israelites of Jehovah” as a significant world power but did bother mentioning those dudes with the Iron Chariots (AKA the Hittites).

The fact of the matter is that many so called Bible Scholars love portraying the Israelite tribe as some sort of local power when in fact during that period the area that is now Israel was being contended by the Assyrians, the Egyptians and the Hittites. They literally didn’t even mention the locals because they were so interested in each other. You cannot build a society that massive without the medical methodology to keep such a society roughly healthy.

And that’s without looking at the decidedly non “Jehovah” sources of medicine that were Greece, Roman, China and India.

Bacteria

Some time after I wrote these web pages, a Bible skeptic unwittingly showed me yet another example of advanced scientific/medical knowledge in the Bible. He posted a message on a discussion board that ridiculed some verses in Leviticus 13 and 14 that mention leprosy on walls and on garments. He felt this was silly and an error since leprosy is a human disease. What this skeptic was unaware of is the fact that leprosy is a bacteria, a living organism, that certainly can survive on walls and garments! In fact, the Medic-Planet.com encyclopedia notes that leprosy “can survive three weeks or longer outside the human body, such as in dust or on clothing”2. It is no wonder that God commanded the Levitical priests to burn the garments of leprosy victims! (Leviticus 13:52)

Leprosy is an airborne disease. Burning the clothes of a leper is pretty “stupid”. In fact? 99% of humans are immune to leprosy. I am immune. I actually demonstrate to people (I do this for HIV too) that these two diseases aren’t as virulent and scary as you think they are by sharing a cup with a person with leprosy and a person with HIV. I show them that I cannot catch the disease that way.

We keep lepers “away” from people because lepers had a habit of wandering about and spreading the disease making it likely to find that 1% because we forced them about and refused to let them hold jobs.

And if that’s the argument for “the Bible/Torah/Koran” then prepare to be astounded.

The ENTIRE basis for the health benefits of tea come from India and China where Chai/Tea was said to prevent DIARRHOEA. Because of boiled water. It’s why India actually didn’t “get” alcohol in the way that other cultures did since Indians could simply get water to boil and purify when they needed to.

The same Jehovah commanded Levitical priests to torment the Lepers rather than say… set up a leper colony. You know, because Jehovah has terrible bedside manner.

Laws of Quarantine

In the same Med-Planet encyclopedia cited above we read that “It was not until 1873 that leprosy could be shown to be infectious rather than hereditary.”2 Of course God knew this all along, as His laws to Moses reveal (Leviticus 13, 14, 22, Numbers 19:20). His instructions regarding quarantine to prevent the spread of leprosy and other infectious diseases are nothing short of remarkable, considering that this life-saving practice was several thousand years ahead of its time. Infected persons were instructed to isolate themselves outside the camp until healed, and were to shave and wash thoroughly. The priests that administered care were instructed to change their clothes and wash thoroughly after inspecting a plague victim.

One can argue that Jehovah created leprosy…

And quarantine laws in various societies are older than Judaism and are “common sense” laws that we cannot date historically because we see hunter gatherers today who quarantine their sick.

And Leprosy isn’t the disease the law is talking about. It’s talking about the Plague whose quarantine is well known in all civilisations or indeed smallpox.

It should be re-emphasized that the Israelites were the only culture to practice quarantine until the last century, when medical advances finally demonstrated the importance of sanitation and isolation during plagues. The devastating black plague of the 14th century that claimed millions of lives was not broken until the church fathers in Vienna began encouraging the public to start following the guidelines as set forth in the Bible. The promising results in Vienna compelled other cities to follow suit, and the dreaded plague was finally eradicated3.

The oldest recorded statement on Leprosy in any book dates to 2500 BC in the Vedas which also suggests “quarantine”. I don’t see anyone claiming Hinduism is the one true religion.

In fact Leprosy is believed to have originated in India and brought to “the West” via Alexander. Because prior to that there are no “Lepers” mentioned in other books. The Torah itself doesn’t mentione LEPROSY”. In fact the author here probably doesn’t know what leprosy does.

Leviticus 13 is what they are arguing from.

This is a form of Leprosy

To point out something special…

Alexander the Great dates back to 300 BC. Prior to that “leprosy” was just the name for ANY skin disease. The disease we consider TODAY as leprosy would have passed the test. Leprosy’s symptoms are a runny nose; dry scalp; eye problems; raised shallow skin lesions; tubercular lesions; patch lesions; muscle weakness; reddish skin; smooth shiny diffuse thickening of facial skin, ear, and hand; loss of sensation in fingers and toes; thickening of peripheral nerves; and flat nose due to destruction of nasal cartilage. There is also phonation and resonation of sound during speech.

Leprosy doesn’t spread quickly and can take years to get to the stage we would notice it. To claim that leprosy changes in 7 days alone is terrible medicine.

The fact of the matter is that skin disease was more likely to be the plague not leprosy. One of the big diagnostic indicators of leprosy is not the lesions so much as the anaesthesia of peripheral nerves.

So no. It’s woefully incorrect and probably talking about an entirely different disease. Either the Plague or Smallpox.

Let’s take smallpox. While Jehovah was telling people to turf out anyone with smallpox to go live outside their tents, India and China were doing a practice called Variolation. Discovered in India and spread to China the practice of variolation involves the purposeful transfer of smallpox infective material to a health person. This causes a smallpox outbreak that is less severe, more survivable and less scarring. It’s the predecessor for “Vaccination” (from cow or Vacha). And it is an old Hindu religious practice. The practice is more than a 1000 years older than Levite Law by the claim of this site.

And if one remembers, the spread of the Plague was spread along by the destruction of those “evil” animals that are cats. The plague was so effective at killing so many people in Europe because hygiene was poor and people didn’t have any vector control up because they actively sough out and killed “evil” animals such as cats and owls.

India’s rat catcher is sacred.

It’s Snakes.

Many Indians won’t kill snakes and many temples treat them as “important” because snakes keep the plague down by killing rats. In fact with education, people really start treating snakes with respect and rather than kill them they call for animal handlers to come down because they are told that snakes rarely kill humans unless you are clumsy and they are deadlier to mice and rats that spread the plague and eat your crops.

The First Antiseptic

Hyssop oil was charged by God to Moses to be used as a purifying agent. Hyssop oil has been shown to contain 50% antifungal and antibacterial agents (Numbers 19:18Psalm 51:7).

The first anti-septic is hot wine whose use has been listed so universally by so many cultures, the oldest of which shows wine being poured over wounds in Ur. A full 4,000 years prior to Levitic law. Another one that’s more expensive is honey poultices. That’s Egyptian and around 6000 BC since the practice seems to be prevalent in a lot of hunter gatherer culture’s medicine..

In addition? Mushroom and Soil poultices to cure wounds are well known in many cultures and while they run the risk of clostridium tetanii infections they contain fungus which produce anti-bacterial agents which have helped clean wounds.

Circumcision and Blood Clotting

For centuries scholars must have been perplexed by God’s law of circumcision which required the procedure to be performed on the 8th day after birth (Gen 17:12,21:14Lev 12:3Luke 2:21). Medical researchers recently discovered that the two main blood clotting factors, Vitamin K and Prothrombim, reach their highest level in life, about 110% of normal, on the 8th day after birth. These blood clotting agents facilitate rapid healing and greatly reduce the chance of infection. You can verify with any Obstetrician that the 8th day of life is the ideal time for a circumcision, and that any circumcision done earlier requires an injection of Vitamin K supplement.

While the entire rest of the world realised that you shouldn’t cut the skin off the front of the penis.

There is no medical reason to circumcise a healthy penis. Unless you have repeated UTI or Phimosis there is no reason to do so.

And it’s a paediatrician who does the circumcision.

1. Vitamin K doesn’t reach it’s “peak” in 8 days. It takes weeks to get to a healthy stage.

2. The injected vitamin K helps save babies from coagulation errors.

3. Prothrombin increases would cause DIC and the death of a child

Everything here is a lie. Considering traditionally this was done with no anaesthetic and by the equivalent of Mohels?

Dietary Guidelines

By the 1980s, all the health organizations of the United States had adopted low-fat, high fiber dietary guidelines.  This was the culmination of numerous scientific studies that had demonstrated that diets high in vegetables, fruits, and grains reduced the risk of heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases.  Secular physicians generally agree that these dietary guidelines that were producing longer life spans were first developed by religious movements founded in the 1800s, particularly by the Seventh-day Adventists.  Where did the Seventh-day Adventists get their guidelines?   From a meticulous and careful study of the Bible4.  It appears man has finally caught up to the dietary recommendations given by God to the Israelites some 3500 years ago!

You can’t claim that a diet high in vegetables is from Judaic law when there are Hindus, Buddhists and Jains who all eat high fibre, low fat diets thanks to their “religious views”.

The ultimate joke here is that if we were to follow Biblical Guidelines you would end up with an average life expectancy of between 35 to 45 Years. As opposed to nearly 80 in the UK.

And where does the bible imply a low fat high, high fibre diet? I seem to have missed that line saying “no red meat and eggs” and “eat lettuce”.

Comments

  1. hexidecima says

    hmmm, manna must be All-Bran. But then all of those quails, bushels of fatty dark meat birds. Seems like, as always, we have a Christian who is cherry-picking his bible and thus lying.

  2. slc1 says

    While the entire rest of the world realized that you shouldn’t cut the skin off the front of the penis.

    A gross exaggeration as Muslims also practice circumcision.

    And it’s a paediatrician who does the circumcision.

    I can’t speak for the rest of the world but in the US, where at one time 90% of babies were circumcised (it’s now down to 50%), circumcisions not performed by mohels were usually performed in hospitals by interns or 1st year surgical residents.

  3. says

    Although I get the general gist here, a few things bother me. For one, mentioning the Romans, since theylived quite some time after the Isrealites of the Old Testament. Second, the gross lack of citations to back up your claims about Roman/Indian/Chinese abd other (ancient) cultures. At least the Christians know how to reference the Bible! And there’s at least one factual error, since Ur is supposedly (according to Wikipedia) 6000 years old, and therefore doesn’t predate Levitic law by 10,000 years.

  4. lamaria says

    @ slc1: realizing you probably mean well and all that… But it was never 90%. If only because almost half the babies were and are female.

  5. slc1 says

    Re lamaria @ #4

    My mistake, I should have said male babies. And it was around 90% 50 years ago or more. AFAIK, female circumcision has never been practiced in the US (it is illegal in most states).

  6. cuckoo says

    The whole piece is funny but the low-fat, high-fiber diet claim particularly so. Why, yes, every other culture in the eastern Mediterranean at the time and later on didn’t follow that pattern at all.

    Same nonsense in their “Advanced Scientific Knowledge” section.

  7. Ysanne says

    “While the entire rest of the world realized that you shouldn’t cut the skin off the front of the penis.”
    A gross exaggeration as Muslims also practice circumcision.

    Maybe look up the origins of Islam?

    Thanks Avi for this detailed response to biblical medicine bullshit. It pains me to read when peope confuse “not too bad for bunch of bronze-age goat-herding nomads living in the desert” for “divinely inspired to perfection”.

  8. Stacy says

    While the entire rest of the world realized that you shouldn’t cut the skin off the front of the penis.

    A gross exaggeration as Muslims also practice circumcision

    There weren’t any Muslims when the Old Testament was being written.

  9. slc1 says

    Re Stacy @ #8

    There weren’t any Muslims when the Old Testament was being written.

    How does that in any way, shape, form, or regard negate my comment? As we sit here today, Muslims (at least some of the sects of that religion) circumcise their male children. Apparently, they differ from the Jews in that the procedure is performed at 8 years, not 8 days (although, apparently, at least some Muslims have the procedure performed at 4 years; that was the case of the Turkish man in Cologne who took his 4 year old son to a Jewish hospital there, where the surgeon botched the job. This caused a sensation in Germany which led to a court case banning the procedure for minors).

  10. garnetstar says

    it’s amusing when people claim support for their holy book by conveniently ignoring that even ancient people were capable of observing physical phenomena and drawing conclusions from them. Often quite racist, too.

    Africans also practiced quarantine, and in fact, that was how the spread of one of the first Ebola epidemics was controlled. By the village elders following their ancient traditions.

  11. jimroberts says

    > And where does the bible imply a low fat high, high fibre diet? I seem to have missed that line saying “no red meat and eggs” and “eat lettuce”.

    On the contrary: “Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet” – Nehemiah 8:10

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