Sunday, March 2, 2014

Did the Bible say that the treatment for leprosy is cedar wood, hyssop, scarlet, and two birds?

The inerrant word of God. The medical vs the biblical treatment of leprosy  (Source: Nonsense from the Bible)
From Nonsense from the Bible:
Treatment for multibacillary leprosy consists of rifampicin, dapsone, and clofazimne tane over 12 months.  Since 1993, 15 million people have been cured of leprosy. 
The biblical treatment for leprosy consists of combining cedar wood, hyssop, scarlet, and a living bird and dipping them into the blood of dead bird and sprinking house seven times with the blood.  In the approximately 2500 years since Leviticus was written, not one person has been cured using this method.
Response:

First, we cannot compare the medical knowledge 2,500 years ago with what we have now today.

Second, what they claim as Biblical treatment for leprosy is not a treatment itself but an offering to God after the complete healing:
Purification After Scaly Infection. 1 * The LORD said to Moses: 2 a This is the ritual for someone that had a scaly infection at the time of that person’s purification.b The individual shall be brought to the priest, 3 who is to go outside the camp.c If the priest, upon inspection, finds that the scaly infection has healed in the afflicted person, 4 he shall order that two live, clean birds,* as well as some cedar wood, scarlet yarn, and hyssop be obtained for the one who is to be purified.d
Leper Priest of Molokai: The Father Damien Story
Leper Priest of Molokai: The Father Damien Story
5 * The priest shall then order that one of the birds be slaughtered over an earthen vessel with fresh water in it. 6 Taking the living bird with the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, the priest shall dip them, including the live bird, in the blood of the bird that was slaughtered over the fresh water, 7 and then sprinkle seven times on the person to be purified from the scaly infection. When he has thus purified that person, he shall let the living bird fly away over the countryside.e 8 The person being purified shall then wash his garments, shave off all hair, and bathe in water,* and so become clean. After this the person may come inside the camp, but shall still remain outside his or her tent for seven days. (Lv 8:1-9)
The sentence is clear.  Thus, the claims of Nonsense from the Bible is false.


Third, since leprosy is incurable according to the science known 2,500 years ago by ordinary means, what the Bible proposes as safeguards are actually revolutionary that they are still being used today:
A Disease Apart: Leprosy in the Modern World
A Disease Apart: Leprosy in the Modern World
  1. Close Examination. "When someone has on the skin a mark, lesion, or blotch which appears to develop into a scaly infection, the person shall be brought to Aaron, the priest, or to one of the priests among his sons. 3 If the priest, upon examination of the skin’s infection, finds that the hair on the infection has turned white and the infection itself appears to be deeper than the skin,* it is indeed a scaly infection; the priest, on seeing this, shall declare the person unclean. 4 * If, however, the blotch on the skin is white, but does not seem to be deeper than the skin, nor has the hair turned white, the priest shall quarantine the afflicted person for seven days.* 5 Should the priest, upon examination on the seventh day, find that the infection has remained unchanged in color and has not spread on the skin, the priest shall quarantine the person for another seven days. 6 Should the priest, upon examination again on the seventh day, find that the infection is now faded and has not spread on the skin, the priest shall declare the person clean; it was merely a scab. The person shall wash his garments* and so become clean." (Lv 13:1-8)
  2. Covering your mouth to prevent the spread of infection. "The garments of one afflicted with a scaly infection shall be rent and the hair disheveled,c and the mustache covered.d The individual shall cry out, “Unclean, unclean!” (Lv 13:45)  This is called truth in advertising.
  3. Quarantine. As long as the infection is present, the person shall be unclean. Being unclean, that individual shall dwell apart, taking up residence outside the camp." (Lv 13:46). 
  4. Personal hygiene.  The person being purified shall then wash his garments, shave off all hair, and bathe in water, and so become clean. (Lv 8:9)