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DISSECTING HUMANS USED TO BE BANNED IN THE NAME OF THE BIBLE | 2002-01-05

The creed I was raised on declared my belief in "the resurrection of the body." The Bible refers to the body as the temple of the soul. So for centuries, no matter how desperately medical science might have needed to dissect actual bodies, no one in a Christian country was allowed to do it.

If you look at the depiction of Death in many medieval manuscripts, you will see the results of this ban on dissection. Death was represented as a skeleton, and the skeletons were totally wrong when it came to the hipbones. Neither artists nor doctors had seen real human hipbones, so the picture they had of them were the ones doctors went by.

Can you imagine what effect this crazy idea of the hipbones had on the delivery of babies?

Dissecting human bodies was outlawed throughout most of Christendom until the late nineteenth century. But in the last half of the nineteenth century, all the screaming Bible-thumpers suddenly forgot they had ever opposed human dissection.

The timing was no accident. Medicine made giant leaps forward in the late nineteenth century, and people began to hope that their diseases would be cured by the new science.

Christians began to use the cross as their symbol, but only after they no longer saw that horrible instrument in use. Christians stopped using the Bible to ban dissection when the benefits of medical science became obvious.

In 1800, almost every preacher demanded the outlawing of human dissection. By 1900, almost every preacher advocated human dissection. But the Bible had not changed.