Thursday, June 09, 2005

Challenging Stigmata: A NEW theory on the Death of Jesus attempts to equate flying to crucifixion

Challenging Stigmata? A NEW theory on the Death of Jesus.

My title is much more interesting than what Yahoo! put up. Apparently a doctor in Haifa, Isreal, will circulate his theory that Jesus died of a pulmonary embolism, running against traditional asphyxiation and the wounds causing his death. Interestingly, this doctor promotes this theory to bring education to the public about pulmonary embolism and flying ... that's right, flying.

Let's make this connection shall we?(yes, pun intended, sue me) According to the good doctor, "It is known that the common cause of death in the setting of multiple trauma, immobilization and dehydration is pulmonary embolism," wrote Brenner in Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. "This fits well with Jesus' condition and actually was in all likelihood the major cause of death of crucified victims." The doctor went on to cite JAMA's 1986 paper on the probably cause of death according to scholars and the new testament. "That paper found that before his crucifixion, Jesus went 12 hours without food or water, was under emotional stress, was beaten and forced to walk to the crucifixion site carrying the heavy cross beam of the cross on which he was crucified. He also was scourged before being nailed to the cross, leading to some blood loss." If we break these down into components, let's see what the doctor was getting at:

  1. Trauma

  2. Trauma again, perhaps emotional

  3. Immobilization

  4. Dehydration

  5. Blood loss

Now, the question is, how do these line up with flying? This is SO going to piss off the airlines if someone can actually equate flying to being crucified. The distinction probably lies in the whole death thing and collapsing lungs. I'm just saying. Let's look at flying for a second:

  1. Trauma: packing and lugging around baggage is probably a physical trauma of sorts for an average person, particularly if they are traveling for an extended period of time. Flyers are usually anxious and nervous, and loaded with snack foods high in salt, sugar and fat to try and recoop some of their nerves. Most people are not used to being on their feet, taking their shoes on and off a few times, moving this STUPID bag up and down, on and off conveyer belts etc. The seats, I swear, are getting smaller and more uncomfortable. I don't know if they just need to get a bunch of DIY teams in there or what, but sitting on a plane is becoming physical trauma in and of itself.

  2. Emotional Trauma: Wow, this one is pretty clear. Travelers may be leaving loved ones, returning from a funeral, going to a wedding where they secretly are imfatuated with one of the soon-to-be-spouses (see e.g. Love Actually), or travelling with children. Just generally, kids being in the vicinity when you are travelling is difficult. This is not to mention the difficulty with canceled, delayed or 'rearranged' flights, over booking, and having to answer all those questions about your luggage: "Is this your bag?" "Did you pack this bag?" "Has it been out of your control?" "And, whose bag was this again?". I used to have all the answers memorized and just said Yes, yes, no no no, yes, no. The ticketing people loved it. Wow, and not to mention the Security people. There is nothing more traumatic than security in the US. It is a federal offense to joke about bombs, and these people loom over you taunting you to just make ONE slip. Not to mention that the IQ of the security people dropped significantly after 9/11 when we had recruitment en masse. Do I have to worry about the cavity search when I ask if my computed should come out of my backpack? ala Tweek from South Park: "ACK, I can't take the pressure!"

  3. Ahh, immoblization. I'm definitely feeling this one. I always try and get an aisle seat, but then you still can't get up that often. I fly the transatlantic at least a few times a year, and what with all the food and drinks, that don't come often enough, it's just enough to keep me in my seat. Apparently, that's the worst thing that can happen.

  4. Dehydration. Que obvio. When you fly your body loses water at an outrageous rate. It's something like 2 - 3 times what it is on the ground. It's one of the reasons alcohol is more potent in the air. 1 in the air is 2 on the ground folks, and that means you are REALLY getting dehydrated. The dehydration keeps you from having a slash, which keeps you in your seat, thereby exacerbating point 3. DRINK MORE WATER PEOPLE!

  5. Blood loss. This one is not necessary for an embolism, but is probably the biggest difference between flying and crucifixion. That and blunt force trauma from rocks being thrown at you, and all the stab wounds on your body and punction wounds through your wrists and feet. About the only thing I could come up with for blood loss is that period when you take off and you can feel all your rbc's running to your feet and backside. Oh, and whenever you hit turbulance and you drop feet in the air, leaving your stomach and other things where they used to be. I am not sure that rearranging blood within the body is what they had in mind though, I think it actually has to LEAVE your body to effect blood loss.

Anyways, I hope ya'll didn't find that TOO offensive. While there does seem to be a close connection between flying and crucifixion, I think the circumstances creating the embolism would differ greatly. While the idea was good, I think the good doctor missed the boat by claiming that embolism CAUSED the death and is related to flying. Great, so use crucifixion as one possible means of getting an embolism, I'm sure we can all avoid them. Good example of how an embolism may occur. However, beyond the descriptive elements of the complication itself there seem to be few actual connections between crucifixion and flying. Plus, we aren't even allowed sharp or blunt metal objects through security ...



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