Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Do Jehovah's Witnesses Really Teach A Gospel Of Love?

How the Jehovah's Witnesses are instructed to feel about:
former members by shunning them
all other religions by abhorring them
the rest of the world by wishing its destruction
THE LITERATURE OF THE Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) is not void of references to love and applications of Bible scriptures about love. Generally, of course, they would agree that the mere mention of "love" does not make a religion loving. The JW leadership, the multi-billion publishing company The Watchtower Society (WTS), generally chastises "the world" about all the hatred and asks when there will be an end to hatred:
"But when you see the despair, the hopelessness, the agony of numberless victims of hate-inspired prejudice and violence, you may well ask in distress: Why? Why is there so much hatred? Can it possibly be made to disappear? Will the world ever be completely free of hatred?" (Awake!, 6/22 1984, p. 4)
The WTS also points out the fact that religion, among other things, is a frequent source of hatred:
"Worldwide, the seeds of hatred are being planted and watered through injustice, prejudice, nationalism, and religion. The inevitable fruitage is anger, aggression, war, and destruction. The Bible statement at 1 John 3:15 helps us see the seriousness of this: "Everyone who hates his brother is a manslayer."" (The Watchtower, 6/15 1995, p. 4)
However, strange as it must seem, an investigation of the Watchtower Publications Index will reveal that the majority of articles dealing with hatred are actually trying to explain what is "proper hatred" for a Christian. In light of the Scripture reference above, one can wonder how an alleged Christian organization can even use the expression "proper hatred." Indeed, in some cases the WTS distinguishes between case and person, as do many other Christians, and encourage "hating the wrong but loving the wrongdoer." This is, however, not the whole story.
Hating Former Members
As an actively proselytising religion, a significant fraction of JWs have left other religions. In many cases, those who leave one religion for another are subject to the scorn, anger and sometimes outright violence from their families. JWs are familiar with this "persecution" and we find many references in WTS literature to this. In one case it reports a young women and her mother who started "studying" with JWs. The father, however, did not approve:
"Her father prohibited her mother from studying the Bible with her and her brother and sister. He would beat them and burn their books." (The Watchtower, 10/1 1992, p. 22)
In face of such examples, we should hope that in cases where Jehovah's Witnesses or their children should want to join another religious group, they were met with some tolerance. Not so! Not only can we point to numerous examples of severe persecution by the JW family, this is indeed official Watchtower policy!
What should JW parents do in cases where their children take another religious opinion than the Watchtower Society?
"What if the son should begin to proclaim or prophesy something contrary to the Kingdom message and try to influence others in the organization wrongly, doing this in the name of Jehovah? What should the dedicated, baptized father and mother do? They dare not let their affections run wild; they dare not spare even this dear one whose natural birth they caused. They must declare to him the mortal sinfulness of his false prophesying or opposition to Kingdom prophesying. They cannot endure to have even their own child speak falsehood in the name of Jehovah. They must pierce him through because of his false prophesying. They must consider him as spiritually dead to themselves, as one with whom to have no religious association and fellowship and whose prophesyings are to be rejected." (The Watchtower, 10/1 1961, p. 596; bold added)
The hatred of the WTS toward former members even made it use expressions that will normally be associated with violence. In one case, the WTS even regretted that Christian laws and the laws of the land prohibited them from killing former members:
"We are not living today among theocratic nations where such members of our fleshly family relationship could be exterminated for apostasy from God and his theocratic organization, as was possible and was ordered in the nation of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai and in the land of Palestine. . . . Being limited by the laws of the worldly nation in which we live and also by the laws of God through Jesus Christ, we can take action against apostates only to a certain extent, that is, consistent with both sets of laws. The law of the land and Gods law through Christ forbid us to kill apostates, even though they be members of our own flesh-and-blood family relationship." (The Watchtower, 11/15 1952, p. 703; bold added)
While regretting their inability to kill former members ("apostates"), the Jehovah's Witnesses can at least hate them and do what they can to make them understand how hated they are:
"Haters of God and his people are to be hated, but this does not mean that we will take any opportunity of bringing physical hurt to them in a spirit of malice or spite, for both malice and spite belong to the Devil, whereas pure hatred does not. We must hate in the truest sense, which is to regard with extreme and active aversion, to consider as loathsome, odious, filthy, to detest. Surely any haters of God are not fit to live on his beautiful earth." (The Watchtower, 10/1 1952, p. 599; bold added)
Note the rhetoric in turning the tables: those who left the religion must according to the WTS be "haters of God." It has never been admitted in WTS literature that a person can leave the Watchtower while still worshipping God, since to them, the Organization and God are the same thing:
"Some apostates profess to know and serve God, but they reject teachings or requirements set out in his Word. Others claim to believe the Bible, but they reject Jehovahs organization and actively try to hinder its work. When they deliberately choose such badness after knowing what is right, when the bad becomes so ingrained that it is an inseparable part of their makeup, then a Christian must hate (in the Biblical sense of the word) those who have inseparably attached themselves to the badness. True Christians share Jehovahs feelings toward such apostates; they are not curious about apostate ideas. On the contrary, they "feel a loathing" toward those who have made themselves Gods enemies, but they leave it to Jehovah to execute vengeance." (The Watchtower, 10/1 1993, p. 19)
The level of hatred makes it obvious why the WTS must stress the necessity of 'leaving to God' to actually execute the death punishment. It is unfortunately not very original for Jehovah's Witnesses to rely on God as a hitman, a God of Hate, instead of a God of Love. However, just as during the Inquisition, it was not sufficient to have the sinner suffer at the hands of God. The suffering has to start in this life.
Disfellowshipping and Shunning
Jehovah's Witnesses find their options limited when it comes to their carrying out the order to "pierce through", "hurt" or "execute" former members. However, they can use two methods, closely interrelated: disfellowshipping and shunning. When the Watchtower's legal status is questioned in countries around the world, it hides behind the term excommunication, which is not used internally. The point of the case, often distorted by JW apologists, is not the termination of a membership in a religious community. Few will deny an organization the right to terminate a person's membership. The unethical activity is the hold the organization insists on having after membership is terminated:
"Thus "disfellowshiping" is what Jehovahs Witnesses appropriately call the expelling and subsequent shunning of such an unrepentant wrongdoer. Their refusal to fellowship with an expelled person on any spiritual or social level reflects loyalty to Gods standards and obedience to his command" (The Watchtower, 9/15 1981 pp. 22-23)
The keyword is shunning, and the WTS seriously argues that since disfellowshipping is indeed the same as executing (killing) a person, all friendships and family ties will be terminated. The disfellowshipped person shall be treated as non-existent. This is the reality behind the expression "disfellowshipping":
"God certainly realizes that carrying out his righteous laws about cutting off wrongdoers often involves and affects relatives. As mentioned above, when an Israelite wrongdoer was executed, no more family association was possible. . . . You can appreciate that this would not have been easy for them. Imagine, too, how the wrongdoers brothers, sisters, or grandparents felt. Yet, their putting loyalty to their righteous God before family affection could be lifesaving for them." (The Watchtower, 4/15 1988, p. 28; bold added)
The only exceptions are family members who still live under the same roof as the disfellowshipped. But considering how Jehovah's Witnesses are ordered to view the disfellowshipped person, one can see that the relationships are irreparably damaged:
"Cutting off from the Christian congregation does not involve immediate death, so family ties continue. Thus, a man who is disfellowshipped or who disassociates himself may still live at home with his Christian wife and faithful children. Respect for Gods judgments and the congregations action will move the wife and children to recognize that by his course, he altered the spiritual bond that existed between them." (The Watchtower, 4/15 1988, p. 28; bold added)
One can, of course, imagine that in a marriage such "counsel" as given in the sentences above will do wonders to improve family life. The WTS in effect orders a disfellowshipped person's spouse and children to "spiritually" shun the person, while still living together and trying to work as a family. The result of this treatment should not be hard to imagine.
Individual members are not free to exercise their judgement on these matters. If they fail to toe the party line and are caught fellowshipping with former members, they risk being subjected to the same treatment:
"If a publisher refuses to do this and ignores the prohibition on associating with the disfellowshiped one, that publisher is rebelling against the congregation of Jehovah, and "rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim." He should be strongly admonished, being impressed with the fact that by associating with the disfellowshiped one he is a companion of wickedness and that by his course of action he is dividing himself from the congregation to be with the wrongdoer. If after sufficient warning the publisher persists in associating with the disfellowshiped person instead of aligning himself with Jehovahs organization he also should be disfellowshiped." (The Watchtower, 10/1 1955, p. 607)
It doesn't help to try to leave voluntarily, if a person does not believe in the WTS gospel anymore:
"One who has been a true Christian might renounce the way of the truth, stating that he no longer considers himself to be one of Jehovahs Witnesses or wants to be known as one. . . . Or, a person might renounce his place in the Christian congregation by his actions, such as by becoming part of an organization whose objective is contrary to the Bible, and, hence, is under judgment by Jehovah God. . . . Persons who make themselves "not of our sort" by deliberately rejecting the faith and beliefs of Jehovahs Witnesses should appropriately be viewed and treated as are those who have been disfellowshiped for wrongdoing." (The Watchtower, 9/15 1981, p. 23)
The text above says that a person who resigns his membership, or who joins another religious community, joins a political party or the military, or votes in an election, is to be shunned as a sinner and wrongdoer.
In all its history, the WTS has never expressed any concern for the feelings and circumstances of the person who is disfellowshipped. On the contrary, we find articles like this:
"We ought to be especially supportive of the family members who are faithful Christians. They may already face pain and obstacles because of living at home with an expelled person who may actually discourage their spiritual pursuits. He may prefer not to have Christians visit the home; or if they do come to see the loyal family members, he may not have the courtesy to keep away from the visitors." (The Watchtower, 4/15 1991, p. 24)
The arrogant attitude of the Jehovah's Witness leadership is nowhere as obvious as here, where they are very indignant that a person first is so rude as to disagree with the Watchtower Society, despite the treath of beings disfellowshipped and experiencing that none of his friends talk to him and his family refuses to have "spiritual" fellowship with him, and on top of this he does not "have the courtesy" to keep away in his own room while JW visitors eat his food, sit in his sofa and watch his television! That Jehovah's Witnesses seriously expect to walk around in his own home without risking to meet this 'unclean,' 'evil' person who has dared to question the Watchtower, is a demonstration of an arrogance that only can be explained by them viewing the disfellowshipped person as something less than human.
In a remarkable demonstration of doublethink, the WTS even claims:
"Disfellowshiping is therefore really an act of love, love on the part of Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, on the part of the theocratic organization itself and on the part of the servants in the congregation who properly take the action directly." (The Watchtower, 11/1 1956, p. 667; bold added)
This is just in case anybody should think that George Orwell exaggerated when he made the authoritarian Party in his famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four name its department for persecution and subsequent execution of all dissenters the MINISTRY OF LOVE.
Hating Other Religions
The Watchtower "gospel" does not limit "proper hatred" to former members. Jehovah's Witnesses certainly do not teach that there is more than one way to God. All who are not Jehovah's Witnesses must perish when Armgeddon comes (and as always in WTS history, Armageddon is just around the corner!), and even they must stay close to the Organization, meaning the Watchtower Society:
"Never forget that only Gods organization will survive the end of this dying system. Act wisely, therefore, and make plans for life eternal by building your future with Jehovahs organization." (The Watchtower, 7/15 1984, p. 20)
"But what must they do to survive the violent destruction of Satans old world and enter the promised new world under the Greater Joshua, Jesus Christ? (2 Peter 3:13) They must keep in line with the organizational arrangements of the nucleus of Jehovahs visible organization, the anointed remnant." (The Watchtower, 9/1 1989, p. 15)
Of course, this applies to everybody outside the WTS, however, the evil of this world is particularly applied to other religions, since Jehovah's Witnesses proclaim them collectively to be "the world empire of false religion." As many pseudo-Christian sects, the Watchtower Society builds its theology mainly on a special interpretation of the symbolics of the Book of Revelation, in which all other religions constitute the "Whore of Babylon" and the Image of the Beast is the United Nations (!). Watchtower literature is full of tirades like this one:
"Like a professional harlot, Christendom has tried to make herself as attractive as possible to the world, in fact, even to the most debased persons, like drunkards from the wilderness. Her sects have made religion easy for such worldlings. They can join her as church members and at the same time continue to be a part of this selfish, idolatrous, bloodstained world. As payment for whatever religious favors that bring them sensual pleasure, they glorify Christendom. As it were, to beautify her blood-reddened hands they put bracelets on her wrists, and set crowns upon the heads of her sects, giving the clergy religious headship over them." (The Watchtower, 2/1 1973, p. 93)
What applies to all religion in general, applies to an even stronger extent to Christian religions, who have earned special titles of honor:
"No wonder Christendoms clergy class can be identified as "the man of lawlessness"! (2 Thessalonians 2:3) This dominant part of harlotlike Babylon the Great will be fully exposed and devastated, along with all the rest of false religion." (The Watchtower, 1/15 1990, p. 18)
The Watchtower teaches that religion will not even survive to be slaughtered by God at Armageddon, but will be devastated by the world's political leaders before that (those who know the conspiracy theories of American extreme-right groups, where the federal government, the UN, black tanks and a "new world order" has special parts to play, may nod in recognition at reading these ideas):
"Down to this year 1979, popes and prelates continue to woo favors from the U.N. But where do these clergymen belong? They are tied in with a religious "harlot," described in Revelation as "Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth." (Rev. 17:1, 3-6) As the world empire of false religion, this harlotrous "woman" plies her trade with the nations political leaders, as she declares her faith in the U.N. "beast," assuming even to sit as a queen atop that "beast" in giving it direction. (Rev. 18:7) But just as she appears to be sitting pretty with her political "lovers," the radical "ten horns" of that U.N. will come to hate the harlot and make her devastated and naked, and desolate her completely." (The Watchtower, 10/15 1979, p. 15)
The result of this theology (or, more properly, ideology) is that Jehovah's Witnesses hate other religions. If they didn't, being expected to read aloud and "acclaim" such resolutions at their district conventions as this one will surely convince them:
"A Resolution . . .
As JEHOVAHS WITNESSES, we testify that:
(1) WE ABHOR the reproach that Babylon the Great, and Christendom in particular, has cast upon the name of the one true and living God, Jehovah. . . .
(2) WE ABHOR Christendoms adherence to Babylonish teachings, notably those of a triune god, the human souls immortality, eternal torment in hell, a fiery purgatory, and worship of images such as the Madonna and the cross. . . .
(3) WE ABHOR anti-God philosophies and practices, so common in Christendom, such as evolution, blood transfusions, abortions, lying, greed, and dishonesty." (The Watchtower, 4/15 1989 p. 18)
And so it went on, until the Jehovah's Witnesses and other attendants, around 6,500,000 people, had announced that they ABHOR "false religion" SEVEN times (some similar tirades in the 1920's and 30's actually managed to find itself written into the Watchtower's special interpretation of the Revelation!). This was a part of a talk where the book RevelationItsGrandClimaxatHand!, was announced. The basic message if this Watchtower publications is, as you may have guessed, that Jehovah's Witnesses indeed abhor all religions but their own.
This abhorrence and hatred is not limited to religions, however. It is extended to everybody else as well.
Hating the Rest of the World
As we have noted, everybody outside the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is to be destroyed by God in the soon-coming Armageddon. The JWs have no qualms about the magnitude of this ultimate ethnic cleansing:
"On Satans side will be all the rest of mankind, more than 99.9 percent, even as we read: "The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one." That includes all the governments of the world together with their supporters, the commercial, religious and social institutions. Even the professedly Christian organizations? Yes, because all such that are friends of the world are making themselves enemies of God." (The Watchtower, 10/15 1958, pp. 614-5)
Jehovah's Witnesses may not be totally unique in expecting the death and destruction of everybody else, but they have taken graphic descriptions of this mother of all holocausts to new heights:
"In Bible times persons who were considered as deserving of a resurrection were given a respectful burial. The ones slaughtered at Armageddon are shown as being left as food for the carrion-eating birds of the heavens. They will not be buried with military honors nor have graves with markers to memorialize them for mourners and idolizers. Those destroyed in this war will not be mourned, for the reason that they have shown themselves undeserving of mercy. By their removal the earth is cleansed." (The Watchtower, 7/1 1967, pp. 407-8; bold added)
"Men can spray a field with chemicals that kill weeds but spare crops; too bad they cannot spray cities with bombs that blow the bad to bits but leave the innocent intact." (The Watchtower, 7/15 1955, p. 436)
"From his heavenly habitation, Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, he [Jehovah] roars with a battle shout loud enough to set heaven and earth rocking at the shock waves. He orders his King, Jesus Christ, to tread his enemies, who have been made as a foot stool for his feet. Into the valley of decision, as into a vast wine-press trough, the King leaps with his army of holy angels. SQUASH! The treading of the nations, including Christendom, begins.. . . Never before in all human history will so many human creatures have been slaughtered. Blood, as representing human lives poured out, will run deep and over a vast distance. Revelation 14:20 paints the appalling picture, saying: "And the wine press was trodden outside the city [Gods organization], and blood came out of the wine press as high up as the bridles of the horses, for a distance of a thousand six hundred furlongs [or, 200 miles]." (The Watchtower, 12/1 1961, pp. 725-6; bold added)
The sheer logistics of removing all these dead bodies is left to the birds of the heavens:
"A practical literal benefit will come because of allowing the birds to clean the bones of these enemies of Goda health benefit. Many have been the epidemics that have been caused by the wholesale destruction and devastation of past wars. . . . This victory will be a feast, not only for the literal birds, but also, in a sense, for those who survive, for they will feast because of the end of wickedness." (The Watchtower, 7/1 1967, p. 408)
Jehovah's Witnesses, as all who consider the merits of an ethnic cleansing of their neighbours, expect to enjoy the spoils of war after Armageddon, when their rich neighbour's house and other properties will be theirs for the taking. No JW will not remember talking with "brothers" about which house they should have after Armageddon when they are out in rich neighbourhoods knocking on doors. However, the above scenario obviously gave some of them problems. Getting rid of the bodies have been a problem for gangsters on a small scale, and the Nazi's on a grander scale, so this monumental slaughter will of course give a serious amount of corpses. There is not much fun sitting on the porch of your newly acquired villa if the beautiful view is spoiled by thousands of dead bodies, being eaten by birds, a time-consuming and not very pretty process.
After considering these problems, the Watchtower leadership came to the conclusion that God could not be content with mere birds, after all. God would use "other means" to get rid of the corpses.
"The bodies of the slain will not molder in honorable burial places. Unburied, their flesh will be picked away clean to the bone, beyond identifying the bare skeletons. Because of the multitude of the slain, it will be a huge feast for the scavengers.. . .So, instead of having their bones eaten clean of all decaying flesh by the maggots at the Valley of Hinnom (or, at Gehenna), the carcasses of the slain enemies at HarMagedon will, as it were, be eaten clear to the bone by natures sanitation force, the carrion-eating birds and wild beasts. . . Quite evidently there will be many more bodies strewn over the earth as a result of the war at HarMagedon than there will be scavenger birds enough to dispose of them all in a reasonable time for human health reasons. So it is reasonable to expect that God will dispose of excess bodies by other means.. . .What a well-deserved, contemptible end for all these opposers of Jehovah and his Messianic kingdom at HarMagedon!" (Mans Salvation Out of World Distress at Hand!, 1975, pp. 275-6)
This problem was obviously a source of much speculation at Watchtower headquarters. Once they speculated that God would use "highly scientific" means to get rid of the remains of the victims. At the same time, it started arguing that cosmic rays presently were used by God to cause the insanity of this world:
"What is the source of these cosmic rays? Not the stars. It has been scientifically established that the total energy carried by all cosmic ray particles is much more than all the energy ever emitted by stars. Cosmic rays seem to come from all directions with such great energies that scientists have not arrived at any satisfying explanation of their origin. Those of highest energy evidently come from beyond our Milky Way. Studies have been made of the effect of cosmic rays on living cells in animal bodies, particularly with respect to disorders of the mind. What effect do they have or will they have on the way men behave here on earth? Certainly the Creator of cosmic rays, Jehovah God, could use these to affect the minds of his enemies, including the king of the north and the king of the south, and could drive them to mutual slaughter: "every mans sword shall be against his brother." (Ezekiel 38:21, AS) In this prophecy God warns that he will also use other natural forces that are at his disposal, possibly a rain of antimatter that has the property of annihilating any material thing that it meets. He warns all scoffers that he will do an unusual work." (Your Will Be Done on Earth, 1958, pp. 321-2; bold added)
This annihilation will thus be cleaner than the gas chambers and crematoriums used by the Nazis during World War II, but then again this is an endlsnung for 99.9 % of humanity, not merely for Jews. Some may think that this parallel to the Nazi holocaust is strained and speculative, but in fact the WTS itself uses this term:
"Among all the religious groups that claim to be Christian, which one freely uses God's name, Jehovah, puts full trust in him and his promises and boldly encourages its members to be witnesses of him? (Isaiah 43:10) Without a doubt, these are the ones 'seeking Jehovah.' They urge others to join with them in learning the only sure way to survive the coming global holocaust." (Awake! 8/22 1984, p. 9; bold added)
That the WTS calls the actions of its own god by the term that designates the Nazi extermination of Jews during WWII will baffle anyone who thinks the God of Christianity is a God of love.
The Watchtower Society has no qualms about giving graphic descriptions of this insanity while children is present. Children of Jehovah's Witnesses are expected to be present at all "meetings", including Watchtower and Book Study sessions were all the above quotations are read and repeated over and over again. Even in books directed particularly at children do we find such tasteless descriptions, amply illustrated to make them understand the reality of their playmates becoming bird-fodder, or worse:
"A flesh-eating plague will destroy many. . . . Eaten up will be the tongues of those who scoffed and laughed at the warning of Armageddon! Eaten up will be the eyes of those who refused to see the sign of the "time of the end"! Eaten up will be the flesh of those who would not learn that the living and true God is named Jehovah! Eaten up while they stand on their feet!" (From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained, 1958, p. 209)
That the reality of all non-JWs being killed is obvious to the children can be seen from "experiences" like this:
"One day his five-year-old daughter said, "Daddy, I want to grow up so I can be baptized." Later she said, "Daddy, please study the Bible with Jehovahs Witnesses so that you will not be destroyed and then you can be with us in Paradise."" (Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses 1983, p. 11)
Some JWs may have found this graphic material nauseating and tasteless. The WTS made it clear that this was the wrong attitude:
"How horrible all this! Should that be our reaction of mind toward this prophecy of the disastrous defeat of Gogs dastardly attack upon the only remaining peaceful worshiper of Jehovah on earth at the end of this violent system of things? Not rightly so!" ("The Nations Shall Know that I am Jehovah"How?, 1971, pp. 377-8)
Not only were JWs expected to not mourn with the thought of having their non-JW relatives, workmates, playmates and everybody else slaughtered, it should be a source of joy. In an article explaining how joyful JWs are, titled "The Joyful Nation," do we find this encouragement to outsiders:
"You too can share in this joy. You can learn of the fast-approaching day when the King, Christ Jesus, removes ruinous men and governments and restores Paradise to earth." (The Watchtower, 1/1 1991, p. 4)
In this line of propaganda the blood and gore is hidden behind the word "removes." One can wonder what of the above gives Jehovah's Witnesses such wonderful joy at the prospect of having 99.9% of the world's population "removed."

28 comments:

enigmatic said...

Excellent points.

grissom6471 said...

Who wants to read all of that?

But I shun former members because I don't see that I have anything in common. They went to the vomit of the world and are dishonorable people. Why would people want to associate with them? They are ignorant about everything.

enigmatic said...

grissom6471 said...
Who wants to read all of that?

But I shun former members because I don't see that I have anything in common. They went to the vomit of the world and are dishonorable people. Why would people want to associate with them? They are ignorant about everything.
--------------------
Grissom,

It is with great sadness that I read your comment. To characterize all disfellowshipped as 'dishonorable' and 'ignorant about everything' speaks to your unwillingness to even consider alternative viewpoints and individual circumstances.

I am disfellowshipped and have no intention of returning, but I understand why my entire family and many friends have chosen to remain and do not feel the need to denigrate them because of their choice. I do believe strongly that they are mistaken about their beliefs, but I would never claim that all members are completely 'ignorant about everything' because that is simply rediculous. There are many that I knew that remain in the organization and still hold my admiration for qualities and/or abilities that rise above a religious context.

One of the features of JWs that I find particularly disturbing is their insistance that everything/one outside the organization is evil/wrong/ worthless/painful/harmful. This kind of exclusive thinking increases reliance on your church and increases the level of fear towards everything that goes on 'outside', but is not an honest assessment of the choices that are open to the worlds' citizens.

Not all things outside the org are good, but that is true on the inside, too. Living 'in the world' requires individuals to make decisions about their future and quality of life that are not based on blanket generalizations but careful consideration of the particular situations.

The reality is that along with some of the dangers that the org prominently features in their warnings are many more opportunities for growth and personal enrichment. To find them and take advantage of them, however, one must use rational and critical thinking to execute a well designed plan. This calls for a mindset opperating on an assumption of internal locus of control rather than the external that is demanded by the GB. I have seen so many come out of the org that are not used to thinking about situations critically and are lost without someone telling them what and when to think.

I do not wish to engage in a battle of words with you, Grissom, for I am sure that you are sincere in what you believe and I don't believe you will change overnight. I do hope, however, that you will some day come to realize that just because someone makes a choice that you do not agree with does not mean of itself that they are completely ignorant about everything.

Shawn said...

grissom6471 said...
Who wants to read all of that?

But I shun former members because I don't see that I have anything in common. They went to the vomit of the world and are dishonorable people. Why would people want to associate with them? They are ignorant about everything.
--------------------

It's funny you should ask "Who wants to read all of that?" since the bulk of this post is from the publications you should be studying! It is hard to read, I'll admit. All of that hate labeled 'love' and used as a tool to keep members in line with the Watchtower society is sickening, isn't it?

This hate speech is a necessary by-product of cult mind control techniques. Compare this post to the sections 'Exclusivism' and 'Fear/Intimidation' on the following page.

http://www.howcultswork.com/

The Watchtower society's teaching of 'proper hate' is a clear application of these techniques.

Excellent post!

zizugataki said...

@grissom6471 Is this a loving way to speak about people? Are you not telling that god is the one who will judge?
Are you trying to teach the gospel of love in this way?

grissom6471 said...

Enigmatic:

"alternative viewpoints and individual circumstances?"

There are no alternative viewpoints.
One gets disfellowshipped because one is an unrepentant sinner and one gets disassociated because one wants to be an unrepentant person apart from Christ and his brothers. What circumstance would one ever want to do that?

"I am disfellowshipped and have no intention of returning". You love that vomit.

"I do not feel the need to denigrate them because of their choice." Of course, they love Jehovah God and want to serve him and you choose not to.

" they are mistaken about their beliefs". But you don't even know what their beliefs are.

I stated that exJWs are ignorant because all that they can do is complain about the Watchtower.


"their insistance that everything/one outside the organization is evil/wrong/ worthless/painful/harmful". That is not a feature, but a reflection that John said for Christians not to be loving the world or the things on the world.

and "If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him"

That is the reason that JWs do not love the world. So what is disturbing about that?

He also said "Everything in the world does not originate with the Father".

Enigmatic, I don't need to change because I have the proper understanding of matters. If people want opportunities for personal growth, that is their choice. No one is stopping them. But it is not the objective of Christian teachers to be promoting the world as John taught to not follow the world.

It is that simple. Follow what John said in 1 John 2.

grissom6471 said...

Zigu, no one is judging anything.

I stated that which had already been judged and given the verdict.

Those disfellowshipped and disassociated made their choice. They chose to be separate from the congregation. So why do they complain about shunning since they got what they desired?

enigmatic said...

grissom6471 said...

There are no alternative viewpoints.
One gets disfellowshipped because one is an unrepentant sinner and one gets disassociated because one wants to be an unrepentant person apart from Christ and his brothers.

But you don't even know what their beliefs are.

I stated that exJWs are ignorant because all that they can do is complain about the Watchtower.

Enigmatic, I don't need to change because I have the proper understanding of matters.
-------------------------

Grissom,

I find it not a little ironic that I, a disfellowshipped atheist, can recognize the reasons behind the beliefs of the fringe religious cult of JWs and acknowledge the right of those to hold their views, no matter how different from mine and, I believe, psychologically harmful. You, on the other hand, refuse to acknowledge the existance of other belief systems and world views, even though you refuse to entertain what those actually portend out of insistance that you 'have the proper understanding of matters'.

Interestingly enough, when my wife and I were disfellowshipped, we were both begging to stay, pleading with them to help us back to 'spiritual health'. I was a third generation, regular pioneer, parts on assemblies and conventions guy; I am well aware of the beliefs of those who remain. Once again, I recommend that you try to demonstrate some restraint before making broad sweeping generalizations in an attempt to make your point.

Additionally, you radically revised your statement about those on the outside being 'ignorant about everything', but even so, I do not spend my time complaining about the watchtower, nor do many former JWs who have moved on and left the kind of closeminded, judgemental thinking behind.

A small touch of humility might come in handy for you in your future posts, though you seem quite set on the idea of your infallibility. If you have been in the truth long, you know that the current 'proper understanding of matters' has been adjusted over the years, sometimes fairly dramatically. Do remember the convention with the message, complete with visuals, that our heart, our source of motivation, was the literal muscle that pumps blood, pulling double duty?

There are many others, but I will leave them alone for now...there will be others coming, many others, as science continues to punch holes in JW church teaching...for instance, when they demonstrate that homosexuality is a gene trait, when they continue to lighten up on dogma to be more appealing to the general public and maintain cash flow, when even the act of shunning is dropped because it is too archaic...

There will continue to be 'increasing light' because the 'end' is not coming, so be ready to continue to change your 'proper view of matters'. You won't be alone, though, all religions have evolved over time, and JWs are no different, they just explain it differently. I am excited about this because its only a matter of time when you and I, Grissom, can sit down and have a peaceful, thoughtful conversation about things and it will be cool with NY...I am really looking forward to it, I would love nothing more than to have everyone realize the good in others and be positive in our view of other peoples' beliefs instead of attacking them...I don't know, maybe I'm just a hopeless idealist...

I wish you well, Grissom, and I hope that you continue to find peace in the spiritual path you are currently following. We have chosen different paths, you and I, but I don't see that as a reason to have anything but constructive discusion about how we came to our individual world view. I am hopeful that your regular contribution to this blog is an indication of your interest in the same.

Best,

Enigmatic

Nathan said...

Hey enigmatic. I really appreciate your friendly not aggressive posts. However I want to comment on some point, which I think are not correct.

a) You state, that you believe that JWs are a psychologically harmful cult. Well first of all this alone is nothing more than a mere assertion. On the other hand I think this really is a bold exaggeration made by someone who is disappointed. This is not objective.

b) Of course, JWs acknowledge the existence of other belief systems (including classic religions and also the religion of atheism (well it is nothing more then a religious standpoint)). They just do not believe that most of them are “true” in the sense that those religions would serve God any better. So JWs do not believe that they understand everything nor do they believe that everything they currently understand is perfectly right. They only believe that they are really trying to live according to the Bible and they do believe that their knowledge about the Bible is getting better and better by time. (And as far as the big religions today are concerned I personally believe that the efforts of JWs to live according to the Bible are bigger.)

Moreover JWs do not persecute anybody who has a different opinion! If they knock on your door and you tell them that you are not interested, they usually leave with a polite good bye. That’s it. The truth is that it is the other way round. Normally it is other people who harass or persecute JWs for whatever reason.

c) You stated that you do not spend your time “complaining about the watchtower”. That is a bit of a contradiction, if one reads your whole paragraph. In the same paragraph you call the thinking of JW closeminded and judgemental. In the beginning of your post you call them a cult. These statements are not only mere assertions, they are also not very friendly and they are in fact what you criticise grissom for: “broad sweeping generalizations in an attempt to make your point”.

d) JWs do not insist that everything/one outside the organization is evil/wrong/worthless/painful/harmful. The only exclusiveness is that JWs believe that they are guided by God’s spirit. They do not believe that everything else is wrong. For example, of course they recognize scientific progress and also value it. I guess you know that, since you read the Awake! magazine yourself. Another example: they do not have anything against watching TV. And here is the critical point: while they don’t have anything against watching TV in general they warn people not to spend too much time with it and they warn people not to watch the wrong programs? But why do they do so? Well a typical US child watches TV up to 8 hours a day. I’m not sure if this is the best idea, but it’s reality today. And why do you think the big companies are doing ads on TV? Well to influence people! So if one tells me that e.g. watching 20.000 murders on TV does not influence people in general and especially children, I won’t believe it.

The list goes on like that. So your statement is again a bold exaggeration.

You are right; of course everyone has to decide for himself what choices he makes. JWs have no problems with that. Only if a decision collides directly with one of the commands they consider it to be a problem? Why? Because of the things said under point b). But if one decides that his decision still is no problem for him, he is free to leave and not to be a JW anymore. He will not be persecuted by JWs because of that!

e) You are right there are some people who leave JWs who are not used to thinking about situations critically. But this is not a feature of JWs. Do you really think that everybody leaving JWs woke up one day and suddenly started to think and thus decided to leave? I doubt that, because this is ridiculous. It is much truer, that those people still don’t use their brain much, after they left JWs. For example some might leave because of reading blogs like this on the internet. Do they leave then because they suddenly started to think for themselves? No they just believed what some people, they don’t know, said on a forum. Not much of critical thinking.

The conclusion is: yes there are people who became JWs per chance, which means maybe because JWs were the first ones knocking on their door. But this is only true for a few! So if those leave some time later again, I think this is rather good than bad for JWs.

Further it is the same outside JWs. Most of the people today do not use their brain much. Think of the typical US citizen who believes that the war in Iraq serves their freedom several 1000km away. So criticising JWs for something that is a feature of the whole world then rather of a special group does not make sense!

f) Until now, I’ve not seen science punching holes in JW teaching. Your assumption that homosexuality might be a gene trait is, well, at least very bold. The assertion that there is something like a “gay gene” is completely wrong until now. Moreover, even geneticists agree that environmental factors and education play a major role as far as human character traits are concerned. And to be accurate the teachings of JWs about homosexuality are not made by themselves. These are teachings straight from the Bible. So if you criticise them, you have to criticise the Bible and not JWs.

Well may be this should be under point d), but never mind. The very popular assertions among JWs critics about shunning: Well this is a direct command you can find in the Bible! However it applies to people who speak abusively about Gid, Jesus or his followers. Paul called such people apostates. They are different from disfellowshipped ones. Congregation elders are commanded to visit disfellowshipped from time to time to talk to them and see if they want to return to JWs. If so then they are welcomed, if not, nothing happens. They do not believe that there is nothing good in people who left! Jesus also didn’t do that. He was grieved when the young rich man didn’t sell his belongings to follow him! He did not hate him because of this! But he did not find any friendly words for the Pharisees! So here is the difference between apostates and others.

And I definitely have no problem to talk to you. Not here and not from face to face, maybe with a cold beer in my hand. And you know what? No one is telling me that I am not allowed to talk to you. Isn’t that nice?

g) I think that grissom is a kind of hardliner. He definitely knows the teachings of JWs but he is interpreting them for himself sometimes. And not always in the best way I suppose. This is why I tried to do a neutral abstract of what JWs really teach concerning the points you made.

Regards

Troy said...

Nathan said: ".....he is free to leave and not to be a JW anymore. He will not be persecuted by JWs because of that!"
Yes, he is free to live. It happens everyday. More and more people are seeing the hypocracy in "Jehovah's true organization" and walking out the door. They wish that there leaving could be the end of it. But it is not. Witnesses are taught that all those who leave are automatically labeled Apostate and that they should be shunned and not association with even if they are close family members.
If you read the meaning of the term cult, Jehovah's Witnesses fit the definition perfectly.
Both Nathan and Grissom are guilty of wholly embracing the organization's propaganda. In fact, they are a testament to the kinds of people the organization can produce. They wholehearted believe that Jehovah's chosen religion can be wrong, can flip flop on doctrines and that their interpretation of the Bible is the right one. That was why Jesus said that many will come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
THIS BLOG IS SO VALUABLE! It helps us see the organization from it's beginning, how it started, where the doctrines came from, so that we can judge their claim of being chosen by God more intelligently and not just because they said so.

Nathan said...

Hey troy again. Well I refuted several of your posts already and you never said anything against my arguments. So I take it from your silence that you agree with my reasoning! (And please don’t say anything thoughtless to this, since my arguments are valid!)

Troy said: “Yeas, he is free to live”. Well of course, he is free to live, otherwise that would mean that JWs would kill him, lol. “More and more people…”.This kind of phrase makes me yawn man. I could simply reply to that: more and more people every day see that the way of JWs is not a bad one and so they join.

Then you contradict yourself. If they wish that leaving was the end, then they would certainly not want to associate with JWs, so if they were really shunned they could be happy! They would not complain about it! Your argumentation is a logical flaw as always.

Those who leave JWs are not automatically labelled apostates. That is simply not true. You are constantly slandering JWs, but accuse them to do so. That does not really make you credible!

Your next paragraph shows that you have definitely not understood a single word of my last post. And you know what? This is not only my assertion, but everyone reading this blog can judge for himself that your answer to my post is far from being on par! I took my time to write down several friendly and logical arguments and everything you did was to throw in a few lines of hatred. What are you afraid of man?

I’ve never said that every interpretation of the Bible of JWs is right! Where did you find that man? Is it an illness that keeps you from reading properly? I said that JWs believe that their understanding gets better by time and that they try to live according to the Bible, nothing more!

Further if one believes in the Bible, one sees that your argumentation is even more weakened. Why? Beacsue you don’t know the scriptures! There is nothing wrong with having God’s spirit but making mistakes! How do we know? Well the apostle Peter was surely having plenty of God’s spirit! He was an anointed follower of Christ! More than that, he was a member of the Governing Body! Nevertheless he had a wrong attitude concerning circumcision. He had to be corrected through the apostle Paul. Why did he make a mistake, although having God’s spirit? Just because he was imperfect! It is as easy as that! Nobody is saying that JWs are infallible. But they are ready to get better understanding and they are ready to live according to the Bible!

Again I ask you: Try to improve your argumentation! As long as it is a logical flaw it will never be valid!

Ronde said...

Question for Troy:

How can anyone embrace the organization's propaganda when each individual is that which forms the organization. In other words, each of the 7 million JWs is the organization.

So you don't make sense. It is as if you are blaming the Watchtower or the governing body but yet they have no control on what each person does.

The fact is that those who leaven JWs congregation, have nothing after that. What are they doing?
Are they studying and printing Bibles? Teaching the people about the kingdom? What are they doing but focusing on a religion that they first, did not understand, second, blame others for their lack of understanding, and third think that they have more answers afterward than prior?

So do the exjws have love? It is not there to be seen.

Ronde said...

Nathan;

People like Troy think that there are many people leaving the congregation. But since those people are unwilling to dialogue about anything that they perceive to be problems, it appears that the root of Christianity is not in them anyway.

Those who are followers of Christ, don't just leave his other followers because they see certain problems, they work things out. That is what he said to do in Matt 5 and Matt 18.

As you stated the apostles and older men worked things out.

Why is it so hard for them to get along?

Nathan said...

Thanks for your comments ronde, good points. The problem with people like troy is, that they don't have own thoughts! They just renarrate what others say. They are preachers of hatred although they criticise JWs for preaching hatred (which is of course nonesense). And then the years pass by and such people get old and frustrated.

Defender said...

all of Jehovah witnesses believes are based on the bible.
if there are any witness in here I came back for a last time to tell you brothers avoid this website.

disfellowship are based in the bible.
1 corinthians 5:11-13
2 john verse 11

the apostate is very happy to see you here posting on his site, it is like we are supporting his lies. he's laughing at us. stop coming here, stop coming here, if you are a witness it is not worth it. stop, stop, stop, stop

let's apply ROMANS 16:17, 18 AVOID THE APOSTATE THINKING. ONCE HE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO STOP THOSE WHO REALLY LOVE GOD TO FIND THE TRUTH.

OK NOW I AM GONE FOREVER GOOD LUCK IF YOU DON'T WANT TO FOLLOW ROMANS 16:17,18

NICKEL ALLERGY SUFFERERS said...

Sorry nathan, I did not know that you were waiting for an answer. Your comments were so silly I did not think that they needed to be answered. For instance your statements that Witnesses can just leave the organization and not be shunned. It is plainly stated in the publications that if a person leaves of their own accord or is disfellowshipped, they are shunned. Why do you deny that? It seems that all you can do is criticize every comment about the Watchtower that is not positive. You are unable to carry on a sensible discussion. Yes, every day people are becoming Jehovah's Witnesses. But every day people are also leaving the organization. It is a fact that more leave than come in. Anyway, I used to be exactly like you. I would defend the Watchtower at every turn. I wholeheartedly believed everything they said and did. One day, thank God, I realized what the organization was truly all about. Charles Taze Russell said that religion was a snare and a racket. Truer words were never spoken.

enigmatic said...

Nathan,
May I say that I, too, appreciated both the manner with which you approached my comments and your thoroughness. Because of this, and due to the fact that my comments were addressed specifically to Grissom’s, I would like to make a few additional comments if I may.

The first 29 years of my life saw me extremely active in the organization (org) and it has not been that long that I have been out, I have forgotten very little of what I knew and am aware of the responses to some of the things I have said as I have responded similarly to some of the same points made by others.

I am the single member of an extended family of life long, hardcore members with whom I have no contact. I miss them terribly but I understand that they are doing what they feel is right, what god wants them to do, and ultimately the only thing that might bring me back in. They are the most sincere, kind hearted, well meaning people and I will always love them. I am extremely sad that we must be apart but there is no other way for either of us at this time, and I refuse to make it ugly. I can still love them despite our differences and look forward to a day when we will be able to communicate; we will see.

That may not have been of great interest to you, but I want you to know that concerning comment C (for brevity, I will reference your conversation points), I stand by my original comment in the sense that I do not dedicate time to go out of my way to ‘go after’ the Org. I stumbled across this site a couple of weeks ago and the comments to grissom are the extent of my comments in this type of setting. When explaining my current family situation, I make it clear that my family members are not terrible people (which is always a tough sell) but are just doing what they believe in. I believe that most JWs are very sincere in what they try to do, otherwise there is no way they could keep up with all of the demands. My heart goes out to current, sincere members like my family and others, however, because I believe that many things are not, nor will they be, as they believe them to be. Other than that, I have spent the time since I was put out building and developing my new life and making a positive contribution to society.

I believe many things about the Org are not the most beneficial to people in general in terms of psychological/mental health, but I hold that opinion of most religions. On the other hand, I do not believe it is all bad, and I know of many people, as you probably do too, that have made life turn-arounds for the better do to their exposure to bible teachings and yes, even to the Org. I do, however, feel those are in the minority and that there are many other, more constructive avenues that could bring even more positive results.

My orientation and perspective are based on a scientifically methodological approach in the disciplined sense of the term, and that greatly influences my view of things. Regarding comment E, critical thinking to me is a structured discipline, the effectiveness being judged in part by the rigor with which other ideas are identified, considered and then evaluated. The scientific method calls for observation of an event or phenomena, development of a testable theory that potentially explains what has been observed including any assumptions that have been made, prediction of future behavior, collection of data, and then interpretation of the data to see if it fails to support the theory or any included assumptions. In this manner, one looks at the facts first, then looks at the theory and assumptions to determine if they are a good fit. Every assumption is tested, every theory that possibly explains the observed behavior is compared; there is no ‘off limits’ or ‘sacred ground’ that will not be examined.

This differs markedly from what the approach employed by the Org and virtually all religious groups (and in fact many people, as you accurately state in comment E) which is to begin with the assumption of god’s existence or particular behavior that you expect to see from him and then look to interpret the data (in the form of ancient texts, personal experiences, etc). There are large areas of thought that are off limits to consideration because they are viewed as inherently flawed (usually in some form of control by evil forces or spirits). Growing up in the truth, I vociferously defended the accuracy and validity of the Org’s teachings and scholarship, including the first creation book. At the time, however, I had no comprehension of what true scholarship and critical thinking truly entailed. I recently picked up the new creation book, not to try to poke holes, but to see if my memory had not served me well and there was some good research being done.

The reality is that your faith, that of others still in the Org, and the faith of most religious people does not rely on scientific evidence, despite what is sometimes claimed. The new creation book is more than enough for most witnesses, for I believe that most would be happy even without it. I certainly do not wish to offend you, but from a scientific point of view, many, if not most of the points in that publication are not supportable by the world’s reputable scientists. I am sure that you disagree with me, but I would assert that, without starting first with either a belief in god or limited understanding of biology and/or physics, the book carries no significance.

I say that without intent to offend, and also knowing that science is not the pillar upon which you lay your faith. You undoubtedly believe that there is enough to support your faith, as did I before I engaged in a science discipline. You obviously are very sharp, however, as your thoroughness in approach to my comments indicate. In no way do I mean to suggest that I think everyone in the org is ignorant. I knew many very sharp, talented people there.

The reality for me is that I believe there are other theories that fit the various forms of religious data much better than the assumptions and theories held to be the truth by the org and other religions. I look at religion from a sociological context, one that considers it a societal mechanism. From this perspective, religion is viewed less by is it ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, but what form of function does it serve in its particular society or culture and what stage it might be in terms of developmental stage. Religions typically start as splinters from larger, more traditional, conservative groups to follow a charismatic leader or appealing new direction. Success depends on growth, and growth leads eventually to a broadening of acceptance as they embrace a larger sample of the population. They become less extreme and more mainstream by necessity to survive, similar to the mathematical principal of graduation to the mean.

In this context I made a few predictions, non guaranteed to occur, but predictable in the sense of it following thousands of years of previous patterns that religions have followed, generally fairly closely. The modern history of the org has demonstrated many adjustments over the years, either as expanding light as you refer to it, or as a predictable adjustment to changes in scientific knowledge and socially acceptable behavior, as sociologists would describe it. I made them, not in the spirit of meanness or spite, but as an interested researcher and observer of social systems. My reference to a genetic connection to homosexuality you referenced in (F)was not intended to be inflammatory but based on a growing body of literature that suggests just that. Looking down through history, however, it is typical that religious teaching lags behind science as a moving average, adjusting only when necessary on key teachings (reference Galileo, dealings with the mentally ill, the Org’s teachings of the literal/figurative heart, etc).

This has run, or I should say, I have run on much longer than intended, Nathan good chap (or lass); time for a wrap. I did manage to address a few of your points, many probably disagreeably to you and others who are still pursuing on down to the prize. I certainly don’t expect to change your opinion with anything I have said, and I believe I could still fairly accurately rebut the points I made from the Org perspective. Also, I am not the typical ex-JW poster who will attack anything and everything JW. As I said, I’m a lover not a fighter and believe there will come a day when JWs become more mainstream and don’t have the conflicts that often exist between current and former members. Ah, we shall see, eh? It will be an interesting couple of decades, I believe. Best of luck with your endeavors, may life treat you very well.

Best,

Enigmatic

Nathan said...

Hey NICKEL ALLERGY SUFFERERS I did not know that you are troy too. Sorry for that; I forgot the possibility that you are schizophrenic.

You said” Your comments were so silly I did not think that they needed to be answered.” Well man that was exactly that kind of comment I asked troy to avoid because it’s completely meaningless and empty (too funny that I could already predict your behaviour; you know why?; because it’s always the same with people like you lol). It only shows that you don’t have any valid arguments.

Your point about shunning: You are totally ignorant of the words I wrote. Again I ask you if it is an illness that keeps you from reading. The only thing I said is that people can leave JWs and nothing will happen! And that is the truth. They won’t be persecuted! And I also told you in my direct answer to you that I don’t understand why people who left complain. Since you obviously didn’t understand it I will quote it here again:

“If they wish that leaving was the end (meaning being out of the org, are no more “controlled” (as they might think) etc.), then they would certainly not want to associate with JWs, so if they were really shunned they could be happy! They would not complain about it! Your argumentation is a logical flaw as always.“

I do not deny that shunning happens. It is true that this is written in the Watchtower. I also posted already that “this (shunning) is a direct command you can find in the Bible!” Nevertheless it makes a difference if one is an apostate or if one was disfellowshipped e.g. because of unrepented immorality. More on that on my answer to enigmatic.

Well then you are, of course, wrong again. I do not criticise every comment about JWs that is not positive. I only refute ignorant and wrong assertions like yours. You couldn’t figure that out? Oh yeah sorry, I forgot that you are not able to read properly. Go and try to search for my comments on field service. There you can see that your assertion regarding my criticism is wrong.

The next sentence was a brilliant laughter! I was wondering if you were looking in a mirror while you were righting it: “You are unable to carry on a sensible discussion.” Man whatever you take, take less of it. You told me ”Your comments were so silly I did not think that they needed to be answered.” Yeah this is what I call sensible discussion! What did I do? I wrote quite lengthy postings with several arguments. You didn’t manage to refute even one on a logical level!

Well I didn’t start the “people coming in, people leaving” thing. You started it. I only presented your own childish argumentation to you. You are a chief statistician, aren’t you? You said: “It is a fact that more leave than come in.” Another real good laughter! What do you think why absolute member figures of JWs are increasing? Because more people leave than join? I am not sure if you understood simple maths. If one considers that several thousand JWs die each year and the absolute figures are still increasing it is evident that more people join than leave!

I especially like the “Cat Stevens” (or shall I say Yusuff) reasoning: “I was once like you are now”. It tries to put yourself above me. Well if that’s what you need… I prefer the way of better erguments.

Nathan said...

Enigmatic,
Thanks for taking time to write such a lengthy posting.

I feel sorry for you that you don’t have contact with your extended family and that you miss them. This surely must be terrible. It shows that you are a sincere man that you respect your relatives though they choose not to have contact with you and that you respect their reasons for it. The only thing I can tell you in this regard is, that in one Watchtower of 2002 it is stated that JWs should have only a minimum of contact with disfellowshipped, but a minimum does not mean no contact at all. It is also stated that relatives remain relatives and are no enemies. It is even said that if a disfellowshipped family member wants to live in the same house everyone should decide for himself if he wants that or not. So I really regret that your family seems to be on the hardliner side. But you know it, they would not have to!

ad c) Well I didn’t want to say that you use all your time and energy on to “go after” JWs. I just wanted to say that although you were correctly complaining about generalizations you did some yourself. But never mind.

ad psychological/mental health) I personally do believe that people who did not have psychological problems before they joined, will get them after they joined, except from physical sicknesses like true depression. In fact most of JWs are quite happy and this alone is more then most people “in the world” are. What I want to say is that if JWs would make you mentally ill, then surely this world’s system will do the job much more brutal!

This is why I doubt that there are really more constructive avenues. I know, this is one of the most used arguments, but it is also one of the clearest: If the world was full of JWs there would not be any wars. If, on the other hand, the world is full of other religions and social and cultural ideas, the world ends up in chaos and war as it does today. Even if there was just one single cultural, social or religious influence in the whole world there would be wars. History and newspapers today tell us that this is already true on a small scale.

ad “thinking paradigms”) Thank your for summing up the classical materialistic-mechanistic world view of science philosophy. Although I know that you might not be used to this when talking to a JWs I am quite familiar with this paradigm. I personally appreciate the theory refinement model of the exact sciences. Unfortunately today only physicists and chemists seem to really use this model properly. If one looks for example to the field of medicine clinical trials often show profound lack of understanding of this model. Biologists often behave as if they have never heard about this model.

Well in my personal profession I am not limited to this model, because mathematics is the only real exact science. And it is mathematics were my journey started. It is the only scientific profession in which I have a degree, but I’ll love to add one in physics, chemistry or molecular biology as well. This is the reason why I don’t like your next paragraphs very much. I don’t like it when people tell me that my faith is not build on logical and scientific fundaments. I don’t like it when people tell me that I have “limited understanding of biology and physics”. Why? Because mathematics and physics is my job! And molecular biology is my hobby. And I don’t like it when people tell me that I “believe that there is enough to support” my faith without being engaged in a science discipline. Why? Because I am engaged in a science discipline! Although I know that you did not want to offend me, I ask myself why you make so many assumptions about my thinking paradigms without knowing me.

So I will tell you a story. Most people think that the faith is some form of God is the starting point for religion. I tell you, it is not. At least it was not my starting point. What I was observing and what I was studying brought me to the conclusion that God is what I call a statistical necessity. Well we could go into details here, but this should be up to some later postings if you are interested. So my conviction that there is some kind of God has its roots in mathematics. Again, as I already said in my last post, if one believes that there is a God or if one believes that there is no God, does not make any difference from the standpoint of scientific paradigm alone. Both theories are equivalent! Why? Within scientific methods (natural sciences) they are both not falsifiable and thus do not belong to the set of things of interest. So from an intellectual and philosophical point of you, you are not allowed to put your opinion that there exists no God above the opinion that there exists one!

But back to my journey. After I considered a God as necessity I started to search for information about him, if he lets us know about him and so on. This was the reason I came across the Bible. Over the years many reasons why I consider the Bible to be a book from God cumulated. This should again be up do later posts if you are interested. And this is the reason why I was finally interested in JWs. Rather different from what you supposed, right?

ad new creation book) I doubt that there are many points in the book that are not valid from a scientific point of view. Well I think the biggest point of dispute will be evolution. But if you are honest, and I really suppose that you are, you will admit that what evolutionists call their science has nothing to do with the scientific model you described, because it is not based upon it.

ad religion as social educator) I don’t really think that this really works, if it is not done the way of JWs. History tells us that all that religions normally lead to is war, a lack of acceptance and narrow-mindedness. In this context I want to mention that JWs are supposed to accept other people and to treat them well. They are supposed not to be rude to others and to definitely stay away from war. On the other hand, after approximately 6000 years of evidence for cultural evolution we can say that the graduation to the mean principal does not work! Religion in this context is not limited to the faith in some kind of God. In this context economical and political models are religion substitutes.

ad religion behind science) Well this is definitely true. Galileo might be one of the best examples for that. Your comment about homosexuality was not inflammatory. I just wanted to point out that the literature in this connection is very ambiguous. As far as “socially acceptable behaviour” is concerned I am not so sure about that. JWs once were celebrating Christmas and were smoking. Today they are not. This is socially less acceptable for example.

Well I never really expect to change the opinion of others. I do not see myself as a catholic preaching pioneer of ancient days. I don’t have this “convert or I’ll burn down your village” attitude. The only thing I want to do is, making people think. Think about themselves, about the universe and about God. If they do so I am fairly happy, if they don’t I have no problem with it (as long as they don’t come along with nonsense like for example troy).

Thanks for your comments again enigmatic! And as you can see, I still write you, although you are one of this “apostate bastards we are supposed to hate” (I think troy would put it like this). Well my point of view is different from that. I have no problem with a nice “high level” discussion.

All the best for you and your family,

Nathan

enigmatic said...

Nathan,

Thank you again for a most interesting and detailed post. It is with little surprise that I learn of your math background as the detail and structure of your comments suggested a systematic approach that was decidedly methodical.

You have mentioned several times your distate for the use of generalizations in commentary,something that I would like to address. I do try to avoid making gross, unnecessary generalizations, particularly any which can be taken as derogatory. As you correctly stated, I certainly did not intend to address you specifically in the generalizations that I made. While I can certainly understand why you would find them distateful, I feel that I am not entirely without justification to incorporate them into a discussion concerning general patterns of the behavior of groups of people.

As you are well aware from excercising your discipline, the behavior or placement of data, when examined in a sufficiently large sample, can be modeled with certain statistical accuracy within a chosen rate of accuracy. From the discussions we have had so far, I would certainly place you outside of two standard deviations from the mean and probably outside of three fairly comfortably. In my limited contact with ex-JWs I would also tend to place myself outside of the normal behavior range.

We may disagree on this point, but I believe that we constantly make generalizations, spoken or internally held, in everything we do. I would also agree with you, however, that such characterizations are often made inaccurately and without basis. Your comments are reminders to me to remain aware and use great care which I think is always a good idea.

I did not mean to imply that I held you specifically to be ignorant or otherwise not able to draw conclusions about the data you had processed. To hear of your background gives me a feeling of relief that, though the conclusion you reached is one I do not share, at least you made it rationally as you saw fit at the time. The fact that you are not unwilling to entertain and address my comments also reflects the mind of a scientist, who, although not infallible, represents an approach to data that I greatly respect.

As I mentioned in my last post, my feeling was that you had enough exposure to the evidence in support of the existence of god to be satisfied, and it certainly appears to be accurate. As you are well versed in critical thought, are no stranger to breaking down the complexities of scientific theory, and have come to the conclusion that a belief in god is unavoidable, I am quite content to let you be. The differences we share regarding that conclusion have as their basis factors that run strong and deep and no doubt touch our very core. I feel satisfied that you hold a belief that you can feel very strong about and can hold your confidence.

Many from both sides of the god debate dive into, and often remain entangled in, discussions about the validity of evolution by natural selection or fulfillment of prophecy. For me, a theoretical model of god as a character of love, justice and wisdom just does not hold. It seems to me a simple matter to examine the claims about the character and assumed qualities of god held by various religions and within historic texts, compare them to the actions and words of god as allegedly handed down to us, and see if it fits.

Each individual has a set of requirements, formal or otherwise, that they use in deciding what they will put their faith or trust in. Many, such as yourself, are satisfied in what they hold to be evidence or justification for their belief in god. I have reached a different conclusion. For some, that is enough to suggest that we have nothing of importance in common and little to gain from conversation. I believe that their is great value in the experiences of others, particularly when different from your own. Too often, I believe, we focus on differences as a necessary point of contention. To feed that, I feel, is to limit growth and understanding and advancement of the human experience.

So it is that I greatly appreciate you sharing your thoughts and views. I am aware of how strongly those views are held and have no interest in trying to talk you out of them. Such conviction from someone with your background is always a reminder to reconsider my position and the rationale behind it. It is important, I believe, always to be willing to reexamine one's position as you gain by making a positive, beneficial adjustment in your worldview or reinforce your position after your model holds up under new scrutiny.

Many of your points are well taken and I can easily see where you are coming from. In my opinion, a monologue format such as this is a difficult one from which to carry on a discussion as it is a bit cumbersome and does not allow for immediate feedback and adjustment to address specific subtleties. Nonetheless, I have appreciated hearing your thoughts and would invite further commentary regarding some of the points you allused to but did not include in your recent post. In the meantime, I hope your weekend treats you well.

Best,

Enigmatic

Ronde said...

Nickel, you said: "I would defend the Watchtower at every turn. I wholeheartedly believed everything they said and did. One day, thank God, I realized what the organization was truly all about."

That is where you went wrong. Why did you defend the Watchtower? I am not about defending the Watchtower. I about defending my brothers and sisters in the faith, sure some of them include those who work at the WTS. But these people are friends of mine.

Why did you wholeheartedly believe everything the watchtower said and did? That was your choice and JWs don't do that. We are individuals but realize that the congregation and preaching work is directed by those at the Watchtower. We individuals are not the congregation.

The organization is about 7 million people who want to serve Jehovah God through Jesus Christ.

If you try to put anything more on that, then you are defining what 7 million people are. You do not have that right or authority. What I have found is that people, like yourself do not understand what the congregation, nee organization, is.

That is highlighted by your statement "It is plainly stated in the publications that if a person leaves of their own accord or is disfellowshipped, they are shunned."
If people just stop attending meetings, then they are not shunned. However their lack of attendance and association is their voluntarily shunning everyone else.

When people are disassociated or disfellowshipped, they are shunned because that is what they wanted.
If they did not want to be shunned, they way do they choose that course?

Ronde said...

Enigmatic and Nathan.

you both have written so much that I don't think that I can respond here about it.

But one thing that enigmatic wrote that he, like so many others have fallen prey to. You wrote:"I believe many things about the Org are not the most beneficial to people in general in terms of psychological/mental health, "

The problem with that is that you, like so many others, are taking a narrow view of things.

Many base their opinions on what some in the congregations say, or what some literature said, or what some heard at an assembly. But you need to mix in the full picture.

For example, over on www.jwproclaimers.org a brother posts talks that overseers have given. I just listened to one called "Faith without works is dead" by a circuit overseer. Many get this idea that we work for our salvation and compare to others. But he explained that life is a gift from God through Jesus and thus it has no repayment or works. Our ministry and our meeting attendance is our means of showing appreciation for that gift that Jesus provided.

So when you consider that many have left the faith because they get this feeling that there is to much work, they are wrong, because they don't have the whole story.

So some get the idea that well, the Watchtower is or has been wrong and thus they don't have to do anything anymore because of that. Well, but are you thankful for the gift that God have us in his son as John 3:16 says. The bottom line is that is all that the Watchtower has done, help us to appreciate that gift.

Dating Doofus said...

i was thinking about this earlier today...that there is some good growing up a jw...trust me, i would rather have not grown up a jw. one thing is how growing up jw, for me, i felt i didn't get sucked into the stereotypes of racism...where i'd hang out with a bunch of black friends from my hall and i'd get weird looks from people in our town.

that said, it still sucks to grow up under the ultimate form of prejudice, the 'you're gonna die and we can't wait' theory. that took years to shake off and realize just how hateful being a jw really is. not that every jw is at fault since there's a lot of ignorance and mind control, so it's great there are people like you on the net spreading the truth and helping people understand what's really going on.

thanks.

enigmatic said...

Dating doofus,

That is an interesting take on growing up in the org, and one I find very interesting. I too, despite much pain surrounding the past, identified early on several positives that have carried forward.

One of the plusses for me would have to be the theocratic school, in which I was enrolled at, if I recall correctly, age 6. Delivering speachs in front of relatively large congregational groups and later in front of a circuit assembly was great practice for opportunities I have had post-org.

Learning to harness the fear of addressing complete strangers about a topic that they most likely were going to reject was a skill that I appreciated later. After all, when you have done that for 90 hours in a month, other challenges take a different weight in comparison.

While those of us who have moved on are often very relieved to experience new and deserved freedom, I think it is very constructive to identify things in our past that allowed or encouraged growth, strengths that we can carry forward and incorporate in current, constructive endeavors. I appreciated your comment!

Best,

Enigmatic

Ronde said...

Dating Dufus: (Whatever that means),

You said "where i'd hang out with a bunch of black friends from my hall and i'd get weird looks from people in our town."

That would be something to be proud of.

And your statement"the ultimate form of prejudice, the 'you're gonna die and we can't wait' theory."

What is that supposed to mean? Only the wicked will die. People are not supposed to be wicked, so the preach work is a means to help them change from being wicked to being servants of God. That is not prejudice but love and the facts of life. Non-JWs are wicked and JWs are showing love by helping them learn the Bible and live by it.

Ever read about Noah and what happened to the wicked in his day? You can complain about the JWs all you want, but Jesus is the one that said "Just as in the days of Noah...". The story is in everyone's bibles. Was he preaching death? NO. He wanted people to live, but they rejected it.

Ronde said...

Enigmatic you said:

"While those of us who have moved on are often very relieved to experience new and deserved freedom,"

Moved on???.. Very very very few exjws have done that. That is why there is no such thing as an ex or former jw. They don't move on. They just stop doing positive things for Jehovah God and with those whom they called their brothers.

New and deserved freedoms?

How is it that JWs don't have freedoms? I have freedoms totally.

enigmatic said...

Ronde said...

Moved on???.. Very very very few exjws have done that. That is why there is no such thing as an ex or former jw. They don't move on. They just stop doing positive things for Jehovah God and with those whom they called their brothers.

New and deserved freedoms?

How is it that JWs don't have freedoms? I have freedoms totally.
---------------

Ronde,

I am glad that you are satisfied with your current spiritual direction, and I certainly hope that it continues to bring you happiness and joy.

For some, however, the worldview offered by the JW org, and for me even ancient texts such as the bible or the character of the Hebrew god, call for restrictions on thoughts and actions that do not allow for individual choice and are no longer acceptable.

I can only speak for myself, but I have found much good on the outside and many ways to contribute positive things to my fellowman. I really appreciate the freedom of choosing who I talk to and associate with based on my judgement rather than someone elses. Also very valuable to me is the freedom to read or research any ideas or philosophies so as to decided for myself what I want for a worldview.

I agree with you that not all ex or former JWs take advantage of their freedom to the most positive, full extent, but in all fairness that could probably be said about many people in and outside the org.

Best of luck with your endeavors and I hope it continues to make you happy. If its working for you, why change?

Best,

Enigmatic

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the defenders of this disgusting religion insist on visiting apostate sites, such as this, AGAINST the wishes of the said religion, making long and pointless posts - they're only fooling themselves.

I hope the owner of this blog never stops exposing this religion for the mindless cult that it is. You're doing a fantastic job, and there must be lots more people like myself who appreciate your efforts.