Jehovas Witnesses

I got visited yesterday morning by two Jehovas Witnesses (JW). Admittedly it WAS a Saturday morning I DID have a hangover and it was pretty much the ONLY day of the week that I am allowed to sleep in, so this post might be a little biased. However, I try to afford everyone the maximum respect that is due to anyone, regardless of what they are trying to say or the actions they have taken.

I knew they were JW as soon as I opened the door and admittedly a slight sinking feeling settled in as I really wasn’t in the mood. But I have an open mind about this sort of stuff, so I let them talk to me. Had Si (my housemate) opened the door, then I’m fairly certain a couple of expletives would have been uttered whilst the door slammed rapidly back.

On the face of it, the guys were very pleasant. The main man doing the talking (John) was a very gentle, well spoken man, who outwardly did not immediately put me off. Probably a good thing.

He started by asking me a question, which sadly, given my hungoveredness, I didn’t actually catch. However, the gist, I think, was “Do you think fair and moral politicians exist?”. He was referring specifically to recent events overseas (Afghanistan War, Iraqi War etc) and was trying to question whether or not these actions were justified.

He spoke for about 15 minutes before he told me he was a JW (not that he had to do that). He quoted a few sections from the bible, which to me seemed like the most obscure and out of context passages possible, I forget where from, but nevertheless. He spoke of how the Bible said man should never use our tools as weapons against others.

Had I been a bit more compus mentus I might have asked him what he thought about those who used their weapons against us. But I didn’t, in fact, I really just let him talk. Which is probably a good thing seeing as I hold quite a sceptical perception of this sort of thing. And the fact that I have been reading a lot of Philosophy recently (in particular, “Does God Exist?”) [see previous blogs] so I probably could have had quite a decent argument with him about it.

I wasn’t in the mood though, but after they had left, I did get to thinking.

I read the leaflet they left me (which incidentally seems to be the exact same thing they have been leaving for what must be at least 15 years). I have a few problems:

1) The quotations

As an academic, I know how to write proper papers. This might not come across in my writing in this journal, but then this is not a submission to a journal, this is a cheap and easy way for me to transcribe my thoughts as they come to me.

Reading their pamphlet I was instantly struck with a feeling that they were quoting for the sake of quoting. They would make a statement and back it up with a reference to the Bible. This is not a bad principle, however it is the statements they make and the amount of references they use. Mostly irrelevant and instead of providing clarity on an issue, it felt more like a PR exercise (*YES!* THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS THIS! Buy Now! Just $19.95!).

More importantly though yet linked to this:

2) They are quoting passages from a book written 2000 years ago.

This is quite a common argument, I think. They rely on Gods word which was written at a time completely different to the way in which we live now. I find this quite fallacious. OK, maybe not fallacious, but perhaps, misguided. Example: there is huge uproar and discontent in world Christianity at the moment at the possibility of the appointment of an openly homosexual Bishop in the UK. Many of the leaders of Christianity are wholly opposed to it and quote scriptures from the Bible that say that homosexuality is wrong and the appointment of a gay Bishop would set the wrong example.

This is the biggest amount of closed-minded nonsense, nay, bullshit, I think I have ever heard. The world we live in today, is all about adaptivity, innovation and application. Things progress, they change. I’m not going to use the word evolve, for obvious reasons (I hope!), but in essence this is what is happening. Things change.

The message that God gave has not changed; it is the same theory, but I feel it is wrong, stupid, naive, even, of the followers to live an existence based on the Bible. The Bible can be read for guidance, for instruction on a a way to live, to gain the right principles but it is stupid to apply the words of it literally. If that were true, then no Christian would eat meat or wear woollen items and a myriad of other bizarre “teachings” from the Bible.

The reason I feel this is point 3, below.

3) A Relationship with a Supernatural being

I suppose God can be described as being supernatural. The JW asked me if I believed there was a God. Bizarrely, though I have gone over it a hundred times in my head, I was unable to give an answer. I think I said “yes”, in the end. They asked did I want to talk more about it; how I felt about things, and so on. I definitely said “no”. The reason being, to me, is perfectly clear. A relationship with God is a personal thing. A 1-to-1 thing. I am sure that is in the Bible somewhere. That God deals with everyone as individuals. Now of course, it is helpful to meet with other people and enjoy your faith, heck, the Bible says that others should go out and actively spread the word of God to bring more people into his love, or whatever, but that, I feel, is a separate issue to the relationship you have with him. And I don’t feel the need to discuss this with other people; simply because it would be futile.

An active philosophical debate is does every person have their own mind, or are we all just mindless zombies. I’ve often wondered. The argument is, that whilst you can make suppositions and assumptions about how different people feel, they can describe what they are thinking about, there is no way whatsoever to “get in their head” and actually experience it.

Likewise with religion. People can describe their relationship with God. But no-one can never truly experience it because it is simply impossible. This is not a bad thing, no, quite the opposite, in fact.

My dad once said to me. “Matt, I’m pleased you’re happy at Uni, but I don’t think anyone can ever be truly happy until they are able to find spirtuality”. Or words, to that effect. And I couldn’t agree more. It’s funny how spiritual you feel when you’re surfing; out in the sea, all alone and at the mercy of the most powerful force known to man (is it!? That’s another question all together.. :p) where you are reminded just how small you are.

I’m not a theist. I’m not an atheist. I suppose I am without faith. However, Ockham’s razor says that, in the event of having two hpotheses each equally substantiated by supported evidence such that you cannot reach a conclusion, rather than postponing judgement, the simpler hypothesis should be used. In this case, so far, I have had no clear proof that God exists (there is plenty to suggest he does but likewise plenty to suggest he doesn’t) and for this reason, I get on with my daily life.

I don’t think it’s as simple as that, I mean you’re always wondering… but still.

Hmm.

5 Comments

  1. I totally agree that Jehovahs Wittnesses are taking the Bible Out of context and are misquoting the scriptures. However, as to the Bible being outdated since it was written 2,000 years old, this has been the excuse that human beings have used to do break laws, and God’s word since the Bible was written. To say that the Bible is outdated is saying that God is outdated since he inspired it. God is forever & so is his word. Yes, things here on earth change but God knew that things would change & knew that poeple needed Rules & Laws to guide them into the future. His Holy Word. He wouldn’t be God if he didn’t already know how things would change. The changes that have happened haven’t all been good either. For Example, the passive attitudes toward moral behavior like premarital sex and sex outside of marraige. If these are not good enough reasons than look at the crime rate increasing more & more. People stopped seeing anything wrong with cheating, lying, stealing, murdering, etc. It all starts with a passibe attitude that the Laws God made are outdated. If you haven’t guessed by now, I am a Christian. But even if I weren’t it only takes Common Sense to see all this.

  2. thanks for your comments guys. i wrote that post a long time ago and it’s interesting to read back over it and then see what other people have to say. i just say what i think at the time. i still agree with what i said then, despite what you may think about me. my point about the bible being 2000 years old is simply that, how do we know that god doesn’t want to release a 2nd edition? ok i’m playing devil’s advocate here, and i know you can always counter with the argument that god is perfect and infallible and so on, but surely there are parts in there that are conveniently ignored by christians today? such as the things i mentioned in my post about some decrees. anyway, i’m way beyond this argument nowadays, maybe some time soon i’ll reevaluate and post again.

  3. i agree with some of what you say. about Jehovas rambling and quoting for the sake of quoting with something that seems to support their argument. i had some jehovas talk to me today, however, i suppose i would come from a different angle already being a devout christian. i find it strange it appears we got the same thing from them in this respect. they said they didnt believe scripture teaches something i believe in, but looking into it their reasons it would appear as though there were contradictions left right and centre in the bible and if there were such i wouldnt even look in it again. couple of points, just because it was written 2000 years ago does that mean it is not true? and you say things change but does that mean they are good? ill try to keep this point on homosexuality brief, you seemed to mention homosexuality as though it didnt happen in the days of the bible where in fact, according to the bible, homosexuality was as socially accepted and ferverent as it is today, moreso even as cities were destroyed (sodom+gamorrah(spelling))and people in bible days had to keep being told about it. finally clear proof that God exists, no clear sign will come along to convince everyone that He does but people who believe in Him have they seen Him? certainly not in they way people seem to want.
    just wanted to make these couple of points no big debate or offence intended.

  4. mate, you have no concept of whats real or not, you have never read the bible and as such, should not have a stance on it. written 2000 years ago huh? if you had read it, you would know that most of the prophecies written are happening right NOW. the book of job for example describes the earth as round and “as if hanging upon nothing”. 200 years ago people thought the earth was flat. job (the writer) was not an astronaut and had no spaceship but he was inspired by god to write this. your rubbish about gay bishops being progressive etc. is way out. the fact that the bible says homosexuality is wrong should mean that a gay bishop CANNOT be a representative of god because the bible is gods word. a direct condradiction. exit stage left one gay bishop. your theory on evolution having plenty of proof is closed minded nonsense, nay, bullshit. if you dig a bit deeper, or go near the bottom as some of us have, you’ll see the whole concept of evolution is based on a series of what if’s and maybe’s and could have’s and possibilities. the bible has it writ down in (amazing) detail. sorry man but i think you, will pass on knowing the real truth. and that IS reminding you of how small you are.

  5. You put up with that for 15 minutes?

    If that happened to me now I’d ask them what their business was, and if they didn’t make a sale in 30 seconds, I’d close the door.

    Even just opening the door to somebody in the first place is dangerous, let alone Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Heard a radio programme about their society the other day. Scary stuff.

Comments are closed.