although JWs are not Calvinists (thank God) there is some truth to what Calvin said about "total depravity" of the will and nature of man. it's not quite as John Calvin (a hypocrite and weirdo by the way) insisted. but the Bible does say that "in me, that is in my flesh, there dwells nothing good" and "the heart of man (emotions, propencities, leanings and all) is bad from his youth up" and "the heart (emotions and all) is treacherous and DESPERATELY WICKED, who can know it, (or who can trust it)" and "through one man sin entered the world and death through sin" and "I was shapen in iniquity" and "in sin did my mother conceive me" and "who produces someone clean out of someone unclean? there is not one." etc. and also "dead in trespasses and sins" and "vanity vanity all is vanity" referring to what emotional materialistic ritualistic human beings do and "conjure up". etc. Calvin just went overboard thinking that because of that free will is totally gone. there are Verses that indicate that though we're in bondage to sin, we can still make some choices. "life and death" "blessing and cursings" are choices that God puts before us. but anyway, as far as emotions though. no God created us with emotions. and before Adam fell into sin and rebellion (after Eve started the apostasy of the human race, and then seduced her silly husband with her) Adam's emotions were balanced and "good." but sin and Satan have taken that and corrupted and perverted human emotions, where logic, reason, and Truth, get shoved aside many times. "because of your TRADITION" Christ said.
now back to my friend AlmostAtheist (who should be AlmostBackToBeingJW I hope, cuz I'm sure he's sorely missed in the Congregation) as I said, birthday celebrations are DIFFERENT than excessive eye makeup and whatever, and I think you're shrewd and honest enough to see that. eye makeup in that sense (though it's debatable whether it's so "self-worship"ish) is not this elaborate CEREMONIAL party thing, or this big production with balloons and whistles and cakes and pagan candles and pagan wishes to pagan Druid gods. so if I sounded a tad "dismissive" about it, I almost this clears up why. cuz they just aint the same. I know you're point about "well pagans did, and it's narratively mentioned, and bad things happened" but that's why I said so what cuz what about Jezebel's hair being made up too in that very Verse? you didn't address that point I made.
birthday celebrations, generally speaking, and the way it's been, and you know this, is this big retarded "Happy Birthday To YOU" singing, trappings, baggage, paganism, elaborate creature-worshipish nonsense involved. where is there singing "happy eye paint to me, happy eye makeup on me"??? that's what I meant. so yes, I did and I am further addressing it. don't get me wrong. I find it cute in a way that you keep harping on the eye paint. I find your postings interesting, thought-provoking, and adorable. that's why I'm sad that you're in this state. I understand it. doubts and issues and important things come up. but again, I'm sure you're missed by many. don't close the door on JWs and the "Church of Jehovah's Messiah and Kingdom" completely. and as far as the over-scrupulosity at times, one thing is it's generally better to 'err' on the side of safety than not. I'll just say this last thing again on oral sex in marriage. as I said, at one time the WT was stronger against it, but toned down considerably. cuz they know that policing marriage bedrooms is stupid and un-Biblical. so you don't see five lines about it in decades, in any literature. cuz in marriage, as long as both agree, it's like who cares. there are more pressing issues than a wife giving her husband mouth and tongue pleasure and therapy in different parts of the body. God didn't care about that in Leviticus, but rather encouraged in Solomon's Canticles. so the WT (even if individual fartish elders in Bethel or in local congos go woof woof matic about it. DOGmatic) is toned down about that stuff. trifles.
and in a way, birthday parties, compared to murder, lying, defrauding, smiting, fornication, homosexuality, smoking, is trifle too. but also, not necessarily a wise pure Christian or Biblical move either. none of Jehovah's servants, from Genesis to Revelation ever celebrated their birthdays, only retarded pagan creeps, and history testifies that the trappings and customs involved in it today are BIG no no's for Christians. (Druid candles offered as sacred smoke to their deities, making a wish to a sacred Druid demon god, as well as the self-magnifying aspects of it, and just general wordly overtones of it all) also I want to mention that you didn't say anything about my point to you where you said "the culture of the Jews, but how do we know it was their religion that forbade or discouraged it," or something like that you said.
and I wrote in a post after that, saying that "the culture of the Jews was interchangeable with their religion, that was the point." in other words, what needs to be understood is that their religion was their culture, and their culture was their religion. I would think that you would know that. look at the whole origin of the Jewish people, from the word go (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Joseph, the 12 Tribes, Moses, the Law (Torah), the kings, the prophets, and Jehovah was their national God.) you might be referring to that time in history with people in general, but that's not true either because "people at that time in history in general culture wise" celebrated their birthdays, as we plainly see. from Pharaoh the pagan Egyptian to Herod the pagan Edomite, and flunky of Rome. but the point again is that the Jewish religion was the same as the Jewish culture, back then. there was no difference. so of course the Jewish religion discouraged (because of key points and principles in the Jewish Scriptures) vain things like birthday parties and whatnot. but my point is that individual disobedient Jews (which is why John the Baptist called for repentance) may have done things like that. but Christ and His Jewish Apostles never did, though wedding parties are recorded. let's not beat a dead horse now. if the Bible and Christ's Faithful Slave (though not infallible) discourages it and put it in an unfavorable light, in at least 4 types of ways, then so will Bible-following separated sanctified JWs. "oral sex in marriage" hang-ups, again, have been toned down by the WT and not bothered with. that's a private thing. whereas elaborate "birthday parties" are an open flaunting showy type thing. another difference. and yes eye paint is kind of "showy" in a sense too, but it's more an adornment dressy type thing, rather than a pagan form of self-worship and self-honoring ceremonial stuff. with pagan witches rites, and candles offering incense to Celtic gods, and Druid mysticism thrown in the mix. take care.