Geez, Ross. What an intolerant mess we have here.
Seriously, tho' I see intolerance happening, too. I'm not so sure if it's really increasing or just part of a normal cycle of JW --> doubting JW --> fading, DF/DA JW --> Angry, hurt & shunned Ex-JW --> Ex-JW who is now ...?
Here's where it gets interesting:
a) Some of us for our own personal needs and reasons 'jump' right into another religious belief system.
b) Some of us readily reject anything WT 'like', but, hang on to the Bible as a basis for our guide to living.
c) Some of us are so completely disgusted with what religion has come to represent in our lives & minds...we are slowly/quickly evolving away from any structured belief.
Of course, there are many other 'destinations' where X-JW's are traveling to or have arrived. I don't pretend to understand the 'how & why', I am tolerant, partly, because I want the same consideration and respect. I love the diverse beliefs, to me it represents a kind of 'middle finger salute' in the general direction of the WTS -- that they will not control (all of) us.
My evolution: At the last Texas 'Fest you were at, I told you, "I, was still a 'believer' (Bible) and appreciated the fact that you were, too." I said that, because, I felt a little out-numbered by the atheists, agnostics, pagans, etc. And, because, you were an open-minded, tolerant & non-judgmental Christian...which is a rather rare creature, imho.
I still have that opinion about you, but, not the Bible or any religion. My travels so far have taken me from, "B" to "C" in my examples above.
The posters below bring up good examples, although opposed, why a 'monkey wrench' being thrown in sometimes -- is a good thing. Although, it can irritate the hell out of others by making them think 'it's patently off-topic' or it makes them uncomfortable having their closely held beliefs questioned.
Justin As has been pointed out, people should be met where they are. I don't think it's helpful, for instance, if someone asks how the WTS knows how many of the 144,000 are left, for them to be told that the whole subject is mythological anyway - that there isn't even a God to pick the 144,000, let alone a heavenly kingdom, etc. Let those who are willing to deal with the subject on its own terms attempt to help those people. In the same way, I don't think that someone who has declared themselves an atheist should be told by a believer to "try Jesus"! If we imply that what matters to people is actually irrelevant, then I think we are also implying that the people themselves are irrelevant.
That's very insightful.
However sometimes a shift of paradigm is required, and only a person who do not share a "common ground" with the first poster can bring it about.
Many xJWs' questions are based on wrong premises (vestiges of JW doctrine), and they need to be questioned rather than answered. E.g. "How do the anointed know they are?" "Was Jesus perfect like Adam?" "Is the WT part of Babylon the Great?" Such questions cannot be adequately answered without questioning the underlying JW definitions (respectively "anointed," "perfection" and "Babylon the Great"). No more than you can answer the question "did you stop beating your wife?" if you never did. Of
course there is no need to do it harshly.
When I first came here 3 years ago, there was this one poster who irritated me by showing up on 'Biblical' threads I was enjoying (in my comfort zone) to brazenly question the very validity of the Holy Bible ! He would declare it was written by ignorant "goat-herders" who worshipped an unseen cruel & vindictive god, that was of course, cleverly dreamed up as a method of controlling people.
How DARE he make me think of things outside my comfort zone ? Guess what ? After a while I began to think, "What can I really prove about God ?" I finally realized the answer, for me, was ...nothing.
Imagine the shock JW's have to their systems when someone 'brazenly' gives an answer at the WT study -- that is not the 'pat' written answer they are supposed to give...? It's offensive, but, possibly just what some need to hear to shake out their cob-webs a little.
My beliefs are now very close to that 'irritating poster', I'm glad my beliefs were challenged & criticized...that helped me grow. Where will I be in a year ? Beats me. All I know is I'll continue listening to everything and take what I need. I believe it's important in these things to, "Never say never."
I cannot improve on XJW4EVR's comment below :
Lastly, the point that should be emphasized is that criticism is not intolerance. We are critical of many things, and many times that critical look is the sum total of our personal experience combined with our education.