To the extent that I find I believe in nothing, I find it difficult to articulate disagreement with Jehovah's Witnesses. And to the extent that I do manage to give expression to disagreement with Jehovah's Witnesses I find that this divergence necessarily attaches itself to all sorts of assumptions; assumptions which I find to be disconcertingly fragile upon closer inspection. And if I then doubt those assumptions then I am back to the "nothing" with which I find it impossible to combat the Witness worldview.
Slimboyfat: I understand what you are trying to convey. You are trying to conceive of 'nothing' and our minds cannot conceive of nothing. You have explained it in the context of jw beliefs or non-belief, but in fact it has nothing to do with that specifically. This is the mind trying to make sense of eternity and the concept of it's opposite - nothing.
IMO, someone who believes in 'nothing' is still operating at the level of religiosity. All they have substituted is their belief in 'god' with a belief in 'nothing' - both are unprovable. The person who claims 'nothing' is in a state of helplessness where they cannot and will not claim personal power or take positive action.
Choosing to believe in 'nothing' is a belief which allows a person to negate life and meaning, it gives the person emotional comfort. All belief gives emotional comfort. But beliefs do not exist in a vaccuum - each belief creates consequences and actions (I define non-action as an action).
what you seem to fail to realise is that your belief that it is possible to make sense of things without an underlying narrative to structure your beliefs is, ironically, in itself the very "encompassing belief system" through which you have chosen to make sense of the world. You differ from Jehovah's Witnesses in that you have a different "encompassing belief system".
Am I to understand that you consider a belief finite? The jw belief (just one of many, but for sake of argument we are using them) is relatively finite. For instance, I remember once an elder (who I still hold in great affection as he is a lovely man) talking about JW beliefs (or "God's teachings") as having "parameters - but where we (as Christian's) have freedom of choice as to where we were within those parameters". Obviously in the mind of JW's - the world and everything else exists outside those parameters. So their belief it a closed system belief.
Then there are beliefs, such as Nark's, which are an expanding belief system. So, for simplicity's sake, there is the inner circle which would be religious beliefs (and within that circle there may be lots of other circles, each depending on how fundamental or relaxed the religions are). Then outside this circle is another circle of belief systems, which, whilst larger and more encompassing than the religious circle, is still somewhat finite. Then outside this circle is another belief system which recognises that there is no perceived edge to beliefs, but still needs to define it's belief relative to the inner circles.
This latter circle will always have trouble conveying to the inner circles their understandings. And often what the outer circle (if one can even call it a circle because it has no boundaries) will encounter is that what they are saying sounds very similar to what the inner circles are also saying. The inner circles have always heard the words of the outer circle, but they have not experienced or embodied these words, they have got stuck on their individual perception of what the words look like and then created a construct based on words - not on what the words actually were trying to convey. They have created their own interpretation of the words based on limited emotional and mental development. Thus, the words can be the same but the living from them can be very different. This is why it is possible to say that JW's are wrong on (a) doctrinal interpretation but also (b) manifestation of their understanding. Their actions do not match the words, but the words are not always wrong.
You need to step outside the inner circle of thinking and start embracing everything. Everything does not mean nothing (I do understand how you feel though - it is a big leap and it does screw with your head and you will feel like you are going insane. Read Nark's thread on Sound use of Mental Suicide: http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/6/156735/1.ashx). There is still a desire to have a path set out for you and this is natural. It is a trust issue at the moment and you feel like you can't trust anything. This is an emotional response and perfectly ok. You were just falsely led to believe by the witnesses that you would never have to feel this again - that you were safe in your belief system. Now that you no longer believe, you no longer feel safe.
It is a very primal desire to feel safe.
Allow these thoughts to be there and play themselves out. This feeling is your mind trying to break past its confines of old beliefs, and some of these beliefs are so much a part of us that even though we think we have dismissed the 'logical' beliefs, there is still a whole lot of emotional programming in play which you are not aware (and these are more often than not, illogical). The friction of the resistance from old beliefs - at an emotional level - can be disconcerting to downright terrifying.
Try to bring these thoughts back to the emotion and allow the emotion to be here. You can't just figure this out at the level of the mind at this point :) So sit with the emotion as well as the thought.