Bad Associations spoil useful habits. Are the JWs right? Scripturally?

by Open mind 23 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    It has been interesting for me to learn the various ways that the JWs twist the scriptures to fit their own dogma. (Of course JWs aren't alone in that, but that's another topic.) Two quick examples of JWs not following or going beyond the Bible are Blood and Birthdays. There are many others.

    Re-reading the Bible without JW filters on is one way I pass the time at the meetings now.

    But sometimes I'll find myself needing a little nudge from JWDers to see just where the dubs got it wrong.

    So far, I think the JWs got 1 Cor 15:33 right. ("Bad associations spoil useful habits" for those who don't remember it. How could you forget? )

    I've read the entire chapter in the NWT and now in a couple other translations and I come away with the same message the WT gives.

    Don't hang out with people who don't believe the same as you do or you will spoil your "useful habits".

    The entire chapter is devoted to those who were doubting in whether the resurrection was really going to happen.

    Am I missing something here?

    BTW, I think the message is sad and narrow-minded, but it's what Paul said, IMO.

    OK, straighten me out please.


  • Wordly Andre
    Wordly Andre

    well yeah because we all know that's what Jesus did right? oh wait............

  • Troggle

    Jesus commanded us to love God with our whole heart mind and soul and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Yes bad association can spoil useful habits. I guess it falls in line with what you determine association to be. After meeting someone and getting to know them I determine if this is a person I want to associate with. Would I invite him or her into my house and feel comfortable letting my children know that person? Noone is perfect we all have our faults. There are many people I have to be around and talk to and be friendly with at work. I spend 8+ hours a day 5 to 7 days a week with them but I wouldn't consider all of them people I associate with. I have made a few friends at work and have invited them to my home or have gone to do something with them. Just because you are around people or even speak to them on a regular basis doesn't mean you associate with those people. I think Paul was warning us to be careful who we choose as friends and remain close to. I could be wrong though it's been a long tioime since I have evn thought about any advice Paul gave.

  • hillbilly

    I guess i depends on what ones expectations and morality is.

    If you sleep with dogs you wake up with fleas................aint that the point of that verse?


  • Open mind
    Open mind

    Before this goes too far afield, I'm not looking for advice on the whole issue of choosing associates.

    I think it's fairly common sense that we are influenced by who we are around.

    But Paul was specifically talking about being around those who did not believe in the resurrection when he made the statement: "Bad assocations spoil useful habits."

    I think the JWs are accurately following what Paul said.

    I think what Paul said is overly narrow and restrictive.

    So the bottom line question I'm asking is:

    Are the JWs ACCURATELY following what the Bible says here?


  • Blasty

    I think they are in their determination of what a bad association is.

    So I guess it's all about who you label as the person paul is talking about. Is it 6.5 billion of the people on the world, or is it actuallty a number far smaller then that?

  • nvrgnbk

    I think Paul was right about those that don't live the life that they have in hopes of being rewarded with a future life being deserving of pity.

  • ex-nj-jw

    Hell if I know, I don't read the bible. I makes me sleepy


    **waves at OM** How's the family?

  • changeling

    Sure, in the same way that "birds of a feather flock together", or, "show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are", are true.

    It does not take holy spirit to see the obvious in human behaviour.

    changeling :)

  • Troggle

    If you keep it just in the term of believeing in the resurection then no the wittnesses don't have it correct. All christian religions believe in a resurection. Maybe not the one the the JW's believe but they do believe in one.

    Does this mean JW's can associate with any christian?

    Or, by associating with them will a JW maybe be persuaded into believeing something that the Society doesn't agree with

    is that what you mean or am I misunderstanding the point you are making?

  • snowbird
  • Finally-Free
    Bad Associations spoil useful habits.

    That's just common sense. I learned it without the assistance of the JWs or the bible.


  • yknot

    I guess it depends on which association has the dominate personality....

    Has there been a BOE on the term 'association'

  • Wordly Andre
    Wordly Andre

    Bad Publishing Companies Spoil Useful Lives

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    Thanks to all for your thoughts so far.


    The translation you cited, the good old KJV, renders vs 33 this way:

    15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

    That's a little different flavor than most of the other translations I looked at. I think it (slightly) obscures the message that the other translations make pretty clear.

    Here's the NIV:

    33Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."
    The New American Standard Bible

    33(A)Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."

    and finally the New King James Version:

    33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

    I'll stop there.

    Having chewed on this for a few hours, I think I've stumbled upon a little bit more clarity.

    Here's where the Watchtower takes this passage and puts it on steroids.

    1. Whatever Paul said was "God breathed" so it carries just as much weight as what Jesus said.

    2. Paul wasn't talking about people who were axe murderers and rapists, he was talking about people who had a different belief concerning the resurrection.

    3. Here's the big Watchtower logic-leap: Anyone who does not embrace the body of Christian belief as taught by the FDS, is Bad Association. The Great Apostasy hadn't yet occured when Paul wrote to the Corinthians, but it certainly has now. So the message is clear, anyone who doesn't share our beliefs is not a good person to have as a close associate.

    Fundamentalists are almost as narrow, but not quite.

    1. If you don't believe in the resurrection, you can't be my close friend. But at least you don't have to go to same church as I do.

    More liberal Christians widen the net a bit.

    1. The Bible contains SOME of God's thoughts, but you've gotta keep your own common sense filters on when you read it.

    2. Paul had a stick up his butt on a lot of issues and needs to be taken with a big grain of salt.

    3. Jesus' words, provided they really were his, are good stuff. But there is a good chance some of what he said got lost in translation so don't get too worked up about "hating your family" and stuff like that.

    And then you have guys like me.

    The Bible is worth knowing about due to it's huge cultural impact, but anything I read in it has to pass my own rationality test before I give it any weight. Oh no! I'm putting myself above God and will burn forever now.

    Thanks for all the input so far.


  • bobld

    Is a person who upholds bible principles a bad (association) person?


    PS:I meant to say, association with Jehovah's Witnesses spoil useful habits.

  • jaguarbass

    I think the Jw's are right about bad associations spoiling useful habits.

    Thats biblical not JW.

    You are the captain of your vessel.

    If you dont want to be a drug addict, dont hang around drug addicts.

    If you dont want to be a theif, dont hang around theifs.

    If you dont want to drink, dont hang around a bar.

    If you dont want to get a hair cut. Dont hang around the barber shop.

  • WTWizard

    It all depends on the definition one uses for "bad". I will use the most basic one--a bad person is one that consistently and volitionally does things that are bad for society, and particularly one that habitually and volitionally initiates the use of force, threat of force, and/or fraud against other people.

    Obviously, using that definition, Jehovah's Witlesses do not follow the scripture. Otherwise, they would quit associating with the leaders. The leaders consistently defraud people into thinking that they are going to die unless they join their organization, and then use guilt to coerce people into doing ever more. They threaten people with death, in a graphic depiction, if they do not join the organization and stay there. Obviously, they are threatening force and fraud.

    This is even worse than the common criminal. While a criminal's acts are bad, they never cite it as for the common good. The Filthful and Disgraceful Slavebugger, on the other hand, cites their criminal acts of fraud and death threats as for the common good. Obviously, that puts them among the worst possible associations. And, anyone that wholeheartedly pushes that message on people is bad associations for as long as they are actively pushing it.

  • sf

    In this article, {somewhere....I can't seem to find the quote} your governing body asks you outright: "...are you wise or stupid...for [even] associating with "apostates/ opposers"...:


    And now after reading that thread, which ARE you...wise or stupid?


  • jgnat

    My pastor taught me that "scripture balances scripture". You get a finer meaning by comparing them to scriptures that seem to advise differently. I think others have pointed out it matters on the definition and degree of "badness". There's people I avoid for obvious reasons. They are sharks who would rip out my backside if I was unwary. But I don't avoid everyone who thinks differently than me. I welcome their perspective.

    There are several stories that come to mind. Jesus associated with all sorts. Also, Peter was specifically told to associate with the gentiles, "What I have called clean, do not call unclean." I take that to mean that Jesus, his sacrifice, and the explosion of belief that followed, was to be inclusive.

    Mark 9:38-40 - Do not forbid a stranger from doing good works in Jesus' name, "for he that is not against you is for you."

    Acts 10:10-17 - Peter's vision of the unclean animals, God calls them clean.

    John 4:7-29 - Jesus converses with a Samaritan woman.

    There was also the leper, the centurion (Matthew 8:5), the woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9:20), the harlot (John 11:12), and the tax collector (Luke 5:27). Jesus conversed and ate with them all.

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