Why do religious people make claims and then refuse to back them up?

by Viviane 114 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Viviane

    Several times over the past few months I have had conversations, both here and in real life, with religious people making all sorts of interesting and conflicting claims. I like to know how things work, so generally I will ask questions to net out what I am being told and see if it can be explained and make sense.

    For instance, if someone said 2+2=4 and I asked how, there are a variety of ways that could be shown to me, a number line, physical objects being put together, counting on fingers and toes, etc. Indeed, in my personal life, I often have to explain how certain technologies work, sometimes planned, sometimes off the cuff, from a variety of group sizes to a varying degree of technical expertise.

    I have to back up what I say, either by showing the group how something works or explaining it in detail. There is nothing wrong with, when asked a question, saying "I'm not sure" or "I don't know that" or "That's not my field of expertise". It's usually followed up with "However, I can and will go find out for you and get back OR I will find out who can do that and bring them into the conversation."

    With religion, the spiritual, etc., it seems that is never the case. For instance, I started a thread asking what spirit is made of since it gets brought up so often. No one could tell me.

    I am told how to communicate with God but, when asked how the works, the person telling us does everything they can to prevaricate, change the subject, pretend they've answered, etc.

    Just last night I was told that I am dead and unable to understand anything even if they were to tell me, which they proceeded not to do. That particular question was around prophecy, someone claiming it had been fulfilled and then being completely unable answer which prophecy or what it said.

    I cannot imagine putting myself in a position to make claims and then be completely unable to answer even basic questions about that claim. It would be humiliating, frankly, to pretend to know something and then get caught not knowing anything. Even once would be bad, but multiple times? I shudder at the idea!

    Why can't religious people simply say "I don't know"? What is wrong with that level of honesty? Why all the claims to know stuff and, when caught NOT knowing any of that stuff, the insults, the subject changing, the pretend answers?

    I simply don't get it.

  • _Morpheus
  • _Morpheus
    Yep. Same frustrations here.
  • sparrowdown

    I just figure it's a face saving thing. They figure they can't in one breath claim the bible has all the answers and in the next breath admit there are some things they just don't know. As soon as you claim one book has all the answers of the universe contained within it's pages ( an impossibity) anything not covered in the book has to be either false or not worth knowing in order to maintain your original claim that you have all the answers.

    It's becomes frustratingly circular.

  • Phizzy

    How to defend the indefensible ? Difficult.

    One venerable old JW lady that I admit I gave a real hard time to, what I might now term a "Viviane" time, having seen you in action, she admitted to me in the end that her devotion did not depend upon facts, reason or indeed Truth, it was purely based upon emotion.

    I said to her, in as quiet and kindly way as I could muster, "Well excuse me if I do not feel as you do".

    They have not a leg to stand on, and if they cannot bullshit you, they can only retreat into total dishonesty.

    And then RUN.

  • jwleaks

    JW's cannot back up their claims because they are always limping on two different contradictory opinions and ever changing "new light".

    JW's say the Bible has the answers. The problem is no one has the question.

    Ask any JW the following question and see what happens:

    Does the Bible give sound advice on whether I should answer the stupid one according to his foolishness?

    Do not answer the stupid one according to his foolishness. - Proverbs 26:4

    Answer the stupid one according to his foolishness. - Proverbs 26:5

  • Maat13

    It's unfortunate but it is also a reality that there are many people who do not have the ability to reason logically, nor correlate a series of ideas. However, they do have the capacity to feel, imagine and believe. For these types of people we must show both empathy and sympathy. Leave them be.

    Two JW's came to my door the other day. My eyes lit up. I was ready to tell the everything concerning the history of their organization and why Russell really wrote "The Divine Plan of the Ages" and why Rutherford went in the opposite direction and how their entire organization was started with financing from drug money.

    But instead I asked them a simple question. "Are you happy with what you are doing?" they said "YES!" in unison.

    I was once happy being a JW. Until.

    JW's and other religious people will only attract and bring into their organization like minded individuals.

    They will say the same thing about us logical and rational folk.

    The difference is that we (me) will always understand why 2+2=4 and they will always believe 2+2 = 5.

    We must show consideration for our fellow human beings.


  • Magnum
    Why do religious people make claims and then refuse to back them up?

    The simple truth is that they can't back them up. They'd love to; they're desperate to, but they simply can't. Consider the org. It is so desperate to back up its claims that it resorts to outright deception (for example, deceptive use of quotes in Creation book and Trinity brochure). The org would love to be able to back up its blood doctrine, its 1914 doctrine, etc., but can't.

    I think that a lot of JWs feel that the claims can be backed up, but that they personally are unable to back them up. They probably think that a GB member or a Bethelite or a CO or a super elder could back them up. JWs of this particular type think that JW higher-ups are so much smarter than they are that they just accept what these higher-ups say and assume the higher-ups can back up what they say.

    As to why they won't admit they don't know... well, I don't know. I think it's a combination of stupidity, stubbornness, and pride. Also, I think it's fear. They might have some nagging doubts that they suppress. They are terrified of the implications of these doubts, so they keep them locked away. To admit they don't know might, to them, be sort of like letting their doubts out.

    Anyway, I definitely feel your frustration/irritation.

    Just last night I was told that I am dead and unable to understand anything even if they were to tell me, which they proceeded not to do

    Classic JW use of argumentum ad hominem. They attack their opponent rather than address his argument or question.

  • never a jw
    never a jw
    "If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people" House
  • cofty

    Religious folk are expected to assent to all sorts of silly things. For most of human history that wasn't a problem since it was respectable to hold irrational beliefs.

    Theists now find themselves in the impossible position of trying to hold on to superstitions in a post-enlightenment world.

    Few have the courage of their convictions to declare that faith trumps evidence, so they are left having to defend the indefensible.

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