The Power of Faith

by AllTimeJeff 27 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Chalam

    Hi Jeff,

    This might be the crux of where you and I diverge, and why I feel that some faith is not of the same quality. (I am just saying that, I don't mean that to be disrespectful, just an opinion)

    Hey it's cool-no stress. I like talking with you in these posts, always a pleasure :)

    There are some other posters who I feel like choking but the Lord told me to love them or leave them be!

    Whenever I read what you wrote (and it is a very common premise among Christian theists) "Who am I to judge? Am I qualified to judge?" I stop. Lately, I would simply answer, "Yes, you are qualified to judge."

    I dunno. If you believe in a Creator then He is pretty special. He made the universe and everything in it (and out of it) then that is cool in my book. If I was the Creator I would have likely lost my patience and got rid of humans long ago. However, we are made in God's image so He loves us and the world He made for us. If you have children of your own you will understand. Anyhow, do I think my kids should judge me and tell me how things should be? Do I think they should tell me how to deal with their siblings? Do I think they have understanding regarding the things I have to decide?

    I read such expressions and realize that they also express a limit to what can be explained or proven. To that, ALL of us have that limitation, myself included. So in that, it seems you are prepared to "take a few items on faith", we are no different.

    Those damn JWs! Hey, they might have messed it up for many round here but I tell you, as "Christians" we are chalk and cheese. In fact, I don't regard that they are actually following Christ at all. Their "christ" is a mirage. He is God, not an angel. He is alive and well in His own "flesh and bones", not a "spirit creature".

    However, the tradition from which your faith springs has a couple of inherent problem areas. As a former JW, I have seen first hand how group think faith, pre packaged and tied with a bow is dangerous. I am also reminded so often of how JW's are continued to encourage not to think, not to question, or to take their questions to a pre set limit.

    That is cultist, you realise that now. God made us individuals with a brain, a conscience and free will. We are too exercise it, not to have it crushed and bullied by anyone. God wants us to submit to godly authority but I am afraid the GB and JW elders are absolutely not from God and neither is their "organisation". As the church, we are encouraged to think, participate and contribute in ways I don't think you can imagine unless you have seen it function firsthand.

    Thus, to promote faith in Jesus is much different imo, then personally believing him to be god. The (not so subtle) difference between the faith you and I discuss is that I strongly believe we should look inward, question, and put faith in the fact that if god exists, he is happier to have us question and doubt.

    Think about it, gods a smart person. (for arguments sake). She knows she hasn't been around, that evidence, real evidence of communication and intervention are not around. And then she gave us this brain. She wants us to use it.

    So in my view, there is no way god will ever censure us for doubting, or not believing. I would never hold it against anyone to not believe I exist if I never talk with them. Is it any different with god?

    I have long though about the need for faith. Also what is faith? Why does God like it so much? The answer I have arrived at is that if we saw God wholly for who He is then we would feel compelled to serve Him and do what is right. However, God doesn't want robots, that is clear. So for now we have total freedom to do anything from love Him to loathe Him or blaspheme and profane Him. However, one day He will sort us into two groups, one that want to do the former and those that have chosen the latter.

    What if the real "test" is that god wants to see who falls for man made institutions of faith, as opposed to those who figure out that god wants us to look inward instead?

    It's a totally different kind of faith at that point....

    I don't know if I understand? IMHO faith is something that is on the inside of us, unseen in our spirit but we need to exercise it. Faith without works is dead James 2:17 James 2:26 Hebrews 11 You see, faith says I can walk across a bridge and it won't fall down. That faith is unseen until I start walking and in fact it is unless or dead until I do.

    Now when you exercise it and you find that your faith was not misplaced then it grows. Before too long, it becomes second nature.

    The trouble for most here that through no fault of their own, their faith was misplaced in the WT so they are highly cautious to exercise it again.

    Well, what have you got to loose? I am not saying to join a church. I read my bible and prayed for a year before I did that. So there is nothing to loose. You can tell God how you feel, have a moan if you like, ask Him some questions. He is going to love that and I am sure you will be thrilled when you get some real tangible answers. Really, I have heard many people say that they sincerely asked God "if you are real then come and show me" and before too long they got some real answers in surprising ways.

    Going to church was a huge step of faith for me too, I had spent 20 years keeping out of them! However, although there were a few difficulties (to do with my own problems I might add) the benefits far outweighed them.

    All the best,


  • quietlyleaving

    Old hippie

    the section on Heidegger is very short - just 38 pages and concerns his interpretation or rather misinterpretation of Nietzsche's Will to Power.

    Also the book (Confrontations that is)has only 176 pages so it doesn't go into too much depth.

    Nietzsche is strongly influenced, if not to say copying, the Dionysos-cult of ancient Greece, and the struggle between the more anti-god outwardly directions and the more inwardly ones like Plato / Socrate etc. - can be seen in the present directions. The lines of thought can be followed all down thru the centuries, and some end up at Nietzsche, some in today's green movement etc.

    fascinatingly the myth of Dionysos predates greek culture and in a way symbolizes pre-culture and pre-systemized truth. I agree that Plato/Scorates were inwardly turning like christianity whereas the Dionysian is outwardly directed and seems to work towards dissolving cultural barriers that limit potential. All this is very relevant to Jeffs discussion of faith. For example the opposite of the Dionysian tends towards stability and certainity but results in existential hopelessness and nihilism. I'm not denying that we do need a certain degree of stability and certainty but too much is nauseaus and stifling - this we have all experienced within the JW oragnization.

    In contrast a Dionysian/appollonian mix is more liberating as dionysus figuratively introduces play and song into life but more importantly allows for different expressions and ways of seeing which enable one to partake of like in greater abundance.

  • Brocephus

    Great post AlltimeJeff as always, but allow me to rebut to some of your words.

    I agree that one should think for themselves. I feel very sorry for any one X-JW (like myself) or not that think being a part of a church means giving up the right to do so. I understand the feelings, I cringed for years at the thought of ever joining a church. But after a while I came to see the honesty in those wicked and imperfect people that are so quick to tell you about Jesus. You see, in real church no one makes you go out in field service or follow a strict code of conduct. The sermons are usually well researched and intelligent. I find most churches are full of people that recognize their human fraility and the need for God's love, guidance and salvation. Like our economics system if a church fails to assist it's members in finding that it will ultimately fail on its on as memebers are free to go somewhere else or not at all. Most churches are ok with you just showing up on Sunday throwing a dollar in the plate and keeping to yourself. This made me realize that those crazy people in Christendom weren't hypocrites but honest loving believers. No one was making them do anything more, what ever they did was out of love. Of course there are some exceptions, in people as well as whole churches. There were a couple that were obsessed with a single man or becoming super Christians and obtaining almost magical powers of healing and prophesying but I ran like hell from those. At the end of the day most churches were just a group of people that accept Christ and are there to love each other and God. It's so easy to be cynical and sneer at this but why should anyone with faith deny themselves the benefits of church because of what someone else says or thinks?

    As far as whether to join a church or not, all me to give the analogy of marriage. I don't expect anyone getting out of a bad divorce to want to get married more than I'd expect anyone leaving the WT to want to join a church. I worked on my relationship with God for a good decade before I felt the need to worship with others in church. But when I felt it, I felt it like the urge to marry someone. It's probably impractical and unnecesarry but yet it is something you are moved to desire and find fulfilling because of who you have become. Overcoming the mental roadblocks wasn't easy, as I drank all of the same Watchtower poision everyone else did at the Kingdom Hall. I cringed at the Trininty, stared at the crosses and thought of false idols. But I didn't give up. I kept praying for God to remove any thing in my head keeping me from fully enjoying my brothers and sisters and worshipping him. I went to over a dozen churches and regularly attended about 4 of those. Each was a stepping stone to where I am now. That is why God allows for so many different churches. It might not be for you, but that church is there to bring someone else just an inch closer to serving God.

  • AllTimeJeff

    After reading these posts, I have to say that I was briefly tempted to engage in a small debate, as these views aren't mine.

    But thats just the point. There can't be imo, a universal faith that all will eventually agree to.

    I find it ironic that when it comes to certain inarguable matters relating to everyday life (electricity for example) we have evidence for this. Faith does not seem to suffer from this same burden from its adherants, for better or for worse.

    Thats probably the best way to leave it. Its hard to argue for what can't be proven. I find that the biggest testimony to faith is not in the testimony of its adherants, but in their life and conduct. And to be sure, the faith of other non Christian religions, or agnostics or atheists, should not be in any way minimized either.

  • C. T. Russell
    C. T. Russell

    Many older x-Jw’s that I know have just moved on to other religions. I believe this is due to a lack of education. After many years of being told that they cannot think for themselves it’s all too easy to just have some other religion tell them what to do.

    They often say “How else would you fix this world? What hope is there for the future?” Well if you’re just waiting for God, sitting around with your thumb up your ass, I guess there isn’t much you can do.

    But if you take personal responsibility for your actions you can change things. One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain “The world has corrected the Bible. The church never corrects it”

    Over time religion will have to find darker corners to hide in. That’s why you never see religions sending missionaries to Germany or Chicago. Instead they travel to Africa or small countries in the Asian Pacific.

    An old argument from the JW’s was that man cannot solve the problems of this world. They would point to Jesus healing the sick, blind, lame. Like Mark Twain said the world will correct this soon.

    Such as:

    As society and science marches forward religion will have to abandon the Bible altogether. Until all that is left is Faith.

  • besty

    well said CTR!

    Unless a religionist accepts their precious faith is a product of environmental variables (and possibly a genetic predisposition) it will be difficult to have a rational dialogue with them.

    That's why I've never had a sensible answer to the 'what religion would you have been were you to be born in Afghanistan?' question.

  • Chalam

    Hi besty,

    I find that the biggest testimony to faith is not in the testimony of its adherants, but in their life and conduct.

    I agree :) It is easy to talk "theory" all day long. What is happening practically? All the spiritual change that Christians talk about must be manifest in their lives in a tangible way.

    James 2:17 (New International Version)

    17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

    James 2:26 (New International Version)

    26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

    This is the sort of faith and actions I like :)

    Jason Westerfield Healing Bus Fare Lady

    All the best,


  • Brocephus

    Faith like love is irrational yet us believer's indulge because we know it is the right thing to do. Faith is not found in church or in any religous oragnization. It is based on God having a personal undeniable interaction with the believer. My life would be much more simple if I could believe there was no God or ultimate judgement. But having believed that I asked for and received a revelation of God's existence I can not deny him.

    Those with out faith will never understand those that do. I certainly can not expect them to understand why I go to church and do other things. The JW's make you place your faith the org not your relationship with God. When you get married you are not placing your faith in the institution of marriage necessarily. You are putting your faith in that person that you are choosing. You know full well the divorce rate is close to 50%. You may even have a friend of co-worker that is cheating on their spouse. But you don't come home and divorce your wife for what someone else does to their spouse. Your relationship with her is personal and intimate. That is the best way to describe were my faith comes from. I think a lot of you are looking at it backwards. Church and being a Christian Starts with a personal relationship or an experience with God, it doesn't end there. I am sounding like a Calvinist but if you haven't had that experience I don't know how you could even believe in his existence. If you want that experience all I can say is earnestly seek it and pray for it. I prayed on my knees in tears for months in earnest and sometimes angry and frustrated prayer. I was living my life in an amoral philosophy which made sense if there was no judgment. I told God I was giving him one last chance to change my mind before I committed to a self-serving philosophy. The JW brainwashing teaches if you are a good enough JW Jehovah will love you, it's the other way around in my book.

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