"By this ALL will know that you are my disciples..."
"...if you have love among yourselves." John 13:35
Question: Is there ANY religion out there of which ALL PEOPLE in the world looks at and says, "wow, that religion clearly follows Jesus because of the love they have among themselves?"
The JWs claim this distinction for themselves, but what part of "ALL will know" is unambiguous? ALL people haven't even heard of JWs, let alone KNOW that they're Jesus' true disciples.
Ok, "all" can be interpreted to be "all who know of you." Fine. But personally, I don't think there is ANY religion that fulfills this scripture, nor do I think there is meant to be. Jesus was talking to, and about, individual people, not organizations.
Exactly, that is what a literal interpretation would suggest. A "disciple" is an individual, not a whole organization.
However when he says "among yourselves" it implies an interaction between disciples.
Well, obviously he wasn't talking about self-love. There has to be interaction in order to show love. That still doesn't imply an organized religion.
The love that Jesus was referring to was NOT ONLY for "each other" or "amongst brothers" as the WT likes to claim, no, it was for all, for as Jesus states in Matthew:
"If we love only a bother or love only someone who loves us, what is that? do not the gentiles do the same?"
Jesus makes it clear that loving ALL is the defining characterestic of his ministry.
The words 'world' and 'all' are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture; and it is very rarely that 'all' means all persons, taken individually.
More than that, again James showed that the type of worship acceptable is the self sacrificing, looking out for the interest of others and making a strong community, not just with those of the same faith. Orphans widows making sure they are OK. I mean look at God's laws to the Israelites about slaves during the jubilee year. Freedom! Give back the land to whom it belongs!
I think it is commendable that there is no major racism compared to what might or may still exist, but just because every race can meet without fighting it doesn't mean you have love amoung yourselves.
1 Cor. 13: 1 - 8 - If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but do not have love, I have become a sounding [piece of] brass or a clashing cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophesying and am acquainted with all the sacred secrets and all knowledge, and if I have all the faith so as to transplant mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my belongings to feed others, and if I hand over my body, that I may boast, but do not have love, I am not profited at all. 4 Love is long-suffering and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, does not get puffed up, 5 does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. 6 It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.
So you can brag all you want about all the great things you do as a person or an organization, but if you fail to show true Christian love outlined here it is reasonable to assume that it would be hard for anyone to think they are a Christian.