Some Great Books

by jgnat 19 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • jgnat

    I'm halfway through two books, and both of them together have greatly helped me understand why people are attracted to extreme religious groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses, and how these organizations manage to stick around...year after year. I figure understanding why is the start. If you are waiting for cherished relatives and friends to "see the light", these books might help. Extreme religions exist to meet a need.

    Expecting Armageddon: Essential Readings in Failed Prophecy by Jon R. Stone

    Why people self-justify a flawed belief, sometimes with extreme fervor. They do because the alternative, to admit to a wasted life, is too awful to bear. It's called Cognitive Dissonance, and we all do it; even if it is to justify a lousy purchase or a poor choice in partner.

    The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong

    How fundamentalism rose in the three big religions; Jewish, Christian, and Islamic, to meet an unmet need in modern society. The author succesfully argues that fundamentalism is more than an anomaly in society. It is a reaction to the uncertainty in the age of reason. Here's two treasured quotes from the Battle for God:

    "Christians imagined the final extinction of modern society in obsessive detail, yearning morbidly towards it." (p. 138)

    "Premillenialism manifests that lust for certainty which is a reaction to a modernity that deliberately leaves questions open and denies the possibility of absolute truth." (p. 140)

    As a postscript, I look forward to Blondie's comments this weekend. Its a stern reminder to the congregation to bow down to the "faithful and discreet slave." The very image of bowing to a slave is a horror to me. So many people struggling to conform to flawed men.

  • blondie

    Thanks for the suggestions, jgnat, and welcome back.

  • Sad emo
    Sad emo

    Great to see you back jgnat!

    I was listening to a telephone interview with Ravi Zacharias on the radio only this morning and he was making exactly the same point as Karen Armstrong - that fundamentalism is filling a vacuum created by the age of reason.

    He's also written a book called 'The End of Reason' (in response to Sam Harris' books) which offers a Christian apologetic view. As soon as I can get out to do more than basic shopping, I'm gonna buy this and 'End of Faith' - maybe Karen Armstrong's book too - although I reckon the battle for God may be adequately covered by the other two LOL!

  • BurnTheShips

    Yep. Fundamentalism is a response to modernity. And yup. People want certainty. There is no certainty here.

    Two souls too smart to be in the realm of certainty...

  • Farkel

    :People want certainty. There is no certainty here.

    "Those who say, don't know. Those who know, don't say."

    I've always like that one.


  • Mickey mouse
    Mickey mouse

    Thanks jgnat, I really like the sound of that first one.

    It's nice to see you here.

  • jgnat

    Nice to see you all again, too. I'd like to see what Karen Armstrong has to say about respecting the human need for certainty in an uncertain world.

  • Will Power
    Will Power

    Hi there Jgnat - its been so long!! TOO long !

    I enjoyed Karen Armstrong too.

    I just finished "the uses and abuses of History" by Margaret MacMillan and just about to start her "Paris 1919". Amazing common sense that so often gets overlooked - people are so wrapped up in whats in it for me now! They are willing to re-write history to get what they want. We are all too familiar with that concept.

    also if you aren't familiar with Gabor Mate: "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts", it is well worth a look. He has some video talks up at A doctor living in Vancouver works with addicts - his discussions on filling the void, easing the pain - he speaks from his own ADD perspective with a compulsive disorder (he buys music :-)

  • BabaYaga

    I'm so happy to see you, Jgnat! I hope you are doing well.

    The titles sound very promising, too...

  • choosing life
    choosing life

    So glad to see you here, Jgnat. Thanks for the book recommendations. I have always thought that those of us who chose to be a jw did so to fill very personal needs. I also think many of us outgrow those needs later in life.

    The shameful part is that there is no honorable way to leave. I mean, you should just be able to say you no longer feel the need for such beliefs in your life. Even the Bible says we grow up spiritually and that is a good thing.

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