Jehovah's Witnesses - Trained to Argue

by AllTimeJeff 47 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • AllTimeJeff

    Although a cult, Jehovah's Witnesses should not be underestimated as to their smarts. Sometimes, exiting JW's, due to indoctrination, feel a lot of guilt for leaving. Of course, the Governing Body wouldn't have it any other way.

    Upon leaving, many for the first time feel a freedom to express themselves, which is as it should be. At last, unfiltered opinions showing off exactly what years of being a JW has taught you. You can argue politics, religion. You can even agree or disagree with Simon Cowell openly.

    And the dis-agreements continue.

    I wonder sometimes if it isn't a reaction to being forced to agree with the Governing Body all those years that we former JW's tend to express our disagreements over anything, just because we never got to before. Why look for people to agree with, when you can now fight for what you think for the first time?

    Of course, it is then that the old indoctrination kicks in, the passive agressive methods of arguing, of making a point. Of demonizing entire sources of information because it doesn't come from a particular source. etc

    The point is, ex JW's are well equipped to argue most anything. JW's have an entire meeting (The Service Meeting) dedicated to the craft of arguing from an incorrect position. Little wonder that being correct and factual is often secondary to being right, or winning an argument. Sometimes, we can do that without even realizing it.

    So while ex JW's are usually good at arguing, getting their arguments correct and factual is an entirely different matter. Being emotionally invested in an opinion as a way to vent has value, but it is limited, and oftentimes can prevent growth.

    I am fascinated by the concepts of cognitive dissonance and intellectual honesty. Even taking Jehovah's Witnesses out of the picture, we live in an age where the information isn't as important as the spin, and the agenda behind the spin. There is always a reason to disagree, to not do something, and to demonize those who disagree with you. So the passion, however legitimate and real it is, oftentimes is more important then getting it right. People who have all kinds of opinions, (some of whom I bet don't agree with it but are caught up in a groups agenda,) suddenly sacrifice their intellectual honesty for the agenda of the group they are with.

    Welcome to 2010.

    It's hard to look at the world pragmatically, and realize that today's world is all about the louder argument, not the one rooted in calm fact.

    It's even more difficult to try and find one's way in this world and trying to figure out if the opinions you have and hold dear are really your thought out opinions, or a group's agenda that you have agreed to join.

    Whatever you decide to argue, may your opinions truly be your own. Hopefully, we can all learn the lesson of the value of arguing, vs the value of compromise and working together, the value of honesty, and the value of facts. These aren't skills that are taught at your local Kingdom Hall.

  • acolytes

    Hi Alltimejeff.

    Since leaving the witnesses I have come to really like a good argument.

    -I wish I had recorded some telephone conversations I had with elders .I really put them in their place. I got them to admit to me they new it was all b...s... You see Jeff its great to argue when you have the stuff to back your argument up.


  • AllTimeJeff


    JW's, and esp elders, should probably be argued with at every opportunity.

    What I am referring to more is after that is done, what's next? Lets face it, we ex JW's probably have a skill we wish we didn't have, but its there. And we use it quite well.

    I use it all the time at my job. Sometimes, I catch myself, and I hear myself say something, or I type an opinion here, and I stop myself. "Is that what I really think? What about the other point of view? Are they really right, or just emotional? Am I right, or am I being pissy?"

    Winning arguments, or having strong opinions, doesn't necessarily = quality of life.

    To quote William Yeats "All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions."


    "When men exercise their reason coolly and freely on a variety of distinct questions, they inevitably fall into different opinions on some of them. When they are governed by a common passion, their opinions, if they are to be called, will be the same." - Alexander Hamilton

    "The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge." Elbert Hubbard

    "There is no greater mistake than the hasty conclusion that opinions are worthless because they are badly argued." Thomas H. Huxley

    Good stuff.... :)

  • dissed

    With our past training, we have acquired a 'way' to win arguments easily on forums.

    I visit the sports forums often, very similar to here. But I really don't enjoy argueing, this is my escape from stress. But......

    When I do debate, like you said, its easy to regain that old superior, smug attitude we used to have in the WTS way. "Yes, I know more than you" They did a good job of programing us, no?

  • acolytes

    Hi Jeff

    I was an expert at advertising telephone sales. It always amazed me managing directors could be suckerd to part with company money with lines such as.

    A. Do you have the capacity to handle addittional enquiries?

    B. Are you aware of the potential that exists......

    These so called Sensible business men parted with their company money based on the power of the spoken word. This led them into hasty conclusions. And they didnt even bother to have an opinion AS LONG as the pitch was FAULTLESS.

    Jeff that said I do not agree that in todays world its all about the louder argument. I think in all walks of life its surprising how many people have more mature and adult considerations than to even get into a discussion with such people.

    Iam sorry that I needed to waste so many years making money, only to find the security money gave was the strength to live as I wanted to without it. Then again I wasted a lot of years as a witness only to find what I was looking for was outside.



  • paul from cleveland
    paul from cleveland

    After being wrong so many times, it's embarrassing to think about it. I try not to argue with people anymore. Now I'm more interested in trying to understand why people interpret their postion the way they do. If I disagree with them, I'm obviously not seeing something they see. I would like to know what that is so I can understand their point of view. That's a lot more interesting to me than being right.

  • OnTheWayOut

    There may be something to what you say here, Jeff. I don't want to argue with you on this, but..... (only kidding).

    We may go through something like this, we stood at the door and argued with the Catholic, atheist, indifferent ones.
    Now, we know WTS was a lie and we firmly convince ourselves that there is no God, there is a God, there is no truth, there is a truth, whatever. So next, we are ready to argue that position and we cannot see why all the idiots don't agree with us. Sounds just like a JW at the door.

  • AllTimeJeff

    I have no problem with opinions. I find myself wondering if there is a difference between holding opinions (as we should) and being opinionated.

    I am not suggesting we don't share what we feel or think. It's just that after a point, there comes a time when you have had your say, and you can either leave it for the record, or try to finish off your opponent.

  • acolytes

    Paul from clevland

    100% correct. I enjoy your posts.


  • moshe

    I have learned to sniff out the bogus leading statements designed to intimidate people to see it "their way"

    I remember a company mandated diveristy class 6 or 7 years ago.- it was all about how diversity was good and how diverse people provided diverse ideas and strengthened our company (DaimlerChrysler). I let the two team indoctrinators give their powerrpoint show and then at the end It went something like this as I recall:

    So diversity will make us a better company and help us to make better cars that the public wants to buy?

    "yes, that is right"

    So , then explain to me why it is that Toyota sets the world benchmark for the most desirable cars in terms of styling and reliabilty and profitability and yet the Japanese are not a diverse society, in fact they have referred to the US as a mongrel society" Silence from the trainers-

    "So, I guess your presentation is based on a false premise and diversity has nothing to do with making us a better car company, but the facts actually seem to show that too many opinions actually hurt the design process. The truth is that we are stuck with diversity and we have to try and make the best of it. Isn't that right?"

    "uh, we are just contractors who are paid to present a program and we have no personal opinions contrary to the material we have presented"

    Well. moshe wasn't seen as a more intelligent person, but as a troublemaker, I am afraid.

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