Help with irrefutable arguments- creating dissonance

by confliction 64 Replies latest jw friends

  • Razziel


    In regards to your second to last post:

    I understand the point that you were trying to convey, that those following the prevailing truth of the "present time" are blameless for any changes in "truth" that occur afterwards, and would not be considered apostate by today's standards.

    However, I disagree that the answers to mentallyfree31's questions are subjective. It seems your argument is based on the supposition that if someone still believed the things taught be Jehovah's Witnesses in the early 20th century (or 20 years ago) without readjusting their viewpoint to updated "light", they were never really one of Jehovah's Witnesses to begin with in God's eyes. I think that line of reasoning is dismissive, dissembling, and had very dubious scriptural support to say the least.

    The teachings of Jesus were a paradigm shift from the teaching of Judaism, and in his reply to the Samaritan woman, Jesus included the worship of the Jews right along with the worship of the Samaritans. There are no further paradigms prophesied in the Bible until the mention in Revelation of "new scrolls being opened" after the start of the millennial reign (which may or may not be a paradigm). Anything else not expressly written in scripture that comes before that time is either human interpretation or false prophesy.

    By equating interpretational changes of Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine over the last century with the reply of Jesus to the Samaritan woman, you are elevating the interpretations of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses to the same status of God's appointed prophets and Jesus himself, a status which they have expressly denied and a status that finds no support in scriptural prophecy.

    In regards to your last post,

    Comparing a willfull visit to a known website for former JW's and a chance meeting in a public bathroom isn't even in the same ballpark. Pun intended.

    However young and full of "righteous zeal" you feel you are, keep in mind that many of the members here were not "fringe" witnesses swayed here and there by the waves of the sea so-to-speak. Many served faithfully as Elders, Regular Pioneers, Bethelites and other positions of responsibility probably for more years than you've been alive. (An educated guess, judging by your posts, and likely to infuriate you.) Arrogance is completely wasted on most of us.

  • djeggnog


    In your post, you are making reference to things that Jehovah's Witnesses today do not teach, for there have been many adjustments made over the years in our understanding of Bible doctrines, which is why many of our older publications become obsolete as new publications are printed which contain our then-current understanding of the Bible as our understanding has increased over the years since the days of Charles T. Russell, Jonas Wendell, Nelson H. Barbour, George Stetson, Henry Grew and George Storrs, all of whom believed many of the things that Jehovah's Witnesses believe today, and quite a few things that Jehovah's Witnesses today have never believed. Three of these men (Russell, Wendell and Barbour) were born during the 19th century and the other two (Grew and Storrs) during the 18th century, and they shared many beliefs that with the passage of much time today, who live during the 21st century, know to have been ridiculous. But it is evident that while none of them were inspired, God's spirit was upon all of these men, imperfect though they were, and God used them to prepare the way that ultimately led to our being an integral part of the fulfillment of many of the prophecies contained in the book of Revelation and Jesus' prophecy concerning the worldwide preaching work that only Jehovah's Witnesses are doing.

    Your other point was similar to the one made by @confliction, so I guess you and he are tag-teaming me here. In response and so as not to be redundant, I'd just incorporate by reference the remarks I made to @confliction.

  • besty


    So in response to your question, "which is it," these two quotations that you present in yhour message are not mutually exclusive, for whereas Appendix ID from which you quoted speaks to the substitution of words like "Lord" (Greek, _kyrios_) and "God" (Greek, _theos_) in place of "Jehovah" (that is, the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, "YHWH") and the restoration of Jehovah in the Reference Bible in some 237 instances where the divine name occurs in the Greek Scriptures, the quote found in the Reasoning book highlights to integrity of the Bible that we have today, and note that Professor Kenyon isn't referring specifically to the NWT Bible, but to the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts on which all Bibles today are based. The two things you quoted are both true and independent of one another, referring to two different things.

    So the Bible was preserved accurately for us, except when it wasn't.

    The Omniscient Omnipotent Author just couldn't prevent those pesky apostates cleaning His Name out of His Word. If there was one single word as a priority for Him to keep his Holy Eye on, you'd think it would have been his funny little 4-letter name....

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  • besty

    confliction - here's another angle for your folks:

    According to current WTS theology Jesus picked the WTS in 1919. (Leaving aside the circular reasoning necessary to make and believe this claim)

    It would be instructive to see what the Bible Students were teaching in the lead up to that time, as their teachings would surely form the basis of Jesus affirmative decision.

    And at least some of those beliefs would be unique to them and carry the unmistakable hallmark of pure and everlasting truth.

    So here's my question - 'what did the Bible Students uniquely believe before 1919 that they still hold to be true today'

  • djeggnog


    As I stated in my response to @bennyk's post, it seems I am being tag-teamed here as to what is a weak point, at best. "You guys" seem to all believe you know the truth better than Jehovah's Witnesses know it, and what is at the root of this beliefs "you guys" seem to all have is that all of you seem to have been associated with Jehovah's Witnesses at one time (if I currently serve as an elder and one of "you guys" here formerly served as such, I see this really as being a distinction without a difference), since I'm not greater than anyone else is here and I'm no less imperfect than anyone else is here. You want to boast in your achievements, fine, but, if I'm being honest, I don't view someone being disfellowshipped as being "an achievement."

    In my experience, what this circumstance often means is that someone is disgruntled with one or more of the elders, believing himself or herself to be a target, their whipping boy or girl (I know this to be true in many cases!), or the power to disfellowship gets the best of a body of elders in which environment where mercy could never exult over judgment (I know this to be true as well) where pettiness and arrogance gets the best of us. (James 2:13) But this is Jehovah's organization and He appoints imperfect men to guide and direct His people (compare Hebrews 7:28), and it's a gradual process that will take 1,000 years to lift us to perfection when we will be able to bridle our own bodies. (James 3:2)

    As to my argument I made in my post to @mentallyfree31, my answers were subjective (1) because I told you they were, and (2) before the What Ifs sounded to me as if I were being asked about whether I believed it relevant what nonsense someone may have believed 20 years ago, or 100 years ago, in 1910, when Russell was alive. In a "Questions from Readers" article, w67 11/15, pp. 702-704, a wrongheaded idea found its way into the Watchtower regarding organ transplants:

    "Those who submit to such operations are thus living off the flesh of another human. That is cannibalistic. However, in allowing man to eat animal flesh Jehovah God did not grant permission for humans to try to perpetuate their lives by cannibalistically taking into their bodies human flesh, whether chewed or in the form of whole organs or body parts taken from others." (Id. at 702.)

    As incredible as this was to me to believe that this comment had been published in the Watchtower, what some of the friends may have missed back in 1967 was that the decision to accept an organ transplant was the personal decision of the conscientious Christian and no one else's:

    "Christians who have been enlightened by God’s Word do not need to make these decisions simply on the basis of personal whim or emotion. They can consider the divine principles recorded in the Scriptures and use these in making personal decisions..." (Id. at 704.)

    Thirteen years later, in a subsequent "Questions from Readers" article, however, w80 3/15, p. 31, what with the friends thinking believing that their acceptance of an organ transplant as part of a medical procedure to have been a disfellowshipping offense, a more balanced view was published regarding organ transplants, beginning with this:

    "Some Christians might feel that taking into their bodies any tissue or body part from another human is cannibalistic. They might hold that the transplanted human material is intended to become part of the recipient’s body to keep him alive and functioning. They might not see it as fundamentally different from consuming flesh through the mouth...."

    And later, in the same article, we read the following:

    "Other sincere Christians today may feel that the Bible does not definitely rule out medical transplants of human organs. They may reason that in some cases the human material is not expected to become a permanent part of the recipient’s body. Body cells are said to be replaced about every seven years, and this would be true of any human body parts that would be transplanted. It may be argued, too, that organ transplants are different from cannibalism since the 'donor' is not killed to supply food.... [E]ach individual faced with making a decision on this matter should carefully and prayerfully weigh matters and then decide conscientiously what he or she could or could not do before God. It is a matter for personal decision. (Gal. 6:5) The congregation judicial committee would not take disciplinary action if someone accepted an organ transplant."

    My question to you -- well, not really to you -- is whether you think Jehovah's Witnesses or the Governing Body or the Writing Committee should be faulted for the 1967 article making it to press? Should Jehovah's Witnesses in 1980, the year when a more balanced article went to press, rightly be called upon to defend anything in the 1967 article? What about Jehovah's Witnesses in 2010? Should they be required to defend what this 43-year-old article stated about organ transplants? I say "No," because this is not our view of such today, but you say "Yes," and I can accept this opinion of yours, even though I cannot agree with it.

    Oh, I understand, too, that Russell mistakenly thought Armageddon was going to arrive in 1914, but thankfully Jesus was right when he said that 'nobody knows the day and hour' (Matthew 24:36), including Russell, else I would not have been born! Should I today be required to defend what Russell taught when he was alive, especially when I know now that he was mistaken in his view? I think not, but I'm appreciative that Jehovah used his love for Him to advance the Kingdom truths that he was instrumental in the history of Jehovah's Witnesses in advancing for so many people.

    Now if you are really an apostate, then I have no interest in teaching you anything, because you will likely ignore anything I say here were I to use the Bible to support the statements I'm about to make here, but Jesus was describing to the Samaritan woman a "paradigm" different than that of the Samaritans and the Jews; it was the "new wine" that later came to called "Christianity." (Matthew 9:16, 17)

    As to my "restroom" analogy, I'm sorry to read that you "flushed" it. Pun intended. That you think I'm arrogant is an interesting read on your part. What I am is annoyed that we cannot have a direct discussion without including all of these other irrelevant moving parts. BTW, I do not "[elevate] the interpretations of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses"; I am instrumental in contributing to many of the articles that you might even be reading today, but contrary to what you evidently believe about Jehovah's Witnesses (I don't know why!), we have no private interpretations, not do we publish any of such. (2 Peter 1:20, 21)

  • confliction

    Well I appreciate that you have assumed that I have severed all ties with the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses ®, I, in fact have NOT. I have been born into, and raised within this religion, and I well know not just the teachings, but also implied, or rather unspoken rules.

    And you are right in noticing cases of unfair coercion. It takes relatively little biblical knowledge to be baptized, and begin advertising the Watchtower and Awake magazines, or other books like the bible teach book. What I see in the bible teach is more of a preparation of rules, or programming, if you will; to set one up for passing questions for baptism. Furthermore, children born into the religion rarely have an easy choice regarding making their own life decisions and conclusions, when influence by a cultic, group mentality.

    It would seem that more insight and study into, not only the bible, but examining historical documents pertaining to biblical chronology and so forth should also be important to come to an "Accurate knowlegde" of the real truth. Relatively very few in the congregation realize, nor take this step to further their knowledge. By stopping to take time to prioritize looking deeper into the word of God, they are looked upon as a weaker individual in the congregation, because they have not taken steps to advance in the congregation. It seems that hierarchy is a determining factor in how much you love jehovah- learning for yourself and then teaching others is not enough. You must do it with the society's books, the society's magazines, and the society's brochures, whether you see things in them that are incorrect or not. Eventually, if your study wants to progress in the truth, you will have to convince them to give up their king james bible because "ours is much more accurate", not telling them that it was translated by men who had no bacground in the actual languages it was translated from, except brother Franz, who only knew one of the two.

    So you say that you don't need to be a scholar, yet you also state, frankly, that our society is uninspired? So our bible could have many issues within it... is that why many people who are trained in those languages to translate, don't even approve of our rendition of the original texts?
    Or is it because every educated biblical scholar in the world except Jehovah's Witnesses is controlled by satan, and are out to get us?

    We spend more of our time in bethel hammering out law cases and legalistically explaining the bible to fit our agenda, rather than sitting down for a minute to actually examine our own doctrine. Have you looked into the trinity doctrine yourself, at least to see why so many people feel they understand it? I went door to door only saying what things like the Trinity brochure had to say about the trinity, making it appear more confusing than it actually was. But when you look at our translation, it looks like important scriptures that normally would have supported the trinity were purposely manipulated otherwise to support the preixisting idea of a singular deity. I don't care if some scriptures do support the trinitarian doctrine or not, but you do not add to the bible what isn't there, under any circumstances, whether under the guise of good motive or bad.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    Back to the topic: creating dissonance when talking with Dubs.

    It is a touchy thing because they will often project their discomfort on to the one they are talking to as the source of dissonance, while ignoring the conflicting information. In labeling the source (you) as weak, a doubter, or an apostate, they reduce the dissonance that should be dealt with by reconciling the conflicting pieces of information.

    Simple example. 1914/607. Upon finding that no secular source supports 607 as the date of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians there is dissonance. Rather than dig further to find the real truth of the matter, the secular historians and archeaologists are simply labeled as "part of Satan's world" and the dissonance is reduced.

    So what to do? Keep asking questions (if you can get away with it without being labeled personally - at that point anything you say is cut off) that bring up dissonance. Eventually they will have to face some of the facts or they will develop extreme mental discomfort that may serve a useful purpose, as well. Black Sheep has great advice on the subject and it can be found in many threads.

  • bennyk

    djeggnog writes: "But it is evident that while none of them were inspired, God's spirit was upon all of these men, imperfect though they were, and God used them to prepare the way that ultimately led to our being an integral part of the fulfillment of many of the prophecies contained in the book of Revelation and Jesus' prophecy concerning the worldwide preaching work that only Jehovah's Witnesses are doing."

    I fail to see any evidence for believing God's Spirit is/was upon false prophets, or that he used such men, nor do I find any evidence suggesting that Jehovah's Witnesses today are fulfilling Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 24:14. Perhaps you could explain your statement.

    Perhaps you could also answer my question from post 486 (page two): Do you honestly believe the Lord appointed over all his belongings an organisation that (by its own published standard) would be 'rightly branded apostate, with whom faithful Christians would not fellowship'?

  • SweetBabyCheezits

    Hi, all. I'm going to forego a proper introduction and jump right in here because this is just too entertaining not to comment. (Sorry! I will come back and introduce myself in another post. This one’s going to be way too long as it is.)

    I just wanted to say I'm enjoying the irony of an active JW elder diving into an ex-JW discussion about cognitive dissonance, without realizing he’s defending his own. Eggnog, I think your illustration about the ballpark is great since it’s in total harmony with this thread. It exemplifies a cognitive dissonance that you are trying to rationalize away even now (one that typical JW’s could see):

    • Reality: "The Society warns all JW’s against visiting apostate websites, regardless of the position they hold."
    • Contradiction: "The Internet is like a public bathroom. I can't control who I might come in contact with at such a place, therefore I have no qualms about coming here."

    This is very funny stuff! What kind of strawberry-flavored crack have you been smokin? But what really makes me chuckle is when you whine about being double-teamed: "Heyyy, how dare you guys gang up on me? This is unfair. I thought I could step onto adversarial turf and take on all you blind naysayers. At least I still get to count the same number of hours." Look, I’ve certainly got no issue with you being here, I just think it’s absurd when you try to justify your actions to many folks who were once intensely loyal to the org. Or is the Society making exceptions as to who can visit these forums now?

    Since you are here, though, I’d like to say welcome, DJ Eggnog (which is what many elders like to be called on “apostate” forums). Of course, if your brethren knew you were spewing your faith with such arrogance on a site like this, they’d consider you spiritually immature. If you disagree with me, take it up with your CO and get back to us. We, on the other hand, just consider you plain immature. And that’s okay because, as a man, I consider myself immature and I’m sure I come across arrogant, too. So don’t take it personally. (Although I laughed in my pants when I read your cheesy Clint-Eastwood-meets-McLovin-esque quote: “I don't start arguments; I finish them.” Haha! Good one! [*winks, makes gun-fingers*] Even funnier: I think you were trying to be serious.)

    Just so you know, your personal pride - a quality JW’s are taught to avoid – is betraying you, leaving you open, transparent, and vulnerable. You believe you’re capable of handling yourself just fine in this forum, whether the Society approves or not. That’s fantastic. It’s a weakness that might actually benefit you. And to borrow from your arrogant tone, maybe you’ll learn something. I’ve learned quite a bit from folks around here, but I never accept anything immediately. I’m a skeptic. But I seek truth and I consider other perspectives, taking it all with a grain of salt. I do my research, I test things out. No doctrine of any religion should be free from scrutiny, right?

    But the good thing about spiritual freedom is you can reject teachings that are incongruent with your beliefs about God. As a JW, I always taught others to see the dissonance between “God is love” and “God punishes people in a burning hell.” Those are two conflicting statements, right? But there was always Society-delineated boundary where my mind shut down. “Don’t go any further!”

    At some point, I came across a quote from Galileo Galilei where he said, "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." You see, this is not an illustration that I’m concocting and stretching to fit what I want. This is a real world example of someone who came to realize that the church’s understanding of the scriptures was wrong, pointed it out, and then suffered the consequences of heresy.

    “NOOOOO,” says the church, “The Bible is RIGHT! Your ‘science’ is wrong! The sun moves around the earth!”

    “C’mon guys,” replies G.G. “Don’t you think *maybe* you could just tweak your perspective of the scriptures so that it harmonizes with science? Cuz, I’m tellin’ ya… we’re moving around the sun… eh, with all due respect.”

    “Lock the heretic up and throw away the key! Damn scientist, questioning our authority!”

    And, yet, in our modern age we still have situations where religious leaders force their strict, dogmatic perspective on their flocks even when lives are at stake. “BECAUSE THE BIBLE SAYS SO!” For example, you asked if we “think Jehovah's Witnesses or the Governing Body or the Writing Committee should be faulted for the 1967 article making it to press?” Yes, I absolutely do. In fact, I vehemently believe they are even blood-guilty according to their own standards. And if you had a child who died in 1979 because you refused, say, a liver transplant for him/her, I don’t think you’d be so casual about the “new light” in 1980. Please explain if you disagree with me here.

    Back in the day, I had a public talk outline on the sanctity of life and blood. Within that outline, there were several bullets discussing what might make a person or organization bloodguilty. Therein, it was stated that ANY organization responsible for the death of innocent humans would be bloodguilty and that God himself would hold accountable, not only that organization, but all those associated with it. Now I won’t open the massive can of worms I consider the blood policy, but I will refer back to the old stance on organ transplants that you mentioned:

    · The Watchtower , November 15, 1967, p.702: It was stated then that organ transplants were cannibalistic and therefore wrong in God’s eyes. To pretend in 2010 that this was a doctrinally “gray area” would be naive and to argue that this policy was changed 30 years ago and is, thus, irrelevant now – that’s what Texans call bullchip. Why?

    · Some JW’s died, refusing organ transplants strictly because of the perspective they adopted from the Society, which claimed it must be trusted as the spirit-directed medium between God and the “other sheep”.

    · God did NOT direct them to write misinformation, did he? So we can deduce their understanding was the sole product of a group of men acting independently from God, right? (Yet, that is by no means the only evidence.)

    Summary: Well-intentioned or not, when religious leaders presumptuously claim a position of authority (God’s earthly organization to whom we must all submit) and then promote their “special understanding” that is – for lack of a better expression – F’ING STUPID and leads to the deaths of innocent followers, then based on the Society’s own condemnation of other religions, God should hold them accountable. Someone once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” (Okay, that was Spiderman’s uncle but the principle still applies.)

    o BONUS! The “new light” regarding transplants (The Watchtower, March 15, 1980, p.31) was a crude, disgusting attempt to pawn off responsibility for the deaths of innocent transplant objectors by insinuating it was always a conscience matter. In explaining why some may have refused transplants in the past, it said in part, “Some Christians might feel that taking into their bodies any tissue or body part from another human is cannibalistic.” Yes, they “might” feel that way because THAT IS WHAT YOU FLAT-OUT TOLD THEM! (Interestingly, the articles written to smooth over the 1975 fiasco – WT July 16, 1976 and March 15, 1980 - were similarly evasive in taking full responsibility, using very passive sentence structure to redirect attention.) Today, a reasoning person should be able to read that March 15, 1980 Questions From Readers and compare with the view on blood transfusions: it should be a personal decision, not a doctrinal decision.

    One last thing: your illustration about Richard Jewell was an ill-bred concoction that doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Seriously, there was nothing apples-to-apples about that. So I offer you an equally ridiculous addendum to it: If the WTBTS equals the schoolteacher in your illustration, and we presume a child spoke up in class and said, “Shouldn’t we be more careful to state Mr. Jewell is just a ‘suspect’”, then that child would be expelled from the school and cut off from the institution until he recanted, despite the fact that the teacher was the one in error. Perhaps later the teacher would issue a letter, not apologizing but passively stating, “It is unfortunate that many of you THOUGHT that it was said Richard Jewell was guilty when, in fact, it was only implied he might be guilty. You should not be so quick to arrive at conclusions to which you’re being led. Maybe next time you’ll be more patient and wait for the jury to return a verdict. Love, Mrs. W.T.”

    Anyways, after considering you skewed logic, I have no doubt that you truly are “instrumental in contributing to many of the articles” published by the WTBTS. Give yourself a good pat on the back there, brother. The farce be with you!


  • PrimateDave

    Welcome SBC! Very nice post.

    Welcome to dj egg nog, too. Keep those entertaining posts coming. At least you're far more coherent than AIW (aka Alice Rachel).

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