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!