My late grandmother died in terror of having her spirit sleep at death. Just before she died, she was inundated by reading material from my aunt (who's JW). It made her think of the cold clay in the grave as her destination after death, even if it was temporary.
But is it temporary? Let's talk a little about STAR TREK. Remember those cool transporters? You stepped into one and then, seconds later, you were walking around on a planet. But was it you, or was it a carefully meticulous copy? Your atoms were dematerialized and then they were sent miles away, down to the planet, and then put together again.
In JW theology, the spirit of man is a myth. When you die, you cease to exist! Then, an indeterminate time later, God recreates you. But is it you or a copy? Certainly it has all the parts right and not a hair on your head will be missing, we're told. But is it you or Memorex? That is to say, it may look like you, act like you, have all your memories and so forth. But how do you know it's really you? I remember in one of the better STARGATE ATLANTIS episodes (Season 4: "This Mortal Coil"), all the people in Atlantis thought they were the real deal...only they were replicator clones. They had all the memories of the originals, all the feelings, but they healed too quickly and the unit's doctor, which was in on the conspiracy, kept the truth away from them. It was a great show. But it reminded me of the JW doctrine of reanimation. You die, get put in the dirt and essentially don't exist. Then Jehovah, years later, puts you back together. Or at least you think you're the original. You have all the same memories and thoughts. But it's sort of creepy.
The primary scripture used by Witnesses is from Ecclesiastes, which in essence says that when you're dead, you're dead. But who wrote Ecclesiastes, and who determined it was an eschatological writing instead of a philosophical writing? Me, I think it was philosophical. Witnesses make the mistake of judging all scripture as equal, so the New Testament epistles and Ecclesiastes have the same moral and theological authority, even though we know nothing of who wrote Ecclesiastes. And even if it was Solomon, Solomon died when he was an old man, long out of favor with the Lord, plus he was never a prophet! So every time a JW pushes Ecclesiastes 9 under my nose, it leaves a bad smell. In short: "Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."
This sure doesn't give me any comfort about dying, but what do YOU think? Zachariah, a work we know to be prophetic and inspired, speaks about "the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. (Zachariah 12:1). And if the spirit can remove the body as an old garment, it seems as though it's something that can last forever.
That's something that can make me feel better. I mean, to stand at a person's grave site and think, "Well, this is where Uncle George is," is repulsive. And then to think that Uncle George isn't anywhere is even spookier.
The Witnesses become very combative over this doctrine, and I think they're too quick to reject Near Death Experiences. But if you really do die, how sure are you that Jehovah can build you back exactly the way you were. In effect, He "recreates" you. But is it really the OLD you or is it a recreation?
Thoughts? How many JWs are bothered by this doctrine? And how do converts react to it?