Sebastian Ramos and his campaing in Brazil; how can they claim a right to shun you?

by dgp 25 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • steve2

    I acknowledge the point of the thread, but stand by my opinion which is at variance with dgp.

    The force of law or public embarrasment would simply ramp up the witnesses already well-developed sense of being persecuted by worldly authorities and peoples.

    Authortiarian religious groups are notorious for feeding off - and even thriving under - opposition.

    In our rational mind, we may think we are making a compelling point, but in the mind of these groups, its perceived as further proof that they have the "truth". Good luck to Sebastian; but he's as likely to generate as much opposition as he does support.

  • dgp

    Well made point, Steve.

    The same with Band on the Run. I see where you are coming from. Witnesses were persecuted before and you wouldn't want them persecuted again. Good point. However, I wonder if the idea is to penalize witnesses. Seems to me that the whole point is doing the entire opposite thing.

  • dgp

    I wonder if there is a way for this thread to be brought to the attention of Mr. Ramos. The point raised by Steve deserves a lot of consideration, and certainly the consequences of his idea should never be to persecute witnesses once again.

  • miseryloveselders

    I agree with Mr.Ramos and hope he keeps up the fight. Funny, I just came across this article in a Awake that is in harmony with the general sentiments in this thread and Mr.Ramos. Check this out.







    Tolerance does not mean that everyone should have the same ideas. People might disagree with one another. Some may feel strongly that the beliefs of another person are very wrong. They may even speak publicly of their disagreements. However, as long as they do not spread lies to try to incite prejudice, this is not intolerance. Intolerance is seen when a group is persecuted, targeted by special laws, marginalized, banned, or in some other way hindered from following their beliefs. In the most extreme form of intolerance, some kill and others have to die for their beliefs.

    How can intolerance be fought? It can be exposed publicly, as the apostle Paul exposed the intolerance of religious leaders of his day. (Acts 24:10-13)When possible, though, the best way to fight intolerance is to work proactively—to promote tolerance, that is, to educate people to understand others better. The UN report on the elimination of intolerance referred to earlier says: “As all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief have their birth in the human mind, so it is at human minds that action should initially be directed.” Such education may even lead individuals to examine their own beliefs.

    I read what I highlighted in the first paragraph and thought to myself, "ya don't say." The second paragraph is ironic because I feel thats what we do on here, and Mr.Ramos is taking it to another level, and he has my admiration and respect. The more people know about how jacked up the inner workings of this religion are, the better.

  • steve2

    Like it or not, the practice of shunning has a historical "pedigree"; namely in the Christian Greek Scriptures. I loathe the practice - like a lot of things advocated in the so-called "Holy Bible" - but I don't blame "modern" cults for inventing the practice. Yes, from our point of view they use the practice of shunning to keep the "faithful" in fear and to get rid of anyone they don't like, but that's the tired old story of centuries old religious intolerance. Centuries ago, apostates were killed; nowadays secular laws forbid killing in the name of religion so that's progress I think.

    Expose the witnesses' Bible-borrowed practice of shunning by all means. Just don't expect the result you may wish for. Sometimes exposure simply convinces the target group that they must be right after all to generate such public opposition.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I wonder how much Jewish culture influenced early Christian practices? I can't fathom Jesus turning his back on anyone. He reached out --he actually had social relations -- with outcasts, such as tax collectors, Samaritans, adulterous woman. When I first started college in NY, I came with a '60s brotherhood outlook. I wanted to be friends with all. Part of my education was meeting Buddhists, Hindus, Shintoists, etc. To my shock, many of the conservative Jewish students merely tolerated me. They did not embrace me as a friend. Outsiders were irrelevant to their concerns. It is just an idea.

    It also reminds me of John Lennon's campaign for peace. A journalist chided him, asking if singing "Give Peace a Chance" would work on Hitler. Gandhi acknowledged using British ideas of justice against the British. Germans would be a completely different story. I agreed with her as soon as I heard the question. John replied, not when he was an adult. What if HItler heard peace as a value from his birth? What if peace were the highest value? The Beatle made a lot of sense upon reflection.

    What if questioning authority respectfully was taught us from birth? The WTBTS would have fewer adherents. The teabaggers and birthers would have fewer supporters. Ideally, the WTBTS should exist peacefully and go out of business b/c people ask for proof.

  • dgp

    I agree that there is progress in the sense that religious intolerance cannot kill you these days.

    I would point out, however, that this is only true in OUR region of the world. Try merely drawing cartoons depicting Muhammad, or merely speculating about the "Satanic Verses". See what happens to homosexuals in Iran. It would seem that here we're talking about the Watchtower, and, yes, that is primarily what we are talking about. But, if you look at my original post, I said this was important for everyone, everywhere. I believe that Mr. Ramos' campaign has meaning for the Muslims who don't want to be Muslims anymore. Or the Jehovah's witnesses who would rather not attend meetings, even if they still believed the doctrines. Or the Mormons who don't want to be mormons anymore. No one should be forced to believe.

    I would also like to point out that this religious tolerance did not happen because the religious leaders themselves graciously agreed to it. This progress happened because of secularists, and it happened in spite of religious leaders, not thanks to them. It was something achieved on the basis of coercion. I know that someone who is more versed than I in all things Watchtower can contribute with that quote from one of the magazines in the sense that "they can't do to us what they would have done in biblical times", meaning kill dissenters.

    Would it be difficult for a Watchtower faithful to understand why it is wrong that they don't let Muslims marry non-muslims in Pakistan?

    I do think we all should be tolerant of others. What happens, however, when someone does not want to tolerate us?

    As a worldly, it is very easy for me to see the point of Mr. Ramos' campaign. Didn't the world agree to ban land mines? Why can't the world agree on a ban on shunning? This is a matter of mere human rights.

    By the way, what would happen if Caesar demanded that they do not shun their neighbor?

    There is a precedent. Amnesty International and other groups were successful in preventing the stoning of Ms. Sakineh Ashtiani. The charges against her seem dubious, such as adultery when the husband was already dead, but in my opinion adultery does not deserve stoning.

  • steve2

    This progress happened because of secularists, and it happened in spite of religious leaders, not thanks to them

    Excellent point. If we waited for religiously-minded people to champion human rights we'd still be in the Dark Ages.

    BTW, there is a world of difference between modern secular "western" countries championing human rights and non-Western religious countries and belief systems (i.e., Muslim) archly championing violent solutions to "moral" issues. To shift the discussiobn from a Latin-American protest against Watchtower policies on shunning to grotesque physical violation of human life is to draw an extremely large bow. I respectfully request that you ought to clarify what your target is and avoid enlarging the topic for the sake of argument.

  • dgp

    Sorry if I gave the impression of doing this for the sake of argument.

    My point is, in my humble opinion, shunning is obviously wrong and an example of religious fanaticism. It is indeed a violation of your human rights. It is but one of many other examples of religious fanaticism. It is not the most extreme of them all, but it is what it is, anyways.

    This is a forum for Jehovah's witnesses and former Jehovah's witnesses, many of whom are or were shunned by their former brothers and sisters. Sometimes biological brothers and sisters. Sebastian Ramos is a former Jehovah's witness, and therefore this is could be an issue of interest to the people who post here. But in my mind, as a worldly and an atheist, it is way more interesting. I can easily see that religious fanaticism might some day reach me. I want my right NOT TO BELIEVE to be recognized, and not just by the members of the Catholic Church, my former church, who don't shun me anyways. I want my right not to believe to be respected by those who claim they could or should "send me to my Maker" just because I happen not to be one of them.

    A secular government was the way for India, for example, to be able to exist as a country. I think the same is true of the United States. So, I want a secular government, with secular demands on religious people, so that we all, religious and non-religious alike, can live together.

    Mr. Ramos is doing this on behalf of the Jehovah's witnesses and I think it's a good thing. I have a reason to be interested in Jehovah's witnesses, and therefore I like his idea. I do not restrict the moral value of his idea to a small community of seven million members.

    Do we have a right not to believe? yes, we do. Do they have a right to shun us if we don't believe? Yes, in ther individual capacity. Do they have a right to make others shun you, or else? Absolutely no.

    I like the way this debate is being held, because it could be useful for Mr Ramos to polish and better direct his campaign.

  • steve2

    Actually dgp I do agree with you on most of the points you've raised. While I'm aware that campaigns can backfire - for example, inadvertently generate more sympathy for the JWs - there is still a place for people speaking out against religious intolerance - provided the exposure campaign is kept in proportion.

    I've been in the company at times of people from other religions who seem to get a weird delight in vilifying the JWs and making the JWs out to be the worst religious group on earth. That kind of unbalanced exposure brings out in me a strong desire to "oppose" the opposers - if you know what I mean.

Share this