John 8:42-47 (NIV 2008)
42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."
A couple of days ago on the JWN I read ” Is the Governing Body Guilty or not guilty of 1975 speculations going too far?” by Terry. It is a very interesting thread about how the WTBTS (i.e., Fred Franz) used rhetorical questions to “spoon feed information without taking any active personal responsibility according to Terry. Although JWs do lie and may justify lying with “Theocratic Reasoning” or “Theocratic Strategy”, would Our Father and Jesus Christ agree with deceiving “Worldly” people? Terry’s thread started me thinking about how to defend against tactics that the WTBTS uses.
I like asking JWs (and people in general) questions as a less confrontation way of getting individuals to evaluate and think about their beliefs. Hopefully, I have not/will not ask rhetorical questions like the WTBTS does. My objective is always to get people to think and to respond authentically as an individual. The WTBTS’ objective is always to get JWs to blindly follow the WTBTS.
What is the difference between asking rhetorical questions and asking questions? Can questions (and the following self-answers) be worded to indoctrinate people? The following two examples hopefully will show the differences between rhetorical questions with answers, and asking questions to stimulate thinking:
Rhetorical question from WT
Are we to assume from this study that the battle of Armageddon will be all over by the autumn of 1975, and the long-looked-for thousand-year reign of Christ will begin by then? Possibly, but we wait to see how closely the seventh thousand-year period of man’s existence coincides with the sabbathlike thousand-year reign of Christ.
Do you believe that the battle of Armageddon will be all over by the autumn of 1975?
I have noticed that JWs use the following strategies/tactics (in bold) to promote what they are saying, change subjects, or continue with their original line of reasoning. After each strategy/tactic, I have written a proposed defending/counter tactic. Most of the counter tactics use the well known strategy that children use on their parents: ask why.
o Completely ignoring what other people say/ask. Say have a nice day and walk away.
o That is an interesting thought. Ask them, "why is it interesting?"
o You are not ready to learn Bible Principles. Why do you feel specifically that I am not ready?
o JWs are not perfect and do not know everything. Ask them, "Why they feel JWs are not perfect and which JWs do they feel are not perfect?" Or, if JWs are not perfect, why do they feel that they are the only “True” Christians?
o The light keeps getting brighter and brighter. Ask them to explain, "Why the WTBTS has flipped flopped on specific doctrines?" Need to know at least a couple of doctrines and dates that the WTBTS has flipped flopped on.
o Lying A person would need to be very knowledgeable about the Bible and WTBTS literature to have a conversation with someone who lies. It is probably best to say have a nice day and walk away.
o Glazed over eyes while holding hands over ears and running away. Thank them for the exchange of ideas and tell them (shout, if they are far away) to have a nice day.
If you have participated in WTBTS strategy courses, does the WTBTS teach other tactics? Have you observed JWs using other tactics than the aforementioned tactics? How would you defend/counter tactics that JWs use?
Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,