What's the thinking behind calling yourself 'Apostate'?

by Essan 33 Replies latest social entertainment

  • Essan

    Seems to me that we're playing into the Society's hands here.

    'Apostate' is the most evil and vile word for JW's. I suspect it's even more of a terrifying trigger word than 'Satan' or "Demons", for them.

    The Society gives us that label which they have negatively loaded in order to make it impossible for JW's to hear us or have anything to do with us. The word is associated with other words like "poison" and "toxic", "disease" and "filth".

    So what sense does it make to use it and allow the Society to have it's way?

    The truth is the vast majority of us are or were not ever "apostates" as the Scriptures define it, nor even as the Society defines it. Neither the literal and Scriptural nor the Society's fabricated hateful definitions apply. So why do we accept this label?

    I can imagine that by using it here we often cause shudders of fear and revulsion to go through inquisitive JW's who read it, perhaps driving some away? That's what bothers me.

  • breakfast of champions
    breakfast of champions

    After having a less-than-positive discussion regarding something 'truth'-related, my wife told me sometimes she feels like she's living with an apostate.

    I said I think I'm more of a heretic.

    She just laughed. Amazing what words/labels can do.

  • Broken Promises
    Broken Promises

    For the same reason some American blacks call themselves "nigga" - it takes power away from the word.

    That's why you'll also see the term "apostafest" (a gathering of exJWs) - the more you use the term the less the affect it has on you.

  • designs

    I see it as being like the Civil Rights Protesters of the 60s.

  • Essan

    Hi Broken Promises,

    Allow me to play devils advocate here.

    So the use of the term 'Apostate' is, as you said, to lesson the effect of the word on you. Meaning, the more you call yourself the abusive and false word that someone who hates you has called you, the more you will become immune to it's effect?

    I can see some kind of vaguely logical reasoning to that, but it still means that people who are doing this are allowing the Society to control the game. They are playing by the Society's rules and definitions and allowing them to define them. They are simply reacting, letting the Society be a cause and their response it's effect. This still gives the Society the power position. At the end of the day, they called us something abusive, and we accepted it.

    And while it may lessen the effect on us to repeated use a negative term, it doesn't do that for any JW's who encounter us using it. The Society wants them to be afraid when they hear the term, and they are.

  • undercover

    I don't really call myself "apostate". The only time I really use the term is here or when talking with another enlightened ex-dub.

    At the same time, I'm not afraid of the word. The WTS, and other cults like them, are the ones that instill a fear of that word into people. Say "apostate" around a JW and you can see them wince and draw up, fear overcoming their cognizant thinking process.

    While I don't care to label myself, I can see where some wear it as a badge of honor. It's thumbing your nose at the organization that wants to label you. Instead of fighting their label, you take it and adapt it to what you want.

  • Broken Promises
    Broken Promises

    No, it's not accepting anything from the WTS. It's using the term against them.

    However, I don't define myself as an "apostate". I prefer "exJW" because that's what I am, a former Jehovahs Witness. And in time, I hope I can drop that label and just be, me.

  • NewChapter

    I'm with Broken Promises. Also we are completely taking the power out of that word. They have their evil definition of who we are, but we know it's just us, so it's almost ironic to call ourselves Apostate. I'm pretty sure we wouldn't use the term if we felt we were just trying to extend some WT abuse on us. There is an empowering element to just claiming it for ourselves. Unitarian was a term used pejoritively to mock them for not believing in the trinity (not trinitarian). Well they liked it and adopted it as their own name. For me, that word has no more negative power over me because it's mine now.


  • Essan

    NC, The word does have power over you because you feel compelled to use it, as a response. The Society must be having a good belly laugh at that choice. It's like a really good magician forcing a card on you, that you think was a free choice. But they made you do it. Masterful.

    If it had no power over you, you wouldn't feel it necessary to try to weaken it's power by - ironically - constantly using it.

    And even if this tactic works to make yourself feel better, it doesn't work for any JW's you encounter, who are terrified by your willing choice of label. It's like you are volunteering to be the bogeyman the Society claims you are. They really must be in hysterics over this at the Headquarters, IMO.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    As mentioned, I don't think many of us (any of us?) use the word with JWs. We use it among ourselves. Rather than a pejorative it becomes a badge of honor.

    I agree with your general point, Essan, that using it with JWs would backfire. But not always. What if one was able to show the JW that he/she is reasonable, kind, and displaying the fruitage of the spirit AND wearing the "apostate" badge at the same time? Would that not cause cognitive dissonance?

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