reading a life time of WT literatrash = College education

by Free!! 46 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Rocky_Girl

    The ignorance continues, though, because another thing you learn in college is when to walk away from a conversation that is ridiculous. So truly educated people will not engage in an illogical debate. And so, the JW mistakenly believes that their points were irrefutable. It reminds me of the old adage: Never argue with idiots; they will bring you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

    A JW elder in my old congregation got into a debate at the door with the Bishop of the local Eastern Orthodox Church. I remember clearly how he brought up point after point, "educating" that pastor about his own religion. The bishop explained several times that the elder was mistaken, but it didn't stop him from droning on and on. Finally, the elder said something to the effect that "we can all agree that the Catholic Church is terribly corrupt" and the bishop just stopped trying and said "you've given me a lot to think about" and closed the door. In the elder's mind, he had gotten through to a religious leader. In that bishop's mind, the elder was so ignorant that he didn't realize that the Eastern Orthodox Church IS Catholic. I heard that story so many times at get-togethers.

    They walk away from every conversation feeling as if they "won" the debate, even when they have simply been judged too ignorant to have a reasonable discussion.

    NOTE: After I left the JWs, I actually met that Bishop when he came to the college to talk to our class in religious thought. He said he remembered that conversation at the door. He had ended it because he was tired of wasting his own time. He also said that he prayed that the young girl who was so quiet would wake up and find God someday.

  • Velour

    She can write that on her resume!

  • JonathanH

    What are you getting a degree in NewChapter? Now that I'm going to school I feel the need to ask everyone that's in college or has been to college about their degree. I haven't decided for certain yet, but I am either going to go for Electrical Engineering, or Biochemistry. I figure I will have a semester or two to make a final decision, and in the mean time I will have to take alot of courses in math and physics that go toward both, as well as just general education in english, history and the like. I am super pumped to get a legitimate education.

    I'm twenty six and I feel like I'm getting such a late start, so it's always encouraging when I hear of people here that went to college at thirty-eight or forty and still managed to make a positive change in their lives. I won't get my B.S. until I'm thirty, or my masters until I'm thirty-two which sounds so late in life, but I guess that's just the perspective of a young wippersnapper.

  • Quendi

    I would say that some (though certainly not all) of the articles presented in Witness literature can serve as a simple introduction to a topic. But that is all they are at best, simple introductions. By no means should they be taken as the equivalent of a college textbook's treatment on a subject whether presented as a single article or published as a long-running series. Then there are subjects like mathematics and science that are given a cursory treatment at best. The coverage is superficial, but artfully contrived, and so a Witness reader can easily be deluded into thinking that at the very least he is getting a firm grounding on the subject. Of course, despite all its words to the contrary, it is clear that the WTS is an anti-intellectual, anti-education organization.

    What else can be said about a group that promotes its twisted and perverted idea of "full time service" as the only career worthy of pursuit? And for reasons I can't quite understand, many Witnesses I knew were almost rabid in their opposition to any kind of higher education. True, the WTS encouraged that hatred, but many had it before becoming Witnesses. Others were persuaded that with "the end of this system" so close, college was a waste of time and ability. The result has been the creation of a culture that can be used to control the thinking and emotions of its members.

    I went to college twice: in my youth and middle age. The first time out, I studied chemical engineering and then metallurgy but left school without finishing. My second coming saw me earning degrees in geography and mathematics. Both experiences showed me that comparing WTS literature to college textbooks and lectures was like comparing a palace to a hovel. And when I listened to public talks that addressed areas I had studied at the university, I could easily see how inadequately and incompletely the subject was presented. Questioning the speakers afterwards showed me that they had done no further research. They had swallowed the WTS take on the matter hook, line, and sinker with no desire to learn more. What a shame!

    At the same time, Band on the Run makes a good point about the lacunae many present-day American college students possess. I knew geography majors who could not recognize states when shown their unlabeled maps. They did not know what caused the seasons and were astounded when I told them that Earth was closer to the Sun in January than in July. I knew math students who barely understood algebra, geometry, and trigonometry and wondered why they were doing so poorly in differential and integral calculus. Yet despite these deficiencies, they were still light-years ahead of the average Witness. More's the pity.

    But what is most disgusting to me about the WTS take on higher education and its contention that its literature is the equal of a college education, is the hypocrisy that arises when the Society undertakes a complicated project. Then the call goes out for college-educated people to give of their time and knowledge. If your education has been limited to reading WTS literature, your help is not wanted unless you serve as a water-carrier or wood-chopper, so to speak. While calling for experts, the Society simultaneously warns any Witness who may be thinking of getting a college education so he or she can have this knowledge and/or a good career that such pursuits are in vain given that the 'end is so close'. Apparently, it isn't so close that the Society can't pursue its objectives. Sadly, most Witnesses never notice how the organization talks out of both sides of its mouth with respect to higher education, or call them to account for it.


  • Quendi

    Let me tell you, JonathanH, that you are never too old to get a college education. I am so happy to hear that you want to study something related to either science or engineering. The background courses in mathematics will be absolutely essential. As a holder of a degree in mathematics, I cannot overemphasize the need to be well grounded in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and analysis. If it has been a while since you have taken these courses and you feel the need to brush up, let me suggest that you take them at a junior or community college first. The classes are small, and the instructors are usually quite good. They can give you the individual attention you might need. On the other hand, if your background in mathematics is good, then you will be ready to take on differential and integral calculus. Engineering will also require courses in vector calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra.

    I was forty-one when I enrolled at the University of Colorado to complete my education. Forty-one was considered quite old for a mathematics major, and I had to work extra hard, but it was well worth the time and the trouble. As a matter of fact, I did original research in linear algebra that astonished my professors. My degree in geography was a wonderful experience as well, and I studied under first class researchers in the fields of cartography and climatology. I would not trade my college experience for anything. In fact, I felt more at home on the campus and in the classroom than I ever did in the congregation and the kingdom hall.

    At the beginning of my first year at the University of Colorado, an experience was related that spoke especially to "non-traditional" students like myself. We learned about a man who had originally enrolled at CU in 1924. He had dropped out before finishing. Now, in 1997, at the age of eighty-four, he was returning to school to finish. He certainly did not see his age as an impediment, and neither should you!

    Quendi, University of Colorado, Class of 2002

    "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." --Anonymous

  • AwareBeing

    Several elders in our area obviously agree to some extent with these reasonings.

    Thats because they have sent their sons not to WT service, but to 4-y. colleges! T

    wo stepped down as elders to accomplish it. Another's son was taking "Mythology,"

    and lastly; one elder's family was keeping the education a secret from the Congo?

    These examples are taken from only two Congos.

  • NewChapter

    Jonathon, I suspect you are smarter than me, at least in science. I've always struggled with math and science, but I love them just the same. I just have to work really hard at them. I am working on an English degree. I'm a writer and seriously self taught, but when I got sick and had to go on disability, I thought this would be a good and productive thing to do. It has helped my writing, but not in the way I thought. I'm definitely learning writing techniques for formats I never tried before. I focus mainly on creative writing, but they are helping me develop argumentative and research skills. But the real benefit has simply been education. It's giving me a broader view that includes so many more things to write about! That's the part I didn't expect. I'm considering changing my major to History but heavy on the English since I like writing historical fiction best.

    They forced me to write about things I normally wouldn't have. It's really stretched me and made me better in many ways. I actually was awarded an honors scholarship, and so far, haven't had to pay for much. And by the way, llittle guy, I'm 45. You have an amazing future ahead of you. I know you'll love college. It's a lot different than high school, and frankly, they really make you pull your weight. There were moments when I was in tears and felt like a fraud and thought I was going to quit. But then 3 profs told me I should publish and they have been pushing me in that direction ever since. That's another gift college has given me. Recognition and validation. That's something that I never got at the KH. The writing was simply an extra that shouldn't take up too much of my time and energy and should never interfere with service. UGH

    Keep me updated. I expect to hear about your first day of school young man! I'm just teasing, it just makes me happy to see another person take the step. My daughter is also in college, but she's much further along. She is close to your age. She took a small break and has returned.


  • JonathanH

    Thanks for the encouragement Quendi! That means alot to me. I am fairly well versed at least in the gateway mathematics, algebra, geometry and trigonometry. That's largely in part to having spent the past six or seven months brushing up on it with the help of Khan Academy ( which is an amazingly good tutor for the self motivated. It has thousands of video lessons on a variety of topics, but math is covered most thoroughly going from basic arithmetic to differential and linear equations, with tests and excercises going along the whole way, as well as a personal profile to track your progress and accomplishments. It's an amazing educational tool that I have found immensely useful in getting myself up to snuff so I can start working on my science degree.

    I really love math and find it entertaining and cathartic. My wife reads whatever best seller book in bed while I have "Geometry and Trigonometry for Calculus" and a calculator before bed time. I can't decide between biochemistry and Electrical engineering, but a big draw of engineering is how much math I would get to study which sounds like great fun and a challenge. Plus the electrical engineering major automatically nets you a minor in mathematics just because of all the math coursework you have to do.

    But believe me, I don't take it lightly. I know how hard higher maths are, and how much study and discipline will be required just to pass alot of those later classes. Which is why even now in the last month or so leading up to starting college I'm trying to make sure my fundementals in algebra, geometry and trigonometry are as solid as they can be. On the Khan Academy website every video has a question and comments section underneath and sometimes just for fun I like to look ahead at some of the harder calculus just to see where I am heading. But consistently you find comments from college juniors and seniors saying they are struggling with it because they just sort of breezed through the lower maths, didn't pay too much attention but still got the passing grades, and then they just hit a wall when coming up against differential equations or the like. I'm trying to make sure that doesn't happen to me.

    If there are any good books on math you want to recomend I'm always interested. "Practical Algebra a self Teaching Guide" and "Geometry and Trigonomety for Calculus" both by Peter Selby have been indispensible for me. I love a good math book.

    Which this kind of makes me think about the awake, it never touched on math even a little bit. Math doesn't have to be just a dry series of equations, I'm reading "A History of Pi" right now that is a fascinating look at how math has developed over the ages. But they never seem to pay any kind of attention to this most basic building block of reason and education. It's hard to say that reading the awake is like getting a college education when it completely neglects a fundemental pillar in education. You would think the rank and file would eat it up too. They wouldn't understand it most likely, but they read all about a Hippocrates Lune understanding none of the math behind it and think that they are totally smart and educated for knowing the word "Hippocrates Lune".

  • JonathanH

    That's awesome Newchapter. I'm definitely science oriented, but I love literature and I'm kind of jealous. As much as I love biology, math and physics, part of me wishes I could go spend four years studying art and literature. I think that would be sooo enriching and broadening. Maybe when I'm 45 I'll go back to school just for fun and get another degree. But I am definitely looking forward to just the experience unto itself. I'm looking forward to just the pure knowledge, but also just getting to have a back pack and walk around a campus and talk to intelligent professors, compete with my other classmates, stay up late studying, sit at a college coffee house with a laptop doing homework, be pushed and forced to the brink of what my brain can handle, I'm soo looking forward to all of that. I keep looking ahead to think about what I will do with my degree, what kind of career I will have but sometimes I have to slow down and just enjoy thinking about everything that comes before that. College isn't just an education, it's the experience.

    Really what I want is my (still witness) wife to go to college. She really wants to, but is conflicted. On one hand she really wants to go just get her feet wet, not go for a Bachelors or anything, just take a couple classes for fun, maybe something with psychology or literature. On the other hand she feels like she needs to be going to meetings or out in service instead of wasting time with secular education, and what's the point anyway? I really wish she would just take her ACT and then just one class so she could see how great learning something in depth can be.

  • NewChapter

    If you could convince her to just look into a community college, she wouldn't even need an ACT. Sometimes that route is less threatening.


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