religion only to do with belief?

by Curtains 48 Replies latest jw friends

  • Concerned JW
    Concerned JW

    Thank you for your reply Curtains. My thoughts on Atheism becoming a social religion are only recent in origin since seeing how fervent and dare I say evangelical many Atheists have become in recent years. I grow increasingly saddenned by Richard Dawkins who seems very aware of his popularity and power and is getting very vocal outside of his science field and more into mocking people who have genuine and sincere belief in God.

    I think people try too hard to explain beliefs under various heading without seeing the simple answers like "I simply believe in God". Contesting my point on the origins of certain religions is fine. I think we can be very arrogant now thinking we know everything about the past when there is a good portion of information missing. You can speculate how certain beliefs grew from what information is available but you cannot really know.

    As for the Bible I think it explains quite openly why the need for sacrifices in the days of Israelites. It talks about them being a prepared people and they needed to be mentally ready for the concept of a Messiah sacrificing himself for all of mankind. But I cannot agree that it is flashy in the way modern splinter religions have developed. When things are done in the Bible there is always a practical aspect to it, speaking in tongues was literally talking in another language so you could spread the good news to them, Jesus fed people, he healed people completely. This wasn't a spectacle or pretence, it was practical everyday usage.

    Yet modern new-age religions like pentacostals try to exploit this despite knowing 1 cor 13 says these ended at a particular time. What is very telling is the way the pentacostals represent these gifts which is very unbiblical and leans much more to spiritualism practises. The speach is unintelligible, it is explosive, it throws them about, When they "Heal" it is very set up and again throwing them about (thinking about someone like Benny hinn banging their forheads with his fist throwing them backwards) you see none of that in the bible in fact quite the opposite when healing demon possessed they calm down the frantic behaviour. Paul got thrown out of a town because people believing his biblical message stopped buying idols and jewels. The net result is a christianity that tended to calm people down from more outrageous spectacle driven practices. I must also admit you have made me think deeply on this topic.

  • Witness My Fury
    Witness My Fury

    Freedom to THINK is one of the many benefits of this site Concerned JW. You may (or may not) have noticed that freedom of thought is highly discouraged by the WTS. Remember the KM article in recent years banning group bible study, discussion or anything that might lead to independant thought?

    Why might that be I hear you ask (you did ask didn't you)? Because the ones who become "apostate" (WTS specification, not the bibles) are the ones who DO real research, bible study, and thinking! So they wanted it stopped. These are the WTS MO:

    Doubts? Don't voice or share them.

    Questions? We dont want to know.

    You have found something we missed or got wrong? Share it and you will be disfellowshipped.

    Try 607 as the destruction of Jerusalem for size. I dare you. I double dare you.

    Welcome to the forum btw

  • rebel8

    Religion is a cultural convention--it's created, maintained and updated by human societies.

    The proof lies in the fact that logic does not make religion disappear. Many people seem to think if you just educate people how wrong their teachings are, they will immediately and abruptly stop participating. That's a very naive, simplistic and ineffective approach, because religion is so much more than just beliefs.

    The strategy with a greater chance of reducing cults is a three-pronged prevention approach:

    1. decreasing the social acceptability of harmful groups
    2. increasing regulation
    3. decreasing access
  • godrulz

    Concerned JW: thx for your thoughtful, reflective post. I am Pentecostal by experience. This doctrinal dispute centers around cessationism vs continuance. WT is a cessationist group, while Pentecostal distinctives affirm continuance. I believe there is no exegetical basis for cessationism. WT arguments are similar to my fellow Christian anti-charismatic arguments. I agree with you in rejecting the lunatic fringe of charismania, but do not think we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    1) Tongues were not evangelistic, gospel preaching in Acts 2. The supernatural gift was for power to be a witness and tongues is speaking to God (I Cor. 14; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:4), not man. The audience did understand the dialects and heard them declaring the wonders of God in praise and worship (it does not say they were being preached to or that they converted when they heard tongues; they were converted when Peter preached in a known, natural, common language to the audience after that.

    2) I Cor. 12-14 is about the use and misuse of spiritual gifts, not their supposed cessation. The proof text in I Cor. 13 does not imply that tongues would cease in the first century or with the later Catholic closing of the canon. They are for the entire Church Age/Body of Christ until He comes back for the Church (rapture) and they are no longer needed. The when they cease points to perfection at His coming (I Jn. 3:2). The Bible is paramount, but the gifts are complementary. Paul ends with positive exhortation to not forbid tongues, earnestly desire them, he practices them, etc., but to use them in love vs pride/division (I Cor. 13). Context is king.

    3) In I Cor. 14, there is a distinction between private, devotional tongues for prayer, praise, worship (Acts 2 initial, physical evidence of a work of the Spirit post-conversion) and public, corporate tongues (only done by some vs all) with interpretation of tongues. This key will help avoid confusion.

    There are demonic counterfeits, fleshly abuses, immaturity, idiocy, but this is not an argument against Pauline-Spirit principles. Anti-charismata is rationalism, anti-supernaturalism. Satan is not resorting to natural tools, so the Church should not resort to the arm of the flesh.

    The reason JWs do not see the supernatural is because they reject the personality of the Holy Spirit, the Deity of Christ, and are rationalists who reject revelation. The consequence is that they are a dead, dry, powerless religion, though organized like a sales force with limited success. In contrast, Pentecostals are the largest, fastest growing segment of the Church worldwide with local churches (one) larger than 1 million members in some places (Korea, etc.). Due to lack of discernment, they also attribute the work of the Spirit to Satan, a Pharisaical big mistake.

  • Concerned JW
    Concerned JW

    Witness My Fury you basically saying Witneses don't think and are mindless drones, is not going to help your points! It shows a bigotry that is very off-putting. People become witnesses after a lot of study and looking at all aspects of what they are choosing with great depth of research. Bringing up points like 607 which is more of an attack on the bible being correct rather than witnesses is not going to help your cause. Is your problem with witnesses or the bible? The scripture telling us to "Be in agreement" is not to be taken lightly. It is sensible to have a consensus agreement as a group and the bible is very clear on that. All secular governments work on consensus agreement. It is simply just being practical. Anarchy is not a practical choice it simply crumbles as a workable alternative.

    Godrulz I simply don't agree with what you are reading into those scriptures. For one thing you are being very selective about what you are focusing on and taking them out of chapter context too. 1 cor 13 is very clear that the tongues will cease! your argument is that they cease on perfection but that means you ignore the mention of us being left with "partial knowledge and partial prophecy" for a time and it is these that perfection is said to specifically end. You are literally chopping away the middle scriptures to suit your exegesis.

    You then chopped 1 cor 14 up quite ruthlessly. 1 cor 14:9 is the real problem for your exegesis because it talks about speaking into the air unless the tongues are understood. Acts 2:8 shows they are talking to people in their own languages and being understood. The word is "languages" not dialects. Which tongue Peter used (isn't mentioned) and is irrelevent to the point that the original tongues where understandable languages and not unintelligable gibberish. However you try and explain acts 2 you cannot ignore that the tongues where understood something which is absent from people who claim tongues now. I like how even you try and draw away from "lunatic fringe" penatacostals showing even you have your own line drawn as to what tongues you accept as real and who you think are being mad.

    You and I are never going to agree. Pentacostals have too much invested in their commitment to their own form of spirit gifts which bears little resemblance to what really happened with the gifts in the bible. Please forgive my bluntness! Your sincere allegience to pentacostalism I do not doubt but while it is an enthusiastic, popular religion it has a lack of biblical depth which personally puts me off it.

  • godrulz

    The problem is reading the Bible through the eyes of WT indoctrination, not reading WT lit through the eyes of the Bible. The NWT sectarian perversion is also problematic (Jn. 1:1, etc.). WT expects uniformity and compliace, even when it is wrong. One gets DF now for things that were once taught. Those who believe what is taught now would have been DF in the past (Russell would be DF today?!). WT flip flops (Rom. 13, etc.), false prophecies, etc. are highly problematic. The Bible is not an organizational book. It is telling that WT says that just reading the Bible will cause people to resort back to Christendom's teachings, but reading WT will lead one to be JW (duh?!).

    Tongues will cease when Christ returns, not when the apostles die out!

    We agree to disagree. JW, how is it that you post here when you are going contrary to WT policy? Is it worthy getting DF over and kicked out of the kingdom? Those in cults rarely recognize that they are.

  • Curtains

    concerned JW I have to agree with godrulz on 1cor 13 and 14. Do you have a kingdom interlinear? At verse 10 of 1 cor 13 Paul clearly says that whenever that which is perfect arrives tongues will be done away with. Perfection has not arrived yet and Jehovahs witnesses admit to this in evey other way except here at 1cor13:10 it seems.

    regarding your points about atheism and Richard Dawkins, I think you are right. The important thing is to resist the herd instinct and practice doing so both inside the congregation and outside of it. Your posting here is a form of resistance

  • Concerned JW
    Concerned JW

    I do have a kingdom interlinear and various bible translations and none of them say that in 1 cor 13:10. To quote the interlinear directly "Whenever but should come the perfect(thing) the (thing)out of part will be made ineffective."

    We have 3 scriptures 1 cor 13: 8,9 and 10. 8 references the ceasing of prophecying, tongues and knowledge as full gifts. Then importantly we have 9 which shows an emergence of partial remaining gifts but no mention of tongues. Then we have verse 10 which is the one under discussion which directly quotes 9 and the "Part" gifts being the ones that end when perfection comes and no reference to verse 8 or tongues. But for further clarity and confirmation you goto 1 cor 13: 12 "at present I know partially" 1 cor 13 :13 GI "Now but is remaining faith, hope, love" of which the greatest is love. Paul is clarifying here what they now have remaining is faith hope and love. But for something to remain something has to end! So what has ended? The gifts! Your argument falls at this. Because you are saying everything continues fully until perfection ends them, so Paul is lying and nothing has ended for there to be remaining faith, hope and love.

    And before you say it verse 13 is not talking about after attaining perfection because faith and hope will not exist then! Both are only needed before we become perfect which is when our faith is justified and our hope fulfilled therefore they end with perfection but love we will always have even after perfection.

    You are pretending 1cor 13: verse 9 doesn't exist and are tying verse 8 and verse 10 together. This also begs the question why would Paul even go into all this explanation? if we simply have full gifts right up until perfection is attained? why do we need to be told the gifts will cease? We wouldn't need the gifts when we are perfect. Paul felt we needed to know this information and that we also needed reasuring we still have faith, hope and love remaining. So why is he reasuring us? because we lose the full gifts (including tongues)! that can be the only logical explanation.

    We know at some point in that time period the gifts ended and probably completely with the last Apostles death. Certainly until the recent spate of claimed gifts by new-age, pentacostal, christian religions history shows a distinct lack of these gifts throughout the centuries. So we know now the full gifts where only meant for a small period of time in the early "baby" "childhood" days of early Christianity. As part of their birth as a faith and so with increased bible knowledge, understanding, maturity under Jehovah guidance and the remaining faith hope and love they didn't need these gifts. Showing also that mature christians now don't need those sort of eye-opening gifts to strengthen their belief.

  • ProdigalSon

    The only "belief" that really matters is the belief that we have the divine spark. Without that belief, we can never be "Christlike". Any other belief couldn't possibly matter less when it comes to "judgment", because there is no judgment (Parable of the Prodigal Son). There's only karma, but even the laws of karma are flexible, and can be eased with gratitude and forgiveness. The only reason beliefs matter at all is because they determine a person's actions and behavior.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    Whenever I see the word "only" in a hypothesis, I automatically figure the hypothesis is false. "Always" "never" "only" and those sorts of words don't belong in any hypothesis.

    As for the idea that belief is even the dominant force the basic psychology of humanity is that belief (aka thoughts), emotions, and behaviors work hand in hand. Beliefs are reinforced by behaviors and emotions. Behaviors are motivated by beliefs and emotions. Emotions are sparked by beliefs and behaviors.

    About the term "myth" I think you should have used it. Enough of us here know what the word actually means in the academic sense.

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