Not to veer too far off topic, dear dgp (peace to you!), but you've made a couple statements that are inaccurate and so I would like to set the matter straight, if you will indulge me - thank you! You stated:
Christianity began (or so goes the claim) as a group of mostly illiterate and poor fishermen.
Your statement "or so goes the claim" is accurate: the apostles were NOT illiterate, not all were fisherman... nor were they necessarily poor. Matthew was a tax collector, and tax collectors made a good living. This is also true of many of the disciples (Zaccheus, Jospeh of Arimethea and many others were rich)... and many of the early Body (which is why those who had gave to the DISTRIBUTION collection... even land... so that there would be an "equalling" with those who didn't - widows and orphans). Even some women (Lydia, et al.) were well off.
Most people were illiterate at the time.
This is, again, inaccurate. We KNOW the apostles weren't illiterate because (1) they all attended school (which was required for Jewish boys, so that even Christ attended), which is how (2) some could write letters to the others; but, finally (3) reading "in the Law" was a requirement for ALL Jewish MEN. If there was illiteracy, then, it was primarily among the women; however, given their industriousness, many women not only were literate, but ran small businesses.
So, the god of that religion, then, did not require that you be literate in order to be saved.
No, not to be saved, but was absolutely required in order to know when "Messiah" arrived. Because the Writings... "bore witness about [HIM]." Thus, Christ admonished them FOR "searching the scriptures"... rather than coming to HIM (the One they bore witness TO).
Once the Bible came out, it turned out that God needed a literate channel to convey its message.
This, again, is an inaccuracy. The first "Bible" (the Septuagint) was written long before Christ even came in the flesh. It the first one for which my Lord uttered the words, "Woe to you... scribes!" Why? Because their "false stylus" had added to, removed from, and tampered with the OT Writings.
What's even as important, however, is NOT that a literate channel was now needed, but man's efforts to STIFLE that literacy!! It was because they DIDN'T want people reading the Writings, Bible, letters, and other testimonies... that it was eventually decreed a crime TO read! Or, at least, to read the "Bible." People were literally burned at the stake for reading it. Why? Because those who purported to suppress what was IN it... or were attempting to further CHANGE it... knew that if it WAS read, they would be exposed for the hypocrites and imposters THEY were.
Which is one of the reasons the WTBTS hinders education: they don't WANT you to read your Bible and SEE... where they are LYING... about what it says, what's in it, what it prophecies about, etc. As did (and does) the RCC. Both of these (and perhaps some others) want you to believe that THEY know better than you what's "in the Bible." So, they make it this infallible, unerring digest... that only THEY can understand. As for the WTBTS, if they can keep you uneducated, then they can keep you from seeing... at least per the Bible... who they REALLY are... and are not.
So, Christianity today needs literacy,
No. Since Christ, "christianity" only needs holy spirit. Because THAT is what Christ uses to lead us... into ALL truth. Because the writings in the Bible have been tampered with and so cannot be COMPLETELY relied upon.
but the Watchtower requires a lot more than that. They need a printing company.
Not quite, dear one. The WTBTS does NOT require literacy - indeed, they restrict and discourage it. They need a printing company, yes, but that in order to make a profit at one time (they are, after all, a business). What they did, however, is in fulfillment of two verses in the Bible:
First, they fulfill Revelation 12:15, in that THEY are the means by which the "dragon", our Adversary, "disgourge[s] water... like a river... from ITS mouth"... today... in an effort to try and cause the "Woman" to be "drowned". If he can drown HER... he can drown her seed. Since he is the "father of the lie"... ALL that comes from his "mouth" are lies. And this organization has got to be one of THE greatest source of lies ever known to the Body of Christ.
Second, such disgourging is in fulfillment of Ecclesiastes 12:12, which states:
"As regards anything besides these, my son, TAKE A WARNING: To the making of MANY books there is NO end, and MUCH DEVOTION TO THEM IS WEARISOME TO THE FLESH."
The early Body of Christ was NOT illiterate, dear one... as many, including and primarily, the WTBTS wishes you to believe. To the contrary, they were at least elementarily educated, if not highly educated (Paul studied under Gamaliel). Which is why they WROTE to one another in letters. This teaching as to their illiteracy is just a tack false christs and false prophets use to get ones to believe that illiteracy was common and acceptable THEN... so as to make those who follow THEM believe it is now. So that the latter won't even DEIGN to read, let alone try to understand WHAT they're reading. Rather, they defer both to those who claim to "know"... and raise themselves up over them.
I went to law school. Why? Because my Lord, the Holy One of Israel and Holy Spirit, JAHESHUA, the Chosen One of JAH (MischaJah) directed me to. Why? Because he said that at some point I was going to need that education. At some point, I am going to have to speak to those who know the law... and the only way I would be effective is to know it myself. So, I went. And he was right. I associate with, work with, and speak to folks of ALL educational levels. Many are Jewish... and many are lawyers. I could not understand ANY of them, though, if it weren't for my education.
Christ does not keep people down education/literacy-wise, dear one, because he has not fear of losing HIS sheep... because their education, class, economic status, etc., has not bearing on whether they follow him and/or remain in union with him. It is their FAITH... which runs the gamut of education, class, and economic status. Sure, it's easier for some and harder for others... due to the distractions of life... but illiteracy can be as distracting, if not more in some cases, that higher education. Because sometimes it leads to drug and alcohol abuse... if not crime. On the other had, higher education can help one understand the things written by MEN... which deviate from the things of God... so that they may even know WHAT to ask of the Holy Spirit so as to gain understanding.
Don't let their propaganda fool you - no, we don't need school, higher education, or even literacy to know God. For that, we only need Christ; however, THAT one never issued a "law" against any of these.
I hope this helps and, again, I bid you peace!
A literate (before the WTBTS) and educated (since the WTBTS) slave of Christ,
SA, who says, if someone can convince you that you are too stupid to know/understand... they've pretty much won. Because if you believe it, you have pretty much just GIVEN them the victory.