Why is the Watchtower petrified by Higher Criticism?

by Doug Mason 40 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    ''analyse, study, evaluate''

    Is only allowed within the framework of their own literature. The deepest they want a JW to go is the All scripture Inspired book or the insight volumes.

    anything outside that is dangerous to them, they like the JWs to think higher critism is being 'critical'. keeps em dumbed down


  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    If more people were aware of different forms of Biblical analyses, there would be only a handful of Witnesses left. The WT and other religions rely on the mystique of the Bible. You do not analyze the Bible. Blind obedience is necessary. People suspend normal beliefs and logic. I've been exposed to higher criticism. When I make a comment in my Episcopal Bible and spirituality classes, it was no big deal in NY. I count on at least person being offended here. I've toned down too b/c I don't want to shock people. The Bible is exempt from critical thinking. Higher authority is sought.

    My churches have had several lay members who appear to know more about the Bible than the priest. They don't see the priest as someone who chose a particular career. No, a lay person can have more knowledge but many wait to hear what the priests say for belief. Most people do not defer to the priest. I am talking about well-educated, well-travelled, sophisticated Bible.

    I had no idea this form of analysis existed. When I was exposed to it in college, I was absolutely shocked and then giddy. Reading my Bible in large consecutive verse chunks set me free forever. I can believe in the Bible in a different manner than I could before the exposure. I wonder how people here were first exposed to this form of Bible analysis.

  • WTWizard

    Any religion or system of beliefs that tries to make criticism of itself a "hate crime" doesn't deserve any support. There is a reason why: In the case of the witlesses, it is so they can enslave its members and ensnare others without having to face the music. If you cannot stand to be cross-examined, your religion is pretty damn flimsy.

    And, for whom has the religion actually done any good? Maybe in Satanism, you get a certain percentage that have limited or no success. But, in the witless religion, NO ONE has any success. Instead, they have to redefine "success" as "having made deep sacrifices so you can do more, quitting work so you can pious-sneer, or ignoring your health so you can attend all boasting sessions or do missionary work". No one is successful in reaching the paradise they promised, and no one ever will be. And, when no one is able to reach the promise despite many wasting their whole lives trying, I would say that is pretty reasonable to believe it is rubbish. (Especially when people's lives are ruined trying.)

  • Pistoff
    can you give an example of a highly disputed text or section, which would fall under "literary criticism"

    All of it.

    The story of the Bible's writing and redaction is a great one; the Bible is not at all what it seems on the surface to be.

    It is much more valuable as literature than as a guide to living. IMO.

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    I'm inclined to believe that Watchtower is petrified by higher criticism for the same reason that balloons are afraid of pins.


  • Finkelstein

    The WTS. solidifies its control over people by utilizing controlled thought information. The Watchtower study and book studies

    are examples of this controlled thought process. Questions upon given information are not openly discussed, they are provided

    by the WTS. themselves and since the organization proclaims to be guided by god's holy spirit, the answers are preconceived to be true

    and valid. To make any kind of expressive thought in opposition to the WTS teachings are deemed apostasy against god himself, since god

    has chosen this organization as his channel of communication for mankind.

    Most large religions have a similar structure built into itself to maintain absolute power and control.

    It has to be realized that most religions have a protectionary wall built around itself to sustain the power and control over people

    of which they have already acquired.

    Notably some religions have a wall higher than others, I would say the WTS's wall is quite high in this regard.

  • Finkelstein

    It has to also be realized that the WTS. is a commercial publishing house trying to proliferate its literature as much as it can toward the public.

    That being so, it therefore makes a even greater importance to shun any criticism upon the information of its literature, there is a commercial aspect

    that has to be logically and truthfully realized as well.

  • Leolaia

    The Society is totally cool with higher criticism when it doesn't involve the books of the Bible. It is open to the possibility that the Iliad and the Odyssey "developed and became stabilized over hundreds of years" (5/15/2000 Watchtower, p. 6), it asserts that the 1 Enoch was "produced probably sometime during the second and first centuries B.C.E." (9/15/2001 Watchtower, p. 30) — a finding that entirely depends on principles of higher criticism, it notes that the Mahabhrata — while concerning events from the 10th century BC — reached its final form long afterward with "an epic substance enlarged and embellished over the centuries" (Why Should We Worship God in Love and Truth, 1993, p. 14), it devoted a whole article to the question of the authorship of the Shakespeare plays and sonnets (8/8/1998 Awake!, pp. 22-24), weighing the literary and historical evidence, and so forth.

    But when it comes to the Bible, higher criticism is nothing more than an angry attack on the Bible's self-evident perfection and divine origin. That's what I call a double standard.

  • Finkelstein

    But when it comes to the Bible, higher criticism is nothing more than an angry attack on the Bible's self-evident perfection and divine origin.

    well said Leolaia

    Higher criticism would and might also weaken the position of the WTS. being a direct channel of that divine origin as well.

    Protecting the divinity of Yahweh and the positional part of that divinity connecting the WTS. is an utmost constant importance

    for a religious organization like the JWS.

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    Hi Barry,

    I was an SDA for about 16 years until 1980 - a long time ago.

    Never aligned with anyone since, although I did read GNU for a short while after that.

    I am free.


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