What is this primitive notion of SELF-SACRIFICE?

by Terry 45 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Terry

    Among Jehovah's Witnesses self-sacrifice is a price everybody is expected to pay.

    Members of this religious group are told they are being watched by the world as a public spectacle in an ancient Roman coliseum.

    All sorts of sacrifices must be transacted to convince Jehovah of their sincerety and to titillate the worldly people with spectacular acts of faith.

    JW's give up the best secular education and the highest-paying careers. It is a sacrifice.

    JW's have been urged to give up marriage and child-rearing to devote time to door to door evangelizing work. It is a sacrifice.

    JW's have been pressured to refuse military and alternative service and accept imprisonment instead. It is a sacrifice.

    JW's sacrifice everything from free time to their own children's lives at the instructions given by Governing Body authority.

    What is this? What's this all about? What does sacrifice have to do with life in a Modern Society?

    Religious sacrifice amounts to a bribe at worst and a quid pro quo transaction at best. Tit for Tat.

    Aren't we, in effect, saying to the deity: "I'll give you this.....so that I can get....this" ?

    God is self-sufficient!

    Why would God NEED anything or rejoice in seeing lesser beings LOSE what little they have?

    How does Jehovah GAIN from our LOSS?

    Two issues arise at this point:

    Is God really demanding sacrifice to prove something "unknown" until it is done?

    Or, isn't it a Group or Authority claiming to speak on God's behalf that is making counterfeit demands?

    Where should the line be drawn between what is required by the group of the individual?

    How do we determine when the price being paid is an outrageous one?

    This is the decision which is the dirty little secret of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    If a child is molested a family may have to sacrifice justice by remaining quiet.

    If a child is dying and needs blood the family may have to allow them to die.

    In effect, the family is required to offer the child up! The decision is made FOR the child to experience death.

    The only way to fight bad ideas is by driving them out with better ideas.

    I cringe when I think of what I use to say concerning my belief system. I'd say quickly, "I'd die for my faith."

    A better idea is to LIVE for your faith and do something positive.

    The intellectually dead, such as suicide bombers, are driven by an ideology which rewards self-sacrifice and extols death as the supreme virtue.

    As long as there are willing and unwitting victims for sacrifice, what despot or elite will refrain from using them cynically?

    Doesn't all of this originate in the most primitive history of human beings? Isn't it a pre-intellect decision by uneducated groups to bribe a tribal deity??

    "We need our crops to flourish so we'll cut a virgin's throat and burn her for you God!"

    How is that substantially different from:

    "We need to demonstrate to non-believer's that Jehovah's Witnesses are people of faith--so, let your child die by denying medical intervention."

    How could an all powerful eternal deity be so insecure as to actually demand that inconsequential underlings lose their life to further His "interests"?

    Isn't it all a fraud perpetrated by insidious self-appointed representatives?

    What is your opinion on Self-sacrifice and the sacrifice of others to prove Faith?

  • WTWizard

    The core of Christianity is that Jesus offered up a perfect, complete sacrifice to which nothing ever need be added. So, why is this so-called Christian religion asking us to add to that sacrifice? That is something I would more expect Jewish and Muslim religions to do, since neither believes in a savior Jesus. Yet, when is the last time you ever heard the witlesses claiming to be part Jewish or part Muslim?

  • jgnat

    Terry: What is this primitive notion of SELF-SACRIFICE?

    Taking the twisted application by the WTS out of the equation for the moment, I would suggesst that self-sacrfice is not primitive, but rather an innate ability. In the modern lexicon, it would be called altruism.

    Terry: Where should the line be drawn between what is required by the group of the individual? How do we determine when the price being paid is an outrageous one?

    I suggest wherever the needs of the individual are subsumed for the sake of the group, the line has been crossed.

    "Community means caring: caring for people. Dietrich Bonhoeffer[1] says: "He who loves community destroys community; he who loves the brethren builds community." A community is not an abstract ideal. We are not striving for perfect community. Community is not an ideal; it is people. It is you and I. In community we are called to love people just as they are with their wounds and their gifts, not as we would want them to be. Community means giving them space, helping them to grow. It means also to receiving from them so that we too can grow. It is giving each other freedom; it is giving each other trust; it is confirming but also challenging each other. We give dignity to each other by the way we listen to each other, in a spirit of trust and of dying to oneself so that the other may live, grow and give." - Jean Vanier, From Brokeness to Community, pp 35-36

    Regarding the fanaticism that leads to extremes (i.e. blowing oneself up), Karen Armstrong refers to this as nihilism, born of fear.

    Karen Armstrong,The Battle for God A History of Fundamentalism reviewed by Don Webb

    This is a twisting of the concept of self-sacrifice, that quality that allows a stranger to plunge in to a raging river save another.

    So from the point of the WTS and it's demands on its' people, I suggest it takes a good quality in human beings - our ability to sacrifice for another - and twists it in to useless activity. The Witness sits smug in his great sacrifice, decrying his neighbour his picnics, his holidays, his celebrations, while failing to recognize the value of the local soup kitchen.

  • LongHairGal


    I resented the idea that I or we were supposed to demonstrate to non-JWs anything. What a bunch of emotional blackmail to keep you on a treadmill of guilt and worry! Like you were supposed to be constantly consumed with the fear of what other people were thinking!! As a side point, this is why JWs are reluctant to report child abuse because of the reputation of the religion. (See how this all ties in?)

    Well good riddance to this religion because when I walked away from it I threw off this ton of bricks of unhealthy thinking. It took a while of recognizing and unthinking the unhealthy thoughts and phobias this religion tried to instill.

    As for your question about self-sacrifice: it would be for my child, if I had one. There isn't another creature, being or cause that I am going to "self-sacrifice" for. I was always bothered by this idea of self-sacrifice in religions in general. It is as if the creator of the universe is only satisfied when there is a dead body, namely yours. Sounds sadistic and fiendish and not something that inspires love as far as I am concerned.

    My leaving the JW religion is not just about faulty teachings, it is about the very nature of god and how I have no use for any religion.

  • King Solomon
    King Solomon


    Taking the twisted application by the WTS out of the equation for the moment, I would suggesst that self-sacrfice is not primitive, but rather an innate ability. In the modern lexicon, it would be called altruism.

    An "innate ability"? Unfortunately, there's not a shred of evidence to suggest that altruism is: a) universal b) innate.

    Altruism is not instinctive to man: eg the very reason we award post-humous medals of honor to those who throw their bodies on grenades in battle is in recognition of the CONSCIOUS CHOICE they made to give their life in order to save those of members of their group. It's NOT innate, NOT an instinct: in fact, the instinct of most humans is to save their own skin. Hence it needs to be rewarded, not for their sake (they are dead), but to encourage that same behavior in others.

    Granted, some species of animals exhibit behavior which might be characterized as social behavior, but the term 'altruistism' ascribes motives to the behavior which may not even rise to the level of conscious decision, a choice the organism actively makes, instead of simply operating on instinct.

    jgnat said:

    I suggest wherever the needs of the individual are subsumed for the sake of the group, the line has been crossed.

    That is far too broad a principle as to provide direction (it's similar to TEC'S beloved Polyannaish advice of Golden Rule's "love one another as you'd love yourself". Great, but how does it help to define actions of real-life, when the rubber meets the road?).

    Maybe you meant something like "when the rights of the individual are INVOLUNTARILY subsumed BY the group, the line is crossed"?

    But even that modification doesn't fly, because there are times when the group MUST over-ride individual liberties for the sake of protecting the rights of the most vulnerable members of the community, eg what if the individual is killing his own children in sacrifice to his God?

    A far-fetched example? Hardly: that's exactly the scenario with JWs who make decisions for their minor children by refusing blood transfusions for them, and they die as a result.

    As Richard Dawkins famously says, every human should react vocally whenever someone refers to "Catholic children", "Muslim children" or "JW children": the children are NOT of an age to have any religious faith! We don't call them "democratic" or "socialist" children, do we? Of course not, as they don't have a basis to form an opinion on political thought, either.

    Hence the gov't must step in to make health-care decisions for the sake of the child's welfare, since their parents can't/won't.

    (You'd THINK that might trigger some alarm bells in the parents that something MAY be wrong, if child welfare advocates who normally deal with cases of outright physical abuse and neglect (where the mother is addicted to meth) are needed to intervene for YOUR children? But no: the JWs are not phased in the least, thanks to the magical powers of denial....)


    Terry is right:

    The concept of sacrifice to a God(s) IS as much a vestige of 3,000 yr old thinking as any, based on quid pro quo, and is as useless today as it was back then....

  • Finkelstein

    Totally agree Terry

    Unfortunately people today don't realize that the ancients had only one notably perceived way to improve their existence and that was to appease

    their defined and chosen gods to whom they selectively worshiped, even to the extent of moving on to a better life upon their gradual death.

    This stated acceptance of self sacrifice to appease a god to achieve reward gets exploited by the WTS. publishing house in that they subjectively

    lure and coerce people to become their own faithfully devoted sales representatives.

    Of course the persisting aspects of continuous implied fear is entwined in this expressed agenda.

  • jgnat

    I would suggest if we carry an evolutionary tendency to altruism, it is innate, and universal (at least from a human point of view).


    The reason I call it an ability is that people still choose whether to act on the impulse.

    I maintain that wherever the needs of the individual are subsumed for the sake of the group, the line has been crossed.

    In all fairness, I can't temper the principle with "Involuntarily" because then we run in to the rat's nest of what exactly is free will? Does the WTS use coercive techniques to convince people to do things they would not normally do (don a suit and go door-to-door, shun a child)? Was the action of the Witness voluntary or involuntary?

    When I speak of "for the sake of the group" I am not talking about communally held values such as "protect the young". I am talking about the group as an entity and its propensity to protect itself. In those cases, the indvidual's identity should always take precedence. Say for example, that a particular set of qualities is identified as being uniquely "I am Canadian". Now, let's say we have all sorts of people that don't fit that identity. The nation has gone too far when it says, "You are not Canadian enough".

  • panhandlegirl

    One of my earliest memories of my mother was her saying we had to suffer and sacrifice. I believe she carried this belief from the Catholic Church into her jw belief. I grew up thinking "we all have to sacrifice," so I did.

    I sacrificed my youth, my life to my husband's wishes, to anyone who needed a patsy to sacrifice for them, no matter what it cost me. When my mother told me, yet again when I was older, that I had to suffer/sacrifice, I

    challenged her with the question "Why do we all have to sacrifice? What good is it to sacrifice?" I decided I did not want to sacrifice anymore. I even told my husband that my sacrificing days were over, done. I told him my first

    years had been sacrificed for what he wanted and now it was my turn. I was now #1 and he was # 2 on the importance list. Sounds mean, but it is not. I would sacrifice for my children, maybe even for a stranger who really

    needed something, but not for a religion. As you correctly stated Terry, God is self sufficient, He does not need anything we have. Jesus' sacrifice covered all people's sins forever. There is no other sacrifice needed; especially

    no sacrificing for the WTS. Faith is a personal response. It does not require a sacrifice. Sacrifice could be described as "altruism - unselfish regard for or a devotion to the wefare of others" (Merriam-Webster). Nelson Mandela is a

    prime example of this and altruism is something to be admired and I believe it is practiced by many, but it has no place in religion, in the sense of " for the religion."

  • jgnat

    Secular institutions who have taken advantage of our willingness to sacrifice:

    Unity of Workers and Peasants

    I Want You

    We can do it

  • Finkelstein

    Self sacrifice expressed by the meme of the Watchtower Corporation (JWS) is that if one gives up much of their life now

    to be a door to door sales representative for their organization (pioneer) that these individuals will duly appease Jehovah

    and be accordingly rewarded come the great day of judgment (Armageddon), self sacrifice your life now to gain a much greater reward into the

    perceived future. A psychological self promoting marketing strategy that this religious publishing house has used since its first public appearance .

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