Jehovah's Witnesses have a vast array of buzzterms that are fed into them on a regular basis, not the least of which is the term "Bible Principles." For most of my life I was convinced that only members of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society were applying Bible Principles in the correct way. This was mainly because we believed we had the correct translation of the Holy Scriptures which was largely rejected by "Satan's World." I believed that while using a "worldly" translation it would be more difficult to come to "the truth" about "Bible Principles." This seemingly required mitigation process of the Bible was why I beleived the NWT was created.
I was watching a JW YouTube video about the end of false religion and I came across this comment:
It is sad to see many deceived today. Many apostates tell ppl that witnesses are wrong and brain washing ppl , but then you go and look at the fruits of their lives and see that they are full of false faith and so many unclean acts, They have nothing better to show you, they only try to beat their former fellow slaves of God and drive ppl away from truth, due to jealousy, anger, contention... all those works of the flesh. It is so sad, keep up the preaching work my friend, Jehovah's blessing.
The commenter seems to feel perfectly justified in proclaiming all ex members as "full of unclean acts." What this commenter is refering to is the Jehovah's Witnesses understanding of "Bible Principles." It's true that many non Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in total chastity and abstinence. Many are often found in intimate relationships without legal marriage. To a Jehovah's Witness this is in direct violation of the "principles" spelled out in the Bible. This is how they can feel so righteous about it because it's a simple concept to them: don't have sex before marriage or else you are a "fornicator."
But can that really be called a Bible Principle? It seems like it could be more accruately described as Bible Law which is what it was written down to be. This Law was written thousands of years ago so wouldn't a Bible Principle that involved such an old law be well adapted to society? There was one glarring difference between then and now: we have contraception. Technology will always throw a broom in the spokes of law, the internet is the latest broom. The technology of writing at one point was a new technology that was royally stirring the pot in it's day.
Going from Law to Principle requires taking logical steps backward and observing the whole. The whole being the evolution of the human species in relation to the ancient laws written down about them. Why was marriage required for sexual relations back then? If you research the subject you will find a vast amount of information that can be practically applied to the people of the ancient world. You couldn't be promiscuous in those days because there were dire consquences of such actions. Impregnation was often a death sentence.
From a more religious perspective you have ideas of the soul and the hereafter. Many religious ideals included the concept of human babies as connected to an immortal soul that were considered the children of God Himself. Sexual relations, within the theological framework, would be considered the gateway for the children of God to enter the physical realm. It is not surprising that we find a reverence for the act in the laws of ancient times.
So, where is the actual principle in all of this? There are many, but the obvious one is in the concept of commitment which seems to be lost by the Watchtower and many other fundamental groups. Chastity and abstinence are religious laws that have become out of date and need to be replaced with modern day principles. The fact is that we should revere an act with so much creative power as accidents can and do happen.
Taking an ancient law on the subject of sexual relations from a world void of modern medical technology and directly enforcing it upon a modern day populaton is completely immoral and destructive. Now that I am out of the Watchtower and look back I see that they don't teach principles, they just read from a book. The real life principles come from the growth of mankind as we learn more about ourselves simply through making choices and experiencing life as it unfolds before us.