A few months ago, the JWs came knocking on my door (see thread).
This discussion continued and the next time she brought a man along with her. I told them that I'd study with them if they could prove to me god exists and the bible was his book. For our next visit, only the man showed up. By this time, I had compiled a document over 50 pages long of contradictions and other silly stuff from the Bible. Places where it contradicted itself, places where it didn't match science, and places where there was just no logic to it.
He didn't want to look at it. But believed the bible was in perfect harmony, but curiosity got the best of him and he asked for a couple of examples. Man, it was fun watching him try to twist and contort his mind. Every time he tried to suggest an explanation to make it make sense, I'd point out that no, it still didn't. That explanation was still flawed.
For instance, does god punish people for what their ancestors did (Ex 20:5,6, Ex 34:5-7, Num 14:18) or does he judge each person on his own merits regardless of his ancestors or descendants (Duet 24:16, Eze 18:20). In some verses, it says god will punish people and their descendants to the 3rd and 4th generation. In other places, it says the father will not be held accountable for the sin of the father, nor the father for the sin of the son. It clearly states both. They cannot both be true. And the first (punishing children for what their ancestors did) is just plain wrong by any sense of justice. Should have seen him squirm.
He finally, from context, read that when god said he'd punish to the 3rd or 4th genertion, it was when the Israelites really pissed him off. So he must have said that in anger. That just made me laugh out loud. So when god gets angry, he blurts out things that he doesn't mean? I thought all his words were true? But that's the best explanatioin he could think of.
There were some other things. Like when Jesus met Simon Peter that are related differently. He didn't seem bothered by the inconsistency.
Then we got side-tracked by a discussion of the "divine name" in the Greek Scriptures. The guy kept getting confused. He kept on bringing out that the Septuagant has it and quoting things that says that it uses it. Fine. That is the Old Testament in Greek. It is NOT the New Testament. Even your own books say there is no Greek Scripture manuscripts that contain the tetragrammaton. I semi-agreed that if they at least had an argument for putting the name Jehovah in when the new testament is quoting the old and the name Jehovah was in the old. But that's only like a third of the cases. The rest are not legit and are pure speculation.
I guess where it started to go wrong for me may have been when I mentioned that I had an ex-JW friend. I think red lights went up in his mind. I did happen to mention that my friend told me they were members of the UN. He said they'd never join the UN and he'd like to see evidence.
As one of our first conversations started with a Watchtower asking the question "Is God Cruel"? I left him one day with a verse to think over. Genesis 22:2: Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
I told him that difinitively answers the question. How could anybody not consider that cruelty? You're a father as am I. People might say "oh, god can give him another son or resurrect him". I love my son. If something happened to him, another son wouldn't help the sorrow. I love the boy and who he is. You can't just substitute people. And as for resurrection, Abraham didn't know this was even a possibility. When in the Bible was there ever a resurrection prior to this. Any animal sacrifices he did do always wound up charred husks. So Abraham went into this knowing he was going to lose Isaac forever.
And to make matters worse, his son was not only going to die, he had to do it himself. It would be bad enough for me if my son died, but to force me to kill him? That is beyond sick and twisted. And the worst part is it did not need to happen. Isn't god supposed to be able to read our hearts, our innermost thoughts? He'd know how loyal Abraham was. God would know he'd do such a thing if asked, so there's no need to submit him to the mental torture of actually asking him to do it. God is a cruel, sick bastard.
Oh, and by the way, there's another biblical contradiction. Isaac wasn't Abraham's only son, there was also Ishmael.
So he looks at me and says "so that settles it in your mind, god is cruel". Definitely I answered.
So I left him with that. Maybe that got him thinkinng too much and he didn't like that.
On our last visit, we discussed the use of Jehovah in the New Testament again. And in the end, agreed to disagree. He could see where I was coming from, but accepted what the WBTS did in adding Jehovah to the text.
I managed to print out several articles about the JW involvement in the UN (as I had promised on our last visit) and handed them to him and he skimmed through them. He tried to stick to technicalities. Like, was a signature required. I cut through all that. You claim it's part of Satan's organization. What business do you have being any part of it? And you did not just join for a library pass. You could have had access without joining. And you also sent representatives to religious committee meetings. So you were participating as part of the UN. And when two different PR people were asked why, they gave two different answers. So one or both lied. Isn't lying a trait of the devil?
He didn't know what to say. He said it was odd.
Then he explained that he had started with me because it seemed like I might be on the fence as to whether there is a god or not. But he could see that he wasn't doing anything to convince me otherwise and that I held my opinion too strongly. So there's no reason for him to come by anymore.
I told him he was right. IF the bible is real, then the god described in it is sick, twisted, childish, and stupid. And does not deserve to be worshiped.
And that's where we left it when he "broke up" with me.
I don't know whether I did any good or whether the cognitive dissonance just allows all these contradictions to happen and he'll just go back to his JW life, never questioning anything.
I also think that my postiion is too hard to argue against. If I had portrayed myself as a Christian and was on that side of the fence, then they'd have doctrine we could argue and we could have prolonged our discussions and perhaps I'd do some good. It's one thing to convince him a certain doctrine is wrong and for him to take a step in my direction, but that is much harder when I'm an atheist. A believer fears becoming that. Taking a step in my direction means a step towards where I'm at and that's way too scary. So next time, I might have to act Christian.
Several years ago, another JW was calling (back then I was not an atheist yet) and we'd argue. He mentioned 607 BC early on and I took that and ran with it and really confused him. He said they needed more people like me who really understood the technical stuff. I found out this guy hasn't been seen in a long time, except for a funeral. Who knows, maybe I did some good with him?