Reasoning from Watchtower world

by detective 6 Replies latest jw friends

  • detective

    Sorry, this is a long post:

    I had a conversation with my JW friend the other night. I thought I'd recap some of the arguments presented even though I didn't get to touch on all of the different counter arguments I would have liked to present.

    On "worldly" people: I tried to explain what it felt like when I first realized that derogatory comments were being said about non-witnesses. Being a "worldly" one, I was shocked by the endless diatribes towards people of other faiths. I started by reading comments I took from witness websites and even by relaying that awful poem written about marrying non-believers that was posted here a few days ago.
    The response: SOME witnesses misunderstand what it means to be a witness. SOME witnesses go too far in their thoughts about "worldly" people. These types of people are not representative of what witnesses are really supposed to feel about outsiders.
    Counter argument: I read excerpts from the magazines that thoroughly derided people of other faiths. I knew this would be risky as it might put him in full blown witness mode. And it did. He defended each statement. So I told him I was going to substitute a few words and re-read the statements. I substituted ethnic groups ("black people", "korean people") and he nearly fell over himself grabbing the paper from my hand. I pointed out how upset he became when I did that and tried to explain that that is excatly how I felt when I read those statements for the first time. His response was that they weren't racists and it was okay to classify other people in generalizations if they weren't part of his group but that they would never do that with race issues. So I guess my point was somewhat lost- well, it was worth a try.

    On blood: I explained that I was uncomfortable with people reducing statements in the bible to "what they really mean when they say that". I explained that there were no blood fractions in the bible. I asked him to show me his blood card, which he did. He explained that the governing body used a panel of blood experts to determine which parts of blood were okay to use. I asked him teh following: why the governing body would go to such lengths to dissect "what the bible meant", were they using science to figure out what god meant, how did they know what would be an acceptable fraction to god (how does god speak to them)...etc.
    The response: essentially it boiled down to whatever they governing body said, he'd do. So I brought up organ transplants again and explained that they had already made decisions that had cost people their lives, how does he know that they won't change their minds again? Bottom line to him was that he would do whatever they told him to do, even if it meant that he could lose his life and they might change the teaching later. (he attributed this to his faith in resurrection) He agreed that they probably would change their teaching on the blood issue at some point in the future.
    Counter argument: He knows I'm a fair-minded person so I told him "Well, if I was on the governing body and I believed that the bible meant "no blood" and I believed that the "forbidden blood fractions" were among those listed on his card, then I would have to issue a statement disallowing meat-eating and breast milk. Either that, or I'd have to revisit my policies. He knows I don't support the blood ban but he could see why I would say that. In the end it was still "whatever they say goes" but it was worth a shot.

    On growth as indicator of god's blessings:
    He cited the society's growth rate as a reason he believed they were god's chosen people. I cited examples of other religions that had higher growth rates.
    the response: The growth rates of other groups must be inflated by percentages or something. They probably aren't true.Besides, the growth rate is only one of the reasons he knows they have god's blessings.
    (I probably should have mentioned the decline in publishers in Japan but I didn't want to clue my friend in to the depth of information I've been gleaning over time)

    For the most part, this conversation - which was NOT supposed to be about his organization once again turned into a Yay Watchtower! situation. We were supposed to talk about something else but inevitably when we have heart to heart talks, it always comes down to his group.
    A few points that forced me to bite my lip: He said he felt he couldn't learn anything about the bible from me. I cited an example where I told him something he didn't know. He said he actually knew it, but had forgotten. Ugh! Just for good measure, I asked a few questions about the bible that he didn't know the answer to and made passing reference to how we know relatively little about the person(s) who put the bible together in the form it's in today.

    I wasn't particularly happy with how the conversation went- particularly since it wasn't personal and we were supposed to be having a personal conversation. However, it does provide me with some insight into how he thinks. Usually he isn't particularly forthcoming about his feelings on his religion. Our friendship developed primarily because we didn't talk about religion (part of the reason i didn't realize the extent of the issue until well after knowing him). If anyone can provide any further ideas about the type of thinker he appears to be, I'll be happy to hear them. Sometimes another viewpoint might prove beneficial which is why I'm putting this out there. Thanks.

  • julien

    Hmm your friend sounds like the old reliable model JW-70 [tm]. That's what most of my old JW friends were. Many of us reading could imagine having exactly the same conversation.

    Next time one of these robots says they will do anything the GB says to do just remind him to watch out for the kool aid.

  • LucidSky

    Thanks for the story, detective. I need to do the same thing with my JW friend in two weeks. She still thinks I am one so that will make things a little different in the way I can present material. You'll find that JW's are less open to new ideas when they are coming from someone who is already a JW. They don't have to listen to you, if you're already a convert.

    Most of them will see themselves as special and set apart because that's all they've been told. Once you saw your friend's defense go up as you presented points, it was probably over. You won't have much of a chance at that point unless you can catch them in a contradiction. Then they just get flustered or upset and need to "research" some more. You had a logical arguement, but people don't want to argue. They want to instruct you or have you agree with them.

    You could try a new strategy since you might find they start to polarize towards the opposite side you take if you argue. If you can get them to agree with you from the start, you might be making some headway. Ask questions that they are almost forced to agree with you on, but that you know the WTS says differently. For example, do you think God will eternally destroy a good person just because he is not a JW? Do you think God would ever change his mind and then change it back again? If they haven't been indoctrinated beyond return, they will usually say no. Ask more questions like that then show them

    "If you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'll just have to stop doing stupid things." - H. Simpson
  • Farkel

    : I asked him to show me his blood card, which he did. He explained that the governing body used a panel of blood experts to determine which parts of blood were okay to use.

    What did he mean by "okay to use?" Did he mean medically? If so, then where in the Bible does it give any permission to use some parts of blood for medical purposes. Did he mean scripturally? If so, then where in the Bible does it give any permission to use some parts of blood and not others?

    The fact that they felt they had to consult with "blood experts" implies that the governing body is not relying upon Jehovah at all for direction, but are relying on men for direction.

    If this little vignette proves anything, it proves that the GB are stupid and clueless.


  • writerpen

    LucidSky, if that's your picture - well you're right easy on the eyes.

  • detective

    Farkel, I completely agree with you about relying on science to figure out what fractions are acceptable. Huh? Where does god figure into that scenario? I attempted to call him on some of his arguments without being too overtly aggressive but he would hedge or get off topic in an attempt to draw me away from whatever point I was making. It was a pretty futile effort but at least I could get a better picture of what was making him tick in regards to his relationship with the organization.

    the conversation wasn't even supposed to be about his darn group so I wish I had been better prepared to preface the conversation in the manner you suggested. It would have been good if I had been able to find the common ground and work from there. When you speak with your friend it sounds as if you'll take a good approach.

    the koolaid. That thought kept running through my head. Kool aid. Goes good with spiritual food I guess.

  • Hyghlandyr

    LucidSky, amen to

    That was the first site I went to. Prior to that anytime someone tried to assist me I balked. I remember one fella on chat trying to have long conversations with me about the witnesses. I kept telling him, look dude, I am not a witness anymore and you dont need to save me from them. I had somewhat decided through analysis at that time I didnt really believe in god but there was the lingering doubt and what if in my mind.

    The short take is that my wife was going in for surgery. She would be in the hospital for several days so I decided to print some pages from the watchtower website for her as a little present. So she would not feel too discouraged while she was there. I could not remember the website domain name, but seemed a reasonable choice.

    Woa. I could get my own name at that domain. My own email. It seemed pretty cool. I realized the society wasnt running that site though. Still in the list were a couple of including quotes. So I just perused over there. I finished the entire site pissed off royally. I dug through the books in the basement looking for several of the publications. Each I verified was accurate.

    What pissed me off was not the failed prophecies for instance. No, it was the fact that they had covered up what they had actually prophesied. The rest of the pattern most of you know very well.

    Farkel, a lot of times they get around this question by infering that those components are actually manufactured blood components, not blood itself. The average witness has no clue what Albumin, or Fibrinogen is. Hell I have no clue. I just know from what I have read that they are parts of the blood. The rest is moot to me. And of course my arguments start with yours, why or where did god say dont use this or that part of the blood but the other parts you can use. On the other hand if the god of the bible is true, I dont care if he said those things. They were for Israelites, I am not one.

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