When you control the "criteria" for what is and is not an apostate, you control the foundation of the conversation anyways.
Why is shunning wrong?
Shunning is immature. We all must make judgments in life, but that is not the same as being judgmental.
For instance, I have a neighbor who is gay. He stops by once in a while to chat. He is a little weird. He has invited me over for drinks. I have to make a decision/judgment. I have a family. Do I hang out with this person or not?
A mature person says," Thanks for the invitation, but I need to spend my free time with my family. Maybe we can talk some other time.". An immature person judges the other person as unworthy and avoids/ignores them. The problem with shunning is that it comes from an egotistical and "holier than thou" attitude. The other person is beneath you.
An adult may chose not to associate with someone without judging that individuals worth, or without a feeling of superiority.
Shunning is wrong because it completely ignores the dignity of the human person. We all are imperfect, even those who shun us for our "sins", but who is to say which sins are worse than others? Should I shun my mother because she is prideful and hateful? Those are serious sins. But it comes back to "love the sinner but hate the sin." Better to associate with these people and try to "convert" them away from their bad conduct by the good conduct you display, as an example. By that I mean you wouldn't have a murderer over to dinner and say, "See, I have a great life because I don't kill people," but you might associate with a gossip and cut her off when she starts gossiping, telling her you'd rather not hear such things being said about your friends. There's just a much better way of helping people remove the "splinter" from their own eye than shunning them for being human.
Excellent comments here, very interesting thread. Shunning is wrong also because it's inhumane, unethical, and damaging psychologically to the person being shunned. Many ex-JW's have committed suicide due to shunning and the breaking up of families and from being cut off from ones they thought had loved them. I don't buy the crap that " the one Jehovah loves he disciplines " - that's bullshit. It's a twisted way of the WT Society leaders to endorse disfellowshipping and controlling family relationships by conquering and dividing family loyalties.
Governments and religions have used that tactic for years to divide people racially as well throughout history by turning Native Americans against one another, African Americans against one another, and many racial groups against one another. I wrote a song called " Prejudice and Ignorance " a couple years ago and the frst lyrics in my song go " Prejudice and ignorance it's all just the same ". I feel that is true with the WT Societies blatant view against ex-JW's as well as the WT leaders are ALWAYS too stubborn to admit when they are wrong. WT leaders feel that they THEMSELVES are Jehovah God- and to many JW's the Governing Body IS God. It's ridiculous the mind control that WT leaders have over Witnesses and they use guilt and fear to wield their power and control over rank & file JW's. My 2 cents
1 Timothy 5:8. If you don't provide for your relatives, you're worse than a person without faith. That includes your relatives basic emotional needs, not just material needs. The Watchtower says you can only talk to them if they live in the same house, but if the leave your household, treat them worse then worldlings, treat them like they're a piece of dog-shit on the footpath if you walk by them.
Disgusting. A sure sign it's an utterly false religion hopelessly stuck in Pharasaical legalism and fanaticism, that hasn't even learned the most basic principles about love, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, laid down by Jesus.
Avoid like the plague any belief system that demands you sacrifice your loved ones. Family is the most precious thing. By their fruits you will recognise them.
Thanks for all your comments.
I'm currently facing a situation where I'm expected to shun a family member who was just recently disfellowshipped for apostasy (which is ridiculous...I've been mentally out for 2 years and all of a sudden this person steals my thunder out of nowhere?). Her and her husband were both regular pioneers literally weeks ago. I went to his public talk a few months ago. Of course I will not shun these people. In fact, I'm meeting them for breakfast. If anyone saw me with them that'd be it for me. I never thought THAT would be my exit.
I'm expected to be the strong one.... to show where I stand. Put Jehovah to the test. Shun the person I grew up with who shares the same blood as me. Why on earth would I do that? "Because you have to look at the big picture... By having anything to do with them it shows you think what they have done is ok." What they have done? For god's sake they're still Christians. But actually importantly, they are GOOD PEOPLE. And they are family. I'm the one who questions the bible in secret and I'm expected to uphold destructive teachings that go beyond what it even says.
Over the course of 2 years my subtle optimism of being able to explain my doubts so that I wouldn't be shunned have diminished almost completely. I'm truly disturbed by the way I now know I'll be viewed and treated by the people I love most. I speak of it as an inevitability because just as Winston knew he'd face the death penalty for thoughtcrime, I know it's only a matter of time before I'm given the boot. That forever-stamping boot. I guess I just wanted to understand why I'll deserve that in their minds.
Dude, just grow some balls and take a stand for what is right.
Shunning is not of the spirit. Its a fleshly process that encapultes all that is wrong with mankind. Jesus died for all to be saved for all time whether that person or not accepts it. True Christians are to have the same mercy that was shown us for our wrongs past, present and future. In true love there is no judgment or condemnation. SO true loves demands we have the same mindset. Where is the love and mercy in shunning,there is none
That is a wonderful thought--" Jesus advocated embracing the stray sheep and not shunning it (Leave the 99 for the 1 stray)"!
If JWs were correct, Jesus would have said: "when you meet a stray sheep, don't even look at it, rather return immediately to the 99!"
Shunning is wring from God's view, but right in my view--because it helps me to reinforce my resolve not to be a JW again!
well, do unto others as you would like them to do to you comes to mind.
lets assume there is no such thing as religion. If someone does or says something that isnt our standards, we simply choose other freinds .
but we dont slander them, and treat them like a deadly plaugue. you simply avoid them. everyone has a right to thier own opnion.
if someone tells falsehoods, were to go directly to them and ask them where they heard such a thing and why they would spread such rubbish
if they are stubborn enough not to consider our advice, then we wash our hands of the person, and were free to choose other association.
the person who has such a problem of spreading lies, and doing reckless things will eventually not have any freinds, and that alone will wake them up to the folly of thier behavior.
they will hopefully be sorry and appologize, and the humiliation of the past deeds and the lack of freindsh will be punishment enough.
like some scriptures say.
THAT is what is meant .
everyone must come to accept and realize, the bible is not what we all think it is. the men who chose what books to use
were not inspired by God, just by thier zeal to make a book that they felt man needed.
many of the original writtings of those letters books and scrolls pages were damaged ,missing and altered by copiests.
which is why we have so many translations. we will never have a whole complete book that is the pure word of God.
If such a thing even ever exsisted.
anyone can claim to be inspired, who are we to call them a liar? I was inspired to reply to his post.
people are inspired to write poetry [psalms] or inspired to move to action in a life threatening situation. so that claim is pointless.
we are to take the valuable advice from any person, confusious, to Jesus to nelson mandela.. whoever they all have personal revelations that make for great quotes. wise words. make us think. make us act in a positive way hopefully.
as a human on earth it is up to us to try our best to enjoy the life we have contribute to mankinds needs, and help others to do the same.
by doing that, we have the mind of Christ.
we need no other burden
now im going to get off my butt and go enjoy the perfect 72 degree day.