Lurker trying to gain clarity

by questioningmyfaith 75 Replies latest jw friends

  • questioningmyfaith

    Hello all, I would like to first say that I am basically questioning my faith in god. I am not negative towards the WT at all. So honestly I am to concerned with more ad hominem attacks towards the WT because I still love the organization and the people in it. But that is because I truly believe that in general witnesses are good people that are trying their best to do good. I have had my issues with many fellow JW's but I have been an ass plenty of times to not let that make a blanket statement of nefariousness. I only mention this because I don't plan on engaging with anyone that just wants to talk bad about the people.

    So this is my question that I wonder how other people got over certain indoctrinations of JW's. For example, I read often about the state of the planet with climate change and how it is almost all but hopeless. Also, how humans seem to just be making the problem worse even though almost every scientist says that it is a dire situation. Or the U.N. report that, speaking on climate change, said that in the next couple of decades climate change will cause greater food shortages, droughts, more wars, etc. Or on the subject of war, with the proliferation of nuclear weapons more and more crazy people have the ability to cause utter desolation in the world. They have had this ability for years but it almost seems like nationalism and religious extremism is just getting more and more extreme. In America, the 2 parties are getting more and more polarized. It seems that the future is almost destined to have another civil war here.

    There are many other things that I sit back and look at and feel like this world is destined for self destruction. I have already accepted that the WT is wrong about a lot of stuff. It doesn't bother me too much to be honest. I am more concerned with whether or not I believe in god. So none of those things I mentioned prove gods existence. But, they are clingers. They are points that I look at and ask myself 2 questions, "If there is no god, is there hope for mankind" and "Why do humans seem to be so unable to rule themselves." I would be curious what some of your thoughts are. Thanks

  • Saintbertholdt
    "If there is no god, is there hope for mankind"

    Definitely. If you look at the statistics, for example: Average human life expectancy, average available calories per day per human, infectious disease statistics and even population growth you'll notice that things overall are getting better over time for the entire planet.

    Regarding climate change: The fact that it has been detected and debated is a very good thing. You can't fix something if you don't know its broken.

    "Why do humans seem to be so unable to rule themselves."

    Slowly but surely the world is democratizing. This is a good thing as it also goes hand in hand with free markets which is also a good thing.

    Human kind can still drop the ball in a big way, but I think that we're on the right track.

    Believing in God and the Watchtower does seem to give one comfort in that one supposedly knows the future, but this is an illusion. The future is an unknown country which makes it scary but also exhilarating at the same time.

  • OneEyedJoe

    This reminds me of the Socrates quote from over 1600 years ago:

    The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.

    The fact is that every generation thinks the outgoing generation is old fashioned and that the next generation is doomed. You're focusing on the bad news which is often sensationalized and put forth more because it sells. There's lots of good news out there too, though. There have been people in every generation for the last 2000 years that thought that "critical times hard to deal with will be here" was being fulfilled. Meanwhile the world has improved by just about every metric there is.

    On a bit of a tangent - I'd encourage you to consider a thought experiment to see if maybe the "ad hominem attacks" against the watchtower might be justified. Lets assume for a minute that you're doubts are well founded and there is no god. That would mean that the watchtower has caused the needless death of thousands due to their policy on blood transfusions. They've contributed to the brutal torture, rape and murder of many in Malawi for insisting that JWs not purchase a party card. They've contributed to countless suicides through their institutionalized shunning of young kids whos only crime was giving in to a powerful natural impulse. They've broken up families when one spouse decides that it's no longer for them. These things are indisputable, and the list goes on. While I agree with you that most JWs have good intentions and just want to serve god, I hope you will agree that IF there is no god then this organization has a lot to answer for.

  • Heaven

    I like to focus on and learn from what positive, action oriented people are doing instead of those with negative, destructive ideals. Permaculture has been one ideal that I find resonates with me:

  • Phizzy

    Ever since humans became sentient beings they have believed in god or gods it seems. Such belief has not brought progress, the progress mentioned by Saintbertholdt above has come about despite of, or often without belief.

    I think deciding whether there is a Supreme Being is a good place to start, if there is, is this S.B a "god" ? someone or thing worthy or worship ?

    If this S.B does exist, could it possibly be one of the god's of the Bible ?

    Deciding that you can believe in the possibility of a creator of the Universe does not mean you can make the leap to believing what the Bible says is true.

    It is scary to think about such things if you are doing so for the first time, but such thought will lead you down some fascinating paths. May you find peace and as much certainty as is possible after your journey.

  • Billyblobber
    Climate change isn't "hopeless." You're looking at this from a strictly human-centric perspective, first of all, which makes sense when you've been around a religion that makes humanity the center of the universe.

    If humans are just another animal, then they don't matter to this planet any more than the dinosaurs, which were on the planet longer. Even if they have an effect on the climate or blow themselves up in nuclear war, the earth will change as it has always been changing, and new life will appear or other life that survives will evolve and become the dominant species. So what humans do, only matters to humans themselves. And as such, we have the best chance of any species that ever existed on this planet to possibly outlive the planet itself (the planet will eventually die unless we can reignite the sun waaayyyy in the future - something that JWs assume God will do or something).

    We are living in the best time in history. Life is safer, per capita, for people more than any time on this planet. Diseases are contained far better than they ever war. Wars are actually slowing down and have less of an impact on the average individual. People are living longer. People are getting closer towards cracking aging and other things.

    The news, etc. is purposely centered around constantly scaring people so that they tune back in, but stats don't match that. Similarly, religions have to tell people everything is going badly to give their followers a reason to pour themselves into them. But, again, facts don't match this. Look these things up for yourself.
  • CalebInFloroda

    While I can only speak for myself, I must begin by saying that I was exactly where you were some 20 or so years ago when I left.

    But the choices we make after we leave the Watchtower won't be intellectually honest if we don't realize the one thing you mentioned, namely getting over the indoctrination process of the JW religion.

    A few, you might notice from lurking, never do that once they leave. They might leave the religion and the doctrines behind, but not the process of reasoning like a JW. But most of us realize that just as important as leaving the doctrines behind is leaving the way we learned, thought, reasoned, and made conclusions while in the Organization. You will never learn to cook well if you merely switch your ingredients. You need to learn the proper way of cooking as well, abandoning any bad habits you picked up until now.

    This may including looking at your questions and asking if they are even relevant. Instead of asking, "If there is no God, how does one find hope?" you might ask, "Does the existence of God guarantee or always come with hope?" Instead of asking the question regarding why mankind cannot seem to rule themselves, ask if the presence of war and problems is truly a sign that human rule is unsuccessful.

    You see those questions are Watchtower-brand questions, designed to take advantage of someone who is uncomfortable with ambiguity and is seeking definitive answers. In all truth, life is about embracing ambiguity and not always having all the answers.

    So you may want to start and see if you are asking the right questions to begin with. While some do end up being agnostic or atheist once they leave the Watchtower, coming to a religious conclusion doesn't come by asking for proof in the existence of God. That type of approach is also a Watchtower type of demand.

    One thing science and the mainstream religions have in common is that they embrace mystery, the unknown, ambiguity. They do it in entirely different ways, but both come to the same conclusions: the more we learn, the more we learn we do not know.

    But religion that offers answers to everything, that claims to wipe away mystery and ambiguity, that claims science is wrong and critical thinking is dangerous is poison. Like science, religion is a tool that should help you understand your place in the universe, to use honesty in doing so, and be a means to embrace your smallness in the face of a reality that has more questions than answers.

    And becoming atheist doesn't mean you live a life without hope. Some have great hopes for the future. It may not include an afterlife for many, but that doesn't exclude similar views either. Atheism doesn't mean you aren't spiritual or don't embrace the possibility of the transcendent or reject views on eternity. It doesn't even mean you are necessarily lacking a religion. It generally means you don't believe in deities or in the existence of the Judeo-Christian concept of God. They are forms of Judaism and other Eastern religions and philosophies that are quite spiritual but are purely atheistic. And even among those who have no room for such things doesn't mean these people are hopeless or even feel incomplete without such.

    If there is one rule of thumb to apply after leaving the JWs behind, it is this one: take nothing with you.

    That means take nothing religious or otherwise with you from the Watchtower. Do you want to come to any opinion about the existence of God? Well, don't use or accept anything you ever learned from the JWs as a "given" or a starting point. Start from scratch.

    And don't let anger, despair, disappointment, or any other emotion color your reasoning either. Let things speak for themselves. Learn from the source, try things out for a bit before accepting or rejecting them, and have a means to test your conclusions to make sure they are right.

  • wizzstick

    Hi questioningmyfaith,

    Please watch this and reflect on the statistics within:

  • questioningmyfaith


    Do you really think I haven't read the anti-witness info? I just don't care. Every large organization has their own issues. But to say that they contributed to the deaths in Malawi for instance, is just preposterous in my opinion. The organization did not have any responsibility for a bunch of wackos that would kill and rape innocent people over a card. Should they be blamed for contributing to the deaths caused from the Nazis too? Countless suicides? I am curious about what the actual facts are on that last one but I doubt its countless. Broken families? Do we live in the world of leave it to beaver? Family break up in all walks of life. Some family members don't speak because of differing political views. I know a lot of witnesses that didn't shun their family members like they should have and some that went overboard. People are going to do what they want. But really if there is no god then even more so I have compassion for all in the organization. The GB has had bad policies in place and there are many changes that are probably still coming. But I haven't read a single thing that makes me believe that there is a single malevolent motive. And even if there was, what would that change, especially for me personally? I can tell you one thing, I still wouldn't spend another minute wasting my time on any internet thread or forum. Because quite frankly, even if the GB are a bunch of narcissistic wannabe powerful guys, imho, the worse thing they have done is wake up people on saturday mornings.

    And just one other thing on blood transfusions because I know that is a big one... there would not be hundreds of bloodless surgery wings across the country just to serve a few witnesses here and there. A lot of research has shown bloodless surgery to be preferable. I am NOT saying that lives could not be saved with a transfusion. I am just saying that, that attack seems to be getting weaker as years go by. Even on the economic side of blood transfusions, blood is big business. When there is a blood drive, usually the blood goes to selling to hospitals for big profits. Many blood brokers use arbitrage to obtain blood cheaply and then sell it all the while using "charitable" drives as the motivating factor.

  • freemindfade
    So honestly I am to concerned with more ad hominem attacks towards the WT because I still love the organization and the people in it. But that is because I truly believe that in general witnesses are good people that are trying their best to do good. I have had my issues with many fellow JW's but I have been an ass plenty of times to not let that make a blanket statement of nefariousness. I only mention this because I don't plan on engaging with anyone that just wants to talk bad about the people.

    I used to be this way exactly like you, to some degree. I lost faith in the bible, then god. And just told myself whatever, witnesses are good, i'd never call them a cult, and so on and so forth. I wasn't looking to rock the boat with relatives or anyone.

    That was then. I still believe of course in good people in the org with good intentions. But that doesn't change they are harmful. It took me fully waking up and being the subject of difficulty from the fact it is a cult that caused me to see the danger and damage of the Jehovahs Witnesses.

    As for your second paragraph this is a big question and the explanation is broad. part of waking up from god and a cult is coming to realize the indifference of the universe, and things you can control and things you cannot. As a witness you were indoctrinated with the idea of a just (in their mind) settling of ALL wrongs. the reality is this is not going to happen, but you may still carry the anxious idea that everything is immanent doom, and there has to be a complete solution to fix it all. Just remember the universe is indifferent, there is no grand plan to speak of.

    Thinking the world is on its way to destruction (for and by humans) is it that strange and dire? Well dire I guess for us, but the truth is the earth has destroyed itself about 12 times now if my memory serves me right. Yep, the planet has had mass extinctions multiple times, why would we think those would be the last? Somethings survived but over all the place was destroyed as it was prior. Perhaps we as a group can do something to protect ourselves from ourselves, but this place earth is dangerous! We aren't the center of the universe, things weren't made for us, we can be wiped out. The good news is its not the desert god coming to get us. I know what I am saying sounds bleak but there is a lot of positivity on the other side of coming to terms with these things, then reinventing yourself as you were meant to be, not as a cult conditioned you to be.

    I like your story, because I started the same. I am very happy, and positive, more so about life and being alive than I ever did as a witness. Welcome!

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