The Ultimate Conversion

by Etude 29 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • scratchme1010
    scratchme1010

    Etude, what I have come to learn is that people have needs, other than learning something about god, or the bible. Again, most people join religious organization because of what they feel, not for what they know.

    People have other needs that may trump reason or doctrine. Some people need to belong to something, need to have some structure in their lives that they cannot come up with themselves, need a sense of community, need a sense of certainty, are too disappointed with the state of affairs in the world, feel like there are good role models to follow in the organization they join, feel close to other family members who are devoted to the church they go to, like the opportunities to socialize and events that they provide, feel that the church setting helps them stay away from drugs and other behaviors, or simply feel that the only way they can feels any spirituality is by having a community place where they can go.

    The list of reasons are endless and VALID. In fact, JWs who join know nothing about what the WT teaches. They join because of what they feel. They learn what they believe later. Their feelings is what governs their decision of joining a religious organization.

  • Etude
    Etude

    waton:

    I tend to agree. Life progresses and evolves. I just don't think (like some people do) that God created life and then let Evolution take over. It's a nice idea but has absolutely no basis.

    Etude.

  • Etude
    Etude

    Scratchme1010

    I absolutely agree. There are all kinds of reasons why people join other religions. And I think some have a legitimate need to satisfy their sense of belonging or to satisfy their need for spirituality. That doesn't mean they are not deluding themselves. In fact, I venture to say that my need for answers and for some sort of fulfillment or satiation of deep needs is what led me to become a JW. I was tired of the same rhetoric from other religions. What they offered sounded pretty good at the time. That proves to me that I can be sincere and very wrong.

    So, to address your statement, in the logical sense, reasons can be VALID and be entirely wrong. That would be because the premises upon they are built are incorrect. I would rather avoid the mistakes that led me to something false and a waste of time. That's all the JWs ended up being and that's what most of religion is, including some "new-age" thinking.

    Etude.

  • steve2
    steve2

    A few years ago, I came across a Latin saying first coined several centuries ago, "Mundus vult decipi". It translates as "The world wants to be deceived".

    This saying beautifully sums up the human vulnerability to religious certainty. It speaks of the need to be consoled and comforted in an often unjust and violent world where our lives can be cut short and, even if healthy and safe, we all die - and everything beyond is pure speculation.

    People may start out as if they are searching for "truth" (e.g., Chuck Russell) and lo and behold wouldn't you know, they find it and encrust it as a physical entity (e.g., Watchtower Bible & Tract Society)! It is best exemplified by the words from Amazing Grace, "I once was lost but now am found".

    The 'trouble' is, the search often leads individuals to vastly different conceptions of "truth' - and once found, the searchers stop the search and draw a wall around their conception of "truth" and only a designated number can modify their "truth" without dire consequences. They authoritatively declare: "Our teachings are above being questioned - and those who question these teachings will be banished."

    And yet there was a time when these erstwhile 'protectors' of truth were searching for it and questioning everything in their path, including already 'established' 'truths' (notice the inverted commas).

    We humans try to defend our beliefs and, if convinced we have the only true beliefs, will behave in ways that make protecting the truth (as we see it) more important than 'testing' or 'finding' the truth.

    To a last one, we are quite funny. We speak of the search for truth and finding the truth as if they are compatible when they are at serious odds with each other. We barely recognize our human vulnerability in the game of 'search and find' because we have a deep need to be consoled and in order to be consoled, we need certainty - and to be certain we need to collude in our own deception by believing we've found what we have been looking for. It is a game played out through the thousands of variations of beliefs of truth infecting all kinds of religions regardless of their roots.

    If we're 'lucky' - as good old Chuck Russell was - we marvellously find what we've been searching for and never recognize the self-deception involved.

  • Doubtfully Yours
    Doubtfully Yours

    Then there is also the vast group that decided to throw out the baby with the diry bath water.

    You know, the ones that left the Org 'cause it was so bad, so wrong, so crazy, and now their lives are soooo crappy! They would've done so much better following the JW life.

    There is this cat in a suburb of Tampa, FL, that is currently homeless and heavily drug/alcohol addicted. He was doing so well inside, but decided to start hanging out with a childhood buddy that just happened to use drugs recreationally and gave him a taste of it.

    Dude lost his marriage, got kicked out of the Org, is a total mess.

    There are so many like him too. For some, remaining a JW helps them to have a better life.

    DY

  • just fine
    just fine

    DY - your reasoning is ridiculous. Did you ever consider that some people cannot cope with leaving the cult and it taints every part of their life. They can't function in society because of the treatment and mind control in the cult.

  • dubstepped
    dubstepped

    Doubtfully Yours has to try to find justification for remaining in because she doesn't have what it takes to leave. She has to believe that it's for the best, the only problem is that it then makes her pick and choose examples to spin in the dubs favor by any means necessary, just like the cult that she's in does.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    There are those on this site who pm each new ex JW God-believer to get them onto the Jesus-as-saviour delusion as an alternative to the Watchtower delusion.

    Religious and spiritual "belief" have a very long pedigree as the earliest examples of writing bear evidence. (Have you read Gilgamesh?). Not only have reverence for God or gods been instilled into the young of every preceding generation back to the Stone Age but vast and revered organisational colossi such as the RC Church exist, bearing testimony to the need and success of sustaining existential comfort by idealized yet foundationless belief in a spirit world.

    The RC Church had long ago reached the point where its dogma is believed not because it was true or even found in the Bible but because of its own magisterial authority, cemented by time, tradition and the vast number of followers. Can billions of followers be wrong? Can millions? It is the very route the WT society would love to take but need a lot more money to achieve! Plus the fact that doomsday cults are limited by their necessarily impermanent nature.Yet religious belief still works as a makeshift patch to cover deep psychological problems and insecurities and ironically for JWs, many of them of the WT's own making.

    However Etude, you speak of the ultimate conversion. My response is to suggest that it happens when we grow up (at any age) and start to use reason and testable evidence as the basis on which we make our important decisions.

  • pale.emperor
    pale.emperor

    Personally when i left the JW's i'd had enough of religion. I'd spent so long debunking other religions with a vast amount of reading their own holy book(s), researching them etc and when i did it with my own religion it was obvious that the most logical thing to do it just live your life and be good.

    I dont know why anyone Catholic and Born Again included would want to worship a god that throws people a fiery torment for all eternity. He sounds like Sid from Toy Story. A petty, insecure, child who needs a smack on the ass.


    But hey, thats just me.

  • Etude
    Etude

    Precisely, pale.emperor. I would expect that someone who has "reasoned" his or her way out of the BORG would reason a way into something else or into nothing else. Reasoning a way into something else would make one realize it foibles. An examination of other religions made me run the other way. I wonder what rationalization people who become involved into another religious quagmire actually use?

    Half banana
    However Etude, you speak of the ultimate conversion. My response is to suggest that it happens when we grow up (at any age) and start to use reason and testable evidence as the basis on which we make our important decisions.

    It's unfortunate that for some people it takes an entire lifetime to "grow up" and come to a reasonable realization. Then, it's too late.

    Half banana: I had no idea about that contingent here trying to recruit others back into religion. They are either really desperate for consensus and acceptance or are delusional but sincere. I don't see any reasoning in that process.

    Doubtfully Yours: Your analogy of "throwing the baby with the bath water" won't work as a displaced irrational action if the baby (in this case religion) is dead. Why keep a dead idea around? Why assume that one crazy-ass idea can successfully replace another crazy-ass idea? If one needs to find something to believe in, it only makes sense to replace it with something more reasonable, even if "reasonable" means agreeing to conclude that there is nothing to find. Then we can begin to rely on ourselves.

    Etude