How do we Avoid...becoming Intellectually Dishonest?

by TerryWalstrom 10 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • TerryWalstrom

    "I am willing to be wrong when facts go against cherished beliefs."


    Without a willingness to be wrong (who can always be right?) no room for personal growth is possible.

    You can't know what you don't allow yourself to see.


    1. LISTEN TO PEOPLE with whom you disagree.
    Really listen.
    Why? Because you were once a Jehovah's Witness and had all the answers and you were dead wrong.
    You tuned out what others said when they objected to your certainty.

    Still-in JW's refuse to hear what opposers say by becoming automatically contemptuous and suspicious. We cannot afford to be deaf, blind and stupid the second time. You have nothing to lose but your smug complacency by listening to your opponents.

    When we were Jehovah's Witnesses we thought the Bible (and ultimately, Jehovah) was our source of knowledge, truth, and wisdom.
    It was all coming from FALSE PROPHETS pretending to channel Truth from heaven. Had we listened to CRITICAL ANALYSIS by mainstream Bible Scholars (instead of letting the GB do it for us) we'd quickly have become alert to many problems with authenticity in the scriptures themselves.
    A red flag wake-up call!

    As Jehovah's Witnesses, we sneered at human society except for the New World society.
    JW's are taught to be untrusting, suspicious, dark-minded and smug.
    However, a rational thinker looks for data, facts, and solutions from testable and peer-reviewed sources without bias.

    4. STUDY CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECTS by reading opposites sides of the debate.
    Jehovah's Witnesses reading and viewing material is highly censored.
    The label of "worldly" poisons research.
    Independent thinking is forbidden.
    Without any testing counter-arguments, Jw's become vulnerable to emotional manipulation.
    Quotations published in JW reading materials are heavily filtered, clipped and rendered corrupt so contrary viewpoints by neutral authorities will not reach us with potency.
    When we study any topic, we need to know what opponents set forward, to examine the data set, and become aware of any weakness on BOTH sides of issues.

    5. SELF-AWARENESS of your limits.
    Face the fact you are flawed, subjective, ill-informed, unskilled and over-confident while at the same time thinking you are objective, intelligent, and smarter than most others.
    Get over yourself! As Jehovah's Witnesses, we considered ourselves as sharp, quick-minded experts on absolute truth. We were dead wrong!
    But old habits die hard.
    Cultivate humility to be aware of just how dumb being a JW has made you!
    Without humility no persona can learn. Your opinion is important to YOU but everybody else thinks you're an idiot.
    They are probably partially right some of the time :smile:

    Have you ever met a JW Elder who left any room for doubt that what he was saying was the be-all and end-all of knowledge?
    Weren't you that way at one time?
    Next time you offer an opinion, try ending your sentence with room for doubt.
    "Your mileage may vary, of course" is a phrase I try to cultivate.
    Invite others to sharpen your remarks with additional and perhaps more accurate commentary.
    "That's my view--where am I going wrong?"
    If you cocksure--you shut out the opportunity to receive correction from smarter people.
    Doubt your facts and you'll seldom end up wrong.
    If you are skilled at debate it is an especially easy trap to fall into sounding like you are an encyclopedia of wisdom when actually you're only a deft counterpuncher.

    I personally have struggled with my "know-it-all" sounding tone from day one. The tremendous JW feeling of being ABSOLUTELY INFORMED is a tough (bad) habit to expunge. Feeling "right" is no guarantee of anything.

    7. Differentiate between HOPE and FAITH and you'll avoid ignorance and heartbreak.
    Hope offers a positive and confident mental attitude which reassures an outcome leaving room for the possibility things won't turn out.
    Faith fosters a delusional dependence on wishful thinking which can destroy you when it falls apart.
    As Jehovah's Witnesses, we discovered this in 1975!

    Read the following quotation. Gasp at the insanity of what is being offered to millions of Jehovah's Witnesses looking forward to 1975.

    8. AVOID PERSONAL ATTACKS and rely on facts.
    Jehovah's Witness' first line of defense against their enemies is to label them "mentally diseased", wicked, Satanic, worldly and Apostate.
    Instead of rationally listing objections and methodically offering counter-proofs, the Governing Body exposes themselves as weak, dishonest and tyrannical.

    If you are on the side of genuine truth, you should be able to defeat wrong statements with sources factually accurate.

    You know an opponent is out of ammunition as soon as they revert to name-calling.

    A dishonest debate is the attempt to shut down two-way discourse by a pejorative label. Look for the word "ridiculous" because it can often reveal an empty rebuttal.

    9. LOGIC is essentially a test of NON-CONTRADICTION.
    Jehovah's Witness Truth is crippled by constantly changing absolutes.
    "New LIght" means the "Old Light" was mistaken.
    Drunks, the Blind, and lost campers are in good company with the Governing Body.

    Science is provisional as it constantly seeks tests of the falsifiable principle. For a theory to be "scientific" it must provide a means of being demonstrated false.
    "All Swans are White" is disproved by even one Black Swan.

    Jehovah's Witness' doctrine has been erased and redrafted WITHOUT ANY MEMBERS being provided information why it was wrong.
    Definite statements have been contradicted by non-events predicted yet never coming to pass.
    "Because we say so" and "Just Trust Us" and "Remain Loyal" are slogans used as the smokescreen to hide how dead wrong Watchtower "Truth" always is in the long run.


    Having no clear view of alternatives, Jehovah's Witnesses are blinded.
    A smug, self-assured attitude has made them closed off to the possibility of being self-deceived.
    Refusing to open themselves up to the possibility of being wrong, they refuse to self-examine for intellectual dishonesty.

    Members of this religion end up very depressed, nervous, fearful and blocked from their human potential to lead healthy and happy lives in mainstream society.

    No progress is possible for JW's until they become humble enough to admit to being wrong when the facts go against them.

    As stated in the outset:

    "I am willing to be wrong when facts go against cherished beliefs."


  • scratchme1010

    Long read but worth every word. Thank you. My position is this:

    How do we Avoid...becoming Intellectually Dishonest?

    When honesty is one of my core operating principles, It's never an issue. I hold everyone around me to those standards.

  • Outahere

    This is the sort of thread I would expect the intellectually dishonest might start to assuage their blackened conscienses or whatever.

    You've buried your biases. You have become a human lie detector. You sit in the throne of GODS!



    Pro tip: You do not escape your lying self.

  • doubtfull1799

    Good post!

  • stuckinarut2


    Great post.

    We can so quickly note the intellectual dishonesty of the Society. It is good to also check ourselves periodically...

  • LV101

    Excellent -- thanks, Terry. I'm going to copy and share with others.

  • snare&racket

    Interesting topic.

    I find the most sincere way to be intellectually honest about a topic, is to genuinely attempt to defend all sides of the argument.

    As a thought experiment if there was option A and B to an intellectual issue and I naturally side with A, I will imagine defending B as if in a court case or debate to the best of my ability so as to ensure I am siding with data and not self deceit.

    This is why relying on other people for information and a source of data is so dangerous, be it a loved one, an elder or a GB member in Warwick, you don’t know their biases. You know your own, so look at the information and decide for yourself.

    I know that I have a natural tendency to have a bias for data and information that is interesting and unique (I work as a doctor), so when I come across data that excited my interest due to its unexpected/interesting outcome I try to be especially weary. What can I say, I was born in the 80’s it was hip to be square 😉

  • TerryWalstrom

    In MY lifetime the mechanism of skilled argument on a doorstep vanished.
    The GB made the Bros and Sis's tuck tail and slink away.
    Their own history is so damning the Theocratic Ministry School was shut down.

    I grew up at a time in which the Watchtower religion was actually using the so-called Theocratic Ministry School to hone rebuttal skills, point by point.
    We practiced endlessly overcoming objections.
    We were T2 Terminators.
    The PRE-internet days made this possible.
    We were sent out into neighborhoods like gunslingers with a fast draw.
    Our green Bible was the six-shooter with a greased holster.

    My best buddy (who drew me into this cult) impressed me with his debating skills.
    He had (seemingly) all the answers with a practised flip-flip-flip of the onion skin pages of his NWT.
    Nobody could stand up to a well-indoctrinated JW Brother.

    Only disaffected and disgruntled writers (often backed up by some evangelical publishing money) seemed to write anti-Witness expose's. Few people encountered out in door to door service had any knowledge of these "apostate" books.

    As JW's, we were allowed to read these books (30 Years a Watchtower Slave) and nit-pick false facts/errors in order to dismiss the author as EVIL SLAVES.

    Back then--it was mano a mano. A fair fight.

    The WorldWideWeb has destroyed the pretense of superiority.
    There is NO HIGHGROUND left for JW debate of "facts" or doctrine.

    Watchtower world destroys its own credibility by a lengthy history of wrong wrong wrong predictions and failures, frequent changes of mind and deafness to consistency.

    Witnesses today who know nothing about the pre-1980 religion of Watchtower efficiency in a debate have sought the last refuge of cowardice: High-handed summary dismissal of opponents as 'mentally-disease.'
    End the argument before the argument begins.

    There is nothing to know. Only garbage to believe.
    There are no points of debate only loyalty to the slave.

    I have seen this with my own eyes:
    The transformation into a cold, mindless CULT.

  • Charles Gillette
    Charles Gillette

    Carl Sagan's Baloney Kit, is a very good chapter in his Demon Haunted World book shining a candle in the dark. Also,What happens when two scholars on the same subject for example Jesus existed, no Jesus never existed have different so-called proofs to back them up. Its like plaintiff and defendant arguments. Of cause one can do their own research also but that's not what I'm asking. The two scholars swear that they are the one who have the facts right.There is only one correct answer to the question did Jesus son of God really exist. I doubt that these two opposing scholars are using what you have shown here in Topic. So, we are left to come to the answer ourselves. I don't think that the question about Jesus existence matters at all for non believers, however, it does for believers. Blue Blades

  • Vidiot

    I gotta say, the obvious intellectual dishonesty in much of the Org's publications - particularly regarding evolution - was one of the bigger "stumbling blocks" on the road to my exit (Barb Anderson, too, from what I understand, so I consider myself in distinguished company).

    Once again, folks...

    ...if you have to cheat to defend your beliefs, your beliefs don't deserve to be defended.

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