When scientists seek truth, they rely on a time-tested and proven method for determining the accuracy of their theories. Basically, the scientific method consists of observing, theorizing, predicting, and testing. In other words, if an idea is true, it will logically lead to certain results under certain conditions. The scientist then creates those conditions, and checks to see if the expected results materialize. Positive results support the original idea; negative results indicate an error in either the theory or the application of it.
Can we apply this reliable methodology to religion, in particular to the specific religion that we have all joined here to talk about? Well, let’s try it.
According to the encyclopaedia, Jehovah’s Witnesses are classified as an apocalyptic religion. This is recognized as their major distinguishing mark. In fact, the belief that we have been living in the time of the end since 1914, and will soon see the end of the world, is one of the few unique doctrines of this religion.
So, let’s apply the scientific method to this theory.
Step 1: Observation – The Society has observed world conditions and tells us that we are experiencing unprecedented war, crime, disease, famine, and earthquakes. At this point, it doesn’t matter whether the observation is correct.
Step 2: Hypothesis formulation – Based on the above observations, and a comparison to Jesus’ description of the time of the end, the Society has concluded that we are living in this “time of the end”.
Step 3: Use the hypothesis to make predictions – Based on the above hypothesis, it isn’t hard to make some reasonable predictions. (1) It stands to reason that, if we are living in the “time of the end”, then we should see “the end” following shortly. (2) If the world is indeed coming to an imminent end, then there is no point in performing any activities that would have a lengthy completion date.
Step 4: Perform an experiment designed to test the predictions – Here is a potential experiment: Join the Watchtower organization at a young age, and dedicate your life to it. Make no plans for the future, since there really isn’t one. If the hypothesis is true, you should not suffer in any way because of this decision. Here is another experiment: Carefully observe world events so as to determine if the end actually does come. If it does not come within a reasonable time, then it is safe to say, that the hypothesis is wrong. What is a reasonable time? Well, the purpose of a “sign” is to alert someone to a future event. Since Jesus was speaking to humans, it would be reasonable to think that the “sign” and the “end” would occur within one lifetime. Otherwise, there would be no point in issuing a sign. So, if those who observe the sign of the “time of the end” die of old age without any corresponding cataclysm, then it is safe to say, that the hypothesis is wrong.
Results: Both of these experiments have already been performed. We all know of persons who ignored pension funds or education because the end was just around the corner. Today, they suffer the ill effects of their shortsightedness.
As well, those who saw the Spanish Flu and World War I are virtually all gone. Not only has the end not arrived, but some of the signs of its imminence, such as crime, disease, and the fulfilling of Biblical prophecies (ie, King of North, etc), are actually declining.
The scientific method can also be applied to the Society’s prophecies. Every prediction that they have ever made that is verifiable (not intangible), has proven to be wrong.
The hypothesis that we are living in the time of the end is not supported by observation of experimental results. In fact, the observations upon which it is based appear to have been falsified through the use of selective reporting and anecdotal evidence.
The conclusions of the Watchtower Society are incorrect. In fact, they have been guilty of falsifying the record. Their conclusions should be ignored, and they should be disbarred from any further religious activity.