Lately I have been finding myself doing a lot of thinking. Not that I am smarter than the Keurig coffee maker in my office, which lately has made me reevaluate the perception of my professional career. Somewhere along the way between winding down my relationship with my now ex-boss and starting a new one with my current boss, I noticed that the machine complaints with a message on a touchscreen…. “I need more water”, before brewing your coffee. It does so if it detects there may not be enough water and that there is a chance you may press the 16 oz button instead of using your own brain to choose between brewing a 8 oz cup or add more water since the water container is clear plastic anyway. Somewhere out there, there is a talented (or not) programmer who sees his career slow down to a crawl knowing his job is to code a program for a machine that never really needed one and that his chances of success are pinned to the hope that the millennial generation continues to demand for shinier and more colorful screens in every device in the home.
So no, it is not because I am any smarter than the machine or the programmer in question. It is because my actual job has been shifting away from doing and more into delving ideas that, more often than not, end up with someone else getting the work done and making more money than me, since I am on salary and my employees get plenty of overtime.
As some of these thoughts come and go out of my mind randomly in a frenetic series of mental pictures, the coffee maker demands my attention (coffee is ready) and everything just disappears. Kind of like that reset button old computers used to have and that acted directly on the pin of a chip wired directly to it rather than being a soft request that required confirmation. As you may imagine, brewing a whole cup of coffee plus the warm up cycle, gives me time to run thru several things before the above happens. Then, as if it was magic, the warm coffee makes me not only thank that programmer for making it possible, but also brings those recent thoughts back to me much more slowly.
This time I found myself thinking about death but more specifically about hell. As JW, we were explained and trained to explain to others, that there is no such a thing as hell or eternal damnation. This, they said and wrote in countless publications, does not align with the concept of a loving god. Neither does it align with his perception of justice. No matter how bad you were in life, it would not be just nor loving, to throw you in a lake of fire for you to suffer eternally.
Another random thought that came right after that one, for some reason, was the idea that Israelites were permitted by Jehovah to kidnap and rape the women of the cities they would loot after promptly killing every disposable being in it. Provided you gave her some time to cry for her loss, she could be yours if you so desired or she could be just as disposable as her family was but you had to stop short of killing her. It also made me wonder if there was any loophole in the law that actually allowed you to kill her for other reasons so that you or anyone else you knew did not have to deal with her baggage. Later on I came to regret calling them baggage and I hereby apologize to any woman that may have gotten killed under that arrangement since I once promoted such reasoning.
As I made my way back to my desk thanking life for not being the one stuck in a dead end job programming coffee machines, I realized that if I was doing that kind of work or may be working for the Geek Squad at Best Buy, it would be hell. Literally that was the word that came to mind. This was a little flash of light for me. What do you know… new light does exist. “Hell” was the word that would glue my thoughts together this particular morning. Hell as in a “living hell”. You would agree many people use that phrase to describe situations in life which seem to have no end.
Now back to the glue that put my thoughts together, I was pondering over the above while thinking how JW teachings aim to explain the sponsored rape of innocent women. There are plenty of attempted explanations for this permissiveness of God, all which only makes sense to an indoctrinated mind. God needed to grow his nation. God allowed it because they were the traditions of the time. God allowed it but he demanded they were cared for if you kept them. We don’t know exactly why he had that law but our focus should be on the future promise, not on the past. Regardless of which one you’ve heard, it was most likely oriented towards explaining or justifying this actions by means of driving your mind away from the sexual or adulterous nature of the deed. The murderous part was already explained when you are told these were pagan nations and therefore deserved death, so no point on going there.
I, however, found myself thinking further ahead of this as I’ve already heard and read the above reasonings many times over the span of my JW life. I found myself thinking that this sure was living hell for the woman who happened to be at the receiving end of this law. And if so, how is it that the hellfire as a way of punishment for the wicked is unacceptable to a JW but a life of unconsented sex, a living hell once again if you allow me to be redundant, for a woman who was potentially innocent is justifiable. I am not going to try and understand God but I certainly would like to present this to a JW who claims to understand God. Just thought I have never seen it put in perspective from this angle. Most other discussions concentrate exclusively on the fact that the woman is being raped and understandably so. I do agree that a loving God should never allow such a thing to happen, much less make it a law. I think that in the latter, a JW would try to argue away with the customary answers. I am curious to know what a witness would think of my comparison with hell.
I ran a good chance that I would still be given the customary answer no matter what but this is something I would be willing to try. Being employed to program coffee machines? I rather keep wondering what that is like.