Evolution, Critical Thinking, and Other Things the JWs Never Told Me

by David_Jay 10 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • David_Jay

    After reading several threads on the topics of evolution and theism, I thought I would share what happens to you when you go to college and get a real education on things: you learn that some of the arguments and stands of Jehovah's Witnesses are moot to begin with. I never double-checked the "modus operandi" about many things, and boy, did I have some real learning to do.

    For instance, why are Jehovah's Witnesses so against evolution? It only proves their point. It really does.

    Don't believe me?

    The following is a list of things that shocked me once I got myself an education after leaving the JW world (where such things are "frowned upon," as we are quite aware). What I once was frightened of, thought of as taboo, never considered, all that disappeared as soon as I merely opened myself to some good old-fashioned school learning (and I mean college, not just public schooling up to the 8th or 12th grade).

    1. Charles Darwin's tomb is in Westminster Abbey because Christians view his evolutionary model as one of the greatest contributions to Christian theology.

    Look it up if you don't believe me. I was shocked because I was always taught that Darwin was an atheist and that the evolution theory taught that there was no God. In reality Darwin died an agnostic, and the evolution model merely explains the process of life on earth, not its origins. In fact the model is not anti-God or pro-atheist. It actually says nothing about those subjects. Yes, though Christians originally saw Darwin's theories as a threat, by the time of his death evolution was viewed as "evidence" of an intelligence behind life and the process that brought it about.

    Yes, I am aware that some atheists will say otherwise. But as our professors explained that is just the uneducated view. The reality is that most people for or against the theory have never formerly studied it, never read Darwin's work, and are unaware of where he is buried. In fact, except for Fundamentalist Christians and a minority of others in the religious world, the evolution model stands side-by-side with most theology and doctrine.

    Why are JWs so against something most religious people have no problem embracing?

    2. Critical thinking is a method that comes from a religion.

    The inventor of critical thinking was a man named Siddhathra Gautama, more commonly known as the Buddha. The Buddha taught that real spirituality relied upon observation and analysis, even at the cost of rejecting religious tradition. Truth, at all costs, was an invention of religion, though not of the Judeo-Christian brand.

    Witnesses, however, taught me that critical thinking was the invention of the godless, those who did not believe in the spiritual, those against religion. The truth is quite the opposite.

    I know, Buddhism is often referred to by the Jehovah's Witnesses as a "godless" religion. While Siddhathra Gautama did not himself believe in a god, Buddhism itself does teach that divinities exist. And while some Buddhists do not believe in a god, some do. The Buddha is often viewed as the great and supreme teacher of all who can be considered gods.

    Why did I grow up learning that critical thinking was something to be feared and would leave me empty of all spirituality if I learned it and used it?

    3. It is a pagan practice to utter the name of a deity.

    Gentiles believed that the constant utterance of something made it holy. Hebrews thought otherwise.

    "Make it and have it, but don't touch it or use it." That sums up Jewish theology on "holiness." The word for "holy" in their language means "separate" as in separate from normal or regular use.

    This is why the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not to be used as food, not even touched. (Note Eve's words at Genesis 3:3 for example.) The Ten Commandments written by the hand of God were to be placed in the decorative golden Ark which itself was neither to be seen or touched. The Ark was to be placed in a room, an inner most chamber of the Tabernacle/Temple which was accessible only by one person (the High Priest) and then only once a year. On the Sabbath no work is to be done. On Hanukkah the light from the candles may not be used for any purpose like reading or how the light of a normal candle can be used; they may only be viewed and adored. This is how holy things are "used" in the Hebrew world or most precisely not used.

    The Name of God is the same, written but not to be used because it was different from common names and the names of deities.

    4. Matthew says a "generation" is the length of time from a father to son.

    While there are some missing names from the list (critical analysis of Scripture teaches it is meant to be abbreviated because it is a tableau or narrative device), note that the definition of a "generation" in Matthew beginning in chapter 1 is counted from father to son. Each time a father begets a son, this Matthew calls a "generation."--Matthew 1:1-17.

    The very same usage occurs in Matthew chapter 23:34-36 where Jesus teaches that the present generation of the first century will have judgment visited upon them for their sins (which according to Christian tradition occurred about 40 years later when the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 C.E.).

    The exact same phrase, just one chapter over, appears in Matthew 24:34. Both 23:26 and 24:34 use the same term, "this generation," referring not to a future period but the generation that was then alive in the first century. The "generation" of first century Jews would see all that Jesus had prophesied about the destruction of the Temple as this was one reason for the Eschatological Discourse.

    40 years is an average age from father to son. 40 years is also the length of time the Old Testament said it took for the unfaithful Hebrews who left Egypt under Moses to die off and be replaced by a younger "generation," their children. 40 years was also the time Charles T. Russell believed was all that was left for the "last days," which he believed began in 1874 and would culminate with the breakout of Armageddon in 1914 at the end of that "generation."

    The current "overlapping" definition is not Biblical, neither was the one before about those old enough to see the year 1914, etc.

  • Anders Andersen
    Anders Andersen

    Nice post.

    I can already hear the JW muttering.... "What would Matthew know about generations anyway...filthy tax collector that's what he was!"

  • breakfast of champions
    breakfast of champions

    Great post DAVID JAY!


  • Finkelstein

    Good read David_Jay

    The current "overlapping" definition is not Biblical, neither was the one before about those old enough to see the year 1914, etc.

    It should be realized that much of the devised doctrines created by the early WTS was done inherently more so with commercail appeal to toward the proliferation of literature the organization published. ( C T Russell )

    Having Christ return and changing everything here on earth as it was prophetically told in the bible was seen as valuable theological doctrine worthy to be told / Preached. Although the men of the WTS had decoded this theology upon weak speculation and not solid scriptural support. Nevertheless the WTS held onto this so called " the Last Days/ End Times "theology all throughout the 20th century.

    The JW organization did point some faults to what some Christian churches were doing namely in Catholicism but at the same time created a long list of its own false teachings along the way.

    The largest false doctrine that the JWS had done was create a specific time of Christ taking his heavenly position and proclaiming this generation doctrine since 1914.

    This is going to be a severe problem that eventually the WTS will have to deal with. The overlapping generation doctrine is just a temporary band aid that will too lose its credibility over time.

  • Beth Sarim
    Beth Sarim

    1. Critical Thinking.

    2. Evolution.

    3. A lot of things.

    All of the above JWs will never tell you about period.

  • LevelThePlayingField
    Excellent post. You put a lot a thought into it, obviously. I agree with it as well. Too bad for Watchtower and all their ways, they will never see it.
  • Vidiot

    David_Jay - "...why are Jehovah's Witnesses so against evolution?"

    Because the foundation of their entire theology is almost completely dependent on the Genesis creation narrative (Eden, Adam and Eve, the tree, the snake, Original Sin) being actual, literal history.

    Take that away, and the very purpose and legitimacy of their entire religion is called into question, as far as they're concerned.

    And that is completely unacceptable to them.


    David_Jay - "...when you go to college and get a real education on things: you learn that some of the arguments and stands of Jehovah's Witnesses are moot to begin with..."

    ...which is why the WTS doesn't want its members to go to college.


    Once again, for the newbies, lurkers, and trolls...

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


    Wait until JWs learn that almost all Catholic leaders loved the Heliocentric model of Copernicus. He was not branded and executed as an apostate, which is what most Jws believe. That is a false story to lable the RCC as evil, in order to make the WTBTS look good.

    The Protestants, who sounded like Rutherford, were behind the anti-science/critical thinking mindset.

    The real story is fascinating. The truth of the Heliocentric model was known long before the days of "science." The darkest fears of J-dumbs cannot even come close to the real truth. Their 6,000 year history of mankind is just as dumb as the Earth being supported by a giant space turtle! ( No offense to Gamera. )


  • David_Jay

    You are right, DD.

    In fact, another thing I learned from "evil higher education" was that Galileo (simililar to Copernicus) was not persecuted by the Catholic Church because he taught that the earth revolved around the sun.

    Instead, Galileo was imprisoned for granting a revised edition of his work an "imprimatur" of sorts by claiming the current pope approved of his theories as doctrinal. Galileo did this after he was warned by the pope (a close friend) not to advertise his work as "approved doctrine" by the Church. The pope made the mistake of telling the very proud Galileo that he agreed with his new theories, even though a wave of conservative thinking was gaining political power over Christendom at the time.

    Unfortunately Galileo could not keep quiet regarding the pope's personal views, advertising them in the latest edition of his work as if this made his theory dogma.

    Folding in to cowardice in the face of his political enemies in the church, the pope imprisoned Galileo for the self-proclaimed ecclesiastical approval. The pope even allowed other voices in the church to later force Galileo to not only recant the claim to approval from the Holy See but apparently regarding the value of his entire work in exchange for his freedom.

    An imprimatur is an official statement that a published work is free of doctrinal error in the Catholic world. A dogma is doctrine that the pope has declared infallible and a requisite to salvation (there have only been two such formal infallible statements by popes over the past 2000 years). While what Galileo did was serious, Pope John Paul II would later teach that the Church had been incorrect in its response and abusive treatment of Galileo.

  • LoveUniHateExams

    Good OP, David Jay, welcome.

    Good to hear that you got yourself an education.

    What did you study?

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