(Yes, I am taking to and about you, "A Believer." )
Ever notice how proponents of Jehovah's Witnesses tend to say almost the same thing when pushing their views on us?
"I have been doing this study of religion and I have come to these conclusions..."
" I have done the research for myself, so I know... "
"I have learned these things and it was I who have seen that these things are true..."
It is as if the use of "I" guarantees they have reached accurate conclusions, that since "I" have done the research personally, "I" can attest to the accuracy of what "I" am about to tell you.
It is an earmark of JW indoctrination. We who were once Jehovah's Witnesses all spoke similarly. It is the canned "testimony" of the Watchtower inductee, taught to us by the Watchtower itself that if WE have done the research with our own eyes, then WE now have this special gift of accurate knowledge, and everyone else should somehow accept it as true because, after all, someone personally witnessed themselves looking up the verses and explanations offered them from (and approved by) the Watchtower.
"I seen it with my own eyes, from my personal point of view, and so I can testify to the truthfulness of the Watchtower gospel! Can I hear an 'Amen!'?"
Of course, all of us who have left now realize how "I did the research myself" is just a farce. While what indoctrinated drones should be saying is "I personally experienced being led by the hand by another Witness to learn how to come to the conclusions they approve of," regardless of whether it was truly something accomplished by one's own ability or not, the self-centered testimony offers nothing but a warning.
But JW religionists don't do that, do they? They instead all think it's a smart thing to say: I did all the learning myself, so I should truly be trusted.
Even an atheist will tell you: There is no "I" in religion.
Well, of course there is an "i" in the word itself, but religion--even if based on conclusions developed through personal research without outside influence--is not supposed to be an "I" experience. It is a social exercise. "Religion" is about leaving yourself behind, learning if not to adopt the ideals of a group, at least to think about more than yourself so as to transcend self to become something of use to others. It is very much NOT about "I." Religion is about "us," about " we. "
And it can't be done in a vacuum, even if your intention is to reject religion. Why not? Again, ask the atheist. You cannot accept your own personal conclusions. You need to think critically, and this requires getting outside verification that you were thinking right to begin with, reasoning correctly, and came to your conclusions without bias. What you believe is not right until you verify your conclusions with a disinterested party. It's the way of critical thinking, regardless if your intention is to reject or adopt religion.
Especially when it comes to adopting an established religion, one should not take pride in the fact that "I learned this fact by doing the research myself, personally." And why not? Because if you are doing religion right, it means adopting the views of a group and adapting your way of thinking to match theirs. Even when one believes that religion is something beneficial, that benefit is not arrived through what " I" does on its own.
The benefit comes only when the newly indoctrinated leaves "I" behind to take ownership of that which has been passed down to them, which cannot come to them by mere personal effort. Do you ever hear Jews say: "I did the research myself, and now I am Jew?" Do Catholics ever declare, "I came to all the very same conclusions found in 2000 years of doctrine by my own efforts, and now I can say for the honest truth that the Catholic Church is right?" No. Being part of a religion like these is to be entrusted with generations of instruction that transcends a mere lifetime. It is inheriting a legacy that cannot be earned or gained by personal effort. And it is only "true" when the member comes to the conclusions reached by the religious group, not when you reach your own through personal and private study.
There is no "i" in religion, not in any that is not of real of substance anyway. After all, what's the point in being religious if you came up with it all on your own? "I did the research myself, so I know what I am talking about. I know the truth." All those "I did it myself" and "reached the conclusion of having the truth by my own experience" is not the making of actual religion but of a dangerous cult. That's what people call it when you "did religion by youself." It's like the difference between masturbation and actual sex: No matter how much you do it by yourself, when you do it alone it is not the real thing.
Yet even now, supporters of the Watchtower will still join up here and start off their threads and posts with a lot of "I did this" or "I have learned this," reducing religion to a mere "I" experience.
What you are doing is no more logical than the cries of Joseph Smith or Jim Jones or David Koresh: "I've done the research that enabled life-saving truth to come to me. Now I am the one you should listen to." There's a lot of "I" in cult leaders.