Proof is in the Pudding
This is a phrase that I remember my father saying a lot. I was quite the rebellious teenager, leading a double-life, etc. I remember "promising" to him that I would stop seeing my worldly boyfriends or pull my grades up. His retort was "proof is in the pudding." To this day I hate that phrase. LOL!
But reading some of the posts lately has really made me wonder about JW thinking. SO MANY times JWs are taught to go against the "proof" in the Bible. Elders direction comes before the Bible. The Watchtower comes before the Bible. The Governing Body comes before the Bible. What JWs say they do vs. what they actually do are two different things. An elder's opinion is often stated as FACT. Some elders thought their opinion was fact. (My dad wasn't an elder much anyway, but he is one of those people.)
I've realized that MOST JWs that come to this forum (or some exJWs that still struggle with the JW mindset) have a difficult time figuring out what "pudding" means. Many JWs are quick to jump on a piece of gossip, but when facts are presented either in court or even on TV, they are quickly dismissed.
I've read posts here, where people appear to believe what they are saying is fact...yet they don't bring any facts to the table. It never dawned on me until today that perhaps this is yet another "mental disorder" that is only corrected with 1. leaving the Borg, 2. getting therapy for this "mental disorder", 3. having a support network that understands what you're suffering from.
How long did it take you to REALLY understand what facts vs. opinion is? Did you have to completely reteach yourself after exiting???
What really makes something "a fact"? Sounds simple enough, but it can be complicated. Fact to one person is theory to another. We try to use Scientists to back-up statements, but even then, much of what they write is supposition.
Instinct works pretty well for me these days. I've been finding so much interesting information, but I've learned that lots of it is plain trash. If something sounds reasonable and rational, I will take a look at it, ponder it, then make my own decision. I will take the good and leave the rest. I do have my own theories, and I really don't care if anyone else joins me in how I think or feel--though I have to admit, I like to share and have interaction as to much of it. In my heart, I feel comfortable with the way things are in my life right now. There was a long period of time, after I left the borg, where I was really a "lost soul" as they say. That doesn't mean that I went down the road of sin and evil. I did not. However, I could not seem to get healed emotionally. I felt so lost and alone. So much of what we read in the bible is just someone else's words. There are certain guidelines I follow for myself, but I could not impose them on anyone else, though I am always happy to "share". I really don't know what the future will bring for certain. I have no real facts about lots of things, except this gut feeling.
So much of what this human race is based upon is very old and cannot be reconstructed totally for us. We've left much of our spirituallity up to others, and that has been our own failing. What should concern mankind most is that we all seem to need certain things to live and breathe and florish. Take away those things, and we die. Aside from simply existing, we really can find happiness in this life by learning how to love and show compassion. You don't need a religion to teach you that. It's really very simple. JW's don't have that. Most religions don't have it.
I hope to visually "see the pudding right before my eyes, in the bowl, ready for me to eat" one of these days. Until then, I will just have to be satisfied to "lick around the edges of the bowl" that it was mixed in.
I'm currently reading:
Reasoning Skills Critical Thinking and Logic Skills You Need on the Job or at School
20 step program that is really intersting. Lots of the stuff is common sense, but to be able to truly understand the difference in claims, thinking, evidence etc. I recommend it for a good starting point.
You are so right, Billygoat, that there is a lot of opinions here but not much FACTS anymore.
btw, I think I picked that book up at Books a Million
I was always pegged as a nonconformist even called an "apostate" when very active in the org. due to my inability to suppress my inquiring mind. I am now learning to refine that talent and focus on meaningful questions. Critical thinking skills can be learned and serve a person well. It is understood by achaeologists and historians that often the "facts" they collectively arrive at are tentative but defensible hypotheses. This is healthy albeit frustrating for those who crave certainty in every detail. It has taken me a few years to train my mind to exercise the freedom to question without the trappings of relativism, or discard logic altogether and slip into existential limbo.
“Many JWs are quick to jump on a piece of gossip, but when facts are presented either in court or even on TV, they are quickly dismissed.”
Though the WT society attracts people who WANT to believe and prefer to hang on every word of a Rabbi, not all JW’s started out that way. Before long after converting our quest for “facts” was replaced with a dependence on the OPINION of the ‘faithful and discreet slave’. We were taught to “dismiss” the facts if they conflicted with what we believed because facts and evidence must be evaluated, and it was dangerous to ‘lean on our own understanding’. This meant, when translated, LEAN ON OUR UNDERSTANDING (the GB).
We were afraid to think and make judgments based on facts. If we did this we would soon find ourselves at odds with the Faithful Slave’s opinion and disapproved by God. Never mind how ridiculous THEIR opinions were on no vaccinations in the 1950’s, the literal heart being the center of your personality in the 1960’s, homosexual relationships were not grounds for scriptural divorce in the early 1970’s, the symbol of life, blood, was more sacred than life itself and on and on. Not only facts but common sense has no place when one chooses to delegate the thinking process to others.
Now that we have reclaimed our right to think for ourselves and we find it hard to believe we were once just like them, and tried to justify it as well.
The sheep follow the shepherd by reviewing what he taught, assessing issues according to the facts and making judgments that balance with the teachings of the great shepherd. YOU, Andea, are a Billygoat only when it comes to following the opinions of men (or wo-men). Good for you!
Jst2laws of the Yep, Leaning On My Own Opinion Class -rather than the opinion of some old dorks