Why are you guys against Jehovah's Witnesses?
Gilles Grey writes:
In order to answer this question properly, it is important to distinguish between the various meanings of the phrase ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’. The term can refer to the individuals who are members of the religion, but also to the religious ideology known by that name. These are the two uses that I will consider in this answer.
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES AS INDIVIDUALS
I have nothing against Jehovah’s Witnesses as people. In the main, I have found them to be lovely people, but they are unfortunately victims of their religion. Their emotions are continuously subjected to manipulation by the leaders at the top of the religion’s hierarchy who have the self-appointed authority to dictate the doctrines and to subtly control the members. The leaders make alluring but entirely false claims which appease the deep fears of the members and gratify their idealistic wishful thinking patterns, keeping them in a mind-trap.
So many have thrown away their lives in anticipation of the fulfilment of their unsubstantiated hope in the Watchtower’s rendition of the ‘next life’, where they anticipate enjoying eternal youth with perfect health, and living in an idyllic world full of peace, harmony and prosperity for all.
They have bought into all the irrational arguments and false reasonings used to uphold their religion, which has hooked them into a concept that is extremely addictive and hard to relinquish. After all, who wouldn’t relish the prospect of living forever on a paradise earth?
The hubristic claims made by the founder of the religion in the 1870s have been vastly added to and reshaped over the years. Successive leaders have become more and more carried away with promoting their assertions as the absolute and unquestionable truth, to the point that now members don’t pause to check whether or not their beliefs are based on a solid foundation or on rational arguments. All they care about and fixate on is having their future hopes affirmed. They only consider ‘evidence’ that appears to promote their romantic notion of the future and conversely reject anything that challenges what they choose to believe.
The only significant objection I have against Jehovah’s Witnesses as individuals is their dogmatic irrationality.
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES AS A RELIGION
The most serious issue I have with the religion is that there is no good evidence to back up any of the claims that the followers buy into, and the core of its entire theology is based on irrational arguments. These include presuppositions, baseless assertions, false reasoning and logical fallacies. At first glance, the teachings have the appearance of having their roots in sound logic and good reasoning, but when closely examined, they have no validity whatsoever.
If one looks into the apologetics of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in any depth, it quickly becomes all too evident that the premise of every argument they use to uphold their convictions is based on a logical fallacy.
Let’s consider a few common false arguments they use:-
Jehovah’s Witnesses’ teachings come from the bible
To a Jehovah’s Witness, this argument is all that is required to assure them that their beliefs are correct. If their beliefs harmonise with the bible then they are considered true. But this claim does not in any way indicate that they are correct.
Jehovah’s Witnesses conveniently overlook the fact that every previous teaching which has since been discarded was likewise originally firmly based on the bible, but those teachings are now considered to have been wrong. They also ignore the awkward reality that every one of their widely promoted prophetic interpretations was based on the bible, but every single one also proved to be false.
These facts should cause Jehovah’s Witnesses to have serious reservations about their current teachings. They have no means of knowing that their current understanding of the bible is correct and no idea whether or not the teachings that they now preach and believe are the truth, will also be discarded in the future.
God reveals His truth in a progressive manner… otherwise known as the ‘progressive light’ argument
If you were to highlight to a Jehovah’s Witness any past teaching which has now been proved wrong, it’s virtually guaranteed that you would soon be presented with the argument above.
The ‘progressive understanding’ argument commits the logical fallacy known as ‘moving the goal posts’. When a doctrine has proved to have been wrong or when falsehoods are brought to light, the Governing Body simply invents another teaching and claims it as a ‘new truth’ from God. Any ‘old truth’ can thus easily be discarded without accountability. Attempts are usually made by the leadership to supress mention of the previous old ‘truth’ amongst members. The change of doctrine is invariably couched in positive terms, heavily playing down any inconsistency, and the members submissively accept the new understanding without question. However former members are quick to spot when the goal posts are moved and question the motive in great depth .
Progressive light places a serious question mark over all the current beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses, because each teaching could well be subject to ‘progressive understanding’ in the future. All their doctrines could be wrong, in the same way that they now consider many of the teachings of the early 20th century to be mistaken.
Furthermore, JWs do not extend to other religions this same liberty to discard failed or embarrassing teachings, despite seeing no problem in awarding themselves the right to do so whenever necessary. On an equal playing field, every denomination and faith community has the same authority to claim they are the one true religion, because all of them can assert that they are awaiting correction from God, thereby negating any false teachings they happen to hold. But it escapes the JWs attention that logically they should equally excuse errors in other religions using the same reasoning they use for their own failings.
JWs also spin the fact that they have owned up to (some of) their past mistakes and portray it as a virtue. They don’t recognise that admitting errors does not negate the fact that these serious mistakes undermine their position or that these errors have important ramifications as explained above. Neither do they graciously excuse other religions who have far more readily, publicly and humbly owned up to making mistakes. But they expect full leniency when justifying their own failings.
The ‘progressive light’ argument renders all the Watchtower’s teachings as unfalsifiable, i.e. they cannot be proved false, however they also cannot be proved true. This fact leaves Jehovah’s Witnesses with no metric with which to evaluate their beliefs. Owing to the almost infinite number of ways the bible can be interpreted, there is no solidity in their theological structure.
If Jehovah’s Witnesses are not the true religion, who is (whom shall we go away to)?
This argument commits the ‘argument from ignorance’ fallacy and is a very easy trap to fall into. It presupposes that there is a ‘true’ religion, and when all other religions fail to meet up to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ criteria, they make the flawed conclusion that their religion is the only one left standing and therefore must be the correct one, or the one that has the most ‘truth’. It is incredible how many Jehovah’s Witnesses fall for this argument in their defence of their religion.
They overlook the fact that every proposition stands or falls on its own merit. The fact that a religion can be demonstrated to be untrue, doesn’t indicate that another religion is more credible by default. Even if all the world’s other religions are false, it doesn’t make the Jehovah’s Witnesses any more true. The theological teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses need to meet their burden of proof regardless of the status of the religious teachings of alternative denominations with whom they disagree.
False reasoning keeps so many JWs indoctrinated by the Watchtower’s dogma and so many lives are wasted as a result. Flawed apologetics keep members prisoner to this religion. So many have sacrificed their freedom and become addicted to a false hope which is based on unsubstantiated theological dogma. It is this that I hold against the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a religion, and it is for this reason that I expose it's falsehoods, in the hope that I might help a few to avoid the pitfalls of allying themselves to an ideology founded on empty promises.