Reading The Bible Again After Leaving
According to the Bible and the beliefs of christians. God is a great narcissist. Think of all the Psalms praising God. Who wrote them? Well since God is the author of the Bible it must mean that God wrote all these Psalms praising himself. The psalmists were just pen-men after all - like a secretary writing a letter dictated by the boss.
Most of the bibles Old Testament stories were stolen from other cultures but I think the other parts were written by thier version of the Taliban.
A very good point Island Man. Who wants to worship anyone at all, let alone a murderous narcissist who demands perpetual adoration?
The obsession with the Bible is an enormous red herring, life is much better lived by thinking things through and using critical reasoning, not gullibly believing in Bronze Age deities and "sacred" demands from crazed cult leaders like Paul.
The Bible is not inspired by an invisible deity, it does not predict anything useful for modern man, Jesus was just another useless saviour figure in a long tradition of god-men who was used to give hope to the ignorant and illiterate peasants.
The JW cult is dependent on these useless ideas and will come to lose all its influence as the world grows weary of myth parading as fact.
The bible is like any other mythology writing. Some fact, some fancy, but mostly just plain old bullsh*t!
As I often tell my lovely wife (still in); all ancient civilizations had their mythological writings including the Jews!
The Rebel - “...How as a Jehovers Witness did I/ we miss those passages?..."
They were skipped during the weekly Bible Reading, obviously. :smirk:
I can relate to being "new" at reading the Bible after leaving the Watchtower behind many decades ago, back in the 1980s. I have a little I can pass on about that, but first...
I came online here just now after having two "sisters" come to my door, looking to see if I spoke Filipino. She was African-American and the other was white, and they didn't want to converse about anything more than what language I spoke. Though I knew they were Witnesses immediately, it took a bit of asking to get them to say it themselves and what they were doing (looking to leave off literature only with those who spoke this language). Being so timid and very unwilling to say anything or even give me their current presentation in English (which they clearly spoke) made me wonder: What has happened to these people? These are not the brave, outspoken publishers of so long ago when I was growing up among them. True, I was one of Jehovah's Witnesses a very long time ago. We called it the "Society" and even the "New World Society" back then. So it has been many, many years since I've talked with anyone who was a Witness face-to-face.
So hello, everyone. After having that experience I came on here and started reading to catch up on what has occurred to the Witnesses. "Simplified editions" of the Watchtower? Tele-evangelism? Changing so much regarding the anointed and teaching this unscriptural "two overlapping generations" mess? My, oh my! and shame-shame! Everyone one of the Witnesses who believe in this "updated" religion would have been disfellowshipped as apostates in my day!
And now...Yes, I can relate to what your are going through, pale.emperor. The NRSV is the standard in English-speaking academia, whether you are studying the Bible for religious or secular reasons. Only about 8% of the American religious population actually uses it, even though it will give you the least-biased Christian translation (there was actually a Jewish editor on the board), with the most trustworthy and transparent scholarship behind it. It's also extremely easy to read, putting the NWT down in terms of style if you compare them. Here's something you may want to try in addition:
- Read one of the study editions of the NRSV. Use the New Oxford Annotated NRSV or the HaperCollins Study NRSV, especially the Apocrypha editions. The footnotes are the best in critical scholarship, and are interconfessional (made up of Jewish, Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant contributions). You will be surprised to learn how much "Watchtower" is still inside of you if you use the study notes to guide your reading versus just reading the text alone, and this will move you to "unlearn" a lot.
- Don't expect to formulate doctrine from reading Scripture. The Scriptures were composed and designed for liturgical reading, both in Judaism and Christianity. Since Jehovah's Witnesses are not even aware of what a liturgy is, and how central this was to the composition and meaning behind the Bible, you will have to study that to get a good understanding of what is being spoken of. These study editions are a good place to start.
- Keep in mind that the Scriptures were written by well-established and functioning religious systems with doctrines already in place. Jehovah's Witnesses teach that doctrine comes from Scripture, which is the total opposite. This means you have to stop trying to read the Bible as if it is going to teach you doctrine directly. The Scriptures merely reflect the doctrine of those who composed it.
- Learn about the history and process of canonization. The Bible would not be here if it were not for the canonization process. This is not a library of the most popular and widely distributed religious books in Judaism or Christianity. They were selected by the respective religious leaders centuries after these religions were founded. And the whole invention of canonization actually comes from a Christian heretic, Marcion of Sinope who claimed that salvific doctrinal knowledge came from written religious texts (which is the idea behind the Witnesses and their use of Scripture). Again, reading the Scriptures with the realization of an authorized "canon" will shape things considerably for you.
Prepare to be shocked and even fascinated to know that religious people do not view the Bible anything like the Witnesses do. (The only ones who come close are Bible literalists like Fundamental Christians from Westboro Baptist Church or the very judgmental Lutheran Church: Missouri Synod. And the idea that religion is based on Scripture, instead of the other way around, is similar to the views of Mormonism as Joseph's Smith 'finding a book' and basing a religion upon it.)
It will be more than eye-opening to see how vastly different the Bible is understood and viewed by the majority of people. For me it was like being slapped in the face repeatedly until I couldn't breathe anymore.
I am sure that you have looked up on youtube professor Bart Ehrman…If not try to see some of his lectures. It has been for me, the release of knowledge to understand the old scriptures…
“silence is the language of god,
all else is a poor translation.”
It's a precious time finding the freedom to do your own research and think for yourself. I almost envy you this new feeling of starting again. We did this, read the Bible with a nonJW Hebrew and Greek interlinear from a Christian bookshop and some encyclopaedias (pre-Internet). I actually still have that interlinear and still feel an affection for it because it helped me on my way. Thanks for letting us know how it's going I was getting worried when you didn't come back to your other thread.