Is the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses really an inferior form of Christianity?
JWs do not follow the teachings of Christ. If they could remove him and go back to the law code of the old testament they would in a heart beat. So yes they are inferior and in fact not Christian at all!
I am not a believer, but I do think there are versions of Christianity that are far less destructive than Jehovah's Witnesses and I think some people need and want religion in their lives, for them there are much better choices. Religion can be something positive, if it helps you to be a better person, if it give you emotional support, a sense of belonging, a community, a moral framework.
The JWs may have gotten a few things right, but they are so wrong in so many other areas they have become a negative, destructive influence in the lives of everyone they touch, in my opinion.
Teaching that you have the only path to salvation is just plain wrong. Of course everyone thinks their own religion is the best, but other religions don't lead you to gleefully look forward to the violent destruction of the majority of mankind, simply because they don't subscribe to a flavor of Christianity. Belonging to a religion that fosters that kind of thinking is to lose a bit of your own humanity, your compassion and your humility. Teaching a literal hell for those not in your select group is just as bad. Many churches do not teach a literal hell.
The Watchtower places too much importance on doctrinal points that they believe only they get correct, when the bible says that the primary way to identify that a group is a true follower of Chtlrist is that they have love among themselves. When was the last time you heard a talk on showing love to others, or helping those in your own congregation? Instead the emphasis is strictly on the preaching work. People going through difficulties are criticized for missing meetings, there is no compassion. Those who miss enough meetings are dropped and shunned, as if they had committed a major sin. Is that love?
The early Christians were allowed to disagree, they were not disfellowshipped for it. They didn't have a rigid, grueling schedule of requirements to meet to gain salvation, they were saved by Christ's sacrifice. They weren't constantly made to feel guilty for minor transgressions or living a normal life. Other religions are not this way. If you miss services for some reason you are welcomed back, not made to feel guilty because you were the victim of difficult circumstances.
Other religions have joyful services, meaningful sermons of a rational length, beautiful music that is uplifting, and enjoyable fellowship. The Jehovah's Witnesses have hours of dry, joyless meetings, mind numbingly boring talks, and rote question and answer sessions where there is only one right answer, the one you are given. No room is made for self expression, for people expressing their individual gifts, for joy. Women are marginalized and given no real voice.
Instead of focusing on doctrine, look for a religion that helps you to be your best self. You could argue doctrine all day long, it won't make you a better person. Look for a group that doesn't force you to ignore scientific fact, there are quite a few of them. There are churches with no doctrine, they just allow you to be a Christian, imagine that. I think that is what religion has to become, if it is to stay meaningful in people's lives. We are not living in bible times, we can't pretend that science hasn't advanced and that we don't know we evolved, we can't pretend women are property anymore. The best religions acknowledge these realities while still trying to meet the spiritual needs of their members.
As I said before, if you read the Church Fathers, you will see that the Witnesses are just the same Christian sect of those of the first and second century, with some singularities.
Thank you Lisa!! I don't know how you know so much about 'normal' churches, I know you don't go to one! But your points are exactly right, about mine and many others.
Doctrine was important to me when I was leaving JW's, and I spent a lot of time and passionate energy researching and proving to myself and my family that the witness doctrine is screwed up. Their doctrine is NOT one of the few things they have going for them. If I was going to name a few things, I think it would be ability to find their way around a bible (a skill learned from their practice of matching up scriptures all over the bible that don't actually go together), and the fact that they are a cult helps people feel close to each other (even tho this is usually pretty superficial and if you start diverting from the group views, they start dropping from your life like flies.)
FayeDunaway: If I was going to name a few things, I think it would be ability to find their way around a bible (a skill learned from their practice of matching up scriptures all over the bible that don't actually go together)
I used to think that too, Faye. And then, when I was in university, I took a class on the Old Testament. Pffft...the JWs are amateurs when it comes to knowing their way around the scriptures. The students in that class left me in the dust...and I thought I knew my way around those scriptures pretty good!
Ha - the JWs will never get out of the minor leagues in Biblical navigation. I have met many people over the years that can put JWs to shame on their knowledge of scriptural placement and such.
Nope...I think that JW bibble knowledge is just another one of those WT myths. They remind me of watching kids play T-ball on their way up to learning how to play baseball.
*to add - LisaRose, that was a great post
Thank you both. I actually attended a church for a while, I considered joining, but ultimately decided not to. My husband was raised in the United Church of Christ UCC, also called congregation (not regular Church of Christ, they are horrid) and I would visit when visiting his parents. I attended one where I live for a few months. It's a really nice group, I enjoyed the services, I guess there were a few things I missed about the religious experience. They had really awesome music too, and great snacks afterword, everyone was friendly. Congregations are small, it felt comfortable to me.
Although I ultimate decided against joining, it made me realize that a church does have something to offer for some people. I still have a sense of spirituality, and taking time to stop and acknowledge that is a nice thing sometimes. I get the same feeling by being around nature. They did a lot of charitable work, so that was nice also, sometimes it's nice to have a community of people with shared values. If someone still feels a connection to Christ and God but don't like anything like the rigid rules and end time BS of the JWs, they could do a lot worse than the UCC. I am sure there are other good churches as well. They have no doctrine, so if you don't believe in the trinity, or a literal hell that's OK, you don't have to. They were even OK with my atheism, they aren't judgemental. I am pretty sure most believe in evolution.
I was pretty down on religion after my JW experience, but this experience made me realize that religion can be a positive thing for some people. Some just are not ready to give up on the idea of God and telling them they are stupid and it's not logical is not going to help them any or convince them, in my opinion. I don't think there is a "one size" approach for those leaving a cult, I say do what works for you. Maybe it's just a stepping stone to life without religion, maybe it will be a destination, who knows?
Too many get hung up on the idea of the "one true religion" which is futile. People are imperfect, no religion is perfect. If Christianity is important to you, just find the one that you feel comfortable with and don't get too hung up on the details. Jesus certainly didn't give a long list of requirements for a church. Most of the things the JWs do aren't in the bible, so it's all just the opinion of men no matter what they say.
Thats interesting, crow! All I know is that I can navigate around the bible a lot better than most people in my church. They try. An interesting revelation has been how we examine big sections of scripture at a time. The skill of going from Ezra to Philemon not so important for that. Witnesses very rarely read whole sections at a time. Scriptures take on a whole new meaning when read in context (duh! Took me so long to find that out but it should have been so obvious).
LisaRose I'm sending you a PM but very good points. My church is a lot like the Congregationalists.