A while ago someone (I forget who) was doing a series, a regular analysis, of WT studies from the current week. I have't seen any for a while so I thought I'd contribute one. Have a bit of fun picking out all the unsubstantiated assertions and logical fallacies etc... so here goes: (If you enjoy it let me know and I might try doing another. Also, I am relatively new to the ins and outs of critical thinking so if I've misapplied a common fallacy or haven't quite got something right please feel free to correct me or add clarification so we can all learn)
Theme text: Matt 24:12 - "Because of the increasing of lawlessness, the love of the greater number will grow cold."
This is a kind of non-seqiuter, the conclusion doesn't follow from the premise, or the so-called "cause" postulated in the premise. It is saying people's love of God will wither because or as a result of increasing lawlessness. Cause and effect.
The causation has not been demonstrated (even if there does happen to be a correlation) and probably could not be demonstrated. In fact the writers of the article do not even attempt to demonstrate it, instead they choose to highlight their own causes for this love growing cold, namely materialism, seeking pleasure etc... none of these things necessarily break the law, biblical or Secular.
Par 1 - “ONE facet of the sign that Jesus gave regarding “the conclusion of the system of things” was that “the love of the greater number [would] grow cold.” (Matt. 24:3, 12) In the first century, the Jews, who claimed to be God’s people, allowed their love for God to grow cold.”
Unsubstantiated assertion about the Jews and about fulfilled prophecy in out time. How can this "coldness" of love be measured? Or demonstrated? Just because someone believes something else (loves God in a different way) does it mean they no longer love God at all? Are they really claiming that millions in Christendom (and millions in other religions for that matter) are not only misled and believe untruths, but they also are able to read their hearts and KNOW that they do not love God? Or are they simply inferring that from the fact that they believe these people are not honest hearted enough to accept their version of truth when they knock on their doors? Hence they do not love God enough to listen to the truth.
Par 3 - “Selfish pleasures evidently crowded out unselfish love.”
A false dichotomy - people who enjoy the pleasures of life are equally capable of unselfish love. It is not one or the other. In fact people who are passionate about life and the joys of it are often the same ones who do a lot hard, unselfish, and philanthropic work to make life better for others. You'll also notice the use of the word evidently here. This is one of the Watchtowers favourite words because it implies evidence when there is none, and so you don't have to provide any. If you don't believe me try it as a search time tin the Watchtower Library and see how many hits you get. And see how many times actual evidence was offered when the word was used. What they really means when they use the word "evidently" is "we believe this thing happened because of that thing because city fits in with our theological framework, and thats good enough evidence for us... AKA wilful ignorance.
Par 4 - “People today have less and less love for God. Millions have turned their backs on him and look to human institutions to solve mankind’s problems.”
Another false claim, arguing from ignorance. Yes people may look to and support Govt institutions that are trying to do good in the world, but this does not mean that they have turned their backs on God. Another false dichotomy. Why can't you support both if both are trying to do the right thing? They also seem to be claiming to have a monopoly on love.
Par 6 - “those who have spent their lives on pursuing material things or gratifying sexual desires have ended up disappointed and deeply hurt.”
Generalisation and stereotyping. There are always anecdotal accounts you can quote to support this statement but is it true of everyone in the category? Have they all been hurt by enjoying material things? Have people who kept their life simple NOT been hurt? Of course the truth is you will find both types of people in both categories.
Par 7 - “outspoken atheists, agnostics, and evolutionists promote ideas designed to erode not just love for God but also belief in him. They have convinced many that a person must be either naive or unintelligent to believe in a Creator. At the same time, scientists are revered”
Demonising their critics by accusing them of being too outspoken??? Do atheists knock on doors to try and convince people to stop believing in God? Do evolutionists? NO, in fact many evolutionists ARE Christians, they just accept the science of evolution. If they have convinced many perhaps it is because they offer convincing evidence, not because they are evil and deceptive! I don't think atheists or evolutions make claims about intelligence when it comes to accepting evolution, but claims about education or ignorance. Which scientists are recovered exactly outside a very small circle of other scientists. I would claim the opposite is true in terms of the general public - scientists struggle to be heard and have their research understood and respected, let alone getting any personal glory.
Par 8 - “In this wicked system controlled by Satan, all of us at times face discouraging circumstances. (1 John 5:19) Perhaps we are presently confronted with problems caused by old age, poor health, or economic pressures. Or we may be struggling with feelings of inadequacy, with unfulfilled expectations, or with personal failings. ”
I think someone may have already commented on this one, but sadly most of the conditions mentioned as causes for discouragement are not a result of Satan's system, but are just part of life, in fact the opposite may be the case, that they are often exacerbated by Watchtower teachings and lifestyle. Feelings of inadequacy and personal failing are bound to be a huge problem when you are constantly indoctrinated with the idea that you are a sinner, that nothing you do is, or could ever be, good enough.
Par 8 - “Indeed, Jehovah’s loyal love for his servants is constant. Therefore, we can be sure that he hears our “pleas for help” and responds to them.”
Well I think many of us here are examples to falsify this unsubstantiated assertion, I know I am. My please for help (and I prayed hard with unquestioned sincerity) when I had questions and doubts were met with complete silence, a complete lack of response. Did you find the same?
Par 10 - “ When we take sufficient time to express to Jehovah our deepest thoughts and innermost feelings, we cannot help but be drawn closer to our heavenly Father, the “Hearer of prayer.”
This is one I always struggled with even when I was zealous and devout. It is hard to be drawn to someones personality when they don't talk back to you, when they don't interact. When you're really only listening to the voice on your own head and trunk your best to "see" answers to your prayers that can't be affirmed with any certainly. Whatever feelings we had toward God I suspect were nothing more than our own projections onto the person we imagined we were talking to.
Par 11 - “As Christians, we cherish and embrace truth. ”
I nearly snorted the tea I was drinking through my nose when I read this one. If I may take a leaf out of the Watchtower playbook and use the word "evidently," not because eI don't have nay evidence but because I'm sure you all know the mountains of it that applies here. This statement is so evidently false, it is laughable. What they cherish is faith, believe, ignorance etc.
Par 12 - “ The psalmist went on to say: “How sweet your sayings are to my palate, more so than honey to my mouth!” (Ps. 119:103) Similarly, we can savor the tasty Bible-based spiritual food that we receive from God’s organization.”
As long as you cherry pick just the good "sweet" bits and ignore all the bitter bits you don't want tot think about!
Par 13 - “The prophet Jeremiah loved Scriptural truth.”
What scripture truth exactly? What scriptures existed in his time/did he have access to? How much of the Hebrew canon was set by then?
Par 14 - “The weekly study of the Bible with the help of The Watchtower is a principal means by which we are taught.”
I think this is a miss-print, it should actually read, "the weekly study of the Organisation's eisegesic commentary on selected cherry picked verses of scripture."
Par 16 - “Having love for our brothers and sisters is linked to the love we have for Jehovah. In fact, we cannot have one without the other. The apostle John wrote: “The one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20) Furthermore, our love for Jehovah and our brothers is linked to our love for the Bible.”
Unsubstantiated assertion and false absolute that denies all the love that is shown on the world by non-witnesses as if they have a monopoly on it or are the only one who know how to feel it or show it. They are essentially saying that an atheist can't love, a Bhuddist can't love, A Muslim can't love etc etc.. beause none of them know Jehovah, completely ignoring their other doctrine that we were all supposedly created in Gods image
It may be true (I'm not saying it is) that someone who doesn't love his brother cannot love God, but even if it is, it doesn't mean the reverse is true. I'm not sure which fallacy this is (perhaps someone can help?) but you can't always assume the reverse of something to be true.
That will do for now... if you found any others in this article please add them!