The real dividing line isn’t between apostates and apologists it’s between...

by slimboyfat 39 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • slimboyfat

    Excellent observation from Zizek about communist regimes: they didn’t care if people accepted the ideology or took it seriously, so long as people acted as if the ideology was true, that was the important thing. In fact the regimes were deeply suspicious people who took the ideology too seriously. People who took the ideology seriously were dangerous because they were prone to noticing the inconsistencies and flaws in the system. Then they become rebels and dissidents, because they took the ideology too seriously and studied it until it couldn’t bear the level of scrutiny and they fell out the other side.

    From about 4.30 minutes

    The same is true in the Watchtower organisation. The key dividing line isn’t really between apostates and apologists, it’s between people who take the Watchtower ideology seriously and those who don’t take it seriously. Inside the organisation there are many JWs (perhaps the majority) who believe in the teachings of JWs in a general sense, and are happy to follow the practices and requirements, but they essentially don’t care about the details. They don’t care about 1914 or the divine name or whatever else. They think the anointed 144,000/generation/partakers issues are a problem, but they figure that it will sort itself out in the end. They don’t care about the details because they don’t take it too seriously.

    On the other hand you have people who take the details very seriously. At first these people try to defend the system and become apologists. Often this is a short stop on the route to apostasy. Because if you take the ideology too seriously you end up being overwhelmed by the burden of all the flaws of the system and discover that crossing the line from apologist to apostate can occur very easily.

    I think JWs know this intuitively and that’s why they tend to be relaxed about people making light jokes about the delay of Armageddon, the number of anointed, or whatever. That’s safe ground because it doesn’t matter if you don’t take the system seriously, so long as you act as if you believe it, by meeting attendance, field service, not attending university and so on. In fact making jokes about the ideology, if combined with loyal actions, is in many cases a good sign of ideological compliance.

    On the other hand if you hear about a brother studying Greek or investigating Bible chronology then to ordinary JWs that is a huge warning sign that the person is taking the ideology too seriously. They will invariably turn apostate sooner or later.

    This is why the real dividing line isn’t between apostates and apologists, because they both take the ideology seriously. In that sense they have more in common with each other than either has with the vast majority of JWs who don’t take the ideology seriously.

  • Magnum

    I agree 110%. Excellent analysis and insight. I am one of those who took it "too seriously" and you see where it led me. I started learning Bible Greek and Hebrew, checking concordances and interlinears, doing deep research, etc. I was extremely serious, and I cared. At first, my aim was to defend and prove "the truth" - to be an apologist. I know another former elder in my area who was also very serious about study, research, etc. He's also now a member of this forum.

    Some of those who don't take it too seriously might eventually fade, but they don't cause the org problems like the ones who take it really seriously.

    I've been thinking a lot lately about the fact that the org doesn't want JWs learning Bible languages, doing deep research, etc. The higher-ups know that the organization and religion can't 'bear that level of scrutiny'.

  • slimboyfat

    Yes and some reactions from JWs who I thought were “serious” was quite interesting. People who would quote different Bible versions, or use examples from “theocratic history” to make a point. Because when it really got down to it, even they weren't really interested in history or the Bible either. And they weren’t so much angry or concerned about problems in Watchtower history, mostly just bored with the subject, or wondering why you would criticise the “faithful slave”, or the old favourite “where else would we go?”

    There was a Watchtower Study article around about 2005 that actively discouraged learning Bible languages. It was remarkable, and I should have kept a note of it, but I haven’t been able to find it again.

  • sir82

    Agree 100%.

    The "ideal Witness" is one who performs all the "right" actions with their mind completely unengaged.

  • Magnum

    "There was a Watchtower Study article around about 2005 that actively discouraged learning Bible languages. It was remarkable, and I should have kept a note of it, but I haven’t been able to find it again."

    There was also something in "Our Kingdom Ministry" about that (maybe in last ten years - will have to see if I can find it) . It was worded something like "there is no need for publishers to be learning Bible languages..." An elder in another congregation approached me and said something like "see, we're not supposed to be learning Bible languages..." I said "well, actually it says there is no need to; it doesn't say we can't." However, I knew what the org really meant; the higher-ups didn't want us to learn the languages.

    Funny how the org used to knock the Catholic Church for wanting to keep the low level Catholics ignorant (wanting to keep the Bible in Latin and not common languages). It seems that the org wants to do something sort of similar.

  • BluesBrother

    Absolutely true SBF. I wish I could have written as well.

    When I was a kid we had an Assistant Congregation Servant, as they were called in those days, He was the sort of JW who would go to his business on Christmas Day, becauese it was"pagan" to treat it special. He looked with disdain on those who did not keep up to his standards , an uber-dub.

    All of a sudden he dropped it all completely and became apostate activist before the internet was thought of .

    In contrast, those old timers today who crack jokes about the failed expectations and don't bother if aspects of their faiith are changed by decree, they are still there plodding on in a way of life they are happy with.

  • slimboyfat

    Yes I remember being shocked when I heard a pioneer couple making jokes about 1975, words to the effect: “the organisation really got worked up about that one didn’t they? I didn’t think I’d ever get to high school because Armageddon was supposed to come before that. My dad said we’d never need to buy another car. Ha! What are we like?” At first I thought: “these guys must be really apostate”. Only gradually did it dawn on me, no these people believe it so implicitly that they can afford to joke about it without feeling threatened. They talk as if they don’t take it seriously, yet their actions and their whole lives are a testament that loyalty doesn’t require taking it seriously. In fact taking ideology too seriously is an impediment to loyalty, not an asset.

  • Under No Illusion
    Under No Illusion

    As brilliantly observed by Monty Python, there is no creature more dangerous than an intelligent sheep...

    (A tourist approaches a shepherd. The sounds of sheep and the outdoors are heard.)

    Tourist (Terry Jones: Good afternoon.

    Shepherd (Graham Chapman): Afternoon

    Tourist: Ah, lovely day isn't it?

    Shepherd: Ar, 'tis that.

    Tourist: Are you here on holiday or...?

    Shepherd: No, no, I live 'ere.

    Tourist: Oh, jolly good. I say, those ARE sheep aren't they?

    Shepherd: Yeh.

    Tourist: Yes yes, I though so. Only, why are they up in the trees?

    Shepherd: A fair question and one that in recent weeks 'as been much on my mind. It's my considered opinion that they're nestin'.

    Tourist: Nesting?

    Shepherd: Aye.

    Tourist: Like birds?

    Shepherd: Exactly. Birds is the key to the whole problem. It's my belief that these sheep are laborin' under the misapprehension that they're birds. Observe their behavior. Take for a start the sheeps' tendency to 'op about the field on their back legs. Now witness their attmpts to fly from tree to tree. Notice that they do not so much fly as... plummet. (Baaa baaa... flap flap... thud.) Observe for example that ewe in that oak tree. She is clearly trying to teach her lamb to fly. (baaaaa... thud) Talk about the blind leading the blind.

    Tourist: Yes, but why do they think they're birds?

    Shepherd: Another fair question. One thing is for sure, the sheep is not a creature of the air. They have enormous difficulty in the comparatively simple act of perchin'. (Baaa baaa... flap flap... thud.) As you see. As for flight its body is totally unadapted to the problems of aviation. Trouble is, sheep are very dim. Once they get an idea in their 'eads, there's no shiftin' it.

    Tourist: But where did they get the idea from?

    Shepherd: From Harold. He's that sheep over there under the elm. He's that most dangerous of animals, a clever sheep. He's the ring leader. He has realized that a sheep's life consists of standin' around for a few months and then bein' eaten. And that's a depressing prospect for an ambitious sheep. He's patently hit on the idea of escape.

    Tourist: Well why don't you just get rid of Harold?

    Shepherd: Because of the enormous commercial possibilities should he succeed.

    Voice Over (Eric Idle): And what exactly are the commercial possibilities of ovine aviation?

  • SonoftheTrinity
    In other words, Magnum, a householder versed in Classical languages isn't worth their time and will only create confusion if ever given the mic. Not too many Arab Greek Orthodox Israelis become JWs if that's the case.
  • neat blue dog
    neat blue dog

    This is so true! Many of us can attest to this.

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