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.