If not the WT/JW relgion where else are 'we' to go? Why not atheistic/scientific philosophical naturalism?

by Disillusioned JW 53 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Sometimes JWs wonder if the WT/JW is not the truth, 'then where else are we to go?' I say 'why not atheistic/scientific philosophical naturalism and why not a secular philosophy which teaches a way of life?' What do you folks say?

    If JWs were to look up the quoted sources of atheists and other nontheists quoted (or at least referred to) in the WT's publications and research the secular philosophies referred to in the WT's publications, they might find that they agree with those nontheists and philosophies. I know that I do in regards to many of them. I wish I had studied them prior to becoming a baptized JW. The following are some examples:

    Volume V of the 1915 edition of Studies in the Scriptures (see http://www.strictlygenteel.co.uk/atonement/atonetitle.html ) says at the beginning of the book the following:

    "Christian people are becoming more and more awake to the fact that a great tidal wave of unbelief is sweeping over Christendom; — not the blasphemous atheism voiced by Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll, but the cultured kind represented in the scholarship of our day, which makes the danger all the more insidious.
    Not only are the great Colleges and Seminaries undermining the faith of the better educated, but the Common School books, and especially those used in the High Schools, are similarly inculcating a distrust in the Bible, a contradiction of its teachings. For a college graduate of to-day to declare his faith in the inspiration of the Scriptures would bring upon him the scorn of his companions — a scorn which few would court, or could endure. At very best, a few will be found to claim that they believe that Jesus and his Apostles were sincere, though they blundered in quoting from the Old Testament as inspired.
    Such a belief in Jesus and his Apostles is no belief at all; for if present-day "higher critics" are wise enough to know when and where our Lord and his Apostles! erred in their quotations from the Old Testament, then these wise men of our day are our proper guides, — more inspired than Jesus and his Apostles."

    Prior to getting baptized I knew nothing or virtually nothing about Thomas Paine's deist ideas and his book (in three parts) called The Age of Reason. If I had read it when wondering if there is no god and if Christianity is false, that book would have made a huge difference. If I had read the section quoted above from the Studies in the Scriptures it might would have led to me seeking out the religious writings of Thomas Paine. Likewise back then (and not even for some 20 years later) I knew nothing of Robert Ingersoll. If I had I read the WT's book which mentioned him I might would have sought out a book containing his irreverent teachings about religion, so I could learn if there are good reasons to reject Christianity and the Bible. I might would have found an excellent (in my opinion) book by atheist Joseph Lewis (the leading spokesperson for atheism in his day in the USA) called Ingersoll the Magnificent: To which Has Been Added a Special Arrangement of Some Gems from Ingersoll for Inspiration, Wisdom, and Courage. That book could have a made a huge difference for me back then if I had read it.

    If I had read the beginning to the 1915 edition of Volume V of Studies in the Scriptures and noticed what it said about "higher critics" of the Bible I might would have sought out the writing of those critics. If I had done so it could have made a difference in my life.

    By the way, despite what Russell said about Paine and Ingersoll they were not atheists in the sense of believing there is no god, though they were in the sense of not believing in the existence of a personal god. Paine was a deist and Ingersoll was an agnostic.

  • Phizzy
    Phizzy

    I was born in, in 1950, I knew little of any works by Philosophers, until I left, and I too wish I had read them earlier in life. There was one thing I did come across though, when I was an active JW, which made me realise that Russell, Rutherford, Knorr and Franz were all pretty badly educated.

    It was definition of " Higher Critics" or more accurately of Higher Criticism, which the four Big brains mentioned used to often refer to as "So-called Higher critics" as though these learned gentleman were styling themselves "Higher" as though they were better than lesser critics.

    Higher Criticism is the study of the MEANING of a Text, Lower Criticism is the study of the Text purely to get a sense of the actual language, without interpretation. I am not sure that lot of poorly educated guys mentioned above actually understood what Criticism was in an Academic sense, I think at least Russell, maybe all four, thought it was the everyday use of criticism, meaning "finding fault with" that was referred to, of course it was not, it was Scholars trying honestly to get at the full meaning of Biblical texts.

    I wish I had read more widely, and much earlier in life, and woken up much earlier, but at least I have made up ground academically since I left over a decade ago. I will just never get back those wasted years.

  • BluesBrother
    BluesBrother

    The "Where else can we go" attitude stems from the belief the JW ism is the truth, the only truth and that all other ideas are foolish or evil.

    In fact, once one has opened your mind to the idea that it may not be true, the whole world of alternative ideas become yours to examine. It is just a question of shattering that cloak of inviincibilty that surrounds the WTS in a dubby mind. It is scary at first, your certainties have gone, but it is so rewarding in the end.

  • Vidiot
    Vidiot
    "...where else are we to go?"

    Who says you have to "go" anywhere?

  • Phizzy
    Phizzy

    Go and find the Truth. Of course, truth can only be established upon the basis of Facts and Evidence that stand up to ANY scrutiny.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Here is a website to learn more about atheism: https://www.atheists.org/ . They publish many books which make a strong case for atheism/naturalism; see their store at https://www.atheists.org/shop/ . https://www.atheists.org/about/history/ mentions the history of the American Atheists organization.

  • Jofi_Wofo
    Jofi_Wofo

    First priority when you realize you're in an abusive relationship is to LEAVE that relationship. What you do next is none of the abuser's business, nor the business of anyone who thinks you can't do better.

  • Rocketman123
    Rocketman123

    How about the real Truth based upon scientifically acquired knowledge through cultivated evidence, in a all out effort toward intellectual honesty ?

  • carla
    carla

    I never understood the jw "where else would we go" argument. If they are truly Bible believers they would look to the Bible itself and see John 6:68-Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." They would see the question is "to whom" not "to where". The "whom" is Jesus but they probably changed that in their version I suppose. Of course one would have to be a believer to use the John 6 scripture.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW
    carla, the WT/JW religion teaches that if one studies the Bible by herself/himself she/he will not gain an accurate understanding of it. The WT/JW religion teaches that people need them to understand the words of Jesus recorded in the Bible and they teach that the other Christian denominations and sects are all false, as well as all other religions. Furthermore most of the people who become JWs are people who wanted to be in the one true religion (and specifically in the one true denomination/church of Christianity) and to be taught by it, and they concluded that all of the others are false. They also concluded that there must be a god who created and designed the universe and who has a purpose for humans. As a result, if those people later conclude that the WT/JW religion is false then they have no idea of which other Christian denomination/church is true, if any, and they feel they can't understand the Bible well on their own (even if they pray to Jehovah and/or Jesus for understanding). Some of them then wonder if all religions are false and if there is no god at all. Some of them also wonder how they should live their lives if no religion is true. Some of them also wonder what is the best way to be happy and they wonder how they can be happy if there is no loving caring creator god.

    I am trying to help people to conclude that there is no god at all and that the supernatural does not exist at all, but that there is a way to (partially) know the universe and to (partially) understand it (through the study of science) and that there are beneficial secular philosophies that contain a number of true teachings. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2021/05/the-atheist-worldview-is-life-without-god-bleak-2/ and https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/epicureanism-greek-philosophy-atheists-happiness are some good web pages to read in those regards.

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