The Myth of Two Sides
We have heard it said, “He that is not on my side is against me…”
In Watchtower world this was certainly the case. Watchtower world was fully good, while anyone not belonging to them was fully on the side of evil--classic cult black and white thinking. There is no middle ground, no fence. Anyone who sits of the fence is following the Devil whether they know it or not.
If one points out any criticism in teaching or practice, then they are on the other sides, they are following the enemy. After all, there are only two sides. One side cannot do wrong and the other side cannot do right.
In Watchtower world, political feuds abounded, especially when people had any “position”. Most elder bodies around the world are rife with politics. Personalities clashed, battles ensued. I know. I had family embroiled in these constantly. Sometimes they were winners, sometimes they were losers. Who was right? Who was wrong?
Now that I am outside of Watchtower world I realize they were like children on a playground behaving badly over some meaningless game. Often my family was as much the troublemakers as the other parties they were feuding against.
There are many who carry of this same spirit of contention. Normally, I try to duck and cover and be invisible. I am afraid of getting dragged into the muck rather than attempting to live a post-cult life. To me, Watchtower (not JWs) and other cults in general (not their members) are the big enemy.
Why? Because it is an evil that has affected my life. Of course, I don’t give it the same energy I used to--I just don’t have the energy anymore. I have done what little I could do. Even then, it was never about me. I was about helping JWs still trapped.
And it was never about battling against any one individual, but the “concept” that apparently holds even the Governing Body “captive”. Perhaps there are some individuals who knowingly pull the strings, but I do not think it has ever been proven. And besides if there are a shadowy cabal, I certainly don’t know their names to make it about individuals.
Back to the point, contention is a force of nature that has occurred before in the exJW community and will continue. The names will change but the song will remain the same. I have no illusion anyone will change that and certainly not anything I will say. But perhaps if anything I say makes sense, perhaps some individual will decide to not contribute to any feud. And if I ever get embroiled in such a thing, feel free to call me out on this and remind me of these words.
I have noticed in both sides to the current feud that has been going on that neither side can take criticism well. These camps seem to believe there are only two sides without neutral ground. If anyone offers criticism, they are assumed about being a follower of the other camp. In truth, there are those outside the two camps. They see clearly the flaws of both camps because they are not emotionally invested. They see both sides throwing gasoline of the fire. They see both sides guilty of bad argumentation. They see both sides guilty of what the other is accused of in slightly different ways. They see both sides doing some good work as well, but the storm that they both stew overshadows it.
I am not in either camp…or anyone’s camp but my own. Nor am I looking for people to be in my camp…my tent is not big enough.
Different gospels say both. Cults do like to use those verses to create an us vs them mentality. But that is not the discussion at hand...
◄ Matthew 12:30 ►
New International Version
"Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Maybe I should've had a different opening line...
There is a myth of two sides, that a person is either for or against, and that is not always the case.
Sometimes people are ambivalent, and sometimes people simply don't give a s**t about your pet peeve.
The latter would apply to the Jesus character, who many of us view as a myth, and view all his sayings as fictional/mythical. We really do not care what he is supposed to have said or done.
I’ve been ambivalent and I’ve haven’t really cared for certain pet peeves myself, that is why I normally remain quiet these days.
Phizzy, in another thread, you said more succinctly than I, “Both of them need to grow up and realize that if we are to make any headway with convincing JW's to examine their religion, we need to show maturity, levity and a lack of personal ego.”
Of course, I do not want to name names, because the common cause we all have is not about individual grievances.