A gaping hole in Theism

by evilApostate 3 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • evilApostate

    Being in a JW family while not being a JW yourslef is pretty hard. To them, you're just as good as dead because all unbelievers will be eternally destroyed at Armageddon. This problem exists in many other religions.

    I once had a friend from work tell me that she wanted me to become a Christian like her because if I didn't, I would burn in hell for all eternity. I even had an old girlfriend (sorta) who eventually told me that she didn't want to be with a non-christian because she wanted to spend eternity with her soulmate in heaven; since I would go to hell she didn't want to continue the relationship unless I changed my views. I eventually dumped her because I couldn't stand someone trying to impose their belief system on me.

    Anyway, let me get to the point. In this world, there are thousands of religions and dieties. All of them are pretty sure they have it right. Most of them say that if you follow the wrong religion or diety then you will be punished upon death. Many of them claim that the existence of prophecies and miracles prove that they are the true religion. However, which one of them are really right? Is there any definitive way to prove that you are correct and everyone else is wrong? No; there isn't!

    An important question which arises is, "What if I am punished for worshipping the wrong diety?" Clearly, everyone can't be right at the same time. Therefore, it is pointless for one religion to claim superiority over others when it may also be wrong. Many theists feel that only atheists and agnostics are at risk of punishment. However, if we assume that God is real and we use their logic, then it is even more likely that they will be punished for pissing off the real deity by worshipping the false one.

    Hence, IF God is real and is all-loving (which is certainly hard to believe), then it is not rational for him to punish someone simply because of their belief system. It is far more likely that he would judge someone over their choices in life and positive/negative contribution to humanity and the world. Therefore, it is pointless to worry whether or not God is real. Just do the best that you can do in life and make the best choices that you can make. That's all that really counts in my book.

  • sir82

    My thoughts exactly.

    A quote from the movie "Kingdom of Heaven":

    God will understand, my lord. And if he doesn't, then he is not God and we need not worry.

  • slimboyfat

    I have tended to think this way. It even seems obvious that God is not bound by petty notions of doctrine and right practice. He must be above all that. But I've become wary of "obvious" things. So then it also occurs to me that there are other possibilities too. For example the idea that God must be good is culturally specific. The ancient gods were not good, they were capricious and looked out for themselves. Another possibility is that God is good in a sense that we cannot understand. There are perhaps yet more possibilities we can't even imagine.

    I like the Kingdom of Heaven quote. But it makes me suspicious because I like it. It somehow forces God to be a liberal, enlightened version of a deity made in man's image. Isn't that a bit too convenient? What if God is so completely other that we cannot describe in terms of personality, goodness, or even action? When we presume to say anything positively about God we presume a lot.

  • scratchme1010

    I certainly agree with all you state; it's a great logical reasoning behind your thoughts. However, for the sake of argument, and definitely not to contradict or refute your statements, but more in the spirit of sharing thoughts:

    An important question which arises is, "What if I am punished for worshipping the wrong diety?" Clearly, everyone can't be right at the same time.

    I'd say, not that clearly. There are several religious organizations (granted many are very modern) that don't believe that they are the one and only way of reaching their god. Also, I've known of some christians who are human enough to let others (including in their own families) worship and are happy that other behave according to their morals and religious believes, even though they don't share religious denominations.

    Also, using your same reasoning, their God may want things that way, as ultimately he's supposed to be the one deciding who goes to heaven and who doesn't.

    Therefore, it is pointless for one religion to claim superiority over others when it may also be wrong. Many theists feel that only atheists and agnostics are at risk of punishment.

    That is based on the premise that the one and only reason people join a religious organization is for salvation. That is far from the reality. Sociologists, psychologists and other professionals in the matter agree that many churches are social clubs. People join for the after school programs, for having a healthy atmosphere for their families, to join other families that are expected to be decent and with the same set of morals, to participate in dances, retreats, and other events that are organized by the church, to dress nicely, to be invited to weddings, and the list of social reasons goes on.

    Also, there are many different reasons why people join and stay in a religious organization. Many of them have to do with staying away from certain crowds, to maintain sobriety from alcohol/drug abuse, to find a decent mate, to mention a few. Many people really can't care less about salvation, not even doctrine. They want a sense of support and safety.

    Then there are the "Christers". That term was introduced to me by my husband's sister. A Christer is a "Christmas and Easter only Christian". Some people go to church, and consider themselves part of it, even though they visit their religious organizations in special events, such as weddings, funerals, Easter, etc. Those can't care less about salvation either. I consider those the "cool Christians". Those tend to have a general believe in the church's teachings but live and let live.

    Along the same line of the Christers are those that I call "christian by ethnicity". There are a lot, and I mean a lot, of people who go to church because it's family tradition, and because it's what their community/culture does, and they only go for a sense of belonging to their culture and/or community.

    As for the superiority, only a few, and those tend to be those cult-like organizations, like the WT, are the ones that blatantly teach that they are the one and only entity in god's favor. If you notice those who feel superior for being Christian or for having "the truth", or for being "saved", are people who stand out from the crowd of their congregations for being that way. Their religion doesn't teach to be superior (there's an entire psychology behind the superiority feeling for being "chosen"). Those traits, the propensity to be, feel and act in that superior way, exist in the person that chooses to do so. The religion is used as a catalyst or trigger for what already exists in the person, unless it's a cult or cult-like religion that promotes that, then the entire congregation is encouraged to feel and act superior.

    So yes, although I definitely agree with your statements, I believe that there's more to the story.

Share this