I like the uniform
What aspects do you view most favorably about the WT and/or its religion?
Sea Breeze you made a number of good points regarding the position on war, but at least the JWs in Germany and Japan were not in the German and Japan armies. The JWs in those countries were not the enemies of the Allied military forces. Furthermore if you believe the Bible is true, then you believe that people faithful to Jesus and God will receive a resurrection to eternal life.
Regarding Cornelius, we don't know if he remained in active duty in the army after becoming a Christian. Regarding what the Bible says in Luke 22:36 keep in mind what the Bible says Jesus did when an apostle (Peter, a zealot) of Jesus used his sword to cut off the ear of the slave/servant of the high priest. Some people say Jesus used the words said at Luke 22:36 as a teaching example (such as to Peter) to later illustrate (at the time of the ear but cut off and then restored) that one should not use the sword. Keep also in the mind the words attributed to Jesus about he who fights by the sword shall die by the sword. The verses you used could also be used to argue that the Bible is contradictory in its message and thus not the word of God.
The Bible, such as in the book of Revelation, teaches that it is better for Christians to die as martyrs that to kill others (see the passages about the time of the antichrist and the beasts, and of those slain but who later go to heaven to rule with Christ).
Other than the JWs and the SDA (but the SDA might no be fully consistent in this matter0, I don't know of any Christian religion/denomination/sect with more than about 100,000 members worldwide that forbids its members to serve in armed combat. However Buddhism and Jainism are religions which are firmly against the taking of human life, even if it means that the their own members will be killed and tortured as a result in their present human life.
It takes courage in totalitarian countries (such as North Korea) to refuse military service, knowing you likely will be tortured and possibly executed as a result.
I think one thing JWs got right was that being a Christian is a way of life, a practice. Sitting in a pew inside a church makes you no more a Christian than sitting in your garage makes you a car.
I too didn't accept the whole non-violence thing growing up as a JW. The Watchtower finds a scripture and then stretches it past rational thinking into a doctrine. I found it hypocritical to say the least that a Witness would have no problem calling the police if an axe murderer was trying to kick the front door of their house in knowing full well that those police officers may shoot and kill the suspect, but you couldn't own a gun to protect yourself or family.
What I learned during the end of my fade - Romans 13:1-7 is referred to as the "Police Officer Scripture" by many churches. If God gives the earthly authorities a sword to use and expects them to use it for our benefit, to the point of calling them his "ministers," how is it wrong to carry a weapon as a police officer?
About ten years later I read this book that showed me something in plain sight - Luke 3:10-14
10 And the crowds were asking him: “What, then, should we do?” 11 In reply he said to them: “Let the man who has two garments* share with the man who has none, and let the one who has something to eat do the same.”+ 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized,+ and they said to him: “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He said to them: “Do not demand* anything more than the tax rate.”+ 14 Also, those in military service were asking him: “What should we do?” And he said to them: “Do not harass* anybody or accuse anybody falsely,+ but be satisfied with your provisions.”* - NWT
So, here the crowd was asking Jesus what they need to do to gain salvation. In the crowd were soldiers who asked as well. Did Jesus say, "Put down your sword, your spear, and your javelin and follow me"? No! Jesus told the soldiers to quit shaking down the citizens and be content with the provisions the military gives them.
Then the first gentile to convert to Christianity - Cornelius. Notice, Peter is sent to Cornelius who is converted on the spot. Cornelius was a Roman military officer. Where did Peter tell Cornelius he had to resign his commission and give up military like? That's right - he didn't!
Yet, the Watchtower forces active duty military members to be discharged before they are allowed to be a Witness.
With all that being said, late in life I have seen the benefit of non-violence and have accepted it. I won't allow innocent people to be harmed. There is not path to peace. Peace is the path.
The religion teaches a higher moral standard (not necessarily higher than that taught by other religions, but higher than is practiced in our society), though obviously not all JW's adhere to it 100%. I think being raised under those policies prevented me from trying (at least) some "stupid" things as a youth. (Smoking. Drugs. Even guilt free engagement in premarital sex, which could have led to life changing consequences, ie, unwanted pregnancy, etc)
Furthermore if you believe the Bible is true, then you believe that people faithful to Jesus and God will receive a resurrection to eternal life.
This is not what Christians believe. For the Christian, the object of faith is Jesus and the road to him is belief. Christians cannot always be faithful. But, they can always believe. IT IS YOUR BELIEF, that triggers the blood covering, not your actions. True, actions will generally follow belief, but it has varying consistency. But, belief in the sufficiency of the blood of Christ to cover - now that is something that I can ALWAYS do.
"Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"
Regarding Cornelius, we don't know if he remained in active duty in the army
But what we do know was that it WASN'T necessary to quit in order to become a Christian.
Keep also in the mind the words attributed to Jesus about he who fights by the sword shall die by the sword.
Your changed scripture here. The word is lives by the sword not fights by the sword. Some of the greatest Christians I know are active and retired military. One naval officer was my Sunday School teacher for years. He is a tremendous man of God. He invited me to his retirement ceremony on base. Was fascinating. He lives by the word of God, even though he protects with a sword. BOTH are consistent.
You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.
Reading and Speaking skill development. And some of the people where nice but that was a small few.
What aspects do I view most favorably about the WT and/or its religion?
Its ability to make a ton of money flipping real estate! :) :)
When I wrote fights by the sword instead of lives by the sword, I was going by memory of two Bible verses and was in a hurry to get my message posted before leaving home to go to work. However, I wasn't incorrect (see below where Bible quotes says "take up" and "kills with"), since the word I used convey essentially the same meaning as the word(s) used in Bible verses. Your use of "lives" is in harmony with a Greek drama (see below).
But if someone makes a living by being employed in the military to intentionally kill people, whether by the sword, guns, cannons, bombs, etc., then I think those verses applies them also, not just villains killing for fun, money, or power. I realize that others don't think it applies to those in military service (but what if they were Nazis doing the evil bidding of Hitler?)
There are two verses, one which says "take up the sword" (Matthew 26:52 NASB Updated; NWT 1984 says "take the sword') and one which says "kills with the sword" (Revelation 13:10; NASB Updated; NWT 1984 says "kills with the sword") and I have long thought those to verses convey the same message. The Life Application Study Bible - NASB Updated edition at Matthew 26:52 gives the cross reference to Revelation 13:10. The verse in Matthew 26 is the verse immediately after the verse in which someone with Jesus (which a different gospel account identifies with Peter) used a sword to cut off an ear.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_by_the_sword,_die_by_the_sword . It says in part the following.
' "Live by the sword, die by the sword" is a proverb in the form of a parallel phrase, derived from the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 26, 26:52): "Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."
... The phrase comes from the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 26, 26:52), in which one of Jesus's disciples is described as having struck the servant of the High Priest of Israel and cut off his ear. Jesus is described as having rebuked him, saying:
... The sayings is sometimes interpreted to mean "those who live by violence will die by violence", which some have interpreted as a call for Christian pacifism or even complete nonviolence, including in self-defense. The passage may also mean that those who use the sword in a criminal, violent, unlawful way will be subject to execution by the sword. This would connect the passage to the statement by St. Paul in Romans 13:4, which uses the same Greek word for sword, "If you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for nothing." This is also in keeping with Genesis 9:6 where God commanded Noah, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image."
The line differs across translators and is variously understood as "live by the sword, die by the sword" or "an eye for an eye", emphasizing the irony or appropriateness of the means by which he was killed.'
For context about Matthew 26:51-52 see also Luke 22:36, 38, and 49-51. Verses 49-51 show how Jesus applied his words recorded in Luke 22:36, 38. Such was I was stated in my prior post.
With all due respect, the WT view is repugnant to anyone who likes law, order, & peaceable living. The shear scope of dissonance that is required to believe it is breath-taking.
For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. - Romans 13: 4
Using the logic of the WT, God would have to appoint people to specifically violate his laws in order to fulfill the governmental ministry He called them to!