So, I got a contact letter from a local Jehovah's Witness...

by SecondRateMind 20 Replies latest jw friends

  • SecondRateMind

    ...which was kind of her. I find I like most Christians, even Mormons, and JW's.

    She sent me a leaflet, which asks: Where can we find the answers to life's big questions? Science? Philosophy? the Bible?

    And I find I like big questions, as well. If one is going to tackle life's disparate phenomena effectively, it seems to me that one needs some kind of mental model, some kind of ordering of priorities, that allows one to do so.

    So, if we take as a sample one of the big questions suggested by the leaflet: what is the meaning of life? then it is clear that science cannot, and never will, provide us such an answer. Science deals with things that are quantifiable and measurable, and the meanings of things do not fall into this category. Nevertheless, science is by no means useless; for most of us in the developed world, our qualities of life today are definitely an improvement on the qualities of life 100 or 1000 years ago. And this has far more to do with the success of the rational, scientific project than it has to do with religion.

    And philosophy is no vain enterprise, either. Philosophy does deal with the meanings of things, and, at least in the anglo-saxon analytic tradition, insists on rigorous, rational, cogently argued justifications for its findings. And this is a good, solid discipline to practice; that one should have good reason to believe what one believes, or just not believe it, until such evidence can be found. Nevertheless, it has to be admitted that philosophy has not yet identified indisputably the meaning of life, and is most effective when it comes to criticising such alleged meanings as and when they are proposed. This is not necessarily 'a bad thing', as it may well be that we can only discover what is true, by first discarding everything that is false.

    Now, as for the Bible. I find it contains much that is good, and much that is wise. Nevertheless, the document is the state of the art as it was 6000-2000 years ago. My position is that humanity has made progress since it was written, due no doubt, in part, to the fact that it was written. But I do not feel morally bound by the Bible, any more than I feel legally bound by Lex Romana, Roman Law. And as for the Bible's position on the meaning of life, then I don't think it ever explicitly spells this out, in so many words. It is left for us to infer, and to realise for ourselves, that love is what life is all about, rather than some scripture-derived ideology.

    So, I've got that off my chest. I'm willing to answer any points arising. But if you don't approve of what I have said, don't blame me. Blame your Bristol, UK, branch for sending me your leaflet.

    Best wishes to you all, 2RM.

  • DesirousOfChange

    But if you don't approve of what I have said, don't blame me. Blame your Bristol, UK, branch for sending me your leaflet.

    I think many of us here would appreciate if you would kindly refrain from grouping us in with that bunch of arseholes.

    Let's review: It's a Cult!

  • freddo

    Hello 2RM - I had a quick look at your profile and you said you joined this forum 4 years ago and I see this is your second post.

    The majority posting here are either ex JW's - booted out JW's - JW's that are nominally JW's for fear of being shunned by their loved ones if they formally leave JW's - doubting JW's and a very few "fully in JW's" that like to prod the nest and run away when the answers and questions get too difficult.

    So that being said I note you say your leaflet was from the Bristol UK branch. I beg to differ because the only branch in the UK is in London and what you probably have there is a local JW from one of the Bristol congregations - likely elderly and housebound who sends out leaflets in the belief that (likely she, possibly he) is doing Jehovah's will and joining in a "great shout of praise" and preaching "God's Kingdom".

    For me - I was a JW elder, man and boy for 50 years plus who no longer believes that JW's have the answer to "Life's Big Questions".

    In fact they cannot answer any questions like ...

    If I join your cult, experience all the "love" and "kindness" and and serve "shoulder to shoulder" with you but later conscientiously choose to leave over ever changing doctrine or objectionable practices, will you shun me?

    Why do you not report or encourage the reporting of child molesters when you learn of them in your congregations from your members?

    Why are your accounts not open and free for all to see?

    If Jesus condemned the pharisees for trying to hinder him from curing on the sabbath then why do you not allow blood transfusions when life is at stake?

    Why are your women socially pressured not to wear trousers/slacks when attending your meetings or standing next to one of your carts in your preaching work. Why are your men not allowed to have a beard and give a talk at one of your regional assemblies when the bible tells us that men must not shave their beards off (Leviticus 19 v 27)

    And why do you always preach the "End is Near" in direct contradiction of Luke 21 v 8.

    Need I go on?

    Thought not.

    Welcome anyway to our happy band!

  • SecondRateMind

    Ha Ha! But I am not prepared to be sucked into hostility. I have no grounds to think myself superior. As the Rev Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Caroll) put it: 'Why, sometimes I have believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!'

    Best wishes, 2RM.

  • freddo

    You obviously practice half an hour a day then?

  • OneEyedJoe

    Why do you need to look anywhere to find the meaning of life? The cult phrases the question in a way that excludes deciding for yourself what the meaning of your life is, because they want to give people a meaning (be slaves for the cult).

  • scratchme1010
    So, I've got that off my chest. I'm willing to answer any points arising. But if you don't approve of what I have said, don't blame me. Blame your Bristol, UK, branch for sending me your leaflet.

    No points arising on my end, but thanks for sharing. This can help people see things from a different perspective. Thanks again.

  • SecondRateMind
    Why do you need to look anywhere to find the meaning of life?

    Uh huh. Sometimes it is more important to raise deep questions, than to answer them. As Socrates said, he is wisest, who knows he is entirely ignorant. Plato was a past master at raising such questions, and 2500 years later we are still discussing the issues he first addressed. Indeed, AN Whitehead observed that all of Western Philosophy is best characterised as a series of footnotes to Plato. I think that picking up on such questions is a brave stance for a denomination to adopt, even if it is disingenuous to pretend that all the answers to such profound enquiries are to be found in scripture and some particular interpretation of it in the form of a strict religious ideology. There needs to be a more thorough justification than a mere appeal to a simple faith position, if the proposed solutions are to satisfy.

    Best wishes, 2RM.

  • sparrowdown

    FYI - The person who sent you the leaflet wasn't being kind she was doing what she has been trained to do, which is, active recruiting for her religion. All JWs are required to report the time they spend recruiting each month.

    If she was successful in recruiting you, you also would be required as a condition of baptism to recruit others and report that time as well.

    Not much "love" there just adherence to rules. JWs are all about the rules.

  • steve2

    The trap a lot of people fall into is starting out on the assumption that life’s “big questions” have definitive and truthful answers. If they did, we’d be set, wouldn’t we? The fact that we don’t have definitive and truthful answers is illustrated by the endless versions of “truth” out there.

    Preoccupation with the so-called “big questions” is akin to finding a variety of contradictory answers in children’s fairy stories, tarting up the answers with modern “reasonings” and speaking in an admiring way about others from diverse groups coming up with their own interpretations of these stories.

    You could do worse than dropping the need to find answers to big questions where there are none and focus instead on questions to which you yourself can answer such as your own values and goals that do not spend on definitive answers.

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