"Community of faith"

by onacruse 8 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • onacruse

    What does that mean?

    Are JWs to be vilified for having such a community? Mormons, SDA's, Catholics, Protestants, JWDers, JWOers, JWFers, JWCers, etc, etc?

    I submit that it isn't what they think about us...it's what you feel within yourself.

    As ex-JWs, do we have the courage to really face ourselves, and say "This is me! and I'm glad to be me! and I'll shout that out loud in front of God and everybody!"

    Community is built from singularity.


  • gitasatsangha

    I don't really understand the question, dumb ole me, but communities exist on many levels, some of them public, some of them less so.

  • onacruse


    communities exist on many levels

    Yes. On what "basis" do we condemn one community, versus another? What "moral standard" can we use to categorically expunge the WTS as "worthless and debilatory"?

    I see 2 options:

    1) It doesn't matter: We are who we are, individually, and so be it;

    2) It does matter: And certain 'institutions' should be banned from human interaction, ethically speaking.

  • BrendaCloutier

    Communities are based on people coming together with common need, common interest, common idology. When Jah smote the peoples building the Tower of Babel and people began speaking different languages, they grouped with others who spoke the same language (so goes the fable of how various languages were born in my JW upbringing).

    The United States was "settled" by religious sects leaving Europe due to oppression. And within each physical community, the settlements were also bonded by their common religious belief structure.

    Up until the last 30-50 years, communities were often headed by the local church. Entertainment, moral attitude, family gatherings, singles dating, etc., were dictated and even supplied by the church. The non-belief of the last 30-50 years has brought about a solo-ness of mind and a certain loneliness and solo-superiority attitude, especially here in the US outside of the bible belt.

    Community is not a bad thing. When we belong to a community, we are less alone, feel less wierd, and are usually happier. Unless, like in JW, and other religious and non-religious groups, it's taken to fanatacism. Community in Faith is not a bad thing, either. It's common today in other non-religious areas, such as AA, PLO, Rotary Club, etc. When there is a common basis, it's kind of nice to go to another city, or part of the world and find "friends" and sameness when you're alone, even when it's in a different language you don't understand. I'm speaking of my AA experience when I traveled on business.

    I think it's the fanatacism that is being criticized in this thread.


  • Markfromcali
    I see 2 options:

    1) It doesn't matter: We are who we are, individually, and so be it;

    2) It does matter: And certain 'institutions' should be banned from human interaction, ethically speaking.

    I would say that ultimately, the healthy community is one that respects the individual as well as functioning as a singularity. It doesn't even necessarily involve a compromise of one for the other, in fact it is not seen to be different at all.

    Generally speaking, most seem to think it is necessary to limit individual freedom in order to have a group solidarity, to some extent, but this would basically imply a view where the group is no more than the sum of it's parts of individuals. Even when there is a lot of group solidarity, that itself can be clung to - and even without considering other groups which may disagree with this one, even if the entire universe was one big happy group, it can still be stagnant.

    The question of level kind of comes into play here, or you might say depth. When we say 'faith', do we mean simply sharing a belief system with some other people? Just how deep does that go, if someone can simply read about that belief system from a book and decide "okay, this sounds good to me - I'll join up"? Adhering to such a system can make for a solid group singlarity, but what happens when that is just shallow and superficial?

    Isn't that why we have all these exJWs here, because deep down inside, despite the 5 meetings a week, all the studying and field service and all the effort put into being part of that system, it was just not deep enough to hold it together? Sometimes people will leave for doctrinal reasons, but I really don't think it comes from some difference in the basis for judgement. Sometimes it's intellectual - maybe even something like chronology - but we have probably all heard of people with or even experienced first hand the lack of love as a cause for leaving. It would be short sighted to brush this off under the carpet with the excuse that the person was just too emotional or whatever. Considering there IS all this work going into making the thing work and being a part of the community, why doesn't it work for these people? Why is it there are people who are much happier but put in less of an effort in fitting in and being part of other groups? Frankly it's simply because what holds it together isn't real. It may take the form of a united people, but like that scripture says, it's like "having a form of Godly devotion but proving false to it's power." The power comes from that depth, or an intimacy you might say. Call it faith or whatever you want, but you simply can't fake that through an appearance of unity.

  • Carmel

    We can only speculate on the origins of "community" however, there does seem to be a pattern of centers of unity that have distinct similarities. Politically, man has organized himself in ever larger circles. Clans became tribes, tribes became cities, cities gave way to city States, and eventually nation states. Only in the last century have we begun to see ourselves as members of one global community. Religion has followed a different but similar path. I would suggest that it has been the elan of new religious zeal that has propelled the evolution of political evolution. As religions spread (consider either Christianty or Islam) an awareness of "brotherhood" and collegiality evolved that took in peoples of different races and ethnicity and political systems. The concomitant evolution of political systems allowed for peoples of different religions as well as races and ethnicity to live together rather peacefully in spite of their professed faith differences. The early history of Isalm speaks to this process.

    Within the milue of these larger "communities" we have the smaller "communities" that are geographically, theologically, race or class based. Other subcatagories apply, I'm sure. We have communities that are "exclusive" and those that are "inclusive". The former die from inbreeding or from becoming "out dated" while the latter die a different death. They become diluted by their inclusivity and change their identity, a form of death by self-sacafice. Time changes all of them one way or another..

    Some communities pressure their members to conform and become uniform, while others accept diversity. Few encourage diversity as it is more difficult to function the more diverse the group is.

    'Singularity is important to preserve creativity within a group. Channeling that creativity and encouraging it calls for a level of unity that is unfamiliar to exclusive groups (insert CULTS).

    professor carmel stepping off platform

  • blondie

    John Donne

    No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

  • M.J.

    Here's a "community of faith":

    And here's a basis by which to condemn it:

  • Brummie

    more like "A community of misplaced faith", there are so many of them but I must admit it, I did enjoy the bond we had as JWs.

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