The Black & White Thinking of Jehovah's Witnesses---Are You Still Affected?
As Witnesses, we were taught HOW to think. We were force fed whatever "Mother" told us was best for us. We were constantly having ideas "inculcated" into us. Even if we personally felt that a thought or way of approach was wrong---we couldn't even speak of it. EVERYTHING was black or white. Right or wrong.......Many JWs do not realize they are being manipulated into thinking in only a certain way. They say "we are all free moral agents" but they explain to you that there is no such thing as "true freedom". They say, "WE know what's best for you". They say, "WE speak for Jehovah God and Jesus Christ".......Therefore, stop thinking. If you try to rebel, it's proof that you have a bad, independent attitude. What is the result?? When JWs leave the fold, they may become "more worldly", more inquisitive, more "out there". Or they might be just the same as they were when they were Witnesses-----arrogant, judgmental and "black or white". There are those that do not believe in anything and others that NEED to believe in at least SOMETHING!...........Are you still in the JW mindset or are you out?
thankfully, i've spent almost 3 yrs around half way normal people.
i've discovered "shades of gray" and it really broadens my thought process. i have brain cells perking up that i didnt even know i had!
I'm prolly still affected, but I'm waaay better than I used to be.
Probably one of the best reasons for JWs to go to college. A good education knocks all the "black and white" out of ya, if yer payin attention!
You know Min your question can be a bit of a zen koan, but that's another story.
In one sense the way to get past that is to recognize that things, including us, ARE affected - so it's "all relative" in that there is mutual interaction and influence. Even if we don't buy the views of another wholesale, just by virtue of reading messages here we have an affect on each other. People who are really hard core black and white kind of 'thinkers' tend to isolate and separate themselves, maybe not physically or only intellectually, but they got that barrier up and atleast some things are off limits. In that sense it is more not allowing the affect than anything, being afraid to be influenced by life in the general sense - it can be in different ways, it just so happens we're talking about mental stuff.
Mark, I guess I am the Zen koanman.
I have discovered that Black and White thinking is to be avoided in all beliefs, not just religious beliefs.
Contrary data or information on any belief should not be ignored, no matter how loudly that belief is shouted, or how many people hold that belief.
We are very good at reasoning away contrary information and data, without investigating whether or not our reasoning is valid. I had been been doing that for many years, on many subjects, before I woke up to the fact that a theory is only valid while there is no contrary data.
I have now dropped my Black and White thinking on any subject where there is some type of prophesied doom and and a profit driven motive for offering salvation from that doom. This includes health, science and religion.
I agree that B&W thinking is in the long run----counter-productive.
after 20 plus years I am far enough away to not have any repercussions....( I've had them all by now).
I have learned to think rationally for myself and make my own decisions based on my experiences in life ( post JW life; that is)
I live in a different world than I did as a JW child and young adult ( hey there really was a new world waiting out there) but occasionally something catches my attention and triggers a memory ( like seeing people with book bags going door to door) and I think back to a time when I DID THAT.....I cannot believe it was me.
JWs don't think for themselves in black, white, gray, blue or green, only what the WTS and the elders tell them to think. That's publicly at least.
The WTS doesn't endorse black and white thinking, min.w95 6/15 p. 20 "Sacred Service With Your Power of Reason" ***
The Greek word translated "discernment" denotes "sensitive moral perception." The word refers to the literal human senses, such as sight. When it comes to entertainment or any other matter requiring a personal decision, our moral sense should be focused so that we can perceive not only sharply defined, black-and-white issues but also those of gray shades. At the same time, we should avoid applying Bible principles to some unreasonable extreme and insisting that all our brothers do the same
But as the WTS is well known for double speakw77 9/15 p. 558 Working Together for the Unity of the Family ***
We should not want to walk as near the brink of wrongdoing as possible, feeling that we have certain rights and determinations that we ourselves can make if we choose. Nor should we excuse ourselves by saying that there is no direct writing in black and white in the Scriptures dealing exactly and in the most minute detail with a certain course of doubtful conduct.
***w73 10/15 pp. 635-636 Assemblies Assist Those Who Would Share in Divine Victory ***
As to the importance of individual godly devotion, a fine feature of the program that involved all those listening was "How Sensitive Is Your Conscience?" Live settings of actual situations were presented, demonstrating true-to-life instances in which there is no specific "black and white" Bible statement on the problem. The conscience of the Christian must be exercised, applying Bible principles to decide what to do in "gray" areas, such as, What is my responsibility as a clerk in a store when asked to put up unchristian holiday decorations, or to sell tobacco products? Or, What governs the extent to which I should watch or participate in sports activities? Everyone in the audience searched his conscience, and considered what counsel he might offer to another who presented such a question.
***w77 12/1 p. 716 Do All Things with a Good Conscience ***
The individual involved in these "gray areas" should look to the Bible and Bible aids. If he is still not clear on a decision, he may consult elders or others who can help him to see what the Bible says, but he should not let others make his decision for him. They are not his "conscience." Let him weigh matters himself, make his own decision, and follow through on this conscientious conclusion. With the passage of time he may come to see the matter in a different light, and make an adjustment, but he should avoid doing anything about which he has doubts, so that he will not be self-condemned.?Rom. 14:23.