One of the best things about living in a big city is the sheer diversity of its inhabitants. In the two weeks since I moved to Washington, D.C., I’ve seen every type of person from every walk of life. Of course, that means I also have the pleasure of running into the religious crackpots pushing their propaganda on every corner.
Being a person who has intentionally subjected himself to numerous church services as an atheist, I’m really quite likely to oblige when one of these fanatics offers me a pamphlet on my way to the metro. And that is how I came to possess a publication from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania – the publishing and distributing organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The book I received is called, “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” – and while Jehovah’s Witnesses presumably successfully hand these books out to tens of people every year, I might be the only one to read the entire 223-page document from cover to cover. Because I love you all so much, I decided I’d write a post highlighting the best parts of the book so that you don’t have to read it yourself. Join me below for a good laugh, and maybe you’ll even learn a bit about what Jehovah’s Witnesses actually believe.
The book starts in a manner almost encouraging to a secularist. In its opening discussion about asking questions regarding gods and the supernatural, it says:
It is good to ask such questions, and it is important that you do not give up until you find satisfying, reliable answers.
I like that – we should endorse inquiry and scrutiny of answers. So far, so good. And then:
Despite what other people may have told you, there are answers, and you can find them – in the Bible.
And it’s pretty much all downhill from there.
So God is never the source of the wickedness you see in the world around you…Granted, he does allow bad things to happen. But there is a big difference between allowing something to happen and causing it.
You’re right. But if you see somebody attempting murder, and you do nothing to stop it, you’re not exactly an upstanding citizen. That’s one reason I don’t revere the Biblical character of God: when he’s not causing misery, he’s standing by and watching it happen.
Would love move you to end the suffering and the injustice you see in the world? If you had the power to do that, would you do it? Of course you would! You can be just as sure that God will end suffering and injustice.
If I could, I’d end suffering and injustice immediately – and in fact I and many other people are working to expedite the end of unhappiness. The Christian’s loving god is twiddling his thumbs.
Imagine-you can become a friend of the Creator of the universe!
“Imagine” is precisely the correct wording.
The Bible is scientifically accurate. It even contains information that was far ahead of its time. For example, the book of Leviticus contained laws for ancient Israel on quarantine and hygiene when surrounding nations knew nothing about such matters…Of course, the Bible is not a science textbook. But when it touches on scientific matters, it is accurate.
First of all, shouldn’t a book inspired by the all-knowing creator of the universe be better than just ahead of its time? Shouldn’t it be really freaking accurate – and not just in vague terms such as the shape of the earth?
Moreover, have you read some of the shit in Leviticus? Leviticus 24:16 calls for the stoning of blasphemers. Leviticus 20:9 requires death for children who curse their parents. Leviticus 27:3-7 values women (in monetary terms) at 50-60 percent the value of a man.
Yeah…this is information “far ahead of its time.”
The Bible’s principles apply to all people, and its counsel is always beneficial.
Try telling that to people who have endured slavery because their oppressors knew the Bible justifies it.
[God] decided that time was needed to answer Satan’s challenge in a satisfying way and to prove that the Devil is a liar. So God determined that he would permit humans to rule themselves for some time under Satan’s influence.
What’s a few anguishing deaths to prove a point?
At one time, some of Jesus’ own relatives did not put faith in him, even saying that he was “out of his mind.”
These are the people who deserve to be remembered 2000 years later.
As you grow in knowledge of Jehovah, your love for him will deepen. In turn, that love will make you want to please him.
Emphasis mine – but the gay sexual imagery in this book is pretty heavy for a group so opposed to homosexuality.
What makes Jesus an outstanding King? For one thing, he will never die.
We actually put limits on terms leaders can serve for good reason. I’d hate to have a leader serve indefinitely. This is a terrible quality.
…we see that there will be war between God’s Kingdom and the kingdoms of this world. God’s Kingdom will be victorious…Then humans will enjoy the best rulership they have ever known.
It’s not much of a war if God has already predetermined the winner, is it?
Also, was Christopher Hitchens ever more right than when he said that wanting this inescapable rulership is the “wish to be a slave“?
If you obey Jehovah, you too can become his friend!
A friend who requires obedience as a prerequisite for camaraderie is no friend at all.
But God is the one who says how he should be worshiped, and the Bible teaches that he does not want us to use images.
Similarly, God dictates that if we want to masturbate, we are only to use pornographic literature – never videos.
When you first learned what the Bible really teaches, did you find that your heart began to burn with joy, zeal, and love for God?
Well, I definitely had heart burn.
I did learn some about Jehovah’s Witnesses after reading this book. For instance, I knew that they refuse to celebrate holidays or birthdays, but I didn’t know that they are also encouraged to refuse gifts from friendly givers around these times. Of course, they offer a very satisfactory consolation to the poor children of these parents:
One of the best gifts you can give your children is your time and loving attention.
I was also surprised when I learned that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in a soul or spirit that exists outside of the body. They don’t believe that when we die our spirits travel to another realm.
The life we enjoy is like the flame of a candle. When the flame is put out, it does not go anywhere. It is simply gone.
Of course, they do believe that God will resurrect all the dead bodies worthy of eternal life and destroy the ones who aren’t. So there’s that.
Additionally, I learned that Jehovah’s Witnesses abstain from taking sides in politics. Though they are staunchly opposed to abortion, they choose to maintain political neutrality in worldly governmental procedures.
I used to think of Jehovah’s Witnesses as a weird sect of Christianity. It turns out that they believe most of the same things that other branches of Christianity believe, just without any of the feel-good doctrines that make a religion mildly tolerable. No meeting your relatives in the afterlife; no celebrations of birthdays or holidays – who wants to believe in nonsense completely barren of any redeeming qualities?