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The End of the World

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are an odd lot. They wander around the city looking so neat and pleasant yet their message is anything but pleasant. A couple of days ago a pair of them (unusually two women) visited and handed me an invitation to a meeting to discuss how to survive the end of the world.

The thing about these cults is that they find the end of the world such a convenient event to help push their message. Usually the only way to survive is to join their group, convert to their religion, attend a meeting, or pay some sort of membership fee or tithe. Its all very convenient.

The fact that the end of the world has been predicted seemingly forever doesn’t seem to bother them. Even Jesus (allegedly) predicted it will happen within the lifetime of his audience (Matthew 24:34, Mark 13:30 and Luke 21:32 but not in John who presumably didn’t think it was important enough to mention) but 2000 years later it still hasn’t happened. I’m afraid its getting just a little bit difficult to take the idea seriously after all those false predictions! If you’re interested, I listed some of the more amusing predictions in a blog entry titled “Where’s Jesus?” from 2007-03-13.

But I really have to say that its pretty sick using these sorts of scare tactics to try to persuade people to join your cult (or sect, or denomination, or church, or whatever you want to call it – all those words really mean about the same thing in the end). You would imagine that after a few years people would realise the reason they joined was bogus and would want to leave again but I guess by then they have been so mislead by propaganda that they can no longer distinguish fantasy from reality. I certainly know one person who joined the JWs and seems to have that problem.

Its unfortunate that people get all concerned about the wrong things. If they were more concerned about genuine threats to our civilisation – things like overpopulation, pollution, global warming, terrorism, exploitation of the environment, and the oil/energy crisis – then that concern could be used to make some real difference. Going to meaningless meetings, wandering around town proselytising, and believing a load of worthless mumbo jumbo isn’t a good way to tackle the real threats.

Maybe someone should set up a new church which re-interprets the Bible and finds messages there about these subjects. I’m sure Jesus’s (alleged) words could be twisted around a bit to become a warning about global climate change. They’ve certainly been changed around for more negative reasons and it would be nice if they were used for something positive for a change.

Next time the JWs visits I might offer them that suggestion, or maybe they would prefer to stick to their current, simpler message even though its based on pure fantasy!

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  1. Bonnie Henke
    August 19, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Thank you for noticing that the Witnesses were pleasantly dressed.

    The two ladies may not have been clear, or perhaps the point was missed. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not use the subject of “Armageddon” or the end of the system as a scare tactic, in fact we look forward to this event, because it is not the end of the earth, rather it is the end of the system of man’s government.

    You didn’t mention what religion you subscribe to, however all christian religions teach the Lord’s Prayer as the main prayer of forgiveness and hope. In that prayer we are taught to ask “your Kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…” This leads us to believe that a Kingdom (or government) exists in Heaven. And we pray for it’s influence and establishment here on earth.

    Armageddon is what precedes the establishment of the government here on earth. It is Jehovah’s war against man’s government which of course will overthrew man’s government.

    Jehovah’s government is the answer to all the problems you mentioned above. No matter how good of a leader we have in the various countries they and the rest of mankind can only do so much. All the problems you mention above have been caused by mankind’s corruption “Thus, the human family could never be successful in regulating itself without God’s rulership. Trying to be independent from him, people would devise social, economic, political, and religious systems that would conflict with one another, and ‘man would dominate man to his injury.'”—Ecclesiastes 8:9.

    Just because Jehovah’s war against man’s government has not come yet, does not mean it is not coming….take a look around. Despite all of societies advances….things are indeed worse.

    You wrote above: “The thing about these cults is that they find the end of the world such a convenient event to help push their message. Usually the only way to survive is to join their group, convert to their religion, attend a meeting, or pay some sort of membership fee or tithe. Its all very convenient.”

    If you visit a Kingdom Hall you will notice that there is no discussion of giving money or tithe. There is no passing of a plate. Also, it is definitely not convenient to go door to door to discuss the hope of Jehovah’s Kingdom as mankind’s true answer to their problems. We do so out of love for mankind and love for Jehovah.

    The message is not ours…it is the message of the Bible, which from Genesis to Revelation is the Kingdom.

    Perhaps the next time Witnesses come to your door you might want to discuss with them the prospect of a wonderful life after Armageddon.

  2. ojb42
    August 19, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    The pamphlet they handed me was titled “How can you survive the end of the world?”. Sounds fairly threatening, wouldn’t you say? The rest was fairly general with other dire warnings like “know that the end is near”. No mention of what form this end might take.

    I am a rationalist so I only believe what there is good evidence for, therefore I have no religion. Show me the evidence for a god or whatever and then I’ll believe. We all know Bible verses, prayers, etc can be interpreted in many ways. Yours is just one with no greater or lesser authority than any other.

    How do you answer the criticism that the end has been predicted for 2000 years but still hasn’t happened? Sort of destroys your credibility a bit, doesn’t it? Many people believe even Jesus (if he existed) had a significant eschatological role.

    The people I know in JW all give a significant amount of their income to the church so it seems the JWs have a vested financial interest in getting more members.

    I have had extensive discussions with JWs in the past and they have usually walked away looking very confused (sometimes even a bit angry) because I’m very good at pointing out where their beliefs are wrong!

  3. Vinny
    August 20, 2009 at 2:43 am

    I became a baptized JW when I was 27 (from the “world”). I was a very active, zealous JW, and elder with many privileges and liked by almost all JW’s during my 15 years since then. My wife was solid, kids were all raised in it and our 19 year old daughter was a regular pioneer –(all of this just over three years ago). I had few complaints with the Society or with individual JW’s that I knew.

    But then one day I learned the honest facts as they truly are. Here is my story:

    http://newsblaze.com/story/20081209054218zzzz.nb/topstory.html

    Today I have no problems if people want to be JW’s. I say, as long as you know all sides of the JW religion (as most never do), then good for you, if that is what you want to spend your life doing.

    You can live an okay life as a JW, I guess, just as long as you are content handing your life over to the Governing Body; being told what to believe and what not to believe.

    What you can do and cannot do. What words can say and cannot say. What movies are okay to see and not to see. What you should wear and not wear etc. etc.

    You will have all kinds of friends wherever you go, which has some benefits. That is, as long as you agree with everything the Watchtower Society says.

    Disagree with even one WT teaching and you then realize that all of those friendships are 100 percent conditional.

    Which to some people are not really true friendships at all. But at least you have been ‘enlightened’ beforehand about this “brotherly arrangement”.

    You will have to be willing to allow your children to die rather than accept blood, if an emergency should arise. (You might wish to read this thread sometime:http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/16/150613/1.ashx

    You will have to be willing to allow your child to lose their parents if YOU find yourself needing blood to live.

    You will have to be willing to insist this same blood policy be accepted by any bible study you happen to meet (along with any kids they might have) in the field service before they can ever become a JW. And be willing to accept that some of these may die because of what you taught them to believe.

    You must be willing to cut or limit all ties with any baptized JW (including your own children and close family and friends) if they simply say, “thanks but no thanks, the JW’s just aren’t for me”!

    You must be willing to accept the fact that other people you bring into the JW’s will also have to be willing to cut or limit ties with any baptized person (including close family and friends), that simply want to walk away from the JW’s, even if they remain a devoted Christian afterwards.

    You must be willing to accept all current JW teachings (including things you may not agree with or understand), even though they were wrong about vaccinations, organ transplants, alternative service, numerous end of world predictions, Beth Sarim, rape rules, marital infidelity rules and much much more.

    No school sports, Cubscouts, Brownies, holidays, birthdays, proms, clubs and more for your kids.

    No beards for men if they ever wish to carry a microphone or other privileges in the congregation.

    No pants for women, new tattoos, piercings, longer hair, R rated movies for any JW if they want to be in good standing in the congregation and viewed favorably by other JW’s.

    As long as you are happy with these things, and many more like them, then I say good for you and I wish you and your family the best.

    At least you have been told.

    Vinny

    • ojb42
      August 20, 2009 at 10:28 am

      Wow. Awesome post. Thanks. I’ll read your story and respond more fully soon.

  4. middleman777
    August 23, 2009 at 3:15 am

    “Jehovah’s Witnesses do not use the subject of “Armageddon” or the end of the system as a scare tactic…”

    If one looks at the pictures of your Society’s publications, they may think differently.

    MM777
    http://middleman777.wordpress.com/

  5. ojb42
    August 23, 2009 at 9:58 am

    I have now read the full story mentioned by Vinny above. It sounds very much like Vinny still believes in Christianity and in God and therefore rejects JWs for a totally different reason to me (I see no reason to think there is a god and have serious doubts about the existence of Jesus).

    However there is one thing I will say which might be relevant: If there is a god, the truth about him is so different from the pitifully childish stories believed by the world’s major religions that he’s probably having a good laugh at them right now. I mean would a real god really impose some of those ridiculous laws mentioned in the Old Testament? I don’t think so and it would be an insult to a real god to even suggest he would.

    So if there was a god I think he would admire atheists far more than believers because they are the most honest and closest to the truth!

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