One hour with a Jehova’s Witness
For a long time, I have been meaning to invite a Jehova’s witness in for coffee – they come by every Saturday. Today, I did. A nice man from the Okanagan valley named Dan. We spoke for 1 hour about various elements of his beliefs, my issues with religion and some crazy theories about Jesus I have been researching.
One thing that stood out was how little he knew of the bible. I am no expert, but I could certainly remember parts. Jehova’s witnesses are fundamentalists and crazier than I originally thought. They believe that the bible is the word of god and that it should be followed literally. From Wikipedia:
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that after the current world order is destroyed, righteous survivors and resurrected dead individuals will have the opportunity to live forever on a paradisaical earth, ruled by Christ and 144,000 people raised to heaven.
Despite this, we both agreed that parts of the bible are no longer relevant (stoning adulterers for example). Aditionally, Dan claims that since Jesus came to being, Mosaic law not longer needs to be followed in its entirerity. Instead, they extract a series of “principals” from the old testament that they follow in addition to rules set out in the new testament. I tried to get him to specify what they were or how they are chosen, he waffled like a professional politician. My guess, is these principals are determined by their “Elders Council” (see wikipedia). Slowly, and surely I tried to get him to contradict himself and poke a few cracks in his world view. As you might imagine, not much luck.
What is difficult to comprehend is how an apparently normal, fit person living in a modern liberal society can convince themselves of all this nonsense. When you abandon rational thinking, it is amazing what you can rationalize.
At the end of our discussion, I tried to give him a conflicting book (The God Delusion by Dawkins), which he refused. I don’t think I got through to him, but hopefully I planted a tiny little seed of doubt in his mind. He said he would stop by another weekend, so we shall see – only god knows.
Here is a recent ted talk from a former cult member who broke free and turned de-programmed:Published on July 4, 2009