A Very Misanthropik Bible Study
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23-09-2014, 05:53 PM
RE: A Very Misanthropik Bible Study
(22-09-2014 06:53 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  So we finally got around to meeting again yesterday. He's been busy with work, so it was the only time he could work me into his schedule.

I'm kind of disappointed, too; I was starting to feel all proud of myself for scaring him off. Rolleyes


Anyway, he and I talked for about 3 hours about a lot of shit. He brought two copies of the publication "Is There a Creator Who Cares About You?" so that we could read through it together. He said he wanted to stray away from the Bible (reasoning that I don't accept it as the inspired word of a creator, and its words would thus be lost on me), and instead read the book because it "raises a lot of talking points for us to discuss." He was very sincere about familiarizing himself with my point of view, and said that he read through the first chapter of the book so that he could imagine what I might think as I read it. (Is he...dare I say it...actively trying to put himself into the mind of a non-believer?) We then read the first two paragraphs and paused for discussion. He asked what issues - if any - I had with what had been written in those paragraphs. I told him "Well, to be honest, I've kind of got an issue from the very beginning with the emotional appeal of the chapter's title." ("What Can Add Meaning to Your Life?", which I felt was presumptuous and emotionally predatory) For the next 3 hours, we never got any further into the book.

Our discussion took a lot of twists and turns; as these sorts of discussions generally do. It's less a study of the Bible and more a couple of guys having a relaxed discussion about theology and life in general. In the beginning, I actually kind of had a fire in my belly because I know so much of religion's emotional exploitation and its tendency to prey on vulnerability in the target victim, but he was careful to defuse that. (Not that he succeeded, but he took the conversation in a different direction and I didn't bother going back to the issue) Instead, our discussion branched off into personal life meaning and eventually to morality and to the value of intellectual honesty. There was a bunch of filler, but with such a huge and complex conversation, I can't remember every point that was made or topic that was addressed.

At one point we were talking about why God's rules for living are, in his view, good for us, and why it is justified that God keep us away from things like promiscuous sex and drug use and things of that nature. He referenced Galatians 5:19-21.

"19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

He had just finished his lengthy speech about how God is a loving father who keeps us away from these harmful things when I raised a finger and asked 1) why drunkenness is mentioned alongside hatred, 2) if God was a jealous god and, if so, why jealousy is a bad thing and 3) what defines "sexual immorality." He answered that jealousy is not necessarily a bad thing, so long as it's not taken to excess, and then we delved into drunkenness - including what defines "drunkenness" - and never got back to the immorality thing.

He did eventually make a point that stood out to me and which I had a difficult time countering. I asked him why it's ok to eat shellfish now, but not ok to live a homosexual lifestyle. I expected him to go into a loose "new covenant" argument and claim that Jesus made things all fine and dandy, and to an extent, he did. But what he ultimately said was that, while the "old law" no longer applies, the principles of God still do. So, we no longer have to stone gays to death, but it's still not ok to act on gay desires because the "principle" of the matter - homosexual acts being sinful - still applies. I had not heard this appeal to principle before, and I wasn't entirely sure where to go with it.

Soon, though, I asked "Well then what, exactly, is the 'principle' of not eating shellfish?" He said he wasn't sure, but speculated (baselessly) that maybe "other nations" (ones who were against Jehovah) ate shellfish and God didn't want his people to be confused with them, or something of that nature. It was as stupid and smirk-inspiring as it sounds, and I said "Those nations probably drank water, too, but I don't see anything about that in the Bible." He emphasized that he didn't know exactly why God declared certain animals to be off-limits (along with certain fabrics), but trusted that God had a good reason. This then trailed off into a conversation of why some rules - like those of a parent - don't make sense, but he trusts them anyway because God is the divine "parent" and knows what's best.

In fact, he used that justification for a lot of what went on during the conversation from thence forth. He claims that he doesn't know a lot of why God did/does certain things, but that he trusts his divine judgment on the matter(s). Unable to think of any more substantial way to counter this "principle" argument, I simply told him that these rules are stupid and that there was never any tangible reason to refrain from bacon or shrimp, and so I dismiss God's "judgment" on the matter entirely.

Disappointingly, in a desperate effort to validate the stupidity of OT rules, he even stretched so far as to claim that "Maybe the entire nation was allergic to shellfish; I don't know." He's a super nice guy and is genuinely sincere, and even he knew how stupid that sounded, but I still couldn't help but laugh in his face. (For a black guy, he sure turned a bright shade of red)

Toward the end of the discussion, we ended up in "blood transfusion" territory, and I asked him what he would do if his child were dying in front of him and needed a blood transfusion. He did the usual Witness acrobatics: trying to down-play the effectiveness of using blood in medicine; over-played the emergence of blood-fraction treatments (which raised the question of which part(s) of blood are "sacred"); claimed that there were other ways to stop bleeding and prolong life; etc. I stopped him and said "Seriously. Without all of the bullshit. Your child is laying right there, right now, in this kingdom hall, and there is no other way to save it than to give it blood from the IV bag that I hypothetically have in my back pocket. What are you gonna do?"

He wanted really badly to keep doing backflips, but he knew he had to really face the hard question, and after a long pause, he looked at me and said very humbly "I just don't know that I'd give it blood. I'd be like Abraham on the mountain with Isaac when Jehovah told him to kill his son. I would just have to trust in Jehovah's word and trust that my child would be resurrected; but it'd be a very difficult choice, and that's why I don't have kids."

I told him straight-up that this was a very serious problem within the doctrine for the very reason that it would cause him to virtually kill his own child (through lack of intervention), and I even declared that he, too, knew that letting his kid die would be wrong, and that's why he was having such trouble with it. Again, he fell back on trust in God's judgment as his security blanket.

The conversation was topped off with a discussion of why I fail to believe, and, knowing that he ultimately wishes to convince me, I gave him a straight-forward illustration similar to the one I outlined in the OP. I said "Ultimately, you have to think of it this way: I don't believe in Jehovah for the very same reason you don't believe there's an invisible, incorporeal, but intelligent entity living in my back yard. This entity demands that you worship it, so believing in it is very important. If I told you to have faith, you'd dismiss it as insufficient to make you truly believe. So what you have to do is think of precisely what it would take for you to believe - to truly, sincerely believe - that this entity exists in my back yard. That's exactly what it would take for me to believe in Jehovah. Think about that as hard as you can, and I'll see you next Sunday."



Overall, the discussion was very enjoyable for both of us and, despite the heavy subject matter, was civil and lighthearted the entire time. He's a cooler guy than I had imagined; to the point that I'm able to openly mock his beliefs as irrational (albeit in a joking and non-vitriolic manner) and he doesn't take it personally. He is more than happy to meet again next week so we can delve further into the book. That excites me because, having read the book already, I know that there are very specific claims that are debunked directly by science. (After the chapter about meaning, it moves on to subjects like the Big Bang and evolution and fine-tuning) It's one thing to wax philosophical at endless length, but it's an entirely different thing to argue scientific fact vs. fiction. That'll no doubt lead us into the validity of Watchtower claims, which will lead inevitably into me asking why the Watchtower lies and hides information. For all of his theological backflipping and unsubstantiated beliefs, he's otherwise a very reasonable guy, and I'd like to see what he says when he's shown direct evidence of his organizations misdeeds.

Interesting developments:

- He claims explicitly that he doesn't understand or agree with Jehovah's command to refrain from blood. He thinks blood transfusions should be just fine - despite his preprogramed excuses for why blood is "bad" - and "doesn't see the issue." But it is scripture, so he trusts God's judgment.

- He has absolutely no problem with tattoos whatsoever, and even desires to embed a full sleeve on his right arm. Historically, the organization is very much against tattoos, and he neither understands nor agrees with Jehovah on the issue of ink. When asked why he doesn't get a tattoo, he claims two reasons. 1) "I trust Jehovah's judgment and don't want to disappoint him," and 2) "I don't want to 'stumble' anyone who might just be coming into the organization. I represent Jehovah and want to look the part."

- He proclaims a deep desire to not only get tattoos, but to buy a motorcycle and live the life of freedom that he used to. I asked him what is wrong with doing just that, and he said "Nothing. I just trust that Jehovah has his reasons for not wanting me to."


For these and a lot of smaller reasons hinted at only briefly during the 3-hour conversation, I eventually said to him "You know, if my mom was sitting here right now and heard you saying all of these things, she would regret asking you to be my study guide. She would look at me and say 'John, Satan presents himself as an angel of light, and that is exactly what [REDACTED] is doing. Jehovah is very clear on these things, but [REDACTED] is painting them like they're really not so bad so he can lead you further away from Jehovah."

He laughed, but he was kind of taken aback and asked if that's really what she'd say. I was straight-forward with him. I said yes, and pointed out that both he and my mother are devout followers of the same belief system, and yet hold radically different views on the doctrine itself. I then asked "So, which one of you is the real christian, and which one should I listen to?" He fumbled over his words a bit, and quickly turned my attention back to Jehovah's "principles" to avoid answering the question directly.

I have a good feeling about this guy. Partly, anyway. On the one hand, he's a very heavy believer, and has done much to establish what he feels is a well-reasoned foundation to his beliefs. On the other hand, every time he speaks, he betrays an underlying sense of disagreement with the doctrine and a measure of what could arguably be called skepticism regarding theological matters as a whole. Sometimes, I feel like there's no way he's gonna turn and I'll end up completely disfellowshipped and I'll never see him again. (Which would suck, because he's interested in becoming my new client and I am not losing any more money) Other times, I feel such confidence in the "vibe" that I'm getting that I came home and joked to my sister "I've got him. I've fucking got him. He'll be an atheist by next year."

I really can't pin this guy down. He's a very reasonable individual, and yet he's kind of reasoned himself so far into his faith that I wonder if anyone could ever pull him back out again. I just don't know how things will play out. I guess I'll just keep planting seeds of doubt in his mind as best I can. Thankfully, he's more than open to a change of mind. He's not said so directly, but by the way he talks and thinks and the way in which we discuss things, I know he'd have no choice but to cave if given the proper push. (Like I said, he's actively trying to understand the world through the eyes of a non-believer - even if only so he can better reach me) If not, then my confidence in my ability to read others will be dealt a very serious blow.

First, if you're meeting is gonna be delayed can you let us know? I was starting to think you'd been assimilated. Confused
Sounds like the guy is enjoying the discussion. You're probably the only person he can talk to about what he really believes. He sure can't talk to other JWs about it.
Good points about the differences in what he and your Mom believes. You might ask him if he goes door-to-door preaching what others should believe even when he doesn't believe it himself.
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23-09-2014, 06:46 PM
RE: A Very Misanthropik Bible Study
Sounds like a good interaction. Keep posting, I'll be interested to see how this plays out.

Atheism is the only way to truly be free from sin.
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23-09-2014, 09:10 PM
RE: A Very Misanthropik Bible Study
Fascinating and your ability to portray the interaction reads like a thriller.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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23-09-2014, 11:15 PM
RE: A Very Misanthropik Bible Study
Can I come out from behind the sofa now?
:unsure;

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24-09-2014, 05:00 AM (This post was last modified: 24-09-2014 04:13 PM by Chas.)
RE: A Very Misanthropik Bible Study
(22-09-2014 06:53 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  - He claims explicitly that he doesn't understand or agree with Jehovah's command to refrain from blood. He thinks blood transfusions should be just fine - despite his preprogramed excuses for why blood is "bad" - and "doesn't see the issue." But it is scripture, so he trusts God's judgment.

Except that it's not scripture; it's a demented interpretation of scripture.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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24-09-2014, 03:44 PM
RE: A Very Misanthropik Bible Study
You might find this helpful:

http://jwsurvey.org/cedars-blog/watchtow...-believers

"Presumably this “practicing sin in secret” is a reference to the fact that many apostates within the organization practice the “sin” of disagreeing with the organization without doing so publicly for fear of reprisals. But by attempting to stigmatize them in this way, Watchtower overlooks the reasons why apostates behave in this manner."
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27-09-2014, 02:14 PM
RE: A Very Misanthropik Bible Study
(24-09-2014 05:00 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(22-09-2014 06:53 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  - He claims explicitly that he doesn't understand or agree with Jehovah's command to refrain from blood. He thinks blood transfusions should be just fine - despite his preprogramed excuses for why blood is "bad" - and "doesn't see the issue." But it is scripture, so he trusts God's judgment.

Except that it's not scripture; it's a demented interpretation of scripture.

True; we did discuss that as well. The blood topic was actually a pretty lengthy part of the discussion. He realized that the scriptures say not to "eat" blood, and so he went on for some time pondering what constitutes "eating." I went not-so-far out on a limb and suggested "taking it in through your mouth?" and he said he didn't know.

The problem with this particular thing is that the Witnesses aren't 100% sure what it means to "not eat blood," so they have to run around in a panic wondering when it's ok to put blood into your body and when it's not. For instance, he said that he might personally be ok with letting blood flow from one part of his body, out through a tube, and into another part. This, to him, wouldn't constitute an "intake" of blood, because it's his own and it's confined within a tube when it leaves his body. (I had to resist shaking my head in bewilderment) He would, however, have a problem taking blood from an outside organism and putting it into his body. He then clarified that a lot of the issue is a gray area and each witness needs to decide for themselves what they're willing to do so that they don't hurt sky-daddy's feelings.

That's what it came down to at the end of the whole exchange. "Conscience." With tattoos, drinking, blood, sex, etc., he surprised me by saying that the doctrine and the elders and other members of the congregation don't matter; it's what you decide for yourself in your service to Jehovah.

I was expecting to be set up with one of the by-the-book elders I'd always known growing up, and instead I got the liberal, free-spirited christian who uses doctrine as a guide and then figures the rest out on his own. Dodgy

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28-09-2014, 06:12 AM (This post was last modified: 28-09-2014 06:17 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: A Very Misanthropik Bible Study
(27-09-2014 02:14 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  
(24-09-2014 05:00 AM)Chas Wrote:  Except that it's not scripture; it's a demented interpretation of scripture.

True; we did discuss that as well. The blood topic was actually a pretty lengthy part of the discussion. He realized that the scriptures say not to "eat" blood, and so he went on for some time pondering what constitutes "eating." I went not-so-far out on a limb and suggested "taking it in through your mouth?" and he said he didn't know.

The problem with this particular thing is that the Witnesses aren't 100% sure what it means to "not eat blood," so they have to run around in a panic wondering when it's ok to put blood into your body and when it's not. For instance, he said that he might personally be ok with letting blood flow from one part of his body, out through a tube, and into another part. This, to him, wouldn't constitute an "intake" of blood, because it's his own and it's confined within a tube when it leaves his body. (I had to resist shaking my head in bewilderment) He would, however, have a problem taking blood from an outside organism and putting it into his body. He then clarified that a lot of the issue is a gray area and each witness needs to decide for themselves what they're willing to do so that they don't hurt sky-daddy's feelings.

That's what it came down to at the end of the whole exchange. "Conscience." With tattoos, drinking, blood, sex, etc., he surprised me by saying that the doctrine and the elders and other members of the congregation don't matter; it's what you decide for yourself in your service to Jehovah.

I was expecting to be set up with one of the by-the-book elders I'd always known growing up, and instead I got the liberal, free-spirited christian who uses doctrine as a guide and then figures the rest out on his own. Dodgy

Methinks you give this guy too much respect. Sure, he may be a "nice" bloke, but he's still teaching bullshit to kids. He's a liar. He's exploiting vulnerable adults too...your mum, for example. Let's call a spade a spade...the JW's are fucked up. They're almost universally unwell with deep psychological issues...if you scratched his surface hard enough you'd be sure to dig up a can of worms....but they usually won't talk about it....because they're not in the habit of being real...their whole existence is a facade. Your boy is not even honest enough to recognise he's a hypocrite.

I'd like you to tell him what you really think...and don't hold back. It would do you good too. String him over the coals for being part of a thoroughly immoral, self serving backward, evil cult. Suggest he finds some real friends from somewhere outside the church...he could start with you, for example.

And, by the way, your mum... is as dumb as dog shit. So is my mum ( at times). Just accept it, even though it's hard. You can still love her. Doesn't mean she 's a bad person or doesn't deserve respect. She's intellectually feeble, and a victim of a nasty brainwashing cult. Stop wondering whether she might know something you don't, because she doesn't, so it's not worth the angst. No need to tell her this, because that might compromise your relationship with her, and she wouldn't "get it" anyway.

Tell him though. Hit him with a reality stick. If he gets shitty, so what? He was only talking to you with an agenda that didn't have your interests at heart....but his church's. Why should you care about his feelings? Fuckin' JW's! If he has any real empathy or good will he'll remain cordial.

When you're finished with him, bring on no 2, then 3. They sure fucked you around when you were a kid, now it's their turn.
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03-10-2014, 12:34 AM
RE: A Very Misanthropik Bible Study
Sorry, all. Computer troubles. I was super pissed, too, because it was one of our best studies yet.


This time around, things got pretty heavy. One might even say heated. The subject matter and my insistence on being zero-bullshit kind of got to him and he brought out the claws. (Albeit in a passifistic JW sort of way. I'm not sure what that means either, but go with it) Again, the study was much too long (pushing 4 hours) to recall every little point that was made, and by now it was 4 days ago, so forgive me if it sounds a little convoluted. I do remember the significant portions, however.

The first thing that really stuck out to me was, fittingly, the first thing we delved into after sitting down together. Last week, we discussed the concept of God's psychopathy, and as usual, he relied heavily on the Bible as a (literary) demonstration of Jehovah's "loving kindness." During that part of the discussion, I asked "And what about the parts where He commands - or, at least, condones - the slicing open of pregnant women and the dashing to pieces of their infants against the rocks?" I lost a bit of respect for him in that moment, because he'd presented himself as biblically well-read up until that point, but when I mentioned smashing kids against rocks, he smirked and said "That's not in there." I assured him "Oh yes it is. We can look it up right now." He declined to do so, though; partly because I couldn't recall the exact verse off-hand and partly because he wanted to study it later to get the full "context." (Yes, I explained the fallacy of resorting to "context" when it comes to murdering kids) Still, he said, he didn't believe that it was in there. His exact words: "Jehovah wouldn't do that. There's no way."

Fast-forward to our most recent study, and the first thing he says when we sit down (after our usual catching up) is "So I did a little studying on the 'dashing to pieces' thing. What I found was actually pretty interesting..." His tone was humble and his demeanor had an air of mild defeat, and he went on to explain to me (to assure me that he read and understood the verses) why the scriptures depict Jehovah condoning the post-abortion infanticide that I had mentioned before. From there, he attempted (knowingly in vain) to justify this, and ultimately settled with "He's Jehovah. He's the supreme ruler of all things and the creator of the Earth. I just...I just feel like he has the right to do what he sees fit."

This was amusing to me, because (as I then pointed out to him) just last week, there was "no way" Jehovah would do something like that. Now, having read the verses and seeing that Jehovah would in fact do that, suddenly he's justified in doing that. The Jehovah this week is now very different from the Jehovah of last week, and yet he still accepts him fully and defends his actions. (Actions which, to him, were once reprehensible and unable to be committed by this loving and "just" god, but are now an accepted part of God's track record) He had no explanation for his reasoning, and resigned himself once more to the argument that God is God, and can thus do whatever he wants. I disagreed based on moral principle, and he then asked me to justify my morality. After doing so, I asked him why I don't have the authority to judge God's negative actions to be evil, but he assumes the authority to judge God's actions to be somehow "just." Again, he had no real explanation, and stated simply that we'd have to agree to disagree on judging God. (Something which, in his words, made me like Satan in that I am "accusing God;" to which I agreed whole heartedly and had to bite my tongue from praising Satan as extensively as I wanted to at that moment)

This argument about morality eventually lead into the issue of disfellowshipping - a practice with which I take much issue. I referenced scripture and verse that Witnesses use as justification for disfellowshipping (Numbers 19:20) and explained how this practice interferes greatly with the emotional and personal lives of congregation members. I cited individuals who have lost entire families and been robbed of everyone and everything they've ever known and loved because they did something which goes against the established rules of worship. In response, he justified this by citing the example of a family who had joined - and since left - the congregation some time after I had departed. I can't recall their last name, but for the sake of the story, we'll call them "the Hamiltons."

The Hamiltons, so his story began, were a bright, young family of four who had moved here from a congregation out of state and assimilated themselves nicely. Everybody loved them and they were behaving nicely in their worship to Jehovah. Soon, though, another member of the congregation (described as an apostate in disguise for fear of being shunned) began whispering like a devil in the family's ear and, at present, "They want nothing to do with Jehovah's Witnesses." This, to him, justifies the act of shunning. Jehovah has assigned the elders to be keepers of his "flock," and if the keepers wish to keep the flock pure in the eyes of Jehovah, they need to weed out those who would sow strife and spiritual unrest among the members of the congregation.

I'll confess that, for the first time during our discussions, I slipped up at this point. I'm usually air-tight, but I fear I may have rushed to the apostate's defense a little too quickly and a little too obviously. (In the moment, however, I couldn't really stop myself. I made a conscious effort to pump the brakes, but my facade had already been revealed) First, I pointed out how maliciously he had painted the apostate as a villain. "It's very poetic," I said, "how you painted him as this sort of lurching, snarling predator who was snaking his way through the congregation in search of suitable prey; and when he found it, he made fast work of his evil deed by sowing all manner of doubts and, in your words, 'lies' in order to break this family away from Jehovah. That, to me, speaks volumes about your bias as a believer. For me, as a non-believer, I fail to see a drooling predator and instead see a guy who has happened upon some actual truth and sought to share it with this family in order to 'save' them from a false doctrine."

After a few brief words on his part, he paused and then said "Ok, I need to ask you a serious question..." My mind said "Oh fuck..." but my mouth said "By all means."

He chose his words carefully, and then asked "What are you really hoping to get out of this[study]? What is your real motivation?" I explained to him that my intentions were and are as I had written in my first email to him: that I am devoted to truth and nothing but the truth, and that I was giving him an opportunity to provide me with some by way of our studies. I added that my mom had challenged me (as I also explained in my email) and that I was answering that challenge in an effort to demonstrate my intellectual honesty. Though obviously hesitant to believe this fully, he accepted that I was (and am) telling him the truth, and went on to explain to me what his relationship with Jehovah means to him, and that he would never do anything to risk losing that - like unwittingly being roped into a study with an outspoken apostate like myself.

And, it's not as though I lied to him. To be honest, I don't fully remember what my original intentions were back in the OP, but I do know that, as the weeks have passed, my motivations have evolved slightly and now, I really do want to continue these studies for the reasons described above. With that said, I also cannot deny that I'm trying to change his mind on these matters. But, why not? Is that not what such discussions should be about? He's presenting his best arguments in an effort to change my mind, and I'm doing the very same thing to him. It's how these sorts of discussions work. Branching out and exploring new ways of thinking.

Of course, I understand that he's not necessarily coming at it from that view. He's demonstrated that he is open to new information and a new way of thinking, but his ultimate goal as an elder in this study is to bring me out of this world and back into the fold.

In fact, that was a comparison that I made to him. If we take the snarling, creeping predator apostate and turn him on his head, we find a well-dressed elder sitting across from a study pupil. The apostate thinks he's found truth; the elder thinks he's found truth. The apostate wants to reach out and save members from this wicked congregation; the elder wants to reach out and save people from this wicked world. When painted in the manner that he painted the apostate in question, they are equal opposites in every way. And, if they heard that, each of them would say "Yeah, but the difference is that I really do have the truth. He doesn't."

From this somewhat heavy portion of the exchange, we ventured - again - into the issue of intellectual honesty when I asked him how it could possibly be intellectually honest to literally shun another point of view; simply because it may change your way of thinking. This sent him on a lengthy and emotional tangent about his upbringing, the personality that was molded by that upbringing, and why adhering to Jehovah is the only, singular way he can feel like he has true meaning in his life. This, he says, is why he agrees with my statement that we should question and doubt absolutely everything, but disagrees with the "absolutely everything" part. (You know: the whole meat of the statement itself) He agrees that questioning is good and healthy, but stated explicitly that there is one thing he will never question, and that is his faith in Jehovah. (When offered - hypothetically - to read "A Manual For Creating Atheists," his exact response was "No! Why would I want to do that?") To all of this, I restated that we should question everything, and added that "I am perfectly willing to devote three hours every Sunday to listening to another side of the argument; knowing full-well that it could lead to a change in my views. I am absolutely, perfectly willing to change my mind if given valid reason to do so. Why aren't you?" His answer was sort of two-fold. First, he says, he's not willing to change his views on this because - essentially - it makes him feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Second, he agrees that we should question, but also feels that we "need something solid to stand on in our lives." Meaning, there should be things we not only fail to question, but should never even think of questioning in the first place, because that would somehow give us what he considers an uneven or unsturdy foundation.

To this, I explained what it means to be reasonable, and why it's imperative that we be willing to change our minds in accordance with new information. He then came dangerously close to pissing me off by telling me that "It's not good to be so easily swayed." I then had to explain the difference between credulity and intellectual honesty, and told him (though not in so many words) that doing what I'm doing is the sign of a healthy, rational mind and what he's doing (refusing to question his own faith) is a sign of him being a pussy. He then did what I've been trying to get him to do the entire time and opened the floodgates to scientific discussion by claiming that his beliefs are "real" and that he wouldn't question them any more than he'd question that gravity is real. To which I responded with a hefty "Prove it."

So, this Sunday, we'll be discussing scientific claims. Finally. We discussed science briefly toward the end of the study, and I took a really bold step by offering to lend him my copy of "The Greatest Show On Earth" by Dawkins because it 1) presents the evidence and 2) does so more clearly than I could. This made him very uncomfortable, given Dawkins' second career as an outspoken atheist activist. For him, this would be "apostate literature," despite my consistent reassurances that the man is separate from the cold, hard science of the matter, and that the evidence would be presented clearly regardless of what Dawkins or any other scientist does in their own time. He still insisted that I not bring the book, and stated that he would prefer to avoid books - which can be biased - altogether and instead go straight to published, peer-reviewed scientific journals. I figured this was probably even better than a simple book, so I pointed him to TalkOrigins and to a few places where he could find the pure science itself. He and I will discuss his findings this coming Sunday.

In the meantime, he wants me to look into the historical accuracy of the Bible. He says that verifying that at least some things in the Bible are true (for example: Egypt exists) will give us a good starting point from which to progress. Which, to put it simply, means that he eventually wants to connect "[GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION]" existing to "Jehovah is real." So, this should be fun. Wink

He also wanted me to really meditate on whether or not I carried anything - values, ideas, etc. - over with me when I left the faith. On whether or not I still adhere to anything I was taught as a witness. I still can't think of anything. Instead, I'm going to compile a detailed list of things I used to adhere to, and why I no longer do.

I do want to ask him, though, why he repeatedly dismissed the science of evolution before - as it seems - even bothering to read the published findings. This is inconsistent with his constant preaching of "studying a subject in-depth before coming to any conclusions." It'll be interesting to see what he says. In the meantime, now that I have my computer back, I'll also be scouring the internet for more outright lies, quote mining and deliberate misinformation in the Watchtower publications. I've been hiding that ace up my sleeve for a while, but I really want to lure him into the corner (by discussing whether or not God's organization would ever resort to dishonest tactics) and hit him with it. Maybe I'll wait a little longer for just the right moment, but I need to begin a comprehensive list of examples. Any help anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated. (I don't have time to do all of this shit on my own. lol)

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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03-10-2014, 12:41 AM
RE: A Very Misanthropik Bible Study
(28-09-2014 06:12 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(27-09-2014 02:14 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  True; we did discuss that as well. The blood topic was actually a pretty lengthy part of the discussion. He realized that the scriptures say not to "eat" blood, and so he went on for some time pondering what constitutes "eating." I went not-so-far out on a limb and suggested "taking it in through your mouth?" and he said he didn't know.

The problem with this particular thing is that the Witnesses aren't 100% sure what it means to "not eat blood," so they have to run around in a panic wondering when it's ok to put blood into your body and when it's not. For instance, he said that he might personally be ok with letting blood flow from one part of his body, out through a tube, and into another part. This, to him, wouldn't constitute an "intake" of blood, because it's his own and it's confined within a tube when it leaves his body. (I had to resist shaking my head in bewilderment) He would, however, have a problem taking blood from an outside organism and putting it into his body. He then clarified that a lot of the issue is a gray area and each witness needs to decide for themselves what they're willing to do so that they don't hurt sky-daddy's feelings.

That's what it came down to at the end of the whole exchange. "Conscience." With tattoos, drinking, blood, sex, etc., he surprised me by saying that the doctrine and the elders and other members of the congregation don't matter; it's what you decide for yourself in your service to Jehovah.

I was expecting to be set up with one of the by-the-book elders I'd always known growing up, and instead I got the liberal, free-spirited christian who uses doctrine as a guide and then figures the rest out on his own. Dodgy

Methinks you give this guy too much respect. Sure, he may be a "nice" bloke, but he's still teaching bullshit to kids. He's a liar. He's exploiting vulnerable adults too...your mum, for example. Let's call a spade a spade...the JW's are fucked up. They're almost universally unwell with deep psychological issues...if you scratched his surface hard enough you'd be sure to dig up a can of worms....but they usually won't talk about it....because they're not in the habit of being real...their whole existence is a facade. Your boy is not even honest enough to recognise he's a hypocrite.

I'd like you to tell him what you really think...and don't hold back. It would do you good too. String him over the coals for being part of a thoroughly immoral, self serving backward, evil cult. Suggest he finds some real friends from somewhere outside the church...he could start with you, for example.

And, by the way, your mum... is as dumb as dog shit. So is my mum ( at times). Just accept it, even though it's hard. You can still love her. Doesn't mean she 's a bad person or doesn't deserve respect. She's intellectually feeble, and a victim of a nasty brainwashing cult. Stop wondering whether she might know something you don't, because she doesn't, so it's not worth the angst. No need to tell her this, because that might compromise your relationship with her, and she wouldn't "get it" anyway.

Tell him though. Hit him with a reality stick. If he gets shitty, so what? He was only talking to you with an agenda that didn't have your interests at heart....but his church's. Why should you care about his feelings? Fuckin' JW's! If he has any real empathy or good will he'll remain cordial.

When you're finished with him, bring on no 2, then 3. They sure fucked you around when you were a kid, now it's their turn.

I would disagree about my mother...but only on the issue of respect. She's not only dumb as dog shit, but is actually proud of it (and is aggressively condescending of anyone who's not as dumb as dog shit), and is thus not worthy of my respect on matters of the intellectual. I know it's a pretty widely-held view that parents are worthy of respect by default, but respect can be lost, and she's lost mine a thousand times over. Plus, she's all but completely shunned me.

(I'd say that, at the very least, she's worth an inheritance but, in their spite, they've put everything in my sister's name. Not like my sister wouldn't share with me anyway, but, it's the thought that counts. Fuck 'em)

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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