Letter to a Wavering Believer
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15-09-2012, 06:31 PM
Letter to a Wavering Believer
I was trolling around Youtube looking for some good debate when I came across a young gentleman who had posted a comment explaining how he felt that his faith was slipping. He is a Jehovah's Witness - as I used to be - and he describes how he is plagued with unease about his future in the Congregation. He feels "persistent doubts" and observes "questionable activities" within the Congregation, and these have caused a rift within his conscience. On one hand, he desires to keep strong in the faith and eventually draw closer to his God, but on the other hand, he feels a nagging desire to break free and live his life the way HE sees fit. He points out that he loves Jehovah, truly, but that this "love" doesn't seem strong enough to keep him from desiring something more to life.

Empathizing with his situation, I decided to write him a somewhat lengthy letter. I was hoping that perhaps you guys could judge it for me. Any suggestions/insight would be beneficial.

"I notice that you cite "persistent doubts" as something that is pressing on your mind. This strikes a chord with me, because I too eventually had doubts about the organization and its teachings. If you'll recall, the Witnesses often preach an opposition to "free thinking". As a child, I often had questions about things outside of the organization, and when I approached someone with these inquiries of simple curiosity, I was immediately reprimanded; being told that "Jehovah doesn't like free thinking." In their eyes, free thinking is a danger to one's faith.

I suppose that I must give credit where credit is due. They are correct. Free thinking (otherwise known as "a healthy curiosity about the world") often leads one to abandon their faith. The reason?

Faith is completely irrational. It is "a belief without sufficient evidence". Faith is believing that Jehovah created every living creature "according to it's own kind" when observable, testable, Retestable and consistent evidence has repeatedly shown that this is not the case. Faith is believing that 144,000 will ascend to Heaven after they die, despite the fact that the organization also teaches that there is no "soul" or "spirit" that survives death (what goes to Heaven, then?). Faith keeps one believing in the established existence of a patriarchal deity known as Jehovah (depending on what religion one happens to be born into, that is), when His existence has never been evidenced or proven since his conception - despite what the Watchtower and Awake! magazines would have people believe.

For these reasons, faith is completely and totally irrational. Free thinking, on the other hand, is a natural and effective way to see through the blizzard of nonsense that many religious organizations - the Witnesses included - teach as fact. Free thinking is what caused Galileo Galilei to peer deep into the night-sky and discover that the Earth was not, in fact, the center of the Universe (he discovered this by observing moons orbiting the planet Venus, thus confirming that at least *something* didn't orbit the Earth). Free thinking is what lead devout christian Charles Darwin to delve a bit deeper into biology and eventually discover that species gradually mutated over time, despite what his faith had lead him to believe. Free thinking is what has brought us to this point in our history. The very foundation of the sciences that eradicated Polio and discovered the atom, were all based on freely-thinking minds who dared to be curious about the world around them.

While I applaud your deep - and natural - desire to live a life that is pleasing to YOU, rather than to a deity who's existence has neither been observed nor validated, what you, as a human being living in one of the most exciting and intellectually-rich times in history, need to be focused on, is CURIOSITY. Daring to ask questions about the world and how it functions. Having the audacity to ask if something is really true, rather than simply taking it on the organization's word. Building a belief system based on observable, testable, REtestable and consistent data, rather than on blind faith.

Because in the end, you can have all the faith you want that your car's breaks are going to hold. But while that may be, a reasonable and logical person is still going to wear a seat belt. Why?

Because faith, no matter how deeply-held, CAN be wrong."

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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16-09-2012, 07:34 AM
RE: Letter to a Wavering Believer
(15-09-2012 06:31 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  I was trolling around Youtube looking for some good debate when I came across a young gentleman who had posted a comment explaining how he felt that his faith was slipping. He is a Jehovah's Witness - as I used to be - and he describes how he is plagued with unease about his future in the Congregation. He feels "persistent doubts" and observes "questionable activities" within the Congregation, and these have caused a rift within his conscience. On one hand, he desires to keep strong in the faith and eventually draw closer to his God, but on the other hand, he feels a nagging desire to break free and live his life the way HE sees fit. He points out that he loves Jehovah, truly, but that this "love" doesn't seem strong enough to keep him from desiring something more to life.

Empathizing with his situation, I decided to write him a somewhat lengthy letter. I was hoping that perhaps you guys could judge it for me. Any suggestions/insight would be beneficial.

"I notice that you cite "persistent doubts" as something that is pressing on your mind. This strikes a chord with me, because I too eventually had doubts about the organization and its teachings. If you'll recall, the Witnesses often preach an opposition to "free thinking". As a child, I often had questions about things outside of the organization, and when I approached someone with these inquiries of simple curiosity, I was immediately reprimanded; being told that "Jehovah doesn't like free thinking." In their eyes, free thinking is a danger to one's faith.

I suppose that I must give credit where credit is due. They are correct. Free thinking (otherwise known as "a healthy curiosity about the world") often leads one to abandon their faith. The reason?

Faith is completely irrational. It is "a belief without sufficient evidence". Faith is believing that Jehovah created every living creature "according to it's own kind" when observable, testable, Retestable and consistent evidence has repeatedly shown that this is not the case. Faith is believing that 144,000 will ascend to Heaven after they die, despite the fact that the organization also teaches that there is no "soul" or "spirit" that survives death (what goes to Heaven, then?). Faith keeps one believing in the established existence of a patriarchal deity known as Jehovah (depending on what religion one happens to be born into, that is), when His existence has never been evidenced or proven since his conception - despite what the Watchtower and Awake! magazines would have people believe.

For these reasons, faith is completely and totally irrational. Free thinking, on the other hand, is a natural and effective way to see through the blizzard of nonsense that many religious organizations - the Witnesses included - teach as fact. Free thinking is what caused Galileo Galilei to peer deep into the night-sky and discover that the Earth was not, in fact, the center of the Universe (he discovered this by observing moons orbiting the planet Venus, thus confirming that at least *something* didn't orbit the Earth). Free thinking is what lead devout christian Charles Darwin to delve a bit deeper into biology and eventually discover that species gradually mutated over time, despite what his faith had lead him to believe. Free thinking is what has brought us to this point in our history. The very foundation of the sciences that eradicated Polio and discovered the atom, were all based on freely-thinking minds who dared to be curious about the world around them.

While I applaud your deep - and natural - desire to live a life that is pleasing to YOU, rather than to a deity who's existence has neither been observed nor validated, what you, as a human being living in one of the most exciting and intellectually-rich times in history, need to be focused on, is CURIOSITY. Daring to ask questions about the world and how it functions. Having the audacity to ask if something is really true, rather than simply taking it on the organization's word. Building a belief system based on observable, testable, REtestable and consistent data, rather than on blind faith.

Because in the end, you can have all the faith you want that your car's breaks are going to hold. But while that may be, a reasonable and logical person is still going to wear a seat belt. Why?

Because faith, no matter how deeply-held, CAN be wrong."

Galileo observed the moons of Jupiter and the phases of Venus. Venus has no moons.

You might start the letter with a couple of sentences introducing yourself.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-09-2012, 08:04 AM
RE: Letter to a Wavering Believer
I agree with Chas and want to add that it whould be a benefit to the situation if you made "first contact" without the "big sticks" like Darwin and Galileo.
Maybe you just write him, that you once live in a similar situation and that you feel empathy.
If he write's back, i thing he will come with question to you.
Then you can, bit by bit, give him informations and hints and the conversation can grow.
He must follow his owen steps to what ever he may become.
If you came across with: Hey, i was once also a beliefer and have had doubt's and the solution is be an atheist, he will eventually withdrawn and the conversation is over.
He need's time to learn to think for himself and you need patience to lead him without to interfere.
Best wishes to you, both.Thumbsup

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16-09-2012, 10:06 AM
RE: Letter to a Wavering Believer
(16-09-2012 08:04 AM)Marco Krieger Wrote:  Maybe you just write him, that you once live in a similar situation and that you feel empathy.

^^^ That.

This assumes that you haven't already done some ground-work.

If you have and he is ready to listen, it might be better to ask open questions and then respond with short answers that leave enough unsaid so that he will ask more questions.
Imagine that you are dealing with a curious child who wants to keep asking "why?"

Your OP was well written btw (except "organization" is spelt with an s) and it just might be more digestible in bite-size chunks.

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16-09-2012, 02:47 PM
RE: Letter to a Wavering Believer
(16-09-2012 07:34 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(15-09-2012 06:31 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  I was trolling around Youtube looking for some good debate when I came across a young gentleman who had posted a comment explaining how he felt that his faith was slipping. He is a Jehovah's Witness - as I used to be - and he describes how he is plagued with unease about his future in the Congregation. He feels "persistent doubts" and observes "questionable activities" within the Congregation, and these have caused a rift within his conscience. On one hand, he desires to keep strong in the faith and eventually draw closer to his God, but on the other hand, he feels a nagging desire to break free and live his life the way HE sees fit. He points out that he loves Jehovah, truly, but that this "love" doesn't seem strong enough to keep him from desiring something more to life.

Empathizing with his situation, I decided to write him a somewhat lengthy letter. I was hoping that perhaps you guys could judge it for me. Any suggestions/insight would be beneficial.

"I notice that you cite "persistent doubts" as something that is pressing on your mind. This strikes a chord with me, because I too eventually had doubts about the organization and its teachings. If you'll recall, the Witnesses often preach an opposition to "free thinking". As a child, I often had questions about things outside of the organization, and when I approached someone with these inquiries of simple curiosity, I was immediately reprimanded; being told that "Jehovah doesn't like free thinking." In their eyes, free thinking is a danger to one's faith.

I suppose that I must give credit where credit is due. They are correct. Free thinking (otherwise known as "a healthy curiosity about the world") often leads one to abandon their faith. The reason?

Faith is completely irrational. It is "a belief without sufficient evidence". Faith is believing that Jehovah created every living creature "according to it's own kind" when observable, testable, Retestable and consistent evidence has repeatedly shown that this is not the case. Faith is believing that 144,000 will ascend to Heaven after they die, despite the fact that the organization also teaches that there is no "soul" or "spirit" that survives death (what goes to Heaven, then?). Faith keeps one believing in the established existence of a patriarchal deity known as Jehovah (depending on what religion one happens to be born into, that is), when His existence has never been evidenced or proven since his conception - despite what the Watchtower and Awake! magazines would have people believe.

For these reasons, faith is completely and totally irrational. Free thinking, on the other hand, is a natural and effective way to see through the blizzard of nonsense that many religious organizations - the Witnesses included - teach as fact. Free thinking is what caused Galileo Galilei to peer deep into the night-sky and discover that the Earth was not, in fact, the center of the Universe (he discovered this by observing moons orbiting the planet Venus, thus confirming that at least *something* didn't orbit the Earth). Free thinking is what lead devout christian Charles Darwin to delve a bit deeper into biology and eventually discover that species gradually mutated over time, despite what his faith had lead him to believe. Free thinking is what has brought us to this point in our history. The very foundation of the sciences that eradicated Polio and discovered the atom, were all based on freely-thinking minds who dared to be curious about the world around them.

While I applaud your deep - and natural - desire to live a life that is pleasing to YOU, rather than to a deity who's existence has neither been observed nor validated, what you, as a human being living in one of the most exciting and intellectually-rich times in history, need to be focused on, is CURIOSITY. Daring to ask questions about the world and how it functions. Having the audacity to ask if something is really true, rather than simply taking it on the organization's word. Building a belief system based on observable, testable, REtestable and consistent data, rather than on blind faith.

Because in the end, you can have all the faith you want that your car's breaks are going to hold. But while that may be, a reasonable and logical person is still going to wear a seat belt. Why?

Because faith, no matter how deeply-held, CAN be wrong."

Galileo observed the moons of Jupiter and the phases of Venus. Venus has no moons.

You might start the letter with a couple of sentences introducing yourself.

lol, my bad on the Galileo bit.

Other than that, though, he ended up writing me back; thanking me for what I've said. I'll just go ahead and post his reply here:

"First off, I would like to tell you how much i appreciate your message. It encouraged me very much and helped me to see that I did, in fact, make the right decision: Three weeks ago I left the organization! I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I have become! Imagine the feeling of having won the lottery. That's how I feel!! But, leaving did have an impact on me. I felt guilty all the time. Like I was letting Jehovah down. I was depressed and felt like going back was the only option. I almost did...almost. I put on my suit, got into my car and drove to the Kingdom Hall. And just as I was about to turn into the driveway, I saw everybody. I saw them, not as my brothers and sisters, but how utterly blinded they all were. And all the children! How, no matter what they wanted, they had no choice in the matter!! Suddenly I felt like if I went in, I would be disappointing myself. And I care about myself way to much to do that. The feelings of guilt have gone away. I am free to act as a normal person would. To talk as a normal person would. And, yes, even to think as a free thinking normal person would. And in doing these things I am having a blast re-learning who I am as a person. One thing I remembered is that I realy love sleeping in on the weekends! Little things make the big picture, I guess...One thing I know is that I am a strong person. So that the next time well dressed individuals come to my door, somebody stops me on the street or I hear about spirit creatures from heaven, I am able to question the validity of it. Because, as I have come to finally believe with all my heart, faith, can be wrong. Thank you forever...Criss"

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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16-09-2012, 03:28 PM
RE: Letter to a Wavering Believer
That is awesome! congrats on helping that guy to be happy Big Grin

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16-09-2012, 03:33 PM
RE: Letter to a Wavering Believer
(16-09-2012 03:28 PM)nach_in Wrote:  That is awesome! congrats on helping that guy to be happy Big Grin

The benevolent misanthrope strikes again Evil_monster

Although, he'd already made his decisions. I only helped to validate them.

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16-09-2012, 03:47 PM
RE: Letter to a Wavering Believer
(16-09-2012 03:33 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  
(16-09-2012 03:28 PM)nach_in Wrote:  That is awesome! congrats on helping that guy to be happy Big Grin

The benevolent misanthrope strikes again Evil_monster

Although, he'd already made his decisions. I only helped to validate them.

And that's the most important thing you could possibly do for someone who is feeling like this guy was, feeling guilty and alone at the same time is the worst feeling I can think of... I call BS on your username!

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16-09-2012, 07:46 PM
RE: Letter to a Wavering Believer
(16-09-2012 03:47 PM)nach_in Wrote:  
(16-09-2012 03:33 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  The benevolent misanthrope strikes again Evil_monster

Although, he'd already made his decisions. I only helped to validate them.

And that's the most important thing you could possibly do for someone who is feeling like this guy was, feeling guilty and alone at the same time is the worst feeling I can think of... I call BS on your username!

Haha. You're the second person to do so.

You'd have to be me to understand, I suppose Wink

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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16-09-2012, 10:08 PM
RE: Letter to a Wavering Believer
(16-09-2012 07:46 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  
(16-09-2012 03:47 PM)nach_in Wrote:  And that's the most important thing you could possibly do for someone who is feeling like this guy was, feeling guilty and alone at the same time is the worst feeling I can think of... I call BS on your username!

Haha. You're the second person to do so.

You'd have to be me to understand, I suppose Wink

I think I can guess, but I prefer to let it remain a mystery Cool

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