My first meeting with Jehovah's Witnesses as an atheist
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01-08-2015, 08:49 PM
My first meeting with Jehovah's Witnesses as an atheist
So tonight we had a knock at the door. And through the window I could see a couple holding Bibles. My wife was like "you can take this one". Sure enough, to my delight: two Jehovah's Witnesses come to tell me the good news.

Yay.

I decided to let them say what they wanted. I can't give you the word for word here. Just a general summary.

Loaded with fallacies of course.

First off, like I said it was two, and they were a married couple. Not that important, but just to give you the picture. The woman did most of the talking while the husband stood back, silently praying, writing notes, looking up verses, and maybe jumping in here and there to add something.

When I said, "I'm an atheist." They were very interested in my views.

Anyway most of what she had to say to me came from the Bible. Despite the several times I tried telling her, "You're getting this from a book that contins many events that are not historically backed. She would answer, "Yes, they are." "Show me this evidence," I would reply. And I guess her husband is sending me evidence via email.

There were quite a few fallacies like I said.

Argument from beauty was used.

"You strike me as an artist. Are you?" She asked.

"Yeah, sure," I replied. I'm a singer actually but I knew where she was going with this.

"If you loom around could you at least see that some supernatural being made this?"

"No, I can't. I really can't," I said.

"Well, I can," she said. "I can see it evident all around us."

"How?" I asked. "Well, I've proven it to myself. I asked all the same hard questions you did. We're older than you, and we've both struggled with the same doubts and challenges you've had."

I doubted that, but decided to not press. I kinda wish I had.

There were other fallacies in there but my favorite moment of the nighy was when the husband piped in, I caught him in either a lie or an ignorant statement, and then backed him in to making a "no true Scotsman" fallacy.

He said, "You know all the religions of the world, they all have divisions, and factions, and sects. There's like fifteen types of Baptists. And yet Jehovah's Witnesses are the only ones that don't have that division."

"No, sir," I said. "You guys need to look into that history. Charles Russell started the Jehovah's Witnesses. But he called them Bible students. Then later the divisions started happening. And now we've got like three other groups that branched off from your same tree, calling themselves Bible Students."

I wish I had this chart to show him. Oh well:

[Image: 1200px-Development_of_Bible_Students.svg.png]

"Yes, but, you see, that's Satan at work. They aren't real Jehovah's Witnesses."

And now we're on that fallacy. And we got into the discussion of how do you know?

Eventually the husband said, "We gotta go." So we parted ways.

I will say, that as can be expected, there were no winners in this little conversation. No minds were changed. They were still pretty confident in their position. They kept implying that their age meant something and that they already went through all doubts and questions I had.

There comes a point when the conversation isn't going anywhere. I hope I planted some seeds of doubt in there. Who knows?

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01-08-2015, 09:01 PM
RE: My first meeting with Jehovah's Witnesses as an atheist
Well played, Trebek. Well played.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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01-08-2015, 09:03 PM
RE: My first meeting with Jehovah's Witnesses as an atheist
I love Bart Ehrman's response to JW's when they asked him if they could discuss the Bible with him. Ehrman's response: What would you like to know?
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01-08-2015, 09:11 PM
RE: My first meeting with Jehovah's Witnesses as an atheist
(01-08-2015 08:49 PM)WalkingSnake Wrote:  So tonight we had a knock at the door. And through the window I could see a couple holding Bibles. My wife was like "you can take this one". Sure enough, to my delight: two Jehovah's Witnesses come to tell me the good news.

Yay.

I decided to let them say what they wanted. I can't give you the word for word here. Just a general summary.

Loaded with fallacies of course.

First off, like I said it was two, and they were a married couple. Not that important, but just to give you the picture. The woman did most of the talking while the husband stood back, silently praying, writing notes, looking up verses, and maybe jumping in here and there to add something.

When I said, "I'm an atheist." They were very interested in my views.

Anyway most of what she had to say to me came from the Bible. Despite the several times I tried telling her, "You're getting this from a book that contins many events that are not historically backed. She would answer, "Yes, they are." "Show me this evidence," I would reply. And I guess her husband is sending me evidence via email.

There were quite a few fallacies like I said.

Argument from beauty was used.

"You strike me as an artist. Are you?" She asked.

"Yeah, sure," I replied. I'm a singer actually but I knew where she was going with this.

"If you loom around could you at least see that some supernatural being made this?"

"No, I can't. I really can't," I said.

"Well, I can," she said. "I can see it evident all around us."

"How?" I asked. "Well, I've proven it to myself. I asked all the same hard questions you did. We're older than you, and we've both struggled with the same doubts and challenges you've had."

I doubted that, but decided to not press. I kinda wish I had.

There were other fallacies in there but my favorite moment of the nighy was when the husband piped in, I caught him in either a lie or an ignorant statement, and then backed him in to making a "no true Scotsman" fallacy.

He said, "You know all the religions of the world, they all have divisions, and factions, and sects. There's like fifteen types of Baptists. And yet Jehovah's Witnesses are the only ones that don't have that division."

"No, sir," I said. "You guys need to look into that history. Charles Russell started the Jehovah's Witnesses. But he called them Bible students. Then later the divisions started happening. And now we've got like three other groups that branched off from your same tree, calling themselves Bible Students."

I wish I had this chart to show him. Oh well:

[Image: 1200px-Development_of_Bible_Students.svg.png]

"Yes, but, you see, that's Satan at work. They aren't real Jehovah's Witnesses."

And now we're on that fallacy. And we got into the discussion of how do you know?

Eventually the husband said, "We gotta go." So we parted ways.

I will say, that as can be expected, there were no winners in this little conversation. No minds were changed. They were still pretty confident in their position. They kept implying that their age meant something and that they already went through all doubts and questions I had.

There comes a point when the conversation isn't going anywhere. I hope I planted some seeds of doubt in there. Who knows?


You may regret your decision to let them talk to you. My experience is that once you show an interest they will be back over and over again. But I think you can handle them quite nicely. It could be fun. They haven't visited me in years.

Just for fun ask them what their philosophical starting point is. I bet they will get the deer in the headlights look. Also ask them how you can reliably distinguish what they are calling "God" from something they are merely imagining? If They ever show up again that's what I'm going to do. I find it shuts theists up real quick. Then no matter what they answer tell that you can imagine that right along with them but in the end the imaginary is still imaginary. Watch their faces turn red.

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01-08-2015, 09:21 PM
RE: My first meeting with Jehovah's Witnesses as an atheist
I gotta say, that sounded like a very realistic recounting of your JW incident. You didn't exaggerated stuff.

You're far more polite than I am with people who knock on the door. I just say I'm not interested and close the door. The only time I will listen to any salesperson is when it's a little kid selling cookie dough for the school. All they have to do is stand there with their big eyes and my wallet flies open.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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01-08-2015, 09:56 PM
RE: My first meeting with Jehovah's Witnesses as an atheist
(01-08-2015 09:21 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  I gotta say, that sounded like a very realistic recounting of your JW incident. You didn't exaggerated stuff.

You're far more polite than I am with people who knock on the door. I just say I'm not interested and close the door. The only time I will listen to any salesperson is when it's a little kid selling cookie dough for the school. All they have to do is stand there with their big eyes and my wallet flies open.

I had two really hot JW guys ride up on bikes when I was moving. They asked me if I needed help--I said no because I really didn't want to hear Bible verses while packing boxes (even if they were offering to help me move). But they were quite cute! Tongue If this happens more often, I might consider converting Laugh out load
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02-08-2015, 08:32 AM (This post was last modified: 02-08-2015 08:37 AM by Cosmic Discourse.)
RE: My first meeting with Jehovah's Witnesses as an atheist
(01-08-2015 09:56 PM)jennybee Wrote:  
(01-08-2015 09:21 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  I gotta say, that sounded like a very realistic recounting of your JW incident. You didn't exaggerated stuff.

You're far more polite than I am with people who knock on the door. I just say I'm not interested and close the door. The only time I will listen to any salesperson is when it's a little kid selling cookie dough for the school. All they have to do is stand there with their big eyes and my wallet flies open.

I had two really hot JW guys ride up on bikes when I was moving. They asked me if I needed help--I said no because I really didn't want to hear Bible verses while packing boxes (even if they were offering to help me move). But they were quite cute! Tongue If this happens more often, I might consider converting Laugh out load
Are you sure they weren't Mormon missionaries? They're usually of the bike riding variety, more so than the J Dubs (minivans & sedans). It may be different where you are, but in Florida it's predominantly middle aged and elderly couples, sprinkled with the occasional grandchildren.
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02-08-2015, 08:46 AM
RE: My first meeting with Jehovah's Witnesses as an atheist
Funny. I had my first visit with a JW yesterday. Wasn't as interesting though, as neither of us was really prepared for a serious discussion. He was a really slow-talking old man and didn't really answer any of my questions. At one point he claimed the Bible is the oldest book ever written. Lol. At the end, he told me he bets that deep down I still believe, and when I shook my head he he said, "Well I think you do." I just said, "Well I guess we disagree on that." That was pretty much the end. He laughed and said he wouldn't comment on that and then we parted ways.

Oh, at one point he said, voice full of concern, "You must have had something tragic happen to you for you to not believe anymore." I was just like "Nope." He looked really confused.
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02-08-2015, 09:50 AM
RE: My first meeting with Jehovah's Witnesses as an atheist
(02-08-2015 08:46 AM)Dex Wrote:  Funny. I had my first visit with a JW yesterday. Wasn't as interesting though, as neither of us was really prepared for a serious discussion. He was a really slow-talking old man and didn't really answer any of my questions. At one point he claimed the Bible is the oldest book ever written. Lol. At the end, he told me he bets that deep down I still believe, and when I shook my head he he said, "Well I think you do." I just said, "Well I guess we disagree on that." That was pretty much the end. He laughed and said he wouldn't comment on that and then we parted ways.

Oh, at one point he said, voice full of concern, "You must have had something tragic happen to you for you to not believe anymore." I was just like "Nope." He looked really confused.

How does one know if they're JWs. I have no idea since I shut the door so quickly, but whoever they, are they show up in threes. A grandma type, a middle aged lady and a little kid of about 6.

Now if they were selling cookie dough for a worthy cause I'd keep the door open but alas......they're selling a myth with zero chocolate chips. Angry

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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02-08-2015, 10:00 AM
RE: My first meeting with Jehovah's Witnesses as an atheist
(01-08-2015 09:56 PM)jennybee Wrote:  
(01-08-2015 09:21 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  I gotta say, that sounded like a very realistic recounting of your JW incident. You didn't exaggerated stuff.

You're far more polite than I am with people who knock on the door. I just say I'm not interested and close the door. The only time I will listen to any salesperson is when it's a little kid selling cookie dough for the school. All they have to do is stand there with their big eyes and my wallet flies open.

I had two really hot JW guys ride up on bikes when I was moving. They asked me if I needed help--I said no because I really didn't want to hear Bible verses while packing boxes (even if they were offering to help me move). But they were quite cute! Tongue If this happens more often, I might consider converting Laugh out load

Definitely sounds like Mormons...two young men, bicycles, white dress shirts, helmets, backpacks....they are easy to spot.

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