The Life of a Jehovah's Witness
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03-05-2013, 06:14 AM
The Life of a Jehovah's Witness
I could go on forever about things wrong with any religion, including the one I was raised in. But I think few Atheists (I actually call myself a Pantheist, but as Dawkins likes to say, its really just "sexed up Atheism") ever talk about the advantages their religious upbringing gave them. I'm going to go off on a different tangent than usual here and do just that.

(1) I learned to present ideas and speak publicly. JW's are known for their preaching, and they actually have an excellent training system (that kids are often in from the time they can read well) for doing so. Thing is, the training system is universally applicable, once you get past the religious nonsense. I can easily get up in front of a big crowd and give an impromptu speech, with logical and convincing structure. I know how to get people to reason through what I'm saying. Every JW is taught this, some adapt to it better than others, but the training is good.

(2) I was taught to reason. I think they're actually getting away from this, because their anti-evolution arguments have crumbled in the wake of the last 25 years of scientific advancement, but when I was a kid, they encouraged their followers to check out their message for itself. Thing is, their message is consistent with what's in the bible, so if you accept the bible as the word of God, it makes their message more compelling if you reason on it. The problem for them now, of course, is keeping people believing in the bible. They also emphasize study and taking advantage of your education. It's quite the irony that JWs, who are generally against university education, teach their children to be such excellent students at every other level.

(3) I was taught respect for science. Huh? What? Yeah, I know. They never did accept evolution. But they are NOT Young Earth Creationists. They accept the 14 billion year old universe, they accept scientific ideas for how the universe started. Their literature frequently has reverential informative science articles on the universe itself. (Hey, maybe that's the source of my Pantheist outlook?)

(4) I was taught how damaging and evil religion is. Somehow, JWs don't see their own religion as part of this, but it's a great springboard to rational thinking. They very diligently and accurately lay out all the horrors that "false religion" (any religion that isn't their own) has done to the world and human society. Early on, JWs learn to despise religion, and see religion's adherents as victims that need to be freed. It's not a far stretch from there, using Stephen Roberts logic of "I contend hat we are both atheists," to take that extra step and apply the same standards to their own faith.


Ultimately, like everyone else, my upbringing is part of why I am the person I am. Just like all other religions, I believe the world would be better off without the Watchtower Society. But there are advantages to every situation a person might grow up in. They may not outweigh the disadvantages, but always remember: your childhood religion (if you had one) helped form the person you are today.
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03-05-2013, 06:17 AM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2013 06:22 AM by cheapthrillseaker.)
RE: The Life of a Jehovah's Witness
(03-05-2013 06:14 AM)CompletelySolo Wrote:  I could go on forever about things wrong with any religion, including the one I was raised in. But I think few Atheists (I actually call myself a Pantheist, but as Dawkins likes to say, its really just "sexed up Atheism") ever talk about the advantages their religious upbringing gave them. I'm going to go off on a different tangent than usual here and do just that.

(1) I learned to present ideas and speak publicly. JW's are known for their preaching, and they actually have an excellent training system (that kids are often in from the time they can read well) for doing so. Thing is, the training system is universally applicable, once you get past the religious nonsense. I can easily get up in front of a big crowd and give an impromptu speech, with logical and convincing structure. I know how to get people to reason through what I'm saying. Every JW is taught this, some adapt to it better than others, but the training is good.

(2) I was taught to reason. I think they're actually getting away from this, because their anti-evolution arguments have crumbled in the wake of the last 25 years of scientific advancement, but when I was a kid, they encouraged their followers to check out their message for itself. Thing is, their message is consistent with what's in the bible, so if you accept the bible as the word of God, it makes their message more compelling if you reason on it. The problem for them now, of course, is keeping people believing in the bible. They also emphasize study and taking advantage of your education. It's quite the irony that JWs, who are generally against university education, teach their children to be such excellent students at every other level.

(3) I was taught respect for science. Huh? What? Yeah, I know. They never did accept evolution. But they are NOT Young Earth Creationists. They accept the 14 billion year old universe, they accept scientific ideas for how the universe started. Their literature frequently has reverential informative science articles on the universe itself. (Hey, maybe that's the source of my Pantheist outlook?)

(4) I was taught how damaging and evil religion is. Somehow, JWs don't see their own religion as part of this, but it's a great springboard to rational thinking. They very diligently and accurately lay out all the horrors that "false religion" (any religion that isn't their own) has done to the world and human society. Early on, JWs learn to despise religion, and see religion's adherents as victims that need to be freed. It's not a far stretch from there, using Stephen Roberts logic of "I contend hat we are both atheists," to take that extra step and apply the same standards to their own faith.


Ultimately, like everyone else, my upbringing is part of why I am the person I am. Just like all other religions, I believe the world would be better off without the Watchtower Society. But there are advantages to every situation a person might grow up in. They may not outweigh the disadvantages, but always remember: your childhood religion (if you had one) helped form the person you are today.

While I don't discount your post, I will state that some congregations do teach different than the mainstream.

The Circuit Overseer for my area when I was a kid preached the YEC views.

And their articles do shit on science. Rank garbage.

Glad you turned out okay - not many come out as 'well'.

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03-05-2013, 06:25 AM
RE: The Life of a Jehovah's Witness
(03-05-2013 06:17 AM)cheapthrillseaker Wrote:  While I don't discount your post, I will state that some congregations do teach different than the mainstream.

The Circuit Overseer for my area when I was a kid preached the YEC views.

Really? Odd. Rural someplace? I always got the impression that they all taught the same bullshit in every place in the world. The literature is certainly the same everywhere, as its centrally printed. There were several watchtower articles over the last 20 years outright condemning Young Earth Creationism and reiterating that JWs are not "creationists" (despite not believing evolution, they say this because they do not believe the earth was created in 6 literal days 6000 years go.)



Quote:And their articles do shit on science. Rank garbage.

Especially where they touch on biology.

I found that the first half of many of their "science" articles were very informative and quite interesting. Then in the second half they'd start to get into what this science tells us about God and other bullshit...that's when I'd tune out.
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03-05-2013, 06:31 AM
RE: The Life of a Jehovah's Witness
(03-05-2013 06:25 AM)CompletelySolo Wrote:  
(03-05-2013 06:17 AM)cheapthrillseaker Wrote:  While I don't discount your post, I will state that some congregations do teach different than the mainstream.

The Circuit Overseer for my area when I was a kid preached the YEC views.

Really? Odd. Rural someplace? I always got the impression that they all taught the same bullshit in every place in the world. The literature is certainly the same everywhere, as its centrally printed. There were several watchtower articles over the last 20 years outright condemning Young Earth Creationism and reiterating that JWs are not "creationists" (despite not believing evolution, they say this because they do not believe the earth was created in 6 literal days 6000 years go.)



Quote:And their articles do shit on science. Rank garbage.

Especially where they touch on biology.

I found that the first half of many of their "science" articles were very informative and quite interesting. Then in the second half they'd start to get into what this science tells us about God and other bullshit...that's when I'd tune out.

The Circuit Overseer used William Lane Craig reasoning (adding up the lineage bullshit) without even crediting him... Seems legit to me! Big Grin This is the same guy who cried tears of joy when relating the story of a kid who was kidnapped from the hospital to die elsewhere because she had leukemia and wasn't allowed to have blood transfusions. To a congregation that which included children and teenagers. Gotta love having a good long term memory. Dodgy

Their science articles are laughable. If one part 'seems' good but the rest is bullshit, it's all bullshit in my eyes. Fun to rip up too on TTA! Big Grin

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03-05-2013, 07:00 AM
RE: The Life of a Jehovah's Witness
JWs used to come to my door in Phoenix and get so smacked-up by my prophet like wisdom, they stopped coming around. My neighbors were like, "gee, it's been a long time since I've seen a JW. That's kinda odd," and I'd go, "yeah. Strange, ain't it." Big Grin

But when I used to converse with them on the religious forums, they were some of the most rational peeps there.

As for my religious upbringing, there wasn't any. "Culturally Christian," I call it. Everybody seemed to believe in god and his spawn, but nobody talked about it, and we never went to church or anything. Undecided

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03-05-2013, 07:12 AM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2013 07:18 AM by CompletelySolo.)
RE: The Life of a Jehovah's Witness
(03-05-2013 06:31 AM)cheapthrillseaker Wrote:  The Circuit Overseer used William Lane Craig reasoning (adding up the lineage bullshit) without even crediting him... Seems legit to me!

Using that reasoning actually actually makes some sense for them. They accept that the UNIVERSE is 14 billion years old. They still think humans started from Adam and Eve in the garden 6000 years ago.

Edit: They've set themselves up for a mass exodus with this, btw. They've blatantly said that evolution "cannot be true, because if it were true, it would undermine the entire theme of the bible." Their doctrine makes sense if you take the Garden of Eden story as literal. If you remove original sin and the death of Jesus being an equal repayment of a perfect man's life blah blah blah, suddenly, NOTHING makes sense anymore.

Evolution happens. It's as proven as a scientific theory can get. We know this, but as it becomes more and more obvious to the world around us, and it becomes more and more plane that Creationism is a "flat-earth" doctrine, their adherents will stop believing in Genesis. When they do, the rest of the house of cards comes tumbling after them.
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03-05-2013, 07:19 AM
RE: The Life of a Jehovah's Witness
(03-05-2013 07:12 AM)CompletelySolo Wrote:  
(03-05-2013 06:31 AM)cheapthrillseaker Wrote:  The Circuit Overseer used William Lane Craig reasoning (adding up the lineage bullshit) without even crediting him... Seems legit to me!

Using that reasoning actually actually makes some sense for them. They accept that the UNIVERSE is 14 billion years old. They still think humans started from Adam and Eve in the garden 6000 years ago.

Oh he added in the whole literal interpretation of the bible, except with saying each day for YHWH was 1000 years. So more than 6000 years, but definitely off 14 billion.

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03-05-2013, 11:54 AM
RE: The Life of a Jehovah's Witness
(03-05-2013 06:14 AM)CompletelySolo Wrote:  I could go on forever about things wrong with any religion, including the one I was raised in. But I think few Atheists (I actually call myself a Pantheist, but as Dawkins likes to say, its really just "sexed up Atheism") ever talk about the advantages their religious upbringing gave them. I'm going to go off on a different tangent than usual here and do just that.

(1) I learned to present ideas and speak publicly. JW's are known for their preaching, and they actually have an excellent training system (that kids are often in from the time they can read well) for doing so. Thing is, the training system is universally applicable, once you get past the religious nonsense. I can easily get up in front of a big crowd and give an impromptu speech, with logical and convincing structure. I know how to get people to reason through what I'm saying. Every JW is taught this, some adapt to it better than others, but the training is good.

(2) I was taught to reason. I think they're actually getting away from this, because their anti-evolution arguments have crumbled in the wake of the last 25 years of scientific advancement, but when I was a kid, they encouraged their followers to check out their message for itself. Thing is, their message is consistent with what's in the bible, so if you accept the bible as the word of God, it makes their message more compelling if you reason on it. The problem for them now, of course, is keeping people believing in the bible. They also emphasize study and taking advantage of your education. It's quite the irony that JWs, who are generally against university education, teach their children to be such excellent students at every other level.

(3) I was taught respect for science. Huh? What? Yeah, I know. They never did accept evolution. But they are NOT Young Earth Creationists. They accept the 14 billion year old universe, they accept scientific ideas for how the universe started. Their literature frequently has reverential informative science articles on the universe itself. (Hey, maybe that's the source of my Pantheist outlook?)

(4) I was taught how damaging and evil religion is. Somehow, JWs don't see their own religion as part of this, but it's a great springboard to rational thinking. They very diligently and accurately lay out all the horrors that "false religion" (any religion that isn't their own) has done to the world and human society. Early on, JWs learn to despise religion, and see religion's adherents as victims that need to be freed. It's not a far stretch from there, using Stephen Roberts logic of "I contend hat we are both atheists," to take that extra step and apply the same standards to their own faith.


Ultimately, like everyone else, my upbringing is part of why I am the person I am. Just like all other religions, I believe the world would be better off without the Watchtower Society. But there are advantages to every situation a person might grow up in. They may not outweigh the disadvantages, but always remember: your childhood religion (if you had one) helped form the person you are today.

You must be from one of them congregations up north. Up where they have fancy cars and iPawds and perfume fer your armpits. Drinking Beverage

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03-05-2013, 12:01 PM
RE: The Life of a Jehovah's Witness
(03-05-2013 11:54 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  You must be from one of them congregations up north. Up where they have fancy cars and iPawds and perfume fer your armpits. Drinking Beverage

hahahaha...

As much as I despise Apple, I find this incredibly funny.
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08-05-2013, 06:13 PM
RE: The Life of a Jehovah's Witness
(03-05-2013 06:14 AM)CompletelySolo Wrote:  I could go on forever about things wrong with any religion, including the one I was raised in. But I think few Atheists . . . ever talk about the advantages their religious upbringing gave them. I'm going to go off on a different tangent than usual here and do just that.

(1) I learned to present ideas and speak publicly. JW's are known for their preaching, and they actually have an excellent training system (that kids are often in from the time they can read well) for doing so. Thing is, the training system is universally applicable, once you get past the religious nonsense. I can easily get up in front of a big crowd and give an impromptu speech, with logical and convincing structure. I know how to get people to reason through what I'm saying. Every JW is taught this, some adapt to it better than others, but the training is good.

I agree that public speaking and leading discussions are a lot easier because of that training. On the other hand, because I perform these skills well, I'm usually the one picked to lead committees and other volunteer positions - as if my free time doesn't really belong to me (and my family). I've gotten better at saying 'No' (or more precisely "Thanks for thinking of me, but I already have plans") in recent years.

It really broke my heart when they changed their format to more scripted public speaking and Bible readings were just that - reading from the bible, no commentary allowed. It certainly made it impossible for anyone to throw in a personal thought or idea that may have bordered on controversial.

Quote:(2) I was taught to reason. I think they're actually getting away from this, because their anti-evolution arguments have crumbled in the wake of the last 25 years of scientific advancement, but when I was a kid, they encouraged their followers to check out their message for itself. Thing is, their message is consistent with what's in the bible, so if you accept the bible as the word of God, it makes their message more compelling if you reason on it. The problem for them now, of course, is keeping people believing in the bible. They also emphasize study and taking advantage of your education. It's quite the irony that JWs, who are generally against university education, teach their children to be such excellent students at every other level.

Up to a point, I agree with you. In the last 10 years or so, I came to discover the blatant misrepresentation of scientific literature and scholarly works. For example, a quote from a research journal by a respected writer on a topic which appears to support the WTS viewpoint - upon further examination - i.e., going to the actual source of the quote - you'd find that the words were taken out of context or the meaning of the quote was altered by the use of ellipses (. . .). The Creation book is honest-to-goodness FULL of these misrepresentations. The WTS made it easy to verify by having a list of references, and Alan Feuerbacher (aka alanf) did exactly that - he found the book in its entirety to be a complete fraud. Any college student following the WTS's example would be expelled for academic dishonesty.

Quote:(3) I was taught respect for science. Huh? What? Yeah, I know. They never did accept evolution. But they are NOT Young Earth Creationists. They accept the 14 billion year old universe, they accept scientific ideas for how the universe started. Their literature frequently has reverential informative science articles on the universe itself. (Hey, maybe that's the source of my Pantheist outlook?)

I agree with you here, although they tend to discount dating methods like Carbon-14 as being hocum. As well, their tendency to quote scientific articles out of context or misrepresent them entirely, makes their claim of reverential respect for the scientific method a sham. BTW: Remember the dinosaur on the endpapers of the old green NWT? LOL

Quote:(4) I was taught how damaging and evil religion is. Somehow, JWs don't see their own religion as part of this, but it's a great springboard to rational thinking. They very diligently and accurately lay out all the horrors that "false religion" (any religion that isn't their own) has done to the world and human society. Early on, JWs learn to despise religion, and see religion's adherents as victims that need to be freed. It's not a far stretch from there, using Stephen Roberts logic of "I contend hat we are both atheists," to take that extra step and apply the same standards to their own faith.

Yes, good old Judge Rutherford and his vitriolic "Religion is a snare and a racket!" LOL In fact, they did such a good job of debunking every other belief system that once you quit being a JW, there's no option except atheism. LOL

Quote:Ultimately, like everyone else, my upbringing is part of why I am the person I am. Just like all other religions, I believe the world would be better off without the Watchtower Society. But there are advantages to every situation a person might grow up in. They may not outweigh the disadvantages, but always remember: your childhood religion (if you had one) helped form the person you are today.

Agreed. In fact, when someone (a theist) asked me "What do you believe in, now that you are an atheist?" I told her this:
I believe in waking up every morning grateful for an opportunity to do something good for someone else. I believe in kindness. I believe in honesty. I believe in doing my best. I believe in enjoying the things I have, rather than stressing about things I want. I believe that everyone has the right to make their own choices and learn from the outcomes of those choices. If I have a chance to help someone (usually my kids) in the process of making a choice, I feel an obligation to help them in such a way that overall benefits outweigh potential harm. I believe in passing these values on to my children. I believe we're all in this together.
She was amazed that I didn't, as she perceived, believe in "nothing".

. . . all the gods were stories we told the children to make them behave. ~ Thoros of Myr (Game of Thrones, Episode 3:06)
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