So, two weeks ago I left you with the JW assertion that the Bible is both scientifically and historically accurate, which I found quite hilarious. Let’s now delve a little further into just how deluded and annoying this little booklet can be.
What I didn’t mention before is that the very same chapter also claims that the Bible is prophetically accurate. And this is where it gets clever, because it uses as an example the method in which Babylon was conquered and fell, which requires some research to verify. I also don’t really remember reading that in the Bible, so maybe it was one of those fairly obscure references that require interpretation. Whatever, one prophecy does not an accurate Bible make.
The booklet uses very assertive language throughout. ‘Surely this is how the people must have felt.’ ‘Evidently this is what happened.’ ‘If you do this, that will happen.’ I guess it’s meant to take away any doubts you might have, but I just find it annoying. The thing is, it uses just that kind of language to explain the origin of the Devil. To paraphrase – Genesis tells of an opposer of God in the Garden of Eden, who used a serpent to speak to Adam and Eve much like a ventriloquist can speak through a dummy. That spirit person had no doubt been present when God prepared the earth for humans. No doubt, indeed. Why is there no doubt, though? Wasn’t God all alone in the beginning? I don’t remember Genesis saying ‘and on day five, God created angels’. Yet the JWs assure us that Heaven is full of the buggers.
Anyway, why did Satan turn against God? Well, he apparently heard God tell Adam and Eve to have children and fill the earth with their offspring, and then evidently thought ‘Whahey, they could all worship me instead!’. God, being the magnanimous being that He is, didn’t put him to death for his insolent rebellion, no, he decided to let men rule themselves for a while, to prove that we’re no good at it. And yes, the world is currently under Satan’s rule. Why? Because Jesus didn’t contradict Satan when Satan offered him all the world if he would only kneel down to him. Surely Jesus would have said ‘you can’t do that’ if the world wasn’t Satan’s to offer.
So what I get from that is that we are currently part of a giant experiment by God to prove that we’re shit at governing ourselves. I’m not saying this is necessarily wrong, but I refuse to believe that it’s all some giant divine board game. Also, if this is exactly what’s going on at the moment, then why does two thirds of the Bible concern itself with completely different shit like the Israelites committing God-sanctioned genocide (it wasn’t Satan telling them to do that!) and is the devil never mentioned again until you get to the prophets?
Anyway, enough about Satan. Let’s move on to the more unusual JW beliefs. Such as the fact that Jesus did not die on the cross – they call it a torture pole. Using the cross as a symbol is wrong, because the church didn’t start using that until about five centuries after Jesus’ death.
There is no afterlife. When you die, you’re dead. There is no soul, and you do not go to either heaven or hell after you die. No, when God finally creates the earthly paradise, all the dead will be resurrected and given new bodies, and everyone will then live happily ever after in paradise on earth. But only if God deems you worthy, of course. As far as I’ve been able to establish, if God does not deem you worthy, you just die again and you’re gone forever. Frankly, I’m fine with that, because the JWs idea of paradise ain’t mine.
So what about heaven? That is only for the chosen few – well, 144,000 of them. They are the especially worthy people who will rule the earth alongside God from heaven. You could become one of these 144,000 even now. Never mind that Revelation says that the 144,000 are made up of the tribes of Israel, and are all male virgins. Strangely enough this booklet doesn’t mention those last few facts.
(Just noticed one of my notes says ‘Paul will also rule in Heaven? Fuck that shit.’)
JWs refer to Christ as ‘the ransom’, because his life paid off the debts of humanity. Chapter 5 is devoted in its entirety to this ‘ransom sacrifice’. I suppose it’s just a different way of saying that Jesus died for our sins, but it’s such a specific term that it jars a bit.
Back to generics – another annoying aspect of this book is that it mentions random facts without explanation that make you go wtf?, which they then eventually explain seven chapters later. For instance, they talk about Michael (another name for Jesus) fighting a war in heaven. Another name for Jesus? Since when are the Archangel Michael and Jesus the same person? Well, they explain this in the appendices – by some cleverly applied ‘logic’ they deduce that Michael and Jesus must be the same person. The only explanation given for the fact that he has two completely different names is that that was common in those days. Well, yes, when you had a jewish and Roman name, like Paul/Saul. But if Jesus/Michael was always called Michael, why didn’t God just tell Maria ‘hey, you’re gonna give birth to my son Michael’? Or is that exactly what he did, and Maria went ‘aww, I don’t really like Michael as a name… Can I call him Jesus instead?’
On to the next JW assertion: the end of days has started, and it started in 1914. Apparently that’s when Jesus became king in heaven and battled with satan and all the other evil angels. Since then we’ve been living in the end of days. Apparently the year 1914 was divined by sincere Bible students who used some obscure time references to calculate the time period between the ‘trampling of Jerusalem’ and ‘the coming of the one who has the legal right’. But apparently there are also many other signs of the impending end:
- Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.
Allegedly, the 20th century was the most murderous in history, and three times as many people fell victim to war than in all the time between 1AD and 1899. Aside from whether that is fact or not, people have been killing each other since the dawn of time, and nation has always risen against nation. The industrial revolution with its tanks, machine guns and other mass warfare has just made it a lot easier to kill a lot of people in one go, and there also are many more people to be killed due to the population explosion the world has undergone. So I’m not buying this one.
- There will be food shortages.
Again, prove to me that there is more food shortage now than in the olden days. Irish potato famine, anyone? Here too the problem just seems worse due to there being fucktonnes more people.
- There will be great earthquakes.
Seriously? Are you seriously trying to claim that there are more earthquakes now than there were two or three hundred years ago?
- There will be pestilences.
Despite medical advances, old and new diseases plague mankind. Why yes, that’s because idiot religious zealots oppose things like vaccination, thus ensuring that dangerous diseases such as rubella and measles are experiencing an upsurge. And although it is apparently up to the individual JW to decide, the faith appears to oppose vaccination. Apart from that, people travel far more widely, making it easier for diseases to spread. Also, I have two words for you: Black Death. That wasn’t this century, or even the last.
And the last sign is that people have become lovers of themselves, lovers of money, disobedient to parents, disloyal, having no natural affection (wtf??), without self-control, fierce, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God and having an appearance of godliness but proving false to its power (again, wtf??). Yeah, because again, none of that stuff happened two hundred years ago, right?
All of the above is bullshit as proof that we’re in the end of days. Even if it were true that there has been more of all that in the past century (which I don’t believe), it’s only because there are far more people for bad stuff to happen to. The biggest argument, however, is that these days we just hear about everything that happens on the other side of the world. Two hundred years ago you would barely know what happened in the next village over – nowadays there’s press and cameras everywhere, and you hear about famines and diseases that happen five thousand miles away.
Am I done yet? Not by a long shot, but this is enough for this week.