Jehovah`s Witness/Wedding Rings, Paganism, and the Watchtower Article
In response to Rando’s “questioner”, in regards to the comments sent to me by a brother in Christ, on the subject of the Christmas tree. The brother utilized a quote from a WT publication, and Rando’s “questioner” wanted us to see the entire article.
Taken from the following link…..
I will now respond to the points in the article, which was actually quite helpful in disproving the point made by Rando, and his "questioner".
First off, I would like to thank Rando’s phantom “questioner” for posting the entire article for us. I don’t believe they even realize that, by doing so, they only weakened their OWN position, while strengthening ours. Anyway, the effort was appreciated. Below, is my summary of the main points of the article, which the “questioner” was kind enough to share with us, thinking that somehow it would weaken the comments made by my questioner, and myself.
Also, I found it a little humorous that they would call US “ignorant”, and then proceed to show what a terrible speller they are. I mean, what on earth is a “weeding ring”
? I could attribute that to just a typing error, which we all make. But no, they did it twice…indicating that they think that is the correct spelling. In fact, the only time they got it right, was when they copied and pasted the article that already had the word in it. Uh, I believe it is a “WEDDING”
ring, not a “WEEDING”
Furthermore, if I were the grammar police, I could point out several other grammatical problems, as well. Not that it is important. But coming from someone who calls others “blatantly ignorant”, I would have expected better.
It seems the article in the link, can be summed up with the following main points, as brought out by the Watchtower Society.
My response to the following link....
1. From the first comments of Rando’s phantom questioner, we see that the Society itself admits that something having a history in paganism, does not necessarily
rule it out from use by Christians, in the proper context. This is a nice admission. In other words, it shows that many things LOSE all pagan significance and attachments over time, and can be used by the Christian in an entirely different context, without being “guilty by association”.
Since a tree is a legitimate creation of God, and since we have Scriptural record of God’s people also using greenery in “feasts unto the LORD” (Leviticus 23:39-41), then obviously the use of a tree in a Godly manner, or even in a NEUTRAL manner, is not anywhere forbidden in Scriptures. Worshipping it, yes. Reverencing it, yes. Bowing to it, yes. Using it to decorate? Nope…nowhere.
2. “Now as to the wedding ring. It's funny that the poster did post the rest of the Watchtower article. I wonder why? In any case, for your readers sake I'm posting it here:”
I am assuming that Rando, er I mean, his questioner, MEANT to say that the guy who wrote me, did NOT post the rest of the Watchtower article"
What is “funny”, is that the JW WOULD post the rest of it, not realizing it completely demolishes his theory. But I’m very glad they did, so let’s consider the next point, brought out by the article in the following quote….
“Many sincere Christians have asked this question out of a desire to avoid any custom of which God might disapprove. Some of the questioners know that Catholic prelate John H. Newman wrote: “The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, . . . sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the East, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the Church.” (An Essay on the Development of the Christian Doctrine, 1878) While the facts prove that many of the current religious practices Newman lists definitely were adopted from pagan worship, is that true of the wedding ring?
Actually there are conflicting ideas as to the origin of the wedding ring.”
“It is thus seen that the precise origin of the wedding ring is uncertain.”
Summary: This portion of the article is telling us that there is no unanimous consensus, as to where the actual origin of the WEDDING ring came from.
Uhm, then what happened to the idea that so many JWs spout, about “We should abstain from it, even if there is a CHANCE that it has pagan origins, so as to keep our relationship acceptable to Jehovah God”
So now, its okay to wear a wedding ring because there are conflicting ideas about its origin, even though many reputable sources tell us it originated in paganism?
But here’s the kicker….The SAME thing is true of the Christmas tree, which I noticed the phantom questioner “missed a good opportunity” to bring out. Anyone who knows a thing about the possible origins of the Christmas tree, knows that many experts believe that Martin Luther was the originator of the Christmas tree, while other reputable sources believe it originated in the “Paradise Play” about Adam and Eve. And of course, there are the others who think that just because pagans worshipped false idols made from trees, that this somehow proves a connection.
But again…the very excuse used here to justify the wedding ring (conflicting origins), is also just as true of the Christmas tree.
So, that point is invalid.
3. “It would appear that wedding-rings were worn by the Jews prior to Christian times.”—The International Cyclopaedia.”
That's great, but so was greenery also used by the Jews prior to Christian times.
Consider the following Scripture, which you never see a JW mention in a discussion on this topic.
Leviticus 23:39-41- “Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.
And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.”
It would appear, also, that greenery was used by the Jews, prior to Christian times.
The “questioner” thinks its “funny” that Richard didn’t quote the entire article. I think its funny that I have never once, in a discussion on this topic, seen a JW mention the above verses. And as the “questioner” said…”wonder why”?
At the very least, this is solid proof that decorating with greenery itself, is not forbidden for God's people, regardless of whether or not pagans did it.
4. “Even if it were a fact that pagans first used wedding rings, would that rule such out for Christians? Not necessarily. Many of today’s articles of clothing and aspects of life originated in pagan lands. The present time divisions of hours, minutes and seconds are based on an early Babylonian system. Yet, there is no objection to a Christian’s using these time divisions, for one’s doing so does not involve carrying on false religious practices.”
Ah, here it is…The big admission! So, the Society justifies the use of SOME pagan practices/customs/clothings, but feels free to condemn the ones they DON’T do. At least, the ones they don’t do any more. It is well known that the early presidents of the Watchtower Society had all of the same facts we have today, but did not see anything unscriptural about it. Only as the group became more and more cult-like, did it begin to exercise more control over the membership, and dictate to them what rules they must keep and adhere to.
But the last comment in the quoted portion above, is the kicker…“Yet, there is no objection to a Christian’s using these time divisions, for one’s doing so does not involve carrying on false religious practices.”
First off, this is a cop out. Neither does a Christmas tree involve carrying on false religious practices. There is nothing false about celebrating Christ’s birth. It is not commanded, nor forbidden. In fact, it would fall under the admonition found in Romans 14:4-6, which JWs violate every time they open their mouths on this subject. If a Christian wants to regard the birth of Jesus Christ as something to celebrate, they are free to do so. The angels rejoiced at His birth, and so can we.
Furthermore, I know of no one that has ever bowed down to a Christmas tree, or worshipped it. The tree in my home does not need to be compared to a Nimrod Tree, whatever that is. There is nothing on it that would make anyone think of Nimrod. Jesus, yes. Nimrod, no.
My poor deluded aunt told me just last night, that a tree in the home is fine, but becomes evil once you decorate it. If that isn’t cultic thinking, then I don’t know what is. I asked her if cakes become evil once they are decorated? I also asked her if her face became evil, once it was decorated with make up? That is the very same type of ridiculous logic.
I explained to her that a tree is a creation of Jehovah God, and her brilliant response was….”Jehovah created poison ivy, too, but we don’t take it into our homes.”</b> Talk about grasping, and looking silly in the process! If that’s the case, she needs to get rid of her cats, because pagans worshipped them and regarded them as deities. They were decorated with clothing, etc. This means that Christians today cannot own a cat, and put a sweater on it. And heaven forbid, they should put a bell on its collar! That would be “adorning it with silver”
. But since cats are created by Jehovah God, then I guess the pagan worship of them, would prohibit us from taking them into our homes, as well.
This is how ridiculous people look, when they can’t just obey the Scriptural command to allow people their own conscience on these matters.
But again, since Christmas trees are not worshipped by Christians, then the same point made in the article about a wedding ring being okay, DESPITE pagan origins, because it isn’t used in “false religious practices”, applies equally to the Christmas tree as well.
By the way, this is once again, a cop out….If a wedding ring has ANY indication at all that it might be pagan, then JWs are being hypocrites for trying to justify it, while condemning a Christmas tree. Why? Because a ring does NOT make a person any more married, than someone who doesn’t wear one. So, if it might be pagan, then WHY DO IT, JW? Are you REALLY doing all you can to “abstain from any traces of paganism”, if you wear one?
Oh, and by the way, I don’t have a problem with a wedding ring, either. The WT article is correct on that point….It has no pagan significance today, and people who wear one do not even think about, much less worship, any false “god” or pagan practice. But again, neither do people who decorate their homes with a Christmas tree.
5. “Of course, our concern is greater as regards the use of wedding rings, since this relates, not to minor secular matters, but to the marriage relationship, which the Christian rightly views as sacred before God. Really, the question is not so much whether wedding rings were first used by pagans but whether they were originally used as part of false religious practices and still retain such religious significance. As has been shown, the historical evidence does not allow for any definite conclusion on this. What does the Bible say about the use of rings?"
The Bible shows that some of God’s servants in the past wore rings, even ones that had special meaning attached to them. Wearing a signet ring could indicate that one had received authority to act in behalf of the ruler who owned it. (Gen. 41:42; Num. 31:50; Esther 8:2, 8; Job 42:11, 12; Luke 15:22) So, while wedding rings are not mentioned, these true worshipers clearly did not scruple against using rings for more than mere adornment.”
Summary: Even if pagans used wedding rings in religious practices or not, the question becomes two-fold….
A. Does the pagan roots of a practice, still have pagan significance TODAY?
B. Did God’s servants also wear rings in the past, as well as the pagans?
Well, the second question here, if JWs were correct, should be “NO!!” That is, if the WT teaching is followed to its logical conclusion…namely, that the pagans doing something evil automatically taints it, and Christians can no longer do anything with it, if it has any resemblance at all to what the pagans did.
However, if the pagans doing something BAD with an object such as a ring, or a tree, has no bearing on a servant of God doing something with the same object, but with a different purpose, then I guess there is no contradiction at all with a Christian using something that pagans used for evil.
And as the article so eloquently points out, servants of God also wore rings, too. Naturally, they did not use the rings to signify anything pagan, or use the rings in worship. But they wore them the same way, only the purpose and intent was different.
Seems this little issue is clearing right on up, huh?
But I have another question…..Did early Christians use wedding rings, and if so, we must conclude that its wicked and sinful to adorn a tree with silver/gold because of paganism, but its okay to adorn OURSELVES with silver/gold, despite pagans doing it.
6. “Some persons say that a wedding ring represents one’s unending love and devotion in marriage. The increasing divorce rate in many lands where married persons usually wear a wedding ring proves that this meaning is more imagined than real. Nonetheless, for the majority of persons, including Christians, in lands where wedding rings are common, the ring is an outward indication that the wearer is a married person. In other localities the same point is shown in a different way, such as by a woman’s wearing a certain style of clothing.”
Summary….Not only has the wedding ring lost its pagan significance, it apparently has lost its significance in regards to the commitment it is supposed to be a symbol of. Basically, it means nothing.
So again, the question becomes….Why do it, if you are attempting to keep yourselves from ALL forms of paganism and worldliness?
Again, I have no issue with it, and I think people SHOULD wear one if they can…But the inconsistency in the JW position, needs to be pointed out here, because they want to argue both sides. One minute, we are to abstain from ANYTHING that has ever been used in pagan worship/religious ritual, and the next minute its okay, because it has lost its pagan significance.
7. “Of course, a wedding ring is by no means a Christian requirement. One Christian might decide not to wear a wedding ring, because of conscience, personal taste, cost, local custom, or some other reason. Yet another Christian might decide to indicate his married status by means of a wedding ring. Hence, in the final analysis the decision is a personal one, to be made in accord with the conscientious views one holds.**************”
"A wedding ring is by no means a Christian requirement." Strange argument, that is...
While its true that a wedding ring is not a “Christian requirement” (you are just as married if you don’t wear one), it isn’t forbidden by the Watchtower, even though there is every indication it has roots in paganism. While celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ is likewise not a “Christian requirement”, this is forbidden by the Watchtower, and viewed as something sinful, although there is NOTHING in the Scriptures to prohibit a Christian from doing so.
To quote the article…“One Christian might decide not to recognize the birth of Christ or decorate their home, because of conscience, personal taste, cost, local custom, or some other reason. Yet another Christian might decide to indicate His appreciation for the Savior’s death, realizing that there would have been no death without a birth, by decorating his home and spending time with loved ones, talking about the blessing of the gift of eternal life, which came about as the result of Christ being made in the likeness of sinful flesh (His birth), for the suffering of death. Hence, in the final analysis, the decision is a personal one, to be made in accord with the conscientious views on holds.”
Wow, “questioner”…thank you so much for quoting the entire article. You really helped strengthen the point that my questioner and myself were trying to make.
Again, I appreciate it.