Jehovah`s Witness/simple question
QUESTION: Are Jehovah Witnesses "encouraged" to not associate with non witness people? Thank you
ANSWER: Thank you for inquiring with All Experts.
Your question has good merits because it deals with mixing with believers and non-believers. In the internet the World Christian Encyclopedia, there are some “10,000 distinct religions worldwide.” Because conflicts between them have led to untold hurt, the concept of interfaith brings hope to many worshippers. They believe that it can engender peace and unity in a divided world.
The Bible encourages unity. The apostle Paul likened the Christian congregation to a human body, each member being “harmoniously joined together and being made to cooperate.” (Ephesians 4:16) Similarly, the apostle Peter urged his fellow believers: “All of you be like-minded.”—1 Peter 3:8.
The early Christians lived in a multicultural and multireligious world. Yet, when writing about the mingling of different religions, Paul asked: “What portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever?” Then he warned Christians to “get out from among them.” (2 Corinthians 6:15, 17) Clearly, Paul was speaking against interfaith. Why did he do so? The apostle explained that spiritual fellowship between one who is a true Christian and one who is not would be an uneven yoke, a misfit. In 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 it says “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Be′li•al? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: “I shall reside among them and walk among [them], and I shall be their God, and they will be my people.” “‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”; “‘and I will take YOU in.’” “‘And I shall be a father to YOU, and YOU will be sons and daughters to me,’ says Jehovah the Almighty.” Belial is the same as Ba’al worship.
“It could result only in harm to the Christian’s faith. Paul’s concerns were like those of a father who knows that some children in his neighborhood behave badly. As a concerned parent, he wisely sets limits on whom his child should play with. His restrictions may be unpopular. Under the circumstances, however, being separate would protect his child from bad influences. Similarly, Paul knew that being separate from other religions would protect Christians against their harmful practices.
In taking that stand, Paul was imitating Jesus. While Jesus set the greatest example in promoting peace among people, he did not practice interfaith. Many religious groups, such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees, were active during Jesus’ earthly ministry. In fact, these religious factions joined forces to challenge Jesus, going as far as to plot his death. Jesus, on the other hand, directed his followers to “watch out . . . for the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”—Matthew 16:12.
Is the Bible’s warning against intermingling with other faiths still valid? Yes, it is. This is because differing religious beliefs cannot bond through interfaith any more than oil and water can mix simply by putting them together in a pot. For instance, when people of different religions come together to pray for peace, which god is being petitioned? Christendom’s Trinitarian God? Hinduism’s Brahma? The Buddha? Or someone else?
The prophet Micah foretold that “in the final part of the days,” people from all nations would say: “Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” (Micah 4:1-4) The result would be peace and unity on a worldwide scale, not because all faiths are somehow joined, but because all people accept the one true faith.
Many factors have contributed to the development of new religious groups. Some have said that the various religions all represent different ways of presenting religious truth. But a comparison of their teachings and practices with the Bible indicates, rather, that the diversity of religions is because people have become followers of men instead of listening to God. It is noteworthy that, to a large extent, teachings they hold in common, but that differ from the Bible, originated in ancient Babylon.
Who is the instigator of such religious confusion? The Bible identifies Satan the Devil as “the god of this system of things.” (2 Corinthians. 4:4) It warns us that “the things which the nations sacrifice they sacrifice to demons, and not to God.” (1 Corinthians 10:20) David we read here how important it is to make sure that we really are worshiping the true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and that our worship is directed to him only.
Now, are all religions acceptable to God? Lets read what the scriptures say. In Judges 10:6, 7 it says that “The sons of Israel again proceeded to do what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah, and they began to serve the Baals and the Ashtoreth images and the gods of Syria and the gods of Sidon and the gods of Moab and the gods of the sons of Ammon and the gods of the Philistines. So they left Jehovah and did not serve him. At this Jehovah’s anger blazed against Israel.” Was Jehovah rightfully upset because his chosen nation Israel was mingling and worshipping other gods? If a person worships anything or any person other than the true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, it is evident that his form of worship is not acceptable to Jehovah.
In Jesus’ day as recorded in Mark 7:6, 7: “He [Jesus] said to them [the Jewish Pharisees and scribes]: ‘Isaiah aptly prophesied about you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach as doctrines commands of men.” Was Jesus correct in reprimanding this group who profess to worship Jehovah? If a group hold to doctrines of men instead of the inspired Word of God, their worship is in vain.
In Romans 10:2, 3: Paul said that “I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge; for, because of not knowing the righteousness of God but seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” Many people today may have God’s written Word but lack accurate knowledge of what it contains, because they have not been taught properly. They may feel that they are zealous for God, but they may not be doing what he requires. Their worship is not going to please God, is it?
David, most religions do teach that a person should not lie or steal, and so forth. But is that sufficient? Would you be happy to drink a glass of poisoned water because someone assured you that most of what you were getting was water?
Paul said in 2 Corinthians. 11:14, 15 that “Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light. It is therefore nothing great if his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness.” Here we are cautioned that not everything that originates with Satan may appear hideous. One of his chief methods of deceiving mankind has been false religion of all kinds, to some of which he gives a righteous appearance.
The apostle Paul under inspiration said that in the future, our day that “Men will be . . . having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; and from these turn away.” 2 Timothy chapter 3:2, 5 Regardless of their outward professions of love for God that many religions or organizations profess, those with whom you worship do not sincerely apply his Word in their own lives, the Bible urges you to break off such association.
If what our parents taught us is really from the Bible, we should hold on to it. Even if we learn that their religious practices and beliefs are out of harmony with God’s Word, our parents deserve our respect. But what if you learned that a certain habit of your parents was harmful to health and could shorten a person’s life? Would you imitate them and encourage your children to do so, or would you respectfully share with them what you learned? Similarly, knowledge of Bible truth brings responsibility. If possible, we should share with family members what we learn. We must make a decision: Do we really love God? Do we really want to obey God’s Son? Our doing so may require that we leave the religion of our parents to take up true worship. It certainly would not be fitting to allow our devotion to our parents to be greater than our love for God and Christ, would it? Jesus said: “He that has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me; and he that has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me.”—Matt. 10:37.
Josh. 24:14: “Now fear Jehovah and serve him in faultlessness and in truth, and remove the gods that your forefathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt, and serve Jehovah.” That meant a change from the religion of their forefathers, did it not? To serve Jehovah acceptably, they had to get rid of any images used in such religion and cleanse their hearts of any desire for those things.
1 Pet. 1:18, 19: “You know that it was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were delivered from your fruitless form of conduct received by tradition from your forefathers. But it was with precious blood, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, even Christ’s.” So, early Christians turned away from those traditions of their forefathers, which traditions could never give them eternal life. Gratitude for the sacrifice of Christ made them eager to get rid of anything that caused their lives to be fruitless, lacking real meaning because they did not honor God.
More importantly how did Jesus view religious leaders who pretended to be righteous but disrespected God? “Jesus said to them: ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for from God I came forth and am here. Neither have I come of my own initiative at all, but that One sent me forth. . . . You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie. Because I, on the other hand, tell the truth, you do not believe me. . . . This is why you do not listen, because you are not from God.’”—John 8:42-47.
Are we showing loyalty to God if we mingle or mix with people who condone practices that the Bible show its wrong? The apostle Paul said under inspiration to “Quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man. . . . Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Corinthians. 5:11; 6:9, 10) “Whoever . . . wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.” (Jas. 4:4) “O you lovers of Jehovah, hate what is bad. He is guarding the souls of his loyal ones.”—Psalm. 97:10.
The apostle John in Revelation 18:4, 5 said “I heard another voice out of heaven say: ‘Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues. For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind.’”
As you can read and hear that most religious organizations have produced bad fruitage. It is not the fact that groups are organized that is bad. But many have promoted forms of worship that are based on false teachings and are largely ritualistic instead of providing genuine spiritual guidance; they have been misused to control the lives of people for selfish objectives; they have been overly concerned with money collections and ornate houses of worship instead of spiritual values; their members are often hypocritical. Obviously no one who loves righteousness would want to belong to such an organization. But true religion is a refreshing contrast to all of that. Nevertheless, to fulfill the Bible’s requirements, it must be organized.
To carry out this Scriptural command, there must be Christian meetings that we can attend on a consistent basis. Such an arrangement encourages us to express love toward others, not only concern about self. In the letter to the Christian Hebrew congregation Paul said in 10:24, 25: “Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.”
1 Cor. 1:10: “Now I exhort you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you should all speak in agreement, and that there should not be divisions among you, but that you may be fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.” Where do we find such unity? Can that unity be achieved if the individuals did not meet together, benefit from the same spiritual feeding program, and respect the agency through which such instruction was provided?
Another marked example is the love that we have for in 1 Peter. 2:17: “Have love for the whole association of brothers. Also in Matthew. 24:14: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” As a worldwide organization we provide an opportunity for all to hear that good news, the preaching must be carried out in an orderly way, with suitable oversight. Love for God and for one’s fellowman has caused people around the earth to unite their efforts to do this work.
There is no doubt about it, such love is important. (Romans. 13:8-10) But being a Christian involves more than simply being kind to our neighbor. Jesus said that his true disciples would be outstandingly identified by their love for one another, for fellow believers. (John 13:35) The importance of that is emphasized repeatedly in the Bible. (Gal. 6:10; 1 Pet. 4:8; 1 John 3:14, 16, 17) However, Jesus showed that even more important is our love for God himself, which is shown by our obedience to his commandments. (Matt. 22:35-38; 1 John 5:3) To demonstrate such love, we need to study and apply God’s Word and assemble with fellow servants of God for worship.
It certainly is important. Merely attending religious services in a formalistic way cannot take the place of it. But we need to be careful. Why? In the first century, there were people who thought they had a good relationship with God but whom Jesus showed to be badly mistaken. (John 8:41-44) The apostle Paul wrote about some who evidently were zealous about their faith and obviously thought they had a good relationship with God but who did not understand what was really required in order to have God’s approval.—Rom. 10:2-4.Could we have a good personal relationship with God if we treated as of little importance his commandments? One of these is that we regularly assemble with fellow believers.—Heb. 10:24, 25.
It is true that many people can learn a great deal by reading the Bible personally. If their motive is to learn the truth about God and his purposes, what they are doing is highly commendable. (Acts 17:11) But, being honest with ourselves, are we truly going to grasp the full significance of it all without help? The Bible tells about a man who held a prominent position but who was humble enough to acknowledge his need for help in understanding Bible prophecy. That help was provided by a member of the Christian congregation.—Acts 8:26-38; compare other references to Philip in Acts 6:1-6; 8:5-17.
Of course, if a person reads the Bible but does not apply it in his life, it does him little good. If he believes it and acts on it, he will associate with God’s servants in regular congregation meetings. (Hebrew 10:24, 25) He will also join with them in sharing the “good news” with other people.—1 Corinthians. 9:16; Mark 13:10; Matt. 28:19, 20.
So David how do we know what is the right religion? Here are a few points to consider.
(1) On what are its teachings based? Are they from God, or are they largely from men?
(2) Consider whether it is making known the name of God. Jesus said in prayer to God: “I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me out of the world.” (John 17:6)
(3) Is true faith in Jesus Christ being demonstrated? This involves appreciation of the value of the sacrifice of Jesus’ human life and of his position today as heavenly King. (John 3:36; Psalm. 2:6-8) Such appreciation is shown by obeying Jesus—sharing personally and zealously in the work that he assigned to his followers. True religion has such faith that is accompanied by works.—James. 2:26.
(4) Is it largely ritualistic, a formality, or is it a way of life? God strongly disapproves of religion that is merely a formalism. (Isaiah. 1:15-17) True religion upholds the Bible’s standard of morality and clean speech instead of weakly going along with popular trends. (1 Corinthians. 5:9-13; Ephesians. 5:3-5) Its members reflect the fruits of God’s spirit in their lives. (Galatians. 5:22, 23) So, those who adhere to true worship can be identified because they sincerely endeavor to apply Bible standards in their lives not only at their places of meeting but in their family life, at their secular work, in school, and in recreation.
(5) Do its members truly love one another? Jesus said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35) Such love reaches across racial, social, and national boundaries, drawing people together in genuine brotherhood. So strong is this love that it sets them apart as being truly different. When the nations go to war, who have enough love for their Christian brothers in other lands that they refuse to take up arms and kill them? That is what early Christians did.
(6) Is it truly separate from the world? Jesus said that his true followers would be “no part of the world.” (John 15:19) To worship God in a manner that he approves requires that we keep ourselves “without spot from the world.” (James. 1:27) Can that be said of those whose clergy and other members are involved in politics, or whose lives are largely built around materialistic and fleshly desires?—1 John 2:15-17.
(7) Are its members active witnesses concerning God’s Kingdom? Jesus foretold: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew. 24:14) What religion is really proclaiming God’s Kingdom as the hope of mankind instead of encouraging people to look to human rulership to solve their problems? Has your religion equipped you to share in this activity, and to do it from house to house as Jesus taught his apostles to do?—Matthew. 10:7, 11-13; Acts 5:42; 20:20.
This explanation may seem long winded but it is to make a point in regards to difference between what Jehovah God approves and what this world approves. Many religions change their format to adjust to their peers versus what the Bible really says.
Source, The Bible
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: I asked a simple question, if possible, could you re answer with a simpler answer that is less long. Thank you. Sorry I did not even read your answer, it was just too long. Thanks again.
I apologize for the long answer. Your question is a yes or no answer; however, it does require an explanation scripturally. Since this question is for public viewing I felt an obligation for all those who may also had that question in mind and the reason for not exercising interfaiths in other denominations.