Jehovah`s Witness/your reply to Rita
QUESTION: I am new here to this site and I have have read your reply to Rita. It is very interesting and raises a lot of questions about the Jehovah Witness organization. I am going to take the advice of a Jw here who suggests that people get a response from both sides so i hope you do not mind if I ask him to explain from his view what you have written
ANSWER: Hello, Jim. Thank you for writing.
Nope, don't mind one bit. You will find that it isn't the non-JWs here who have a problem with you asking for an alternate view. Rather, its a few of the JWs here, who try to keep people from asking questions of the non-Witnesses such as myself. Even telling people that talking to me, can cost them their chance of everlasting life, if you can believe that.
Now, the expert that you referenced, is the best choice if you want to ask a question of a JW. He is far more level-headed and balanced, than some of the others, who represent the lunatic fringe of the religion.
No, by all means, get both sides and weigh the facts for yourself. If I can help you any further, please do not hesitate to ask.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Just though I would let you know what I thought of the discussion so far. Brenton was polite but very long winded. It was difficult to see just where he was coming from. I still have to finish reading the link he gave me. All in all it has been an interesting week or so reading the goings on here. Personally I do not thin that the Jws here that you have talked to or yourself have done much for either side by the name calling that has gone on. I always thought that christians were taught to turn the other cheek and to love thy enemy. There has not been a lot of that in some of the discussions. But anyway when you are not fighting with them you make some good points and occasionally some of them make sense. I found it strange that Brenton talked about them speaking in unity yet a few have attacked him for being more lets say liberal or less demanding than some of the others. There also seems to be a disagreement over this 2015 thing. Some of them seem to not know which way to go. Brenton was not for it and I could understand his point of view. I wonder what he would do if it became an official explanation. Why do some get so excited over a date. I am going to keep reading and come back here from time to time to see what is happening.
Hello, Jim. Thank you for touching base. Yes, I saw your correspondence with Brenton.
You said..."Personally I do not thin that the Jws here that you have talked to or yourself have done much for either side by the name calling that has gone on. I always thought that christians were taught to turn the other cheek and to love thy enemy."
Yes, Jim, you are correct. The mud-slinging has really accomplished nothing. I personally would much rather have intelligent and Scriptural dialogue, but there are simply some JWs here, with whom that is not possible.
You have to understand something....I am a Christian voice on a a site that they mistakenly believe belongs to them. They resent that, as there are things about this religion that the non-JWs will bring out in the interest of being completely honest and fair, that the JWs themselves will not tell questioners. A non-JW on this site who is knowledgeable in the Scriptures, and in Watchtower history, is not desirable for those who are trying to convince others that this is the only religious Organization in the world that they can belong to and be saved.
Something else you have to understand...There comes a time for turning the other cheek, and there comes a time where you have to set straight outright lies that are being told. For instance, if a JW made the statement...."Derrick Holland teaches false doctrine", then I would have no problem with that statement. It isn't true, mind you. But at least the JW would BELIEVE that it is true, and would merely be doing his/her duty in warning people to test what I say with the Scriptures (which they SHOULD do). Then, it would be up to the JW making this charge, to show from the Scripture why my doctrine is false.
That would be perfectly acceptable in a debate, and I would expect no less, as I conversely believe that the JWs are teaching false doctrine. That isn't a personal, ad-hominem attack...its merely stating what we would each believe about the other person's doctrines.
However, there are a few JWs here who go beyond that. Yes, even to the point of willful, and repeated lies and defamation. When a JW posts that "Derrick Holland beats his wife", with the sole intent of tarnishing my name, and his statement is a complete lie, I have every right and even a responsibility to set that lie straight. This lie, among many others they have told, is done merely to keep people from asking questions of me, and other non-JWs.
Now, I agree with you...It would be MUCH better if I never had to address a lie or personal attack. But it is, and has been, necessary at times. And Jim, that is the fault of the ones telling the lies.
You said you always thought that Christians were taught to love their enemy. Well, you are correct. But I am sure you were also always thought that Christians were not supposed to engage in lies and slander. Yet, there are several JWs, and one in particular, that has done so for years. He knows he is doing it, and the others know he is doing it. That is why they always ignore the point when it is brought up. They know...they simply don't care. To them, its justifiable because in the their mind, I shouldn't be here anyway.
Do you know that I actually had a JW say this very thing? That if I didn't like the slander and false statements being made, that I should just leave? Uh no, that isn't how it works. Regardless of whether I leave, or stay in this forum for 25 years, they have no right to lie or slander anyone.
You will notice that I have not, nor do I intend to, post anything about the personal lives of anyone here, which I do not know. They feel perfectly free to post lies about my personal life, and on occasion, my family as well. And there have been many times that I believe a response was warranted and justified.
And they do it, because they cannot refute what I say from Scripture. Its the old "attack the messenger, instead of the message" approach. AKA..."ad-hominem". It is actually listed as one of the most common fallacies in a debate.
But I can't argue with you....It SHOULD never happen among people who profess Christianity. But as long as there are JWs here who do not value honesty, it will likely continue.
You said..."But anyway when you are not fighting with them you make some good points and occasionally some of them make sense."
Well, thank you for that....:) I'm glad that I make some sense, on occasion.
YOU: "I found it strange that Brenton talked about them speaking in unity yet a few have attacked him for being more lets say liberal or less demanding than some of the others."
REPLY: Yes, and that goes right back to my previous comments, about the few JWs here who know nothing but slander. Let me explain...
Do you remember when I told you that by choosing Brenton as the expert to ask for a JW perspective, that you were choosing the RIGHT one? This is why. Brenton and I do not agree doctrinally, not even close. But Brenton and I can talk intelligently, without name calling and mud-slinging. That is because we are both mature in our faith, and try to practice our beliefs. When you get these zealous-for-the-Organization, but less mature JWs trying to answer questions, you get the slander and the name-calling.
I will tell you that there are probably 3 JWs here, who know how to conduct themselves respectfully. And I will also guarantee you, that you can go back in the archives for YEARS, and never find even one instance of them slinging mud at me, or my slinging mud at them. The ones who you have seen me have to deal harshly with, are the ones who persist in making everything a personal attack, misrepresenting my doctrine from the Bible, and lying about me personally. I believe when you are being lied about, and especially when your Biblical doctrine is being twisted and misrepresented, then I have an obligation to set that straight, so that their twistings do not stumble an honest-hearted reader into thinking our teachings are something different than what they actually are.
Jim, there are 2 passages in Proverbs that I would like to share with you. The first is....
Proverbs 26:4- "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him."
So, we see that there is a time for simply turning the other cheek, and not responding to certain foolish statements. However, we also see in the very NEXT verse, that there is a time that we SHOULD address the comments...
Proverbs 26:5- "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."
Now, it isn't always easy to decide which course to take. I have let many things go, because they were so ridiculous that I didn't feel they even needed addressing. Other times, I believed a response was warranted. I am not saying I have always taken the correct approach each time, but I believe I have most of the time. There are probably some lies that have been told, that I should have just ignored. There are also some things I should have addressed, and didn't.
Now, you will notice in the forum alongside this answer on Monday, another one of those instances where I had to address some falsehoods. This time, from a JW named "Bill" who loves to write me for the purpose of making false accusations and insulting me. Bill never has a real Bible doctrine to discuss...its always some nonsense about my not allowing him to follow-up, or something completely unrelated to anything important. But since he wrote directly to me, I reply to him, and his nonsense. This time, I pointed out to him that I have not prevented him from writing me a follow up, and that you also wrote me a follow up question within hours of his, and you had no trouble. He thinks I am removing the follow up "button", and the guy is totally clueless about how Allexperts works. I cannot say..."I'm gonna allow Jim to follow up, but not Bill". He doesn't understand that after I get 3 questions in a day, the system doesn't allow him to follow up.
Its foolish stuff like that, that I have to deal with on a regular basis with these people. Yes, its a shame. It would be better, if they would simply act like the Christians they claim to be, and stop dishonoring the name of the God they claim to serve.
Now, as I said, there are about 3 experts on here that I am yet to see be disrespectful to their questioners. That is not to say that I concur with their views. It is to say that I believe you can have sensible, and RESPECTFUL dialogue with them. They are:
1. Brenton Hepburn
2. D. Drake
3. Elbert Spears
There are also a couple of JWs whom I have not seen post anything disrespectful, but I also have not seen enough postings from them, to get a feel for their disposition at this time.
But the others? It simply isn't possible.
Now, please understand that I am referring to the PRACTICING JWs in my above comments. Conversely, there several non-JWs here, and I believe that ALL of them show respect for their questioner, and do not like to engage in mud-slinging and name-calling.
So, that is why I said that Brenton Hepburn is a good choice. And yes, you are correct...He has been attacked by some of them, for basically being reasonable, endeavoring to remain Scriptural, and having a level-head. The JWs speak of being united, but yes, Mr. Hepburn was what I would refer to, as "savagely attacked" by another JW awhile back, with the JW saying "We don't want people like him here answering questions". Brenton is one of the FEW JWs here who has had a POSITIVE impact for the religion in this forum, so they need to be careful what they say about him.
Jim, zeal without wisdom and knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
YOU: "There also seems to be a disagreement over this 2015 thing. Some of them seem to not know which way to go. Brenton was not for it and I could understand his point of view."
REPLY: Yes, there is some disagreement on this. And let me say this...Brenton is exactly right in the position he is taking. And if I remember correctly, it was his comments on this very issue, that brought on the savage attack by a fellow JW that I mentioned above. I would have to go back and check all that was said, but that is my recollection at the moment.
YOU: "I wonder what he would do if it became an official explanation."
REPLY: That is an interesting point, and remains to be seen. I suspect, knowing Brenton's thinking the way I believe I do, that he would endeavor to remain Scriptural, even if it meant not being in lock-step conformity to the Society. At least, I hope that is the case.
YOU: "Why do some get so excited over a date."
REPLY: Because people have, from the beginning of Christianity, tried to convince people that they have some sort of insight on the end times calendar, and when everything will wind up. It makes them feel spiritually superior, and gives them a sense of purpose and of being needed, I guess.
The statement has actually been made, concerning 2015, that "we know things that 8 million others (other JWs) do not know".
That's arrogance in the highest degree, if you ask me.
YOU: "I am going to keep reading and come back here from time to time to see what is happening."
REPLY: You are welcome here anytime, Jim. And if you wish to get my take on anything, or to ask a question of Biblical matters, please do not hesitate.
I hope you have a great evening, and take care.