Why Not be a Jehovah's Witness?
by Steve McRoberts (part 3 of 3)
Jehovah's Witnesses are 100% correct in stating that there is no literal place of fiery torment after death. They are correct in stating that the Jews never had such a notion, and that it appears nowhere in the "Old Testament". They are correct in stating that this is a "pagan" notion adopted by Christianity.
The Witnesses are to be commended for pointing this out, and for attempting to rid the world from the fear of hell.
The Witnesses, of course, were not the first ones to point out the utter absurdity of hell. Free thinkers as well as some Christian religions had been saying this for centuries prior to Russell's time.
Today, most liberal-minded theologians do not believe in the old fire-and-brimstone hell. They commonly hold to the idea that the torment is simply the separation of the soul from God, or some such watered-down view.
Whether or not the Bible teaches a literal hell of fiery torments is another matter. Obviously, a case can be made for this since so many Christians believe it. We must keep in mind that the Bible was written by many different people holding many different viewpoints. What they meant to convey is often impossible to determine. This is why it is open to so many diverse interpretations. What must be kept in mind is that an equally valid case can be made from the Bible that the fires of hell are symbolic.
Using our brains and hearts we can easily figure out that a "God of love" would never arrange for any part of his creation to be purposely tormented day and night for eternity, no matter what they might have done or failed to do.
Religions which continue to spout the fire-and-brimstone version of a literal hell should be deeply ashamed of themselves, and shouldn’t be criticizing the Watchtower, since they are doing just as much damage to their own members' mental health.
Jehovah's Witnesses are 100% correct in stating that the idea of the Trinity is a pagan one, which has been grafted onto Christianity. They are correct in stating that the idea does not occur in the "Old Testament", that the word never appears in the Bible, and that the idea is nowhere explicitly set forth in the Bible.
Once again, due to the contradictory nature of the collection of diverse writings known as the Bible, an equally valid case can be made for God being a Trinity. Please see my book, Falling in Truth: the Education of a Jehovah's Witness for a thorough examination of this topic.
Once again, the Witnesses were not the first ones to point this out. We know that this controversy regarding the nature of the Christian God has been raging ever since the third century.
It is laughable to me that people would argue and fight and kill each other over the "true nature of God". As if one person knew more about the unknowable than another person!
Why should we expect God to be like us in any way? Just because some anonymous writer once wrote that we were made in "his" image? Here we are debating on whether God is one or three persons, and it is more likely that if such a being exists, then the appellation of "person" would be beneath "him". It would be like ants debating about how many antennae an elephant has, or like triangles debating about how many angles are in a sphere.
Believing that God is one person or three persons has no practical value. It does not make the believer a better person either way. It is a moot point. So it hardly warrants our sticking with an organization that lies.
The Watchtower claims that the Bible is God's inspired word and serves as a guidebook to moral conduct as well as revealing God's nature and purpose. They believe that the entire Bible is true (though parts of it are not to be taken literally). They claim that there are no contradictions in the Bible, and that everything in the Bible which is reported as history is accurate and true.
But nothing could be further from the truth than the above statements about the Bible!
There is no book as self-contradictory or as full of lies and impossible nonsense as the Bible (not even the Watchtower comes close)! For the proof of these statements, please see my on-line book,
Can the Bible be "God's Word"? You will soon discover that the inescapable answer to that question is a resounding No! The Bible cannot possibly be what the Watchtower claims that it is. Since the Watchtower bases its doctrines, and its whole reason for existence on the Bible, what do these facts mean for it?
The One True Religion
The Watchtower claims that Jehovah's Witnesses have the one true religion, and that God hates all other religions, and is going to destroy them as "the world empire of false religion" (along with all of their members) in the bloody "Great Tribulation" which will happen any day now.
As we have seen, however, their religion is no more truthful than any other. In fact, we have seen where they have deliberately lied. Of course, any religion which holds that the Bible is inerrant or is a good moral guide, is not going to be speaking the truth. With their insistence that every word in the Bible is true, the Jehovah's Witnesses are probably less truthful in this regard than most other Christian religions.
Their feelings of hatred towards other religions leads to a spirit of intolerance. It is easy to dismiss someone as inconsequential if you believe that your God is about to destroy them for belonging to the wrong religion. I remember when I was a Witness: we used to call non-believers "goats" (referring to the parable of the sheep and goats in which the goats were destroyed).
This is just another example of how religion fosters the opposite of love for one's fellow man and woman.
Where is your loyalty? That question is often asked of Witnesses who are questioning their "mother". The answer, one would hope, is that their loyalty is to the truth.
If it were a valid principle that one should forever cling to an organization from which one has learned a truth, then Russell should never have left the Adventists and started his own religion, and then there would be no Watchtower today.
Back to Part I