Anyway, there's a real live university professor who has a relatively unbiased opinion and a degree in Greek, which kinda negates Jason BeDuhn who doesn't have one and who was educated by a Christian founded University. I have a copy of the email and can quote Dr. Levine if anyone really needs to see it.
However, in my recent studies, I've come to the conclusion that arguing with Witnesses based on Scripture and reason are useless. They have their own version of both. Their "new light" stuff is particularly interesting. They claim that as time goes on, the light gets brighter and brighter leading toward the truth. Now in concept this is a fabulous idea. In practice however, it tends to fail as the Witnesses use it.
Lemme tell you about a great parallel that I read. Say your mother died when you were a child and your father tried to ease you into the truth because you were very young, and he didn't want to traumatize you. So over the years, he gradually told you more and more details about what happened. This makes sense in the "progressive light" model. The Watchtower's progressive light works a little more like this: same story, your mother dies when you are young, and your father wants to protect you from being traumatized, only story goes like this. You are three years old, your father tells you that your mother has gone away and won't come back. At 10 years old, he tells you that she died in a car accident. At 12 years old he tells you she didn't die after all and lives in Jersey. At 15 years old he tells you she died of cancer. At 17 years old, he tells you she died of alcoholism, and at 18 finally he tells you it was a murder suicide and that she killed your younger brother before taking her own life.
Which is the more logical definition of "progressive light?" The Watchtower's version of progressive light is not adding facts onto facts to build a newer more full version of the truth, it is to present ever more mutually exclusive "facts" and calling them "new light." If you take a minute to think for yourself about it, the first two presidents of the Watchtower Society would be disfellowshipped before they could take a step in the Kingdom Hall front door, and the third would be disfellowshipped before he could sit down. It's not that they have added truth upon truth, it is that with every new discovered "truth," they must progressively reject some older "truth." The problem with this is that the older "truth" is now falsehood, and that means that for a time, "Jehovah's Visible Organization" taught falsehood and false teachings and likely disfellowshipped people for not believing them. I cannot imagine Almighty Jehovah God himself allowing false teachings to so pervade his "only divine channel" to the point that false teachings were preached for over half of the organizations existence. Look inside the cover (or wherever it is) of the Awake! magazines for the "mission statement." It used to mention the generation alive at 1914. It doesn't anymore, why is that?
Real truth always builds on truth, and never contradicts previously established truth. For instance, Watchtower publications used to claim that as time went on, further evidence for the "torture stake" theory would be discovered. For obvious reasons, they no longer claim this. It has proved not to be true. Charles Taze Russell (founder and first president of the Watchtower) used to teach that the Great Pyramid was "God's stone witness," however later teachings "correctly" identify the pyramid as "Satan's stone witness." So whose is it?
Mistakes and corrections are different. I used to believe some things that I no longer do, but also, I no longer attend a church that teaches those things, and if still did, I would not be disfellowshipped from said church for said beliefs. And I don't think I was "lost" during those times either, but as I grew in the grace (undeserved kindness) and love (love) of Jesus Christ, he exposed me to things I had not considered before. It wasn't that the pyramid was God's witness and now it isn't anymore, it was that I could shed certain beliefs that were not necessary for salvation, an acceptance of grace and release of the law. A paring down of essentials, not continual rejection of the old and adoption of the new. The difference is that salvation is by grace, not by works or even sometimes certain beliefs. To be saved, it doesn't matter what I believe about blood, or Christmas, or Armageddon, or birthdays, or whether or not it was a cross or a stake.
With Christianity came a paradigm shift. It was based not on paganism, but Judaism, as Jesus was a Jew. Is it simple coincidence that Christmas falls at the same time as Hanukkah or winter solstice? Which came first? Solstice is a natural occurrence that has existed from the dawn of time, so how is it pagan just because pagans decide to hold celebrations on that day, God created it. Hanukkah however was a Jewish holiday commemorating the re-dedication of the temple after its desecration by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. It is even mentioned in the Bible in John when Jesus is in the Temple walking Solomon's Portico in winter. So as far as Christmas, who is copying who? Since Jesus was a Jew, and as such celebrated Hanukkah, I would vote that Satan copies God's people, not the other way around.
Peace be with you,
Friday, August 31, 2007
Another Post Regarding Jehovah's Witnesses and Stuff
I was talking to a guy this evening about translations of the Bible, and he had mentioned that he got some info from a University of Arkansas professor named Daniel Levine who happens to be Jewish (that's *not Christian* to any Witnesses reading this, so essentially free from that specific bias) and who has a B. A. degree in Greek and Latin and had commented on John 1:1. Now I've never thought of it this way before, having to argue the meanings of words and grammar and all, but when he looks at this verse (and not from a Christian perspective) he sees simple context, that being, that the author is talking about God, the God, and only God.