Friday, August 30, 2013

Sly Wolves

It never ceases to amaze me how those I meet are so quick to condemn my faith but have nothing to offer in place of it. Oh sure, they’d probably love if I came and joined their church, but based on the way they treat me, I’m certainly not attracted to that. Would you want to associate with a religion that right from the get-go does nothing but tells you what a loser you are? Me neither. Recently I was told I’d been deceived. I responded that for there to be deception, there would have to be motive. Money isn't the motive because we follow Jesus’ directive regarding our preaching work, “you received free, give free.” We don't charge people for our literature. We don't pass collection baskets. We don't require a tithe. (Matthew 10:8) He defended the right of other religions to require tithing. (I later learned he is a pastor at his church.)

During all our discussions, both in person and through email, he continually tried to find fault with Jehovah’s Witnesses and nit-picked everything I said. At one point during an in-person meeting, he showed me a Greek-language Bible that was amalgamated using numerous fragments (not an uncommon practice). He had learned to read Greek, so he could directly translate it to English. It was very impressive. But he tried to make a point about the punctuation it used compared to the punctuation in the New World Translation. He pointed to his Greek-language Bible as an authority showing the real punctuation. I politely listened and nodded, but I knew he was not telling the truth. When I got home I found three websites that have nothing to do with Jehovah’s Witnesses—all of which confirmed what I vaguely remembered—Greek did not have any punctuation. So the use of punctuation by all translators and original-language renderers is subjective and, to some degree, a form of interpretation. When I pointed this out to him, he didn't like that. I guess he thought I would swallow his lie hook, line and sinker.

At first I thought he sincerely wanted my responses to his challenges. I even acknowledged that he brought up some very good questions that deserve an honest answer. But when I attempted to respond, I discovered his real intentions. He wasn’t interested in anything that might exonerate us. He was fully convinced we are wrong. His only purpose was to raise sufficient doubt in my mind so I'd stop serving the one true God. 

I researched one other issue he raised that he said gave indisputable proof that Jesus is God Almighty. It all centered on the Greek word “proskuneo” which, when rendered in English, can be translatedworship, obeisance,” or even “prostrate.” It comes from two root Greek words meaning “towards to kiss.” His faulty argument was that since Jesus permitted others to do this toward him, he was accepting worship, therefore proving he was God. The problem with that thinking is that he was using a very narrow definition of the word. When I found an occurrence of that word where Jesus used it in an illustration about a man begging for mercy from another man, that blew his whole argument out of the water. Although I’ll be the first to admit I am not a Greek scholar by any means, I do own some well-respected reference works that made this an easy discovery. Maybe he thought I’d be too lazy or dumb to research this. He boasted about his degree from his studies. The fact is, the message in the Bible was never intended to be intellectualized. God and his son, Jesus, both worked with common folk, down to earth folk. True religion, true faith, was and is a matter of a personal relationship with God, something anyone with average intelligence can grasp. The message in the Bible was to average people that could understand simple concepts. (Downloadable PDF with more extensive analysis)

Still, I was happy for this experience. I even thanked the man and I meant it with all sincerity. He helped me once again reaffirm my faith and see how others so slyly try to twist scriptures for their own benefit.

Here are the links to the three websites regarding Greek and punctuation:

On this next link, notice the 7th paragraph, the one under the heading: "Strong's Hebrew/Greek Dictionary.

No comments:

Post a Comment