Saturday, February 27, 2016

Who Are "Most To Be Pitied"?

In writing to the Corinthians, Paul essentially argued that if we are self-deceived in our faith, then we are most to be pitied above all men. (1 Corinthians 15:14-19) This is not some deep esoteric spiritual gem of wisdom. It is simple logic.

But there is another side of this that goes beyond what Paul’s intent was in writing the above. Paul’s intent was to put to shame fellow believers that got a “bit too big for their britches” in making some absurd claim that there would not be a future resurrection of the dead (see verse 12). Paul was actually providing strong argument in favor of believing in the resurrection.

However, let’s just for a moment ponder the possibility that we are self-deceived. In today’s world, that would mean that we all may as well just follow a hedonistic life. In fact, that is the same conclusion that Paul made in verse 32. If there truly is no meaning in life, why in the world are atheists and godless science so absorbed in discrediting the Bible. No matter what they do, they’ve accomplished nothing because in the end, it all means nothing. Whatever “name” they may make for themselves will be short-lived and, at the very most, be relegated to the antiquities of some history book that students of the future will fall asleep reading. In other words, just as King Solomon concluded, ‘It is ALL futility (or vanity)’ (or, vain pursuits).

So where am I going with this? After more than 6 decades of life and over 40 years of being associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses, EVEN IF there is the remotest possibility that I was completely credulous in my beliefs, I don’t see that anyone else has anything more worthy, more compassionately comforting, more dignifying, more satisfying, more purpose-filled than what I have. Everyone else believes it all amounts to nothing. I have learned it all does indeed amount to something worth living for.

Now, the difference between being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and belonging to some nominal Christian church can be summed up in something one of my students said about 20 years ago. He was reluctant to make a commitment. Finally, after several months, he at least qualified to come and observe what we do in the ministry. He didn’t want to accompany me, he wanted to partner with someone else. After an hour of our public ministry (calling on people at their homes), the group returned to the car. As my student got in, he exclaimed “There is no religion like Jehovah’s Witnesses! People in other religions have no clue what they really believe and they can’t logically explain it!” This was actually a monumental realization for him because up to that time he was not sure that belonging to any religion really mattered. Now he saw with his own personal experience exactly what so many others finally realize -- we have intelligence and logic on our side. Other religions have little more than emotionalism, "clever" and/or shallow reasoning (that may sound good but is false), and rituals.

There is something else that we have that others do not -- a truly international brotherhood that cares and an educational system that helps us become solid in our faith that God’s Word, the Bible, truly holds out the best way of life. If others who do not share our conviction want to believe that their life amounts to nothing, I truly feel sorry for them. So, unlike Paul, even if we are wrong in our belief, I don’t think that we are “most to be pitied,” I think the non-believers win that distinction.


  1. I recognise most of the positives you indicate th JW lifestyle, beliefs and practices provide - all of which are positive and admirable. What is not so admirable is the way that you bundle all other denominations together and dismiss any of the positives they also provide. To make the assumption that none of these could possibly provide similar benefits such as meaningful theological understanding, supportive fellowship and do all this without either rituals and clever shallowness is disappointing. I am not a JW but have much sympathy for many of your beliefs, however I am often amazed at the lack of understanding by JW's as to what other denominations really teach and practice. I suppose it seems as though some JW's have a caricature impression of all non-JW's, and by the look of this article you may be one of these.

    1. Hello "Rutherglen Road." (Not sure if that is a name or a "handle.") Having been raised Catholic (which in my parent's household was more than mere lip-service), I was very immersed in the doctrine and way of life. I was an altarboy at a very young age and gained the respect that I was invited to serve at the nun's private, early morning Mass. I attended Catholic schooling for my whole childhood including an all-boys Catholic high school. I actually thought I was pretty good at defending my Catholic beliefs -- that is, until I started talking with Jehovah's Witnesses. One of the main foundational beliefs is that if you call yourself a Christian, you MUST believe in the source of Christianity -- the Bible. Even though I had been through Catechism class in school, I realized I really could not cite even one verse. Slowly, very slowly, I came to realize that the Catholic worship system is based more on tradition, ceremony, and ritual than on the Bible. So I started to attend Protestant services (Baptist and others) looking to see what these mainstream alternatives had. Not once was the Bible cited as any authority by any of the ministers & preachers I spoke to. So then I made a systematic evaluation of "truths" claimed by most Christian churches: 1) The Trinity is what God is, 2) Hell fire is where incorrigible evil people go, 3) God does not have nor need a name, and many other. Even without the JWs direction, I was able to prove to myself that those "truths" were in fact bold lies. Since I have yet to find any other religion that Christianity that recognizes those facts, yes indeed, I do indeed lump them together for they all carry the stain of those unscriptural beliefs. Then, as I engage in my personal ministry to reach others, I find none of them are willing to talk. I've even posed: "If you are Christian and you feel I'm wrong, why won't you teach me what is right?" Instead, all I get is criticisms, condemnation and slammed doors. While I group other religions into one lump, I try to treat every individual as a unique person and appeal to their sense of reason and love for the Bible as a basis for discussion.