Tuesday, April 13, 2010

JWs: Comrades in arms?

What is that ancient saying? "The enemy of my enemy is my friend".

Perhaps, given this - and the fact that Jehovah's Witnesses are under current ferocious attack on a certain pastor's blog - we ought to thank them for taking the "heat" off us atheists, and welcome them into the friends' fold. (Given the blog owner confirms again that he won’t limit his verbal fusillades to “unbelievers”).

Indeed, the image for the latest blog entry evokes memories of an earlier one: showing a toilet with seat up as the final resting place of the NWT Bible. (Readers may recall an earlier fulmination in which this fundie website depicted the holy Qu’uran in the toilet).

What I don’t understand, however, is with all the growing fear of the unbeliever -secular "socialist" contingent, why anyone would want to antagonize fellow BELIEVERS? Why not make common cause? Why resort to the artificial cudgel of pseudo-doctrinal purity and alienate even more people? (And believe me, reading this blog, the alienation level is every bit as pronounced as it is for atheists, Catholics and Islamics!)

Yes, I’ve had my run-ins with the “JWs” – both at my front door, and also on the AARP forums (over 2007-08) but they're no where near the “devils” made out to be on Pastor Perfect -True Christian's website. In fact, the last time two of them came to my door – I made them a deal by which I’d accept their literature IF they accepted mine on atheism, and they did. (Not saying whether they actually read it).

On the AARP ‘Life After Death’ forum, after some initial skirmishes with two or three JWs, we soon found ourselves in common cause (more or less) against the most extremist fundagelicals who consigned us (together) to their little Hell bogey abode. We shared numerous jokes at the fundies’ expense to their great consternation. The irony here was an atheist having more in common with these believers than they had with other believers.

But let’s be fair here. In truth, the extremist evangelicals are so hostage to their own doctrinal purity litmus tests (such as whose bible is the absolutely correct one when all are based on fantasies) they're almost a cult unto themselves. They have no use for MOST other believers, far less unbelievers, and we’ve beheld that over and over with the same Pastor True Christian's blog as it castigated Mormons, Catholics, and now JWs.

Which begs the question of why they’d invoke these other "perfidious" or "false" believers when it suits their purpose. This I've never understood.

If you’re going to show a pope (e.g. Benedict) in a Nazi uniform and depict his religion as the “whore of Babylon” why – at other times- invoke it as a basis for examples showing how religion “helped advance science” (by reference to both Galileo and Kepler who were both devout Catholics). This doesn’t compute and indeed, is hypocritical. Because to condemn a religion on one occasion and then exploit it for convenience in others (say in arguments with atheists), is trying to have it both ways. Either you condemn it or you don’t, make up your mind! If you condemn it then don’t invoke its standard bearers in other contexts. Find another strategy to make your case vis-a-vis "scientific religionists" that don't involve religions you regard as false.

If I were an evangelical and actually committed to helping my cause (and was convinced secularism and atheism were the biggest threats on Earth) , I'd actually invest more energy in building alliances with other believers – not antagonize them with cutesy comic putdowns, and attacks depicting toilet bowl destinations for their bibles. But maybe the evangelicals feel so powerful in themselves that they don’t need allies, even among fellow believers. (This also, btw, discloses they are convinced their deity is different from the others, whether of JWs, Catholics or Mormons. If this is so, it is even more critical for them to show the necessary and sufficient conditions for it to exist - to distinguish it clearly from the other gods! Because IF everyone is worhsipping the SAME deity, it matters not what sacred book one uses, or whether one genuflects on right or left knee- or at all)

So they (Fundies) believe that they can afford to make enemies of just about everyone.

All I can say is their “heaven” – if it exists- is bound to be extremely boring with only one monotonic personality and religious type in evidence (if we believe their spiel about what the formula is for “salvation”). No problemo – we will let them have their shallow clouds, plastic harps and heavenly circus to themselves. Meanwhile, JWs, Jews, atheists, Catholics, Hindus and Buddhists will all be in a better place, where at least spiritual apartheid no longer exists.

That may be Nothingness (Nirvana) or the Bohmian Holomovement via dispersed but nonlocal de Broglie waves, but at least we won't have fundies to look down their snouts at us in their usual odious self-righteousness!

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