As a child being brought up in the witness faith I was constantly told the importance of testing ones faith, that God had often tested people’s faith in Bible accounts. The account most of us will perhaps know well is that of Abraham and his son Isaac. Genesis 22:1-18 tells us what allegedly happened. In case you are unaware of the account, God asks Abraham to take his son Isaac to the top of a mountain and to sacrifice him as an offering, the moment he is about to sacrifice his own child God stops him. It was all done to test the faith of Abraham, in some form of an effort to ascertain if God had chosen the right man as his follower. We were told as faithful followers of the true religion that we constantly needed to prove our faith to God. Not only that but we were encouraged that if we were struggling with an area of the teachings to research it. Like I mentioned in the blog concerning the meetings, there are numerous study aids in order to give you what is considered an accurate understanding of the matter. However these study aids that contained “the answers” were written by the organisation and of course contained their agendas on whatever the subject may be.
We were also constantly warned to not fall foul of the devils traps! They would regularly warn their members of the dangers of things like the internet and publications by what they referred to as Apostates. An Apostate is described in one instance as: “Someone who is mentally diseased”! An article from the July 2011 edition of The Watchtower warns followers to stay clear of “false teachers” who are condemned as being “mentally diseased” apostates who should be avoided at all costs. “Suppose that a doctor told you to avoid contact with someone who is infected with a contagious, deadly disease,” the article reads. “You would know what the doctor means, and you would strictly heed his warning. Well, apostates are ‘mentally diseased’, and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings.” Again another classic example of wording that would make believers quite fearful of these “Apostates”!
Effectively this whole blog would be condemned as Apostate teaching. Purely due to the fact that it exposes some areas of the religion that perhaps don’t seem right, especially when you step back and have a think about what is really said in the Bible and then compare it to the religion’s standpoint. However, with that in mind it surely begs the question: How does an individual test their faith without first reading or learning the argument to the contrary?
Coming back to my opening point, testing ones faith can only be a good thing. All of the great discoveries both scientific and spiritual have been put to the test in one form or another. In order to test the strength or integrity of something you must attempt to break it, at that point you know just how strong it is and what pressure you can put on it, faith in my opinion is no different. If you are shown all the evidence contrary to Biblical accounts and you still believe them, it demonstrates a strong faith and this has to be something that is commendable. But the main point here is you have to see both sides to make a decision concerning your faith and the direction in which it lies. It would seem apparent that the Jehovah’s Witness organisation are fearful of this happening and seek to stop it using this subtle control I spoke of previously. Any literature to the contrary of their beliefs is instantly branded as Apostate. From this point on all the “faithful” members know to keep away from it, thus rendering them unable to make a fully informed decision about the faith.
I have so much respect for people who are truly intelligent, who have researched all areas of religion and science and then choose to follow religion, they have such strong faith in the bible or whichever religious book they may follow. You are left unable to criticise them as they have made an informed decision and are not blindly following what a priest or leader has told them. What baffles me is this robotic response that many people (not just the witnesses) display, in the sense that they do as they are instructed and never ask that simple question that even children ask…Why?