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Beijing and Real World Unity

As the $40 billion dollar Beijing Olympics romped through closing ceremonies, NBC commentator Cris Collinsworth gushed with emotion. Two weeks of persons from all corners of the earth mingling, smiling, and learning about each other’s cultures! No battling, save only that of sports, and that done amidst mutual respect and good will. Maybe….maybe….I mean, it’s probably pie-in-the-sky, he conceded, but maybe…..if they could do it for two weeks, then what about three weeks? And then  what about a month? And then a year? And….oh, utopian dream come true!….why should the party ever stop? Can’t we all just get along?

Of course, kids can also behave pretty well for the two weeks prior to Santa's Christmas arrival, or at least, I was generally able to manage it. It is pie-in-the-sky Cris…..but then, he knows it…..everyone was moneyed and pampered and well-fed for those two weeks. Stress-free, really. And weren’t they all pretty upper crust? Excepting perhaps the poor relations of some of the athletes, and these must have seemed to be in material fairyland for those 17 days.

Still, a glimpse of unity is real impressive, even if it’s temporary, even if it’s artificial. It speaks to a yearning deep within most of us. Is not the world breaking into more and more independent factions, all of whom resist cooperation with anybody else? So every once in a while there will be some circumstance to evoke a contrasting taste of unity (sometimes the circumstances are those of tragedy) and people like Cris wax poetic. It always makes me scratch my head because seven million Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy such unity daily, as a matter of course. In all circumstances, our people of all races, nationalities, socioeconomic classes, and educational levels mingle freely and without strife. Wars, riots, and social upheavals do nothing to mar the peace. We tell people of this unity…doubtless we’ve told Cris…but by and large they want no part of it. Peace and unity….yeah, that’s great, it’s what they want….but not at the price of adopting a screwy religion like Jehovah’s Witnesses!

But it only seems screwy because JWs have renounced attitudes that make unity impossible and embraced those that facilitate it. This the general world has failed to do. Alas, it is not just a few teeny tiny tweaks that need be made so as to achieve unity. No, but a massive overhaul of thinking and behaving is required, and Jehovah’s Witnesses have done that. But that revised viewpoint makes us seem very strange to general society and not especially palatable. Nonetheless, surely it is beliefs that will get to the crux of why people can or cannot get along, and what institution in life is credited with molding a person’s beliefs? Where does morality come from? Surely it’s not found in higher education. If we’re SOBs, going to college usually just makes us smart SOBs, but it’s through spiritual growth that a person’s conduct can change for the better.

The peace and unity typifying Jehovah’s Witnesses is so well attested that even detractors….we have quite a few of them…..don’t deny it. Instead, they sometimes attribute it to (gasp!) LANDRU.

……………………………….................

Captain James T. Kirk and the Star Trek boys came across the Landru clanwhen they were way, way out there, on the very fringe of the galaxy. (Was it only me who was disappointed that, no matter how far they traveled, whatever aliens they found looked just like us, save for raised eyebrows, different skin color, pointy ears, peculiar dress and grooming, etc? Where are the evolutionists when you need them?)  This was a nauseating race of folk with syrupy smiles who carried on trancelike and greeted each other with slogans like May you have peace…Joy to you, friend, and…Landru gives blessings, and so forth. Tranquility prevailed, but none of them could really think for themselves. Kirk couldn’t stand them, but then he found out why they were the way they were. Boss man Landru had brainwashed them and stolen their souls! He’d come across them when their world was about to self-destruct and given them peace though mind-control! Now….all was joy!  And Landru wasn’t even a person, but a machine (that should please the evolutionists) which the aging Landru had designed (that should displease them) to carry on after he died. And above all things, you were not  to step out of line. If you did, why….there were enforcers to zap you into oblivion. The Enterprise crew was so distressed at this society that they violated their Prime Directive [Mind Your Own Business] to short circuit the computer and free the people. Having done so, they cruised on, leaving the citizens raping and pillaging like in the good old days.

Mind controlled zombies! Just like under Landru! That’s why Jehovah’s Witnesses are so peaceful, charge guys like Tom Barfendogsand Tom Sowmire! But their unity is really not so weird or hard to understand. It just seems that way because that quality is unheard of in today’s world.

Jehovah’s Witnesses share a common vision and purpose. Moreover, they defer to God Jehovah as their lawgiver. That’s really all there is to it. They’ve voluntarily made the choice, and so encounter a Christian formula for achieving practical unity. They find the Bible’s way of life to be not oppressive, but rather like a highway with guardrails. Nobody gripes about the guardrails in real traffic….they serve a purpose. Everyone knows that. Moreover, they neither infringe meaningfully on your freedom nor stifle your personality. On the contrary, they help you become all you can be. Just like in chess. Once you decide to abide by the rules you can do amazing things on the board, but you can’t do any of them until you follow how the game is played.

One of the public talk outlines currently in circulation spends considerable time contrasting unified and uniform. They’re not the same. Human organizations tend to squeeze persons into common molds, stifling individuality, often literally slipping them into uniforms. But unity based upon observing Bible standards is different. The apostle Paul likened it to the human body:

For the body, indeed, is not one member, but many. If the foot should say: “Because I am not a hand, I am no part of the body,” it is not for this reason no part of the body. And if the ear should say: “Because I am not an eye, I am no part of the body,” it is not for this reason no part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the [sense of] hearing be? If it were all hearing, where would the smelling be? But now God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now they are many members, yet one body.             1 Cor 12:14-20

Note that the eye, ear, hand, foot, and so forth cooperate seamlessly and yet do so without sacrificing any individuality or uniqueness. They don’t all become the same. Rather, they each bring their own contributions, for the benefit of the entire body. It’s much the same with Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are fully individuals, with unique likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, assets and liabilities. You will like some of them; others may not be your cup of tea, just like anywhere else. In cooperating towards a common theme, they lose none of what makes them unique, but they carry on free from the endless divisiveness that characterizes the world today. It’s a very appealing aspect of JW society which newcomers tend to recognize quickly. Not like Landru at all!

There! Another ill report disposed of! And now….

May…you…have….peace …friend.    Joy….blessings….and tranquility!

***********************

Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Comments

NateDredge

Or some might say the JW's are more like the Ioatins from the episode 'A Piece of the Action' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Piece_of_the_Action_(Star_Trek)), in which the inhabitants of a simple planet chose to model their society on a flawed book, in this case Chicago Mobs of the Twenties. This results in gang warfare, much as is common among the Jehovah’s Witnesses (warning this post not checked for accuracy).

tom sheepandgoats

Is that all you have to do with these other planets? Just leave a book and the dopes will pick it up and model their civilization after it?

You do recall, I trust, the aliens who intercepted reruns of "Galaxy Quest," took them for historical documents, built a working replica of the starship, and called on the then unemployed and washed-up actors when they found their planet threatened by a race of meanies.

A movie loving guy like yourself surely didn't miss that one...a movie which I thoroughly enjoyed.

NateDredge

Yes I've seen it several times, and you know it holds up better then I'd have expected. Ironicly the screenplay was written by a Mormon.

tom sheepandgoats

I didn't know that.

Any Landru accusations regarding your people? In several respects, you are like us.....out of the mainstream, good at cooperation and organizatin, etc

plonka

Galaxy Quest was brilliant.

Nicely done Tom. But why should a machine please an evolutionist? Evolution has nothing to do with technology.

But you can apply that lesson (1Cor:17-20) to humanity as a whole too. Let's include all cultures and all religions, etc in the body and away we go. Trouble is that there's always bickering when one "formula" doesn't agree with another.

tom sheepandgoats

1) It doesn't entirely make sense, does it? Still, those in the science/evolution camp like to portray the gap as narrow (or potentially narrow) between robotics/AI and life itself. Creation advocates like to portray the gap as a huge chasm, unlikely to narrow significantly. Hence, a super clever computer, capable of ruling a planet, seems more appealing to science/evolution people than to those favoring creation.

2) It's not possible to unite the world at large because it subscribes to ways of thinking that make unity impossible. All you can really do is acheive unity within your own organization. To some extent that unity becomes a drawing card to people outside, who observe similar unity nowhere else.

In the end, we believe that God will remove this entire system of things based on human self-rule, in favor of his kingdom and those who have come to support it. It's not meanness or "petulant megalomania," in our view. It is simply that all of human history demonstrates that humans do not have the capability of governing themselves. Moreover, the work Jehovah's Witnesses attempt to do is announce and educate with regard to this Kingdom of God. (I understand that you don't agree with any of this....but you asked)

plonka

No Tom, it doesn't make any sense at all. AI developers freely admit that they can't even get close to a human mind and probably never will...

Yes and the main thing that influnces the thinking that largely makes unity impossible, is religion...

tom sheepandgoats

You understand that I write only in relation to Jehovah's Witnesses. I otherwise agree that religion is a major force for disunity. I am the faith I am partly because JWs run distinctly counter to that tide. They are a testimony to what can be done when Bible principles are applied.

Furthermore, we were sharply criticizing religion before you were born, and before the Dawkins-Harris-Hitchens trinity was born. And we were doing it when it took courage. Today, people build their careers by taking shots at religion. We were doing so when it was an invitation to mob violence (literally).

http://tinyurl.com/5jqshf

plonka

we were sharply criticizing religion before you were born

A maximum of 15 years before I was born really isn't all that long considering religion has been with us for millenia. Thomas Pain for instance, was doing it at the time your constitution was being written and long before Charles Taze Russel was born. Besides, I doubt that advocating JWism could actually be considered a "sharp" crticism, especially considering that it's a religion too, and if the catholics that knock on my door from time to time are to be believed, it's also a major source of disagreement and fuels disunity. Mind you, the JW's that knock on my door say the same about the catholics...

tom sheepandgoats

The post I linked to speaks for itself. The corroborating facts are still pretty widely available.

Bill Canaday

@ plonka

Hmmm ... I've never had a Catholic come knocking at my door except for a solitary Knight of Colombus who came around looking for a donation once, 15-20 years ago. I was a Baptist then, so he went away empty-handed. Today, I'd at least try to give him a tract.

Every 3-4 years my neighborhood gets a visit from some apostolic group a few miles away and once in a while we see a Mormom or two.

The apostolics are funny. They dress rag-tag and then stand around in a group of maybe 10-15 while one person goes to the door to leave a door-hanger / invitation. I guess that they are trying not to look (or act) too much like JW's. They are succeeding.

The last time they went through they looked like such a motley bunch that I was tempted to give them some tips but didn't have the time.

But I've never, ever, had a Catholic come to my door to preach to me.

Inform me, please. What was the gist of their preaching?

tom sheepandgoats

Expand on these comments in your own blog, Bill (if you haven't already) You have the makings of a real good post in them.

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