Rolf Furuli published a book that puts down the Governing Body as ones who have “lost their way.” The friendly atheist at friendlyatheist.com was more than friendly when he heard—he was jubilant. He hedges some of his jubilation with the acknowledgement that Rolf has not abandoned anything else of his faith—he is still convinced that it is true. “That doesn’t mean the book serves no purpose, though,” Mr. Friendly says. “If he can get people to question aspects of the faith, or even plant seeds that might eventually get them to leave for good, that would be remarkable.”
As prodigious writer on all things JW, I was flooded with requests for comment—or at least you never know when that may start. Alas, I tend to take my time in getting around to things like this. I may—particularly if I am pestered about it—but it will take awhile
I am curious as to how things will be worded. Is it a ‘call to arms’ which is how the internet opponents will certain see it? Or is it more a personal ‘wish list’? Is it a call to ‘abandon ship’? It doesn’t appear to be, especially since there is no other ship to take its place and even an imperfect ship beats treading water.
He is a scholar. Is he a scholar AND a doer, or has he just become a scholar? That will surely have a bearing. The physical house-to-house ministry grounds a person—leave it at your own spiritual peril.
The people of higher education generally assume ‘takeover rights.’ Does he? It will make a difference. To my mind, Christianity emerged as a ‘working class’ religion, and it always remained so. You know the verses: ‘uneducated and ordinary’, (Acts 4:13) ‘not many wise in a fleshly way, powerful, of noble birth’, (1 Corinthians 1:26) ‘hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones’ so as to ‘reveal them to babes’ (Matthew 11:25)
If the tone of his book recognizes these verses, my guess is that he is fine. If the tone is, ‘Time to let the smart people take over’, there could be a problem. It is when the ‘smart people took over‘ in the first century that Christianity strayed so far from its roots as to be unrecognizable. Opposers, always eager for a blowup, will frame it as ‘Battle of the Titans’ with sure dire consequences to one or the other. That doesn’t mean that he does.
Granted, as to higher education, the trouble with not having too much of it is that one finds it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, and is thus tempted to dismiss it all as chaff. But there is a difference between saying that this or that policy has a downside, which the present brothers will probably agree with, and saying that we ought to have someone’s head on a platter, which they will not. What side does he come down on?
Anything done can be done another way. I know that. Everyone does. Anything with upside will have a downside. While I may present my dream list—everyone has one—as to what I would like to see—I work with what is. I may read this book someday, especially if I get the free copy I deserve as a fellow scholar, even if a pseudo one, but I haven’t just yet.
I tire of these fellows who are so fascinated by the devices of power that they become like the inside-the-beltway policy wonks who actually can’t do anything themselves so they specialize in critiquing what others do. At least Rolf has a track record, but that was long ago. Does he convey any sense that Jehovah is running the show or is it all political maneuverings with him? That is among the things I would be looking for. And what is he doing, not back in the day, but now? The pull of speaking to the choir rather than the householder is irresistible to some; I read of some in Bethel who were like that, and one can begin to fear for them. Has he become like that? Like Paul at 1 Corinthians 4:19 muses, I am not so interested in his speech, but in his power. Has he severed himself from the ranks of those doing the work of Jesus to become a policy wonk? Dunno, but that is what would interest me.
I live and breathe the truth [as Witnesses call their faith] and I have for nearly 50 years. When I read outside of the Bible itself, study materials of it, and what is preliminary to my own posts, I tend to read secular things that I am not so familiar with. It is fine that someone should write a book, but anyone can write a book—I’ve written four of them. I can read remarks that certain ones have left—there surely are enough of them—and assemble them into my own book on their behalf.
I’m still reading the book of the brother who survived Rwanda—a chapter at a time—I’ve gotten distracted. There’s over 8 million of Jehovah’s people and every one of them has a book in them. Just because they haven’t got around to writing it yet and maybe don’t have the wherewithal to do so does not make it any less interesting.
The way this Norwegian apostate (not RF, but the one with the webcast) coos on about ‘scholarship’ irks me. Scholars put their pants on one leg at a time like you and I. They disagree no less than we regular mortals. Look to the world that scholars have collectively built—for the most part, this system of things is run by highly educated people—to properly evaluate ‘scholarship.’
I don’t despise it, but neither do I worship it, as it seemed that Norwegian fellow did—so impressed at Rulf’s educational achievements. It is like when I rode in Frankie’s new van and all the brothers were oohing and ahhing over its every new tech feature and I got fed up. “Frankie, does this car have a radio?” I said breathlessly when it was my turn. But Frankie is cool, not wound up too tight, and is a regular guy. He reads how things are going. “Nah, it doesn’t have one of those,” he says.
.....See Part 2: