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The Philosophy of Humor

Can you believe that philosophers have undertaken to analyze humor? Of course they have—they analyze everything else. This should not have come as a surprise to me, and yet somehow it did. The very name philosophy is a marriage of ‘philo’ (love) and ‘sophia’ (wisdom). Their modus operendus? Put anything under the scope, subject it to enough thought-power, and it will yield its secrets.

New disciplines, once they reach critical mass, split off from philosophy to become entities of their own. What is known today as ‘science’ was once known as ‘natural philosophy. James Hall, the lecturer, tells of spying test tubes and bunsen burners advertised as ‘philosophical instruments.’* A more recent breakaway from the mother ship of philosophy is ‘psychology.’

Will humor also one day yield its secrets to philosophical scrutiny? Let us not sell these people short, but for now, we encounter few ‘humorologists.’ For now, we can content ourselves with people who know how to tell a good joke. For now, my self-description stands as one who not only appreciates self-deprecatory humor but also the kind of humor where you make fun of yourself. For now, no humorologist undertakes to explain why that statement is funny (or not).

Humor is not a favored child of philosophy. That, I learned in ‘Philosophy 101,’ a book by Paul Kleinman. Plato took a savage view toward it, as the lowest form of human interaction that did nothing but detract. His ‘philosopher kings’ were not allowed to engage in any humor at all! This seriously messes with my premise that the Jehovah’s Witnesses Governing Body is today the most manifest application of Plato’s ideals. Those guys joke all the time. True, some of the humor is lame—raising or lowering the mic for short or tall speakers, for example, a modest humor exists throughout JW-land. At our Assembly Hall, the human mic-adjusters have been replaced with a mic stand that does the job sans hands, being remote controlled from afar! Our crazily tall circuit overseer creates a disturbance when the auto-mic seeks to adjust for him, inching up, pausing, then inching up again, each time emitting a hum, because someone forgot to mute the thing. He just grins, being long used to it. That’s the kind of collective humor we’re used to, though individually, there are no end of brothers who just live to tell knee-slappers. Pause for just a moment to consider that there are far few sisters who do this. Is this variation an attribute of the sexes in general?

No one has sought to banish humor in the JW-world, least of all individual GB members themselves, but according to Plato, they should. They should become dour sourpusses who never crack a smile. Every time they do crack one, they destroy my theory that they are the modern day application of Plato’s philosopher-kings. So, they should stop doing it.

What grabs me is that church history is replete with sourpusses—stern-faced men who take everything with life-or-death seriousness, men to whom a joke would have been the ultimate sacrilege. Think the iron-faced Puritan leaders of ‘The Scarlet Letter,’ for example. Yet, such a revulsion to humor is not a Bible product. The Bible is fine with humor. The revulsion is a Greek philosophical product fused into the early Church when that Church ‘broadened out’ to increase its appeal and thus gain new converts.

Every Witness knows that the spread of ‘apostasy’ in the early centuries added ‘immortality of the soul’ to the belief system of Christians—it wasn’t there originally and must be read into the Bible to find it there. The immortal soul was infused in order to increase Church appeal to the educated philosophical class, the Greeks who prided themselves on their pursuit of wisdom. ‘Maybe some of these desirable fellows will come our way if we yield a little for them,’ Church fathers reasoned.

What I didn’t know was that a humorless view of life is also among the Greek imports. It is not a biblical product. It is a product of human philosophy! Yet, a life of devotion to God today is assumed by overall society to be a humorless one. It is anything but. Granted, you don’t cackle over everything under the sun. There is a time to be serious. But there is a time for laughter.

On a roll as to human philosophy infusing Christianity, whereupon Christianity itself is blamed as the source of it, one might consider resistance to investigative science itself. The notion that Christians are loathe to examine and look into things does not stem from Christianity. It stems from Aristotle—Greek philosopher of the 4th century BCE, whose views on the revelation of anything worth knowing was adopted into the early Church in order to increase its appeal to that ‘educated’ class.

With these early, evolving, church leaders; It was not biblical writings that ultimately carried the day. It was the writings of the philosophers. Yet historians retroactively assign that role to those worshipping God, as though worship makes a person backwards. It came from philosophy, not Christianity! Christianity’s mistake was to adopt it. When the pig-headed church leaders lit into Copernicus and Galileo for writing the earth is not the center of the universe, scholars assign pigheadedness to worshippers of God, whereas they ought to look to their own forebears. Human thinkers contaminate the product and then the biblical writings take the rap!

Back to the initial topic: humor. It’s not horrific in itself that philosophers should undertake to explain humor for the rest of us. It is more the eye-rolling dread at how they tend to get so full of themselves when they do that. But, even worse, it is the fear that it’s only a matter of time before they extend their research to other intangible qualities, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and so forth—determined to examine spiritual things through the physical lens. Watch out when they do that, as when love is said to ‘evolve’ since without it, back in primitive days, predators would be eating your offspring while loveless you just shrugged and twiddled your thumbs. Beware the field of evolutionary psychology.

In recent years, much has been made by Jehovah’s Witnesses to identify these above qualities, listed at Galatians 5:22, as ‘fruitage’ of the spirit, rather than ‘works’ of the spirit. They contrast with the unpleasant traits listed just before (5:19), which ARE works: works of the flesh. The idea is that you can’t fully develop the former good qualities without God’s spirit, whereas yielding to the unpleasant traits is simply taking the path of least resistance. Anyone can do that. So, if they are fruitage of God’s spirit, good luck to human philosophers trying to analyze them. While you can put physical things on spiritual trial, you cannot put spiritual things on physical trial. You can achieve the knockoff imitation through physical means, and in many cases it is good enough. But if you want the variation that holds up through thick and thin, it is only through God’s spirit that such traits are developed. Sure—let the philosophers have at it—those fellows for whom it is pulling teeth to get them to agree that there even is a God. See what they have to tell us.

*’The Philosophy of Religion’


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Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Getting to the Point in a Crazy World

In America, one must get to the point quickly. Often I begin house-to-house visits by observing, ‘The world’s crazy. We think the Bible can help—how did it come to be that way?/what hope for the future?/how to best live in the meantime? I want to read you a scripture on that, you tell me what you think, and then I’m on my way. Good idea?’

This is not some laid-back land where you must ask about family, tell about yours, and if you don’t, you are rude. No. Tell why you came quickly. One man responded that he was not a religious person. ‘That doesn’t mean that the world isn’t crazy,’ I replied. He agreed that it didn’t.

His neighbor instantly agreed that it was—crazy—even repeating the words. What people had to do, she said, was to ‘stand up.’ Well, sure, it’s hard to disagree with that, and I didn’t. But it’s a little vague. Won’t people, when they stand up, stand up with different fixes and so work at odds with each other? Whereupon, she pointed out that she didn’t believe in any ‘second coming of Christ.’

She was not like still another neighbor, who was concerned that we were ‘recruiting.’ I told him we were not. Or rather, that on my 200th visit, I would ask if he wanted to become a Jehovah’s Witness like me, but it would not happen until then, and what were the chances engagement would go on for so long? In the meantime, it’s just conversation. No. This woman instantly got that it was just conversation—though after ours, when I floated the idea of coming back, she did ask, ‘To what end?’

I initially feared the call would be a clumsy disaster. When she first appeared at the door, so did a couple of noisy dogs, eager for engagement of their own. They weren’t mean or anything. They were more like, ‘Oh wow! Visitors! Lemme go check them out!’ Some people get crotchety trying to curb their dogs for a visit they never asked for in the first place and I thought she might be one of them. She wasn’t. She just wrestled with the creatures.

‘Did I ever tell you how much I like dogs?’ I said to one of them while petting it. That eased tension. It’s true. I do like them. Ever since the days my daughter moved overseas and left us Samson, a boxer/lab mix. Sometimes I would introduce it with, ‘Do you know the Samson from the Bible, who pushes apart the pillars? This the Samson that pees on them.’

The scripture I read was the one some are already familiar with, ‘Let your kingdom come, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,’ from Matthew 6:9. It packs a lot in few words. God’s will is done in heaven, no doubt. He must have it all together up there, but it sure isn’t done on earth. And it won’t be until ‘thy kingdom comes’—so just what is that kingdom?  This is where she said she didn’t believe in any second coming. But in time, I suggested she might want to rethink that. She did believe in God. She did believe he cares for us. So will he really just leave humanity to go down the drain as they are so plainly doing at present?

When she had mentioned chaos in her family over the last few years, I asked her what bad things had happened. Turned out it was all pandemic related; some family members were no longer on speaking terms over accepting the vaccine. As for her, she said she ‘reads scientific papers.’ If it helps, I told her—you get on the same page with your householder whenever you can—I also passed on the vaccine. (as had my companion) It was easy for me, being retired, and there were a few supplements I took instead. (which she also took). But, in answer to her question, the Witness organization mostly did get vaccinated. Here they were, sitting on their hands, and you weren’t allowed to do anything without vaccination, so they monitored those they found easiest to track—a few tens of thousands of other volunteers—detected nothing immediately unpleasant, and so went ahead with the program because they did want to do things.

When she said she didn’t accept Jesus as God, but thought he was a man, it was time for another ‘if it helps.’ (The teaching that Jesus IS God all but dooms any attempt to understand either the Bible or God’s purpose—nothing makes any sense with that albatross strapped around one’s neck.) ‘If it helps,’ I told her, we also believe he was a man, and in a nutshell I told how only a perfect man can exactly counterbalance what Adam had lost—‘repurchasing’ what he ‘sold.’ She played with the thought, not sure how she felt about it. People need time to adjust to anything. I left her the card that has one of those computer things you can scan and bring up the Bible study course. It works best when you do it with someone to guide you, I said, but there’s no reason you can’t look it over yourself. I showed her the lesson that expanded on just how Jesus offsets Adam for those who put faith in the arrangement.

I did caution her, though. She had said she reads scientific papers. Most people don’t. Don’t be put off to find the material is written very simply. It’s not the course’s intention to talk over the heads of the vast majority of people. As was true in the first century, it is the ordinary people most likely to respond, whereas the educated people are sometimes prone to be all full of themselves; there’s not much God can do with people like that, but with humble ones he can do a lot. The caution proved unnecessary. She offered up her view that university was mostly ‘indoctrination’ these  days anyway.

People are busy. I’ve had so many discussions with someone I find once, and then I never find them again. So, these days I have my text number on that QC card. I’ll pop in eventually, but in the meantime, if anything grabs her attention, she has a text number to respond to.


******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Is it Accurate to Refer to Jehovah’s Witnesses as a ‘Cult’?

Q: Is it accurate to refer to Jehovah's Witnesses as a "cult"? Do they meet the criteria of a true cult?

If it is accurate to call first century Christianity a ‘cult’ then it is also accurate to call Jehovah’s Witnesses a cult.

Take, for example, Paul’s direction that: “Now I urge you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you should all speak in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you may be completely united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)

You know that would be spun as a ‘cult’ today.

The ‘cult’ label exists to punish anyone who thinks out of the mainstream. Again, the apostle Paul:

“And stop being molded by this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, so that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

‘You WILL be molded by it,’ says the anti-cult faction, ‘and if you refuse, we will call you a ‘cult.’

Thing is, there doubtless are some crazy ‘cults’ out there. Yet, if the mainstream managed to deliver the goods (of peace, contentment, justice, meaning in life, etc), non of these groups, Jehovah’s Witnesses included, would succeed in gaining a toehold.

Seemingly, it is new, the non-stop accusations that Jehovah’s Witnesses are a ‘cult.’ Yet, it is just the latest permutation of what has been the case since the founding of Christianity. “Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake,” said Jesus (Matthew 5:10)

Depend upon it. Christians would be spoken against. So it is that when Paul rolls into town (Rome), he asks the local Jewish leaders whether anyone has been talking trash about him. His answer? “We have not received letters about you from Judea, nor have any of the brothers who came from there reported or spoken anything bad about you. But we think it proper to hear from you what your thoughts are, for truly as regards this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” (Acts 28: 21-22)

Nothing has changed. It was a ‘sect’ that was ‘spoken against everywhere.’

So why is it they were nowhere in Scripture specifically called a ‘cult’? Because the definition of the word ‘cult’ has been changed to fit them. It used to be that if you fell under the spell of a charismatic leader, separated from society, and began to do weird things, you just might be a cult member. By that traditional definition, Jehovah’s Witnesses are anything but a cult. Charismatic leaders? Many of them are cultivated tastes to listen to. Separate from society? They work and school with everyone else. Practice weird things? Only if you consider speaking about the cause of their faith, as laid out in the Bible, weird.

The old definition doesn’t fit them at all. So a new definition is concocted that does. But it equally fits Christianity as outlined in the Bible. Even the modern notion that Witnesses take advantage of people, rather than benefit them, is countered in Scripture—so the charge was apparently made, even if not couched in modern ‘cult’ jargon: “We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one,” Paul says at 2 Corinthians 7:2.

As far as I’m concerned, you should turn that nonsense on its head, doing what the police did when radicals began calling them PIGS, doubling down when they saw it got under their skin. One innovative officer redefined the acronym as, ‘Pride, Integrity, Guts, Service.’ 

Same here. Call Witnesses a cult? Redefine it: ‘Courage, Unity, Love, Truth.’ In short, you can call Jehovah’s Witnesses a cult if you like—the word means different things to different people—but then you must also call first-century Christianity a cult, because Witnesses do no more than emulate them.

“No, he was talking about guys like you! Your organization perfectly fit the description of the evil slave.”

“Oh yeah? You didn’t mention destroying families, allowing children to bleed to death, allowing child abuse, failed prophecies!”

A: Forty years into all-out societal war against child abuse, you can still throw a stone in any direction and hit ten pedophiles, so how anyone can say the problem is JWs is beyond me. Nevertheless, if there ever was a problem in the JW realm, it has been settled with a study article ensuring all that there is no stigma whatsoever in reporting an abuser to authorities. Details here:

As to blood transfusions, doubtless the JW stand has aided more people that it has harmed. This is because, here and there, courageous doctors have worked to accommodate it and in so doing have made medicine much safer for all. If there was equity, the JW organization would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for improving treatment. Details here: 

On ‘destroying families,’ that is mostly a matter of individuals insisting upon bringing into the congregation something God forbids, for example, some matter of modern sexual morality, and being disallowed by faithful family members.

As to failed prophesies, these are mostly analogous to misreading the bus schedule and consequently showing up early. This is no more calamitous than if someone showed up early at an actual bus stop. A little embarrassing, but people adjust.


******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Why No Theological Terms in Watchtower Publications?

The author of a theodicy consents that his case be tried before the court of reason, and offers to represent the accused by refuting all the accusations of the planitiff.’ — Immanuel Kant. (1704-1804)*

Is that why publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses never use the term theodicy—nor any other theological term? Why submit to trial in a kangaroo court run by rationists, replete with myriad ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ rules, some of which you suspect are specifically designed to ensure that ‘the accused’ is found ‘guilty?’

Witness governing members look to those taking the lead in the first century, men they strive to emulate, men described in the Book of Acts (4:13) as “unlettered and ordinary.” They ask, ‘Would these ones know a theological term if it bit them in the rear end? Taking as self-evident that they answer is no, they say, ‘If it worked for them, it should work for us.’ They hold to the thought expressed by Paul to Timothy. “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

If Scripture really has that effect, that of setting things straight and making the man of God fully competent, then aren’t theologians out of a job? Isn’t in their interests, therefore, to maintain that it doesn’t? They become like the agency head who insists ‘much work remains to be done.’ The moment he says that the work is done, he faces the unemployment line. Those above words of Paul are a threat to the theological machine. So, with regard to Scripture, the theologians make themselves a middleman. ‘It sets things straight’ when we say it does,’ they say. Thus, the Book of Job is not, per them, a record of a man who actually lived. It is the work of a writer presenting his theodicy, perhaps his evolving theodicy. Or, perhaps it is the work of multiple writers presenting multiple theodicies, of which you may take your pick or reject them all.

The Jehovah’s Witness Governing Body will have none of it. ‘Try God’s ways in a human court, will they?’ they say. It is the other way around. You look into a mirror so as to adjust your skewed appearance. You don’t look into that mirror and wonder what is wrong with it for reflecting such an appearance. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, So my ways are higher than your ways And my thoughts than your thoughts,” are the words attributed to God at Isaiah 55:9. Should higher thoughts be tried in the courtroom of lower thoughts?

Dr. James Hall is a theologian setting up such a courtroom. Introducing his Great Courses Lecture series, entitled, Philosophy of Religion, he says, “Let me assure you up front I'm not going to tell you what to think. The real purpose, the real goal of this course, is to encourage you to think, to push you to think and to help you organize your thinking equipment so that you can think more effectively.” Is it worrisome that five variations of ‘think’ are included in this mission statement? All of those thoughts, per Isaiah, will be ‘lower thoughts’—even though enhanced (or lowered still?) by embracing the modern critical thinking. Should such thoughts be the criteria for judging the higher ones?

Exploring the merits of the ontological argument for God—a term that,  once again, you will never hear from Jehovah’s Witnesses, though possibly a Watchtower article somewhere quotes someone uses it and the editors figured it was more trouble than it’s worth to pull it out, Dr Hall cites an earlier philosopher and churchman (Anselm of Lucca) who quoted Scripture: “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” He then (incorrectly) repeats the phrase, apparently so his audience can mull it over: “The fool has said, ‘There is no God.’ (dropping the ‘in his heart’) Then, he contrasts ‘God’ and ‘no God.’ From there, he goes on to explore the attribute of ‘existence’ as opposed to non-existence. He holds aloft two identical books with identical attributes, attributes he describes at length, save for one: The one in his right hand “has a counterpart in reality.” The one in his left hand (which holds nothing) does not.

About this time, the unkind reader may think of a certain internet profile which begins with an apology for “not having a PhD in whatever b******t your PhD is in.” Be that as it may, he or she may also note that the only point of significance is how the doctor, seemingly unaware, changed the underlying ‘fact’ of Psalm 14:1. Is the fool saying something in his heart the same as the fool saying it aloud? Or doesn’t the in his heart imply that he doesn’t say it aloud? Were there even people in that ancient Hebrew society who said there was no God? Isn’t the reference, in reality, to those who act as though there is no God—who think they lack accountability to God? You probably don’t want to use that scripture in calling atheists ‘fools’ because that is unlikely to be its intent. Whether they are or not is another matter, but this is not the verse to clinch it either way.

This is the fellow you want running your rationalist courtroom, who passes over what is significant to quibble over word salads of existence and non-existence?  Who can be confident submitting their theodicy before a such a court that may even disbar the defense attorney for failing to take that nonsense seriously, who just wants to focus on what is meaningful? Why would anyone feel obliged to submit their case to it?

*as cited in Kraeling, ‘The Book of the Ways of God,’ (1939) p243

To be Continued (maybe)

******  The bookstore


Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

What of All These Changes in Recent Months? Part 3

Q:  “With all of these changes that have happened so fast, are Jehovah's witnesses slowly morphing into mainstream religion?”

No, but they are learning to adapt to a changing world. As long as you can do this without abandoning core principles, you’re okay.

All changes from Part 1 and Part 2 are relatively trivial things. One that is not has to do with discipline policies, which ex-Witnesses seek to portray, with some success, as draconian. For the time being, ‘activist’ woke courts, the type that try to mandate ‘inclusion,’ rule against the Witnesses for their policies to stay ‘no part of the world.’ Higher courts, where the woke mindset has not yet permeated, overturn those rulings.

Already, Jehovah’s Witnesses were, from a review of Joel Engardio’s documentary Knocking, “an excellent example, perhaps our last hope, of how groups with strongly polarized ideas can yet coexist peacefully.” Despite their public visits, Jehovah's Witnesses are a "live and let live" religion. Their "weapons" are ideas only. Tell them "no" and they go away. Sure, they try to be persuasive, but it's still only words. They don't afterward attempt to legislate their beliefs into law, so as to force people to live their way, much less resort to violence.

But now, a world that increasing stresses ‘inclusion,’ the very opposite of the scriptural directive to remain ‘no part of the world’ presents new challenges. JWs must revisit their policies of discipline, as these are now under attack. Can they be tweaked without being gutted? Turns out they can. The result is somethng that both improves the Witnesses and permits them to navigate the greater world’s changing standards.

The judge that ruled against Witnesses in Norway observed that he found it perfectly reasonable that teenage boyfriends and girlfriends are going to have sex with one another. You can be sure his ruling would have been different if he did not find such ‘perfectly reasonable.’ He may still have thought the Witnesses’ discipline policies harsh, but he would not likely have found them illegal. It was once commonplace for parents to be greatly concerned that their teens might be sleeping around. It no longer is. These are the shoals the Witness organization must navigate. Temporarily, with new policies on how to deal with teens veering from the family values, they have found a way to do so.

I like that Knocking quote because it presents Jehovah’s Witnesses as the most progressive of organizations, a description we don’t ordinarily enjoy. They are “perhaps our last hope, of how groups with strongly polarized ideas can yet coexist peacefully.” It is axiomatic in this world that ‘strongly polarized views’ in time results in violence. JWs have disproved this ‘axiom.’ Are they given credit for it? No. But they should be. With recent reports of ISIS taking credit for the horrific attack on that Moscow collosium, I posted that several times in ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses; Searching for the Why’ I had observed that one would think ISIS would have taught the Russian government what extremism is.

Far from JWs being the intolerant people who finally received comeuppance in a Norwegian court, as opposers try to present it, they are already bastions of peaceful coexistence who encounter problems with their discipline policies amidst a world that increasingly despises discipline. In the process of adapting, they end up making themselves better.


*******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

My Meeting Notes: Week of March 25, 2024 - Psalm 22

Just a single psalm for the Bible reading this week: 22. There are verses in this psalm that NT writers later apply to Christ. Read 1 and 8, for example. They sound awfully familiar. 

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (1)

And at the ninth hour, Jesus called out with a loud voice: “Eʹli, Eʹli, laʹma sa·bach·thaʹni?” which means, when translated: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)

The April 2021 Study Watchtower suggests 7 possible ways that cry might be understood. (Questions from Readers) Click on the Research Guide for Psalm 22:1


All those seeing me mock me; They sneer and shake their heads in derision: “He entrusted himself to Jehovah. Let Him rescue him! Let Him save him, for he is so dear to Him! (7-8)

”In the same way also, the chief priests with the scribes and the elders began mocking him, saying: “Others he saved; himself he cannot save! He is King of Israel; let him now come down off the torture stake, and we will believe in him. He has put his trust in God; let Him now rescue him if He wants him, for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” (Matthew 27:41-43)

One verse not cited by any NT writer is Pslam 22:16. Almost alone, the New World Translation renders that verse (the last phrase): “Like a lion they are at my hands and feet.” Almost all other translations pick up a corruption of the Septuagint and render that phrase: “they pierced my hands and my feet.” The NWT sticks with the earlier Masoretic version. Frankly, they’d love for it to say ‘pierces my hands and feet’ too—it fits better with the program—but it doesn’t say that originally. It says ‘like a lion they are at my hands and feet.’ This was not brought out at the meeting, but I knew it anyway from when the Lutheran evangelical tried to convert the rabbi.

It was our circuit overseer this week. In showing a video, he was all excited that when Jade says ‘Oh, I get it!’ in the coffee shop setting, at that same moment the cash register bell goes off. ‘Ka-Ching’ and he is convinced it is deliberate. Ha! It probably is. I can see it being slipped in as a cute little joke, as though to see how long it would take for anyone to pick up on it. Who would have thought it? Maybe, Governing Body members themselves don’t know about it.

Next day, I told him that, for his talk, I and some others had brought little bells that we would ring every time he made a point that we understood.

Then, there was Transgender Visibiltiy Day, proclaimed by the President for that Sunday—Easter Sunday. Now, Witnesses don’t do Easter, and there was no mention of either Easter or the Visibility Day, but you should have heard the uproar on social media! Carrying on about the desecration of a sacred holiday and all.

Ah, well. Doesn’t it proves that it is not possible to dress up a pig?

As any Witness knows, Easter is an example of slapping a Christian label on a pre-existing sordid holiday, in this the celebration of the goddess Ashtarte—always coinciding with the rebirth of the earth every springtime, once again the explosion of life, and so carried out with orgies and fertility rites. Hence, the bunnies and eggs which clearly have nothing to do with Jesus. Then along come the church fathers much later, hoping to hijack and redirect an already-wildly popular holiday by pasting a Christian label on it!

Witnesses seem to never tire of revealing the unsavory roots of holidays such a Christmas, Halloween, and Easter. My response is to say, ‘Give it a rest already. Nobody cares. If people haven’t given them up by now, they’re not going to.’ It’s like what my brother, who is vaccinated against Covid-19 but drew the line at the frequent boosters, said about the State’s incessant vaccine ads; ‘Sheesh! You’d think they’d realize that if people haven’t gotten it by now, they’re not going to.’

But, in this case, those Witnesses are right on the money and I am wrong. Transgender Visibility Day (as though they were invisible before) is no more than the holiday reverting closer to its origin. I mean, there have been people misgendered at birth. Occasionally, sexual organs are not distinct. Yet, we all know that when small children are queried at school or the pediatricians office as to whether they are really a boy or a girl (as happened with a young mother in our congregation)—question that perhaps they were ‘assigned’ the wrong sex—something is seriously out of whack.

As to the rededication of the day to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, good as it is, Jesus never said to celebrate it. Same with his birth. It’s a good thing, plainly, but Jesus never said to celebrate it. Churches celebrate both. The one event Christ did say to celebrate, the commemoration of his death, they do not do—at least not in the way we typical celebrate great events, as an annual occurrence. Instead, they attach a level of mystery to it and do it routinely so that nobody knows just what it is they are doing. I mean, the Lord’s evening meal, the first memorial of his death, was held on Passover night, Jesus giving it new significance. You would think that fact would dictate how often the Memorial was to be celebrated. “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us,” Paul says. (1 Corinthians 5:7)


*******  The bookstore


Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'