Welcome to our new semi-regular segment in which I tear Jehovah's Witness propaganda to shreds. I am in regular receipt of both The Watchtower and Awake!, which, apparently, must have an exclamation mark (!). My husband, lovely though he is, may also be a tad soft in the head as, some time ago, he made the beginners mistake of telling the JWs his name. They now regularly pop up on our doorstep of a Sunday morning, asking for Mr Doe by name and foisting bin fodder upon me. I could simply refuse it, but I am not at my best on a Sunday morning and really can't be arsed starting an argument when I have a crossword and coffee waiting for me.
Solution? Laugh at it on the interwebs*.
And so to begin. I have before me the July 2011 edition of The Watchtower, which I am assured is 'semimonthly'. I am not entirely sure what this means. The cover depicts a series of males of increasing age which I assume are intended to be the same man as getting older. He appears to have lived every stereotype of his generation. This 'semimonth's' edition is entitled "Give Your Life Real Meaning. HOW?" How, indeed. My first answer to this question would not be to join the JWs but, hey, to each their own.
As promised, the main feature of this issue is a series of articles about the 'meaning of life'. After an overly long introduction filled with cliched platitudes and quasi-philosophical observations such as- "humans, who are gifted with such great potential, live such short lives"- we get into the first article:
Why Does Life Seem Meaningless?
To this, my first instinct would be to shoot back with a childish retort of "Your life might be meaningless, but mine is totally rocking it!" This, of course, would be wrong. Fun, but wrong.
The first question asked by this article is "What Is God's Purpose for the Earth?". Its answers is this:
Jehovah God made the earth to be a perfect paradise for mankind.
Really? It sure doesn't seem like the positioning of that tree was too perfect. But maybe I'm being too harsh, after all, many evangelicals tell us that the tree was there to test us. In fact a good chunk of Christian doctrine is built around this idea of Earth as being a 'test' for heaven. If that is the case it is certainly the longest and dreariest test I have ever done and I want to withdraw from this course, please.
Ah, but I am wrong for this is:
the commonly accepted but Scripturally baseless idea that God made the earth to be of testing ground for humans, to see if they deserved to live in a spirit world.
I snorted a little when I read this, for whilst I agree that the whole test idea is slightly deranged, I'm not entirely sure that my planet is quite the Utopia a higher power might have had in mind. However, based on the rest of this section, I could imagine Jehovah doing this.
God made man and woman in His image, giving them the capacity to reflect His wonderful qualities. (Genesis 1:26, 27) He made them perfect. They had everything the needed to enjoy a productive, meaningful life forever.
God must be pretty crap then. If we are created in his image, then why did we disobey him? Weren't we just like him? I'm dizzy from running around in so many circles. Apparently, this also included:
filling the earth and subduing it...
How can we have everything we need if we must first beat the earth into submission?
In what I think is an attempt to fill the gaping logic holes left by the previous sections, the article now moves onto asking "What Went Wrong?". I would again answer with a snide remark along the lines of 'pretty much everything'. The JWs, do admit this:
The earth is certainly no paradise. What happened?
Fair call, they acknowledge the problem. That is the first step to getting help. But then...
Our original parents, Adam and Eve, abused their free will. They wanted to "be like God,"...
Now I am really confused. If we were created in God's image, how can we want to be 'be like God'? Aren't we already like him? And if we are and we still do dickish things, doesn't that just mean that God is a bit of a dick, too?