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Are Jehovah's Witnesses Closer to Atheism Than They Realize?


As a Jehovah's Witness-turned-atheist myself, I have to say the answer is...sorta. But not quite. It's still an interesting question, one made possible by the unusual worldview that most Jehovah's Witnesses have. It's also an issue for atheist exxers because it's one of those things that people often accuse us of. You know what I mean right?

"You're just a dag-blamed atheist because those dang-old-dirty Jehovaher Witness done turned you evil! Well, have fun roastin' in Hell. Nothin' personal..."

People are fun, aren't they? This is usually a good time to thank them for not stereotyping you in an obviously bigoted way.

Still, it is true that most Jehovah's Witnesses perceive themselves to be more enlightened than the rest of us when it comes to superstitions in general. They don't buy into horoscopes or a fear of black cats any more than many atheists do. (Not all atheists are skeptics, ya know) Some might see this as a sign that Jehovah's Witnesses are more skeptical than the average Christian or other religious believer. This article at their official web site would seem to reinforce that idea.

But that doesn't mean that Witnesses aren't highly superstitious by the standards of most skeptics. They are firm believers in demons who can live in a desk lamp or an old TV set like an evil genie in a bottle. I've known Witnesses who refuse to buy things at yard sales because there might be a demon lurking inside the seller's possessions! Since Jehovah's Witnesses are God's true servants (unlike the rest of us dirty slobs) demons are just aching to find a way inside the Witness's home to wreak havoc in their lives. Yes, that's what they're actually taught to believe from the time they're big enough to tote a magazine bag to your front door.

From where I sit, Witnesses are deeply superstitious. They don't believe in as many supernatural things as others do, but what they do believe they fear very strongly. One way to really see what I mean is to compare that previous article on superstition that I had linked to with something like this or even this. NOTE: check out the links to the left of each web site for more examples of what I'm talking about. As you will see, they are plenty superstitious about a small number of things.

There are other disbeliefs which Witnesses share with many secular atheists. Neither of us believes in the Trinity, that people become spirits when they die, or that Jesus is God. (We don't believe in any god's, and they believe Jesus and Jehovah God are two separate individuals) But I think it's a stretch to say that they are more atheistic than most. I certainly don't see them as more enlightened than anybody else. They still believe in an eternal afterlife, they still believe in demons and magic, and they still believe in a deity who never comes over to say "hi."

Oh, and so-called "apostates" scare the living hell out of them. But that's an article for another time.

-the Atheist Geek-

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