Is Christian Evangelism Really As Selfless As Evangelists Would Have Us Believe?

Preacher preachingWhy do I dislike evangelism so much? Regular visitors to Atheist Geek News have surely figured out by now that I don’t suffer evangelists well. Especially aggressive evangelists. I have written about some of the mistakes that evangelists (especially Jehovah’s Witnesses) have made when trying to convert me in the past. But it isn’t just the behavior of evangelists that I take issue with. It’s also about the motives that Christian evangelism promotes in those who preach it to others.

Motives are an area that I usually avoid, especially since it’s all too easy to impose negative motives to a group you don’t like or whose actions you don’t like. So before someone says it, I’m not claiming that I can read minds. I admit that I could be 100% wrong. I acknowledge that people are complex individuals who don’t always fully understand their own motives, let alone those of others. So it isn’t fair to simply assert that I know – beyond all doubt – what’s going in the minds of another individual. I’ve had far too many religious people pretend that they know my motives for becoming an atheist, or an ex-Witness, to throw that one at you.

Fishers of men

There’s a reason why none of the fish are biting.

But, as a former Jehovah’s Witness turned atheist, I’ve been on the inside and the outside of Christian evangelism. My world view has been challenged over the years by Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentecostals, Baptists, Mormons, and Gideons. Not to mention others on the internet. So while I don’t claim to have magical powers, I do think that I’m well informed on the topic and that my conclusions are reasonable. As we shall see, I also think that the bad behavior so often exhibited by evangelists is very telling.

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Why Do Ex-Witnesses Criticize The Watchtower Society And Jehovah’s Witnesses?

So why do ex-Witnesses like me criticize the Watchtower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses? Many Witnesses assume that we harbor some secret jealousy of them, that we’re deranged, or that we’re just a bunch of meanies in general. In reality, there are many sane reasons why ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses criticize the Watchtower Society publicly.

1. To Warn Others About Problems We Perceive With “The Truth”

Warning LabelMost ex-Witnesses left the organization because we believed something was wrong with it. We point out these flaws to help others avoid learning about them the way we had to. The hard way.

Many Witnesses accuse us of nitpicking and insist that there are no good reasons to leave the Society’s truth. They say that the Watchtower Society is Jehovah’s one and only organization, hence, none of its human-wrought imperfections really matter. But this assumes a lot. What if the number one fault we find with the truth is that it isn’t true? That shifts the priorities around, don’t you think?

Arguments between ex-Witnesses and Jehovah’s Witnesses about the Society’s truth are as timeless as anything else. Headway is rarely made on either side. But like it or not, we just don’t believe in the Society’s truth any more. So telling us that it’s flaws don’t matter doesn’t really help the situation. Isn’t this really obvious when you think about it?

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Interview With “Truth Be Told” Creator, Gregorio Smith

A picture of Watchtower Headquarters in black, white, and red.I have been advocating Gregorio Smith‘s Truth Be Told documentary about ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses since I first heard about it from a member of the production staff. So I was very excited when Gregorio emailed me with more information a few weeks ago. He even agreed to give me an interview.

If you’re looking forward to the documentary as much as I am and want to find out more about Truth Be Told, here’s a good place to start. If there are other questions you’d like me to ask Gregorio Smith, I will try to pass them along. (Just remember, he’s a really busy guy.)

Here’s a comment about the documentary from its creator that I thought was worth sharing. Especially in light of any criticism that may follow from the Society or Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Per the official synopsis, TRUTH BE TOLD is not an indictment of religion but rather a retrospective. The purpose of the movie is to provide a comprehensive forum for anyone that has a story to share – to start a new conversation intended to heal, not hurt. And while the ultimate product may not be even-handed, it will be honest.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Gregorio Smith

Director – Truth Be Told

I’m sure many of you were wondering if Gregorio had any personal experience as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, or if he was coming at this completely from the outside. I asked him some questions about his background, and he was very open in providing details.

The interview follows.

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Was The Sparlock Video Really Made By The Watchtower Society?

Kingdom Hall announces talk on SparlockSince I first posted my article about Sparlock the Warrior Wizard, I have seen several attempts by Jehovah’s Witnesses to declare the video an apostate (or atheist) trick. There’s even an image of these conversations on YouTube for posterity. Well, I felt it necessary to issue a response on behalf of myself and other ex-Witnesses who have adopted Sparlock as our new mascot.

For those who doubt that the Sparlock video is the real deal, I offer the following incontrovertible proof.

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